In my 21 years, I have learned a few things. For starters, swimming less than 30 minutes after eating isn’t really that big of a deal, watermelon is the only good flavor of Jolly Ranchers (thank you Dane Cook for that tidbit of knowledge), and to never discuss politics and religion with friends; it only brings about bad results. But most importantly, I have learned that the NFL Draft is by far one of the greatest sporting events to watch and participate in.
The NFL Draft is essentially the Super Bowl for crummy teams. After a poor season, fans of the worst teams get to spend the next four months following their team’s every move, and hope that their high draft picks and subsequent players selected become great and lead their team from worst to first.
It allows the fans to be a part of the football team building process. You get to play the role of general manager. Prior to the team’s selection, you argue by yourself, with friends, or anonymous posters on an Internet message board who you would take at the spot, depending on need and value of the players available. Then, if the general manager makes a pick which doesn’t seem to make sense to you and it is criticized by the “experts” at ESPN, the local and nationwide media, or the fan base, you feel as if you have the duty and right to question the intelligence and masculinity of those in charge, allowing you to believe that you are more qualified, that they need to be fired, and that their position should fall to you, since you are much more competent than them.
Many seem to take the approach of the “experts” at ESPN, including “draft guru” Mel Kiper Jr., that every comment which is said is fact and that the $54 million your team had just invested on a defensive end from North Carolina State will be a complete bust. Their belief in a player’s production at the next level is as educated as our own. These so called experts can list the prospects’ strengths and weakness, but projecting production at the highest level is at best an educated guess.
The draft is one of those things that are there for purely entertainment purposes, like the NFL is supposed to be. It offers hope for the teams that ended the previous season with only a couple of victories, and attempts to create a sense of optimism for poor teams before the reality of the season sets in and you realize that this player isn’t very good, bringing about another year of waiting and hoping. Enjoy the draft Saturday, but take everything said with a grain of salt.