Me, Myself & the NFL Draft

| April 21st, 2013

I am asked, starting around…oh…October, who I’d like to see the Bears select in the first round of the coming NFL Draft. I not only don’t answer the question then  but I don’t answer the question now. The truth is this. Barring a few players here and there I’ve fallen in love with over the course of their collegiate careers, I don’t really care who the Bears select in the draft.

I did, when I was a kid. When I was thirteen years old I remember turning in my blue and white pinstriped Little League baseball uniform to John Cali – one of the only other Bears fans I knew in the world – and exclaiming with joy on a late Saturday morning, “We drafted Rashaan Salaam!” We did. The Bears did. I don’t really remember a moment in his career bringing me anywhere near the joy of that moment at the north field at Gunnell Oval in Kearny, NJ.

The whole of the NFL cares passionately about the draft until about three days after the draft. Then – unless your team has made a significant veteran talent trade or selected a quarterback in the early rounds – the entire football media realizes the selections made over the final weekend in April will not drastically impact the upcoming season. Even solid performers like Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, Bruce Irvin and Chandler Jones were not defining factors for their clubs over the whole of 2012. Everyone fixates over the pending rookies until they actually become rookies. Everyone fixates over rookies until they hit the rookie wall.

And I hate the new format for the event. Draft weekend used to be the football connoisseur’s binge weekend. We’d cut football into thin white lines on a mirror and bury our noses in it.

Two full, long days. Now we not only have speculation an analysis on the lead-up to the overall draft, we have speculation and analysis (none of which matters) before and after rounds one, two and after each of the weekend days.

I like the draft because I like to watch how teams approach it. I am far more interested in what positions team target than in which players they select. Will the Packers attempt to add more weapons for Aaron Rodgers? Will the Vikings be attempting to replace Percy Harvin? Will the Lions ever attempt to add good players to their secondary? The players are a guess. An educated guess, sure, but a guess nevertheless. The positions tell you everything.

But fans love the NFL and anything NFL-related draws interest. I can’t complain. Thursday-Sunday will see my Twitter gain followers and this blog gain readers. But as an event, it just doesn’t excite me anymore. Maybe it’s this guy’s fault.