Somehow, someway, the draft has become one of the premiere events of the National Football League. It is an exercise in tedium and monotony. If you are a fan, you will find yourself sitting there on your couch and waiting 15 minutes in-between picks during the first round and enjoying every second of it. Do you have errands to run on Saturday? That won't be a problem at all. A person can go away for a couple of hours and will have only missed between eight to ten picks. That is not even a third of the first round! There will still plenty of drafting to do over the course of the next seven rounds!
If the draft is so boring, how did it become so popular? Why do millions of people know who Mel Kiper, Jr. is? Why should I be glued to ESPN2 at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon just to see whom Carolina picks in the seventh round? That guy is getting cut in training camp anyway! There isn’t even the comedic value that the NBA draft has when David Stern hands over a jersey to a 6”11” 19-year-old in a hideous suit! What reason is there at all to watch this? Well, my dear reader, here are the reasons you should watch (even if only intermittently – seriously, the first round alone takes all day, you can step away occasionally).
1) The [Insert Your Favorite Team Here] Select…
This is the only reason to watch for most of you. Who is going to break your heart by underperforming for your Eagles/Saints/Browns/etc. for the next four or five years? This is an especially joyous moment for Jets fans, as it is the very first time they’ll get to boo the poor guy. This is truly a special moment in the life of any fan.
2) Draft Busts
This correlates directly to whomever your favorite team selects. There will be more busts than stars. For every Donovan McNabb there are Cade McNowns illegally parking in handicapped spots somewhere and Akili Smiths calling you about Liberty Mutual insurance. This inevitable fact is especially true if your favorite team is the Lions. And they select a wide receiver. Again. Somewhere Calvin Johnson prays Matt Millen never saw his game tape.
3) Diva Fits
The best recent example of this belongs to Eli Manning after being drafted by San Diego. After all, who would want to play somewhere that has perfect weather and gorgeous women? Who would want to have that LaDainian Tomlinson guy helping you out in the backfield? He’s worthless! Give me New York! I want to play in a city where any game in which I have a passer rating of less than 90 and a TD/INT ratio of less than 3/1 will make me a pariah. Oh, and can I have noted Schrutebag Tom Coughlin as my coach? Daddy, I don’t wanna go to San Diego! (See also: Elway, John)
4) Why Haven’t I Been Drafted Yet?
Inevitably, there will be one guy there who is just positive he’s getting picked very early. Then, as if on cue, he will just keep getting passed over. I thought the ESPN crew was going to call out a suicide watch for Aaron Rodgers as he slid from potential first overall pick all the way down to Brett Favre’s towel boy at No. 22.
5) Sartorial Splendor
Sure, you would never wear a quadruple breasted cream-colored suit with purple pinstriping, gator boots, a cane, and a fedora with a red feather – but why should that stop Ted Ginn from doing it? While watching Roger Goodell hand over the jersey isn’t as funny to see as Stern (at least I’m assuming so, this is Goodell’s first draft as commissioner) crazy suits are always a guaranteed laugh. Then you remember the guy in the suit is about to make twenty times what you make. But then you start laughing again, so all is well.
6) Rampant Trade Speculation
There will be roughly eighty-four potential blockbuster trades that general managers will be “in talks” about during the first round. Approximately none of these will come true. However, for the five minutes that you think Randy Moss is being shipped to Cincinnati for a third round selection and a DVD of Dog: The Bounty Hunter, you are in heaven.
7) A Chance To Relive The College Football Season
This is a big reason that I watch. I grew up in Memphis, and at the time, there was no NFL team for hundreds and hundreds of miles around. I became a far bigger fan of college football than pro football because of this. The NFL draft is basically one big college football highlight show and I absolutely love college football highlight shows. Additionally, it’s a chance to see if anyone picks up your favorite player from the old’ alma mater. Strangely enough, my Central Michigan Chippewas are expected to have a first round choice this year (offensive lineman Joe Staley). Now I have to watch.
8) Mel Kiper Jr.’s Hair
That stuff is immovable. Perfectly coiffed. I think it’s some kind of Teflon or possibly even Kevlar. He will use it in the art of battle as well. Ask Bill Polian.
9) Random References to Forgotten '70s Hits
Nobody is safe from a crappy Chris Berman nickname. There are untold thousands of songs in the back catalogues of Three Dog Night, Foghat, and Electric Light Orchestra that have yet to be connected to a football player born fifteen years after the band’s heyday. Be very afraid, C.J. Ah You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.
10) There Is No Escape
Cthulu has you, my friends. The draft will be on every version of ESPN and will be talked about on every sports radio station there is all weekend long. Nothing else will exist. At least not until the Red Sox and Yankees start up again this weekend. Then the draft won’t exist and we’ll instead be reminded of the only two baseball teams that exist in the whole wide world. And you wouldn't want it any other way.