Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

March 8, 2014

Column: NFL pre-draft talk should not overwhelm airwaves

— Ninety-five days.

That is how long it is from the end of the Super Bowl to the NFL Draft, which has now been pushed back to May 8.

Check out just some of what has or will happen in sports over those 95 days.

The Winter Olympics, Daytona 500, the NCAA Tournament, the start of the Major League Baseball season, the Masters, spring football practice and games, the start of the never-ending NBA and NHL playoffs, and enough other events to keep any sports fan content.

Yet, flip on sports talk radio on SiriusXM, or listen or watch ESPN, FOX and just about any other national sports medium just about anytime during the week, and it is NFL Draft at least part of the time.

Will someone please explain to me what it is about the draft that deserves non-stop attention from morning to night every single day of the week?

I mean, seriously, who even remembers who the first pick was from last year’s three-day extravaganza in New York.

Quick, who was it? I just asked both of my co-workers here in the sports department and they are stumped.

I will answer it at the bottom of this column. I might have to look it up. Seriously, do you even remember who your team selected last year?

The creation of his column actually began in my head on Thursday morning when I was in the car searching for some sports news. I dialed away from one SIRIUS XM station because this particular person does little else but talk about the NFL and then switched over to the often-irritating and sometimes controversial Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio.

He had some ‘breaking news’ and as a member of the media, that perked my interest. It was supposed to be released on ESPN television at noon.

Instead, Cowherd went with it, and thank goodness, he did. The suspense would have been too much to take.

The news? Brace yourself ... I probably should have pulled over to the side of the road.

It was ... Todd McShay’s latest mock draft.

Huh.

At least give me Joe Lunardi and his yearly attempt to pick the 68-team NCAA Tournament field. Hey, it is March and the Madness has begun. I need his assistance to help me win that $1 billion for the perfect bracket.

Instead, with all that is going on in sports right now, the talking heads on radio and television love nothing more than to talk about anything and everything related to the NFL Draft.

McShay, who works with the “legendary” — at least to draftniks —  Mel Kiper at ESPN — had just completed his post-combine mock draft.

That means his guesses on which teams will take whom after all the players had been poked and weighed and measured and timed and interviewed, giving NFL scouts the opportunity to forget everything they have seen about these athletes on film in actual games and make decisions based on men running around in shorts.

McShay had released his latest mock draft for all to see ... only 63 days from when the actual NFL Draft is held. Here is guessing it will be changed 63 more times before then.

McShay and Kiper have made a living on guessing about the NFL Draft. Both have had about 32 different mock drafts since the one of the most anti-climatic Super Bowls in history came to an end.

Yes, I would like to know who my Chargers will get in the draft, or who the number one pick will be. But, do we have to hear about it every day for the next two months? I mean, does it really change that often?

In this information age we live in, everyone wants to know what is going to happen now, but you have to wait. The draft is in May and it won’t be held until May. Waiting drives the media crazy, so they spectulate until you are so sick of the subject, you just want it to be over.

I sent a note to McShay the other night on Twitter, asking him why he thought it was so vital to release so many mock drafts.

I didn’t get a reply, he probably thinks I am from Mars. After all, who doesn’t want the NFL all the time. Hey, the NFL is seriously considering putting a team in London.

In reality, at least in my very biased opinion, college football beats the NFL any day of the week. If I need a nap on a Sunday afternoon, I flip on a game and I am out like the Broncos were in that last Super Bowl.

We might get a break from the draft for a few days next week — but not for long — when NFL free agency begins, and teams start signing players to overpriced contracts to supplement their rosters, which will then force draftniks to change their opinions.

That will mean more ‘breaking news’ and another new post-free agency mock draft.

McShay’s choice for top pick to the Houston Texans is Blake Bortles, a quarterback from ... where? Here is a guy no one — and I mean no one — was talking about until late in the college football season when suddenly Central Florida — yes, the Knights — became successful and he got all the credit.

Suddenly, Bortles is the projected top pick in the draft, although Johnny Manziel is from Texas A&M and could also be an intriquing choice for his home state Texans.

My guess is the Texans won’t be taking either one of them, but here is another part of the draft that drives me crazy.

If the Texans don’t take Bortles and he winds up a star, they will be ridiculed for not choosing him. If they do take him and he isn’t what he was expected to be, they will be critized for taking him. The same for Manziel.

No matter what the team does, they can’t win, unless they do pick him and he turns out to be a star, which is about as likely as last year’s top pick reaching that elite level.

You might as well prepare for much more on the NFL Draft from now until May 8 when the Texans are officially on the clock.

If they’re smart, they’ll trade down for more picks or select Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina. He could be another Albert Haynesworth, but he could also be Derrick Thomas or Reggie White.

While you are being slammed with information on who all these so-called experts think will be selected by which teams in the first round, second round, third round .... I will be watching the NCAA Tournament — and hopefully counting my $1 billion — along with baseball, the Masters and maybe even the NBA.

Oh, about that first pick from last season’s draft. He was Eric Fisher, offensive tackle, Eastern Michigan.

Guess which NFL team he plays for? As Casey Stengel used to say, ‘You can look it up.’ That is what I did.

*****

Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. Contact him at bwoodson@bdtonline.com.

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