NFL draft insanity ends today, starts tomorrow

by | May 8, 2014 | Detroit Free Press, Sports | 0 comments

Tonight is the NFL draft, which makes a lot of people happy. Including me. Because that means we can stop talking about it.

Now before you dash off angry tweets, I have no problem with coverage of the draft, analysis of the draft or even fascination with the draft – AFTER it happens.

But the buildup is out of control.

I have covered NFL drafts since the early 1980s, or before Todd McShay was in grade school. And believe it or not, they once existed without months of mock picks, round-by-round rankings, televised workouts or Jon Gruden. They used to take place, minus cameras, in a single day – not stretched over a ridiculous two nights and a Saturday. And guess what? The results were EXACTLY THE SAME! Teams drafted new players.

And hoped for the best.

Whoever deemed that this can’t be done without Mel Kiper Jr. has been snookering the public for a long time. Maybe it was Mel Kiper. But it’s out of control. Someone needs to say something. And at the risk of Internet scorn, I’ll say it.


Take your lives back.

It’s pointless to guess

Do you realize how many Johnny Manziel dissections have taken place, or Jadeveon Clowney projections, or reports on what Houston may do, who Dallas might trade up for, if Ndamukong Suh might be moved, whether this guy is a “sleeper,” an “impact player” or a “project” – AND NOTHING HAS HAPPENED!

Kiper posted his first mock draft two weeks before the Super Bowl! When did this become necessary? I understand obsession with a game, a controversial foul, even a trade.

But guessing the draft? It’s nothing more than a cottage industry – while remaining completely pointless. Unless you’re No.1, your pick depends on someone else’s. It’s like sitting around guessing at Rubik’s cube rotations. Ooh, I bet he goes with yellow. Really? I bet green.

Why? The answer is always “We’ll have to see.” What’s even crazier is how quickly you forget about these guys once they are actually part of the team. Lions fans, consider names like Ikaika Alama-Francis, Gerald Alexander, Brian Calhoun, Titus Young, Amari Spievey, Jordon Dizon, Derrick Williams – all third round or higher picks in the last six years, none of them even on the roster anymore.

And when you consider names like Mike Williams or Charles Rogers – first-rounders who crapped out early – wouldn’t you like to have the time back you spent debating them?

Selling out in advance

And once more, angry e-mailers, if you are gathering for a draft party tonight, great idea, if you have a crayon chart with your own predictions, cool. I have no problem enjoying the event itself.

But if you’ve been wrapped up in this since January, you’re being played by an industry that knows it can’t miss by sounding important, very analytical and very on-top of critical NFL developments, while never being proven wrong – BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENS.

Except they sell you stuff.

Remember, every NFL Network special, every ESPN predraft segment, much of the Internet “insider” material – all comes with ads. That’s largely why they exist. There is an insatiable appetite for NFL draft stuff and tons of money to be made. So they churn it out. And churn it out.

But think about it. Don’t you want your time back? I mean, honestly. McShay is up to his sixth mock draft. What does that render the first five? Do you know how many first-round picks McShay predicted correctly last year? Twenty-two percent. Less than one in four!

For that, you gave up talking to your wife?

If you Google “NFL Draft 2014” you get 360 million results. You don’t see this craziness for the baseball draft, the NHL draft or even the NBA draft – where one player makes a much bigger difference. Why? Because the NBA isn’t as good at marketing.

Enough. No offense, but when you’re projecting where a weakside linebacker from Fresno State will go in the fourth round, you’re a little too into it. Trust me. Many guys who actually draft for these NFL teams roll their eyes at how fans over-analyze this stuff.

I know it may fall on largely deaf ears. And I don’t mean to be insulting in any way. But, hey, if there’s a few folks that step back and say, “It’s true, I can be just as pure a fan by watching the draft as I can be talking about it for seven weeks before it happens,” then perhaps I have performed a public service.

One at least as important as Mock Draft 7.0.

Contact Mitch Albom: Follow him on Twitter @mitchalbom.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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