The NFL Draft is almost upon us. Somehow, the draft has grown into one of the biggest days in American sports. It’s not one of the biggest days for me. It is one of the biggest days for millions (upon millions) of NFL fans. The Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the men’s and women’s basketball Final Fours, the World Series, the Frozen Four – those are exciting. The NFL Draft? No.
The draft is all about speculation. It’s about commentators shouting with great certainty about what a player is going to do when it should be obvious that these commentators are only guessing.
Here’s Mel Kiper talking about former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who was on his way to becoming one of the biggest busts in NFL history:
“Look out,” Kiper told ESPN viewers during the 2007 draft, “because (his) skill level is certainly John Elway like.” Kiper went on to say Russell had a chance in three seasons to become an “elite” NFL quarterback. The Raiders have made many mistakes – countless mistakes – in the last decade. Russell was the biggest one.
Listen, I don’t want to be seen as picking on Mel Kiper. I believed, for instance, that Ryan Leaf would become a great NFL quarterback. Not good. Great. And we all know how that one turned out.
I do want to be seen as warning everyone not to pay too much attention to all the excitement during the NFL Draft. It’s all about speculation, and I’d rather watch a real game.