Why I Love the NFL Draft
The draft has been one of my favorite times of the year from the time I was about 15 years old. It brings renewed hope and optimism that your favorite NFL team will categorically “get better” in a matter of hours/days. When I play Madden, I enjoy doing the “fantasy draft” in picking a team almost more than I like playing the games. In fantasy football, the draft is the best part of the entire season.
To me, one of the best parts about the draft is that so many people can have an opinion, and largely, almost all justified and logical points of view are possible. What makes the draft great isn’t that people are “right” about players, but that so many people are often “wrong” about what teams will do and where players will get selected. The draft is probably the biggest “unknown” when it comes to predictability in the NFL, and it’s what really makes it special to me.
Fondest Draft Memories
For me, personally, my favorite draft memories were during my college years. In those years (circa the mid-2000s), the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounds of the draft still took place on a single day. The first three rounds were on Saturday, and the final four rounds took place on Sunday.
The marathon Saturday of partying and enjoying the company of good friends for three full rounds of draft coverage never got old to me, and as much as I was excited to see the Bills add three (usually) players, I was still heavily interested in the entirety of the selections throughout the day.
I loved how GMs didn’t get overnight to think about which players fell out of round 1. Immediately rolling into rounds 2 and 3 made me feel like GMs had to be even more on top of their games.
During those mid-2000s years, my favorite memory came during the 2007 draft. I vividly remember how badly I wanted the Bills to select Patrick Willis. I remember repeatedly watching this one clip of Willis totally dismantling a LSU running back Justin Vincent (link below).
When the 49ers selected Willis one pick before the Bills (11th overall), I remember thinking my entire day would be ruined. The Bills consolation prize was Marshawn Lynch with the 12th overall pick. The Bills had traded former first-rounder Willis McGahee before the draft, so Lynch seemed like a perfect fit to take over lead duties as a rookie heading into the 2007 season.
The Bills later traded up the 2nd round to draft one of my favorite players in the draft that year…linebacker Paul Posluszny. At the time, the Bills 3rd round pick of Trent Edwards had me excited, but we don’t need to get into that now. I felt that the Bills really nailed day one of the draft that year (day two, not so much).
My Draft Related Traditions
Times have changed a bit since the two-day marathon, as the NFL now spreads the love across three days during primetime for its prized offseason event. I still have a few pre-draft and draft day rituals that I do every year. Here are the main “tasks” I must complete every year before or on draft day.
First – Watch the movie “Draft Day.” Ok, so what if it’s totally unrealistic? I still find it entertaining and appreciate the production quality. Russ Brandon even makes an appearance! I like how the movie blends fictional and real-life people and players.
Second – Watch the “Jets Draft Blunders” video. I still laugh every time. If you haven’t seen it, here is a link for your viewing pleasure.
Third – In recent years. The draft preparation process in creating big boards, recording podcast episodes with @JudgeMathes, and interacting with #BillsMafia on Twitter has been very rewarding.
Fourth – Just under 10 years ago, I created a draft props game for myself and all of my friends who really enjoyed watching the first round. The game has expanded over the years, and we are now looking for record participation levels in 2020!
Last but not least – Watching the draft with my best friends…one of which is a Broncos fans, and the other, a Jets fan. We might have to watch together virtually this year!
I would love to hear from the readers about your draft day rituals. Please comment below or respond on Twitter with some of your favorite draft related pastimes!