Wednesday, April 24, 2013

No, A Draft is not a Breeze, at least at the NFL....


Remember when you were in elementary school at recess and it was time to pick sides for kickball?  Well, basically that is what the NFL draft is, except that there are 32 teams vying to pick the very best players, and unlike the schoolyard pick, just getting selected is an honor.  Each year near the end of April, the NFL hosts the draft in New York City, and all the teams have representatives there to select the players that will best fill out their team’s needs as they move into the season.  The best and brightest of the college players are hoping to be picked and begin their career in professional football.  I was lucky enough to be selected as a prize winner last year for the Verizon Draft Dream Sweepstakes and the grand prize was a trip to be part of this event first hand and announce a draft pick for my favorite team (the Redskins). It was an amazing experience and  the NFL and Redskins draft teams were so gracious and easy to work with that I was not even nervous about pronouncing Josh LeRibeus on national TV (well, maybe a little).

video

As it turns out I announced three picks, including Kirk Cousins, which was a surprising pick after the Skins first round pick of Robert Griffin III, and caused a lot of people in the DC area to ask "Who was that girl who announced the Kirk Cousins pick?"

Me with Michael Lombardi, Ken Harvey, And Roger Goodell at 2012 Draft
So what can I tell you about the draft as a spectator and participant? The Draft has 7 rounds, with the star players like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III being snapped up in the first round.  A lot of analysis and observation goes into a team's selection. Who they pick is based not only on the assets a particular player brings but on what the team needs. Is your team needing a leader- you draft a quarterback, the equivalent of a field general in football.  Is your quarterback getting hit or does he need more time to throw a pass- draft some offensive linemen.  Do you need someone with great hands, and the legs of a gazelle- you need a receiver.Besides scouting colleges for stand out players and watching hours of game films from around the country, hopefuls are also observed before the draft at a Scouting Combine - a try-out of sorts where, this year more than 300 prospects ran their paces in front of reps from all the teams in workouts including the 40-yard dash, bench press,broad and vertical jumps and cone drills.

The actual draft is part complicated production and part party.Oddly enough it is a very nerve-wracking
evening for players, but for the fans lucky enough to be there it a chance to be part of the excitement that signals the start of a new NFL season.  Though I did not win a contest this year, I am able to get to the Draft again, and will be leaving for the NYC tomorrow.  I hope to post pix and videos over the three days to share the experience with you all, so stay tuned- it should be a wild ride!!!

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