Thirty-two reasons you need to watch the NFL draft

Shutdown Corner

1) See Roger Goodell get booed. He will, and absolutely should, be booed like he's Michael Irvin standing on top of the Liberty Bell urinating on the Rocky DVD box set. Of course, it will be completely pointless, because as long as you're attending or watching the draft, you're doing exactly what Roger Goodell wants you to do.

2) Will any player do anything weird in defiance of the commissioner, league, or lockout? I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I hope Cam Newton takes his new hat from the commissioner and yells in his face, "Thanks, DEVIL."

3) Speaking of Cam Newton, he's a fascinating prospect. Physically, he's prototypical and then some. Mentally, there are questions. Add this to the importance of quarterbacks in today's game and the number of teams with a need at the position, and he's a fascinating guy to watch.

4) The NHL is taking the night off. There's still a lot of hockey left to be played. Be honest. You could use a little break.

5) The first round looks like it's going to be a festival of quarterbacks. This, despite the fact that a lot of these quarterbacks are getting third and fourth-round "grades" from some analysts. I love this heightened emphasis on quarterbacks. And it's even better for teams who already have a good one and can sit back and watch their rivals burn first-round picks on quarterback reaches.

6) These might be the last days to enjoy NFL action before Roger Goodell's nightmare scenario comes to fruition, and the league will be but a barren, desolate landscape of despair, where the dry, crusty earth is roamed only by cockroaches, ribs-exposed deer that haven't eaten in weeks, and human beings willing to engage in the dark practice of cannibalism.

7) On the NFL Network, Chris Berman won't be ruining everything by tipping off picks.

8) Few things in the world are as ridiculous as this enormous media spectacle. The hype and promotion of the draft is flat-out absurd to begin with, but this year it gets even more ridiculous when you consider that the NFL is in the middle of a major labor crisis, has a million more important things to worry about, and is currently antagonizing fans like a lonely message board troll. All that's going on, and we're still doing this. It feels a little like the band continuing to play while the Titanic went down.

9) We'll be liveblogging!

10) Your opinion, though largely uninformed, is pretty much as valid as anyone else's. Guys who have spent their whole lives studying the draft, analysts and front office people alike, still have a pretty low rate of success at predicting NFL-worthiness. You can read a couple of Mel Kiper columns and do just as well as anyone else.

11) It's about the only way you can consume the NFL right now without needing a lawyer to interpret things for you.

12) Someone's inevitable green room slide. Here's how that will go: Everyone will feel terrible for the guy, like they're watching a man take his last walk to an electric chair. Eventually, he will get drafted, and which point he will be praised for his courage and poise in how he "handled things."

13) Is it time to look for replacements for Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? It seems like a slightly premature worry to me, but some young man could end up getting a great mentor and enormous shoes to fill.

14) Robert Quinn didn't play football last year, was banned from college football for life, had a tumor in his head, and will probably go in the top 10. That's a pretty good story.

15) This year, there will be none of that "we have the guy signed before we draft him" nonsense. It seems like everyone thinks Cam Newton is going first overall, but no one could swear to it. Some uncertainty at the top is nice.

16) Maybe your team will draft Patrick Peterson instead of a quarterback they'll later regret, and that will make you happy forever.

17) You're going to want to record "The Office" anyway. It's a TV event. Let it have a semi-permanent space on your DVR, watch the draft as it happens, then watch "The Office" later.

18) The draft is pretty much tailor-made for following along on Twitter.

19) Matt Millen might say something about Detroit's draft pick, giving you a perfectly legitimate reason to hurl a railroad spike at your television.

20) If you were so inclined, you could pull off a "Huge, Ridiculous Media Spectacle" doubleheader by watching the entire first round, and then staying up for this Royal Wedding nonsense.

21) Players' moms are going to be happy. It's nice to see moms happy.

22) If you want, you can feel superior when everyone's draft predictions go completely awry, which, of course, they will.  Don't let the fact that no one on earth could accurately predict this nonsense deter you.

23) NFL Draft Prop Bets. Bet on whether or not Mr. Irrelevant will be an offensive or defensive player. Bet on Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert going first. Bet on the number of SEC players taken in the first round.

24) Wildly unhelpful highlights. This might be my favorite thing about the draft. A defensive end gets drafted, and then ESPN shows a highlight of the guy running directly to the quarterback, unblocked, and destroying the guy. Or they show a running back going through a huge hole, where no elusiveness, power or vision is necessary at all. Because that's what makes these guys good prospects — how they perform when no one is even attempting to stop them. That happens so often in the NFL.

25) It'll be nice to see the ex-players in Round 2. Barry Sanders, Willie Roaf, Natrone Means, and the great Charles Haley. Hopefully, one of these gentlemen has it in them to do something colorful, crazy or controversial. The smart money is on Haley.

26) It will probably be this week's best draft, unless you happen to love John Cena.

27) The draft comes before free agency this year, so if your team doesn't address a need, you can cling to some hope that they'll eventually get to sign someone competent.

28) I'm expecting Thursday night to kick off a new Bengals era. With their first pick, it seems pretty likely that they'll draft either Carson Palmer's replacement or Chad Ochocinco's replacement.

29) The Raiders don't have a first-round pick, so that somewhat limits what kind of craziness they can pull. You never know, though. Maybe they'll trade into the first round and try to take a guy who was taken four picks ago. Or maybe they'll sit pat in the second round and draft a dead guy or something.

30) Can we unite the Pouncey brothers in Pittsburgh? And if it happens, how will Chris Berman tip it off? Will he go with a pun on "pounce"? Or will it be something brotherly? Can he squeeze both into one sentence?

31) Maybe the biggest favor the draft does for us is that it ends draft speculation, 95 percent of which appears to be completely made-up.

32) It could be a uniting experience for the world's gingers. Gather, people with fiery manes, and rally behind Andy Dalton as he battles against oppression.

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