May 01, 2011
OK. I admit it.
I got suckered into watching part of the NFL draft on ESPN this week.
Despite having to put up with the ego of Mel Kiper and the obnoxiousness of Chris Berman, curiosity got the best of me.
I didn't watch the whole thing. Once the NHL playoff games came on, I gladly changed the channel. But during the few minutes that I did watch, a couple of things came to mind; things that didn't make sense.
For example, why is it that the first team gets a few minutes in which to make its actual selection? After months of research, combines, interviews, background checks, video reviews and comparisons, doesn't the team with the No. 1 pick — in this case the Carolina Panthers — already know who it's going to pick when it arrives at the draft? It's not as if some other team could jump in front of the Panthers and pluck Cam Newton away from the Panthers. Panthers' officials arrived at Radio City with the intention of picking Newton. Why the extra five minutes?
Likewise, it's unlikely that the second-pick Broncos were going to pick Newton so they must have had already decided on Von Miller. So why were viewers subjected to an additional five minutes of Berman, Chris Mortenson and Jon Gruden who did nothing more than repeat what they had been saying for the previous eight days?
And here is another gripe. What's the sense of announcing the pick when ESPN cameras are already focused on the player whose name is going to be called? Doesn't that kind of take the suspense out of it? Obviously, ESPN doesn't care about that. One of the ESPN talking heads was intrusive enough to announce the incoming area code as one draftee's cell phone was ringing. If ESPN needs to have its nose in everything, why not just make the announcement to ESPN and let the anchors make the announcement for us. I liked the draft when you didn't know who was going to be picked until the official announcement was made.
Lastly, why do some players subject themselves for possible embarrassment by even showing up at the draft? ESPN wants a would-be early pick to get stuck waiting and waiting for his name to be called. Do you think ESPN had any sympathy for Jimmy Clausen, who hung around for hours waiting for his name to be called in the 2010 draft? There were a handful of quarterbacks in this year's draft, including Missouri's Blaine Gabbert. You can bet there were some flunkies within the ESPN umbrella who were hoping Gabbert, Newton, Jake Locker or some other talked-about quarterback would be this year's Jimmy Clausen.
ESPN's dream came true, not as one of the aforementioned quarterbacks but in the form of Arkansas' Ryan Mallett. Mallett wasn't as highly touted but coming out of the draft as the 74th overall pick was good enough for the egotistical all-sports cable network.