Selling the drama

I remember being disappointed when the Jets drafted Vernon Gholston, thinking he was a mere workout wonder, the type of guy that would never pan out. He didn’t. But then I remember being disappointed when they drafted D ‘Brickashaw Ferguson, thinking they were favoring a local guy over the skill-position players they needed. Now he is great, a cornerstone of a very good offensive line.

I don’t remember thinking much of anything when they picked Darrelle Revis, just sort of shrugging or something. Now he is one of the best players in the NFL.

Tonight the Jets will draft some guy, and some people will love it and others will hate it. Analysts in ridiculous suits will bark that he is a great pick or a not-so-great pick, then show 30 seconds’ worth of game footage to justify their stances.

And yeah, maybe some of those guys really put in the time and effort researching and watching footage and figuring out which young athletes seem most likely to become productive professional football players, but no one really knows. Where were the draft gurus on Tom Brady? Kurt Warner?

Of athletes in all the major sports, football players’ success is most dependent on their teammates and their coaches. There are likely running backs with all the skills to to succeed in the NFL who will go undrafted tonight because they had crappy offensive lines or played in systems that didn’t feature their talents. Quarterbacks will be overlooked because they had receivers that couldn’t run routes. Linebackers will be ignored because they played behind tackles that couldn’t prevent opposing linemen from reaching the second level.

It’s all a crapshoot. Teams make a series of educated guesses, then in September we find out if they were good ones. But the bluster around the draft has grown, for me at least, intolerable.

The NFL should be credited for a hype machine that can turn even the announcing of the schedule into prime-time TV, but there’s a breaking point. And a multiple-day American Idol buzzfest scheduled up against actual Major League Baseball games — things that count, real sports — is more than I can bear.

 

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