Do You Feel A Draft?

As this is being written, it’s 43 degrees and cloudy in Detroit, Michigan.  Not exactly ideal mid-spring conditions, though for a Great Lakes climate not surprising.  But that is ideal football weather.

And for a sports fan base like Detroit, the timing of its hosting this year’s NFL Draft is welcomed.  The Tigers are mediocre, the Red Wings were heartbreakingly denied a post-season berth despite a thrilling last-second goal in their season finale and a subsequent shootout win because the Washington Capitals scored an EMPTY NET tie-breaking goal to defeat the third team involved in the playoff scrum, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pistons, well, they’re at least well situated for yet another top draft pick.

So thank goodness that memories of the Lions’ breakthrough season, one that saw them reach the NFC title game for the first time, and the unveiling of their new uniforms (there’s even a “black and blue” alternate jersey, in homage to the division they conquered, are sharing the spotlight with the entire football world, which is about to converge upon the city for the guaranteed off-season shot in the arm that has created a massive cottage industry of pundits and prognosticators and is assuredly going to be the number one televised sports content this coming weekend.  This morning, Chris Branch and Chris Sprow of THE ATHLETIC’s THE PULSE newsletter pretty much captured the level of mania, hype and drama that is finally about to see denouement in De-twah:

Finally, we have made it to NFL Draft week. On Thursday night, the smokescreens fade. The silliness of draft season exits our view, with actual data in front of us to analyze. It’s a beautiful thing.

And, as they put it, their Scoop City compatriots Dianna Russini and Jacob Robinson gave additional, at times eye-rolling insights:

Jacob: Each new report adds hours to the day. Drake Maye’s pro day went well in one report but poorly in another. Jayden Daniels is a lock for the Commanders on Friday, but Saturday he becomes a Raiders target via a trade up to No. 3. Would I have it any other way? No. Is the speculation maddening? Yes, Chris. Yes it is.

Dianna: Tired? Chris, you don’t know what exhausting truly is until you have two under two! So much has happened since the Super Bowl, yet here we are a few days from the NFL Draft and there are some still questioning if Chicago is REALLY taking Caleb Williams No. 1 overall. The rumors, the chatter, the guessing, the mocking, is all part of the NFL’s brilliance in hyping and keeping fans interested. It’s my favorite time of year, and my phone is constantly at 2 percent battery.

They’re being paid to be immersed in all of this, so you can offer to play the world’s smallest violin for their griping.  But there’s a lot more folks not being paid a nickel who are deeply invested in the results of this soap opera.  Several days earlier, Burke and another ATHLETIC compatriot, Dane Brugler, released a document that to many was even more eagerly anticipated than the Muller Report or the Pentagon Papers, but no less detailed.  Per Brugler:

Finally! It’s here. I’m thrilled to share this year’s draft guide with everyone. I don’t remember who first referred to it as “The Beast,” but I use that moniker as motivation to make sure this annual primer lives up to the nickname — and I don’t think I’ve let you down this year.

Every NFL prospect is a puzzle. And it is a scout’s job to find the puzzle pieces to create as clear a picture of each player as possible. Those puzzle pieces include everything from the player’s physical traits to his mental makeup to the details of his upbringing — and everything in between.

That’s precisely how I attack this draft guide. Over the last 18 months, I’ve collected as many puzzle pieces as I could dig up, through countless hours of tape study and conversations with prospects, scouts and other sources.

With NFL-verified testing information for more than 1,900 prospects and tons of background information and analysis on hundreds of those players, I hope everyone views “The Beast” as the most comprehensive resource guide out there for the 2024 NFL Draft.

You read that right.  1900 profiles for a three-day process where a mere 257 will actually be drafted.  I’ve read only a few, but I know there are many who have poured through the whole damn thing.

But if you don’t have THAT much time, you can easily click on posts like this one from NFL MEDIA’s Chad Reuter or this one from THE SPORTING NEWS’ Vinnie Iyer.  They’ve already played out the entire draft in their niggly, football-obsessed minds for you.

And if you REALLY looking to get something out of the time you put it following these kinds of efforts, well, you can always check out this prognostication from Chet Gresham, where he posts the odds for the Top 10 picks that you’re free to gamble on.  Because, hey, why SHOULDN’T you at least have some chance to be a bigger winner than your favorite team might be?

Sure, there’s a ton more places out there that might offer some differing views and names, let alone odds.  As my bestie always insists, you’re welcome to Google them.  I’m as exhausted as anyone named Chris could be just copying and pasting this.

Besides, where would it be more  apropos for anyone to put one’s money where their mouth is on this week’s activity than on a site called DRAFT KINGS?




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