The NFL Draft has become must-see TV.
It’s a far cry from other major sports, which often see drafts come and go without much fanfare. The NFL is much different, and its draft is particularly exciting and engaging. The buildup is long, and the anticipation creates an event that usually lives up to its top billing. With that in mind, here are five interesting things to take away from the 2012 NFL Draft, which was televised on ESPN:
Roger Goodell is literally a hands-on commissioner.
By now, every NFL fan understands that Roger Goodell is all about player safety. After Round 1 of the NFL Draft, however, it appears that he is taking that on that mission in the most literal way as he embraced every player like he was a proud father. Bear hugs and accompanying whispers-in-the-ear were all part of the extremely awkward display. The best part was when he gave San Diego Chargers’ draftee Melvin Ingram a handshake that makes most MLB players look like amateurs.
Jon Gruden loves everybody.
Jon Gruden is a terrific coach and NFL analyst. According to him, though, every player drafted in the first round is a great pick. After all first round selections were named, there wasn’t a single player that he seemed to have any real reservations about. Granted, they are all highly-coveted, NFL prospects who have great potential. But inevitably, many of these players will have short careers and have to face the reality that everyone can’t be a Hall-of-Famer.
Draft clichés are fun.
A “high motor” means that a player probably didn’t have an impressive showing at the combine or is not very athletic. The term “high football I.Q.” is usually reserved for players who aren’t thought to have a high regular I.Q. Case in point, Dallas Cowboys first round selection Morris Claiborne ‘blew off’ the Wonderlic exam used to measure intelligence of potential draftees and scored a 4 out of a possible 50. But the analysts on ESPN couldn’t say enough about how high his football I.Q. was. This is the language of the NFL Draft, and it can be highly entertaining.
The mock draft as we know it is officially dead.
The first two rounds saw so many trades take place, that it was tough to keep up with the action. Because of this, mock draft participants around the sports world had fits when their boards were blown up and dismantled pick by pick. The new collective bargaining agreement, which has a more equitable system of paying rookies, is to blame for the frequency of draft-day transactions. Now, teams are willing to make more moves to acquire the players they want.
The NFL is by far America’s true pastime.
If anyone needed evidence that the NFL is America’s real pastime, the 2012 NFL Draft should be the indicator. Entire programs across major sports networks are dedicated to analysis of teams and incoming players. Even the event itself now airs during prime time. This type of coverage with actual games months away shows just how popular the league is no matter what else is going on in the other major sports. Both the end of the NBA regular season and the NHL playoffs took a back seat to the NFL this spring.
Michael C. Jones is a Featured Contributor in Sports with over 10 years of experience covering the NFL, NBA, and MLB. He has previously been published in southern California’s Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com. Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets