The NFL draft commences in a week, which means we’ve been talking about it for, oh, six months now. So long that Tim Tebow has gone from an all-time winner to a guy who couldn’t play a lick, to being solidly ensconced in the second round. We’ve been anticipating the NFL draft for so long, he’s had a mini career arc.
And still, a week to go. How will they fill the airwaves? What is there left to talk about? How could there possibly be one more tweak in the mock draft? (Thank goodness for the Brandon Marshall trade.)
This is what cracks me up. We talk, and we talk, and we talk. Despite, as the great William Goldman (hey, the man wrote “The Princess Bride”) would say: Nobody Knows Anything.
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Goldman meant it in Hollywood terms. You can have the greatest pitch, the greatest script, the best director and all the stars. But you never know until it happens which movie will be a great one, and which will be the cinematic version of Ryan Leaf.
In the end, nobody knows. In the end – in movies, and with future football stars – there’s an element of magic to it. Maybe that’s why we love talking about it so much. Maybe that’s why we yak about the possibilities for six months.
This reminds me of Tom Brady. No, not that a sixth-round pick became one of the great quarterbacks of all time. One step further than that, even. Remember the iconic image of Brady at the combine in his underwear?
My first thought every time I see it is this: Didn’t Michigan have a weight room?
Now, we’ve all heard the stories of Brady’s legendary work ethic and determination. How he told Robert Kraft that picking him would be the best move the Patriots had ever made.
But whenever I see that footage, there’s no way I can believe that was a guy who was even training for the NFL draft. I mean, didn’t Michigan have a weight room? In my crackpot theory he got an invitation to the combine (remember, he’d been jerked around at Michigan in favor of a guy who was supposed to be an actual NFL prospect). And he said, “Sure. Why not. What the heck?” Then he got picked, Drew Bledsoe got hurt, and the rest was history.
Sure it’s crazy. But again, look at that footage. Was that a guy who was working out in anticipation of a pro career?
And yet …
The guy became an all-time great. Nobody knows anything. None of us do.
Here is the thing – and the talking heads and “insiders” all know this: When you are in the media, people only tell you what they want you to hear. No, scratch that.
People only tell you what they want you to repeat.
Why? Because often, we repeat it.
We saw perfect examples in the fallout of the Brandon Marshall trade. Some opinion-makers were telling us Marshall’s version of events. Others favored Josh McDaniels’ side of the story. (Everyone seemed to agree Bill Parcells is pretty sharp, which is true.)
And so every “source” is setting smoke screens. There are whispers about character problems, in order to throw everyone off the scent. Talk of need at specific positions, which may or may not reflect an upcoming pick. Is anyone telling the truth during draft season? Is anyone telling the truth at any time in the NFL?
But in order to cut through it all, television networks have anointed the position of independent draft expert, the draft scout who works not for any NFL team. But instead, for … us?
Who are these guys? Where did they come from?
And is there a Joe Montana-Steve Young situation going on? (Or is it Paula Abdul-Kara DioGuardi?)
It seems silly to trust the judgment of draft analysts not employed by NFL teams. That is, until you check the success rates of draft analysts that actually are employed by NFL teams. So what the heck – why not?
That said, we may need a basic scout-speak translator, heading into next week. Let’s take a few:
“There could be some character concerns.”
He went to dinner with Deion Sanders.
“There might be some conditioning issues.”
He was one car behind Phil Mickelson in the Krispy Kreme drive-thru.
“I question his decision making.”
He was arrested in the Krispy Kreme drive-thru.
“He’s another Wes Welker.”
He’s a fast receiver who’s white.
Nobody knows anything. But that’s why we love talking about it so much.