The First 32

by Ryan

I don’t think my thoughts on C.J. Spiller matter. I’m not going to tell you I watched every Clemson game this season and was praying the Bills draft him. He’s a really talented football player that is going to need a lot of help to win football games Unfortunately, we have no idea what else the Bills are going to do with the NFL Draft because it doesn’t start again until 6pm tonight.

In other words, the NFL is brilliant.

We live in an a society that is very quick to criticize what sports organizations do. Why did the NHL pick Versus? Why did the NCAA try to kill March Madness? Why is Joe Morgan still on Sunday Night Baseball? Television networks and sports leagues and individual teams are easy prey for someone with a sharp tounge, but I really think extending the draft into prime time has worked wonders for the league and the draft itself.

The obvious benefits are the added hype to the event. Suddenly following the combine and mocking all this out seems worthwhile because it isn’t all over in two days. This is a process, one that goes much quicker in actual practice but is stretched out over a longer period of time. That means even more speculation and a whole lot more hype. It’s the perfect scenario for a league that wants to squeeze as much as possible out of every single league activity known to man.

It also makes the idea of the first round much more valuable. The easy example here is Jimmy Clausen, who had the Icarus-like fall to earth last night by not getting drafted in the first round. Or maybe the better example is Mel Kiper Jr., who had to sit under the hot lights on national television and watch his fourth-best player get passed over again and again while former players berated him on camera. That was fun times.

Still, the message is clear: the first round means something. Before it used to be a salary escalator, something agents present to general managers when they negotiate contracts. However the fact of the matter was this: the second round started right away. Now all that has changed; if you don’t get picked in the first round you wait another 24 hours. One day may not matter to some, but that’s another day of talk and speculation and rumors and second-guessing.

In other words, a whole lot more fun to be had. We haven’t taken part in the talk a whole lot here in the Roost, but I have to admit I had more fun watching last night’s first round than I did the last few draft years combined. The first three rounds in prime time is a very good idea, and I was impressed by how much sense it actually made.

So no, I have no idea what’s going to happen tonight, but I do know I’m very interested. When the draft takes over the main television during playoff hockey, that says something. Will that happen tonight?

No way.