The Great Paradox of the NFL Draft

Mitch

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Paradox: an apparent contradiction that reveals a curious truth.[/B][/B]

The paradoxical nature of this year's NFL Draft:

1. Mock Drafts.

They can be fun...but they are a colossal waste of time because there is no way of predicting what players will be available at each pick.

Why then do we do them?

The curious truth is---what else are avid football fans going to do while they wait for the draft? Take up finger-painting and bocce?

2. Rating and Evaluating Players.

If you have a great college running back and a great college cornerback, how do you rate one over the other?

It's totally subjective at that point, isn't it?

The curious truth is---if avid fans didn't read draft guides, scouting reports and view hours of YouTube videos---how many players would they even recognize on the day of the draft?

Be honest---how many of you knew of QB Jimmy Garoppolo (let alone know how to spell his name) prior to the East West Shrine game this past January?

Be honest again---how many of these players did you know two years ago to the point where if you did a Rip Van Winkle and woke up the day after the 2013 NFL Draft to learn that the Cardinals with the #7 pick in the first round drafted G Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina---would you have even vaguely known him? Or, better still, would have been able to jump for joy in his selection?

3. Post-Draft Grades.

What a joke, right? How can anyone possibly prognosticate not only whether the player taken in x round was the best choice, or that the player will turn out to be as good as he is projected to be?

The curious truth is---the leap from college football to the NFL is a prodigious one---and it takes a ton of good coaching and organizational support (training, team chemistry, playing opportunities) for players to make it in the NFL. And then, a whole lot of luck for a player to be able to stand up physically and mentally to challenges and pressures of the job. In other words, in every case, it is somewhat of a crap shoot.

Does it really matter if Mel Kiper likes the Cardinals' draft this year? He thinks QB should be the team's top priority, despite the fact that Bruce Arians and Steve Keim have insisted that they believe Carson Palmer will be the starting QB for the next 2-3 years.

4. Smokescreens.

Does anyone think NFL teams watch hours and hours of pre-draft interviews with other teams' GMs and head coaches? What a hoot!

Bruce Arians, in his all-revealing (lol) Pre-Draft presser said it best and in a wonderfully jocund and paradoxical manner: "The best smokescreen this time of year is telling the truth."

The curious truth is---no team is stupid enough to show their draft boards to the other teams (er---other than the Cowboys, of course!).

5. The Draft is like Christmas.

Sure---each pick is like a present of sorts---some come in large packages, some in small, all beautifully gift-wrapped and tied in bows---and the unwrapping comes in that flash moment when the Commissioner or NFL rep at the podium leans toward the microphone and says, "With the 84th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Arizona Cardinals select........"

The curious truth for the Cardinals every year it seems---ESPN will be on a commercial break when the Cardinals pick is headed to the podium.

Or---as on day three---you will have to wait for the flashing "Player Selected" info at the bottom of the screen, which is actually quite dramatic.

Now, back to the theme of Christmas, you know that brand new red firetruck you wanted???? Well, sometimes you have to deal with getting a red Duncan Imperial Yo-Yo instead---and the curious truth is---you quickly realize that learning how to "Walk The Dog" or go "Around the World" is a pretty cool thing anyway.

6. The Military Connections.

The term "draft" itself has all sorts of military implications---as the "General" managers of teams from across the USA are huddling in their "bunkers" getting ready to unveil their latest strategical ploys, as they prepare their new "squads" for this year's "battles."

Yes, football games are fierce and dangerous and hard-fought---but---

Then we get the annual parading of the military at the NFL Draft---just as we get a high-speed chevron of Air Force jets zooming at mach force over the stadiums prior during the pre-game pomp---just as every player wears an American flag on his "helmet"---as "units" prepare to engage in the weekly "combat."

The curious truth is---football is a kid's game, played professionally by grown men, many of whom are being paid millions of dollars---it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with real-life warfare...

And yet the NFL has become a venue for military propaganda, which for some awful reason the military seems to embrace (perhaps because they don't get much overt recognition otherwise?). And when one thinks of military propaganda---if you are a Cardinal fan especially---one cannot help but think of a young soldier who wanted and insisted upon no special attention or recognition for doing what he felt was his duty to his country, and thus to be treated the same as any other soldier who enlists---and yet what the military did to propagandize not only this young man's service, but go on to propagandize his tragic, dusty death at the expense of cover-ups and blatant lies---was unconscionable.

The closest real-life connection of the NFL to the United States military in our day and age was Pat Tillman, only because he just so happened to be an NFL player who shunned the limelight and lucrative salaries and luxurious lifestyles of the NFL to go engage in a real-life battle in the dusty, sweltering hot mountains of Afghanistan, retiring at night to a cot in a tent, and eating cans of dehydrated beans for dinner while wondering if he and his brothers would live to see another day.

7. The Big Cheese in The Big Apple: Roger Goodell.

The truth is this guy, as NFL Commissioner, makes $43,000,000 a year---and the fat-cat NFL owners love the guy because he caters to them.

Meanwhile, there are hundreds of good, hard-working NFL veterans who, as we speak, are out of jobs, because they are victims of a system that does not encourage teams to sign veterans, either because of salary cap limitations or because the system penalizes teams who wish to acquire compensatory draft picks.

Goodell---and by the way, he wants us to call his by his uber-chumly Twitter handle, "The Commish"---thinks the NFL needs to be marketed 365 days of the year---and therefore needs to delay the NFL Draft two weeks later than usual and take up three days (and perhaps 4 days in the future) to televise a meager 7 rounds.

Can one imagine what an agonizing wait it is for the hundreds of draft eligible players to learn whether they are going to be drafted and if so, where? But---it's not really about the players, is it? And is it really about the fans?

The curious truth is Goodell has no interest in actually listening to the fans---and the curious truth is the fans are going to come out in droves no matter what Goodell does.

Last year The Commish was booed at The Draft. Well, one can only imagine what will happen this year.

8. The Great Melsby

"Who the hell is Mel Kiper, anyway?" (Bill Tobin)

Mel Kiper is the epitome of the American Dream, isn't he? For he is a football fan who struck gold as a NFL Draft "expert"---despite the fact that, as Bill Tobin ascertained: "He's never been a player, he's never been a coach, he's never been a scout, he's never been an administrator and all of a sudden he's an expert. He has no more credentials to do what he's doing than my neighbor and my neighbor is a postman."

Well, love him or hate him, Mel Kiper will perform his annual 15 hours of draft analysis on ESPN this week---where once way back when he and Chris Berman covered the draft on sleepy Tuesday afternoons amidst little to no TV audience and fanfare.

The curious truth is---for those of us who are NFL Draftnik's---we feel the same passion and fascination for the draft as he does---and we can feel free to do our own research and form our own opinions, just as he does. In that way, he has been the Draftnik's consummate role model.

"No, Melsby turned out all right at the end, it is what preyed on Melsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his TV monitor..."

9. Draft Sleepers.

Have you ever wondered where the term "draft sleeper" comes from?

It's actually defined as a player who exceeded expectations in college or in workouts, but wouldn't normally be considered a legitimate NFL prospect either because of physical limitations, inexperience or college playing level concerns.

Thus----if by Saturday afternoon you aren't sleeping yourself after 12 hours of draft coverage in three days---every now and then you find that your team has drafted a player you don't know anything about---or---a player you never thought in your wildest dreams would merit a selection above other more highly touted players still on the board.

The curious truth is---the real draft sleepers are the players who go undrafted and still manage to make NFL rosters by eventually beating out drafted players.

The Cardinals under Steve Keim take a very smart approach to the draft. There are so many draft prospects---thousands of them---that it is impossible to grade even a quarter of them. So, what Keim and his scouts do is taper their list down to the top 120 players they like and assign grades to each of them. Their draft board is set accordingly.

The other very smart thing Steve Keim has been doing is contacting "sleeper" type players whom Keim think probably won't be drafted in order to tell them that the Cardinals will want to sign them as soon as Mr. Irrelevant becomes relevant.

I know many fans scoff at such signings and term them as "camp bodies" or "camp fodder." But, to me and others, it's fascinating to wonder which of these players is that hidden gem---that rare find---that unexpected outlier.

10. The Draftees Not Taken

"I shall be telling this with a sigh..."

For those of us who have our favorites in the draft---the draft is so bittersweet, especially when you watch those players whom you have grown attached to don the colors of another team.

One term and way of thinking in the draft that irks me is the notion of "good value."

The curious truth is---when a team has to wait 32 plus picks for its next selection---if you really like a player, but he's projected to go early in the next round---so what? Take him anyway, because you'll never have the chance to draft him again...just as you never have the chance to take The Road Not Taken.

As envious as many of us will feel when teams with multiple picks are taking one great prospect after another---at the end of the three days---all that matters is the nest of new Cardinals who will be hatched this week....and the hope of the new season will look brighter than ever, as, quite paradoxically, it always does.

My Favorite Players in the 2014 NFL Draft Mock (Within Projected Rounds):

1. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio St.
2. Joel Bitonio, T, Nevada
3. Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
4. Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida St.
5. Keith Wenning, QB, Ball St.
6. John Brown, WR, Pittsburg St.

That's my mock---and I'm sticking to it!

Er---at least until----
 
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GuernseyCard

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In 2012 the Commish received $44.2m in total compensation. $9m was a one time deferred pension payment. So, his actual package is about $35m per through to 2019. Selig is about $26m.
 
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Mitch

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My Favorite Players in The 2014 NFL Draft:

QB:

Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois---love that quick release
Keith Wenning, Ball St.---gutsy and accurate

RB:

Dri Archer, Kent St.---blazing fast and stronger than you think
Davonte Freeman, Florida St.---Juke Jr.

TE:

C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa---tenacious
Crockett Gilmore, Colorado St.---quick separator with good hands

WR:

Brandin Cooks, Oregon St.---fast and smooth, a rare combination
Donte Moncrief, Mississippi---total package of size, speed and hands

T:

Zach Martin, Notre Dame---love his approach and toughness
Joel Bitonio, Nevada---same

G:

Gabe Jackson, Mississippi---compares to Larry Warford, big and powerful
Chris Watt, Notre Dame---like Zach Martin, tough and determined

C:

Weston Richburg---best feet and balance of any o-linmen I studied
Corey Linsley, Ohio St.---super smart, a winner

DE:

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh---super quick and surprisingly strong
Scott Crichton, Oregon St.---non-stop, tenacious defender

DT:

Dominque Easley, Florida---when healthy he's a dandy
Anthony Johnson, LSU---The Freak is aptly nicknamed, has a wow factor

ILB:

C.J. Mosley, Alabama---complete package and leader
Shayne Skov, Stanford---love the way he attacks

OLB:

Ryan Shazier, Ohio St.---love the speed, cover and tackling ability
Dee Ford, Auburn---talks the talk and walks the walks, shows up big-time

CB:

Justin Verrett, TCU---best CB in draft, imo, great feet and playmaking ability
Ross Cockrell, Duke---great at baiting the WR and QB

S:

Deone Bucannon, Washington St.---size/speed make him, imo, best fit for Cardinals
Jimmy Ward, Northern Illinois---smooth and sudden
Lamarcus Joyner, Florida St.---Badger Jr.
 
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Mitch

Mitch

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In 2012 the Commish received $44.2m in total compensation. $9m was a one time deferred pension payment. So, his actual package is about $35m per through to 2019. Selig is about $26m.

And the rich get richer...
 

WildBB

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Here's my favs that would be on Cards radar:

QB:

1- Mettenberger
2- Murray

RB:

1- Carey
2- Sankey
3- Grice

WR:

1-Cooks
2- Lee
3- Beckham Jr.

Slot:

1- Herron
2- Ellington
3- Huff

TE:

1- Amaro
2- ASJ
3- Fiedorowicz

OT:

1- Martin
2- Turner

IL:

1- Bitonio
2- Dozier

3/4 DE:

1- Tuitt
2- Easley

3/4 OLB:

1- Ford
2- Critchton
3- Lawrence

ILB:

1- Shazier
2- Skov
3- Bullough

CB:

1- Dennard
2- Fuller
3- Verrette

S:

1- Pryor
2- Bucannon
3- Ward

Ace:

1- Archer - RB/WR/KR
2- Thomas - RB/WR/KR
3- Reece - WR/KR
 

Buckybird

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So true Mitch, so true!

Funny thing is that Polian wanted to hire Kiper as part of his scout team...I saw this on NFL films caught in the draft 1984.

Thanks again for all your analysis throughout this draft on these players, the Cards, etc.
 

Catfish

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Hey Mitch-----what a wonderful post for the Sunday prior to the draft. You have posted good thoughts and sound conclusions. Like others on this board, I wish to thank you for posting and discussing such a wealth of information and thought provoking material during this (drought) in actual football activity. We would all have been much less occupied and involved were it not for your contributions. You provide a cherished service to all on this board, and have inspired great discussion and thought in an otherwise (vacant) time of interest. You are much appreciated.
 
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Mitch

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Here's my favs that would be on Cards radar:

QB:

1- Mettenberger
2- Murray

RB:

1- Carey
2- Sankey
3- Grice

WR:

1-Cooks
2- Lee
3- Beckham Jr.

Slot:

1- Herron
2- Ellington
3- Huff

TE:

1- Amaro
2- ASJ
3- Fiedorowicz

OT:

1- Martin
2- Turner

IL:

1- Bitonio
2- Dozier

3/4 DE:

1- Tuitt
2- Easley

3/4 OLB:

1- Ford
2- Critchton
3- Lawrence

ILB:

1- Shazier
2- Skov
3- Bullough

CB:

1- Dennard
2- Fuller
3- Verrette

S:

1- Pryor
2- Bucannon
3- Ward

Ace:

1- Archer - RB/WR/KR
2- Thomas - RB/WR/KR
3- Reece - WR/KR

Great post---superb choices.
 
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Mitch

Mitch

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Hey Mitch-----what a wonderful post for the Sunday prior to the draft. You have posted good thoughts and sound conclusions. Like others on this board, I wish to thank you for posting and discussing such a wealth of information and thought provoking material during this (drought) in actual football activity. We would all have been much less occupied and involved were it not for your contributions. You provide a cherished service to all on this board, and have inspired great discussion and thought in an otherwise (vacant) time of interest. You are much appreciated.

Thanks Catfish! I tried to keep my head in the game through this exceptionally long hiatus. We will celebrate these newly hatched Cardinals as a team!
 

Osbern61

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Great post, Mitch.
Is there any sporting event that gets this much speculation and talk over such a sustained amount of time?
 

Cardiac

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I'm sure I read that Goodell salary is around 4 mil a year and he received a huge bonus from the owners because of the huge increase in revenue which the owners give credit to Goodell for helping create.

Easter fell late this year and Radio City was booked until this week.

Sure we all hate the kickoffs being moved up but Goodell is simply trying to keep the NFL from getting sued into bankruptcy.

I'm fine with the new draft format even though I had really enjoyed my two days of football gluttony with the previous format. Thing is the revenue boost from getting prime time huge ratings vs Saturday and Sunday afternoons is impossible to ignore. Actually it would criminal to turn ones nose up at that kind of revenue.

Not so sure about your complaint about the Vets loosing out on work. Doesn't this mean someone else (younger) now has a job? Should the players union tried to increase the roster size from 53 to ... 60?

Great overall write up Mitch.
 

Duckjake

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The Great Melsby

"Who the hell is Mel Kiper, anyway?" (Bill Tobin)

Before he became a draft guru Kiper was a weatherman. :p
 

Garthshort

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Mitch, great job as usual. Two things:
1. Who the hell is VINCE Tobin?
2. Even if all our picks are considered great picks by the media, our grade will be lowered because we didn't draft a QB. And we'll be reminded that CP isn't getting any younger. And naturally when NE or Denver don't draft a QB, you will never hear the same argument. JMO.
 

Totally_Red

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Mitch, great job as usual. Two things:
1. Who the hell is VINCE Tobin?
2. Even if all our picks are considered great picks by the media, our grade will be lowered because we didn't draft a QB. And we'll be reminded that CP isn't getting any younger. And naturally when NE or Denver don't draft a QB, you will never hear the same argument. JMO.


That's okay. But Denny Green was a genius when he drafted Matt Leinart.
 

john h

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Paradox: an apparent contradiction that reveals a curious truth.[/B][/B]

The paradoxical nature of this year's NFL Draft:

1. Mock Drafts.

They can be fun...but they are a colossal waste of time because there is no way of predicting what players will be available at each pick.

Why then do we do them?

The curious truth is---what else are avid football fans going to do while they wait for the draft? Take up finger-painting and bocce?

2. Rating and Evaluating Players.

If you have a great college running back and a great college cornerback, how do you rate one over the other?

It's totally subjective at that point, isn't it?

The curious truth is---if avid fans didn't read draft guides, scouting reports and view hours of YouTube videos---how many players would they even recognize on the day of the draft?

Be honest---how many of you knew of QB Jimmy Garoppolo (let alone know how to spell his name) prior to the East West Shrine game this past January?

Be honest again---how many of these players did you know two years ago to the point where if you did a Rip Van Winkle and woke up the day after the 2013 NFL Draft to learn that the Cardinals with the #7 pick in the first round drafted G Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina---would you have even vaguely known him? Or, better still, would have been able to jump for joy in his selection?

3. Post-Draft Grades.

What a joke, right? How can anyone possibly prognosticate not only whether the player taken in x round was the best choice, or that the player will turn out to be as good as he is projected to be?

The curious truth is---the leap from college football to the NFL is a prodigious one---and it takes a ton of good coaching and organizational support (training, team chemistry, playing opportunities) for players to make it in the NFL. And then, a whole lot of luck for a player to be able to stand up physically and mentally to challenges and pressures of the job. In other words, in every case, it is somewhat of a crap shoot.

Does it really matter if Mel Kiper likes the Cardinals' draft this year? He thinks QB should be the team's top priority, despite the fact that Bruce Arians and Steve Keim have insisted that they believe Carson Palmer will be the starting QB for the next 2-3 years.

4. Smokescreens.

Does anyone think NFL teams watch hours and hours of pre-draft interviews with other teams' GMs and head coaches? What a hoot!

Bruce Arians, in his all-revealing (lol) Pre-Draft presser said it best and in a wonderfully jocund and paradoxical manner: "The best smokescreen this time of year is telling the truth."

The curious truth is---no team is stupid enough to show their draft boards to the other teams (er---other than the Cowboys, of course!).

5. The Draft is like Christmas.

Sure---each pick is like a present of sorts---some come in large packages, some in small, all beautifully gift-wrapped and tied in bows---and the unwrapping comes in that flash moment when the Commissioner or NFL rep at the podium leans toward the microphone and says, "With the 84th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Arizona Cardinals select........"

The curious truth for the Cardinals every year it seems---ESPN will be on a commercial break when the Cardinals pick is headed to the podium.

Or---as on day three---you will have to wait for the flashing "Player Selected" info at the bottom of the screen, which is actually quite dramatic.

Now, back to the theme of Christmas, you know that brand new red firetruck you wanted???? Well, sometimes you have to deal with getting a red Duncan Imperial Yo-Yo instead---and the curious truth is---you quickly realize that learning how to "Walk The Dog" or go "Around the World" is a pretty cool thing anyway.

6. The Military Connections.

The term "draft" itself has all sorts of military implications---as the "General" managers of teams from across the USA are huddling in their "bunkers" getting ready to unveil their latest strategical ploys, as they prepare their new "squads" for this year's "battles."

Yes, football games are fierce and dangerous and hard-fought---but---

Then we get the annual parading of the military at the NFL Draft---just as we get a high-speed chevron of Air Force jets zooming at mach force over the stadiums prior during the pre-game pomp---just as every player wears an American flag on his "helmet"---as "units" prepare to engage in the weekly "combat."

The curious truth is---football is a kid's game, played professionally by grown men, many of whom are being paid millions of dollars---it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with real-life warfare...

And yet the NFL has become a venue for military propaganda, which for some awful reason the military seems to embrace (perhaps because they don't get much overt recognition otherwise?). And when one thinks of military propaganda---if you are a Cardinal fan especially---one cannot help but think of a young soldier who wanted and insisted upon no special attention or recognition for doing what he felt was his duty to his country, and thus to be treated the same as any other soldier who enlists---and yet what the military did to propagandize not only this young man's service, but go on to propagandize his tragic, dusty death at the expense of cover-ups and blatant lies---was unconscionable.

The closest real-life connection of the NFL to the United States military in our day and age was Pat Tillman, only because he just so happened to be an NFL player who shunned the limelight and lucrative salaries and luxurious lifestyles of the NFL to go engage in a real-life battle in the dusty, sweltering hot mountains of Afghanistan, retiring at night to a cot in a tent, and eating cans of dehydrated beans for dinner while wondering if he and his brothers would live to see another day.

7. The Big Cheese in The Big Apple: Roger Goodell.

The truth is this guy, as NFL Commissioner, makes $43,000,000 a year---and the fat-cat NFL owners love the guy because he caters to them.

Meanwhile, there are hundreds of good, hard-working NFL veterans who, as we speak, are out of jobs, because they are victims of a system that does not encourage teams to sign veterans, either because of salary cap limitations or because the system penalizes teams who wish to acquire compensatory draft picks.

Goodell---and by the way, he wants us to call his by his uber-chumly Twitter handle, "The Commish"---thinks the NFL needs to be marketed 365 days of the year---and therefore needs to delay the NFL Draft two weeks later than usual and take up three days (and perhaps 4 days in the future) to televise a meager 7 rounds.

Can one imagine what an agonizing wait it is for the hundreds of draft eligible players to learn whether they are going to be drafted and if so, where? But---it's not really about the players, is it? And is it really about the fans?

The curious truth is Goodell has no interest in actually listening to the fans---and the curious truth is the fans are going to come out in droves no matter what Goodell does.

Last year The Commish was booed at The Draft. Well, one can only imagine what will happen this year.

8. The Great Melsby

"Who the hell is Mel Kiper, anyway?" (Bill Tobin)

Mel Kiper is the epitome of the American Dream, isn't he? For he is a football fan who struck gold as a NFL Draft "expert"---despite the fact that, as Bill Tobin ascertained: "He's never been a player, he's never been a coach, he's never been a scout, he's never been an administrator and all of a sudden he's an expert. He has no more credentials to do what he's doing than my neighbor and my neighbor is a postman."

Well, love him or hate him, Mel Kiper will perform his annual 15 hours of draft analysis on ESPN this week---where once way back when he and Chris Berman covered the draft on sleepy Tuesday afternoons amidst little to no TV audience and fanfare.

The curious truth is---for those of us who are NFL Draftnik's---we feel the same passion and fascination for the draft as he does---and we can feel free to do our own research and form our own opinions, just as he does. In that way, he has been the Draftnik's consummate role model.

"No, Melsby turned out all right at the end, it is what preyed on Melsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his TV monitor..."

9. Draft Sleepers.

Have you ever wondered where the term "draft sleeper" comes from?

It's actually defined as a player who exceeded expectations in college or in workouts, but wouldn't normally be considered a legitimate NFL prospect either because of physical limitations, inexperience or college playing level concerns.

Thus----if by Saturday afternoon you aren't sleeping yourself after 12 hours of draft coverage in three days---every now and then you find that your team has drafted a player you don't know anything about---or---a player you never thought in your wildest dreams would merit a selection above other more highly touted players still on the board.

The curious truth is---the real draft sleepers are the players who go undrafted and still manage to make NFL rosters by eventually beating out drafted players.

The Cardinals under Steve Keim take a very smart approach to the draft. There are so many draft prospects---thousands of them---that it is impossible to grade even a quarter of them. So, what Keim and his scouts do is taper their list down to the top 120 players they like and assign grades to each of them. Their draft board is set accordingly.

The other very smart thing Steve Keim has been doing is contacting "sleeper" type players whom Keim think probably won't be drafted in order to tell them that the Cardinals will want to sign them as soon as Mr. Irrelevant becomes relevant.

I know many fans scoff at such signings and term them as "camp bodies" or "camp fodder." But, to me and others, it's fascinating to wonder which of these players is that hidden gem---that rare find---that unexpected outlier.

10. The Draftees Not Taken

"I shall be telling this with a sigh..."

For those of us who have our favorites in the draft---the draft is so bittersweet, especially when you watch those players whom you have grown attached to don the colors of another team.

One term and way of thinking in the draft that irks me is the notion of "good value."

The curious truth is---when a team has to wait 32 plus picks for its next selection---if you really like a player, but he's projected to go early in the next round---so what? Take him anyway, because you'll never have the chance to draft him again...just as you never have the chance to take The Road Not Taken.

As envious as many of us will feel when teams with multiple picks are taking one great prospect after another---at the end of the three days---all that matters is the nest of new Cardinals who will be hatched this week....and the hope of the new season will look brighter than ever, as, quite paradoxically, it always does.

My Favorite Players in the 2014 NFL Draft Mock (Within Projected Rounds):

1. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio St.
2. Joel Bitonio, T, Nevada
3. Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
4. Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida St.
5. Keith Wenning, QB, Ball St.
6. John Brown, WR, Pittsburg St.

That's my mock---and I'm sticking to it!

Er---at least until----


Every once in a while a player is so dominant in college that you just know he will be an NFL player if not a star. Guys like Bo Jackson or Earl Campbell come to mind. I did not need any press book or coach to tell me this guy was very special. I could see it with my own eyes. Very few of these sort come along but they do every decade or so.
 
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