Another NFL Draft in the Books

Another NFL draft is in the books and another much-awaited event for the football-thirsty has come and gone with the usual misconceptions which occur both before, during, and after the lottery.

Speculation on which players will be taken in the first round begins almost a year ahead of time. Then once we have an idea of which players may be coming out before their class graduates and the order of when the teams will pick take shape and at that point the real guessing game goes into motion.

There are more experts who have a true insight of the pros and cons of every collegian out there to be chosen than those who tout the stock market and have a true insight into which stocks will flourish and which ones will fizzle.

I’ve always been amused at the happenings surrounding the NFL draft. For one, the so-called experts have no idea how teams prepare for the draft, or how extensive and far-reaching they go.

I’ve been amused at how much emphasis is played on first-rounders, as if that’s the real gauge of a team’s achievement in the draft.

The fact is, the best General Managers are measured by how their 5th, 6th,  and even 7th round choices pan out.

One GM was selected by his current club because most of the players he recommended in those final three rounds as a player personnel chief, wound up playing major roles, many even as starters. Not only that, the team was successful, making the playoffs most of the time.

Many of the experts watch highlight video of the contenders, the same ones you see on TV when a player is selected.

Teams in the NFL look at EVERY game a prospect plays throughout his college career. They talk to his coaches, and the coaches he played against. They talk to the trainers and they discuss the candidate with anyone person who might have an insight into the athlete’s ability, work habits, conduct off the field, ability to relate to his teammates and all the rest.

They scout them all, and observe them in practice prior to games,to see who makes the effort and who goes through the motions.

They send many scouts to see the same player. The scouts make up a report on the player and their recommendation. And they have to defend what they saw and feel in front of all the others, including the General Manager in critical meetings before the draft.

All teams prepare a ranking of EVERY player in the draft according to the best player on down. Then comes the draft.

Are teams wrong in their assessment at times? Yes, indeed.  Do they pick players who don’t stick? Of course. Do they waste choices?


But they all go through a process which outsiders cannot fathom.

Now, as to this year’s draft.

The three top quarterback prospects all were chosen by teams who made deals to move up in the draft to choose them.

The Bears vaulted over the 49ers to pick Mitchell Trubisky in the 2d spot. The Chiefs did the same to draft Pat Mahomes at number 10. Then the Texans jumped ahead to 12 to take Deshaun Watson, who led Clemson to the National Championship.

Fans of the Chiefs and Texans applauded their moves because they managed to secure hopefully future franchise quarterbacks and prevent two other teams from doing the same.

The two, the Saints and Cardinals were likely on the brink of drafting Mahomes and Watson because they needed to find ultimate replacements for their two veteran signal-callers Drew Brees and Carson Palmer who are on the downside of their careers.

But supporters of the Bears, and the “experts” bashed their move. Yes, the Bears gave up other draft choices and wound up with only five picks.

But consider this. In the NFL you have no chance if you don’t have a solid quarterback. Not every team has a franchise quarterback. But you cannot have an average player at that position if you hope to win.

The three quarterbacks in the first round may not be Hall of Famers to observers. But they represent the best of this year’s crop. After due diligence the Bears feel Trubisky can get them where they want to go.

The game has become virtually a game of skill players on offense. How many do you have?  Teams have to figure out a way to halt the onslaught of multiple-threats on the attack.

Just check on last year’s Super Bowl.

Teams have to hope their defense can diffuse the many ways an opponent can score. That’s why after a quarterback, the most valuable position is a pass-rushing defensive end. The 49ers, and my good friend John Lynch did well in that regard. But who will run the 49ers offense? How will they score?

I say the Bears did the right thing. They already have veteran Mike Glennon in house, so there’s no need to force-feed Trubisky.

I say the Bears are well-fortified at the most important position on the field.

I’m well aware that time will tell and the ultimate answer won’t be known immediately.

But I say the experts are wrong. Bears fans, understandably frustrated and negative about their draft considering the teams lack of success will be pleasantly surprised, sooner than later.


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