The unofficial start of the next football season begins today when the NFL holds it's annual draft of amateur players. I go back a long way with the NFL draft. The NFL did not always hold the draft on a Saturday; it used to be during the week. I can remember faking illness so that I could stay home from school in grammar school in order to watch the draft when ESPN first started carrying it. I always thought the draft was a neat intersection between College Football, which I love, and the NFL, which I love equally. I always went into the draft thinking two thoughts: 1.) Who will the Eagles pick? 2.) Where will the Penn State players go?. I still do the same thing today.
Now the draft is a much bigger deal with a boatload of media coverage, draft publications, and of course, the dreaded group of self-appointed draft experts. The NFL draft is like your favorite dive bar that all of a sudden, remodelled and became so popular that you barely like to go there anymore. Of all of the changes that have swirled around the NFL draft, the proliferation of the "draft expert" is the thing that makes me roll my eyes the most. Mel Kiper should be hitting his knees every night and thanking God that he is able to make a living as a "draft expert" because I doubt he's qualified to do much else. The fact is, sports drafts are mostly a crap shoot. You can no more predict a 22 year old athlete's future than you could the winning lottery numbers. Folks like Kiper may treat these kids like stocks, but the fact is, there is no way of knowing how well a college kid will develop when he goes into the NFL. Will the money go to his head? Did he get by on pure talent in college, but is really dumb as a stone? Does he not test well, but capable of studying what he needs to know to play football? The fact is, you don't know until you see the player suit up in the NFL. If you could predict this stuff, there would be no such thing as a draft day bust.
Some predictions (Penn Staters included):
-JaMarcus Russell will be the first pick.
-Brady Quinn will end up in Cleveland.
-The Eagles will pick Texas CB Aaron Ross. At the very least, they will pick a DB.
-Paul Poszluzny will go to the New England Patriots (1st Round).
-Tony Hunt will end up in Green Bay (4th Round).
-Levi Brown will end up in Miami (1st Round).
-Tim Shaw will end up an Eagle (5th Round).