Can you feel it? Can you smell it? The 2012 NFL draft is close. Painfully close. So close you want to put yourself in a time machine and fast forward to the Colts officially being on the clock. There’s no doubting that at times the draft feels like Christmas. Who will Buddy Claus and his merry gang of front office elves bring us this year? That is a topic we will tackle in a bit. One of the more pressing conversations that I want to have is how the draft has taken a turn for the worse and if it will ever change. So I present to you five reasons why the NFL draft is not so great.
1. Three Days! Remember when you and your buddies used to get together early on Saturday and set up the grill, pop open a few cold ones and talk about who is going where and what will happen over the course of three rounds? I do, but hardly. And I desperately want it back. The NFL has turned the draft into a bigger event than it needs to be.
The first round is on a Thursday night, so you usually only get to see your team draft once that day, which leaves you begging for more. Then the second round starts on Friday at 5:30 PM Eastern time which hardly allows people on the east coast time to get home from work. Unless you want to take off early to catch the entire thing, you might miss your team when they make their second round pick.
And then Saturday, the day that used to be revered in NFL Draft lore, is reduced to a fourth through seventh round rubble; leaving faint memories of not having to do anything that day except for talk about football. Note to the NFL: We want our two day draft back. We hope you Roger that.
2. Jets, Giants and Eagles Fans: I have a natural guard up when dealing with fans of other teams. From bandwagoners to smack talkers, I encounter plenty of fans from all walks of life. But seeing these fans being placed front and center makes it hard not to make you want to turn your TV off. Seeing them dressed and face painted to the hilt as if it were a playoff game makes the casual observer think that we are either crazy soccer fans or that the Jets, Giants and Eagles are the only teams in the NFL.
3. Guest Announcers: Recently we have started seeing a flux of different announcers for draft picks, like former players and now fans that are getting into the mix. While this is neat to see, it can slow the process down. After the Bills draft, I’m jonesin’ for their next pick. The bad thing is though if they don’t curb the guest announcer business it will make between time painfully longer.
4. Predictability: It seems like for awhile now, we already know who each team is going to pick minutes before the commissioner steps up to the podium. If they aren’t showing the player in the green room they are showing him at his house surrounded by his entire family with his arm raised in celebration. It would be nice to not know and be surprised or painfully shocked when the Bills, or any other team picks. Supposedly the NFL is working on that so hopefully we get a resolution to that problem soon.
5. The End Of The Draft: The NFL has worked tirelessly to make the draft more exciting and viewer friendly, but they still haven’t figured out a way to make rounds five through seven more enjoyable. I tend to turn the TV off after seen hours upon hours of Mel Kiper Jr. talking and seeing the number one pick that year hold up his new jersey for the millionth time. If you’re going to have guest announcers, have them announce the late picks. Then I and everyone else might tune in.
Of course all of this is easy to stomach if the Bills have a good draft. If they could have drafted in 2000 through 2010 like they did in 2011 I think we probably would have made the playoffs a few times. The Bills need to build on this offseason with a solid draft. While we all know the Bills are actually “close,” we still have a lot of holes to fill. So who can be the best fit in Buffalo?
1. Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame: Seems like a “sexy” pick for a lot of Bills fans. However he is one of the more polarizing prospects among fans that I can remember for a long time. Seems like fans either love him or hate him. Floyd has good size, but doesn’t have great speed and this is why I think the Bills stay away from him. I see a lot of parallels in him and Stevie Johnson. They are both physical that will go after the ball instead of waiting for the ball to come to him. I think the Bills go after a speedier guy later.
2. Riley Reiff, OT Iowa: Makes a lot of sense for the Bills. This fills a giant need for Buffalo. You can never have enough depth on your offensive line, and left tackle is the most important position there. He seems gifted enough to be a top ten pick in the NFL, but what has teams worried is his arms which measure out to 33 and 1/4 inches. In NFL terms those are tiny. Still, I can see him in a Bills uniform.
3. Cordy Glenn, OT Georgia: This is a name that has come up frequently the last month or two. He is a 6’5 swingman with 35 and 3/4 inch arms that can play tackle or guard. He makes more sense than Reiff because he can play both those positions and that’s something that Gailey likes in a player. Plus, judging by our past injury reports over the years, having a guy that can play multiple positions is a great thing.
4. Matt Kalil, OT USC: This is incredibly wishful thinking, but rumor has it that Kalil is expected to drop. I don’t see him dropping to us, but I think if he’s there at seven or eight the Bills make that move and trade up. It probably wouldn’t cost them a lot. Switch first rounders and offer Jacksonville or Carolina one of our fourth rounders and yes it is worth it. Kalil has the chance to be the next big LT in the game.
My darkhorse pick in this draft would be Trent Richardson. He could still be there when we pick and don’t put it past Nix to draft him then proceed to either trade him or Fred or CJ. Nix loves BPA’s and Trent Richardson has the potential to be an absolute freak on the next level. Fred Jackson is a great player but if you have the chance to grab the next Adrian Peterson, I think you can trade him. For the record I love Fred Jackson and it would kill me to see him go, but if Richardson gets us to the next level i’m all in for it.
Either way as Bills fans we should be looking forward to Thursday night and hopefully seeing a future pro bowler hold up that Bills jersey. Go Bills!