Tomorrow is an exciting day for me. Fall Out Boy is releasing new music (you can read my post about that here), and my daughters will be participating in 'Take your child to work day' at my wife's office, so I will have the house to myself for two whole hours (woot!)
Also the Capitals-Penguins series gets underway (if the Penguins win again, I'm officially done with hockey) and the NFL Draft kicks off with Cleveland on the clock.
I used to be obsessed with the NFL Draft. The first year I remember watching all of it was 1994, though I remember seeing parts of earlier drafts dating back to 1991 and Raghib Ismail's unprecedented decision to sign with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts instead of the NFL (and likely the Dallas Cowboys.)
For the rest of the 1990's I had a ritual of watching the entire draft from beginning to end, with a Pro Football Draft Guide and a notebook in front of me so I could write down every pick and check them against my prognostications. I even had a large glass of water and a team hat (Packers, of course) on the table to make it look like I was part of the 'war room.'
That was until 1999, when I happened to be visiting my girlfriend in Canada during draft weekend. I was so busy with her that I barely managed to see the Saints trade their entire draft for Ricky Williams. That was a huge
deal... and yet it didn't bother me that I missed the completion of the
deal, the analysis, or the rest of the 1st round. I remember saying
"wow" and then turning off the draft to do boyfriend things.
The ritual was dead, and aside from an interesting year or two (the Aaron Rodgers slide!) I didn't follow the NFL draft all that much anymore.
However this year's draft class is intriguing to me, for a few reasons. Jabrill Peppers is a local kid and I'd like to see if he can crack the first round despite questions about a positive drug test and which position(s) he can play in the pros. Are the Jets going to take a quarterback, and if so will they go with Mitchell Trubisky or DeShaun Watson? How will the Browns spend all that draft capital? And will the Packers get the running back they desperately need? (Is it too much to ask for Fournette or McCaffrey to slide to us at #29?) I'll also be keeping an eye on Usain Bolt-clone John Ross and J.J. Watt's "little" brother T.J. Watt.
I've never known an NFL player personally, but I did go to school with an offensive lineman who was signed as an undrafted free agent and "won" a Super Bowl with the Steelers. He wasn't all that wide, but he towered over everyone in the hallway.
My wife also went to school with an offensive lineman, and he played five seasons in the NFL. She did know him personally, though they were more acquaintances than friends. (Because I was such a roster junkie in the 90's, I knew exactly who he was when she told me about him.)
I was in junior high school when my football obsession began in earnest, and my friend Carl was just as much a fan as I was (we dressed up as football players for Halloween; my mom has a Polaroid of us play-tackling each other)
For a semester or two, we went to the local college (University of New Haven) for a special biology lab class. Our "teacher" was this pretty college girl who Carl and I both adored - her name escapes me now, and I feel awful about that. Anyway, there was a great, great running back at UNH at the time - and since it was obvious the girl wasn't going to date either one of us we asked her the second most important question we could think of: Do you know Roger Graham?
She did, and told us he was a great guy. Then she asked if we wanted his autograph.
Despite a record-breaking career at UNH, Roger was never drafted (so why am i bringing this up in an NFL draft post?) He was in Cowboys camp for pre-season, and apparently suited up for one game with the Jaguars. That was enough for him to appear in an NFL video game (likely Tecmo Super Bowl; I never played much Madden.) I tried sooo hard to get him good yardage but as you'd expect his rating was like a 55 and he never got more than two yards. But it was a thrill just to see his name on the screen and hand him the (virtual) ball.
Are you planning to watch any of the NFL Draft? Have you ever met a drafted (or undrafted) player? What does your favorite team need?