For a lot of people once the Superbowl has come to a conclusion they suffer what I call, “Football Hangover”. It’s the phenomenon of having an overload of so much football from September to February. With the playoffs, then the week to build up to the Superbowl, to the actual Championship, and finally all of a sudden it’s taken away. It’s over. Or is it?
To be honest this time of the year is my absolute favorite; it’s time for Mel Kiper Jr.’s mug to be all over ESPN, Todd McShay to be on every radio station and for Mike Mayock to change his name to “Mr. NFL Network”. Its time for the NFL draft of course!
For some strange reason I almost enjoy reading about all the prospects; grading them and watching film on them more than I do during the season. The draft gives every die hard fan hope that maybe, just maybe, this will be their year (and yes, this does include Detroit fans). But for as much as I care for this time, I do have one small problem.
The combine is held annually at the beginning of March, inviting college footballs “best” 300 players to participate in everything from the bench press to psychological testing. The problem I have is that because of the combine and the pro-days that follow, the draft is pushed back until mid April. Players often spend the time from their last game until draft day trying to shave off tenths of their 40 time, increase their reps on the 225 bench and elevate their vertical jumps. Players go to training sites just to work on specific combine drills instead of football skills. If I was going to pick an Olympic team for the U.S.A, I would go to the combine. If football was won based on who could jump higher, I would go to the combine. But football is much more than any type of drill, or timed sprint.
I believe that the NFL should hold its draft in mid March, wiping out all of the combines and pro-days. This gives enough time between the end of College football and the Superbowl to have a few College All-Star games, and in early March invite those same 300 prospects to Indy to go through doctor exams and physicals (this saves teams from having to fly to every prospect). But the biggest benefit would be for the GM’s and coaches because players would be drafted off of their production in games, instead of off the Wonderlic test, decreasing the number of draft “busts”.
Because of the way things are now, it’s so easy for fans and teams to fall in love with a guy because of his numbers and overlook the film. “The eye in the sky doesn’t lie”, is an old football saying and its absolutely right. If a player can play, he shows it every single time he is on the field and the games films will show exactly that.