To whom it may concern…

Dear NFL,

I completely understand that this year’s NFL draft was a success in your eyes. With first round ratings the highest they have ever been, even higher than the two NBA playoff games that took place on the same night combined, it is evident that you are doing something right.

I am still trying to figure out if it was the fall of Johnny “Football” Manziel, the horrible beat-down handed to the Blazers in Game 1, or fantasy football heads trying to get an early jump on their upcoming picks that contributed to your record ratings. What I have decided is that it had to be a combination of all the above.

Even with these record ratings, I still found myself yelling at the broadcast throughout every round for one reason or another. Most of the time it was because of how it dragged on with no pick being announced until well after the allotted time. Rather than try to jumble this into one big messy rant, I have decided to break my irritation down by draft days one, two and three.

Day one was by far the worst and most drawn out of all the days. Each team receiving 10 minutes to get their pick in and then waiting another five to 10 minutes to announce it, was absolute overkill. The only thing that kept my friends and I entertained was watching Johnny Football squirm more and more each time another team passed him over.

Once day two came around I was relieved to find out that teams would only get five minutes to make their pick. That relief, however, was short lived when the first special guest was brought out to announce the pick. Is it really necessary to bring out a retired player, announce the team he played for, the years he played, his accomplishments, and then let him tell a “funny” joke before announcing the pick? It seemed like it was just more overkill to what could have been a perfectly orchestrated second round.

After the charades of day two were over, we were finally on to day three, consisting of rounds four through seven. By now it seemed that almost everyone was tired of how long everything had dragged on. Teams were picking faster, there was less lag time between the picks coming in and being announced, and there were no special guests announcing those picks.

But wait! Now it is time for the talking heads to rule the broadcast. So caught up in their “expert” team evaluations, the pundits seemed to forget that players were getting drafted and stopped discussing the current picks, and either focused on what teams they thought picked best or who they thought picked worst. And since these “experts” are always spot-on with their predictions about who will succeed and who will fail on Sundays, we all must pay close attention and take notes right? What’s even worse on day three is that I found myself researching my team’s picks on my own because they provided no information or film on them at all. Isn’t their job to report on the players being drafted in that round, not the ones who were drafted two days before?

All in all, the draft was what it has been and will most likely continue to be in the future. Maybe my opinions on it are a little harsh. Maybe my friends and I were the only ones who felt the way we did about it, but I honestly doubt it. My feelings are probably such because I play fantasy football and basketball, and when drafting with my friends we don’t say the pick is in and then wait another five minutes to announce it.

My suggestion to you, NFL, is not to shorten the time limits or to remove the ceremonies and talking heads; it is to spend a little more time focused on all the players, not just the ones you deem worthy. If I turn to the draft next year and it goes the same way as this year’s draft did, I am highly likely to just setup draft alerts on my phone and go do something productive for three days. Although that way I would miss out on all the speculation from the “experts.”

Matt Rauch,
Vanguard Sports Desk