6 Ways to Improve the NFL Draft

Posted: April 25, 2013 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The NFL keeps trying to make the NFL draft something of a primetime ratings bonanza.  They’ve moved the draft to Thursday night when it’s competition is sparse and people aren’t out doing weekend-ish stuff.  They hype it for weeks on end, singlehandedly keeping Mel Kiper’s titanic hair product budget afloat year round, and they attempt to squeeze out every ounce of media coverage that they can during a month when the NFL really doesn’t deserve to have much media coverage.

Sure, I’ll probably tune in for a bit.  The NFL draft is interesting, if not all that exciting.  It’s important, if sometimes a little blown out of proportion.  It’s most definitely a part of the sporting landscape that I find myself so deeply entranced by, so I’ll be there, probably hate-tweeting as much as 140 characters will allow.

But what could the NFL do to make this year’s draft the media-fire storm that they so desperately want it to be?  How could they take a glitzy, glossy, pre-packaged event and truly transform it into something that no one will ever forget?  How could it possibly live up to the nearly insufferable hype that has been building for the last two months?  I’m glad you asked.

Bring out the Busts

I’m not talking about the Hall of Fame busts in Canton.  And I’m not talking about Sam Hurd’s piles of cocaine and subsequent piles of jail time, either.  I’m talking about something that we all love more than a successful NFL draftee.  I’m talking about Lawrence Phillips.  I’m talking about Tony Mandarich.  I’m talking about all the guys who get a little too much run in the lead-up to the draft and then promptly lay a fat deuce once they hit the league.  We all love it.  There’s literally 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stories about it out right now on Google.  Which is exactly 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 more than there were last year.  Scientists estimate that the universe is still expanding from the Big Bang.  Cynics are thankful because by next year, we’ll need the extra room for all the “Greatest Busts” stories.

So why not bring them back?  Why not ratchet up the tension in the room by having guys who could be busts get announced by guys who were busts?  Can you imagine the tension on the stage when Jamarcus Russell came out to announce Ryan Nassib?  Even better, how great would it be for Roger Goddell to come out, announce, “And here to present the next draft choice, via Skype. . .Lawrence Phillips!”  Then they’d have a gigantic big screen drop down and we’d see this:

Incoming call, Rog.

Make Roger Goodell wear matching suits with high draft picks

Whenever the high first rounders are getting drafted they always come out on stage, give a too-friendly, junk-to-junk hug to the Commissioner and then pose for photos like Goodell’s their long-last sibling.  So why not make these photo ops a little more memorable?  Why not let Goodell relate to the people who claim he’s lost touch with the game and the players in a fresh way.  Let him floss the same gear that the players are flossing.  The key here would be to not only make him wear the same style, color, and cut, but to wear the same size.  Luke Joeckel’s rocking a XXXL 54” Long with pinstripes?  So is Goodell.  Geno Smith has decided to get more iced out than an Eskimo at a fishing hole?  Drop a little of that $22 Million dollar bonus you “earned” last season on some fresh diamonds.

Matched up like TotesBFFS

Make the draft operate as a kind of impromptu skills challenge

We tune in in the hopes of getting some compelling TV.  Here’s a quick 5-Step process to really kick this year’s draft up a notch.

1.  Gather together some projected mid-late round draft picks.  Have them show up to New York City, dressed to the nines in gator shoes and pricey suits and sit at a table near the green room where all the elite level picks will be.

2.  Midway through the draft, right around the 17th pick (*Author’s note: also known as the point when Chris Berman’s voice is starting to wash down viewers’ ear cavities like sulfuric acid) there will be a lull.  3 offensive lineman in a row will have been chosen and people will be thinking of changing the station.  That’s when Goodell steps to the podium with a starter’s pistol, announces that the first potential draftee from the chosen pool to reach a designated finish line, somewhere in Radio City Music Hall, will get a 3-year guaranteed deal worth $5 million a year for the New England Patriots.

3.  Have Tom Brady appear near said finish line holding a bag of money and a free pair of his Men’s Ugg boots for the winner.

4.  Fire the pistol.

5.  Watch.

Provide free alcohol in the Green room for the waiting draftees

It would provide a great time for product placement.  Why, there’s Alabama corner Dee Milliner taking another shot of. . .Ketel One Vodka.  With your first selection, make sure you always choose Ketel One.  But don’t forget to draft a designated driver.  How great would it have been to watch Brady Quinn housing brews as he slipped down draftboards in 2006?

Who wouldn’t enjoy seeing a nervous 22-year-old have a few too many and then slur his way through an interview with an uptight talking head.  Joe Namath, anyone?

Have Brett Favre and Jenn Sterger work as a reporting team from the Green Room

Or, better yet, just have Jenn and Brett communicate through a series of ESPN-displayed text messages.

Have the two players who scored the lowest on the Wonderlic test and pit them head to head in an academic-debate style battle of wits

Have each player attempt to answer on-the-fly questions about U.S. Foreign policy, astronomy, and philosophy.  As T.O. would say, “Gectcha’ popcorn ready.”



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