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NFL draft day hope springs eternal

Well, it’s finally here–the NFL draft, that is.

Thursday night continues the pomp and circumstance that is the NFL’s offseason and brings excitement to fans who have a football jones that can’t be satisfied, actually won’t be, until training camps open and the business of evaluating all of our teams’ newly acquired talent, is truly underway.

The draft to me, is no more than a distraction. There will be winners and losers, and nothing can be certain until the games are played and we see how these guys do. Thusly, I am a huge proponent of value picks–those players that are selected in mid to late rounds. This is oftentimes where impact players are found. Again, scouting is not an exact science and best teams’ front offices such as the New England Patriots keep in mind this one word: contingency: they need a plan, a backup plan, and yet another backup plan, when players they covet are gone, once they are on the clock, selection-wise. Bill Belichick and the Pats know how the value pick game is played: see Tom Brady, the Hall of Fame bound QB chosen with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Talk about value!

The draft of course keeps football in our heads, is ingeniously marketed as a television event by ESPN and although I don’t know of anyone tailgating, there may be small celebrations, or at least we’re looking at the first night and the first round selections as they’re made live.

Getting back to the distraction angle, I know I speak for many fans, when I say I experience a let down, a funk, if you will, once the Super Bowl is over. There is nothing quite like football and how it speaks to so many people, having usurped baseball as our national pastime and most popular sport, years ago.

Football is the ultimate distraction, the thing we can escape our dull-by-comparison, day-to-day existences, with the spectacle of this mass appeal sport. It’s marketed to perfection, of course, too, and the NFL executive team including Roger Goodell, fully understands that by giving us the television entertainment and hoopla that the draft has become, they are whetting our appetites for the OTAs and training camp openings just around the corner.

So even though the games are months away (but getting closer), we indulge in positive thinking, we clamor for our respective teams’ managements to make smart selection decisions and we feel our thoughts giving way to the promise of renewal that an influx of fresh talent can mean for our teams’ chances come fall.

Sure, the old guard players, the veteran players and the free agents that have been signed, prime the pump of interest so to speak, until draft day arrives.

But now that the draft is upon us, the prospect of signing new talent and delivering potentially more W’s than L’s in the ledger column once the season begins, has our palms sweaty with anticipation.

Go ahead and dream, you’re entitled. Because the NFL is back and even if our own lives are less than exhilarating at times, we can get behind our teams and their chances for improvement in the coming season.

We can hope it so, finally, again.

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