The 2008 NFL Draft Arrives With a Large Amount of Hype

By Lloyd Vance, BIGPLAY Football “Draft Guru” / Radio Analyst

(New York, NY) —- Every year the NFL proves on one day why it is the foremost league in the world as their annual selection production, I mean draft, becomes the focal point of the sporting world.  Sure the NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs, first month of baseball, and any number of sporting events are in full swing, but fans are more interested in the NFL Draft.  The 73rd rendition of the NFL Draft, titled with the catchy slogan “Believe in Now”, is so grandiose that the event will take place in the largest city in the United States and at the venerable showbiz palace Radio City Music Hall.  As if that wasn’t enough the time for the production has been moved back this year to the television friendly time slot of 3 PM just so NFL fans everywhere can get their chores done early enough on Saturday to plop themselves in front of the television for a minimum of 4 hours — I am not even going to mention the die-hards that stick around intensely watching the second day on Sunday too. 

With all the hoopla around this year’s event (two television networks, length change, two-day event, New York City, prime time slot, and hordes of media coverage), one has to wonder was there this much fanfare on February 8th, 1936.  That was the date the brainchild of league legend Bert Bell took flight as the first NFL Draft was held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia — A much quieter event where players like Tuffy Leemans were selected and didn’t know about it until receiving correspondence from the league.  The 1936 NFL draft was only been a tiny ripple compared to the ocean’s worth of hype and expectation surrounding the 2008 NFL Draft.  This year’s draft it seems to have pushed the hype bubble to maximum density or at least until next year’s event takes place -maybe with the NFL’s contract with Radio City ending this year maybe they can move it next year to a cozy little spot like the Super Dome. 

The whole thing is a “can’t miss event” to many causing jersey-clad fans to line the streets of Manhattan with millions more watching on television.   There is no need to worry about the NFL Draft television viewers as their extended couch-dom will be shared by the company of their favorite “draft guy” (NFL Network’s Mike Mayock or ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr).   As the seconds tick down on the clock, households in every NFL city will ponder questions like “Is my team trading up”, “Will they go for a need pick or the proverbial best player on the board”, “What are the stats on my team’s first round pick”, “Is that linebacker from my alamater still available”, and many others. 

For the most part all of the hoopla is just part of the show and 252 players will have new addresses after Saturday and Sunday.  One word of caution for all fans, please take it easy on the rantings that this player or that player is a team’s savior or bust before they have even taken the field.  As I know I will say it a thousand times this weekend “It takes 2 to 3 years to evaluate a draft”.  I know fans everywhere can remember the names of former “can’t miss players” that turned into just plain “missed picks” (Tim Couch, Courtney Brown, Freddie Mitchell, Ryan Leaf and many other busts).  Remember the only thing that is certain on draft day is that Jets fans in attendance will “boo” their first pick.

2008 NFL Draft Facts

Where: Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York City (Between 50th and 51st Streets).

When:   3:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 26 (Rounds 1-2).

            10:00 AM ET, Sunday, April 27 (Rounds 3-7).

Television:   NFL Network (3rd year)

ESPN and ESPN2 (29th consecutive year)

Players attending the draft: The following players will be at the draft at Radio City on Saturday:  LSU DT Glenn Dorsey, Ohio State DE Vernon Gholston, Virginia DE Chris Long, Michigan OT Jake Long, Arkansas RB Darren McFadden and Boston College QB Matt Ryan.

Time Changes: 

  • Day One will be less of a marathon – On Saturday only the first two rounds will be conducted, rather than Rounds 1-3 as in the past (Hallelujah, Hallelujah – no more first rounds like 2007’s record 6 hours, 8 minutes). The draft will also commence at 3:00 PM ET, rather than at noon
  • Hurry up with your picks – Clubs will be allowed 10 minutes to make their selection in Round 1, rather than 15 minutes as in the past.  Each pick in Round 2 will be allocated seven minutes, rather than 10.  On Sunday, Rounds 3-7 will be conducted, with each selection allocated five minutes.

Number of Picks:  There will be 252 selections, including 32 compensatory choices that have been awarded to 15 teams, which suffered a loss when a quality unrestricted free agent had signed elsewhere in ’07 (ex. Eagles losing Safety Michael Lewis to the Niners).

Forfeited Picks:

  • Patriots first-round pick – As result of “spygate” activities the New England Patriots forfeited their own first-round pick.
  • Chargers fourth-round pick – Already used the pick in 2007 Supplemental Draft on DB Paul Oliver.
  • Ravens fifth-round pick – Already used the pick in 2007 Supplemental Draft on offensive tackle Jared Gaither.

Most Selections Going into the Draft: Kansas City Chiefs (13), Atlanta Falcons (11), and Philadelphia Eagles (11)

Teams with multiple selections in first round: Dallas Cowboys ( Picks 22 and 28 ) and Kansas City ( Picks 5, 17 ) have two selections in the first round. 

Teams without a pick a first rounder: Cleveland (see you in round 4), Indianapolis (pick in 2nd rd), and Minnesota (pick in the 3rd round).

Players Moving Up Draft Boards – Virginia OT/OG Branden Allen, East Carolina RB Chris Johnson, Georgia Southern WR/KR Jayson Foster, Virginia Tech CB Brandon Flowers, Arkansas State Tyrell Johnson, Purdue TE Dustin Keller, Kansas State WR Jordy Nelson, Virginia Tech OT Duane Brown, Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, Wake Forest DE Jeremy Thompson, LSU FB Jacob Hester, and USC LB Thomas Williams.

Veteran Players rumored to be on the trading block:

  • Detroit Lions WR Roy Williams – The Lions keep saying “No”, so you have to think the big receiver could land somewhere else, maybe Dallas or Philly??
  • Philadelphia Eagles CB Lito Sheppard – With Asante Samuel expected to make over 7 Million more in ’08 than him, Sheppard is very unhappy (Jags, Bucs, and Ravens rumored to be in the hunt).  Look for a deal similar to the 2nd and 5th round picks the Raiders gave to the Saints for DeAngelo Hall.
  • New York Giants TE Jeremy Shockey – The emergence of young tight end Kevin Boss has made both sides (2007 Super Bowl Champion team and player) seem ready to part ways (Seattle and New Orleans rumored to be interested).
  • Miami Dolphins DE Jason Taylor – The 34-year old Dancing with the Stars prancer and former NFL Defensive MVP does not seem to fit in Parcells plans, but the ‘Phins asking price of  a first rounder maybe too steep (Eagles, Patriots, and Jags rumored to be interested).
  • Oakland Raiders RB Dominic Rhodes – With rumors afloat that the Raiders will select Darren McFadden, look for the former Colts workhorse to either be cut or traded.
  • Cincinnati Bengals WR Chad Johnson – One of the NFL’s biggest show-stoppers is very unhappy and is demanding a traded in ’05 T.O style.  However the Bengals owners (Brown family) and their head coach Marvin Lewis do not want to let the loquacious receiver go.  With the Cowboys, Jets, Eagles, and Redskins all rumored to be interested, this deal “may have to happen” even if the Bengals must take an $8 Million dollar cap hit in getting Ocho Stinko out the door.

Lloyd’s Leftovers:

  • Like Father, Like Son – Two players this weekend can join their fathers in the NFL.  Virginia defensive end Chris Long (Howie Long, HOF 2000 defensive end and UCLA safety Matt Slater (Jackie Slater, HOF 2001 offensive tackle can become the fifth and sixth sons of Pro Football Hall of Fame players to be drafted into the league.  Chris can follow his father HOWIE (HOF, 2000) and Matt his father JACKIE (HOF, 2001). 
  • Smart College Graduate Players Wanted – With teams like the Colts, Patriots, and Giants placing an emphasis on getting older high football IQ players, draftees are making a point to graduate before leaving school.  This year there should be a high number of graduates including Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon (graduated with a 3.27 GPA in Sociology) entering the league with their degrees.
  • Flacco trying to represent for D1-AA – Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco will try and join NFL Draft 2000 selectees former Jackson State teammates CB Rashard Anderson and WR Sylvester Morris as the only 1-AA players drafted in the top 30 selections in the past 10 years.
  • The “U” is looking to keep up a first round tradition – With the expected selection of top rated safety Kenny Phillips in the first round, the University of Miami (Fla.) will continue the school’s impressive active streak of a first round selection.  If Phillips hears his name called it will be the 14th year in a row going back to the 1995 draft where All-American defensive tackle Warren Sapp was selected No. 12 overall by Tampa Bay. 

One Response

  1. Wow, I didn’t think it was possible to ever feel draft-overload! Good stuff, man. I love the new time allotment for picks. Last year, rounds 1-3 were unbearable.

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