When did the NFL Draft turn into a fashion show? Some of the outfits on the draftees were foppish while others were downright foolish. The event was a cross between the Tony Awards and “Dancing With The Stars.” And can’t a simple handshake from the Commissioner be adequate instead of hugging these lumbering leviathans, one after another, ad nauseam? What’s next, dancing showgirls escorting the players to the rostrum?
Ohio State set a record with ten players picked in the first three rounds. This gives the Buckeyes over forty players on NFL rosters, enough to man a thirty-third NFL team, on top of a four year 50-4 record for ‘hot dog’ coach Oscar Meyer, and a ridiculous 100,000+ record attendance at their spring game. Keep an eye on the Buckeyes, Alabama, they’re coming after you again.
Three quarterbacks were picked in the first round, one more than last year. Let’s hope they perform better than 2015’s first two picks, Jameis Winston of the Bucs and Marcus Mariota of the Titans, a combined 9-23 in their rookie years. Winston was especially ineffective, posting NFL league lows in passing percentage (58.3%, 43.8% in the red zone) and quarterback ranking (84.2), and next to last to Ben Roethlisberger in touchdown passes to interception ratio, (22-15.) He did have six wins, an improvement over the Bucs previous year’s two wins, but none of the victories came against teams with winning records.
I hope RG III has a renaissance of sorts with the Cleveland Browns. Based on their life’s experiences, he is a far surer bet to lead the Browns out of the doldrums to prosperity than Manziel ever was. While Johnny Football was blowing his career by careening and carousing all over bars from Dayton to Dallas, RG was re-habbing from Shanahan’s awful decision to leave him in that playoff game when the former Baylor quarterback should’ve been on the sidelines using a walker, so hurt was he. When he was in college, RG handed the ball off to a running back at mid-field and then raced downfield to throw the final block that put the ball carrier into the end zone. I’ve loved him ever since.
Interesting note about attendance at college spring football games. Those games, once a friendly alumni game pitting recent grads against next season’s starters, would be seen by a handful of spectators, made up mostly of friends and family. I do recall once, though, taking a snap and looking at Gopher legend Bronko Nagurski lined up over our center, a very tight and worn jersey with the number 3 fighting for its life to remain sewn to his bursting garment, the wearer leering almost lasciviously at me. He was 53 years old at the time. He wore gold. I wore maroon. I never saw him again.
This year, Ohio State had 100,819 spring game attendees, Nebraska had 72,992, Penn State had 65,000, Michigan State had 51,000 and Michigan had 35,000 in the Big Ten. The other conference teams had lesser amounts. I’ll assume those players and students were studying for final exams.
A few more months before footballs get teed up again. I can’t wait.