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The wait is almost over
May 7, 2014 - Mike McLain
It's been more than four months since the Browns and Steelers finished the season in Pittsburgh last Dec. 29, and not one player has been drafted.
That's a long wait for impatient NFL fans that consider the draft a national holiday. My guess is that most fans would like to see the draft return to its normal slot on the third Thursday through Saturday in April. By then most are worn out from all the mock drafts and endless conjecture that coincides with the annual college selection process.
The extra two weeks this year worked out well for those of us in the media that write a series of stories on the draft and, in some cases, do a half dozen or more mock drafts. Still, I get the impression that most people in the media prefer the April date.
I have enough years in the books to remember a time when the draft started on a Tuesday morning in early February. Can you imagine slotting the draft on a weekday opposite school and work schedules? You can bet a lot of workers would develop a convenient cough and take the day off.
Worse yet was that the draft wasn't televised back then. Now cameras are situated in some war rooms. We know the identity of the high-profile picks because cameras are fixated on them as they answer a call from a coach or general manager that is welcoming them to whatever city will be their new home.
The monster that the late NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle created is alive and well. Current Commissioner Roger Goodell has talked about expanding the draft from three to four days and perhaps taking part of the process away from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
I must admit that I never grow tired of the draft. Maybe it's because I grew up following the Browns and have covered them on and off since 1980. Given the franchise's long-standing struggle to win consistently, the resulting number of high draft choices awarded to it have turned draft day into one of the most exciting days of the year.
The crazy antics of some of the fans that attend the event at Radio City Music Hall gets old, but he drama of the first round never does. The wide range of ways the first round could play out this year has added to the intrigue.
It will be a long three days for the media when we gather Thursday evening. A countless number of tweets and blogs will be compiled as the race to release information as soon as possible turns into the stretch run of the Kentucky Derby.
When it concludes Saturday afternoon, the fun as reporters continues as we begin pouring over bios of the new Browns and wonder if some of them might actually help take the franchise to levels not seen in a quarter of a century. Grades will be handed out for each of the 32 teams, which is a silly premise considering none of the players has ever taken a snap in a NFL game. That won't matter to the fans, most of whom will devour each and every report card.
It all seems trivial when you think about it, but it's a high-stakes game to the men making the decisions throughout the NFL. It's the drama that plays our under that serious setting that makes the NFL draft a thing of beauty.
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