The end of the school year is coming and work is beginning to pile high. Thankfully, this upcoming weekend is sure to be my most productive of the year. I never get much work done on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and one would think with relays happening, this weekend would be no different, but even a beer garden cannot entice me away from the work I get done during the NFL Draft.
The draft is phenomenal because nothing really happens for long stretches of time. I can—and will—just sit in a lounge for hours on end doing my reading and writing up outlines, work that would normally be put off until Sunday or Monday night.
Despite these periods of inactivity, there are several benefits to watching it. You really get to learn a lot about the incoming class of rookies, more so if you don’t really care all that much about college football. Also, it’s always exciting to see what new players will help lead your team to the Super Bowl. Just a heads-up, the Vikings will be winning the Super Bowl this year—it’s been decided.
However, some can get a little too freaked out about the proceedings, often thinking their team has been screwed up for the next decade because they drafted a safety eight spots higher than he was initially projected. Although I am one of the few that really do find the draft to be exciting, I know from experience that even the worst draft moments can turn out to be fantastic.
There are a few things that are almost always guaranteed to happen when watching the draft. We’ll see a montage of all the failed Jets picks (how soon will they add Vernon Gholston’s name?), former Colts GM Bill Tobin yelling at Mel Kiper Jr. after the latter criticized his choice of Trev Alberts in 1994, and the Minnesota Vikings in 2003 failing to make the number seven overall pick in a timely fashion which let both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers pick ahead of the mighty purple.
This, obviously, is the most embarrassing draft moment in Vikings history, even more embarrassing than drafting Derrick Alexander the pick before the Bucs took Warren Sapp, but I would like to set the record straight.
Yes, the missed pick is absolutely inexcusable, but let’s see what really happened that day. The Vikings had a deal with the Ravens in place to swap the number seven pick for the Ravens tenth overall selection and a fourth- and sixth-rounder. Minnesota reported the deal to the necessary league official, but the Ravens, for some reason, did not.
But, look at how those picks turn out. The Jaguars were first to pounce, picking coveted Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich. Now, I always liked Leftwich and would have liked to see the Vikings sign him to a small incentive-laden one-year deal this offseason, but, regardless, there is no one who will argue he and his 80 quarterback rating are worth the number seven pick.
The Panthers were next to step in front of the Vikings, and they fared quite a bit better than Jacksonville. They chose offensive tackle Jordan Gross out of Utah and he has turned himself into a more than solid tackle on either the right or left side. Then again, tackle wasn’t exactly a need for the Vikings as the previous year they had selected Bryant McKinnie.
Now, who did the Vikings select? Well, they selected a Senior Day wonder from Oklahoma State who turned into a four-time all-pro selection at defensive tackle, Kevin Williams. Williams is, without a doubt, one of the top five selections from the entire draft and arguably the top defensive tackle in the NFL. So, don’t worry if your team seems to screw up royally on draft day. Even the best seem to have little clue as to which prospects will turn out well, and oftentimes, it’s the “reaches” that turn out better than the consensus picks.