News & Analysis

The flawed, fun, frenetic NFL draft

Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; LSU running back Derrius Guice arrives on the red carpet before the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s note: Every Sunday, we’ll wrap up the week on PFF Fantasy with some topic one of our writers has been thinking about of late, and recap the features, columns, and podcasts you could find on the site that week.)

Last week in this space, I wrote about how it’s time for the draft to die a quick, painless death. And I believe that. The draft has outlived whatever utility it ever had (which wasn’t much), and now it’s just a way to artificially keep player salaries in check while not doing nearly as much to enable parity as it thinks it does.

But man, it’s good for suspense.

I’m a Colts fan. And that meant I entered this week with a favorite team that needed … pretty much everything, really. If you assume Andrew Luck is coming back healthy (and who actually knows), the only positions you could reasonably rule out for the Colts in the draft are quarterback and tight end. But after years of watching Colts quarterbacks take a beating, I wanted an offensive lineman, even if strategically it might not have made sense to go there first. I wanted Quenton Nelson.

There were mocks where Nelson slipped past the Colts to the Bears, or even later. There were mocks where the Broncos took him before the Colts. There were mocks where the Colts traded out of the pick altogether. So as their pick drew near Thursday night, I felt like I was reaching the mysterious part of the horror movie, where the hero peeks around the corner to look for the bad guy, only for the bad guy to suddenly pop up behind that hero. The tension was palpable, as they say.

That the Colts ultimately got Nelson matters to football, but actually, not that much to this story. Because the same general thing happened in the second round, with different results. I didn’t want the Colts to burn a draft pick on a running back, but as Derrius Guice fell … well, it got interesting. So the Colts had pick 49, but then they traded it, but then they had 52, and Guice was available both times. And while the team needs help everywhere, and running backs are less important … sue me, I’m a fantasy guy, I got intrigued. I scanned the picks before the Colts’ to see who might take him, I wondered how he’d do as a Colt, I just started wondering.

Both the Nelson suspense and the Guice suspense went roughly the same way. I would obviously take Nelson over Guice, so it went fine as far as I’m concerned, but for an event that is roughly “a bunch of dudes reading names off cards,” the suspense is still there. The draft is a system that shouldn’t exist, but as long as it does, man, we’ll keep getting excited.


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