I don’t know if it’s the pageantry, the intrigue, the suspense or the sheer unapologetic hype, but the NFL draft continues to deliver the kind of entertainment you can’t get anywhere else except at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Emmys, the Grammys, the ESPYs and any episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.
Did I leave out the Players Choice Awards?
The only difference is that the draft is an actual news event, as well as a celebration of the curious antitrust immunity enjoyed by professional sports leagues.
The players generally have no choice over which teams they’ll end up joining, though Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray has the option of playing for the Oakland Athletics — the first team to draft him — if he doesn't want to find out what it’s like to have Brandon Williams lying on top of you in Week 2.
Whatever decision he makes will be better than the one he made when he and his mom picked out the pink, three-piece, pinstriped suit that made him pretty easy to pick out on the stage during the National Anthem.
“I like to be different,’’ he said during his red carpet interview.
The first pick
During the predraft buildup, there were reports that the Arizona Cardinals had held last-minute conversations with representatives of defensive end Nick Bosa and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, but Murray became the second straight quarterback to be drafted by the Cardinals in the first round.
They traded two draft choices last year to move up to the 10th spot to pick Josh Rosen. Maybe they’ll get a couple 2020 picks back for him.
No great early surprises
Murray, Bosa and Williams were the top three picks in a preponderance of the countless mock drafts. They went in that order before the Oakland Raiders either surprised everyone by taking Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the fourth pick or no one who remembered their first pick last year.
Well, at least they’re consistent. They were torched for picking consensus second-round offensive lineman Kolton Miller with the 15th pick and he didn’t exactly prove them right during his rookie season. Since the Cleveland Browns finally scored with their first-round pick last year and didn’t have one this year, somebody had to step up and embarrass themselves.
Roger Goodell is still standing
That was not a given after Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins — all 315 pounds of him — leapt for joy on the stage after becoming the No. 14 pick by the Miami Dolphins and came down on Goodell’s right shoulder.
Goodell had already put his ribs at risk accepting bear hugs from several big linemen, but after the annual booing he took from the crowd at the start of the draft, he had to be looking for love wherever he could find it.
Daniel Snyder gets his man
Rumors took flight on Wednesday that the overbearing Redskins owner was set to overrule his football brain trust and insist the team draft Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Well, that notion was dismissed by a team official, but the former Maryland commit figures to be starting at FedEx Field in September.
We’ll never know exactly how it all went down, because coach Jay Gruden was thought to favor Duke’s Daniel Jones, and Jones was long gone by then.
Joe Flacco’s new tight end
Obviously, the Broncos wanted Joe Flacco to be both cool and comfortable, so they used their first pick in the draft on Iowa tight end Noah Fant. General manager John Elway was thought to prefer Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson, but “the next Gronk” was gone by the 10th pick, so the Broncos traded down to No. 20 and still got one of the top two players at the position.
Ravens’ new deep threat
The Ravens have not had a great deal of success drafting wide receivers, but the John Harbaugh seemed genuinely excited by the prospect of combining the blazing speed of Marquise Brown with the quickness and passing ability of Lamar Jackson.
“If you don’t want to score from 70 yards out, you won’t like this guy,’’ Harbaugh said he told everyone in a recent draft meeting. “‘If you like a quick strike and a big play, this might be your guy.’ So, we all kind of decided that we like this guy.”
Nice knowing him.
Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.
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