By Jose M. Romero
For FOX Deportes
Saturday morning around 11:00, I was frustrated.
Breakfast was eaten. I actually had some free time. I really wanted to watch my college, the University of Oregon, play its spring football game because the quarterback battle between Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota is going to be intriguing.
Oh no. Wrong Internet provider. No Ducks.
There was soccer, Serie A and Bundesliga. There was baseball, Milwaukee vs. St. Louis. There were replays of NHL playoff games. There was an NBA playoff game, Philadelphia vs. Chicago.
And there was Day 3 of the NFL draft. Day 3. Not the first day, when many of the biggest names in college football were selected in the first round. Not Day 2, with more familiar names in Rounds 2 and 3.
Day 3 is the last day of the draft. It starts with the fourth round and ends with “Mr. Irrelevant,” the last pick of the seventh round. Very few rookie starters in the NFL are found on Day 3, but these picks are the potential future and depth of NFL teams.
Important backup players. Core members of the special teams units. Players that might not have the talent and development to make an impact on their teams right away, but perhaps down the road if they can stick.
Day 3 is where teams build their depth. These guys are important. But to be honest, after about the fourth round, only the most devoted fan and/or someone who analyzes this stuff for a living knows stuff about the guys being chosen.
The names scroll by on the ticker and you try to read them and recall if you’ve ever seen these guys play. I’m a West Coast guy, I feel pretty confident about the guys in the Pac-12. Then there are the names from the big-time college football powers like Alabama and LSU.
The draft used to be on Saturday and Sunday. They’d do the first three rounds on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Pacific time, then the fourth-seventh on Sunday beginning at 8. Those were some long days in that Seahawks draft room in Kirkland, Wash.
NFL fans have always cared about the draft, but the league just keeps rising in popularity. Now you can see Round 1 on Thursday night in East Coast prime time. Rounds 2 and 3, Friday night, also in prime time on the East Coast. It’s a bigger spectacle than ever.
The NBA draft used to be the cool one. Tall guys in suits at the Felt Forum in Manhattan. Nowadays you can see the NFL, NBA, NHL and even Major League Soccer drafts on cable TV, for at least the first round.
I like that the fans are allowed in and able to cheer. I like that leagues try to make these important days into shows and entertainment. I do think, though, that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should skip the quick handshake – five slap – man-hug routine with the players. He’s an older guy, he’s no 20-something. Save the street-cred stuff for the kids, sir, it looks awkward!
A handshake and maybe a regular hug are fine.
As far as the NFL, the three guys I’m looking forward to seeing are RGIII (Robert Griffin III), new quarterback for Washington RB Trent Richardson for Cleveland and WR Justin Blackmon for Jacksonville. All three are game-changing type of players who have to make major impacts in order for their teams to even be somewhat successful.