I have just become aware of the fact that the NFL has now expanded the amount of players invited to the draft from six to ten. This may sound innocuous to most people, but to those of us who love to watch the NFL draft it is like hearing fingernails on a chalkboard. I cannot begin to count how many times in the last couple of years we had to see panned shoots every five minutes of the green room with players sitting there alone and completely humiliated by the fact they had not yet been selected.
The worst case in recent memory was the 2007 draft when Brady Quinn, anticipated by the experts as a high first round draft pick, slid and then tumbled all the way to pick number 22. If it had not been for the Cleveland Browns making a terrible move to trade up and relieve his disconcertion I may not have watched the rest of the draft. Also having to see his disheveled haircut was tiresome, it looked like he had just rolled out of bed. I wonder if they too were tired of seeing Quinn mope about being the last kid in the room chosen for a team. That can be the only explanation for trading a 2008 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick (4th in the round, #36 overall) to get him. For all the gnashing of teeth over why teams chose not to draft him he still has not wrested the job from Derek flash in the p-Anderson which may give insight as to why they passed. Chalk up another one to the long list of reasons why the Browns have been so bad recently, which is only more good news for Ravens fans.
Brady Quinn isn’t the only player to slide on draft day. Other infamous sliders include Aaron Rodgers who slipped to 24th overall in 2005, and Leeland McElroy who slipped all the way out the first round in 1996 (when the NFL invited a record 11 people to the green room). There are a couple of soon to be multi-millionaires that have been invited to this year’s green room that the networks may have to be condolatory toward, two of whom are junior quarterbacks, and we all know how well they generally fare in the NFL. The first one being Josh Freeman out of Kansas State, he reminds me of Daunte Culpepper and that is in no way a good thing. The other quarterback is Matt Stafford out of Georgia. If the Lions are smart they will not take him at number one like most of the experts say, at least for the sake of head coach Jim Schwartz. However the ghost of Matt Millen still roams the offices at Ford Field in the form of Martin Mayhew. Mayhew is a Millen disciple, which means they probably will pick Stafford and therefore stand to set their franchise back a number of years a la what the pick of Alex Smith did to the 49ers.
I just think that it is a horrible idea for the NFL to invite even more players to come out to Radio City Music Hall and be gawked at by thousands of people on television, and in some cases to be harassed by ever-present unruly Jets fans that patronize the event. Maybe the NFL should just not invite anyone, or at least receive guarantees from teams at the top about which players will be drafted to determine whom to invite. As I close I do have to mention Mark Sanchez for having enough sense to decline an invitation to the green room. One word of caution to you Mr. Sanchez is if you are thinking of changing your mind just heed the advice of KWS and “Please Don’t Go”.