Friday, October 21, 2011

Premature NFL draft syndrome

I shouldn't be surprised at how football fans are talking about the NFL draft - next year's prospects, not this year's rookies - even though it's the third week in October.

I still find it hard to believe, though, when I log on to Twitter and see a timeline filled with questions about who's available for the Browns. These aren't just frustrated fans venting after a loss. These speculatory inquiries come during the week, when most of the NFL talk is about injuries and strategy.

These questions are impossible to answer without two key pieces of information: Where the Browns are drafting, and who's available. None of this will be known until after the season ends in January.

That doesn't stop people from debating skill position players vs. interior linemen, as if the draft is the main event and the season is a succession of exhibitions used to determine the picking order.

I bet I could wait until the day of the draft - April 26, if you've already bought a 2012 calendar - spend a couple hours reading up on the top prospects and arrive at the same destination as all the people who are talking about it now.

This is not exclusive to the NFL. Back when the Cavaliers were in the playoffs, we held pregame chats before postseason games. A chunk of the questions were about the draft.

If the point of the draft is to build to the point where your team is an NBA championship contender, then the Cavs were exactly where they were supposed to be. But people wanted to talk about the NBA draft, even though the Cavs were (without hindsight, remember) at the pinnacle of what the draft was supposed to produce.

I don't get it, but I also know that the NFL and NBA drafts are economies unto themselves. Speculate away, but I'll be using my time otherwise.

- Howard Primer

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