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 It’s more likely than you think.  The Draft is upon us.  The war rooms getting prepped up as we speak.  New York City is already feeling an invasion at the moment.

Although, that has nothing to do with actual armed warfare, but rather buzz words that will be used starting tomorrow if you follow sports media (except for the invasion part, I just threw that in).

In case you weren’t aware, the NFL Draft is an annual televised event that shows all 32 teams picking players through 7 rounds. That’s 255 picks spread over three days starting Thursday night with just the first round, rounds 2 & 3 on Friday night, and Saturday finishes the draft up.

The draft can be both exciting and mind-numbingly boring, depending on your own personality and/or festivities.  For the NFL General Managers, it can be very stressful.

The draft is like a big game where GMs pick up players they covet,  trade up or down their pick selections, make a lot of phone calls that may go no where in negotiations, hold out picks/players as bait, or just bluff on who they might consider taking in order to mess up a rival.  This is a very amusing part of the draft process that only a handful of people get to be apart of.

The most boring aspect is that during the televised broadcast, the draft experts, sports broadcasters, and former players talk constantly during the time allotted for the teams’ choices for their eventual selection at their pick.  In recent years, they have cut down on the time allotted and added a third day to hopefully make the drafts more interesting.  So far, this plan has worked but not everyone likes the change.

Our GM, the great Ozzie Newsome, will have his hands full this week as he has 12 draft choices to play with.  The Ravens’ first pick, however, is the last of the first round.

The 2013 NFL Draft has been viewed as having a very different draft class than in recent years.  The reason being that there are no sure picks for the top of the draft.  Other than the Chiefs likely taking the top offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, with the first pick, the rest of the following draft picks can be literally anyone.  Last year, everyone knew Andrew Luck would be picked #1 overall and RGIII would be picked soon afterward, along with the other first 8 picks in the 1st round that were highly obvious.

This year, the idea of the draft having a lack of talent, as all of the 1st round prospects can be seen as late 1st round picks, probably stems from the quarterbacks available.  This is because there are no quarterbacks that are seen as locks to be drafted in the first round.  Geno Smith of WVU is the most likely of the pool of quarterbacks to be drafted in the first round, but who will actually take him?  Ryan Nassib, EJ Manuel, and Matt Barkley are other QBs that could be drafted in either the 1st round or 3rd round.

GMs and coaches lose their jobs more frequently when they “bet the farm” on a franchise, 1st round quarterback who ends up failing.  Take Andy Reid, a proven winning coach that was at the helm of the Philadelphia Eagles for almost 15 years.  He was fired after last season following a 4-12 record.  He traded away his former 2nd round quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Cardinals before that season but was still a big miss of a high 2nd round pick that the team could have used on another player.  They still haven’t found a good enough successor to Donovan McNabb.

Conversely, the former head coach and GM of the San Diego Chargers, Norv Turner and A.J. Smith respectively, had retained their positions far longer than everyone assumed due to their selection of QB Philip Rivers in 2004 and other previous good drafts years ago.  (This is my opinion on their longevity that lasted up to last season when almost everyone expected either person fired during the last 3 seasons.)

Ozzie Newsome, however, has retained his GM title since the inception of the Baltimore Ravens in due part to his fantastic draft day finds.  He’s going to have a lot of options this year during the draft.  Following past results, he’ll likely get a good number of starting caliber players to contribute in the upcoming season or the one afterwards.

Draft day analysts continue to believe the Ravens will select either middle linebacker Kevin Minter of LSU or a wide receiver with their 32nd pick.  Early on, there was talk of the Ravens picking up one of the 3 top safeties.  One person even thought the Ravens would draft the top rated tight end, although they’re pretty happy with Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.

I still hope the Ravens draft Manti T’eo, although a lot of Ravens fans do not.  I still believe that they’ll either trade down to about the 3rd pick of the 2nd round (35th overall) and draft T’eo, or trade up to about the 26th overall pick and draft a safety like Matt Elam, Eric Reid or Kenny Vaccaro if they fall that far.  Either fill Ray Lewis’ or Ed Reed’s void with a great rookie player.  Also, since Ozzie is so good with drafting (along with the Ravens being one of only two teams [Patriots] who have their own draft scouts), he probably sees the next Reed/Lewis in a later round that other teams will ignore.

To switch gears to more than just the NFL news, NCAA is finally moving into a playoff format rather than the BCS Bowl games!  These would be much more exciting and a much better format to gauge who are the better college teams.

Also, for the MLB: the Orioles are currently 1 game behind Boston for the lead in the AL East.  I’m not too worried about the O’s being 2nd place towards the end of the April.  Last night was the 100th game in a row the O’s won after leading for 7th innings.  Oh, and during the same night, the Red Sox lost 13-0 to the Athletics… in only 7 innings!

In the NBA, the playoffs have started recently, but that will last into June so that’s either a good thing or a bad thing.

I’ll follow up on Monday after scouring through the hundreds of pages of analysis that will follow the NFL draft.

-CW

 

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