First and Ten

We are now less than a week away from one of my favorite sports events of the year. The NFL draft.

The 2016 NFL draft will be the 81st annual meeting of NFL franchises to select newly eligible football players. 

As in 2015, the draft will take place at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. The draft will begin on Thursday, April 28, and will end on Saturday, April 30.

The draft is always entertaining but this year it feels fresh and new. The top two picks in the draft have been traded. 

The Tennessee Titans traded the first pick in the draft to the Los Angeles Rams and just days ago the Cleveland Browns traded the second pick to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Most, if not all, sports websites, magazines and newspapers are publishing their predictions of picks in a mock draft. 

So, not to be left out here is my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

1. Los Angeles – Jared Goff, QB, California

2. Philadelphia – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota St

3. San Diego – Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

4. Dallas – Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

5. Jacksonville – Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

6. Baltimore – DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

7. San Fransisco – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

8. Cleveland – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

9. Tampa Bay, Vernon Hargreaves, DB, Florida

10. New York Giants – Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan St

11. Chicago Bears – Ezekial Elliott, RB, Ohio State

12. New Orleans – Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

13. Miami – Eli Apple, DB, Ohio State

14. Oakland – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

15. Tennessee – Taylor Decker, OT. Ohio State

16.Detriot – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi

17. Atlanta – Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

18. Indianapolis – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

19. Buffalo – Mackensie Alexander, DB, Clemson

20. New York Jets – Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

21. Washington – A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

22. Houston – Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

23. Minnesota – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

24. Cincinnati – Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

25. Pittsburgh – Artie Burns, DB, Miami

26. Seattle – Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama

27. Green Bay – Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

28. Kansas City – William Jackson III, DB, Houston

29. Arizona – Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Mississippi

30. Carolina – T.J. Green, DB, Clemson

31. Denver – Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky

This mock draft will probably end being woth less than 50 percent correct. There is always a draft-day trade or two and the scouts know way more than me or anyone else who compiles a list like this.

Hop on Facebook and tell me what I have wrong or right and feel free to post your own mock drafts in the comments.

The 2017 NFL Draft is here and while I’ll be paying attention to what player ends up where, I will not be watching the three-day televised event.

Over the years, I have found myself less and less interested in professional football. The nation’s best football is played on Fridays and Saturdays across the nation and the worst on Sundays in billion-dollar stadiums.

The draft is an example of why I am less interested in the NFL. The first round of the draft will make 32 young men instant millionaires and devote five hours of screen time to the process.

I have no issue with the money involved, my issue is with the theatrics. The fancy set, the video packages, the expensive suits and the dozens and dozens of experts who discuss the soon to be drafted players skill sets, maturity levels and backgrounds.

The NFL obviously knows what it’s doing. Even in a controversial down year, that featured multiple athletes  kneeling during the National Anthem, the NFL still made more money than we can count.

Maybe my biggest issue with the draft is it is too positive. Every player drafted is called the next big thing when in reality, he isn’t. For every Tom Brady there are 20 to 30 to 40 players who won’t last the duration of their first contract.

According to ESPN, the average NFL career is 3.3 years not the 10 to 15 that is projected by those so-called experts.

The NFL recommends its players enter an MBA program to plan for life after football and some do so but others do not.

These new millionaires believe themselves to indeed be the next big thing so they don’t need to worry about a back-up plan.

However, the NFL does have some success stories. Look at Payton Manning. He is a Superbowl winner, an MVP, a franchise quarterback and a businessman.

In 2012, Manning bought 21 Papa Johns Franchises in the Denver area and as the face of the franchise he will be doing fine for a long time to come.

How about a lesser known pro. Ricky Jean Francois is the owner of 25 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises.

“When the big money came in,” Jean Francois said, via Fox Sports Radio, “I was like, ‘I need a retirement plan right now. I need a retirement plan that can grow right now, so at the time when I actually walk out of the NFL, I don’t have to let the NFL be my identity. Teams can look at me like, ‘OK, he’s a business man. He’s a smart guy. He knows what he’s doing with his money.”

That’s what, in my opinion, the NFL should be showcasing. Not the three-day draft, but rather the real facts.

Football is America’s game and America needs athletes that we can look up to and say, “He’s a smart guy. He manages his money, he owns a business, he’s more than just a football player.”

You and me, we’ll probably never sign a million-dollar contract, but if Manning and Jean Francois can make smart financial decisions, so can we.

Enjoy the draft football fans. I hope your teams nab the next big thing.

The first round of the draft will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, with the second and third rounds on Friday night. The final four rounds will be on Saturday. ESPN and NFL Network will have complete coverage of the draft.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.