Now that the NFL draft hoopla is finally dying down and the league’s focus centers on settling the collective bargaining issues, I’ll take a shot on this Cinco de Mayo to give you my top five list of things that have caught my eye during and after the draft.
Every expert has their own list about the best and worst events of the draft … Just about everyone has checked in with a top 10 list here or a best-and-worst-of column there … They can be found by the hundreds … Just try Googling it … You will find more lists than one could read in the time it took to complete all seven rounds of the draft.
My list will be a bit shorter. Five items. It could be longer like many others, but I won’t pretend to bore you. I could talk about how the Bears messed up the Ravens’ pick during a botched trade attempt. I could talk about the impressive number of quarterbacks chosen. I could even bring emotion into my discussion … How Mark Ingram broke down on national TV when asked about what he wanted to say to his father.
But I won’t.
I’ll keep my thoughts short and sweet. I know you’re busy.
So, here we go:
1. The Atlanta trade to move up into the top 10.
Talk about desperation … Good Lord, what were they thinking? Well, I know exactly what they were thinking – they were still smarting from the beating the Packers laid on them back in January and looking for the best and fastest way they could make up the difference between the two teams.
Well, all I could see was Mike Holmgren in the background wringing his hands and smiling greedily.
Atlanta will quickly see that one rookie in the NFL doesn’t make a difference … What happens when Julio Jones gets hurt or he hits the proverbial rookie wall or simply can’t figure out how to create space against NFL defensive backs?
It means one and done in the playoffs – if they even make it that far.
2. The rings. With the announcement this week that the Packers would join with Jostens to produce the team’s Super Bowl rings, the joy and reality that the league’s team that hails from it’s smallest city is once again champion was the shot in the arm all Packers fans needed.
With the lockout back in place and players idled in their efforts to get back to work, the news about the rings was welcome.
And here’s a reminder and question: All those Vikings fans out there – how many Lombardi trophies are in your trophy case? I could ask the same of Lions fans. And as for those Bears fans – yeah we know you’ve got one of those trophies, but how long has it been since the team has earned one? Hmmm … That long?
3. Speaking of the Vikings, I can’t help but blast them … Talk about a ship adrift at sea …
Not only does the team make their first selection of Christian Ponder a major reach, but they give quarterback Tarvaris Jackson’s jersey to him. Talk about the kiss of death.
Sure, teams have to build for the future, but with this team’s 2011 draft, they won’t see success again until well after they make the move to LA.
That’s when we can really call them the “Queens.”
4. The Lions. While the Bears and Packers will head into the season as favorites, if there’s one team that will be highly improved it will be the Detroit Lions.
Pointed to as the team that had this year’ best draft, the Lions will surprise many next year. With some luck on their side, Detroit could record Double digit wins and may even make the playoffs for the first time in years.
5. Return to Titletown. Need I really say more?
Ok, I will. The opening of the exhibit at the Packers Hall of Fame conjures the same feelings as the creation of the Super Bowl rings (see above). No doubt this will attract record numbers of visitors to Lambeau Field this year. I, for one, will be standing in line at some point in the future to view the exhibit.
The last tome I went through the Packers Hall of Fame in 1998, I came out in tears.
I expect the same on my next visit.