Uncertainty over NFL future quells 2011 draft hype
As ever, there are many plots which carry significant interest. Which quarterback, Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton will be taken first? Will they go first overall? Will the attitude of Nick Fairley greatly damage his stock? Will concerns over Da’Quan Bowers’ knee dissuade many of the teams picking early on in the first round? Then there are the inevitable trade ups and trade downs to factor in. As usual everyone will be monitoring the New England Patriots who have a wealth of picks to work with.
But four of the NFL’s Network’s top analysts all chose the same top 5 except for Steve Wyche who has Bowers going to the Bengals instead of A.J. Green. Barring this, they all seem convinced it will be Newton, Marcell Dareus, Von Miller, Green and Gabbert winding up in Carolina, Denver, Buffalo, Cincinnati and Arizona respectively.
So is predictability the reason this draft has largely failed to lure me in like previous years? No. At this stage, the consensus about who will land where is fairly unanimous. Last year’s top three picks were called by anybody with a passing interest in the league. Where Carolina will go with that first pick this year is actually more difficult to predict.
The uncertainty of the draft is one of its great allures. But the uncertainty of the league’s future is an irritant for everyone.
The reasoning behind my apathy to this draft is to do with the lockout which continues to cast a shadow over the league. Without the free agency period, something seems to be missing.
We’ve not had every team bend over backwards to try and accommodate Nnamdi Asomugha as the NBA did last summer with LeBron James. There’s been relatively little talk about whether Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Antonio Cromartie and Brad Smith will remain with the Jets next year.
Then there’s Carson Palmer who, despite threatening to retire should he not get a ticket out of Cincinnati, hasn’t really got the attention he probably thinks he merits. Perhaps we’re all sick of too many instalments of Favre Watch to cast more than a sideways glance at Palmer’s threats.
Instead all the chatter has been focused on if and when a new Creative Bargaining Agreement will be reached. The prolonged sense of uncertainty has left other issues like the draft seem irrelevant in contrast.
This week the NFL announced its schedule which was an encouraging sign that the off-field issues will thankfully subside and a new CBA can be reached. But only then will it truly to start to feel like football’s just around the corner once again.
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Are you excited about the 2011 NFL Draft? Who do you think your team will select in the first round? Let me know in the comments section.