SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

NFL Draft Day Busts

Comcast ran some photos of draft-day busts, and, yes, there were many of them. No, they didn't offer a photo of Notre Dame alum Walt Patulski, the first pick of the '74 draft, but they did take us down a memory lane featuring Tony Mandarich, Ryan Leaf, Lawrence Phillips, Akili Smith, Heath Shuler and Brian Bosworth. Yes, every draft day you can be sure that two things happen. One is that some team will psyche themself up thinking that a young lifetime of bad work habits and bad assocations will change once the young man falls into guaranteed, big money and the player will mature and be a star. The other is that for some reason panic will spread about a second-degree contusion on a running back's thigh that will take him out of the first round. Or, there will be what proves to be a minor character issue that causes a player to slide.

Truth be told, few teams want one of the top five picks because of the structure of the NFL draft. The higher you go, the more you've won the lottery, because it would appear to me that you're guaranteed more money by virtue of where you're drafted than (at least) the worst paid Pro Bowlers will make over a five-year span. Perhaps I'm overexaggerating, but there has to be a better way, doesn't there?