The advantage of being an NFL operator is that your team has a chance for an easy reset every spring. No matter how horrendous the previous season, all it takes is a draft choice or two to bring back the enthusiasm of the local sporting public.
A draft can provide such a boost for a handful of NBA teams, and one or two NHL teams. The draft never provides such magic for an MLB team, because even prospects of the highest profile will not have an immediate impact.
College football is so significant in this country, and the top prospects for the NFL draft are so thoroughly covered, that there might be 50-60 players who can bring major excitement to fan bases.
What’s wonderful about NFL zealots is that they all crack wise about team representatives saying, “We had Player A rated much higher on our board and didn’t expect him to be available,’’ and then when it’s their general manager or head coach saying it, they believe him.
We’re no better in the media. We pass along that hogwash as though it is vital information.
Every team official and coach lies about everything that happened in arriving at their latest collection of draft choices, and we accept the propaganda as if we’re citizens of the People’s Republic of Korea listening to the fearless leader.
The recuperative powers of the NFL draft’s early rounds were best demonstrated in Cleveland and Jacksonville.
The Browns and owner Jimmy Haslam had been ridiculed for clownish behavior for months, and then they wound up with a dynamic cornerback in Justin Gilbert with the eighth choice, and traded to get the gigantic personality of quarterback Johnny Manziel with the 22nd, and within two hours the clowns were kings in Cleveland.
Jacksonville screwed up its quarterback situation in 2011 by drafting Blaine Gabbert at No. 10 (two spots ahead of Christian Ponder) and was 11-37 over the next three seasons.
On Thursday, the Jags took quarterback Blake Bortles with the third pick. On Friday, they gave him Marqise Lee, the excellent receiver from Southern Cal.
Cheers reign. Hope returns. Only in the NFL can perception change so quickly for so many in the draft.