NR Digital

Draft Board

by Kyle Smith

The NFL’s annual spring draft is a conference of innocence and experience. The players are spring lambs, capering with youth and anticipation. As yet they are unacquainted with their first paychecks, as they are with the unnerving sight of the quarterback-mauling Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison coming on the zone blitz. The teams that arrive to offer them new homes in sleek green pastures are hopeful but burdened with harrowing memories of wayward sheep and rams run amok. For every Super Bowl–winning quarterback like Troy Aikman or John Elway, there’s a bumbling Tim Couch or a Jeff George.

A pleasing sense of recompense for past sorrows fills the air thanks to the rule of selection in reverse order of previous standings. As in Matthew’s promise, the last shall be first. Yet the meek may inherit Joey Harrington, the ex€‘QB and No. 1 draft pick of the Detroit Lions who played like an asthmatic kitten. Because assessing new recruits to join in the 22‑man hurlyburly is notoriously difficult. “Let’s break it down!” cry the analysts, but in football, as in Hollywood, as in the Council of Economic Advisers, nobody knows anything.

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