Weiss: NFL Draft Goes Primetime And I Go With It

For the first time in it's 75 year history, the National Football League Draft has decided to move to primetime to capitalize on television ratings.  As we all know, the night time brings out the fun in any situation.  And that is no different with the NFL draft. 

With only the first round occurring Thursday night(with rounds 2 and 3 on Friday and rounds 4-7 on Saturday), it set the stage for a night filled with intrigue and drama.  For fans like me, who cheer for the lowly but lovable Detroit Lions, the draft is like our Superbowl, an annual rite of passage in the spring.  So I thought, what better way to celebrate this event, then to document my experiences and observations watching the draft as your typical football fan, and share them with you.  It will be my own running diary.

I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with running diaries in the blogging world.  ESPN's Bill Simmons has sort of cornered the market on running diaries these days.  However, I got my real inspiration way back in December of 1992 after seeing this column written by the great Mitch Albom in the Detroit Free Press.

Let me set the scene for tonight:

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That's me, settling in for a long night.  You'll notice that I'm accompanied by the Matthew Stafford jersey shirt.  It's present for good luck- the Lions killed the draft last year, headlined by taking Stafford first overall who will hopefully be their franchise quarterback for the next decade and a half.

So let's pick up action at 7:30PM, in my apartment in New York, just 25 blocks from where the draft was being held at Radio City Music Hall.

7:30PM- ESPN coming to us live from Radio City Music Hall!  We get our first look at former Oklahoma quarterback and likely number one pick Sam Bradford, as well as our first look at Mel Kiper's hair, which likely hasn't budged since the 1970's.  Mel's joined by his ESPN colleagues Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, John Gruden and Steve Young.  Everyone's geared up for a great night.

7:32PM- NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell approaches the podium, fresh off his suspending Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger SIX games for conduct unbecoming of on NFL player.  The commish is in total "Don't #*&% with me" mode right now.  He'll suspend anything that looks at him the wrong way.  It's one thing when you suspend guys  named Tank or Pacman.  But Roethlisberger?  Sounds harmless, like a signature sandwich at a small town deli.  And he gets six games when he wasn't even arrested.  He didn't even get to "make it rain."  Sam Bradford better be careful.  If he looks at Goddell funny as he walks to the stage, he could get suspended!

7:34PM- First text from my buddy Kiff back in Michigan.  Draft day is Kiff's favorite time of the year and has been texting me roughly 10-15 times a day since the season ended.  Today's texts centered around the potential trade of Darren McFadden to the Lions.  Didn't end up happening, so his text now simply reads "let the fun begin."

7:36PM-Bradford's on the "big smile cell phone call" now.  Wonder what he's talking about.  Doubt he's ordering take out.  And sure enough, here comes the Commish.  "With the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, The St Louis Ram's select......SAM BRADFORD!"  No surprises here.  Now my Lions are on the clock.  Bring me Ndamukong Suh, if you please.

7:38PM- Gruden declares the Rams "just got a lot better."

7:43PM- Why is Gerald McCoy smiling like he's about to get picked?  Not sure I like the looks of this.  He's not going to be the Lion's pick is he?  Is he???

7:44PM-Phew.  Ndamukong Suh, The House of Mother &^%*ing Spears, is a Detroit Lion!  We just added a major force to our defensive line!  Suh is humble and excited in his Susie Kolber interview.  Can't wait for him to suit up in the Honalulu Blue and Silver.  Berman tells us the Lions' defense gave up the most offensive touchdowns in the league last year.  That trend ends now.  Text from Todd, another friend from Michigan, who perhaps knows more about football than anyone else I know.  This is what he has to say:  "Suuuuuuuuuuuuh!"  Simple.  To the point.  I like it.

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7:47PM- A poll asks for what grade you'd give the Lions pick.  Someone actually votes to give us a D!  Yeah, I don't think so.  I think I'd rather see a poll for "Who Has the Worst Hair?" between Kiper and Gruden.

7:53PM- Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy from Oklahoma goes #3 to the Tampa Bay Bucs and has a huuuuge bear hug for the Commish.  My brother Zack chimes in from the other end of the couch: "I'm glad we didn't draft him.  He looks too much like (disgraced Detroit Mayor) Kwame Kilpatrick."

7:59PM- In a bit of a surprise, Goddell announces Washington's selection of offensive lineman Trent "Silverback" Williams, the third Oklahoma Sooner to go in the top four picks!

8:03PM- In an awkward post pick interview, Williams refuses to explain Goddell's Silverback joke.  Hmmmmm...

8:06PM- Tennessee safety Eric Berry is heard on the phone "I always wanted to be a Chief!"  I guess that means my GeekWeek mock draft is wrong, unless the Cleveland Browns changed their name to the Chiefs without telling me.

8:16PM- The ESPN crew debates whether new Seahawk coach Pete Carroll should use his first pick on solid offensive lineman Russell Okung, or talented running back CJ Spiller.  Carroll makes the smart pick, and chooses Okung, the left tackle from Oklahoma State.

8:23PM- The Cleveland Browns are on the clock.  And while they have the worst QB's in the league, it's Florida cornerback Joe Haden with red eyes.  Either he is overcome with emotion by being chosen by the Browns or he's about to fail a drug test.

8:24PM- Cleveland selects Haden.  Drug test results still pending....

8:30PM- Still having pipe dreams of Darren McFadden, Kiff texts to tell me that he hopes Oakland picks CJ Spiller so that they could still trade McFadden to the Lions.  I tell Kiff he is being stupid as that would be a ridiculous pick.  KIff responds with "but this is Al Davis we're talking about here!"  Kiff has a point.

8:31PM- The Oakland Raiders select.....Rolando McClain???  This is a bit of a reach.  Kiper is baffled.  And not picking Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen means that the Bruce Gradkowski Era continues in Oakland??  This is further proof that Al Davis is, in fact, still alive.

8:33PM- The picks are flying in now!  The Commish is really getting a workout walking to that podium.  The Buffalo Bills shock the room by taking CJ Spiller, the electric running back out of Clemson.  I thought they would go offensive line here.  Steve Young loves the pick.

8:38PM- Text from Todd.  He thinks the McClain pick was not very Raider-like.  He is kind of right, but with so many people confused at the pick, it sounds like the perfect Raider pick to me.

8:40PM- Now THIS one is confusing...The Jacksonville Jaguars select Tyson Alualu, the defensive tackle from Cal??  That's a head scratcher, as he was much further down on most people's lists.  Looks like the "Tim Tebow for Mayor" campaign in Jacksonville will have to be put on hold for now.

8:45PM-First trade of the night!  San Fran trades up and swaps picks with the Broncos, then uses the pick to take Anthony Davis, the offensive tackle out of Rutgers.  The Jimmy Clausen Watch is now officially on.  Could he really have an Aaron Rodgers/Brady Quinn type fall to the bottom of the first round?  Or, even better, out of the first round altogether??  This is hilarious to me as I think Clausen is a total douche bag.  If it's any consolation, if this were a d-bag draft, he'd probably be the #1 pick.

8:50PM- The Chargers get in on the trading action and move all the way up to switch places with Miami at number 12 and grab the big running back Ryan Matthews from Fresno State.

8:55PM- Denver trades down AGAIN!  This time to the Philadelphia Eagles, in exchange for the 24th overall pick and a few mid round selections.

8:56PM- The New York based crowd at the draft: "Eagles Suck!  Eagles Suck!"

8:59PM- Eagles Suck select Brandon Graham from Michigan and my Wolverines finally have something to smile about again.

9:05PM- Taking a break from the trading for a bit, Seattle stays put and selects Earl Thomas, the safety out of Texas.

9:10PM- I've about had it with that stupid new Taco Bell commercial.  I don't care if it IS called a "Tortada."  I will continue to call it a sandwich and you will have to deal with it.

9:13PM- The New York Football Giants are on the clock and this partisan New York crowd is buzzing.  Meanwhile, Chris Mortenson is speculating how far Jimmy Clausen will fall.  I am entertained.

9:15PM- The Giants select yet another defensive lineman in Jason Paul-Pierre, the raw but talented defensive end from South Florida.  Much of the crowd has not heard of him and doesn't know how to react.  Personally, I would never trust a guy with three first names.  And is it just me, or does Paul-Pierre's sister/girlfriend sitting next to him look like she'd be pretty tough against the run in a 4-3 defense?  Zack exclaims "she has tree trunks for legs!"

9:20PM-9:40PM- The next 5 picks...

Tennessee- Derrick Morgan (DT, Georgia Tech); San Fran- Mike Iupati (OG, Idaho); Pittsburgh- Maurkice Pouncey (C/OG, Florida); and Houston- Kareem Jackson (CB, Alabama).

9:41PM- Erin Andrews reports live from the Clausen camp in Palm Springs to tell us how Jimmy is "holding up."  He says he is doing "fine," but I would just assume see more of Erin thank you very much.

9:42PM-The Cincinnati Bengals select tight end Jermaine Gresham (yes, another Oklahoma Sooner) and I finally get a pick right on my mock draft.  Yes, it's the first correct answer since #2.  That's a worse completion percentage than JaMarcus Russell, and that is REALLY saying something.

9:46PM- The New England Patriots trade their pick to Denver, who picks wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to replace the recently traded Brandon Marshall.  Goddell is still dishing out the hugs, but he is clearly losing steam in a hurry.

9:48PM- Berman tells us that New England now has now accumulated a whopping 13 picks in the draft!

9:50PM- Reporting from Denver, Ed Werder tells us that Denver picked Demaryius Thomas because he reminded coach Josh McDaniels of...... Brandon Marshall.  Steve Young wonders why they traded Marshall in the first place if they wanted to draft someone just like him.  Tom Jackson responds. "That's a very good question."

9:52PM- The Packers choose Bryan Bulaga (OL, Iowa).  I thought offensive linemen were supposed to be blue collar, meat and potatoes kind of guys.  But doesn't Bulaga sound like some sort of caviar?

10:00PM- New England trades yet ANOTHER pick, this time to Dallas, and the Cowboys select wide receiver Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State.  It seems to me that Dallas has too many receivers on the roster now.  This should be interesting to see how this plays out next year.  My phone buzzes.  It's Todd, who tells me that Bryant gets compared to Chad Ochocinquo, and he's not sure that's a good thing.

10:04PM- Wait a minute.....they're showing Tim Tebow now and he looks REALLY happy.  And what's that....I think he just put on a Denver Broncos hat!  Is he really about to get picked??? THIS early???

10:08PM- Sure enough, Commissioner Goddell makes it official and announces that Baltimore has traded their pick to Denver, who selects Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida, and college football's Golden Boy (you either love him or hate him).

10:09PM- The ESPN guys love the pick, except Kiper, who hates it.  He doesn;t think Tim Tebow will be a good NFL quarterback anytime soon.  Kiff: "The Broncos are #$%^ing morons!"  Zack:  "Great spot for Tebow to end up!  At least in the Mile High City he'll be closer to God."

10:13PM- Least surprising moment of the night- Tim Tebow thanks God.

10:17PM- The Arizona Cardinals take Dan Williams, the big defensive tackle from Tennessee and I get another pick right from the mock draft.  Alert the media!

10:22PM- I decide it's finally time to order dinner.

10:25PM- ESPN airs "highlights" from Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn's historic drops in previous drafts.  As usual, Berman tries to put a positive spin on it.  Quiet, sell out.

10:27PM- New England actually keeps a pick for once and makes a selection, choosing Devin McCourty, the physical cornerback out of Rutgers who's name I continually misspelled in the mock draft, insisting on calling him McCOUNTY.  Sorry about that, Devin.

10:30PM- Miami- Jared Odrick (DT, Penn State)

10:36PM- Another hometown pick is looming.  The Jets, who are already having a very active offseason, are on the clock.  They choose talented cornerback Kyle Wilson from Boise State.  The Jets, who already have Darrelle Revis and the newly acquired Antonio Cromartie on the roster, are now loaded at cornerback.

10:42PM- The ESPN broadcast team is now openly lobbying for Jimmy Clausen to be the next pick by Minnesota.  And that can only mean one thing....off to Palm Spring for more Erin Andrews!  Niiiice.

10:44PM- What the....???  The LIONS have traded up!  They gave their second round pick and one of their seventh round picks to Minnesota in exchange for their first round pick.  The teams also swapped fourth rounders.  There's something about your team trading up that always gets the juices flowing.  I frantically go through my notes to see who the possible choices could be.

Text from Kiff, from the mid afternoon "Whatever happens, I don't want Jahvid Best.  He's too small and he has concussion problems.  I do NOT like him."

Next shot we see is Jahvid Best on his cellphone, looking like he's about to become a very rich man.  And he's the pick!  Welcome to the Lions, Mr. Best.  The guy is fast as hell, though he is a bit undersized.

Kiff: "Noooooooo!"

Todd: "Say what you will, but this guy has some pretty awesome highlights.  He would definitely make an all Youtube team."

Zack: "Wait, who is this again?"

10:56PM- Indianapolis- Jerry Hughes (OLB, TCU)

11:00PM- Apparently, Drew Brees, of the World Champion Saints and newly chosen cover boy for Madden 2011, will be making the honorary selection for the Saints to close out the first round.  But first he poses for a brief photo op.  Todd: "Brees standing their with the Commish and those two media guys is still the smallest guy in the group."  If this guy won Super Bowl MVP, then anything is possible!  On a side note, Commissioner Goddell looks totally spent.  He can't wait to get out of there.  Needs to get his beauty sleep in case anyone needs suspending tomorrow.

11:03PM- Brees closes it out for the Saints by choosing Patrick Robinson, a cornerback out of Florida State.  That means that we will go into tomorrow's round 2 of the draft with Jimmy Clausen still on the board!  Hahahahaha.  That's just precious.  I think my favorite anti-Notre Dame cheer from while I was at Michigan would work nicely here: "@#$% the Irish!" Clap. Clap. Clap clap clap.

Well my friends, that will do it for me this evening.  I hope that you too spent the evening eating bad diner food, and were entranced by the building drama and twists and turns of draft night.  We still have six more rounds to go over the next two days.  Should be even more craziness in store.  But for now, I bid you adieu.

Oh, and because I wanted to get in on the draft day fun, I staged a private draft at home.  In case you're wondering, I was the #1 pick....

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Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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