It’s hard to believe: the big event that we’ve been looking forward to for months and speculating about for weeks on end is finally, nearly, almost here. After all the expert analysis and endless press coverage, it will all become official in just a few days.
But enough about Kate and Wills.
The other big to-do this week, as you probably know if you’ve checked this site even once since January, is the NFL Draft. At least for me, it can not get here soon enough. I’ve enjoyed following all the pre-draft talk and predictions and revised predictions and hand-wringing and occasional name-calling. It’s fun and all. But I feel like we’ve been gearing up for a post-season game, except that we’ve had to wait four months from the end of the regular season for it even to begin.*
*Like in college football.
Those of you who’ve followed what I write here—and particularly what I’ve been writing in these pre-draft, post-lockout, free-agency-bereft days—know that what I have to share trends more toward mockery than anything as labor-intensive as mock drafting. Hell, if I mocked the draft, it would probably sound something like this: “Oooh, look at me! I’m the NFL Draft! I’m sooooo $%#& important! Everybody wants to talk about me, because I’m the NFL Draft!” Get it?*
*Which is not to say that I would ever mock those who mock the draft. Except for Mel Kiper, Jr., but that is mostly hair-related.
In part, I think it’s laziness. I just don’t have the patience to evaluate potential picks beyond those in the top echelon (as determined by others). Honestly, I don’t really have the urge to watch game film of some outside linebacker from a college team I’ve never followed who may or may not go in the third round, any more than I want to see another YouTube clip of your toddler being cute. Again, nothing personal, but let me know when he does something truly remarkable—like, say, getting drafted by the Chiefs—and I’ll want to know all the details.
And maybe it’s shallow, but I only get truly excited for a party once I see the guest list. Now that the schedule is out, we know where and when the festivities will be held. Starting Thursday, we’ll know a lot more about who’s going to be there.
The 2011 Draft, both despite and because of all the disruption in the NFL, is worth watching more than the last few editions. Though this is reviewing what we already know, it bears repeating that there is the potential this year for a lot more drama for Chiefs fans, for a number of reasons:
> No free agency (so far) means the draft is the only way (as of now) that the Chiefs or any team can try to meet their needs for the next season (if it happens).*
* And now Judge Susan Richard Nelson, of course, has thrown a nice curveball—forgive the use of a baseball metaphor—by issuing the NFLPA-requested injunction just 72 hours before the draft. Technically, the lockout is lifted, though the owners, naturally, are requesting a stay (as in, “Stay!”) that would keep things as they are. However, if they don’t get it soon enough—or at all—and/or the league doesn’t have a chance to throw together new rules governing new deals, there could be a brief but very intense free-agent free-for-all that would make the upcoming draft seem rather tame (even with the revived prospect of draft-day player trades). If that were to happen, I’d love to see the greatest football minds among us throw together a Mock Free Agency.
> For the first time in awhile, the Chiefs are looking to improve a team worth improving—in other words, unlike last year and/or the year before when we hoped for the best building blocks for a better future, there are now a few critical needs to be addressed. If addressed properly, the impact could be felt immediately. Yes, last year’s draft class made a huge difference from the first half of the first game, but that was also a function of many parts gelling at once and we were all a bit surprised (and giddy). This year, it will feel like we are really building something.
> As a result of last year, the Chiefs actually have more than just two or three teams picking ahead of them—20, in fact, if the current order holds. That means 20 opportunities for some team to do something completely unexpected that will leave the Chiefs’ brain trust improvising.
> Speaking of unexpected… Whoever the Chiefs pick at #21 will be somewhat unexpected (and exciting or mind-boggling or frustrating) to at least some of us.
> And let’s not forget: These guys will be there.
Once this draft is over and done with and all of the pieces are (hopefully) in place, I’ll look forward to taking stock of what we have, following the development of these rookies and the rest of the team (if, indeed, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows them to develop), and turning attention to the Chiefs’ upcoming opponents. And mocking them all along the way.
But for now, I want to thank everyone—the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs, all the parties of the NFL labor dispute (with a special shout out to the owners), and, most of all, the Arrowhead Addict draft experts and the entire AA crew—who is responsible for getting me more excited for this particular NFL draft than any that has come before.
I’m ready when you are. Start the clock…