From the FanPosts. -Joel
Radio City Music Hall. A grand stage of sites and sounds that have orchestrated around some of the highest profiles in the world.
And in the month of April, it is the home of the NFL Draft. A moment in time where young men are born into a world that will forever change the landscape of their lives. It's a time of joyous celebrations, head shaking disbeliefs, and an excuse to be over-indulgent in the excess of spirits, and post holiday cheer.
But to the not-so-casual sports fan, the NFL Draft is almost akin to a holiday. In a way, the Draft is like a gift to the fans. A three day Christmas in April, filled to the brim with an assortment of presents and surprises.
Every year I find myself on my couch, a bottle of Vermont's finest in hand (Woodchuck makes a terrific hard cider. Although I prefer their Seasonal Blends to the Amber, which is about three tads too sweet), and I sit, eagerly awaiting that moment when the infamous phrase is uttered "The Kansas City Chiefs are now on the clock."
As the clock begins to tick down, and the media heads fervently start talking about what players they think my team must take, I find myself edging closer and closer to the TV. Like a bug being drawn to light, I can't shake the spellbinding trance.
Time seems to slow. The air becomes thick and heady. My grip tightens around the neck of my now half empty bottle, which might explain the heady feeling, and the suspense ratchets up harder than a Hitchcockian classic. Time crawls at a snails pace.
And then the moment arrives. The name is pulled like a shimmering Golden Wonka Ticket, and as the Commissioner begins to read, I feel myself slowly rise to my feet, arms stretching towards the screen as if in a attempt to silently gesture who is the pick!?
And then I realize who's name has been called.
And my rooftop gets blown off by the chorus of song and furious dancing that ensues. Or torn off by the tantrums of an ill tempered rage beast, as I scream to the heavens WHAT THE
F*CK WERE YOU THINKING!?
Yes, those are the joys of being the not-so-casual sports fan.
I want to take you back in time now. Step into my backwoods Eastern European DeLorean, and take a ride with me. Once we hit 88mph (and 1.21 Gigawatts!), we'll be going all the way back to the year 2012. A year that marked the highlight of a new era for the not-so-casual sports fan. The era of the Rookie Wage Scale.
Ah, 2012. Following the reign of the fabled Iron Rabbit, as Chinese lore has it, 2012 ushers in the year of the Dragon! A time of new beginnings and blessings! Obviously that was a reverse psych sugar coating to the Chiefs 2012 season, and moments that I never want to revisit, but it fit the 2012 draft to a "T"!
And what happened in the 2012 draft? A few things! 19 trades happened within the first round of the 2012 draft. Historically marking the most trades ever in any first round since the 1970 merger. Six of the top seven teams moved out of their designated positions. The kinetic flurry of activity was comparable to the storm in the Life Of Pi.
And the dreaded return of the hideous rage beast tore through my house like an F5.
Speaking of bad storms, AP was all but swept away in the tornado of rantings and ravings by the not-so-casual fans (myself included) in the aftermath of F5 Dontari Poe. At the time of that pick, I'm pretty sure I was giving the Chief's final draft grade an F5 because dammit I was
pissed really mad!
Looking back on that moment in time though? The thunderous wrath that raged from my fingertips was pointless and ignorant. During the Chief's woeful 2012 campaign, that tornado of a pick become one of the few bright spots on this beleaguered team.
Now fast forward to today. The backwoods Eastern European DeLorean slams back into the present with a roar of crackling fire and a sizzle of rubber scorched pavement. The knowledge of the new era is fresh in my mind. But the acrid stench of the #1 overall pick in the 2013 draft is unbearable.
Glossing over the trade value charts, rumors, and the knowledge that this year has no clear cut #1 pick, the chances of trading down begin to sputter and fade. But remembering the freshness of the new era. The trading frenzy! The sheer number of trades from a draft just one year removed! It began to stoke that little waning spark. And then the question.
What if the Chiefs CAN trade down?
I read something today as I scoured the innerwaves for some tidbit of insight into the future. As I read the article, I felt a warm tingling sensation. It almost made me feel like Spider-Man, but then it was more of a flash of hope, dashed through my chest like a Spartan 300 spear.
Peter King from Sport's Illustrated, was reporting that Thomas Dimitroff, GM of the Atlanta Falcons, is looking to trade up. And he's looking to trade up into the top 5! Whoa! I thought. That's insane!
Peter King of Sports Illustrated reports that the Falcons are trying to trade up from their current first-round pick, which is No. 30 overall. King said he doesn't know which player or players the Falcons are targeting, but they apparently like someone whom they expect to be off the board before No. 30 overall.
The Falcons are high on pass rusher Dion Jordan from Oregon and cornerback Dee Millinerfrom Alabama, sources said. Both are seen as the best at their position by many -- with a considerable drop-off -- and both are acute needs for the Falcons, who believe they are on the cusp of a title and are operating as if they are a player or two away (as the Jones trade evidenced).
The Falcons are also keeping cap room available and budget for the eventual extension coming for quarterbackMatt Ryan. But under this new CBA, even top-five picks are huge bargains if they pan out. Atlanta cut starting right tackle Tyson Claborecently to help create more room, and Clabo is an option for Miami, if it doesn't land Albert, and Dallas is also exploring tackle options as well, with Doug Free still a potential cut there.
A quote from Thomas Dimitroff himself, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"If you feel that you want to package picks to go up and get the player that you feel can help the team, well, thenyou use your draft picks as fodder to go after that player," Dimitroff said.
In 2010 Dimitroff traded up to #6 overall with the Cleveland Browns to secure Julio Jones. The Falcons traded away two 1st round picks, a 2nd, and two 4ths. What I found most interesting in all of this though, was this:
But under this new CBA, even top-five picks are huge bargains if they pan out.
The Falcons feel that their team is not only a legitimate contender, which I would agree with, but that they only need a piece or two to get them to where they want to be. While many might think that piece would be a head coach that can stop the hemorrhaging of home-field playoff defeats, Dimitroff sees it differently. And that's exciting.
My DeLorean is the backwoods Eastern European model, so it only goes backwards in time. I can't tell you what the future holds, just that there are some encouraging signs in motion.
We've had about as bad a run of luck as any team ever did these past few years in KC. It's about time that turned around for us. Hopefully with an opportunistic head coach and GM, waging holy football in their war room, fighting the good fight in their oversized, nacho stained, Hawaiian suits of armor, they can turn this April into a true not-so-casual fans' Christmas.
We could sure use it.