2019 NFL Draft show rivals some Super Bowl halftime performances

You have to hand it to the National Football League. No other professional sports league puts on a show like the NFL. This would be true if I was referring to the pageantry of the Super Bowl and the magnificent halftime extravaganzas. But when you realize that I am referencing the offseason draft, well …

If you consider yourself a football fan, then you were perched in front of the tube to watch the 2019 NFL Draft. Some ingenious person came up with the idea of holding the festivities outdoors and it seems to have generated a rave reaction among fans.

The draft was held in Nashville, Tennessee. A huge stage was constructed at the end of Broadway Street and fans filled the thoroughfare for what seemed like miles. Did anybody else get the feeling that the site was Times Square and the event was welcoming in the New Year?

I have to say that some of the outfits worn by these football fans were reminiscent of the revelers in the Big Apple!

One of the cool parts of Draft Day is the NFL bringing back former stars to announce picks. It was fun to see the likes of Jim Brown and Mean Joe Green again. Current players such as DeAndre Hopkins — who had to win the best hair award — were also used. Hey, it’s part of the show!

As far as the draft itself went, I must admit that I was a somewhat disinterested spectator for the first round. If your team does not have a pick on opening night, the excitement level wanes. I was interested in seeing how the top picks went, but unless the Browns traded up to get in on the action, the first night would be a little boring.

Last year was a different story. Cleveland had the first and the fourth pick in round one — a testament to being horrible — and that had all Browns fans on the edge of their seats.

You do recall the 2018 draft, do you not? General Manager John Dorsey selected Baker Mayfield the Oklahoma quarterback with that first pick, leaving many Browns fans shaking their heads. Yes, I was included in that group.

I wasn’t enamored with Mayfield, but what upset me is that I felt we could have taken Saquon Barkley with the first pick and still gotten Mayfield at No. 4. Then again, I don’t have that much football knowledge and the way the Browns season went last year, one cannot criticize the results.

The first pick of this year’s draft was made by the Arizona Cardinals. They selected Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, quarterback from Oklahoma. It was not lost on me that Oklahoma has the last two No. 1 picks and both were quarterbacks.

More significantly it was interesting that Arizona made a quarterback its top pick for the second straight year. In 2018 the Cardinals took Josh Rosen from UCLA with the 10th overall selection. After one season they must have decided Rosen was not going to be their franchise QB, but the undersized Murray would be.

That meant Rosen would likely be traded and he was, sent to the Miami Dolphins as they search for their newest star quarterback. It is a quarterback-driven league and everyone wants their version of Tom Brady.

Two other QB’s went in the first round. The New York Giants, looking to replace an aging Eli Manning, took a flyer on Daniel Jones from Duke. The Washington Redskins selected Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State. It will be interesting to see which of these three will prove to be a wise selection. Maybe all three or maybe none! Time will tell.

As for the Browns, their first pick was scheduled to be the 49th overall. My hope that they would trade up to give me more reason to watch the first round didn’t happen. They did however go up three spots in Round Two to select Greedy Williams a cornerback from LSU.

This guy, who resembles Chris Rock, is certainly not lacking in the confidence department. He suggested that he and Denzel Ward — the fourth pick in last year’s draft — would shut down receivers on both sides of the field. He also feels like the Browns are going to go to the Super Bowl.

If only it was that easy …

So the 2019 Draft is in the books. Football fans are already analyzing their favorite teams’ fortunes. It is easy to be an armchair quarterback; not so much to be a real one.

Time will tell as to whether your team had a successful draft. What I really want to know is how the NFL will stage the 2020 draft. Maybe a beach party in Miami?

I’m just saying …

Al Stephenson is a columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.

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