- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 24, 2013


This column has upside.

SEE ALSO: NFL draft: Redskins likely will watch from afar on opening night

Not enough to land in the green room at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday for the NFL’s three-day made-for-television draft extravaganza, complete with hairsprayed hosts screeching about fast-risers and high motors, hugs from smiling commissioner Roger Goodell and don’t forget the tears.

Or the upside.

The kind you don’t need the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test to peer into the dusty recesses of your psyche to see. Same for combines and pro days and Senior Bowls. Or overeager NFL front-office types who quizzed prospects on just about every imaginable topic, including the unfortunate queries if they, um, like girls.

The measurables are off the charts. What those mysterious charts are isn’t clear; no one wants their measurables to be on them come draft day. Same with makeup. Keep that off any charts, too.

No red flags. No concerns about fake girlfriends or health or social media profiles or, shudder, the dreaded “character” catch-all. That, more often than not, is code for being busted for smoking marijuana or similar low-level skullduggery that can make those hopes of a stroll onto the stage with the commissioner go up in smoke.

This is a world of football smarts. Reps and explosive first steps. Look tests and work ethic. Big boards and busts. Playmakers and intangibles. Rising stock. Falling stock. Tweeners. Value picks. Sleepers and, no, that’s different than what happens if you’re still watching come Saturday when Mr. Irrelevant’s name is called.

And potential. Loads of potential. Everywhere potential. Because he’s definitely, breathlessly, without a doubt the next …

Oh, wait, we’re still on the clock.

There are draft experts of every shape and size to offer their take and approximately 27,431 mock drafts — heck, why not predict all seven rounds? — that litter the Internet. Sources and smokescreens. Mocks and, well, mocking the mocks.

Each prospect is relentlessly picked apart. Nothing is too minute or obscure. Height. Weight. Experience. Too little. Too much. By the time Goodell hands out jerseys, everyone is flawed. His 40-yard dash is slow, but the first 10 seconds, thank goodness, are fine. There are shuttle runs. Three-cone drills. Bench presses. Vertical leaps. Arm length.

Can he make all the throws? Does he get happy feet in the pocket because, well, no one wants a quarterback with those. Is he durable? Hands soft enough? What about that college competition level?

All that’s missing is a trip through the American Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course and a 500-word essay on the deeper socio-economic ramifications of the pistol offense.

Welcome to football in April.

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