Posted April 18, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Keeler: NFL draft fills void

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

It's that slow time of the year in sports, where not a whole lot is going on.

Baseball season has already lost its early-season luster, leaving us with nothing but one boring, meaningless game after another. The 162-game schedule is just way, way too long for me. College sports, with the exception of baseball (and who really pays attention to that until the College World Series), are done for another year. Of course, the NBA and NHL playoffs are just around the corner. However, with the shortened NHL season, and the fact that the Miami Heat are a lock to win another championship, I find it hard to really get excited for either of those playoffs.

Then there's the NFL draft, which starts next Thursday. Normally, I don't get very excited over the NFL draft, but this year I have to admit I'm looking forward to it.

I'm not completely sure why I'm interested in the draft this year, maybe it's because I'm just bored with some of the other sports right now or maybe it's just that I miss football.
Is it just me or does it seem like years since we saw the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl in the battle of the Harbaugh brothers?

I've always found the draft to be rather boring, just some names being announced in some room in New York. For whatever reason, I'm just happy to have some sort of NFL-related activity going on to kill the dead time in sports.

I don't expect much from any of my favorite teams -- Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Miami Dolphins. Not exactly a powerhouse of teams to like. They've each had their day in the sun, but not lately. The last time I had a Super Bowl to celebrate, John Gruden was known more as "Chucky" than for being that annoying announcer for "Monday Night Football."

I'm not expecting much to change for any of them this year. My favorite team, the Cowboys, will still be the same underachieving team they have been for what seems like a decade.

The Buccaneers are trying to make a deal for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. That would have been a good trade -- three years ago.

The Dolphins made some good moves in the offseason, picking up Mike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe among others, but they also lost versatile running back Reggie Bush and offensive tackle Jake Long.

For all the local Redskins' fans, it was a quiet offseason but they had a pretty good team already. The big key will be how Robert Griffin III is in his return from his knee injury.

Of course a big part of any offseason comes from the draft and if teams are going to get better the draft is a great way to do it.

When I was looking at some of the mock drafts, one of the things that stood out to me was that some so-called experts are predicting Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher to be the top pick, and it seems like everyone has him going in the top five picks. Central Michigan, really? I guess that's part of what makes the NFL draft fun, is that anything is possible.

There could be huge trades and plenty of surprises, and there's sure to be lots of bad picks. One of them I can see off the bat, is anyone picking West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with one of the top picks. There are some that think the Eagles will get him with the No. 4 selection. Smith was good at West Virginia, I'm just not sure how that success will translate to the NFL.

For the Redskins' fans out there, they will have to wait an entire day to see their team make a pick. Washington has the No. 51 overall pick, which is in the second round.

As much as I hate to admit it, the Redskins are in pretty good shape if RG3 can come all the way back from his injury. Still, not having a first-round pick isn't a good thing. They could still trade up for a pick, but that's doubtful.

Of course, many of the best picks come in some of the later rounds. Again, that's an interesting part of the draft -- you just never know when a player might come out of nowhere and turn into the next Tom Brady.

The three-day draft is OK, but everyone likes to go through afterwards and analyze just who did well and who didn't. The truth is no one will really know those answers until the season starts, and I think that's the real reason so many people love the NFL draft. The draft lets us all know that we're that much closer to a new season. It gives us all hope that maybe this will be the year our teams will turn things around.

And maybe that's why I suddenly find myself interested in the draft, after years of liking teams that were regulars in the playoffs (mostly the Cowboys), I'm now like so many others just hoping that one of my teams can turn things around and get back to what they once were.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137