Fear and Loathing at the 2012 NFL Draft
The sun was setting. Or someone had turned off the lights in the Denver hotel room. I’m not sure which. That wasn’t helping matters along. It also wasn’t helping that somewhere on the scraps of toilet paper that served as post-it notes hanging from the ceiling was the address for the 2012 NFL Draft. If only I could shed some light on the ceiling. I had a hard liner ticket so a seat wasn’t the problem, it was just where to go. Note to self: last time I try to fill up the weekend prior to the draft with the some judging at the Medical Cannabis Cup. The last undistorted thing I recall was getting medicated on some OG Kush and catching a buzz kill reminder over cavity searches. Ah, good, the ceiling came into focus again. Unfortunately, it took the ole lady delivering an elbow into the ribs to prompt me from nodding off again and keeping my eyes open this time. She muttered something about paying her a bonus not to put me in a coma. I trained the camera with high optical zoom at the ceiling and started panning.
The Rams were granting access to the Draft War Room this year and hell if I was going to let a minor detail like journalistic credentials get in the way of reporting on the real fear and loathing taking place at this year’s draft. Already the new regime was signaling that this year was not going to be just like any other year. No, this year, adults were going to the party. And the ruckus started in short order.
Washington parted with three 1st rounders and a 2nd for the Rams 2nd overall pick. There wasn’t a GM who didn’t loathe the haul the Rams had garnered. It wasn’t just that the Rams had 2 future first round picks coming, it’s that they had just broadened their options. No one could foretell where the Rams would potentially pick in 2013 & 2014, but everyone knew that as their needs changed over the months due to injury or what-have-you, they could bundle for trade bait or stand pat and take need. That trade was such a coup that GMs feared being left out and scrambled to maneuver themselves into pat-themselves-on-the-back mode. And typical of a kid feeling left out, pundits kept playing it like a story of “you-could –have-done-better-if-only-you-did-it-my-way.”
Well after finding the address and getting through the TSA (Thousands Standing Around), I arrived just in time to hear that the Rams had traded down again but only for a mid-2nd rounder. Going down to 14?? Would Floyd still be there?? Oh, lordy, this was blue pill time. Or was it time for the red one? How’d that go again -- you take the blue pill, the story ends, and you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. Or you take the red pill, stay in wonderland, and get shown how deep the rabbit hole goes. Oh, what the hell, I threw caution to the wind and took them both.
The clock stood still. Even worse it started drooping like a Dali painting. 10 came in. 11. 12. And then one held their breath. Arizona was on the clock. It wasn’t like they needed a WR. But hell, they weren’t going to let someone from their own division get any help. Like a petty little child who’d rather take their ball home than let someone else play, AZ took Floyd. “So there St Louis, make me take the Cardinals elsewhere? A pox on you and yours. You can’t have him. Wha, wha, wha.” It was a brave face the Rams execs put on for the pseudo-reality program – “This is your Draft Life.” They took Brockers. They insisted it’s who they wanted along. Well, they did need DT help too. But for a 2-14 team, that’s probably true for almost every position. Well, if that didn’t set off fear alarms. Day one in the books and still no WR.
But that was one of the beauties of this year’s draft. The Rams would have all night to bone up on who they wanted next. Not once but twice. In neither case would they be rushed by prior events. They could revisit prospects and issues all night long, two nights long. It would be a luxury few thought much of. But come the next day, the rabbit hole got curiouser and curiouser. On day two, the Rams took a WR. But from Appalachia State? Doesn’t that program offer schooling on reflux stills and proper placement of thumpers?? Sure, he may be as big, tall, and fast as Div I players, but how much has he proven himself against Div I defensive backs? And again at the start of day three, the Rams took another WR. This one fast and elusive. Together they may yet prove to be the WRs the Rams have been loathe to find in recent times. But with Holt and Bruce calling you to come out and play this year, this may be the year of the WR after all.
At least the Rams can’t say they didn’t have enough time to sort out their options, they had two overnighters to accomplish it. And if not, well the Rams can try in 2013 and try again in 2014 … it’s not like they don’t have some draft picks to shop around.
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