I mean, The Draft.
As some of you know, the NFL Draft is a major holiday for this writer. I am a fan of the NFL. And the Draft is the lifeblood of the league. You get to watch the top dogs come in and then see if and for how long they can grab a hold of some elite status. The entry of an entire new class of professional football players, fresh on the scene and selected by their brand new employers for any number of reasons or circumstances. On Draft day, the direction of an entire franchise is at worst re-imagined, at best re-affirmed, but always on display and up for debate.
Even before it was covered by two cable networks...around the clock...by armies of analysts...and the shadowy overlord of the draft himself, Mel Kiper (Jr.), this day was set aside from others. Me, Bloody Mary's, and Mel Kiper (junior)...check, double-check, triple-dog check. The key is always finding the right balance in the first few Bloody Mary's. NFL Network and ESPN don't really start airing a steady live feed from the draft until the 11 AM EST time slot. This is when Mel Kiper (JR) and HD meet at center court and do a happy dance. Because after this moment, you'll get a lot of energy out of Mel, but by Sunday afternoon he will look like he is 87 years old...possibly about to testify against some mob members...in a case involving a corrupt casino owner and a hard-up cocktail waitress.
Listen, the draft is hard to watch in its entirety. I recently read that Dick Cheney actually considered it "over the line" to make Guantanamo Bay detainees watch anything beyond Round 4. But muscling through it provides a singular feeling of satisfaction. And having muscled through more than one draft, I know a few things. I know Mel's hair is at it's best after 3 Bloody's. I know I care about no less than 5 different people's Top 20 Available Players until the last pick of the draft.
And I know that based on the history of this great event, the Redskins will not be drafting Mark Sanchez.
The name of this entire game is not tipping your hand. The Redskins picking Sanchez would be like Rush Limbaugh voting Republican. No shock, surprise or guesswork. That is not what the draft is all about. Drafting the guy you spend weeks letting the world know you are in love with is anti-Draft. The only possible (and forgiveable) explanation here is that the Redskins are either targeting a mystery player to move and get, or building interest in their region of the draft in the hopes the #13 slot has some value on Saturday and they can trade down out of it.
In Scenario #1, the Redskins are lusting after a guy they think they could trade up and get, but as long as people think they are looking to go and get Sanchez, they might be able to sneak by a team that wants the same guy. Maybe Orakpo, or Oher, or Maybin, or even all the way up for Curry or Jason Smith. If Vinny wanted one of those guys, he might be able to slide up in the draft order under the guise of targeting Sanchez, and then run off with Orakpo. That would be worth the price of admission. Chances of me spilling my Bloody if this happens: 84%.
In Scenario #2, the Redskins initiate some kind of group contagion, where every GM is all of a sudden Michael Jackson, and Mark Sanchez is all of a sudden Webster. As everybody climbs over each other to get some Sanchez, the Redskins gladly trade places with a team in the bottom half of the 1st round and pick up some extra ammo in this draft or even next year's draft.
I know, I know...we're talking about Vinny here. This gives him a lot of credit. But this man spent time shadowing Bill Walsh. In fact, that was his exact job when Bill Walsh came back to the 49ers as a consultant--to shadow Bill Walsh. You have to hope he learned more than the way Walsh liked his coffee. Walsh knew how to work a draft, and you better believe that prior to draft day the world did not know who Walsh wanted more than anyone else. So the idea that Vinny and Danny would somehow go against the wisdom and example of every great draft mind in the history of the NFL and chase after a QB like it was 3rd grade recess seems to me to be the one thing we have to rule out. Because who does that? Seriously...the audacity of this as a strategy makes KevinE's advances on Kelli Johnson seem plausible and well-reasoned.
So I will choose to go the other way here and assume that Vinny is playing the game the right way. He successfully traded down last year. He has not signed any 35+ year olds to any $35+ million dollar deals. He has not traded for any kickers. Maybe some learning is taking place. Maybe we are watching a man with increased responsibility spread his wings and implement ideas and strategies that he gleaned from masters like Bill Walsh.
Maybe I need to put down the Bloody Mary and get ready to kiss my sanity good-bye.