McGrath – Confused? Just 74 days until NFL draft


The NFL season was supposed to end Sunday with the Pro Bowl, but we know better. The NFL season never really ends; it just morphs from postgame rants about the Super Bowl officiating to anticipation for the draft.

The draft, by the way, will be held in 74 days.

I know this because I just checked out a Web site,, showing a ticking clock that read: “75 days, 18 hours, 52 minutes and 5 seconds.” At which point commissioner Roger Goodell, upon introducing himself to an audience of intoxicated Jets and Giants fans, will give the Detroit Lions 15 additional minutes to make their selection.

And the Lions, who almost certainly knew who they wanted when the clock countdown was at 75 days, 18 hours, 52 minutes and 5 seconds, will use all 15 minutes, because why be hasty about any of this?

Unlike some of my media colleagues, I am not a draft snob. I follow the process. I buy one of those magazines analyzing the top 25 prospects at each position. And on Day 1, I watch (or, more precisely, listen) to as much of Chris Berman as is humanly bearable – an hour or two in the morning, maybe another 45 minutes in the afternoon.

But I’m not sure I can survive 74 more days of draft talk, draft rumors and, especially, mock drafts, followed by updated revisions of mock drafts.

Again, I’m not a snob. As a sophomore in high school – this was before sports radio, before cable TV, before the Internet – I made a mock draft list myself, appointing various members of The Football News All-America team to NFL clubs. I went 0-for-the-first round, decided I’d never prepare another mock draft, and then continued with the rest of my regularly scheduled life.

So I guess that makes me the only person in the Western Hemisphere not to be contemplating a 2009 mock draft. Or five of them.

There ought to be a law: One mock draft per draft analyst. That’s it. One. No changes.

OK, there ought to be two laws: One mock draft per draft analyst, and the mock draft can’t be made public until, say, the week before the draft.

As of Sunday, the majority of 10.2 billion online mock-drafters were predicting Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree going to the Seahawks, who pick fourth. But as there were miles to go before we sleep – 75 days, 18 hours, 52 minutes and 5 seconds, not including the extra 15 minutes the Lions will use – nothing is for certain.

The reasoning of analyst Scott Wright of is typical: He sees the Seahawks selecting Crabtree, but notes “Seattle could also be in the market for an offensive lineman here, since Walter Jones is getting up there in years, and if Leroy Hill leaves as a free agent, Aaron Curry would be an ideal replacement on the strong side. The wild card here is quarterback, and if they feel Matt Hasselbeck’s back will continue to be a problem, they would look at Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez.”

In other words, expect the Seahawks to take Crabtree at No. 4, unless they change their mind and go with an offensive lineman, a linebacker or a quarterback.

Thanks, Scott. You’ve left some room for conjecture, but at least we can trust that Seattle won’t be in the market for a defensive tackle.

Unless we read Todd McShay at, who projects Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji as the Seahawks’ first-round choice.

“Raji’s stock is soaring after his dominating showing at the Senior Bowl,” McShay writes, “and a top priority for the Seahawks this season is to find a difference-maker at defensive tackle.”

Fair enough: Add defensive tackle as a possible position Seattle will try to upgrade, along with wide receiver, in the first round. Or the Hawks could also address age concerns at left tackle, health concerns at quarterback, and a free-agent vacancy at linebacker.

You’d think at least one draft-mocker would be familiar enough with the Seahawks to recognize how the cornerbacks were physically overmatched in 2008, and Tacoma’s Rob Rang, senior analyst with, is all over that one. Rang, who recently identified Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith as the Seahawks’ first choice, suspects Ohio State cornerback Malcom Jenkins is on his way to the Seahawks.

Meanwhile, Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki is targeting Smith, the Baylor tackle, as Jones’ eventual replacement.

To recap: The Seahawks’ first choice of the 2009 draft will be Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Such consensus will be achieved in the Seattle war room that general manager Tim Ruskell could make the decision before the 15-minute clock expires.

But don’t discount a scenario that finds Ruskell announcing the first-round choice as Aaron Curry, or B.J. Raji, or Jason Smith, or Malcom Jenkins, or Matthew Stafford, or Mark Sanchez.

Just think, 74 more days until the Lions are on the clock. And 74 more days and 15 minutes until the Lions get things moving.

Seventy-four days of mock drafts, that’s almost enough time to make the fallen-away pro basketball fan in me miss the NBA.


John McGrath