The wait is (almost) over.
The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft begins Thursday night, so with that in mind, here are three draft-related ups and downs.
1. Trades! What's more exciting than your team moving up in the draft? When the "On the Clock" logo changes during the broadcast, that's compelling television. Finding out what teams gave up – and then immediately declaring that as too much – is also part of the fun. Last year, there were only six trades made in the first round, which was the fewest since 2000. This year, we've already seen the top two picks get dealt, so we could be in store for more fireworks Thursday night.
2. Mock drafts. I'll admit it. I like them. I do one (or several). I recognize that the success rate of any mock draft is going to be far below the Mendoza line, but they do a decent job of giving people an idea of which prospects are generally considered first-round talents. Particularly when they come from reporters who cover the team all year, they provide a good idea as to who might best fit that particular team. Are there too many of them? Probably, but nobody is forced to read them.
3. The three-day format. I'll admit to not liking this when it began a few years ago, but I've come around to it. By structuring it this way, the NFL, of course, maximizes exposure for its product, but it also gives fans and analysts time to review which players are still on the board and who might be available in the coming rounds. And if you're just a casual fan who doesn't necessarily care about Day Three picks, you can enjoy the weekend after your team has completed the first three rounds.
1. Fans complaining about reporters "ruining" picks. A reporter's job is to pass along information that's factually correct. If he or she can do that before anyone else, all the better. So when a reporter learns of a draft pick, he or she absolutely should put that information out there. Usually, that means via Twitter because of the immediacy of that platform. It's understandable that fans wouldn't want the suspense ruined, but the easiest way to make sure that happens is to simply #logoff for a few hours while the draft is on. Problem solved.
2. Teams at the top of the draft taking up all 10 minutes of their time. I get that there are TV considerations and it wouldn't make for a compelling broadcast if the commissioner read off every team's pick in rapid-fire order, but there is no way the first three picks Thursday night should take anywhere close to the allotted 30 minutes. The Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles traded up to the top two spots in the draft with a very good idea of who they would select, while the San Diego Chargers at No. 3 should be ready to go based on the assumption the top two picks will be quarterbacks. The idea that these teams at the top of the draft are getting their moment in the spotlight is ridiculous. There is no honor in picking this high in the draft, even for teams who have traded up for the picks.
3. Grading draft classes as soon as its over. Hey, I get it. Those sweet, sweet page views are what it's all about in our business. But the idea that a draft class should get a grade before any one of its members has put on their new team's uniform is awfully silly. People enjoy reading them, clearly, or else they wouldn't still exist, but getting worked up if Mel Kiper Jr. gave your team a "D" on Sunday really isn't worth it.
Stay with BN Blitz for tons of draft coverage throughout this week.