I have never been to “into” the NFL draft. This year, for some reason, I decided I cared. I listened to some sports radio, did some internet homework, looked into the ESPN.com reports on who the beat writers thought Philly would choose first round, and even did some reading up on other players who would most likely be chosen before the Eagles, with the #22 overall pick, got a chance to choose a guy. I don’t have time for much else, and being the kind of football fan I know I am: Whatever guy Chip & Howie went with, I knew I would shrug and be happy with him.
Not all fans are made equal. As evidinced by a fun conversation my cousin and I had on facebook after the Eagles chose Marcus Smith at the #26 overall pick– they traded down with Cleveland, who picked up Johnny Manziel (who gets the oh-my-god-no-one-can-shut-up-about-me award for last night) for an additional third round pick. My thoughts on that? SMART. The Eagles released Desean Jackson for nothing. And that’s not a hyperbole. They literally let him go off into the wild aka to the Redskins and got nothing, from a fans’ perspective, in return. So to gain another draft pick in the third round especially when one of our later picks already belongs to the Patriots, doesn’t seem like a bad mood.
When poetry contests release results, lists of finalists and winners, do poets gather around the finalists and say, “this guy should have won! What was Gigantic Sequins thinking! If I had been in there when the judges were doing the selecting, it would have been obvious that this poem right here is the one that they need!” Terrible comparison? I’m not sure. I suppose I just don’t understand why any fan would presume that they know better. Is this a Guy Culture Sports Fan thing? I remember in the most recent football memoir I read reading something about how all guys imagine themselves playing when watching sports. Even if they couldn’t do what the guy on the field is doing, they still put themselves into their shoes, they still imagine the glory. Do fans do the same thing during the draft as coaches? Presume that they know better, would have made better decisions and therefore could have built a better team? The reactions I seem to be seeing from fans on social media indicate, yes, that they believe if they would have been the selectors, they would have made better choices than the Eagles did yesterday. I don’t presume to know better. Does this mean I know less than the fans who think they know more? I have a lot of questions.
One of my cousins was particularly angry about this choice and said so on a facebook status I had also commented on. He said that Marcus Smith in the first round was “a waste of a pick.” His point was that he wouldn’t have traded down, he would have traded up. And that the Eagles have other more pressing needs to fill than a DE who is also in other places listed as a LB (I didn’t bother to tell him that he came to Louisville as a QB…) I was listening to Chip Kelly’s press conference when this all went down, and Chip said, in so many words, that 1) There were 6 guys they had their eyes on that they would have taken if the price was right or the opportunity to befell them. 2) All offers to trade up were outrageous. 3) He likes this guy because he’s a great athlete and he’s versatile.
I know, I know, I’m all like “but Chip said…” and “check out these videos…” but again, this comes back to me not presuming I know better than anyone else, me trusting the people in the positions of power to make these decisions for the organization. Am I taking the fun out of it? Are fans supposed to begrudge and inspect and second guess the decisions their teams make? Again, I have a lot of questions.
I guessed that the birds would pick up a defensive player in the first round. So far I’m 1/1. My next guess is out of our next 3 picks (1 in the second round, and 2 in the 3rd,) 2 of those 3 will be WR and one will be a safety IF there are any viable candidates for safety left, which I haven’t done enough homework on to really give you a true good opinion on– and I’m willing to admit so.
Also, WELCOME TO PHILLY, MARCUS SMITH! I hope you do big things here. And not just so that I can tell my cousin to shove it in the fall…