We’re as up on the NFL draft these days as a kid sticking his finger in a light socket. It may be electrifying TV to some, but to us, it’s a shock to the system that really doesn’t do anything except fringe the hair on the back of our necks.
For USC football followers who feel they’ve invested time and loyalty to the program and now want to see some kind of payoff, this is an interesting time. It’s also an indication to Pete Carroll that, when he’s recruiting more talent, he can always point to weeks like this as a way to get some wide-eyed player to see that, in L.A., this really is the taste of the NFL with all the Hollywood that comes with it.
The Adrenaline rush that local NFL fans have this week is most often related not to whom the local team will take, it’s what local talent gets taken.
We’ve come across today’s mock NFL draft in The Sporting News (linked here) has Clay Matthews going No. 15 to Houston, Brian Cushing going No. 19 to Tampa Bay and Rey Maualuga going No. 20 to (sorry) Detroit. And Fili Moala at No. 32 to Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh.
Throw in Mark Sanchez at No. 8 to Jacksonville, and that’s five USC players in the first round of what some experts say will be known more for its depth rather than star talent.
Add to that the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated, Austin Murphy has the cover story featuring Cushing, Maualuga and Matthews, writing:
“While it’s rare for a school to have three or more first-rounders, it would be unprecedented for three in the same position group to go that high. As the trio of 22-year-olds known as Cush, Clay and Rey sweated through Pro Day field drills, along with undersized outside ‘backer Kaluka Maiava, who is projected as merely a middle-round pick, hard-boiled Indianapolis Colts scout John Becker told (USC coach Pete) Carroll he’d never seen so much talent at one position on the same team at the same time. It was with some justification, then, that at the end of those drills the linebackers drew close, joined their right hands and shouted, for the final time together and without apologies to Penn State, ‘L-B-U!’ “
In the SI mock draft, Peter King has Sanchez going No. 4 to Seattle — “Incumbent Matt Hasselbeck turns 34 this year and missed much of last season with a bad back. Sanchez can be groomed for a year or two, then be ready to play.” — with Cushing at No. 15 to Texas, Matthews at No. 25 to Miami and Maualuga at No. 26 to Baltimore.
The power of the NFL is on display in full force this week. Everyone who’s a football fan has a vested interest in this — college and pro. Even high school. The dreams begin this week, the payoff to all the bumps and bruises and broken things along the way. Some dreams are broken. Some are made.
And everyone has an opionion about who’ll take which player in what position. It’s all talk until it happens. And there are two networks — ESPN and the NFL Network — to pick between to watch.
If it’s a really nice day Saturday, we’ll likely be outside enjoying it instead of glued to the TV at the 1 p.m. start (4 p.m. in the East, where it’ll bleed into a prime time reality show). But if the ADD kicks in and we’re drawn to this thing unexpectedly, we’d end up doing whatever it takes to watch. Even if means sticking a knife into a outlet to get the electricity back after an unexpected power outage.