The NFL tries to class things up by holding its annual college star auction near a famous art museum — Round 1 of the draft is Thursday, 5 p.m. outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. ESPN and the NFL Network have it wall-to-wall.
But if art imitates life, a survey released last week by HBO Real Sports and Marist College Center for Sports Communication Poll indicated that fans generally aren’t so happy when their teams draft problem players — either those connected with domestic violence or performance-enhancing drugs. It comes up as topical now because of Oklahoma 20-year-old running back Joe Mixon as the most polarizing player involved in this year’s draft, based on the video still circulating of him hitting a woman in a pizza parlor in 2014. Without that red flag on his resume, some predict he’d be a first-round choice, in the top 20. With it, he’s at best a second-round gamble. The Oakland Raiders Formerly Of Los Angeles, with the No. 24 choice of the first round and No. 56 overall in the second round, apparently need a running back. Who better than them to take on this challenge as they’re already rolling the dice with a pending move to Vegas, with or without Marshawn Lynch signed on.
Your Los Angeles Chargers have the seventh overall choice and could be hooked on Ohio State safety Malik Hooker. Or not. Your Los Angeles Rams have no first-round picks to concern themselves with, giving away the No. 4 slot they earned in this one to Tennessee based on their over-urgent urge to get Jared Goff last season at No. 1 overall. The Rams don’t pick until No. 37 of the second round.
Aside from Mixon, the picks that will create the most noise appear to be whomever decides to grab LSU running back Leonard Fourtnette, Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson or Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.
How the rest of the week shapes up with the Clippers-Jazz NBA playoff series, the Ducks starting round two of their NHL playoffs against Edmonton and the Dodgers heading to San Francisco.