A Plea to Stop the NFL Draft Madness

The Browns are taking a cornerback with the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft. No, they’re enamored with trading down to acquire more picks. Oh, but wait, they really would rather trade up to No. 3 and get a pass rusher. The Browns want quarterback Geno Smith and every member of the front office is prepared to give up his firstborn child in a ritual sacrifice in order to get him.

These are some of the storylines surrounding the Browns right now (the last one especially) in regards to the 2013 NFL draft.

Yes, the draft is here and I am excited. I am excited because it means it will all be over soon.

The NFL draft, while celebrated and speculated over by an increasingly rabid, large number of people, has grown into an uncontrollable monster. Mock drafts are treated like some sort of gospel, despite 99.9 percent of the picks being flat-out wrong. In that regard, they are the draft’s closest resemblance to an actual religion.

But speculation is so rampant, so hilariously wrong at times, that anyone can call him/herself a “draft expert.” The title of “draft pundit” pops up in a lot of Twitter profiles this time of the year. Because there is no consequence for being wrong – literally none at all – there is suddenly a flourish of supposed knowledge about every college player.

There is no denying that the NFL draft is more exciting than other sports’ drafts. In the NFL, a rookie can make an overwhelming impact on a team, sometimes completely reversing the fortunes of a downtrodden organization (see: every other team but the Browns).

So yes, the prospect of a brighter future is a great quality of the draft. But it has been overshadowed by rumors and smokescreens, false reporting and hype that has far exceeded its boundaries.

NFL draft reporting is often the prime example of how not to do everything in journalism. “Sources” and the beautiful “Report:” are mainstays of news stories, especially in the days right before it all begins. It’s as if the NFL, in true supervillain fashion, injected some chemical into the country’s water supply that turns all of us into raving lunatics for the draft, unable to realize how banal and inaccurate it can really be.

In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be so overblown.

But the draft is an unstoppable force, and these words will likely fall on many deaf ears.

The war for fans’ minds has been lost, and the NFL stands victorious.

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