A Draft Night Odyssey

By Johnny Ginter on May 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I have this weird, grotesque fascination with Mel Kiper.

Like, I know he's this incredibly obnoxious 80s businessman who fell through time that yells vagueries about SIZE and SPEED, but there's something about his image that draws me to him, like a fly to a piece of rotten fruit with really goofy hair.

For instance: I've always felt that Mel Kiper is one of those people who seem okay to look at on TV, but if you had to sit within three feet of them in person, you'd be supremely grossed out by the pound of makeup and hairgel shouting spittle at you every fifteen minutes. I can just imagine the feeling of watching helplessly as every bead of sweat that drips from one of his pores has it's odor amplified a thousand times by the 375 dollars worth of cheap cologne he's put on his deceptively gross and flabby body (I'm just guessing, maybe he's in super amazing shape and just doesn't force his coworkers to repeatedly remind viewers of that fact like Skip Bayless does).

Also, I don't really know what purpose the Mel Kiper as he appears on ESPN serves in society outside of draft night. I'm sure in his personal life he's a lovely guy, but on TV he's like some kind of irritating football Cthulhu. Released every so often, he wrecks some havoc, eats a few villagers, and then returns back to the briny deep after reminding us of how dumb this whole enterprise is.

Which it is. The NFL Draft, I mean. But I'm frequently wrong about such things, so my desire for journalistic integrity coupled with my slack-jawed horror/respect for one Mel Kiper led me to watch the entirety of the first round last night.

7:55- It's in the mid 80s in Columbus and they haven't turned on the AC in my apartment yet. Forget to finish reading a story about Boko Haram and instead turn on the NFL Draft on my flatscreen TV as I eat like fifty Werther's Originals.

7:59- Chris Berman talks about "months and months of conjecture" coming to fruition, which is funny because that's what probably should've put Ray Lewis in prison for life.

8:04- Roger Goddell proclaims his eternal devotion to the Nazi party and embraces all of the ideals of the Third Reich hahah just kidding but he gets booed like he did.

8:06- I tried to work in a concussion joke there. Failed.

8:09- Berman throws to Ed Werner, for the first of many talking head Johnny on the spot infodumps. I refuse to believe that these guys are anywhere but taking turns in front of a greenscreen in Bristol.

8:13- Jon Gruden sighs and proclaims "You guys are killin' me!" as Kiper and Lewis debate about how Houston should screw up their first pick in the draft. Smartly avoids eye contact with Lewis.

8:15- Jadeveon Clowney, the greatest defensive player since apparently Bruce Smith (according to Kiper), is selected first by the Texans. Clowney hugs Roger Goddell, picks him up in his arms, and burps him like a baby.

8:24- Offensive tackle talk, mostly out of complete obligation. It's always funny to me when they show tape of offensive lineman, because they run the film about 30 seconds longer than anyone could possibly care about film of an offensive lineman unless it's a play where a duck killed a guy or a baby befriended a wolf or something.

8:30- Jacksonville takes Blake Bortles. The anuses of every Cleveland Browns fan pucker in anticipation of a truly epic misstep.

Manziel likes to party all the time (x3)

8:30:30- Johnny Manziel, who had originally been drinking a beer, has switched to either water or vodka, probably because his agent just texted him video compilation of NFL general managers looking at his photo and sternly shaking their heads in disapproval.

8:34- The Browns continue their policy of building for the 2034 playoffs by trading their pick to the Bills.

8:42- Well, the Browns may have wussed out, but Chris Berman's shirt collar is heroically holding on against a vicious assault by his many neck folds. This, truly, is the matchup to watch for tonight.

8:48- Taylor Lewan makes his first appearance on TV.

8:56- Just realized that I might die if Chris Berman says "El Guapo" at any time during the night. Will also talk to 11W legal counsel about potential naming rights and/or royalties should I survive.

9:00- Browns back up after a trade, and given that Manziel's best offensive lineman and wide receiver have just been drafted, the best move is obviously to forgo all future picks and to transform themselves into a very competitive Arena League team.

9:04- ...Which they essentially do, by drafting an okayish defensive back in the first round despite having Father Time as their quarterback. I bathe in internet schadenfreude for about fifteen minutes and stick another pin in my Mike Brown voodoo doll.

9:13- Goddell shamelessly brings up Barry Sanders to the podium in a weak effort to avoid the slings and arrows of drunk pasty white guys in faded jerseys.

9:22- Taylor Lewan gets drafted, proving that if you work hard, do things the right way, and allegedly threaten to assault a potential rape victim, you'll go far in life.

9:35- The NFL waits until an hour and a half to sneak in their coded message to moms about how they're pretending to care about concussions, even though most of the people still watching are masochists of the highest order who view repeated concussions as a badge of honor. At least one person is concerned, though:

9:45- I'm sweating because it's literally 85 degrees in this apartment, but if the Steelers draft Ryan Shazier my hot, hot tears will probably add to the disgusting stew that I'm currently marinating in.


9:49- I mean, look, I'm happy for Shazier. He's a terrific linebacker, a legit NFL talent, a great person, and probably the most athletic person with alopecia in the history of the universe. And, most importantly, a Buckeye. But no... the Steelers... not like this. Not like this.

9:51- On the plus side, the Cowboys are about to draft Johnny Manziel and complete the prophecy as foretold in the Satanic texts.

9:53- The earth avoids hellfire as Jerry Jones and company decide to populate the 2014 NFL draft with yet another boring-ass offensive lineman. Mmm, nothing says excitement and "totally worth sitting through three hours of pablum" like extensive analysis of blocking schemes in college football as it relates to the NFL.

10:02- Chris Berman claims that he's "done a lot of homework," and you know what? I believe the dude. I'm sure that all of these guys spend a ton of time watching film, talking to agents, talking to coaches, talking to owners, whatever. But seriously, does it matter? This is ultimately my biggest problem with the NFL draft. There are obviously some college players who easily project into having great NFL careers, but truthfully I see little actual soothsaying beyond "this guy could be good."

I dunno. Mel Kiper and company get paid a lot of money for the spectacle, the giant party that is the NFL draft (or at least, the giant party that they want to convince us that it is). But for me, watching the same four guys think up synonyms for HEART and TOUGHNESS and INTENSITY while literally trying to extrapolate NFL success based on clips from high school wears thin after a while.

10:13- I'M JUST KIDDING! Johnny Footbawl hustle grit hits ya hard just a winner havin' fun out there with a lot of upside as a dynamic playmaker with a chip on their shoulder!!!

10:30- Fading fast. Have removed most articles of clothing. Starting to question if this was a responsible use of my Thursday evening.

10:38- Jon Gruden reacts to a playful Mel Kiper punch like he just got scalded with a hot iron. It genuinely would not surprise me if Gruden was a hardcore germaphobe along the lines of a Mark Summer, because that or a big time coke habit would fit in perfectly with how I envision spending any period of time in an elevator with the man would go.

10:41- Browns trade for another pick AGAIN, and if they get Manziel I'm logging off the computer for a while and thinking really hard about my direction in life.

Some time later...

11:37- I come back to my senses just in time to see Bradley Roby drafted by the Broncos, which comes after my beloved (?) Bengals picked up fellow B1G corner Darqueze Dennard out of Michigan State.

The Buckeyes finish the first round with two selections, which is pretty good! Shazier was always a lock, and it's a testament to the NFL's eternal love for metrics that Bradley Roby got picked in the first round after the 2013 that he had. I know I made this joke already, but fast guys finish first. Because they're fast.

And so endeth the first round of the NFL draft. Mel Kiper looked like a bird, Ray Lewis sat motionless for long, long periods of time, and the footballing world (the American one) wakes up on Friday realizing that there are two more days of this stuff, holy crap.

If you sat through the draft last night, I apologize for typing this up on 11W instead of just posting it on Twitter. For anyone not able to watch last night, YOU'RE WELCOME.

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