Troy Polamalu should do well with the Steelers. Plus, he can really sing.
Troy Polamalu should do well with the Steelers. Plus, he can really sing.
Cheung Ching Ming

Draft Dodger

This may surprise you, or even lower your opinion of me (if that's possible), but I've never watched the NFL Draft. It always seemed like an incredible waste of time, an exercise in nerd-dom. Oh, I would tune in periodically during the day and check the "draft crawl" at the bottom of the screen, but that was about it. Sitting through hours upon hours of that crap, listening to them call some guy from Southwest Nancy State...yeah, not my bag. I'd rather staple my eyelids to my forehead and watch Ishtar on loop.

My buddy Eric, who also happens to be our media columnist, who also happens to be my editor, is the polar opposite. He has actually watched a draft in its entirety. He's a loser. I wouldn't hang out with him, but I know precious few people here; he's my entertainment by default. So I watched this year's draft at his pad. Before the day began, I put my over-under on running out of his house (likely screaming) at the mid-to-late third round.

I grossly overestimated my coping ability.

10:30 a.m.: I call Eric, hoping that he won't answer. No such luck. "Yeah, come on over, I'm awake," he says. "But I'm warning you; my wife hates people right now. It's her time." Awesome.

10:47: Eric's flipping out--his broadband connection is down, which means he won't be able to go completely "Draft Dork" on me. "Don't worry, I have backup," he says, producing a thick folder of mock drafts, blank paper, a clipboard and color-coded pens. I wish I were making that up.

11:04: The draft begins with the ceremonious selection of Carson Palmer by the Cincinnati Bengals. The NFL is giving everyone a mesh hat. Outside of truckers and teens going for the retro look, do you think anyone wears mesh hats these days?

11:16: "If you were a draft choice, do you think they'd drug-test you, like, every other day?" Eric asks, before answering his own question. "Yeah, Tagliabue would hand you a piss cup on the podium." He's probably right.

11:28: "Wow, the Texans took Andre Johnson," I say. "That's a surprise." Apparently I misspoke. Eric looks up from his spot on the couch, shoots me an evil stare and says, simply, "Rookie."

11:30: ESPN cuts to the studio where Merril Hoge, who is undergoing chemo treatment for lymph node cancer, now looks like Lex Luthor. On the flip side, Ron Jaworski's mullet is working.

11:35: The Cowboys are on the board. I think they should take Byron Leftwich. Then, in the past, I also endorsed Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning and an Eagles selection of anyone instead of Donovan McNabb. I'm not smart.

11:41: The Cowboys take cornerback Terence Newman from Kansas State. From what I understand, he's a solid player, and Lord knows the Boys need d-backs. Hard to criticize this pick, but if Leftwich turns into an All-Pro down the line, there'll be a column in this space that starts with "I told you so" and ends with "hahahahahaha."

12:11 p.m.: What's going on here? The clock ran out on Minnesota before it could pick. Amazing. That sort of gross miscalculation is usually reserved for French diplomats. Jacksonville and the Panthers, who are slated to pick behind the Vikings, go ahead and select in front of Minnesota. Huh? There ought to be carnival music playing in the background.

12:13: The Vikings finally pick, two slots late, and take Kevin Williams, a defensive tackle from Oklahoma State. Eric is beside himself, trying to figure out what's just happened. The only people who are more pissed off right now are the Minnesota backers who are screaming obscenities and throwing things. They're clearly happy about their club's blatant stupidity. Crazy. This is much more entertaining than I expected. But it would be better if I were high...hmm...I'll be back.

12:35: Yeah, this is much better. Right now Eric is telling me who, thus far, has done a good job drafting and who hasn't done well at all. I have no idea what he's saying; he sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher. Did I mention this is better?

12:51: The Eagles, my Eagles, traded up. Can you believe it? Not only did they not select an offensive tackle (their usual on draft day), they got a defensive end, Jerome McDougle, from Miami. Amazing. Somehow, something is going to go wrong with this. He'll get arrested or...oh, wait.

1:01: They just showed video of Willis McGahee, a running back out of Miami, getting his leg snapped back in the national championship game. Gruesome. He and Joe Theismann should start a support group.

1:03: USC safety Troy Polamalu looks like Norah Jones. Eric came up with that one. He's having a much better day than the Vikings.

1:10: Well-known drug head Bill Romanowski is doubling as a commentator today. Here's an excerpt: "The brain is on the other side of the jaw." I wonder if he's higher than me.

1:15: Jaworski just drew an analogy that ended with, "You can't have a circus without the animals." F-ing what? I think he was hanging with Romanowski earlier.

1:21: Have you seen the Coors Light "wing man" commercial? If you haven't, you should--it's genius. And they say there's no truth in advertising...

1:24: ESPN's Suzy Kolber requires it.

1:35: It's early, but the Cardinals have committed this year's "Quincy Carter Oops of the Draft." After trading the sixth pick for the 17th and 18th, they selected Penn State wideout Bryant Johnson and Wake Forest defensive end Calvin Pace--regarded by most as a second-rounder at best. The Dallas Morning News' Rick Gosselin rated him the 11th-best d-lineman. Sweet. General Jerry should fly to Phoenix and console the Cards' brass.

2 p.m.: "What does all this mean?" Eric's wife, Vickie, asks. "Why do you guys watch all this?" Good question. "Whatever," Eric says, "if this ain't livin', kill me now." Funny, I was just thinking about that last bit.

2:29: McGahee just went to the Bills with the 23rd pick, the first running back selected. Do you think Penn State's Larry Johnson, a Maxwell Award winner who gained more than 2,000 yards last season, is pissed that he'll now be drafted after Ol' Peg Leg?

2:49: Well, it took three and a half hours for Eric to make his first "izz" joke--much longer than expected. "Chiefs on the clizz-ock." That movie Malibu's Most Wanted was made for guys like Eric.

???: I'm not sure what time the first round ends. I left a short while before to help a friend move. Somehow, that turns out to be more compelling.


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