Sunday, April 30, 2006

Confessions of a Draftnik #1

"Hello, my name is Bill and I'm a football Addict." I have often thought that If there were an organization named Football-a-holicis annon., that I would be it's north american chairman. I have been involved in Football for just over 40 of my nearly 46 years on Earth. I've been a fan, Youth Player, Highschool Player, High School asst. coach, Semi-professional asst. coach, and writer. I'm also about to become a College asst. coach. The one constant through all of that has been the title "Draft Geek" or "Draftnik." I have been to 32 NFL drafts dating back to 1974, and to every draft since 1985, and have held a press credential from one outlet or another since 1987. In the future I will use this space at the behest of Zennie to post various experiences i have had, as well as draft related football info.

2006 NFL Draft - At Selection 252, The Fans Cheer For Someone To Draft Marcus Vick

Marcus Vick has taken a dramatic freefall in this year's draft, and for reasons concerning his character and not his talent. Right now, we're at the 252nd selection in the draft and the fans are standing and cheering for them -- or someone -- to take Marcus Vick.

Green Bay selected Dave Tollifson, a DE from N.W. Missouri. Two picks to go. Vick's still around.

San Francisco selected, which leaves the Oakland Raiders ....the fan are cheering LOUDLY now...for Marcus Vick.

2006 NFL Draft - How A Draftees Name Gets Called

Last year, I explained the process of how an NFL draftee's name gets called. This year, I thought I'd show it. Here's the text from my report from 2005 and a video of a couple of NFL "runners" taking the name of a pick of the San Francisco 49ers to the NFL's main table.

First, the report on "How a Draftee's Name Gets Called" from my 2005 NFL Draft Report:

While I was next to the stage, I took time to record the process by which a name gets called to be the "whatever round" pick of a team. It works like this: First, the team -- let's say the San Francisco 49ers -- has 15 minutes (or a quarter in football lingo) to decide who they're going to select. Two giant football-style clocks count down the seconds. If a team fails to make a pick during that time span, they must pass and the next organization in draft order has 15 minutes to make a selection. This is called being "On the clock." Redskins' Team Table: One of 32

It's Starts With The Team Table

Second, the team's representatives, including (depending on the team) the owner, general manager, head coach, and player personnel staff, are not in New York at the Draft, they're at the team's headquarters. It's from here that they call in their selection to their representative at the team table. Washington Redskins team representatives are in the foreground in the first picture shown on this page. NFL Head Table

...Then The Name Is...

Third, the team's representative -- which range from a friend of the organization to a young employee -- write the name of the choice on a card. NFL and CSC events employees pick up that card and carry it to the NFL's main operations table. (NFL SVP Frank Supovitz is the leftmost person above.)

Fourth, from that table and to its left, the card is passed over to a bank of NFL staffers that enter it into a computer system to be recorded.

Now, here's the video of part of that process:

Bob McNair Clears The Air - On Video

Earlier today, you saw the post of Texans owner Bob McNair explaining the rationale behind his organizations selection of Mario Williams as that team's first pick and number one pic of the First Round of the NRL Draft. Now, here's the entire video of that press conference.

Vince Young Comes Out To Stage - The 2006 NFL Draft - Video

This is a video I took of the Titans first pick in the First Round of the NFL Draft, Vince Young, as he and hid family come out from the green room and onto the state of the 2006 NFL Draft.

Note how enthusiatic the crowd reception is. It wasn't the same for his counterpart, USC (and now Arizona Cardinals) quarterback Matt Leinart, who was greeted with some boos from the gallery of Radio City Music Hall.

Why? I really don't know. I think -- at that point -- the reason was to send a message that Matt wasn't wanted by the New York Jets fans, which are in abundance at the NFL Draft.

Here's the video:

2006 NFL Draft Day Two Part One - Houston Is On The Clock

Unlike the sheer craziness of Day One, Day two of the NFL Draft feels more like a club. But for draftniks and football fans -- real fans -- the drama is still real. Where will Penn State's too-fast quarterback Michael Robinson go? Will be a QB?

Houston opened up the Fourth Round and Day two with the selection of Wisconsin TE Owen Daniels. She's 6-3 253 pounds and plays with a toughness much like the New York Giants Jeremy Shockey.

Today, only ESPN's working. There's no one at the NFL Network at this time -- 11:14 AM EST. Only a fraction of the media in attendance yesterday is here today. But the gallery and the seats to the far left of me are still filled with fans. I think ESPN convinced them to go over there.

The Niners are on the clock now. They selected Michael a running back. A running back, not a quarterback. I wonder if Robinson agreed to that in general. Interesting. And even more so considering the Niners need for quality backup signal callers. The Oakland Raiders are on the clock now. They've selected pick 101: Darnell Bing, Linebacker from USC -- well, he played safety.

One person who's here is Paul Salata, the creator of "Mr Irrelevant" week. In this year's draft, the Oakland Raiders have the honor of picking the last draft pick, called "Mr Irrelevant." Then, later in the year on June 11-16, Mr. Irrelevant will be sent to Newport Beach, CA, where he will be "celebrated with a shower of gifts from hundreds of sports teams, treated to a day at Disneyland, honored at the All Star Sports Banquet, and presented the Lowsman Trophy from the University Athletic Club," according to the press release.

A Brief Word On The Shortness of Day One

I can't believe we finished at 9:38 PM. In 2005, Day Two went on to about 11:10 PM. Plus, it was raining like crazy. It's a lovely day in New York City this time.

Back to Day Two

Unlike Day One, the NFL didn't provide food for the media, and on that note, their was less food on Draft Day One 2006 than on Draft Day One 2005. The point is I was hungry. So, after not being able to get a simple cup of coffe because Radio City Music Hall's security guard was less than helpful, I walked over to The Broadway Deli, just one block away and one block from the Ed Sullivan Theater, where David Letterman's Show is taped. It's a great place to get a cheap meal where you just pick what you want and put it in a dish, then pay and leave. I got a lot of food. Then as I returned Mr. Salada was kind enough to stop by with two cups of coffee for me.

We're still in Round 4 and at the 128th pick. Here are some updates on the Draft to date:

• For the second time in history, Ohio State had two linebackers selected in the first round, A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter. The last time that happened was 1974.

• Both Vince Young and Bobby Layne share two things in common: both are Texas Longhorns and both were picked number 3 in the NFL Draft. Vince Young is the fifth Longhorn to go in the First Round in NFL History.

• According to the NFL, Houston's new First Round pick, Mario Williams of North Carolina State breaks a streak of five consecutive quarterbacks taken with the top selection in the draft, and a string of seven QBs taken No. 1 in the past eight

More soon!

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis Interview - From The NFL

The NFL provided this text of the interview with the San Francisco 49ers first pick in the first round (they had two), Vernon Davis. There's a video I have of this as well, which I will upload and install here later today. But here's the interview

An Interview With:

Q. How do you feel right now?
VERNON DAVIS: I feel great.

Q. Did you talk to any coaches yet?

VERNON DAVIS: I talked to Norv Turner,
I talked to him before. He called me up on the phone and he said, "Are you ready to get down here"? I said, "Yeah, let's go."

Q. Do you think you can have an immediate impact?
VERNON DAVIS: Oh, yeah I think I can have an immediate impact. I'm already familiar with the offense and it's a great system and a great situation for me.

Q. What's your thoughts on your rise from when the season ended to the draft and your stock just kept going up?
VERNON DAVIS: I kind of knew that my stock was going to go up, basically, because of what I did at the Combine and I just had confidence in myself. I knew what I could do.

Q. What sets you apart from other tight ends in the league?
VERNON DAVIS: Well, my speed, my ability to just make plays and I'm explosive and I can just do other things that a normal tight end can't do.

Q. When you worked out with the 49ers, what did you see from their system that you thought you would be a good fit there?
VERNON DAVIS: Just Norv Turner, he's there and he's got a great history of knowing how to deal with tight ends and put them in great situations.

Q. Did you expect to be as emotional?
VERNON DAVIS: I didn't expect to be that emotional but it hit me, this is a lifelong dream. Hearing my name called on ESPN, being the sixth pick, it feels great to be up there -- I don't think a tight end has ever been that high, along with me and Winslow. It just feels great.

Q. You mention Kellen Winslow and now you have a lot of tight ends, who played basketball who have come into the league and experienced success -- inaudible?
VERNON DAVIS: Oh, yeah, Antonio, he's a great pass-catcher, he's in a great offense, certainly as good as the one I'm headed to. I watched him a lot on film while I was in college and I seen some of the things that he can do that I can
do, also. It's going to be great just watching us, the new tight end class, new breed of tight ends.

Q. You're joining what was the worst offense in the NFL last year. Even with all your talents, can you make that much a difference in that offense?
VERNON DAVIS: Yeah, but I can't do it all by myself. Just like what I told some of the guys back at the University of Maryland, everybody expected me to be Superman because I made so many plays. I can't do it all by myself. It's going to
be the quarterback and the offensive line, we're going to have to be as one to get it done together.

Q. You thought you might be going to New York, were you surprised when they didn't pick you or did you see this coming, going to San Francisco?
VERNON DAVIS: Oh, yeah, I did think I was going to New York. But, you know, I also knew their problems, what they needed. I knew they needed an offensive lineman so I figured their first choice would be D'Brickashaw Ferguson. After that, I just started getting emotional right there because I knew that either Green Bay for San Francisco was going to take me and when my agent told me he thought Green Bay was going to take A.J. Hawk, that's when tears started to come down that I was going to go to a team that I wanted to go to.

Q. Why specifically was this the team you wanted to go to?
VERNON DAVIS: You know, like I said before, Norv Turner is there, Alex Smith is there, a guy who struggled last year who I see can be great for that team. He just needs the right weapons in there, and I think I'm a good choice for that. It's just going to be good watching us.

Q. What do you think of your family all being here, especially your grandmother, I guess she has a special nickname for you?
VERNON DAVIS: She calls me Duky, her Duky. (Laughter).

Q. Why does she call you that?
VERNON DAVIS: I don't know, she's just being a grandmother, typical grandmother who wants to make up a name for her grandchild.

Seattle Seahawks Matt Hasselbeck At NFL Draft - Named Chunky Soup Spokesperson - Video

The Seattle Seahawks' top signalcaller Matt Hasselbeck was presented as the newest Campbell's Chunky Soup Spokesperson at a luncheon at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Thursday before the NFL Draft.

Distant from the Seahawk's Super Bowl XL -- that's "40" -- loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Matt seemed to be enjoying his new role. His Mom, too.

I got the chance to ask Matt about the innovative game plan they used in that Super Bowl, but he could not get over one thing: "The crowd noise was just unbelieveable. The Steelers fans; they travel well." Matt also answered a set of questions from the press, but what I liked the most was just plain how people crowd around one person to get something -- in this case, a quote or a photo.

It's still, to me, one of the most interesting aspects of human nature.

There's little real news here other than Matt's being named as Chunky Soup Spokesperson, which I suppose lends itself to a certain measure of humor. I did ask him if he called Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb for tips. "No, but I'm going to do that," he said.

Here's the video of Matt and his mom: