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To all the draftniks

Ernst Cleofe | Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today is the day that many have been awaiting for the past two months – or more for some. The NFL Draft is here. Sure, it is overhyped and most so-called “draftniks” are downright crazy.

Yes, there are the people who spent hours at the computer compiling lists of mock drafts while consciously ignoring personal hygiene. For every person like that, there is another who has tossed and turned over whether Ryan Tannehill is going to get Miami out of what has been a 10-year Marino hangover. Don’t even get me started on the people who actually listen to Todd McShay. So, yes, there are crazy people out there.

But let’s be honest. They are a good kind of crazy about a good thing.

First, the draft is something to pay attention to. It is, as apparently everyone at ESPN is brainwashed to say, the roots of a good team. Successful teams like the Packers, Giants and even those dreaded Patriots are the experts of using the draft to reload continuously.

Consider this, eight of the past nine Super Bowl champions have been led by a quarterback originally drafted by that team. Of those eight, six were chosen in the first round.

Then, there are teams that are consistently at the top of the draft, like the pre-2008 Detroit Lions or the Cleveland Browns. Year after year of terrible picks turn into years of sinking faces into emotionally charged ice cream and heartache (which seems a bit fitting).

More importantly, these draft fans are a personal favorite kind crazy They are the nerdy, chubby kid that is obsessed with the hot girl who is as uninterested in him as draftniks love the combine. And trust me, they love the combine.

Weird metaphor aside, what I’m trying to say is that draftniks are toiling away time worrying about something over which they have almost no control. They chase after something that likely won’t end up in their favor. A few wrong moves here and there, and then everything goes straight downhill.

Eventually, most people end up disappointed while trying to reconcile themselves with the “terrible” draft picks of their respective front office (which, by the way, will probably be the case for the wonderfully pitiful fans of the Dolphins.)

But then, there is that spark of hope, that moment when the girl falls for nerdy charm. Okay, fine, this happens as often as the Raiders make good picks and mostly in Jonah Hill movies, but it happens. And when it does it is life- or, in this case, franchise-changing.

When fans see everything align and fall into place, it’s pure excitement. It’s what makes fans great. It’s the crazy. More exactly, that crazy is unadulterated passion for something that is basically inconsequential. That kind of passion is rare and, if nothing else, respectable.

So, go get your draft on, draftniks. Let me go find my tub of Mel Kiper Hair Wax, and we’ll go to town tonight.

Contact Ernst Cleofe at ecleofe@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.