It’s almost April, the first wave of free agency is winding down, which means it’s almost time for me to study and research the prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.
I don’t normally start worrying about the draft until about a month or so before it starts, and while I haven’t been fanatical about it since I was a kid, the month leading up to the big event is kind of fun.
By the time the draft coverage really ramps up in April, I feel like I know just about everything the Steelers should do in order to improve their roster for the upcoming season. I have a pretty good idea of Pittsburgh’s needs and areas it should address. I become familiar enough with the top prospects of every position of need and can give an educated opinion on whether or not the team should and would select these players in the first round.
- The sad thing about the modern era is that the draft coverage never stops feeling “ramped up.”
That’s especially the case right after the Steelers’ season ends short of a Super Bowl title, which, even for them and their rich history of Lombardi procurement, is most of the time.
We got people talking about the upcoming draft the second the players start cleaning out their lockers for the offseason. Mike Tomlin hasn’t even conducted his final exit interview, and Steelers fans are already having meltdowns over someone’s mock draft.
- There are people (and when I say “people,” I mean fans who don’t get paid a cent) who dedicate all of their free time to draft coverage year-round.
I used to think I was obsessed when, as a kid, I’d go and buy the annual draft guide at the local drugstore (that’s a lie, actually. I simply glanced at it when my mom was shopping). I was a bit irrationally into the draft in the 1980s, though, but I always felt like my fondness for it began at an appropriate time — about two weeks before it started.
Isn’t that all the time you really need in order to get up to speed on these players? What’s with this relentless pursuit of draft knowledge? I realize we are in the information age. Heck, if I were young and had access to this kind of draft info, I may become obsessed, too. But what’s with ALL the fans out there (even the middle-aged and old ones) trying to be armchair Mel Kipers?
- Why do you derive so much pleasure from this stuff?
It would be one thing if today’s modern technology made draft analysis an exact science. But here we are, it’s 2023, and we can learn the hand size of every quarterback in the upcoming draft class, yet, we still can’t truly predict how things will turn out.
- I grew up thinking I was a pretty knowledgeable Steelers fan. “You know your stuff,” folks would say.
Then, I discovered Steelers fans on social media and realized how obsessed they are all the time about everything black-and-gold-related.
But just because you decorate your Christmas tree in October, that doesn’t mean you love the holiday more than I do, nor does it mean you’re more knowledgeable about Santa Claus.
I still love the Steelers. I still care about their draft needs. I still get excited when the draft comes on every April.
But there is a line, and so many Steelers fans crossed it years ago with their obsession with the annual NFL Draft.
I refuse to cross that line.