It has been quite an interesting past few weeks for a league that has been out of action for the past three months, but the National Football League has been prominent in the news for good reason. The Deflategate hullabaloo will not leave the nation’s attention, and the NFL Draft was as unpredictable as expected. Ohio State led the college football universe with twelve picks in the draft, followed by Clemson (9) and UCLA (8). April, a month signaling the beginning of the baseball season, had the NFL entrenched in headlines daily.
On April, 25, the Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals (SCUSCA) reinstated the four-game ban on Tom Brady originally placed on him by commissioner Roger Goodell. While not all judges approve of Goodell’s role as judge, jury, and executioner, they collectively agreed that the collective bargaining agreement stated Goodell has the right to impose discipline for, “conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence, in the game of professional football.” The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and NFL mutually agreed on this, and action has been taken to enforce it. Brady is now left with three options: accept the ban (highly unlikely), petition for a rehearing by the SCUSCA, or take the matter to Supreme Court. Every time the fans think this issue will be resolved it, somehow thrusts itself back into the public eye; do not expect this fight to end anytime soon.
Now that the long lasting blemish on the NFL has been discussed, it should be mentioned that the NFL Draft was quite the occasion. The Los Angeles Rams (get used to saying that) acquired the number one overall pick from the Tennessee Titans for six of the top seventy-six picks in this year’s draft. If you thought that was robbery, the Cleveland Browns wrangled the eighth pick in the first round, a third and fourth-round pick in this year's draft, a first-round pick in 2017, and a second-round pick in 2018 from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the second overall pick in this year’s draft. That is grand larceny, folks. The Rams selected former Cal QB Jared Goff with their pick, and the Eagles chose former North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz with theirs. That is as far as most predictors got before things completely unraveled.
Former Ohio State DE Joey Bosa was rated by some as the best overall player in the draft; best suited for a 4-3 defensive scheme, many were surprised when the San Diego Chargers selected him with the third overall pick as they run a 3-4. Bosa’s teammate at Ohio State, RB Ezekiel Elliott, was among the top risers dating back to when the college football season ended. While he looked to be late to mid first round pick, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys fell in love with him at number four. Elliott figures to challenge for the starting spot behind QB Tony Romo. Rounding out the top five was the most versatile player in this year’s class, former Florida State CB Jalen Ramsey was taken by the Jaguars. He has the explosiveness to back up being heralded the top DB taken.
Among the biggest fallers in the draft was OT Laremy Tunsil out of Ole Miss. Mere minutes before the draft started, a tweet was posted from his twitter account of someone who appears to be Tunsil smoking an unknown substance out of a gas mask. Formerly predicted to go as high as the first overall pick, Tunsil plummeted out of the top ten. Tunsil’s representation claimed hacking, saying, “All the teams know about it, they believe the account was hacked, and this might have been video that was very old, going back to high school.” The Baltimore Ravens, who have a dearth of depth on the offensive line, went as far to remove him from their board completely. After Tunsil was taken with the thirteen pick by the Miami Dolphins, things only got worse. After his Twitter account was deleted, his Instagram posted several photos of alleged text messages between Tunsil and John Miller, assistant athletic director for football operations, in which Tunsil asks for money to pay rent and also for his mother's $305 electric and water bill. In reference to the former, Miller makes a reference to "Barney”, supposedly Barner Farrar, Ole Miss’ assistant athletic director for high school and junior colleges. Tunsil admitted to his mistakes afterward stating, “I'd have to say yeah,” when asked by a reporter if he took money from a coach. "Those were true," Tunsil said. "I made a mistake of that happening." The tumble costed Tunsil upwards of $12 million, yet he remains positive.
The NFL Draft lived up to the hype and then some, with as many trades and surprise picks as seen in recent years. Several teams’ expectations have sky rocketed while some’s draft choices have only raised more questions. The way picks look currently can completely flip-flop once the season starts, and several late round picks can emerge as frontline starters. Only time will tell, and the road to August will be a long one for diehard football fans across the nation.