In another departure from my usual type of post, today we had our 13th draft, and for the first time in a long time, every team was represented either by their coach or a stand-in- and not just any stand-in but rather a former league champion. Our league is a keeper league, and last year we protected eight players and drafted one rookie after the NFL draft. We also have abnormally large rosters- 26 players, to accommodate playing right through the Super Bowl, long after most leagues have shuttered. Yet more unusually, we started off the day running 5K- half the coaches in the league turned out to run the Clinton Bluefish 5K, which was an amazing thing, with spectacular performances turned in by Margit, Darren, and Bove.
When 64 established players and 8 rookies are already off the table, even the first round of the 17 round draft is going to include a reach or two and while there was plenty of suspense (sort of) about who the first pick would be- Ronnie Brown- there was also a palpable sense of resignation about drafting down through the seemingly endless rounds.
What amazes me- and should tell me exactly why it is I never win my league- is how the same players end up on my roster year in and year out. I went into the draft determined (as I have been for several years) to break the cycle of choosing familiarity over talent. And I started out on the right foot- I reeled in Maurice Jones-Drew, a player that was on another roster last year and plays for a team- Jacksonville- that I really dislike. But 10 of remaining 16 picks involved players on my roster last year, and I tapped the Bears, Jets, and Dolphins 8 times.
I seem to remember last year going hog-wild on Dolphins, which did nothing for me except to leave me with a lot of guys to cut as the Dante Culpepper stuck a fork in their season. Of course, the one Dolphin I should have kept, Ronnie Brown, did not survive the playoff purge.
The draft itself went pretty well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We had a laptop for everyone, almost enough power, plenty of beer and food and although it took four hours, having everyone available was a much better experience. I want to thank everyone for showing up and getting the season- if not my team- off to a great start.
My team, on the other hand, is pretty beat.