Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cat In The Draft

If there's one event every year TigerBlog doesn't get, it's the NFL draft.

Well, actually, there's "American Idol" too. He doesn't get that in the least.

Anyway, TB went on this rant last year, too, when he had this to say about the NFL draft:

The NFL draft amazes TigerBlog. It's like giving the weather report, except that there are millions of dollars at stake. And yet the teams are so consistently wrong in their evaluations. Oh sure, sometimes they're right. Probably more so than they're horribly wrong. It's just that with all of the attention and money and time and film and workouts and everything else, can't someone figure out that, say, Victor Cruz is fast?

It's way more of the same this time around.

The build-up is endless, on TV and the web. And, TB supposes, in what remains of newspapers.

Hours and hours of coverage. Endless mock drafts. Endless evaluations of players whose stock is rising and falling.

TB just went to to find a mock draft to see how many players projected to go in the first round he's even heard of.

As an aside, before he got there, he checked out the Major League Baseball standings for the first time this year and found that eight teams are playing at least .600. Can you name the eight?

Meanwhile, back at the mock draft, there were 32 players in the first round, and TB had heard of exactly two: Manti Te'o, who was 32nd and going to the Ravens, and the tight end from Notre Dame whose name he didn't know (Tyler Eifert), who was going 17th to the Steelers.

The rest? Never heard of any of them.

Contrast that with the Major League Lacrosse draft, where TB had heard of every player picked in every round, but hey, that's another story.

Speaking of the Ravens, they won the Super Bowl last year with Joe Flacco, the 18th pick in the 2008 draft. Of the 31 first-round picks that year (New England lost theirs for "Spygate," which is actually a nice way of saying, "cheating"), how many have made the Pro Bowl at least once?


How many picks in the 2008 draft after Round 1 have made the Pro Bowl?

Yes, eight. In other words, there is no difference between those in the first round and those in the remaining rounds.

And there in a nutshell is the NFL draft. A ton of hype over players nobody has ever heard of and who have a somewhat random and equal chance of becoming great players or busts.

At least this time around, there's something for the Princeton fan.

Will Mike Catapano get drafted, and if so, where will it be?

Catapano was the 2012 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, and he certainly earned it. A year ago, Catapano was a force, as he led Princeton to a four-game improvement from the previous season, not to mention a heart-stopping win over Harvard.

He led the Ivy League with 12 sacks and ended the regular season ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision with 1.2 sacks per game. He ranked second in the Ivy League in tackles for loss with 15.5, which was only a half tackle off the League lead, and ranked ninth nationally in that category.

His 12 sacks were the most for a single season at Princeton since David Ferrara '00 recorded 12.5 during the 1998 season.

Since then, Catapano has been focused on preparing himself for the draft.

At his pro day, he benched 225 pounds 33 times. TigerBlog has no idea how that measures up to everyone else in the draft, but it sounds like it's pretty tough to do.

Because the formula now in TV sports is "find something people seem to like and then completely overdo it," the draft is now a three-day event, one that begins tomorrow night and lasts through Saturday.

For Catapano, the big day figures to be Day 3, when he will see if he is in fact drafted or will have to go the free agent route. Either way, he'll be in someone's camp this summer.

Back in 2000, TB wrote a feature about Ross Tucker, the former Princeton lineman, and he said he was hoping to get in an NFL camp just to see if they let you keep the helmet when you get cut. As it turned out, he played for six years or so and now is a successful commentator who presumably has spent a lot of time on his satellite radio show talking about the draft.

TB can't imagine the anticipation and then eventually the waiting that Catapano has to go through, hoping the phone will ring, seeing who is on the other end.

For a player like Catapano, the draft is an exciting time.

To TB, it's sort of dull. And he doesn't really get it.

But he's rooting for Catapano.

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