The biggest story of the NFL draft today, by far, was the Cleveland Browns and their first round picks of Joe Thomas (OT) at #3 and Brady Quinn (QB) at #22. As a tribute to my roommate who is a die-hard Brownie, I decided to let him guest-write a column on the blog (even if it is to the dismay of fellow Raven fans). He will share his thoughts about a memorable day for a franchise that has been down in the NFL cellar for so many years and is notorious for draft-day debacles and first round busts.
Here it is:
At the end of every April, the sports world seems to stop for the NFL draft. Never mind the NBA or the NHL playoffs, the draft is all that matters. But why? Well the obvious reason is because ESPN and every other major media outlet tells us so. But they also throw NASCAR down our throats, and I still havenâ€™t bought into that.
The true reason is that the NFL draft can provide fans with hopes and dreams like no other sport. The draft provides the type of fresh start that is only attainable in real life by joining the witness protection program. As a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan, I have been through many drafts with highly touted picks. Some come through, but unfortunately many for the Browns donâ€™t (Tim Couch, William Green, Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown). But no matter what, the draft always provides hope that eventually a pick will come through and my team will return to glory. And I know that every NFL fan feels the same way about their team and their picks.
When the Browns drafted Joe Thomas I was excited, but surprised, that they passed up on a quarterback who had himself dreamed of playing for the Browns. Now all the attention was on Brady Quinn, who as the 4th rated player on Melâ€™s big board, and would certainly be drafted very soon. Yet, as team after team passed on Quinn, we all began to wonder how far he could fall. It seemed like the farther Quinn fell, the more sympathetic of a figure he became, and the more the announcers and media proclaimed their disbelief that the future Tom Brady or Dan Marino was still available. (By the way I didnâ€™t make those comparisons up. http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/story/10155503). Certainly many later round teams and fans began to hope that he would fall to them.
Quinn and Condon were relatively cool under the intense scrutiny, which will certainly help the duo as the quarterback struggles through the inevitable rookie learning curve. Finally, at pick 22, the Browns pulled the surprise of the draft and the audience was finally spared from having to repeatedly see a picture of a 4-year old Quinn in Browns gear. When the Browns drafted Brady Quinn I could barely talk. My roommate, a proud Ravens fan, actually congratulated me on the pick as if somehow I had something to do with it. And of course, I accepted.
Today is a new start for every team and NFL fan. Who knows what picks will actually turn into stars? Right now I really donâ€™t care. All I know is that today I feel on top of the world. I hope you feel the same.
-Will Karim (Roommate of columnist Matthew Allinson)