The Sound of Silence

Behind Enemy Lines The Sound of Silence

I’ve been thinking about our first-round move since Thursday night. With time comes the ability to process information, at least for me.

The guys in our BGO Draft Party Zoom conference will tell you I was very quiet when the Dotson pick was announced. Hell, we all were. Honestly, the room was the epitome of what stunned silence sounds like. Blank stares, slack jaws, and disbelief. That really describes us. I remember specifically thinking that it was “so fucking quiet” on the call. Even the sounds coming from the draft coverage on my computer felt muted and sounded more like adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon than sports personalities.

Never have 4 guys together, each one capable of talking someone to death, been so deathly quiet as a group.

Not sure how long the silence lasted but it had to be several minutes. It felt more like hours, I know that.

I don’t remember who broke the silence and tension first. Might have been me. What I do remember for sure is that my first words were “who the fuck is Jahan Dotson?” I didn’t say it very loud. Rather it came out somewhere north of a mumble and south of a stage whisper. If I hadn’t said it nearly right into my microphone, I’m not sure the others would have heard me at all.

And getting it into the mic? Yeah, total accident that.

I didn't understand. How could a draft that had started out so promisingly with what I considered a great move back after my two favorite players got picked in the Top 9 suddenly go so terribly wrong? Like a homicide detective in a macobe TV police procedural staring at a senseless murder scene, I stared at the draft board and tried to wrap my head around it all.

The next hour is a blur of numb anger and incredulity as we watched the players we could have had at #16 come off the board.

Treylon Burks at #18

Kenny Pickett at #20

Quay Walker at #22

Devin Lloyd at #27

Some of that wore off as we dug for information on this kid none of us had done any homework on at all. We found some amazing stats, along with some inciteful pre-draft analysis. We also found dazzling highlight reels. However, we were all aware that there is no such thing as unimpressive highlight reels on YouTube.

At some point in the evening, I noted that Burks went to the Titans at #18. He was a guy Derek has been high on. It wasn’t until the next morning that the import of this hit me. Burks was also projected to be a very late 1st, early to mid 2nd round pick and so was “over-drafted” according to the experts. And it meant that 1/3 of the first 18 players drafted this year are WRs.

Has that ever happened in the history of the draft with any position? I don’t know.

Looking at the draft in the cold morning light with a hot cup of coffee in hand instead of the cold beer of the night before I realized, if we had taken one of those trade down offers that came our way at #16 there was a very real chance that Dotson would not have been there anymore. WR was the premium position 2022 draft. In fact, seventeen WRs would be taken on the first 2 days of the draft.

I don’t want to believe a trade back and with Dotson as the target was Plan A. I really want to believe that our first target was Drake London, but he was the first WR off the board and then the run was on.

Now the experts are claiming we didn't maximize our picks or do as well as we could have. That we panicked. That we didn't have a plan at all. And any number of other things. All because our front office had different priorities and different player evaluations than they think we should have had.

I kind of hate the word “expert”. My dad used to say that X is the unknown quantity and a spurt is a drip under pressure which makes an expert an unknown drip under pressure.

What would follow the rest of the evening and on through to the eventual end of the draft on Saturday would be a 3-day education on just how wrong the so call “experts” can be. We probably should have known that by the time the 3rd pick was posted Thursday night though. Most of the experts had predicted Hutchinson would go first. The Lions had to be loving it when he fell in their laps at #2. Most experts had Gardner as the top CB and Neal as the top OL. Neither was the first player picked at their position. We were told by everyone that Hamilton was a sure-fire top 10 pick and in many mocks he went as high as 4.

It was a lesson in understanding that if Mel Kiper, Jr were really all that and a bag of chips where NFL talent evaluation is concerned, he would be working in a front office somewhere and not talking out his ass on an ESPN set.

I remember one more thing that went through my head while I sat in that stunned silence last Thursday and that was the likely immortal words of that sage football philosopher, Jim Mora.

“You think you know, but you don’t know.”
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