I've been a die hard Steelers fan since the four Lombardi era. Some might have referred to me as a front runner at the time, but in all honesty I became a fan to spite my older brother. I didn't even know about their four Lombardi's until after I became a fan in 1980. Even though I had been a fan for decades, I never explored the NFL draft beyond doing a little bit of research after the picks were in. But 2014 was different. This year I was watching film, exploring statistics and even checking in on combine times to round out my expertise. It wasn't long before I was an expert.
By the end of April I was leaning back in my easy chair considering a stogie and an espresso stout; day dreaming of being in the Steelers war room. Yes, yes - I was that good! I'm a good researcher and I even read what all of the experts were saying! I was ready for the big time! I had a final list of prospects, and I even narrowed my list down to under 30. I knew about the positional needs and I figured that I could take the best available from my list. I was ready to deflate Colbert for taking anyone other than those on my list.
Then the first week in May brought with it a bevy of "new" projections and updated draft boards. I was so confused! How could this be? The research had been done, the experts have weighed in, the combine results were in the books. How could it all change within a week? I began to doubt myself. But then I double-checked my list and looked at some additional film. By the time the NFL draft occurred, I had added another couple of prospects to my list, but I was still rather confident in the list that I had going in. Now where is that stogie?
Draft day finally arrives and I watch as the first few picks play out somewhat as expected. But then something happened! All of the teams that were supposed to choose quarterbacks in the first round were NOT selecting quarterbacks! All of my favorite picks were snapped up earlier in the first round than I anticipated. Shaking my head in disbelief, I went back to check my list. And that's when it happened. I learned that I am nothing more than a hack. The guys that do this for a paycheck have been doing this for decades. This is the ONLY thing that they do!
I continued watching as the second and third rounds complete and I realize that there are players here that I missed. How could I have missed them? I continue down this path of excitement and disappointment. "Oh, that guy looks amazing! Wait - he's not on my list either?" By the end of the draft, the only two players I had on my list that we chose were late-rounders Wesley Johnson and McCullers. It's possible that neither of them will even make the team. I can rest in the fact that I didn't have a WR on my list for the first two rounds. Shazier - not even on my list, Tuitt, nope, Archer... nothing, and Bryant (fully expected to be gone by now, so not on my list), who is Shaquille Richardson? Zumwalt and Branchflower? Nada.
Yes, I have been humbled and confirmed as nothing more than a hack. BUT... because there is always a "but!" I can be thankful that I only play "for entertainment purposes." And Steeler Nation can also be thankful for that fact.