Every year when the NFL Draft comes around, it seems as if the spectacle gets bigger and bigger. With all the pageantry of an awards show, the passion for pro sports, and the promise of the future, the event has grown as big as the game it represents.
Over the course of a few days, a special group of twenty-somethings will take the next step forward in their athletic existence. They have been weighed and measured, and now it’s time to get in where they fit in, so to speak.
It started out predictably with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young going to the Carolina Panthers with the first-overall pick, and then things turned a little chaotic. Trades and movement dominated the early stages of the NFL’s amateur selection process. Some highly-touted prospects fell out of the first round, like Kentucky QB Will Levis.
Things were pretty unpredictable, but there was one thing that everyone watching could count on: the same, old cliches.
As the talking heads at ESPN, the NFL Network, and possibly even the Travel Channel broke down this year’s Draft, they tend to always use similar terminology when describing certain positions on the field. It’s almost their way of trying to find what mold the new guy fits.
However, these mostly are worn-out tropes, regurgitated imagery, and even some silly stereotypes that just seem to ‘fit’ the way we picture a player.
For example, a saying that has traveled around the sporting world for years is, Blue-Collar Guy. This is a player who may not have the same physical skills as their contemporaries, but they make up for it with hard work. Also throw in terms like gritty, tough, hardnosed, and determined.
Anyone who has seen the movie ‘Invincible‘ knows the rags-to-riches story of prospects like that. They tend to get a lot of love from the fanbase and positive press.
And if they happen to get drafted into some ‘textile town’? Even better. Because Mel Kiper will tell you: They are going to love the way this kid plays up there in Buffalo. He brings his lunchbox to work and punches the clock. He just wants to put in the time.
NFL Draft Discussion Is Always a Mix of Imagery and Analysis
Besides Sesame Street? There’s no better place to learn about shapes and sizes than the NFL Draft
It’s a given fact that pro football players are larger than your average human. But how large or how lithe is where a myriad of metaphors can be used to describe them. When it comes to a big defensive tackle, he can often be known as a Run Stuffer. He also goes by aliases like run-stuffer or disrupter. Just like cholesterol, he’s a guy who clogs the middle.
Lining up against him, you’ll want to draft a real Hogmollie on your offensive line. One of those guys who can pass-protect and still act as a road-grader for the ground game. A big hoss who can clear the way and open up a hole. Sure, he’s only 300 pounds, but he plays more like he’s 350!
Because they push people for a living, the guys on both sides of the line are also often judged by their wingspan. Do they have good reach and long arms or are they too short for his frame? In other words: Is he a tarantula, or a Tyrannosaurus?
The flashy, big-play, big-money guys always seem to get the best of everything in sports. And it’s no different when it comes to NFL Draft cliches, some stars invoke comparisons to speed, precision, accuracy, and… a whole lot of other really neat stuff.
Receivers who run a great 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine enter the draft being touted as having ‘blinding speed’. Referred to as Playmakers, they live for the thrill of the highlight reel, usually somewhere in the vicinity of the end zone. Then, they cut loose with the hottest dance the currently in the club.
Potential NFL stars are also often compared to elements and natural occurrences like wind, heat, and lightning
And when a wideout eventually does something crazy (as they are statistically proven to do), they’re then known as brash, outspoken, enigmatic, and mercurial. But one thing’s for sure, Even as a rookie, they’re the kind of guys who aren’t afraid to tell you to just give them the damn ball.
Big, bulky running backs – ones who could easily play fullback – are what you might call a Hammer. They’re the ball carriers who actually run TO contact. Christian Okoye and Jerome Bettis are both great examples of this type of punishing pinball.
Because of their strength and stamina, they are often known to control the ground game, owning the time of possession, and controlling the pace. In fact, a bruising back can bring the late stages of the game to a grinding conclusion.
So whatever you do, make sure that you choose wisely, Draftniks.
You’ve got to have the willing warriors to terrorize the trenches. Because as we all know, the game is won on the line of scrimmage, so your Godzillas of the Gridiron have to be ready to breathe fire. Otherwise, your sorry signal-caller could end up scrambling from sackers and scoping the secondary… with no success.
And like they always say? No one wants to get their QB crushed at crunch time.
(Have a Happy Draft.)
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