It's been a while since I last wrote; I'm in the process of buying a house. The word "process" is appropriate. It's a little like a quest, a spirit journey, even a fruitless errand. There's negotiation, duck, fade, feint, rebound, masquerading and even presenting one's rear. The NFL Draft obsesses us because it has all of the qualities of this most American obsession with buying our dreams; it encompasses so many desires of beginning again and creating something entirely new. Most of this is an illusion. The person I will find myself to be on another day in another place is very likely the same person writing this in his t-shirt and boxers on his couch on a Saturday, waiting for the NFL Draft to start.
The Draft itself is filled with illusory promises. What's remarkable is that most of us who have followed football for a couple of decades, if not more, already know this. Most of the time, the draft produces careers tinged with moments of success yet doomed to early ends. The Jets Among Men (shameless, desperate promotion #1), my current life's work, seems to suggest that whether we were picked in the first or third rounds, our careers in football ("ours?") will be short. Football is all about attrition, yet the draft promises immortality to young men in their first expensive suits who put the caps of their new teams awkwardly on their heads. This moment will exist forever. Most of the time, it's a bust. Most of the time, we know it's going to be a bust. When JaMarcus Russell held out for as long as he did after being drafted by the idiotic Raiders, we knew all along (as we know now) that the entire affair was a waste of time.
It's an extension of the constant tests of loyalty we fans in football must endure. We must endure the false promises, the ridiculous hype, the personal shame, the recriminations with every pick. Who knows? This might be the season. No, it's not. In the balcony of Radio City each year, the locals in green and white show up and perform an impromptu opera of disappointment and hope, demanding what they know full well they will never get. If they did not feel this way, they would not be fans, let alone Jets fans.
We need a really good receiver, a really good tight end, and another really good prospect at quarterback if such a one exists after Mark Sanchez. Josh Freeman will not be the answer; I just don't believe a good quarterback can be drafted into the market of New York, except if he plays for the Giants. I would like to see us draft Brandon Pettigrew from OK State. I would also like to believe that Vernon Gholsten will make good on his promise at linebacker after one year with us. But I know it's an illusion. The thing with feathers strikes again.