No Fruit Cup For The Late
Those of us obsessed with the Draft have seen it happen before. A team flirts dangerously with the time deadline to get their pick in. The clock ticks down 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... and then... nothing. No pick. No Roger Goodell stepping to the podium. No player glad-handing with the Commish. No nothing.
It's not a common scenario, but teams sometimes do fail to get their card turned into the NFL in time. It's a wonder it happens at all with the amount of time during the offseason teams truly have to scrutinize all the talent available in the Draft class. So, what's the deal if a team misses its pick? Well, allow me to explain.
Say the Baltimore Ravens are on the clock at No. 26 this year, just ahead of the Falcons, and let's say the Ravens are playing fast and loose with the time limit. The clock goes below a minute before the Falcons are officially on the clock.
What you won't see on your TV sets is the scramble that's occurring at team facilities for both the Ravens and Falcons. The Ravens are frantically trying to get their pick in — flipping coins, drawing straws and whatnot to just make a decision already. The Falcons are preparing for the chance the Ravens can't get the pick in before the clock runs down, making a quick decision before the Ravens finish their best three-out-of-five rochambeau for who gets the final say.
The clock hits all zeros on the Ravens and suddenly, your TV screen flashes to a shot of a Falcons personnel member leaping guys at desks and shoving aside small children with a card in his hand.
Then, the commissioner appears: "With the 26th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select whoever Baltimore was planning on taking," he says.
The Ravens crumble to their knees, the Falcons rejoice at such good fortune. But, wait. How did this masterfully evil game of leapfrog occur?
Well, teams don't have to use only 10 minutes, or 7 or 5 depending on the round, to make a selection. They can go over, but do so at their own peril. See, a team that runs over their allotted time can make a selection any time after they've gone past their limit. But they lose their turn until they get their pick in.
So, if the Ravens finally finish the rubber match of eenie-meenie and settle on a pick 10 minutes and 30 seconds after they officially went on the clock, but Atlanta gets its pick in just 29 seconds after it officially goes on the clock, the Falcons get the priority pick in that scenario — which could very well be the player whose name is written on Baltimore's tardy card.
The always-intuitive Jason La Canfora of NFL Network and NFL.com outlines this scenario further as he makes a case for the Cincinnati Bengals to purposely miss their pick for strategic reasons.
This is also how the Vikings picked up defensive tackle Kevin Williams in the 2003 Draft. Minnesota was busy trying to work out a trade out of the No. 7 overall pick and didn't notice the clock had expired. When they got their card in, the Vikings ended up with Williams. I'd say that worked out pretty well for them.
It may happen; it may not. But if it does, prepare yourself to see a crazy dash to the podium for that prized pick.
Busy Week/Slow Week
The NFL Draft is a busy time for all 32 NFL teams. But some most certainly will wish it was busier. Teams generally have seven selections in each Draft, but some have earned more through trades while others have less because of trades. This year, San Francisco is the big winner with an amazing 12 picks in the Draft. A team certainly looking to rebuild quickly, the 49ers have to be happy about having so many selections. The team with the fewest? The New Orleans Saints, who sit with just six. The Saints aren't exactly going to be hitting the links early, but not having that one pick can make a big difference.