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NFL Draft: Hope Springs Eternal for Teams and Fans Alike

It’s draft week. Thursday is football Christmas, and it’s practically here. The NFL Draft is finally upon us. After months of athletic and positional testing, meetings, rumors, trades, and even more rumors, we finally get to the part that makes the NFL offseason the best in any sport in the world.

The NFL Draft.

Nothing in the offseasons of the MLB, NBA, or NHL gets fans as excited and as hopeful about their team’s prospects than the NFL Draft does for its fans. And to be honest, it may generate more buzz than some of those other sports during their regular season.

Think about it, how long have we the fans been talking about the draft? For some, it’s always draft season. Many watch NCAA football with eyes toward their professional team as well. Some, like our very own Kevin Brady and Sean Martin, never stop scouting for the NFL Draft.

This time of year can change the fortune of a franchise for the next 15 years.

Cowboys 2017 Mock Draft: Dallas Trades Down With San Francisco 7
Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

Teams picking at the top like the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets are desperate to find their version of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. When was the last time either of those teams had a franchise quarterback? I can’t think of one.

Other teams, like the New England Patriots, are already contenders and what they do in the draft can solidify their place in the playoffs come January.

The Dallas Cowboys come into it knowing they can make their team better than it was the year prior. Though there are areas of concern, the Cowboys and every other team know that if they can find three or four guys to come in and make year-one contributions, it can really help further their team.

The Cowboys, unlike the Browns, are much closer to the New England end of the contention spectrum and need to add just a couple of pieces to put their team in a position to make the playoffs and contend for a Super Bowl.

But for every team, this is the time of year to sell hope to your fan base.

The New York Jets may not make the playoffs in 2018, and we know they won’t win the division as long as Tom Brady is around, but they can take a significant step this season if the cards fall right and they get the quarterback they want.

It’s a perfect year to be a quarterback-needy team. There are five guys who scouts, both in the media and in front offices, are seeing as potential franchise quarterbacks. Throw in Mason Rudolph, who is the forgotten man in this deep quarterback class, and you have the makings of the next crop of franchise signal callers.

Dak Prescott, Packers
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL Draft is upon us. Last season is over. What happened doesn’t matter. One draft can change the fortune of your franchise for a decade.

We didn’t know what we had when the Dallas Cowboys drafted Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. It’s rare for a franchise to go from one franchise signal caller to another without a few years of quarterback purgatory. Remember after Troy Aikman went down in 2000?

The cornucopia of bad quarterbacking that followed made us feel like we’d never find a franchise quarterback again. That was until UDFA Tony Romo finally broke through in the middle of the 2006 season.

That’s how important the 2016 draft was. The team was able to smoothly transition from Tony Romo to Dak Prescott, win 13 games and earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If not for Cowboys-Killer Aaron Rodgers, they quite possibly make it to the NFC Championship that season. Then who knows what happens.

Include Maliek Collins, Jaylon Smith, Kavon Frazier, Anthony Brown, and Ezekiel Elliott and they were able to find six guys who have been contributors for this team in their first couple of seasons, and the 2016 draft was huge for this franchise. That’s what a good draft can mean for your favorite franchise.

Conversely, a bad draft can set a team back for a long time.

The Denver Broncos are still trying to recover from the Josh McDaniels’ selection of Tim Tebow in the first round in 2010. Eight years later they still have yet to find a franchise signal caller. Sure they were able to win a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, but they are back to the bottom of the league and drafting fifth overall this season because they don’t have a quarterback worthy of that All-World defense.

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The NFL Draft is an amazing time of year and it’s been fun preparing with each of you in Cowboys Nation. There’s no telling which draft-eligible players will be wearing The Star this training camp, but we know the Dallas Cowboys have really found their stride when it comes to the draft.

I hope everyone has a good time this week as you watch the 2018 NFL Draft. There’s no other sporting event quite like it.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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