This week’s Drake’s Takes overviews the NFL Draft and Nebraska’s softball series against Wisconsin.
The NFL Draft started yesterday, a fact I happened to not really be aware of until earlier this week.
For some reason, I’ve been less interested in the draft in recent years. It probably falls in the category of interests taken away by the pandemic which never really came back in full.
There are likely other reasons for this which I don’t wish to spend time thinking about. I will bring up an idea that I do like though that comes up in the background every year — abolishing the draft entirely.
As mentioned, this isn’t a new idea. I’ve heard it since when I first started really paying attention to sports. Bomani Jones mentioned it more recently on his show.
This isn’t something I really expect to happen anytime soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does become a more serious conversation years from now. Players leaving college and having little choice in their destination or salary is a practice that isn’t good, but we accept it for the sake of “competitive balance” and the fact that it’s been in place for a long, long time.
Ideally, players would enter some sort of free agency right out of college and be free to sign with any team for however much money they can realistically get. I don’t think it’d ruin parity as much as some suggest. Rosters are only so big, there are only so many starting opportunities and there’s only so much money to go around.
The NFL combine is probably the worst practice associated with the draft. From year to year we see the process criticized, whether it be the offensive interview questions asked or the combine as a whole being compared to a slave auction.
There’s obviously key differences in the latter. Still, the similarities in mostly Black players being examined and analyzed by mostly white executives and other team officials who will decide their future is uncomfortable to say the least.
JoJo Domann, one of four Nebraska players who went to the combine, talked about the combine a bit on his YouTube channel in March. The linebacker, who has had multiple ACL surgeries, said that after being examined by a doctor, he had his medical history read to the team doctors of all 32 teams.
“Their team doctors are coming up, mostly on my knee, yanking on my knee. One doctor’s like really gentle, the very next team doctor, feeling like he’s trying to rip my knee off,” he said. “It was so nuts, such an emotional high and low.”
I can’t speak for how Domann feels about the draft and its processes overall, but his experience is pretty striking to me. I can’t really see the dehumanizing combine practices as necessary.
But anyway, I’m excited to see where Domann and the other Nebraska players land in the final two days of the draft this year.
Husker softball’s win streak ends
Nebraska softball’s long win streak came to an end last weekend against Wisconsin. Not only that, but they lost two out of three to the Badgers.
I mentioned last week that the final nine games of the year were inevitably going to be tougher, given the increase in competition level. Wisconsin is currently 25-12 and top five in the conference standings.
For that reason, this clearly is no sign for panic. Wisconsin is also a good team, and the Huskers are still second in the Big Ten. The series was on the road as well.
That being said, it’d be a great sign to see Nebraska fare better against its final two opponents of the regular season, Ohio State and Indiana. The Huskers face the Buckeyes, a team receiving votes in ESPN’s Top 25 poll, on the road this weekend. Winning that series would keep them in the fight for the top spot in the conference, along with giving more reason to be positive about the team’s postseason hopes.
Either way, Nebraska at least splitting the final two series of the year would give fans something to feel good about. Winning both would be great, while losing both would raise some eyebrows.
But the most important thing here may just be to enjoy the ride. This has already been a very successful season for Nebraska and more than what many expected.