Posted: April 23, 2015
The National Football League (NFL) draft features no action on the field. No passing, running, tackling, or kicking. Hey, there isn't even a field.
Yet the draft has become more popular than many other sporting events, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) playoff games, against which it goes head-to-head for viewers. In fact, the draft has spawned its own cottage industry in which names such as Gil Brandt, Mel Kiper, Jr., and Mike Mayock become as well-known as any of the first-round selections.
In On the Clock, Ken Rappoport and Barry Wilner chronicle the history of the proceedings. The veteran sports writers take you from the first grab bag in 1936, when Philadelphia chose Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago and saw him decline to play in the NFL, to the 2014 draft—considered one of the deepest in talent ever.
Along the 78-year journey, learn about the competitions for the top overall spot (Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf), the unhappy No. 1s (John Elway and Tom Cousineau), the big flops (JaMarcus Russell) and the late-rounders-turned-superstars (Tom Brady).
Meet the draft wizards, from Paul Brown to Bill Walsh and Jimmy Johnson. And the draft whiffs that cost personnel executives their jobs.
On the Clock takes you behind the scenes at one of pro football’s yearly major events.
Barry Wilner has been a sportswriter for the Associated Press since 1975. He has covered virtually every major sporting event, including twelve Olympics, nine World Cups, twenty-six Super Bowls, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup finals, and has written thirty-nine books. He lives in Garnerville, New York.
Ken Rappoport is the author of more than sixty sports books for adults and young readers. Working for the Associated Press in New York for thirty years, he has written about every major sport. His assignments included the World Series, the NBA Finals, and, as the AP’s national hockey writer, the Stanley Cup Finals and the Olympics. He lives in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.