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Thursday Cannon Fodder: draft

‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ Sign Turns Silver And Black Ahead of 2022 NFL Draft Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

Tonight is the opening night of the NFL Draft. The guys who get picked in the first round (and even the second, third, maybe even fourth) have known they were going to hear their names called for a while, but it’s still pretty cool. It’s the realization of a lifelong dream. Something they and their families have worked hard for and sacrificed to achieve. I love to watch the joy on display. And watching the draft gives me a primer on the NFL offseason, too.

I know that European football isn’t structured in such a way that a draft would be viable. Multiple leagues, the academy system, club finances, talent scouting on a global level, weird player ownership arrangements, and innumerable other structures ensure that.

But let’s have some fun. Let’s say that the Premier League decided to have a redraft with all the players currently at PL clubs available for selection. You’re building a roster from the ground up. Who are your top 5 picks? My list looks something like:

  1. Declan Rice
  2. Phil Foden
  3. Bukayo Saka
  4. Ruben Dias
  5. Mason Mount

How about if you expanded the list of eligible players out across Europe? Who are you taking after Erling Haaland at #1 overall? For me, it’s probably Kylian Mbappe.

At what point does established, young-ish talent win out over teenage talent? What age is the tipping point in that evaluation?

Also noteworthy today: there were reports swirling that Mino Raiola had died earlier today that got so out of hand that he (or someone from his account) tweeted that he was alive. It seems as if he is in the hospital, however, and maybe not in great shape. Best wishes to him.