Tom Sorensen

As the NFL draft draws near, here’s how I know I’m an outlier, and what happens next

If your NFL team did not make the playoffs, you’ve waiting since the final day of the 2016 season, Jan. 1, for the draft. But you likely knew before the final week that for your team there would be no postseason. So you’ve been waiting more than four months. And even if your team made the playoffs, you’ve been waiting because teams that draft poorly stagnate.

The NFL took a ratings hit last season. But the hit does not apply to the draft. The draft is an event. And it will be held, finally, next week.

The consensus is that Carolina will take ... a running back. LSU star Leonard Fournette might be gone when the Panthers pick No. 8, so a popular pick is Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. I initially wrote Lenny instead of Leonard the previous sentence. I feel as if I know him.

If college football players were paid (yeah, I know), McCaffrey would have collected overtime. Stanford designed many ways to get him the ball, and each involved contact. Will that entice teams to overlook him?

I doubt it. DeAngelo Williams had as many if not more hits on his resume as McCaffrey when the Panthers took him out of Memphis in the first round in 2006. He’s still playing.

I really like Fournette, and I like McCaffrey. But I don’t think the Panthers take a running back until the second or third round. I realize I’m an outlier. It’s as if I’m roaming a South Pacific island long after the war ended, just me and my helmet and bayonet. And finally I get word that it’s over, and I was extremely wrong.

But I don’t think I will be. I don’ know who the pick will be. A defensive end or a safety I'd guess. We’ll know soon enough. And if I’m wrong, I’ll hear from those who aren’t. And if I’m right, maybe my kids will send a text or an email.

I don’t do this for the praise. I do it for the common good. And the money.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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