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The Draft: A Year Inside the NFL's Search for Talentby Pete Williams
Synopses & Reviews
An explosive look at the NFL Draft from the inside out that exposes the multilayered feeding frenzy that swarms around America's top college players.
The Draft follows a handful of NFL hopefuls through the ups and downs of the 2004 college football season and the predraft process, culminating with the 2005 draft. Among the prospects are Virginia defensive end Chris Canty, who overcomes a devastating early-season knee injury to reestablish himself as a top draft hopeful, only to suffer a detached retina in a nightclub skirmish; and Fred Gibson, a talented but rail-thin Georgia wide receiver who struggles to put on the weight needed to go over the middle in the NFL.
It's a complex environment, with college coaches attempting to protect their "student-athletes" from exploitation (while fully aware that they can only remain competitive if they attract NFL-caliber players to their schools), along with sports agents and NFL scouts trying to stay a step ahead of their competition.
These parties provide a multi-angled view of the world of emerging NFL talent. The reader follows the season through the eyes of a host of power players and scouts, from veteran agent Pat Dye Jr. to Jerry Maguire clone Jack Scharf, to the coaching divisions of Florida State University and the University of Virginia---headed by longtime Bill Parcells disciple Al Groh. Also central to the narrative are the Atlanta Falcons and executives Rich McKay and Tim Ruskell (now with Seattle), who use a character-based evaluation system to set their draft board. These parallel stories weave together, culminating in draft weekend, to create a gripping and fascinating look at a world few see from the inside.
Using his unlimited access to blue chip draft prospects, veteran journalist Pete Williams reveals football's inner workings in the same way Moneyball opened up baseball's top-secret war-rooms The NFL draft is the most closely followed sporting event not involving an actual athletic contest. Pete Williams explores this world from the inside out, exposing the multi-layered feeding frenzy that swarms around America's top college players. The Draft follows a handful of NFL hopefuls through the ups and downs of the 2004-2005 college football season and the pre-draft process, culminating with the 2005 draft. Among the prospects are Virginla defensive end Chris Canty, who overcomes a devastating early-season knee injury to re-establish himself as a top draft hopeful, only to suffer a detached retina in a nightclub skirmish; Darryl Blackstock, a player so beloved by Virginia coach Al Groh that he assigns him the No.56 worn by Lawrence Taylor, and soft-spoken Florida State lineman Ray Willis, whose twenty-eight year-old wife guides him through the draft preparation process as she finishes a doctorate in sports management. In tandem with the players, Williams follows three agents and two college programs, along with Atlanta Falcons scouts, who employ a stringent character-based system to evaluate players. These parallel stories weave together, creating a gripping and fascinating look at a world few see from the inside.
About the Author
Pete Williams writes about the business of sports for such publications as USA Today and Street and Smiths Sports Business Journal. He is the author or coauthor of six books, including the business motivational book Fun Is Good (with Mike Veeck). Williams lives in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area with his family.
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