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.
"Even if you already know how it all turns out, the plot, as it were, is as suspenseful as many a regular-season game." --Sports Illustrated
"The most comprehensive look at the draft ever." --Sporting News
"Football fans will appreciate Williams' patient explanation of the vagaries of professional football's exhaustive job interview process." --Publisher's Weekly
"THE DRAFT isn't for everyone; it's only for those who prefer to know - who want
to know - what goes on, why their sports world so often smells the way it does. Pete Williams, as he has done throughout his career, applies good, old-time journalism to provide a modern and important eye-opener." --Phil Mushnick, New York Post
"This is the best insider account ever written about the NFL Draft and the football counterpart to Michael Lewis' MONEYBALL. Pete Williams takes us into the NFL war rooms, to the homes of the NFL hopefuls, and behind the scenes of the sports agent feeding frenzy. If you're a football fan and want a fascinating and engaging inside look at the sport, you can't do much better than THE DRAFT." --Peter Golenbock, New York Times bestselling author of COWBOYS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MY HEROES and THE BRONX ZOO
"Pete Williams has pulled off what everyone promises and few produce: a true behind-the-scenes look at the NFL draft. "The Draft" not only explains the constant pressure that players, agents and talent evaluators face, but also why the busts went so high and the sleepers so low."
--Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends and author of The Games Do Count
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.
Furnishes a behind-the-scenes tour of the 2004-05 NFL draft season, as well as an update on the 2006 draft, presented from the perspectives of three agents, Atlanta Falcons scouts, and hopefuls, in an account that shares the stories of such prospects as injured defensive end Chris Canty, beloved Virginia player Darryl Blackstock, and soft-spoken Florida State lineman Ray Willis. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
About the Author
Pete Williams writes about the business of sports for such publications as USA Today and Street and Smith’s 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. Visit his Web site at www.petewilliams.net.