The NFL draft comes around every April (or, after this year, now May), with NFL teams having the chance to strengthen their squad from the influx of talent emerging from college football.
However, one elite player taken early in the draft has the potential to completely turn around a franchise’s fortunes, this is the focus of Draft Day. Starring Kevin Costner, Draft Day might not be one of the biggest hits at the box office, however, it does take one of the most dramatic days in all of sports, the first round of the NFL Draft, and cranks the action up to eleven.
The movie begins with Costner’s character, Sonny Weaver, centre stage as under-pressure General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. Knowing the draft is a chance for him to put a spark back into his free-falling team, Weaver sets out to acquire the number one pick from the Seattle Seahawks (currently the odds on favorites to win the Super Bowl next year, according to Sports Interaction), and draft reigning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Bo Callahan.
However, in the lead up to draft time, Weaver begins to study his options more closely and some doubts creep up over Callahan’s character. Though seemingly destined to become a future star, as draft time comes and the Browns are put on the clock, Weaver has to seriously question his instincts against mass opinion. It all leads to an extremely difficult decision which has the potential to throw the draft, especially the teams picking at the top, into chaos.
Draft Day obviously takes some inspiration from the Robert Griffin III trade in the 2012 NFL Draft, in which the Washington Redskins gave up a remarkable number of future picks in order to trade places with the St Louis Rams and get their star quarterback. The pressure that Weaver is under also feels very realistic, with the draft, quite literally, placing NFL General Managers’ jobs on the line.
In the end, Draft Day does a good job of getting across the strain that the draft puts teams under, along with the increased hysteria that surrounds the event every year. Although some of the aspects of the film feel very Hollywood, it ultimately gives fans a feel of what it might be like to be in an NFL war room with the clock ticking down. And it’s a captivating position to be in.