We've Got Hollywood Covered
|

NFL Draft: Is Your Team Ready for Its Close-up?

The rewrites are in, but some concerns remain about direction some sagas are taking

So how’d those NFL drafts/script rewrites go?

Depending on the team you follow, this week you’re either celebrating a soon-to-be Super Bowl berth or calling for your general manager’s head.

For the most part the draft produced feelings of hope bordering on triumphalism. Like a screenwriter whose project is close to getting the greenlight, teams in the bottom half of the draft just need a few more pieces (so they think) to close the deal.

Dallas fans have to be euphoric to add the draft’s top receiving prospect. There’s plenty of joy in New England, Indianapolis, Baltimore, New York Jetland (a very different municipality from New York Giantland) and (hurts me to say this) Cincinnati. A lot of those fans are dreaming of hoisting the Lombardi.

Then there are the projects that need a lot more work. The teams that even the most die-hard fan will admit are still a few more drafts away from being really special. That includes my Cleveland Browns.

The rewrites are in. They’re a positive step. But there’s still a number of concerns that remain. Specifically, Cleveland was a terrible pass-defending team despite registering 40 quarterback sacks. Our secondary was horrible, so the entire unit underwent a rewrite: Three defensive backs taken in the draft, one veteran brought in via trade. It’s a good rewrite, but there’s more work to be done.

The problem with NFL teams is you can’t do a quick turnaround and get working on the next rewrite immediately. Then again, maybe that’s for the best. You get a full season to see if your ideas really ARE the right ones.

But there are some drafts that look like trouble from the get-go. Sometimes you ask for a rewrite and what you get back makes "Showgirls" look like "Sunset Boulevard." That’s an experience fans in Buffalo or Jacksonville relate to after last week. Buffalo came into the draft needing a quarterback, an offensive tackle and plenty of defensive help. They left with a running back, something they didn’t need.

That was the first of the draft’s WTF! moments, but hardly the last.

Jacksonville soon followed up by taking a defensive tackle. Jacksonville already had two highly regarded tackles on its defense, both of whom were released shortly after the draft’s conclusion.

So the Jaguars, who had problems everywhere else, basically were treading water. I’d say Jacksonville fans are gnashing their teeth right now, except I’m not sure the team has any fans left. The Jags played most of their games in an empty stadium, even though they were in the playoff hunt late in the season. More than anything, they really needed something to bring excitement to the area.

Los Angeles fans may want to familiarize themselves with the Jaguars: They may be calling the Coliseum home in a few years.

Then there’s the rewrite that made everyone go “Wahh?” The Denver Broncos traded away three picks to take quarterback Tim Tebow. Last year the Broncos traded away a Pro Bowl quarterback for a journeyman. Now they’ve given up three picks to take a player who by every conceivable measure won’t be ready to play a down for at least two seasons. It’s a huge undertaking.

The Broncos have to rethink everything they’re doing right now. It’s as if you started with a slasher pic and the writer came back and said, “I’m turning this into a tween musical comedy!” What can you do? It’s either brilliant or the biggest disaster in the history of football. And it will take you two to three years to find out which.

Yes, football teams are just like screenplays.

Michael Lee is a novel writer, blogger and freelance journalist living in L.A. He's been a judge for the prestigious PAGE Awards and blogs about his two biggest passions, screenwriting and food, at Screenwriting Foxhole and To Cook and Eat in L.A., respectively. Lee is also a co-author of "The Insider's Guide to Screenwriting" and has just published his first novel, "My Frankenstein."