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Quick Bytes: Draft Eve!

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First off, my apologies for all the downtime over the last two days.  Moving all the SB Nation sites over to version 2.0 took a little more time and resources than we expected.  That said, there's no reason to expect any more outages.  I appreciate your persistence!

HAPPY DRAFT EVE: It's finally here, the day before the draft.  This is our last chance to speculate and ponder, for tomorrow the pieces of the 2008 Jacksonville Jaguars come together in their first form.  Sure, we'll have camp cuts and late free-agent acquisitions, but the biggest step toward a Jaguars super bowl comes this weekend.

A few quick notes.

I'll be attending the NFL Draft with two other fine SB Nation blogs.  Mile High Report and Stampede Blue , Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts respectively, and I will be live blogging from NYC all weekend long.  We'll be at the draft, hopefully scoring interviews and otherwise wrecking havoc with the "real media".  If you remember my Combine Coverage, expect that, but so much more.

You can follow along with me on two sites.  I'll be doing Jaguars-centric commentary and news here, as well as running the live-blog at Mocking the Draft.  I'd encourage you to visit both, because live blogs are fun.

I've also added a twitter function to the right sidebar. These will be my really rapid fire thoughts, as well as where I'll quickly post things if I'm away from my computer.

 

: This isn't a link, but more a gripe.  I am completely sick and tired of sports writers like Michael Wilbon put on their holier than thou hats and mock the people who pay their bills:

I hate the NFL draft. I realize that saying anything against the draft amounts to blasphemy, but somebody's got to do it. The NFL draft is the most overrated, overhyped, obsessively overcovered non-event in sports. It's a nuisance, made-for-TV-by-TV event for people who couldn't tell a left tackle from a right guard, or zone from man-to-man coverage to save their mamas' lives.

First off, Michael Wilbon spends a whole lot of time on ESPN.  Who do you think decided many years ago that the draft was newsworth?  ESPN.  Talk about biting the hand that feeds him.   Now, there's a reason people obsess over the NFL Draft, and its got nothing to do with the ability to break down defensive coverage.

It's all about Hope.

Today, the Jaguars are still firmly locked in their 2007 season cocoon.  After this weekend, we'll have the 2008 roster all wrapped up, with few exceptions.  We'll finally know how Jack Del Rio plans on addressing our defensive line. We'll finally know where Jason Taylor ends up.

But most of all, we'll have hope for next season.  Free agency started the transition between seasons, but after the draft it's a whole new chapter.  Things the Jaguars or any other team did poorly are now completely in the past.  The sins of previous seasons are forgotten as the selection of new players absolve  us from those woes.

The draft is what makes Miami fans have a reason to smile, for Quarterback John Beck has a new bodyguard.  Criticizing Miami's offensive line is irrelevant, just as in Cleveland after Joe Thomas joined the roster.

On Monday morning our eyes will be firmly placed on the 2008 season.  No more debating about our defensive game plan against the Patriots, we'll instead think about how our new picks will change the team and take us to the next level.

With a little hope, we can imagine our new defensive end sacking Peyton Manning on a critical 4th down conversion.  This hope comes from the draft. It's the moment that the pains of the previous season are relieved and the future becomes a little more clear.

Sure, there's a lot of hype, mock drafts, rising and falling stock, and Mel Kiper Jr., but they're just there to bide the time between the Jaguars picks.   Mocking the draft for it's excesses is a poor excuse for journalism.  Sports are an escape.  The draft is a big facilitator of that escape. There's nothing wrong about being excited about our team getting better, faster, stronger, all through the draft.

-Chris