The NFL draft features no action on the field. No passing, running, tackling, or kicking. Hey, there isn't even a field. Yet the draft has become more popular than many other sporting events, including the NBA and NHL playoff games, against which it goes head-to-head for viewers. In fact, the draft has spawned its own cottage industry in which names such as Gil Brandt, Mel Kiper Jr., and Mike Mayock have become as well known as any of the first-round selections.
In On the Clock, Barry Wilner and Ken Rappoport chronicle the history of the proceedings. The veteran sportswriters take you from the first grab bag in 1936, when Philadelphia chose Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago only for him to decline to play in the NFL, to the 2014 draft—considered one of the deepest in talent ever.
Along the 78-year journey, learn about the competitions for the top overall spot (Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf), the unhappy No. 1s (John Elway and Tom Cousineau), the big flops (JaMarcus Russell), and the late-rounders-turned-superstars (Tom Brady).
Meet the draft wizards, from Paul Brown to Bill Walsh and Jimmy Johnson, and read about the draft whiffs that cost personnel executives their jobs.
On the Clock takes you behind the scenes at one of pro football’s most suspenseful annual events.
Barry Wilner has been a sportswriter for the Associated Press since 1975. He has covered virtually every major sporting event, including 13 Olympics, 9 World Cups, 30 Super Bowls, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup finals, and has written 51 books. He is also an adjunct professor at Manhattanville College. He lives in Garnerville, New York.
Ken Rappoport is the author of 68 sports books for adults and young readers. While working for the Associated Press in New York for 30 years, he has written about every major sport. His assignments have included the World Series, the NBA Finals, and, as the AP’s national hockey writer, the Stanley Cup Finals and the Olympics. He lives in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.