The View From Pluto: Jokes Aside, There's A Real Reason For The NFL Draft

Feb 15, 2017

Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett jokingly pleads for the Cowboys to trade with the Browns to draft him
Credit ESPN.com / ESPN.com

This week, a top NFL prospect angered some Browns fans by clamoring to play for another team. Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is considered a likely No. 1 pick in Aprils’ NFL draft – a pick owned by the Browns.

In an ESPN video, Garrett pleaded with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to make a trade for him. He later said he was joking. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about why the NFL has a draft.

Pluto says drafts are unique to sports. 

"Suppose Myles Garrett were considered the top law student coming out of Harvard," Pluto says. "He wouldn’t go into a draft. He would be sorting through offers from New York, Dallas and Los Angeles and anywhere else he would want to go. And then he would pick. He is not picked."

Why have the draft?

"If he gets drafted by the Browns or the Bears, too bad, he better pack a warm coat."

Pluto says the drafts has been around in the NFL since 1936 and in the NBA since 1947.

"Then, when players organized and had a union, it’s always been worked in as part of a way to do business and giving them the NFL and they get pension funds, things like that."

"They didn’t want to have a bidding war for these kids coming out of college. So the teams collectively came together and said, 'This is how we’re going to do it.' And they set rules that say, 'If you’re picked by the Steelers in the third round, you have one choice to play in the NFL. It’s the Steelers or it’s nothing.'"

Pluto says without the draft, it would be a Wild West.

"It’d be great for Myles Garrett and great for the sport’s attorneys because they would have a bidding war with all these teams. It would be the ultimate form of free agency."

Baseball's road to the draft
Pluto says Major League Baseball was the last sport to bring in a draft for amateur players, in 1965. 

"The Yankees were so powerful in the '40's, '50’s, early '60’s before the draft. They were in New York and making the most money. So, if there was a really good player, the teams would come in and it was a free agency bid. But the Yankees always outbid everybody."

"I'm not surprised Myles Garrett would rather play in Dallas and if he were in just about any other endeavor other than athletics, he could. I’m glad sports isn’t that way because everybody would playing in Dallas or New York and nobody would be playing in Cleveland."

"Football is outside, Garrett wants to play in warm weather, but if he gets drafted by the Browns or the Bears, too bad, he better pack a warm coat."