PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles involved in Wednesday’s first (and unfortunate) Pro Bowl draft provided good examples of why the novelty act should also be the last (unfortunate) Pro Bowl draft.
It might be OK to turn an invitation to the league’s all-star game into an insult for the sake of good television. But there was nothing fun or entertaining about every player after the first 15 minutes stalking out of the holding area and complaining about not being chosen sooner.
By the time Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was taken by Deion Sanders’ team in the 39th round, the whole exercise was excruciating. Quarterback Nick Foles, who also went to Team Sanders, avoided being the final player taken by one slot. That distinction went to Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith.
If the last player taken in the real draft is Mr. Irrelevant, does that make Smith Mr. Relevant for being the last guy taken in a farcical draft?
To dismiss the dismal message sent to Jackson and Foles means there was nothing positive about running back LeSean McCoy being taken so high. McCoy, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2013, was the fourth overall player taken. He was also one of Team Rice’s five “untradeable” players, whatever that means.
The most fortunate Eagle of all was left guard Evan Mathis. He was selected Tuesday, the day before the NFL Network broadcast of the main draft. That put him among the interior linemen and punters -- positions deemed unworthy of the TV portion -- but that proved to be a blessing in disguise. Mathis, who joins McCoy on Team Rice, walked out at the beginning of the broadcast and was off the hook for the rest of the show.
Well, maybe the real winner was left tackle Jason Peters, who was voted in as a starter but withdrew. He skipped the whole thing.
The Pro Bowl has always been a tough sell. It’s what football looks like when the No. 1 concern is not getting hurt. But the draft concept isn’t going to help, at least not without major improvement.