MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

As promised, I watched much of the first two nights of the #NFLTheTVShowAndSportsBook player selection meeting and, as promised, I took very little from it. But that’s not on the TV Show, it’s on me.

I don’t care what anybody says, unless you are paid for a living to have NFL talent eyes, not many of us out here legitimately took too much from it, because, really, nobody really knows about any of them, specifically in this draft.

Sorry. Just the facts, ma’am.

That said, I certainly enjoyed watching the draft. I don’t know many of the players the way I used to, because things change; but I enjoy watching them play, and I enjoy watching kids’ dreams come true when their names are called.

I trust the NFL as far as I can throw it, but that part never changes. While I can do without seeing Roger Goodell insist on love, I get it. It’s a great thing to see the faces of those young men light up when they are called out to that stage, or when they’re sitting at home and receive word while they’re with their family.

Again, I make fun of the TV Show and take great pleasure in doing so. But I never lie; I watch it. They know TV.

As for the three teams most of us around here care about the most, the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Commanders, I didn’t follow it closely enough, nor do I know enough about what Washington did to say. Based on what I read and based on reporting I trust, though, the word (if it is a word) “meh” continues to be used.

As for the Ravens, they have received very favorable reviews, which has normally been the case, be it former general manager Ozzie Newsome or current GM Eric DeCosta making the calls.

The Ravens traditionally have been a team that makes deals to stockpile picks and to trade down to acquire even more. This year they made the first big trade of the night, dealing receiver Marquise Brown to Arizona in exchanging first-round picks and picking up another pick in the later rounds.

With the Ravens, there is power in depth and in numbers, and the reviews have been positive in the way DeCosta used his 11 picks in this year’s draft, sticking to The Ravens Way of taking the best player available.

The Ravens had only one first-round pick to start, but concluded the first night by selecting Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, both rated the best in the draft at their positions, but who slipped down to Baltimore because of Hamilton’s slow 40-yard dash times and Linderbaum’s short arms.

They also selected edge rusher David Ojabo of Michigan, who should play well off of Odafe Oweh, and added depth at tackle on both sides, corner, tight end, running back and punter.

With the injuries following the Ravens around the way they have the past couple of years, this is a good thing

The Steelers, of course, made really big news by taking a quarterback in the first round, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, a top-three finisher in the Heisman voting. As head coach Mike Tomlin said, “We searched every corner of the country for the right guy, and we end up going right next door.”

Pickett is an experienced college QB, he is mobile and he produces. He does hold the ball in the pocket for a long time, but the Steelers are used to that, and he will be the future until he proves he won’t be the guy for the present. Whenever that is.

The Steelers also took wide receiver George Pickens of Georgia (one of 15 national champion Bulldogs selected), building mostly offensive depth in a draft that rated as a very good one in general manager Kevin Colbert’s final season, which is not surprising whatsoever. These guys just know how to do this and have since 1969.

What little I do know about this, I found it amusing the other day when I overhead somebody say the only reason the Steelers took Pickett was as a hometown favor; that they did not want to receive the flak they received through the years over not selecting Pittsburgh native Dan Marino, also a former Pitt Panther, in 1983.

That isn’t how first-round picks work, as they are too valuable and too precious.

No offense to Pickett, but he’s no Marino. Nobody is. And while Marino did produce a no-brainer Hall of Fame career, even as a non-Steelers fan, I still find it astounding all of these years later that so many teams, particularly the Steelers, passed on Marino.

To this day, despite his great success with Miami, I’m sure Marino does as well.

Oddly enough, the only other team that did not pass on Marino, who was selected on the next to last pick of the first round, was Super Bowl champion Washington, who had the final pick of the round.

Washington general manager Bobby Beathard once said if Marino had still been on the board, he would have selected him. Once Miami did take Marino, Beathard selected a cornerback from a little school somewhere called Texas A&I.

His name is Darrell Green.

Which just goes to show you, not only does the vast majority of us not have a clue, we don’t even suspect.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT