It's Springtime.... for the Badgers.... and Madison...
That's right folks, now that the meaningful basketball season has ended until the fall it's time for Badger and Packer fans to distract themselves with mostly meaningless but somewhat entertaining offseason happenings. (Ok, so the NFL draft isn't meaningless. But no one has any idea, really, how the guys your team takes are going to turn out.) The first semi-meaningless but entertaining event is Wisconsin's annual Spring Game, happening next Saturday, April 19 at 1 pm. For those who can't be in attendance, the Big Ten Network will be rebroadcasting the game on Tuesday, April 22, at 7 p.m. Central. (Bless the Big Ten Network.) As the game creeps closer, I'll have some comments on various developments this spring and things to look for in the actual game. But there's too much time to kill between now and Saturday to hash it all out just yet.
The next semi-meaningless but somewhat entertaining football related event, the NFL draft, happens the following weekend. This year the draft's format has been shaken up a bit-- with only the first two rounds happening on Saturday, and rounds three through seven going down on Sunday. (This, of course, will redefine the term "first day draft pick".) If I'm not mistaken, I also think the league has reduced the amount of time between picks. There'll only be ten minutes between picks on the first day, and only 5 minutes between picks on the second day. So the process, which can kind of feel like waiting in a doctor's office, should be a little faster-paced.
As a total aside, I like to go to the gym and lift weights right around the time when the Packers are picking. The draft is the kind of "sporting event" where you're definitely interested, but your attention only needs to be given occasionally. It fits well with lifting weights-- watch for a few moments, go do some calf raises, watch again for a moment or two, go do a set of lunges, and so on. The draft does not work that well with running on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike. (The faster pace of college basketball works best for those activities, I've found.)
Anyhow, after the Corey Williams trade, the Packers have the 30th, 56th and 60th picks of the draft. So three first day draft picks, although all of the picks are quite late in each round. The Packers then repeat that pattern in the third and fourth rounds-- one late third round pick and two late fourth rounders. In all, Ted Thompson has 6 of the first 135 picks to play with. Should make for an interesting draft. Again, the Packers' "needs" and the fans' "wants" will be discussed, I'm sure, in the remaining 12 days before the draft. Enjoy the spring.