Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Book Review: The Draft (Nonfiction)

Last month, I reviewed a book entitled The Draft about the NFL draft. That The Draft was a mediocre novel by Wil Mara. Now, it's time for a review of the other The Draft I mentioned in my introduction to that post, a nonfiction book by Pete Williams.

In The Draft: A Year Inside the NFL's Search for Talent, journalist Pete Williams takes a comprehensive look at the roles and actions of the various people who play a role in the upcoming NFL draft, in this case the 2005 draft. He does a very good job of giving us profiles of everybody involved in the process: the front office, thanks to the cooperation of GM Rich McKay and others in the Falcons front office, a look at a college program in some depth, Al Groh's Virginia Cavaliers, and some of their players, most notably Chris Canty, profiles of other players in more individual fashions, including Wisconsin's Anttaj Hawthorne and Georgia WR Fred Gibson, very good looks some of the agents involved, including Todd France and Pat Dye, Jr., the offseason conditioning programs, basically everybody involved in the draft. The price for access, of course, is you have to say what you can say, and be fair. Thus, Williams' isn't exactly hard-hitting. But, that's not important here. Ignore the Amazon reviewer who wanted Moneyball: this is an excellent journalistic account of one year in the NFL draft cycle. Best of all, it actually feels like one book, not a collection of 800-word articles pasted together. Strongly recommended for all NFL fans wanting an inside look at what's been leading up to late April, though not recommended for non-NFL fans.

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