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The first round of the NFL Draft receives the bulk of the attention, but the selections after that — along with free-agent signings following the draft — collectively are more important.
Championship football teams largely are built in the latter rounds, when well-managed franchises are able to stockpile talent and unearth diamonds in the rough. As important as former No. 1 pick Eli Manning has been in winning two Super Bowls, he wouldn’t have been in that position if the Giants hadn’t picked up players such as Ahmad Bradshaw (seventh round) and Victor Cruz (undrafted free agent).
Without a doubt, championship teams need superstars. But they also need good players to surround those stars and plenty of depth to cover for the inevitable injuries.
We’ll be honest, it feels a little funny for the NBA playoffs to be opening and the Portland Trail Blazers to be starting their vacations. No, it hasn’t been all that long since the last time the Blazers missed the postseason, and it hasn’t been all that long since they missed the postseason five years in a row. But it seems odd.
Here’s hoping the current drought ends at one. With Michael Pineda out for the season, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has admitted to doubts about the trade that brought Pineda to New York and sent Jesus Montero to Seattle: “This is a massive decision gone wrong right now. So all scrutiny is fair.” He’ll get no argument from Mariners fans.
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