The Draft

A Year Inside the NFL's Search for Talent

Pete Williams

St. Martin's Griffin

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An explosive look at the NFL Draft from the inside out that exposes the multilayered feeding frenzy that swarms around America’s top college players.

The Draft follows a handful of NFL hopefuls through the ups and downs of the 2004 college football season and the predraft process, culminating with the 2005 draft. Among the prospects are Virginia defensive end Chris Canty, who overcomes a devastating early-season knee injury to reestablish himself as a top draft hopeful, only to suffer a detached retina in a nightclub skirmish; and Fred Gibson, a talented but rail-thin Georgia wide receiver who struggles to put on the weight needed to go over the middle in the NFL.
It’s a complex environment, with college coaches attempting to protect their “student-athletes” from exploitation (while fully aware that they can only remain competitive if they attract NFL-caliber players to their schools), along with sports agents and NFL scouts trying to stay a step ahead of their competition.
These parties provide a multi-angled view of the world of emerging NFL talent. The reader follows the season through the eyes of a host of power players and scouts, from veteran agent Pat Dye Jr. to Jerry Maguire clone Jack Scharf, to the coaching divisions of Florida State University and the University of Virginia---headed by longtime Bill Parcells disciple Al Groh. Also central to the narrative are the Atlanta Falcons and executives Rich McKay and Tim Ruskell (now with Seattle), who use a character-based evaluation system to set their draft board. These parallel stories weave together, culminating in draft weekend, to create a gripping and fascinating look at a world few see from the inside.

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter One

First Contacts

Ed Hawthorne and Ed Walsh looked at the young football agent sitting across the table from them and chuckled. Jack Scharf seemed right out of central casting. With a lantern jaw, bleached-white teeth, and jelled dark hair, he looked like a taller Tom Cruise. The forty-five-hundred-dollar, custom-tailored Armani suit, cuff links and white monogrammed shirt he wore covered a lean physique, shaved to accentuate the muscles. Scharf’s rented Jaguar XJ8 sat outside Walsh’s law office in New Haven, Connecticut.

“Say it, Jack,” Hawthorne said.

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Reviews

Praise for The Draft

"Even if you already know how it all turns out, the plot, as it were, is as suspenseful as many a regular-season game." --Sports Illustrated
 
"The most comprehensive look at the draft ever." --Sporting News
 
"Football fans will appreciate Williams' patient explanation of the vagaries of professional football's exhaustive job interview process." --Publisher's Weekly
 
“THE DRAFT isn't for everyone; it's only for those who prefer to know - who want to know - what goes on, why their sports world so often smells the way it does. Pete Williams, as he has done throughout his career, applies good, old-time journalism to provide a modern and important eye-opener." --Phil Mushnick, New York Post
 
"This is the best insider account ever written about the NFL Draft and the football counterpart to Michael Lewis' MONEYBALL. Pete Williams takes us into the NFL war rooms, to the homes of the NFL hopefuls, and behind the scenes of the sports agent feeding frenzy. If you're a football fan and want a fascinating and engaging inside look at the sport, you can't do much better than THE DRAFT." --Peter Golenbock, New York Times bestselling author of COWBOYS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MY HEROES and THE BRONX ZOO
 
“Pete Williams has pulled off what everyone promises and few produce: a true behind-the-scenes look at the NFL draft. “The Draft” not only explains the constant pressure that players, agents and talent evaluators face, but also why the busts went so high and the sleepers so low.”
--Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends and author of The Games Do Count

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About the Author

Pete Williams

Pete Williams writes about the business of sports for such publications as USA Today and Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal. He is the author or coauthor of six books, including the business motivational book Fun Is Good (with Mike Veeck). Williams lives in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area with his family.

Pete Williams

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Draft
A Year Inside the NFL's Search for Talent
Pete Williams

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
March 2007
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312354398
ISBN10: 0312354398
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 360 pages, Includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs
$16.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
April 2007
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429910019
ISBN10: 1429910011
336 pages
$9.99
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