Join us each day as we count down towards the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The countdown runs from 50 to zero and the number of days remaining will inspire the post for that day. Think of this as your NFL draft paper chain that loses one link each day!
Friday’s labor developments threw a whole bunch of uncertainty into what the 2011 season will look like. Even the one thing we thought we knew, that the draft would take place as scheduled, faces a slight possibility of being erased. I sincerely hope that doesn’t come to pass so I’ll do the blogging equivalent of sticking my head in the sand and continue on with the NFL draft countdown I began with 50 days remaining.
The rising of today’s sun (yes, the effects of the union’s decertification has certain bounds) means 47 days remain until the first round of the NFL Draft on April 28 (we hope, re-read above if necessary). Did you know 47 is the age, in years, former NFL Kicker Morten Andersen was when he played his final season?
I bring it up because my own countdown rules requires me to use the number 47 in some way (you would think I would have made things easier on myself) and we have our own kicker that hit the 40 year plateau prior to last season. The Lions have indicated their desire to retain Dave Rayner but that still seems like an insurance policy considering Jason Hanson showed he still has plenty of leg before his season ended due to injury.
Hanson’s only miss on the year from longer than 50 yards was an end of half situation in Green Bay that never should have been attempted by Jim Schwartz’s own admission. Hanson didn’t miss from inside 40 yards and went four of five from 40 to 49 yards out. His skills are clearly not eroding and the example of Morten Andersen’s longevity shows that age alone is no reason to end the player-team relationship. Fans have wondered if the Lions would consider using a late round draft pick on a kicker in the previous two or three drafts based on the expectation that Hanson’s career will soon be over. It may soon be but the calendar won’t give us any indication of when that day will come. At any rate, I think it is fair to say the Lions got their money’s worth (literally and figuratively) when they drafted Jason Hanson in the second round of the 1992 draft.