The sound made St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher stop in mid-sentence as he spoke to team General Manger Les Snead about the upcoming NFL Draft. He looked at the wall clock - 11:15pm - and wondered who else was working late? They both thought the staff at Rams Headquarters had gone home long ago? Jeff looked at Les, who shrugged, and they both left the conference room to see who could still be there. They walked toward the staff office section, and saw a stapler on the floor just outside an office they both knew well. When they heard an angry female voice say: "Not him you idiot! He plays football like my Grandma!", they stopped mid-step. Jeff grabbed Les' arm as he tried to flee in the opposite direction.
Fisher wiped a hand over his mustache and chin, forcing back a smile as he watched Les shake his head.
"You're the GM, so go do your GM thing and find out what she's doing," Jeff gave Les a little shove toward the office door.
"She scares the crap out of me, alright! There... I said it. So if you want to know what she's doing, be my guest." Snead made a grab at Fisher's arm in a vain attempt to pull him toward the office. At that moment, an office phone came winging it's way out of the doorway, hitting a wall with a giant "Thwack" sound.
Wide eyed, they slowly crept toward the office and peered around the edge of the doorway...
"I'm tellin you, that Poe kid ain't goin' to be good for anything but runnin' up the buffet bills around here, so get picking him right outta your mind!" Derinda Platt pulled her blond hair away from her face as she stared at the computer in front of her. She looked up at the charts she had covering the walls of her office; long lists of players and their positions she'd "borrowed" from the Rams NFL Draft war room.
"We already got that Richardson guy in the first round, so let's just get us a guy who can catch a damn pass, OK?" She typed her thoughts frantically into her computer and hit send. The response to her message caused her to glare at the computer screen, "How dare you..." Then she typed - "How the hell do you know I'm a blonde? What's that crazy ass New Mexican been sayin' about me?" Derinda looked up from her computer and saw Fisher and Snead standing standing in front of her desk. She screamed and toppled over backwards in her chair.
"Have you ever thought of moving your chair back against the wall?" Jeff laughed as he moved to help her up. "You fall out of that chair more than you sit in the damn thing?"
"Lemme go!" Derinda swatted his hand away, "If people wouldn't go sneakin' up on me, I wouldn't be fallin over, now would I?" She looked at Les Snead, who was studying the charts on the walls.
"Where did you get these? Are these from our war room?" Les said as he noticed the colored pins next to different players that hadn't been there earlier in the day.
Jeff had walked over and looked at the chart Les was studying. "What do you have going on here, Derinda?"
"Well, if you must know," Derinda had righted her chair and began reading more message that were flying into the instant message thread on her computer screen. She typed in "Be right back, so don't screw up the draft DB!" Walking around her desk to where Fisher and Les stood, she slapped Snead's hand away from a pin he was about to move. "Hands off Lester... Those are the guys I plan on draftin' and I'm already confused enough."
"How are you going to draft..." Jeff looked puzzled, but Les interceded.
"You're in one of those Mock Drafts, aren't you?" Les smiled. They had kept Derinda away from their draft discussions up to now. He hadn't been joking about being - at the very least - intimidated by this tall, good looking, powder keg of a woman. Though he'd gotten to know her more since he was hired, he couldn't stop thinking about the stories he'd heard.
Blushing, Derinda put her hands on her hips and glared at them, "What if I am doin' a Mock Draft? It ain't like you care what I think about who you're pickin' on Draft day?"
A look of amused shock on his face, Fisher looked from Les to Derinda, "So you're online with guys doing a Mock Draft? That's who you were yelling at when we came in?" He tried to maintain a serious expression, but lost it and began to laugh. Les joined in, but stopped when a thought occurred to him.
'So you have us taking Trent Richardson in the first round?" He elbowed Jeff as he nodded. "Who do you have in the second round?" He walked around her desk and studied the computer screen. There was an elaborate Excel document with player ranking, and tabs to flip between a "Best Player Available" screen back to the actual draft that was going on as they spoke. He watched as the Miami Dolphins took Ryan Tannehill with the eighth pick in the draft, and began to nod his approval as he sat down in Derinda's chair. He motioned for Jeff to come look at the screen.
Jeff walked away from Derinda, who slumped her shoulders and sighed.
Les poked the screen with a finger, "These guys are blowing... No way they trade all that to move up to..." He slapped the desk with his hand. He studied the internet address for a second, then bolted out of his chair, telling the others to follow him. Les flipped the lights on in the Ram war room, and began booting up the array of computers on the conference table.
"What the hell are you doing?" Jeff said as he walked into the room. Derinda peered into the room, then followed Fisher to two chairs that Les waved them to as he pulled up the draft site Derinda had been using. "We gotta help her, Jeff. These guys are going to have her drafting the wrong guys, and ..." He stopped talking when he saw the stunned look on Fisher's face. "What?"
"First, it's Derinda's draft, and she hasn't said she wants our help. Second, it's a Mock draft and we have the real thing to get ready for, and third..." He stopped talking when the name of a player suggestion popped up on the screen. "They can't take that guy this high in the draft? What the hell... How do I tell these guys they are nuts?" He pointed at the computer, and waved to Derinda.
Another sigh, and Derinda typed in her password so the message thread was live. "I'll need some screen names for you guys, so let me see..." She smiled and typed in a message to the others on her Mock Draft team that they were being joined by a couple of friends of hers: "Fishface" and "BugMeBoy" She went on to explain that her friends were over paid janitors that worked in her building. She wagged her head from side to side, and smiled at the looks on Fisher and Snead's faces as they read their new names. Both men smirked, then shrugged before diving into the message thread.
When "BugMeBoy" began to offer his opinion on a player, someone named "Will Not Be Defeated" told him to "Sod off! No way the Rams would take Stephen Hill in the 2nd". Someone named "Buckeyefan" began to explain player value to "Fishface" when he'd suggested a trade. A guy named "DouglasM" kept correcting their spelling, and "Rcoon" wanted to let them all know he'd be back after he put out a fire somewhere?
Fisher and Snead looked at one another, then reached for the phones on the table before each of them and began calling in the St. Louis Rams scouting staff.
"Yeah, I know what time it is, but we have a draft emergency, so get your butt in here!" Snead yelled into the phone as he continued a typed argument over a player he had rated high before reading the Mock draft guy's thoughts. Fisher yelled "Take that!" when the group for the Rams he was now a part of selected Rueben Randle out of LSU in the second round. He and Snead exchanged a "high-five" and dove back into the discussion in the message thread as the number 39 choice got closer and closer... Derinda watched the two men, smiles on their faces, banging out opinions to her draft colleagues. She quietly got out of her chair, and moved toward the door of the conference room. Members of the scouting staff began pouring into the build, running by her as she walked back to her office.
She closed her office door, and sat at her desk for a minute in quiet. Then she reached for her cell phone, and dialed a phone number. When the man on the other end of the line picked up, she said "You are a cruel man, Stan!"
All she heard on the other end of the line was laughter...
I'd like to thank the guys who invited me to join the TST team in the Mocking the Draft - Live Mock Draft series. Lots of fun and I learned a ton about player value for the coming NFL Draft on April 26th.
As of this writing, the TST draft team had selected the following guys in the "Live" Mock at the incredible "Mocking the Draft" site:
Round 1 - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Round 2a - Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
Round 2b - Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Round 3 - Bobbie Massie, OL, Ole' Miss
Round 4 - Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
Round 6 - Kyle Wilbur, OLB, Wake Forrest
Round 7a - Danny Trevathan, OLB, Kentucky
Round 7b - Ron Brooks, CB, LSU
UDFA: Brian Stahovich, P, SDSU
UDFA: Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia
UDFA: Micanor Regis, DT, Miami
UDFA: Josh LeRebius, OG, Southern Methodist
UDFA: Josh Oglesby, OT, Wisconsin
The TST Draft crew: WillNotBeDefeated, DBCouver, Buckeyefan (Josh), Rcoon, and little ol' me!
Just remember: It was all DB's fault! - Cheers!