on: everything you need to know about the draft

Quinn falls mightily,
Browns get two drafts' worth this year,
Moss shops for sweatshirts

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DSH Special: 2007 NFL Poetic Draft

Unless you've been living underneath a rock, you know that the NFL Draft is this weekend. ESPN, of course, will be devoting hours upon hours to their draft coverage this year, full of talking heads burning time with boring analysis and wild predictions.

With all that time to devote to the players' draft, it's an absolute travesty that they didn't cover the NFL's first Poet Laureate draft this past week, where every NFL club chose a muse to guide them through the coming seasons. Thankfully, Daily Sports Haiku was there, and unlike Mel Kiper Jr., we actually know how these careers are going to pan out. Also, we have better hair.

Below are some of the highlights from the 2007 NFL Poetic Draft and what you can expect for your favorite teams.

1. Oakland - Allen Ginsberg (Newark, NJ)
Looking to put the edge back in the Silver and Black, Al Davis drafts Ginsberg for his skill and aggression. Ginsberg spends his weeks in San Francisco and Sundays in the Black Hole tripping on mescaline. He manages to sneak some of his colleagues into training camp, and while Edgar Burroughs is cut early for an incident involving Warren Sapp and seven pounds of raw hamburger meat, Jack Kerouac is kept on as the second-string quarterback. Ginsberg lasts two seasons before Davis releases him for "being too Communist". "The best minds of our generation destroyed by madness, indeed," Ginsberg remarks.

2. Detroit - Julius "Nipsey" Russell (Atlanta, GA)
With Frost, Dickinson, and Yeats still on the board, Matt Millen instead opts for the Poet Laureate of Game Shows. Millen arrives in Michigan after the draft to find his house has been burnt to the ground. His contract is extended another two years.

3. Cleveland - Edgar Allen Poe (Boston, MA)
Clearly a pick to spite the Ravens, their AFC North rivals. Sadly, the master of American horror has a relatively unimpressive career in Cleveland, rarely summoning up the energy to write. "And I thought Baltimore was depressing," says the man who wrote "The Pit and the Pendulum". Poe does, however, hit it off with the Cleveland fans, especially The Dawg Pound, penning "The Howl of the Wild Dawgs" in tribute. (The controversial ending where Kellen Winslow has his eyes pecked out by an egret would be cut before publication.) Casks of Amontillado are now a common sight in the parking lot tailgates before home games at Browns Stadium.

5. Arizona - William Shakespeare (Stratford-upon-Avon, England)
Arizona finally thinks it has the star it needs to bust out of the cellar and make the playoffs. The marketing team runs a massive "Bards For Cards" promotion; coach Ken Whisenhunt promises him publication from day one. Shockingly, however, Shakespeare only manages two mediocre sonnets in his first season. In the second season, he takes to writing limericks; by season four he's submitting plagiarized copies of Hop on Pop. Cards fans take to wearing comedy/tragedy masks to games; Shakespeare ends his career after five nondescript seasons writing for the Arena Football League's San Jose SaberCats.

Interestingly enough, the Patriots pick up Christopher Marlowe in the 5th round and he goes on to have a Hall of Fame caliber career.

6. Washington - William Wordsworth (Cockermouth, England)
Notable only because owner Dan Snyder signs him to a 7-figure contract, thus making him the first millionaire poet in recorded history.

8. Atlanta (from Houston) - Langston Hughes (Joplin, MO)
A singular talent possessed of a jazzy, improvisational style, Hughes is roundly criticized upon failing to perform in Atlanta and is frustrated by coaches pushing him towards strict iambic pentameter. "Will never realize his full poetic potential," Peter King writes. "His meter simply isn't up to par with the greatest I've seen come through the league: Thoreau, Sandburg, Romo." In spite of his supposed failings and some scandals that the league and media have kept hush-hush (support for Josef Stalin, homosexual coding in his poetry) his jersey is a top-seller.

11. San Francisco - Basho Matsuo (Ueno, Japan)
Basho's snappy haiku are a perfect fit in San Fran's west coast offense, and the town's excellent sushi bars and strong Asian ties make the poet a perfect fit. Among his more famous works with the team:

the cherry blossoms fall
Nolan's suit shines
we miss Montana

The Niners keep losing, of course, but the fans remain placated by the team's excellent zen.

16. Green Bay - Maya Angelou (St. Louis, MO)
Shows immense talent, as evidenced by "Still I Rise" and "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings". Of course, we don't end up finding out about these masterpieces until long after she is out of the league, because T.S. Eliot (whos original nickname for Green Bay went on instead to title one of his most famous works) holds onto Green Bay's poet laureate position for another seventeen seasons, long past the point where he can even pick up a pen and write without getting ink on himself. Angelou spends her entire career on the bench.

18. Cincinnati - Tupac Shakur (New York City, NY)
The Bengals take a chance on another troubled kid with "character issues", but Shakur rewards their faith with three Pulitzer-caliber seasons before writing his most controversial rap, "Da Goodell, Da Badell". A sample verse:

He wanna take our fat stacks with his fines like it's a thug tax
So I unload my milly-nine into Roger's back
How's the commish gonna like it when he's salary capped?

Shakur is fined $500,000 and suspended 8 games when an intern explains to the NFL commissioner what a "milly-nine" is. The song hits #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

19. Tennessee - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Portland, MA)
To put it mildly, Longfellow is a nice change of pace.

How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!

---"Rain in Summer", Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I'm in this business of terror
Got a handful of stacks
Better grab an umbrella
I make it rain (I make it rain)
I make it rain on them hoes
---"Make it Rain", Fat Joe

20. NY Giants - E.E. Cummings (Boston, MA)
Cummings' tenure in New York is a mess. Rumors of a trade swirl in the tabloids (Daily News headline: "CUMMINGS GOING?") after he feuds with tight end Jeremy Shockey. Shockey complains about Cummings' verse after a loss to Dallas ("If certain members of our team knew how to form a trochee, we wouldn't be in such bad shape") and Cummings responds in kind ("How the f--k would he know, Jeremy Shockey is functionally illiterate"). Mike Lupica trashes Cummings, calling him, quote, "not good enough to clean the spittle from my laptop screen". The final straw comes when noted disciplinarian Tom Coughlin makes Cummings run a wind sprint for every line he leaves unpunctuated. Cummings rescinds his no-trade clause three days later and is shipped to San Diego for William McGonagall.

21. Denver - Elizabeth Barrett Browning (London, England)
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" is a big hit in the Mile High City, for sure, but her real contribution to the team comes when they put her behind the Broncos' offensive line in her fourth season and she rushes for 1,300 yards, 11 TDs, and a spot in the Pro Bowl.

26. Philadelphia - Walt Whitman (Long Island, NY)
Making his home right across the Delaware in Camden, NJ, Whitman is a natural fit for the City of Brotherly Love, which, it turns out, is not that into Brotherly Love. Though his poetic talents are much appreciated by the populace, "You're gayer than Walt" becomes a popular cheer used by the always-classy Philly fans to taunt the opposition. Whitman exhibits a decent sense of humor about it, even joining in with the crowd's festivity during one winter game by pelting sideline reporter Tony Siragusa with snowballs and batteries.

31. Chicago - Dylan Thomas (Swansea, Wales)
Chicago breaks through and wins a Super Bowl with Thomas inspiring the team. The citizens of the Windy City take the opportunity, as they did during the Bulls' title runs, to rage, rage against the storefront windows and flip, flip every automobile they find in the street. Problems arise, though, when it's discovered that Thomas can drink both Rex Grossman AND Kyle Orton under the table. A night of whiskey sours leads to an unprecendented injury report ("OUT: Grossman (liver)") and coach Lovie Smith waives the poet gently into that good night during the off-season.

32. Indianapolis - Oscar Wilde (Dublin, Ireland)
Witty and talented, Wilde is an excellent addition to the already-loaded Colts squad. The Wilde/Manning pairing leads to two more Super Bowls and some of the best Saturday Night Live episodes ever. Sadly, the dynasty comes to an abrupt halt when coach Tony Dungy finds a love letter from Wilde in Peyton's locker, figures out Wilde is homosexual, and shoots him dead.

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