Thousands catch draft on Ben Franklin Parkway

Alex Lloyd Gross -Photo Delaware Valley Scenes from the draft

By Alex Lloyd Gross

At least 200,0000 people are expected to converge on the Ben Franklin Parkway between Thursday April 27 2017 and Saturday.  It,s the  NFL Draft.  It,s finally here.  Forthe people that do not know  what it is, this is ( in short), when the best college football players in the country get selected to play in the NFL.  For people that just care about one team, that can be boring. So the NFL brought the NFL Experience with them, and laid it over  five blocks on the parkway.  It,s everything football and something for everyone.

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo Delaware Valley Eagles Owner Jeffrey Laurie
Alex Lloyd Gross -Photo Delaware Valley Garrett Boles walks the red carpet.he got picked up by Denver

Fans can toss footballs and run a 40 yard dash. An athlete is expected to do it in about 4.5 seconds. Most others were clocking in at double digits,  On opening night, when the best prospects are expected to get drafted, some of them walked a red carpet, down the steps of the Art Museum, with their parents. Fully charged cell phones at the ready, to receive that all important call. When it does come, it can cause your heart to skip a beat. On the other line is a representative from a team asking you if you want to  play.  Loyalties to the hometown team go out the window. If you were born and raised in Philly, and hate Dallas, you can bet you will play for them when they call.

Before all of that,  fans got a chance to meet Eagles  Quarterback Carson Wentz, or past legends like Donovan McNabb. Wentz was making a paid appearance at a yogurt  company. As one Dallas fan approached him, to the boos of the crowd,  Wentz removed the fan’s Dallas cap before taking a selfie.  One of the largest crowds was for the Eagles Cheerleaders. As  the time got closer to the  start of the draft, media assembled on the steps of the Art Museum for a Red some of the hottest players got to walk down a red carpet. Fans lucky enough to have secured a spot, were able to be on the opposite side of the media and cheer on the players. Fans got selfies and autographs with the players.

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo Delaware Valley

Carl Weathers, best known for his role of Apollo Creed working for a television network walked down. He did not stop for autographs, but later, after the broadcast was over,  he was accommodating.  It’s surreal fort he players to have total strangers know who they are. as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the stage, he was booed and quite loudly. Every single time, he was booed. He took it in stride. However, several hours before the draft, he was at a youth partnership  football clinic, featuring draft prospects, Goodell  made friends with a boy that needed extra attention, and spent the time playing catch with him. He was well received there. Speaking about the clinic, he said. “Giving kids the opportunity to get out, to play the game, these kids, had a great time today,  when they learn the values of hard work, perseverance, those are great values for kids whether they play football or not.”

Philadelphia chose to go with Derrick  Barnett, from Tennesee. Fans were watching out for Temple player Hassan  Reddick.  He went with Arizona just before Philly was on the clock.  Record attendance for an NFL Draft was held during opening day.  Consider the fact that it was held on a Thursday, that was impressive.