Costner drafts to win in “Draft Day”

Michael Klein, Editor in Chief

Millions watch it on primetime every year as fans hope for the pick that will help propel their team to the playoffs and ultimately, the Super Bowl. Those of us who love football will debate endlessly on draft picks – even ones that don’t affect “our” team. I’ve watched endless debates on ESPN and I can’t tell you the number of conversations I’ve had with my, friends and relatives about whether Johnny Manziel should be drafted by the Texans (barring a trade) at #1 versus Jadeveon Clowney. For the record, I’m a Johnny Football guy, and hello, the Texans need a quarterback. I could be wrong. Clowney is amazing, and as they say, “defense wins championships.” Thus, I’m glad it’s not my decision who the Texans draft. Whose decision is it? The GM.

“Draft Day” stars Kevin Costner as Sonny Weaver Jr, the son of beloved a Cleveland Browns coach who passed away the week prior to the draft. Sonny just lost his father, and is facing tremendous pressure as he is the GM of the Browns, a team that has been struggling. The team’s owner – Sonny’s boss – advises him to “make a splash” at this year’s draft or he’ll be out of a job. The Seattle Seahawks have the No. 1 pick in this draft, and they smell Sonny’s desperation to get that pick – the unanimously agreed upon top draft pick is Wisconsin quarterback Bo Callahan. Negotiations ensue and … no spoiler alert here, that’s all I’ll say.

The performances are strong in “Draft Day.” Costner is as good as you’d expect. Dennis Leary is perfect as  Super Bowl champion Coach Penn, and Jennifer Garner is believable as Sonny’s newly pregnant girlfriend/lawyer-who-works-on-salary-cap stuff/fellow Browns employee, Ali. One of my favorite performances in the film was that of Chadwick Boseman as Ohio State outside linebacker Vontae Mack, a first round hopeful and character you will root for basically the entire length of the movie. “Draft Day” also includes appearances by an NFL who’s who such as Roger Goodell, Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis, Chris Berman, Jon Gruden and Arian Foster playing a small-but-more-than-cameo role.

Some of us love the NFL draft. We plan work schedules and parties around it. We watch countless hours of speculation on the sports networks and have debates with one another about who should go No. 1 and why, who our favorite team should draft, and why. It’s primetime, it’s dramatic, it’s live. Some young men’s dreams will come true over the three days of the NFL draft, or at least, come closer to being a reality.  If you don’t care at all about football, don’t see this movie, you won’t like it. Love football? There’s enough football-ness to make this movie worth your time (and $5-14 dollars, depending on which theater you’re at and at what time). Throw on your team’s jersey and go see it.