"Wil Mara goes inside the NFL draft like never before. He details the personalities and complications that go into every draft decision, making for good reading and good drama."
---John Clayton, NFL analyst and ESPN senior writer It's draft time in the National Football League. For high-ranking team executives, this means long days and sleepless nights, endless negotiations, and determining which young men deserve to become millionaires and which do not. Careers will be made with the stroke of a pen, but mistakes are costly.
Baltimore Ravens General Manager Jon Sabino has turned a weary, ragtag organization into a gridiron dynamo, culminating in two consecutive Super Bowl victories, and now they're poised to make NFL history with a third consecutive championship. New talent is the last thing on Sabino's mind, so this year's draft will be little more than a formality.
Or will it?
With less than two weeks until draft day, Sabino receives crushing news---Michael Bell, the team's starting quarterback, has been involved in a season-ending auto accident. Baltimore's two backups cannot possibly fill Bell's cleats, no other available free agents reach Bell's skill level, and the Ravens' volatile owner insists that he wants the third Lombardi Trophy above all else--even if it costs the team down the road.
So Sabino is forced to pursue Christian McKinley, the best quarterback prospect to come along in a generation, who will assuredly be taken with the first pick. But that's a task easier said than done, especially when the other general managers will stop at nothing to keep him from winning yet another Super Bowl ring.
The San Diego Chargers, who own that pick, are not interested in McKinley but are willing to offer it to the highest bidder. Other teams want it; need it. Now Jon Sabino has to jump into the fray, which the media has dubbed the "McKinley Sweepstakes," and he may find the competition tougher than even he can imagine. It could very well be the make-or-break moment of his career, the fork in the road that leads him and his team either into the history books or back to the tepid hell of mediocrity. And then there's a young man in the Philadelphia projects whose arm is just as good as McKinley's--except that he wants nothing to do with the NFL. He'll have to face an old family secret and bitter legacies if he ever goes pro. But he just might be the salvation Sabino needs.
NFL fans will delight in this insider's entry into the general manager's head office, sweat through draft negotiations, strategic alliances, and gamesmanship, and revel in pure NFL glory. The Draft is sports fiction at its best, combining solid insider information and an unmistakable passion for the game with the awesome power of storytelling; a potent mixture that will keep football fans riveted to every page. "The Draft is an entertaining and realistic look inside the NFL. Any football fan will find it 'must' reading.'
---Bill Polian, president of the Indianapolis Colts
"Wil Mara's foray into the sometimes unfriendly confines of the NFL draft room provides an intriguing insight into a process that can be as competitive as those that occur on the gridiron itself."
---Marv Levy, Hall of Fame head coach and general manager of the Buffalo Bills
"The Draft is a fascinating novel about what can go on behind the scenes in an NFL front office--the intrigue and maneuvering. It is terrific reading for the fan who wonders how these trades and deals are made."
---Ernie Accorsi, general manager of the New York Giants
"The Draft is a smartly crafted and highly engrossing novel about deals, decisions, and desperation in the world of pro football. The characters are marvelously drawn, and the writing is razor's-edge sharp. If you are a fan of this game, then The Draft is one book you absolutely must read."
---Peter Golenbock, author of Landry's Boys
"There couldn't be a better time for a book like Wil Mara's The Draft. It gives fans a glimpse into parts of the NFL that they wouldn't see otherwise. I was very impressed by Wil's attention to detail, and by the great storyline he created. As a former player, I can honestly say he really nailed it. The emotion, the excitement, the suspense--everything is right here. I was amazed."
---Jon Harris, defensive end and first-round draft pick of the Phildelphia Eagles, 1997 NFL draft
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Thomas Dunne Books
December 03, 2013
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