The ultimate film for NFL Draft prep

On the Clock: The Writing and Making of 'Draft Day'

“Vontae Mack no matter what.” That line, inscribed on a Post It belonging to Sonny Weaver, Jr. has become perhaps the most memorable line and meme from the 2014 film Draft Day. We see it come back every year as people make a case for the player upon which they want to make their stand come NFL Draft time.

It’s been seven years since Draft Day was released and the film has certainly changed the way I prepare for the NFL Draft and the way I think about the NFL Draft. Each year my wife and I have a screening prior to the start of the draft. It’s become our tradition to relive the highs and lows of the film as a way to mentally prepare for the highs and lows of the annual NFL Draft.

Who would have expected that a little film starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner about the Cleveland Browns winning the NFL Draft would become an iconic classic, but here we are. There are so many great scenes and moments, and the tension of the trades and picks keep you on the edge of your seat. Even after seven years and more than a dozen screenings, Draft Day still keeps me hooked.

If, like me, you’re excited to watch this year’s NFL Draft, I suggest you begin that experience with Draft Day. But thought I’ve seen the film a number of times, it hit differently in 2021 for a couple reasons.

First is seeing Vontae Mack. This was a good Chadwick Boseman performance, and seeing him up there in the middle of the action was still fun but felt different knowing he is gone now. I loved to watch Boseman in this role and watching it again this year felt like a celebration of his life and career, which was fun.

Second, it was different thinking about this as a celebration of the Cleveland Browns. When the film was first released, the Browns hadn’t enjoyed much success in the actual NFL. Seeing the franchise win on draft night was a fun celebration that felt a bit detached from reality.

Fast forward seven years, and the Browns are coming off an incredible NFL season and seem to be a team on the rise. The Browns earned a playoff berth in 2020 and blew out the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs before coming incredibly close to knocking out the eventual AFC Champion Chiefs in the second round. So, now, the real-life Browns are even better than the Browns of Draft Day, and they didn’t even need Sonny Weaver, Jr. to get them there!

Draft Day might not seem like the kind of epic movie worthy of a review seven years after its release, but if you’re a big sports fan like me, it’s worth revisiting, especially as we approach the 2021 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday night!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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