‘Draft Day’ Not Top Pick Amongst Front Office Interpretations

It comes as little surprise, following the critical and financial success of 2011's "Moneyball," that a "behind the scenes of the front office" movie would be made about America's most popular (and profitable) league: football.

"Draft Day" was founded on the piggybacking off of the financial success of "Moneyball," combined with the financial success of the NFL. It may also not come as a shock, then, that "Draft Day" comes up with little in the way of substance or believability. 

The movie follows Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), general manager of the Cleveland Browns, a franchise that has suffered 13 consecutive losing seasons and is looking to turn its fortunes around via the draft. Sonny is told by the owner of the Browns, Anthony Molina (Frank Langella), that if he doesn't bring in someone the fans want to see on the field, he will be out as GM. This leads Sonny to trade three of the team's future first round picks for the first overall pick in that night's draft. It is up to him to decide whether to select the player that will put fans in the seats or the one he knows is right for the franchise.

Anyone with a modicum of knowledge about how business is done in the NFL or other major sports leagues with find themselves raising an eyebrow at several moments throughout the film, particularly the film's climax, when it is revealed how Weaver will decide to use his all-important draft pick.

If there was any indication that the filmmakers lacked confidence in the ability to entertain and engage audiences with the main duties of their protagonist for 120 minutes, it's their decision to throw in a substance abuse problem for Coster's character, as well as a love interest (Jennifer Garner) who coincidentally is a whiz when it comes to managing a salary cap.

The film effectively captures the high-running tensions and emotions for players leading up to the draft, but even that could be perceived to more cynical audiences as an NFL ploy to help sell the excitement of the real-life draft.

Even so, "Draft Day" utilizes so many tropes and cliches that it will fail to satisfy film fans, and it makes so many illogical moves in terms of the story and the actions of the characters that it will also fail to satisfy football fans.