Curlers, Chewbacca and talking parrots - NFL draft got weird Saturday

It’s not easy to capture an audience’s attention while announcing draft picks over three days. Even if that sport is football and the league is the NFL.

Most of the big names are gone after the first round. Most of the second-round picks are formidable college stars. And by the time you get to Round 3 and beyond, whether the draftees stick in the league, let alone become stars, is a total crapshoot.

Still, the draft show must go on. And this year NFL teams were more determined than ever to put emphasis on the “show” part of that phrase.

Pyrotechnics are fired off the top of AT&T Stadium at the end of the third round of the NFL football draft Friday, April 27, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

How absurd did it get? Well, the Minnesota Vikings used an entirely different sport to announce their pick, the Tampa Buccaneers used an entirely different species and the San Francisco 49ers went to an entirely different galaxy.

Yeah … things got strange on Saturday.

Minnesota honored the gold medal-winning men’s U.S. Olympic curling team by having team members send in the Vikings’ pick by guiding a stone down the ice with the team’s selection taped to the top of it.

The lucky prospect who got to hear his name after all of that was Ohio State defensive end Jalyn Holmes. He is now obligated to take up curling.

Still, it’s better than how Kentavius Street heard his name called. Technically the defensive end from N.C. State was selected by “Star Wars'” R2-D2 — alongside stormtroopers and a surprisingly silent Chewbacca — then it had to be translated into english so the rest of us Earthlings could understand it.

But the most hyped up pick announcement of the day — and the biggest bust — comes from Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers made a big fuss about using a talking parrot to say their pick before the draft.

There’s just one small problem: the parrot didn’t talk. Instead its handler announced the selection of safety Jordan Whitehead.

It’s not the end of the world, of course. Plenty of stars during the draft haven’t shown up when the lights come on, but it’s a little embarrassing after Tampa marketed it all weekend.

We’re not knocking NFL teams for trying new things here. The draft can get extremely tedious to the average fan. There’s only so many ways to describe a player and there are 256 selections to be made.

It’s a good thing that the league is trying to shake things up and keep fans engaged. Next year it should take it further. Have a drone deliver the pick. Or have a bunch of fans bring the card to the stage relay style like it’s the Olympic torch. You could even use a hologram that displays the player you’re selecting.

Just maybe leave the parrot at home next time.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at
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