COWBOYS WINNING

Dallas Cowboys win hosting duties for 2018 NFL Draft

AT&T Stadium is the place to be for the 2018 NFL Draft. Courtesy photo

Originally appeared on Culture Map/Dallas.

For the first time in history, the NFL draft will take place at an NFL stadium — and of course it's going to be the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Of course.

The 83rd NFL Draft will take place on April 26-28, 2018. The draft site will incorporate the stadium's field, stands, and outdoor plazas, creating an all-encompassing atmosphere and enabling more fans than ever before to watch team selections. It'll be draft everywhere you look.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement at the league's annual fall meeting, following a review of the proposal by the Super Bowl & Major Events Advisory Committee and full ownership.

The decision is the result of a months-long examination of plans submitted by various cities to host the 2018 NFL Draft.

Goodell credits Philadelphia with having set up the shot for Dallas.

"Philadelphia raised the bar by taking the draft to another level, and this new opportunity in Dallas will enable us to continue the event's evolution and grow it even further," he says in a release. "We are grateful to the Dallas Cowboys, the cities of Arlington, Dallas, and Frisco, and the Dallas Sports Commission for their leadership in turning this vision into reality."

The NFL Draft has grown into one of the biggest sporting events of the year. A record-breaking 250,000 fans attended the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, along with more than 1,800 accredited media who covered it.

Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft was broadcast live on ESPN and NFL Network. It was the most-watched cable program of the week and the most-watched sports event of the week on both broadcast and cable networks. During its three days, draft programming claimed five out of the top 10 spots among sports events, including the No. 1 spot.

There will be sponsorship. Called the NFL Draft Experience Presented by Dannon Oikos Triple Zero — which really just rolls off the tongue, does it not? — the festival will allow fans of all teams to participate in football drills, enjoy interactive exhibits and autograph sessions, and take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It will take over the plazas directly outside the stadium, transforming the area for attendees.

The schedule is as follows:

  • April 26: The NFL Draft returns to primetime with Round 1.
  • April 27: Rounds 2 and 3 will feature members of the NFL Legends Community, as well as special guests to be announced.
  • April 28: Rounds 4-7 will conclude the event.

Round 1 will include incoming prospects walking the red carpet before entering the NFL Draft theater, which will be constructed directly on the field. A portion of the stadium will be opened up for the public to attend. Interested fans can win seated tickets at no cost.

Before the draft had grown into the entertainment juggernaut it is today, it was held almost exclusively at hotels, beginning in 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, before hopscotching through cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. New York hotels held a lock on it from the '60s until 1995, when it officially moved to an entertainment venue — namely, Madison Square Garden. From 2006-2014, it was at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Saints 34, Bucs 17

Saints vs. Bucs 2: Good, bad and ugly

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The Saints got back in the win column by dominating a lesser talented division rival this week. Here's what I thought of the Saints' move to 8-2:

The Good

-Michael Thomas and Drew Brees are perhaps the most prolific quarterback-wide receiver duo in the league. Brees was 28/35 for 228 yards and three touchdowns, while Thomas had eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. Thomas is still leading the league in receptions and yards, despite Brees missing a chunk of the season.

-The defense came up big depite giving up over 300 yards. They had two sacks, four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and limited the Bucs to only 36 yards rushing. After last week's performance against the Falcons, it was important for the defense to step up.

-Sean Payton made a concerted effort to get Alvin Kamara the ball. Whether it was rushing, receiving, or on returns, Kamara was heavily involved in the gameplan. 26 total touches for 155 yards altogether.

The Bad

-Giving up 313 yards passing to Jameis Winston and the Bucs was terrible. Sure Marson Lattimore was out this game, but this defense has too much talent to give up that many yards through the air.

-Speaking of giving up passing yards, Cameron Brate had 10 catches for 73 yards. Tight ends haven't really been a problem for the Saints, but it was today. Moving forward, they need to do better about giving up the easy stuff underneath, especially to tight ends.

-The longest run recorded was a 14-yarder by Kamara. The team only totaled 109 yards on the ground, which is uncharacteristic of them since they committed to the run more a few years ago. They are used to averaging upwards of 130 yards a game on the ground.

The Ugly

-I think it may be time to invest high picks on linebackers. The current linebackers on the roster are pretty good, but the only real playmaker is Demario Davis, who's already 30. Where's the young playmakers at linebacker? There are none. Hopefully Alex Anzalone can turn into something.

-As I mentioned earlier, Marshon Lattimore missed this game. Some of the guys that filled in lately, such as CJ Gardner-Johnson, have done an okay job at best. There's no replacing one of the better young cover corners in the game. Gardner-Johnson had a couple rookie mistakes, but looks like he'll be a player, just not yet.

-Speaking of young guys needing to step up, I sure hope Marcus Davenport removes himself from the back of the milk carton soon! When a team gives up the type of draft capital the Saints did to draft you, you have to produce. Far too often Davenport has been a no show in the stat column and on film. Two first round picks and a mid rounder were used to get him and he's so far playing like a fourth rounder.

Last week, the Saints were outplayed by a then 1-7 division rival. This week, they decided to dominate a 2-7 division rival. Brees and the gang returned to form against the Bucs and have a firm grip on the NFC South thanks to the Falcons dismantling of the Panthers, who the Saints play next week. If they win next week, they can wrap up the division crown and start taking aim at a first round bye in the playoffs. Here's to consistency and health down the stretch.

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