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.
About Wil Mara
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Published December 3, 2013
by Thomas Dunne Books.
Sports & Outdoors, Literature & Fiction.