Before there was Mel Kiper, and before there was Mike Mayock and the NFL Network, there was Joel Buchsbaum.
Never heard of him? Shame on you.
Buchsbaum, who worked for Pro Football Weekly, was the hardest working, most critical and most knowlegable of all draftniks before there was such a thing.
A Brooklyn native, he spent his adult lifetime studying, interviewing and evaluating draft-eligible players for a comprehensive annual paperback entitled "Pro Football Weekly and Scout's Notebook" that became a Bible for beat writers and personnel directors.
He also composed annual lists of the best veterans at selected positions, as he did in 1991 when he grouped nose tackles and 4-3 defensive tackles together for what he called the "defensive middle" -- which the Associated Press now uses as its "defensive interior" for All-Pro teams.
"Draft day is now the second biggest day of the year behind the Super Bowl," former GM Ernie Accorsi once told the New York Times. "Joel had a lot to do with what became the glorification of draft day."
Buchsbaum died in 2002 at the age of 48.
Today, you barely hear his name, and that's unfortunate. Because Joel Buchsbaum was more than an NFL talent evaluator. He was a pioneer and an innovator who helped to grow the game, and NFL historian John Turney of Pro Football Journal remembers him in this piece that can be found by connecting to the following link: