The movie takes place in the course of the first day of the 2014 NFL Draft. Sonny Weaver, Jr. (Costner),the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, has the seventh pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Weaver has had a stressful month with the death of his father,who was a beloved head coach for the team. His girlfriend,Ali Parker (Garner),who is also the team’s salary-cap manager, has announced she is pregnant. Their romance is a relatively known secret.
The consensus number one overall pick is Wisconsin quarterback Bo Callahan. The Browns, who need a tailback,have their sights on Florida State’s Ray Jennings (Arian Foster),whose dad (Terry Crews) was once a Browns great himself. Also in the cards is Ohio State linebacker Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman),who is slated to be a mid-first rounder. The Seattle Seahawks, the owners of the first pick, want to trade down and inquire to see if the Browns are interested in trading up. The price of doing so would be the Browns’ first round draft picks for the next three seasons. After mulling the offer over and getting a demand from the owner of the Browns to make a “big splash”, Sonny accepts the offer.
Vince Penn (Leary), the team’s head coach, dislikes the move because he hates rookie quarterbacks and the team’s current quarterback, Bryan Drew (Tom Welling), is recovering better than ever from a knee injury. Sonny insists that Callahan is a “can’t miss” guy and overrides his coach. However, Sonny begins to think Callahan might not be the guy they want. As the draft nears, Sonny asks Ali what he should do with the pick and she says he should pick the player he really wants. With that in mind,Sonny calls in the pick to team officials in New York and the pick happens to be Mack to the surprise of everyone. When explaining himself, Sonny says he thought Callahan was going to be a bust. Earlier in the movie,Sonny writes something down on a green piece of paper. It is featured throughout the movie,and when discovered by Penn when the Browns make the pick,it reads “Vontae Mack No Matter What”. Callahan continues to slip past St. Louis,Miami,Arizona,and Denver.
Desperate to get back in the draft to undo what had been done earlier in the day, Sonny calls the GM of the Jacksonville Jaguars,who have the sixth overall pick. The Jaguars want the Browns’ next three seasons of second-round picks. Sonny accepts and then calls the Seahawks to see if they want to jump one spot to land the quarterback they’ve wanted all along. The cost: the first three draft picks the Browns gave to the Seahawks to get the first overall pick earlier in the movie. Also, the team’s star punt returner. Seattle accepts and they draft Callahan. The seventh pick,now belonging to the Browns, becomes Jennings,the guy that Penn wanted all along. Sonny is then praised by everyone ranging from ownership to sports talk hosts for saving football in Cleveland.
I thought the movie at first was a little conclusive but then it picked up. The suspense of the Browns trading up happened too soon, but by the time the movie was nearing its end, the story for them got even better. I thought the cast was great, it was even great to see Sam Elliott make a cameo as the head coach of Wisconsin. I very much love the NFL Draft and to see the side of it from a front office perspective was pretty neat. If you’re willing to wait for the story to get better in the movie, I recommend seeing it.