Draft Week Podcast: Rob Lowe, Nick Fairley, Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Mayock

After months of waiting, Draft Week has finally arrived and it could not come any sooner. I mean, this lockout is for the birds. So, let’s all soak in an actual, bona fide NFL event while we can with a podcast worthy of the occasion.

A podcast that includes the first of two chats with Rob Lowe. Yes, Rob Lowe. More on that in a moment.

The podcast kicks off with Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who blew up the Oregon Ducks in the National Championship Game and then, ever since, watched his draft stock dwindle week after week. Indeed, the player who once upon a time had a chance to be drafted first overall has virtually slipped out of the top five and may even slip into the middle of the first round all because of questions over his work ethic. Did he miss a flight to the Combine as rumored? How about blowing off a meeting with a team at the Combine? We ask those questions of Nick point-blank.

Then we turn matters over to the true Man of the Hour at this juncture on the NFL calendar – NFL Network draft maven Mike Mayock. Before Mike delivers his first and only pre-draft Mock Draft in his first-ever primetime special Wednesday night on NFL Network, we get in one last lengthy pre-draft one-on-one chat with him. How many quarterbacks might go in the first round? Will Cam Newton be the first? Who’s the top defensive player on his draft board? Will there be fewer trades this year because of the infernal lockout? What might be the biggest surprise in store? We pick Mike’s brain on all.

After Mike, there’s a brief intermezzo with a Papa John’s contest winner. His name is Raffi Lalazarian and he’s the commissioner of something called the AFFL, aka, The Armenian Fantasy Football League. The year-long sponsor of this podcast held a year-long contest in which fantasy leagues were asked to tell Papa John’s why their league is the best in the entire fantasy playing nation. Raffi’s league won and he and his 11 other league members are going to the NFL Draft as the Grand Prize Winners. Raffi is quite the card and I think you’ll enjoy my grilling of him on this podcast.

Of course, I couldn’t let my listeners go into the draft without providing Draft Week perspective from an actual grocery shopper so, for the second time in a month, we dialed up Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and tried to get some specifics out of him. Especially since, in the NFL.com mock draft in which I’m participating this week, I must choose the 27th overall pick for the Falcons. What does a draft board look like at this late stage of the game? How do you scout other teams to prepare for any trade possibilities in the draft? And does Thomas think there will be fewer trades because of, yes, that infernal lockout? So, we chat up Thomas and then bring it home with one of the true good guys in this Town of Tinsel.

That would be one Rob Lowe. The actor who starred in memorable pop-culture classics like “The Outsiders,” “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “About Last Night” has written a book called “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” that is a must-read for any pop-culture freak like, you know, myself. Rob grew up a Steelers fan but has now flipped head over heels for the Colts and there are a handful of football-related stories in his book that we discuss on the podcast. One involves “The Outsiders” and a game of tackle football that director Francis Ford Coppolla ordered the entire cast (Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon et al) to play on concrete. But my favorite story involves Rob’s pursuit of a girl (one of many told in the book) and how her dad turned out to be, well … give a listen. And a read of his book.

Best of all, if my chat with Rob Lowe leaves you wanting more, he’s going to join me on next week’s podcast, too. On that show, we’ll review the draft, my Wednesday Night draft week appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman” — I’m on with Dave after Kate Hudson (Hey now) — and more on stories from Rob that he ordinarily only tells his friends.

Yes, that’s how we roll around these parts.

Enjoy the show, everyone.

Download: Draft Week Podcast: Rob Lowe, Nick Fairley, Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Mayock

Part 1: Auburn DT Nick Fairley

Part 2: NFL Network’s Mike Mayock

Part 3: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff

Part 4: Actor Rob Lowe

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