A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 14, 2012
Draftnik

The words “draftnik” and “peacenik” were used in 1965 for those opposed to the Vietnam War and the military draft. In sports, a “draftnik” is one who follows a professional team’s drafting of players. The term “draftnik” mostly applies to the NFL (professional football) draft and the NBA (professional basketball) draft, both historically held in the New York City area, where the NFL and NBA offices are located.

“Draftnik” was used as early as 1975 and described Joel Buchsbaum, a Brooklyn resident who became an expert on the NFL draft. In 1977 and 1978, “draftnik” was used to describe the football fans who attended the NFL draft, then held at New York’s Hotel Roosevelt. The NFL draft would, in following years, be televised on ESPN and be a showcase event at Radio City Music Hall. Basketball “draftniks” have attended the NBA draft at Madison Square Garden.


Wikipedia: Draftnik
Draftnik is a term describing those who study professional sports leagues drafts, and cover the draft in the media. The term is most often used in reference to the NFL Draft and was coined in the mid-1980s after the draft was first televised by ESPN.

The first draftniks are typically considered to be Joel Buchsbaum and Mel Kiper, Jr.

Nowadays, there are a large number of draftniks which post their own mock drafts on websites, and some have even made a living out of it.

In 2002, TheHuddleReport.com began grading the efforts of draftniks and tracking the success of their mock draft. The Huddle Report awards 2 points for correctly predicting a team’s draft pick, and 1 point for each player correctly placed in the 1st round.

Google Books
The Sporting News
Volume 180
1975
Pg. 42: 
Buchsbaum, a Brooklyn College graduate, is a draftnik, a fan whose avocation compiling ratings on college seniors before the upcoming drafts.

1 May 1977, New York (NY) Times, pg. S2:
A Football “Draftnik” Tells How He Got That Way
By Joel Buchsbaum
People like me have been called “draftniks.” Despite the name, there is nothing foreign about my work. What I do for a living is rate every college football player who has a chance to be selected by a National Football League team.

30 April 1978, New York (NY) Times, “‘Experts’ Try to Outdo Pros in Naming Football Draft Picks” by William N. Wallace, pg. S4:
It is difficult to estimate how many draftniks there are, but several dozen will be on hand at the draft headquarters in the Hotel Roosevelt, many armed with the esoteric Pro Football Weekly, which published the Hughes list of 900 names. The most sought-after issue of that publication is its predraft one, which comes out in mid-April and quickly is exhausted.

The draftniks know their business. The year the Giants named Eldridge Small as their first choice, 1972, the boos were loud and long. As it turned out, the boos were justified.

Sports Illustrated
May 15, 1978
It Was The Same Old Song And Dance
A ballroom was the site of the NFL draft, in which the rich got richer

Joe Marshall
(...)
King was the second offensive lineman picked. Coincidentally, the first, Ward, also ended up in New York and also was wildly cheered by the draftniks at the Roosevelt, who had earlier pleaded loudly with Jet officials to select him. 

2 May 1984, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, pg. 87:
DRAFTNIKS’ DISCOVERY: THRILL IS GONE
The draftniks, normally a rambunctious lot, remained uncharacteristically quiet on the morning when the NFL picked through the USFL’s leftovers. Draftniks are the people—primarily New Yorkers—who stand in line overnight for the privilege of watching the Giants and Jets make their draft picks live and in person. They hang over the balcony at the Omni Park Central and, in normal years, are pretty vocal in their reactions.

New York (NY) Times
SPORTS OF THE TIMES; ANY ‘UNDERWEAR PLAYERS?’
By Dave Anderson
Published: April 29, 1987
(...)
When the Giants’ turn arrived yesterday, the draftniks in the balcony began chanting, ‘’IN-gram, IN-gram,’’ meaning Mark Ingram, the Michigan State wide receiver. Minutes later Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced, ‘’the Giants take . . . wide receiver . . . Mark Ingram,’’ and the draftniks cheered. Not that the draftniks always know best. Eight years ago they booed when the Giants took Phil Simms in the first round.

New York (NY) Times
N.F.L.’s No-Frills Draft Ends
By GERALD ESKENAZI
Published: April 26, 1988
(...)
Quarterbacks? Draftniks and ESPN’s sizable audience had to wade through 75 earlier picks on Sunday before the Colts finally selected Chris Chandler of Washington on the third round.

New York (NY) Times
Sports of The Times; Nets, Knicks Make Points And Rivalry
By DAVE ANDERSON
Published: June 28, 1991
THE red-white-and-blue stage stretched across the length of Madison Square Garden, the biggest in the history of the arena. You kept waiting for Bruce Springsteen or Whitney Houston to appear. But this was really a college graduation stage for basketball players with the highest marks on the National Basketball Association sneaker aptitude tests.
(...)
In the roar of the draftniks, Kenny Anderson was coming home to play.

OCLC WorldCat record
300 pounds of attitude : the wildest stories and craziest characters the NFL has ever seen
Author: Jonathan Rand
Publisher: Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press, ©2006. 
Contents:
Draft picks and draftniks : draft day tales

Blogging The Boys
Mocking The Cowboys Draft: Ten Options For The 14th Pick
by One.Cool.Customer on Jan 14, 2012 10:00 AM CST
(...)
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2012 NFL Draft is tomorrow. But that hasn’t deterred most draftniks from posting their early mock drafts, particularly since most of the expected prospects have already announced their intentions to play for an NFL team this year.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Saturday, January 14, 2012 • Permalink