Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Draft Worth Mocking

It is NFL Mock Draft season. If you go to any of the major sports sites (Yahoo! and ESPN are the two top visited sites), you will find NFL Mock drafts crafted by experts in their fields that attempt to say who would draft whom if the draft happened that day.

In June, I wrote about the NBA Mock Drafts: "I saw a headline online for Chad Ford's NBA Mock Draft Version 6.0. Seriously? 6? How many times can you openly admit that you were totally wrong and still be considered publishable, let alone an expert?"

So what fields are these people experts in that make them qualified to discuss the draft? Are they former coaches? General managers? Scouts? Players? From what I can tell, ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper (pictured) are "draft experts" because they like college football and watch the draft every year.

So all of these folks come up with their definitive lists of which teams will draft which players and then the next time someone sneezes, they blow the whole thing up and start over. McShay even said as much in his latest column explaining that the college all-star games drastically changed the outlook for a lot of people, and that the upcoming individual workouts will probably make his current picks irrelevent again. So why do these people have jobs?

If they are experts at evaluating talent, they would be hired by a team to do so and make a lot more money, for one thing. And for another, wouldn't 2-4 years of games be good enough evidence for who has the talent that a diving catch in an all-star game or a good 40 time in a workout wouldn't really sway anyone too much?

The best part is that Kiper, McShay and others always include a paragraph on why that team will pick that player, so you get to see their reasoning. It often makes great sense, but it is funny to have them completely jump tracks and have completely new reasoning for different picks every week or so. Doesn't anyone see that if you constantly have to correct your errors, you are probably making too many errors for your word to be taken seriously?

For argument's sake, here are the top 10 Mock Draft picks as of today, February 4, for some of the big names in Professional Guessing:
1 Lions - Matt Stafford (Kiper, McShay), Andre Smith (Yahoo!), Mark Sanchez (Scout.com)
2 Rams - Andre Smith (Kiper), Jason Smith (McShay), Eugene Monroe (Yahoo!), Michael Oher (Scout.com)
3 Chiefs - Mark Sanchez (Kiper), Aaron Curry (McShay, Scout.com), Matt Stafford (Yahoo!)
4 Seahawks - Michael Crabtree (Kiper, Yahoo!, Scout.com), B.J. Raji (McShay)
5 Browns - Aaron Curry (Kiper), Everette Brown (McShay), Malcolm Jenkins (Yahoo!, Scout.com)
6 Bengals - Jason Smith (Kiper), Andre Smith (McShay), Michael Oher (Yahoo!), Everette Brown (Scout.com)
7 Raiders - Jeremy Maclin (Kiper, Yahoo!), Michael Crabtree (McShay), Andre Smith (Scout.com)
8 Jaguars - Eugene Monroe (Kiper, McShay, Scout.com), B.J. Raji (Yahoo!)
9 Packers - Malcolm Jenkins (Kiper, McShay), Brian Orakpo (Yahoo!, Scout.com)
10 49ers - Aaron Maybin (Kiper), Jeremy Maclin (McShay), Mark Sanchez (Yahoo!), Matt Stafford (Scout.com)

So that settles that. I guess we don't need to go through the whole mess of holding the draft since it is so clear cut among the experts as to who will choose whom.

The frustrating thing about all this is that in the end, Kiper (and likely others) will nail something like 28-29 of the 32 first round picks and likely a good amount of second round picks as well. But who wouldn't be able to do that if it was their only job? If the week before the draft, I spent 8-10 hours a day studying who needs what and what players were available, I could get 28 picks right too. And I am a moron.

So if they all admit that their current rankings are crap, why does anyone care about them? And if the picks aren't accurate until the day before the draft, who cares if they picked right? And when did this become something we care about anyway? Can you bet on it? Did finding out yesterday that the Giants will draft Knowshon Moreno (thanks Yahoo!) make me feel better about losing to the God-forsaken Eagles? And when it winds up not being Moreno, won't I just end up being pissed because I had read what a perfect pick it is?

In related recruiting news, UCLA's incoming class is being ranked ahead of USC's after yesterday's signing day by some folks. This means nothing really since UCLA is a few recruiting classes away from playing in USC's neighborhood (and by a few, I mean around 10). But it is funny to think what Pete Carroll must be thinking this morning. It took Rick Neuheisal one crappy season to have the recruiting pull to out-recruit Carroll (the undisputing recruiting master) or at least to make it a debate.

2 comments:

NFL Draft said...

I think Sanchez goes first to the Lions. He's the best Pro Quarterback in the available and Carroll will look like a fool for complaining.

Scott T. Bergen said...

I think he is a career backup, but he was right to come out. He'll get a huge deal, a top 5 pick and he is graduating. Carroll is a jerk for giving him the cold shoulder. Next year Sanchez would be the 4th or 5th QB chosen (2nd round perhaps?) and a much smaller deal.