NFL Draft Gurus Should Be a Little More Humble

050429minicamp01jpgTBL scored the definitive mock drafts of NFL draft gurus, with the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock coming in first, with 10 points out of a possible 32. Most other analysts were within range. There are two reasonable assertions from this, that these guys are, to a man, overpaid charlatans, or that the NFL draft is extremely difficult to predict. The latter is far more likely.

Each pick predicates itself on the last. Teams are deliberately deceptive. They trade and shuffle picks. It’s a crapshoot of if-then statements. Draft analysts can evaluate individuals. They can slot them through needs and logic, but there are too many unknown factors. It’s unfair to skewer them based on mock drafts.

A criticism I would make, however, is the over-hyping of the draft in general. Four months of hyperbole aggrandizes reaching for a wide receiver in the third round into a season-defining decision. It endows the event unfounded gravitas, which rubs on the seemingly gilded fellows who cover it.

We see this most prominently with the face of the draft, Mel Kiper. Before the draft, ESPN ran a package of notable Kiper moments. One of the most famous was the 1994 Bill Tobin incident.

Tobin, the Colts’ GM, questions Kiper’s qualifications.

“Who in the hell is Mel Kiper anyway,” Tobin said. I mean, here’s a guy who criticizes everybody, whoever they take. In my knowledge of him, he’s never even put on a jockstrap, he’s never been a player, he’s never been a coach, he’s never been a scout, he’s never been an administrator, and all of a sudden, he’s an expert. Mel Kiper has no more credentials to do what he’s doing than my neighbor, and my neighbor’s a postman and he doesn’t even have season tickets to the NFL.”

Kiper retorts snarkily.

“That’s why they keep picking number two every year.”

What was not mentioned? The pick criticized was future hall of famer Marshall Faulk. Kiper was 100% wrong.

Another highlight conveniently ignored was Kiper’s infamous statement about wide receiver Mike Williams in 2005.

“I’ll see you at his Hall of Fame induction.”

Williams was out of the league after the 2007 season.

Draft analysts should not be right about every pick. Just as with teams’ personnel departments, they will miss the occasional player. But, the NFL draft could do with a lot less definition and hubris. Measurement, qualification and acknowledgement of opinion as opinion, could make these analysts more creditable and more palatable.

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  1. Kiper had one of those Mike Williams moments when he called AQ Shipley “a poor man’s Mike Webster”. Okay but isn’t even all-time great Center considered a poor man’s Mike Webster as he is considered the Greatest at his position in the modern era?

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