Google the Mock NFL Draft and over 4 million results pop up on your screen. Really, over 4 million? Let me ask the serious NFL fan what the purpose of a “Mock NFL Draft” is? Waiting, waiting, waiting…. There is really no functional purpose to a Mock NFL Draft at all. In fact, you’d probably be better off looking at various “mock combinations” to win the Power Ball Jackpot for $310 million.
An entire cottage industry
Look, I know a lot of would be and former scouts make a living off of their ability to predict and then critique the selections of NFL clubs each and every year. It’s a multi-million dollar industry in web hits, magazine sales and cable TV shows. Perhaps that’s what bothers me the most. There are a number of organizations that don’t scout for ANY team in the NFL and yet try to lay out the entire draft from the 1st pick in the 1st round to Mr. Irrelevant.
They’ve taken this process to new levels; tweeting the latest moves up and down the board, throwing barbs at competing publications and truly acting as if theirs is the only opinion that matters. The fans eat this up, wanting and wishing to know who their team might pick and renewing their hopes for a playoff run in the fall. What if we got this running back, how about that wide receiver and this defensive end is a “no brainer”.
It’s all in good fun and healthy entertainment to keep the interest in professional football going year round. It’s probably even more exciting for the players and families to see their names allocated to a particular club (some three to four months before the process is finished). How many have rushed out and bought a Tampa Bay cap because a “Mock NFL Draft” had the Buccaneers picking their nephew or son in the 3rd round? Come on, you know you’re out there.
At some point I’m sure I’ll even be required to post a version of The Football Educator’s best guess of where the top prospects are likely to fall and who’ll they’re likely to fall to. So toss mine in with a heap of others (145 on hailredskins.com alone). And of course you’ve got Kiper’s, McShay’s and Mayock’s to deal with as well. But you know what every single one of those is missing? War Room Dynamics. That’s right, the personalities and characters that make up not one, but 32 organizational opinions on who should be chosen, along with the why and when.
The harsh reality of it all
You can self-evaluate every offensive guard in the draft, breakdown tape on each tight end coming out and compile statistics on the top quarterbacks in college football, but that gets you nothing more than a list of names with numbers beside them. To truly understand how the NFL draft unfolds, you have to take into account the makeup of each and every club; who the decision makers are, what top scouts are listened to most, which assistant coaches hold the greatest influence on their side of the ball.
I wish it were as easy as every Mock NFL Draft makes it look. “This is the logical choice, because, well it’s the most logical choice.” To truly make a mockery of the Mock NFL Draft process, you need to mix in the following;
Actual draft needs, money involved, assistant coaches’ opinions and input, HUGE egos, GM influence, agent relationships, internal club politics, trainers’ & doctors’ reports, drug test results, team philosophy & focus, media pressure, ownership’s thoughts, colleges & conferences, misinformation & disinformation, poor interviews, police blotters, current roster analysis (by the club), offense vs defense, and on and on and on….
Keep things in perspective
The only really useful Mock NFL Draft might be the first round and the teams picking ahead of you (and at times behind). At the very least it gives a club an avenue to predict what player MIGHT be available when it’s their turn to select. But that’s exactly why most clubs won’t say a word about their intentions. I’m talking LOCK & KEY secrecy! So much so that some draft boards are never revealed to club personnel responsible for the very evaluations to construct them.
So to hear after the Senior Bowl that players are moving up the board, or sliding down after a perceived poor NFL Combine performance is just not necessarily the case. That is of course unless it’s on what Thesaurus describes as fake, pretend, simulated, imitation, artificial, bogus, ersatz, pseudo or counterfeit NFL DRAFT.
For me, I’ll wait for the antonym (genuine) in April.