The NFL Draft: A Friendly Reminder

There is a certain period of time during the offseason where fans, including myself, have seen enough mock drafts and big boards to think we know where every player is going to land in this year’s upcoming draft. That time is from now until the draft. With the combine being just 10 days away, us fans are anxious, excited and a little on edge after two straight seasons with no playoffs. So, here is what you’re thinking, and here is the truth:

“He will be gone by then”

This is a go-to for fans that read mock drafts. They get used to seeing a guy like Josh Allen, Ed Oliver or Devin White go in the top 5 or top 10 that they believe it’s a done deal they are going to get drafted there. Just last year, Harold Landry was viewed as a mid to late first round prospect. Landry set the combine on fire and seemed to have put himself in contention to be a top 15 pick. Landry was selected in the second round, 41st overall. Josh Jackson is another example of a player that was a consensus first round talent that fell in the draft. Some might say that his 40 time pushed him out of that conversation, but anyone that watched his tape knew he was not going to run any better than what he did.

Fans will never know that team GM’s are thinking about what goes on in those interviews. Players fall on GM’s boards for a ton of reasons that we simply don’t have access too. This is on top of the fact that players fall for obvious reasons as well; injury, arrests, failed drug tests, etc.. Even Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper and Matt Miller cannot predict these drafts correctly despite the fact that they spend all day watching film and have sources in the league that tell them big board information. This brings us into the next thing that mock draft fans will say.

“These draft experts get paid to be wrong”

Draft experts have one of the hardest jobs in NFL media. They have to watch tape on 300+ prospects, make mock drafts and big boards, write draft reviews after the draft and then start watching film on next year’s prospects. Draft experts also run into the problem of having to predict where players will go for all 32 teams. It is hard enough to make predictions based on one team, let alone 32 teams.

There are also different types of mock drafts done by different draft experts. Some experts do mocks based on what they are hearing from their sources. Some do their mocks based on what they watch and believe is the most significant need for a team. Some do their mocks based on previous tendencies from GM’s. As a fan, we usually skip their explanation of the picks and go straight to see which players our favorite team is selecting. This is an easy way to miss out on key information that the draft experts may be telling us.

“He is going to be a bust”

Everyone likes to think that they know who the next Ryan Leaf, Tony Mandarich or JaMarcus Russell will be, but just like the draft experts, we have no idea. There are way too many factors that go into how a player develops and the reasons they become a bust.

Some players become busts because they don’t respond well to a certain type of coaching. Some bust because they simply don’t have the passion for the game. Then there are the more unfortunate situations, where players suffer gruesome injuries that they cannot recover from. Former Packer Derek Sherrod is a perfect example of this. Sherrod had all the talent in the world, but after suffering a broken leg and some complications from the surgery, he never saw the field again.

Unfortunately, some players become busts because they are making millions of dollars and have the freedom to do whatever they want at the early age of 19. This can often lead to substance abuse and if a player is lucky, they will get caught, thus get help like Brett Favre. Some players never receive help, and by the time they do, they are out of the league like Ryan Leaf.

What to Take Home:

Before you head straight to the comments section or to Twitter to make these claims, realize that everyone makes mistakes. There are many factors that go into the draft, and the most importantly… no one knows anything!


One thought on “The NFL Draft: A Friendly Reminder

  1. By this rationale, there is no value in mock drafts, in scouting, in GM’s, or in any predictive methodology anywhere…

    …and all fans who make predictions are naive children needing Ross Uglem to set us straight.

    What total garbage.

    For every “This guy won’t be there” prediction that proves false, dozens prove absolutely correct. Prognostication isn’t just an enjoyable part of being a fan; it’s also something that many fans do quite well because we love our team and study potential factors affecting it.

    So no, Josh Allen won’t be there at #12. And Ross Uglem should stop lecturing his clientele–the fans and readers–like we’re a bunch of lost kids on a chaotic sea of useless information and impossible predictions.

    Draft experts are like anyone else, assessing information and predicting general likelihoods. Most do a good job.

    And most of us fans do a good job commenting on their work. Unlike Ross Uglem, we’re not condescending writers mocking our audience.

Comments are closed.