Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Last Thought on the NFL Draft (and the leadup to thereof)

This week's Sporting News contained something like four mock drafts. Three of them had the Dolphins - who had been publicly negotiating with Michigan tackle Chris Long for weeks, and who signed him earlier in the week - picking Virginia defensive end Chris Long. This included the mock draft done by the correspondents who cover the teams for TSN, who theoretically ought to know better.

Out of those four drafts, two had the Eagles picking the same guy at 19, presumably on the "well, one of these guys might get it right" theory. The Patriots, who are well known for trading down, are apparently taking some combination of Ryan Clady, Sedrick Ellis, Dan Connor or Mike Jenkins at 7. At 5, the Chiefs will go with Matt Ryan. Or Chris Williams. Or Vernon Gholston. Or....

And then, there's the Mel Kiper Jr. "magician's force". Kiper is on mock draft #19 or so over at ESPN.com, which means that somewhere along the line he probably got a few picks right, which he will crow about, and a whole lot of picks wrong, which he will never mention. Every player comment he makes has a big positive at the beginning for future quotability, and a caveat at the end so if the guy turns out to be a bust, he can quote that bit and still seem prescient. It's a no-lose situation for Kiper - he never gets called on anything and can provide endless "evidence" backing up his work in hindsight.

Bear in mind also that not a single one of these mock drafts - not the four in TSN, not the dozens up at ESPN and SI and God knows where else - allows for trades, which, of course, Happen In The Real World Where This Is Supposed To Be Taking Place. Knowing that these start, therefore, from a position of guaranteed inaccuracy, shouldn't they therefore start to lose a teensy part of their appeal? At a certain point, it all becomes wankery, the sports equivalent of the AFI's 100 Best Movie Montages list.

And the guys who thought the Eagles would take Gosder Cherilus at 19? Idiots.
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