For a week or so I’ve been trying to figure out how to cover the NFL draft. It’s been done over and over with the mock draft thing. There are literally thousands upon thousands of mocks out there. And they are popular, too. When we had one on OWS it received frequent visits from you NFL draft nerds.
The NFL draft being in primetime is proof positive of the massive growth of the NFL and specifically the whole draft phenomenon. I actually have yet to watch the NFl draft in it’s current format. Over the past two years I have been traveling during the night of round number one. This year I will be glued to my TV with an ice cold six pack ready to go. So make no mistake, I will be watching and am looking forward to doing so.
I can even relate to the draft nerdy-ness on some level. Although I have not even looked at a mock draft in a few years, I used to be quite into the NFL draft and the pre-draft shenanigans. I can recall one of the first drafts I highly anticipated. I was a senior in high school. After starting to follow the pre-draft hoopla over the past few years, I’d say 2004 was when I really started paying attention. I even remember refraining from going over to the YMCA to workout because I wanted to see the entirety of the first-round on that Saturday morning. Almost no 17 or 18-year-old was intently watching the NFL draft at this point. This was reserved for the hardcore of the hardcore fans.
At the end of said first-round, my New England Patriots selected a tight end out of Georgia – Benjamin Watson. He ran a 4.5 forty at nearly 260 lbs, and repped 225 a spectacular 34 times. He was the next Ben Coates! I was convinced, at least. He was a stud, and I just knew he’d be a beast when September came.
Over the next 6 years, Watson only caught more than 40 balls in a season one time.
Nowadays Watson is in Cleveland. His production has remained mediocre, but apparently his workouts are intense. He does some type of training blog for Stack. So, as much as I was wrong about him, I had something pegged correctly.
Ben Watson took my NFL draft innocence. But the thing that really made me take a step back was the way NFL fans have begun to react to the April draft. It’s become like Mecca for the NFL draft nerds.
I really enjoy seeing where the collegiate players I have been watching for 3 or 4 years end up going. Thus, the draft is very relevant and fun. Inevitably there are incredible stories that come out of the NFL draft. The underdog. The rehabilitated. The sure-thing. I can watch those fluff pieces all day. I even like fantasy football — so I’m not a complete buzz kill. I’m with all of that. But there is something that I just can’t get into.
The mock drafts. Everyone and there mother has one. Why? I’m not into predicting where a player goes. If we are going to predict sports, can’t we do it in the gambling arena at least?
It’s a complete and utter blind guess when a fan does a mock draft. The only tangible thing we have to go on is what the major scout analysts are saying. Creating your own mock draft is inevitably just a remix of what Mel Kiper or Mike Mayock is telling you will happen.
In closing — to the NFL draft nerds — I just don’t think you know anything about the NFL draft. But here’s how you can change my mind:
Step one — Lock yourself in a room with only college football game tape, but zero commentary.
It sounds like a dream come true for you draft nerds. However, think about it just a bit more. You will have nothing to go on but the actual physical and mental acumen of these players. **** just got real.
Step two — Now lets see your NFL mock.
I don’t believe it will be so easy without ESPN and the NFL Network telling you what to think. Chances are you are not a football scout, and there is probably a reason for that.