Nobody ever sets out to truly project what will happen in a mock draft. These are fun little things that generate web hits and create a debate.
If you’re taking these things seriously you aren’t doing the draft properly.
Most web sites churn out mocks to bring in traffic. Everybody loves a projection (well, most people).
The thing is, I sense the NFL draft is being taken too seriously by a lot of people. We analyse every opinion like it really really matters. Twitter and the internet has created an army of know-it-alls who are never wrong about any players.
There are people putting out top-300 boards and talking like that’s even a thing anyone should care about.
Then there’s the cult of Greg Cosell (don’t get me started…)
I actually really like Todd McShay. I also really like Mel Kiper. I think anyone who treats the draft with a sense of fun and excitement will probably feel the same.
I don’t listen to what they say because their analysis makes me feel more NFL-intellectual. I listen to what they say because they just give out an opinion, they debate (sometimes in quite entertaining fashion) and it’s all on a level everyone can understand.
Draft coverage for the masses. And that isn’t a bad thing.
We all think we’re the second coming of Ron Wolf, when really we’re just a bunch of guys who like the draft. It’s just that some of us have bothered to write about it.
McShay and Kiper are a welcome addition to the annual coverage. Kiper’s hair is still a tour de force. And along with Tony Pauline’s work at Draft Insider.net — it’s the stuff I look forward to reading the most.
And having said all that, I’m now going to tear into McShay’s first 2014 mock.
Not because I think he’s a hopeless analyst who should get off my TV. Just because that’s what mocks are supposed to do — generate debate.
It just so happens I tend to disagree with a few things in this latest projection, and god darn it I’m going to have my say.
The first thing that smacks you in the face is the four quarterbacks he has going in the top six picks.
We’ve seen some heavy QB drafts in recent years. In 2011 four went in the top-12. The following year three went in the top eight.
But four out of the first six in 2014? I just can’t see it.
Teddy Bridgewater goes #1 (Houston) — although McShay even admits he only thinks he’s the ninth best player available. Then he’s got Blake Bortles at #3 (Oakland), Johnny Manziel at #4 (Jacksonville) and Derek Carr at #6 (Cleveland).
Meanwhile Jadeveon Clowney lasts rather conveniently all the way to needy Atlanta at #5.
Hey — I appreciate there are a few teams desperate for a quarterback drafting very early this year. But four in the top six is unprecedented. And a year after only one quarterback went in the first round and many established names sank way down the board — I’m not convinced we’ll see a mad rush next May.
Apart from Carolina and Cam Newton — the #1 pick in 2011 — none of the teams who reached on a quarterback that year has prospered. Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder could be coming to the the end of their (very short) NFL careers. Jake Locker might be joining them shortly.
Even NFL teams learn the occasional lesson or two…
McShay has two linebackers ranked way too early for me. Khalil Mack has legit character question marks and seems to lack the raw athleticism that will clearly translate to the next level at outside linebacker. He goes #8 to Minnesota, but I’m not convinced he’ll go in round one.
I like C.J. Mosley, but he’s a fairly limited linebacker prospect and not a true difference maker. McShay has him going to the New York Giants at #11 — who have much greater needs right now.
Mike Evans drops to #20 to Baltimore. If this happens I hope the Seahawks get ready to move up.
Florida defensive lineman Dominique Easley is at #21 to Chicago despite picking up his second serious knee injury this year. He’s a terrific player, but the injuries will surely have a major impact on his stock.
Offensive tackle Morgan Moses at Virginia hasn’t had a great year but McShay continues to grade him in round one, this time to Arizona at #25.
But it ends well enough. He has the Seahawks picking #32 overall. It’s probably done on current record, but it’s still nice to see (let’s hope it comes true). And he has the Seahawks taking Tennessee tackle Antonio Richardson.
If he lasts until the late first round, that would be an absolute steal. I suspect Richardson’s massive upside will guarantee a top-15 grade but we’ll see.
Before I contradict myself and take this too seriously (some may argue I’ve already crossed that line…) I know how hard these things are to write. Doing one every week last year damn near killed me (well, kinda).
I also get a lot of stuff wrong. I said Von Miller was overrated on more than one occasion. I saw positives in Blaine Gabbert. I really liked James Carpenter…
(actually, I think he deserves a lot more credit for his 2013 performance — I still believe, James…)
Nobody’s perfect. Not even Todd McShay.
So I’ll just end with this. Yes please to Antonio Richardson. Nice pick, Todd!