Todd McShay, Mel Kiper Jr candidly discuss value of mock drafts


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Both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr, the NFL Draftniks of all NFL Draftniks do multiple conference calls with the media previewing the NFL Draft. The attendance for these calls is RIDICULOUS. These calls often last up to two hours, and many journalists don’t even get their questions in. ESPN doesn’t transcribe them because they would end up being like 40 pages long.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network does one as well, which took three hours and clocked in at 30 pages on the transcript. That’s how insane the media appetite is for Todd McShay and company. Safe to say this was the most over-hyped and pointlessly over-analyzed NFL Draft in history. The extra weeks of wait and the presence of Johnny Manziel had a lot to do ti.

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NFL mock drafts are fine pieces of journalism. If every journalism class you took was taught by Rex Chapman and Jalen Rose. All mock drafts are extremely inaccurate, nearly all the time. They’re not based on any type of actual inside information. No one is an “insider.” That’s just a B.S. term that networks through out to market themselves. Why do you think NFL teams call them “war rooms?”

Because, it’s all classified. They guard the secrets like CentComm. Look at how Jacksonville protected the the Blake Bortles smokescreen the whole time? No journalists are giving up those secrets. However, mock drafts are a ton of fun and they always gets an insane amount of traffic, because you just can’t help but click on them. That’s why I do so many of them.

You. Have. To.

Click and see who your team has mocked to them. Where that kid from alma mater is slotted to go. On Monday, both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. gave media conference calls, and since this was post draft, the media horde was much smaller and way more manageable. Some dude asked both men the same question about the value of mock drafts.

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Having been on several of these calls, with both Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, I can tell you that Kiper comes off as the guy you’d rather have a beer with. By a long shot. He’s friendlier and more down to Earth about it all than Todd McShay. Maybe it’s just the way he is, his personality. Kiper really seems to be into this stuff. You can tell from his enthusiasm for this material that he truly eats, sleeps and breathes this content. So we’ll start with him.

Kiper said it’s more about trying to get as many picks in the first round as possible than it is getting the picks exactly right. He said he got six this year, and his all time high one year was eight.

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“The only thing I care about it how many kids I get in the first round, you try to get anywhere between 24-28 and this year I got 26,” Kiper said, before mentioning that 28 was his all time high.

“You’re talking about a very difficult process, with trades and you always have, you try to give a range of where they’re going to go. You might be one or two picks off, but at least you give people an idea of where they might come off the board and also track the progression of the player through the process, his his perception changes, is the perception reality.”

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“That’s what the NFL Draft is, it’s great reality TV, no one knows what’s going to happen because we can’t get inside those war rooms.”

I totally agree, it is reality television, and this was the Jersey Shore of all NFL Drafts. This draft unfolded PERFECTLY on Thursday and Sunday for the NFL, NFL Network and ESPN. It was the exact scrip they hoped for: drama about when Johnny Manziel and AJ McCarron would go, would Michael Sam get picked? It was all there.

Now on to Todd McShay.

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He said that he hadn’t even looked at how he did. By Monday. I don’t believe that for one second and neither should you.

“I assume that no one did all that well, the bottom line is I want to get as many guys as possible, 25-26-27 as first rounders in that range. There’s always going to be trades, surprises, I’ve always said mock drafts are more for people like Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen, guys that get information, than they are for guys who are evaluating tape,” Todd McShay said.

“Someone said we had 80 guys who landed in the top 100, I don’t even care about that. I want to know that 80-90% of the guys that we evaluated ended up having the careers that we predicted they would.”

Todd McShay sounded a little like Jay Cutler there with some insouciance and aloofness, but in the end I totally see eye to eye with him, in that NFL mock drafts are all about business.

“I know they get a lot of hits, they’re a lot of fun, and it’s a driving force in what we do because they get so much attention. And it makes money. But for me it’s probably the least important part of my job.”

Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also a frequent guest on national talk radio. Banks is a former contributor to NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, who’s been featured both in Forbes and on the History Channel. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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