Yeww gotta owwwwn it
Can I be honest with you fine people here at The Daily Norseman for just a second? I want to get something off my chest; it’s a burden I’ve carried for years, a secret so terrible that most self-respecting bloggers who live in their mom’s basement wouldn’t share on the intertubes. And in many ways, I blame Gonzo, Anthony, and Eric for what I’m about to tell you, because had they asked me some pointed questions in my job interview for this here gig, we wouldn’t be here now. But we are, so get ready to lay blame accordingly.
**Takes Deeeeeeep Breath** Okay, here goes, after the jump.
I don’t like the NFL combine and mock drafts. Wow, that feels better…almost liberating. My name is MilCardFan and I am and NFL fan that can’t stand the two biggest cornerstones of the NFL off-season! Yeah, it feels great to get that off my chest. I understand the importance of scouting potential NFL players and then, you know, drafting them so your team can be competitive, but I think watching 300 pound guys run a 40 yard dash, 200 pound guys jump three feet in the air, and quarterbacks not throw is about as boring as it can get. As for mock drafts, I hate them as well. No one outside of the Inner Sanctum of NFL personnel offices knows beans when it comes down to it. I fully get that the draft is critical for NFL teams, and to the players that get drafted, but I think the amount of time spent on who is going where is an exercise in futility. Well, it’s interesting for the first five or six picks, but it’s a total crapshoot after that. Hell, it’s usually a crap shoot after three or four picks.
The NFL combine has become the most over-rated evaluation of talent, and in a lot of ways, the NFL is responsible for this, because of the wall to wall coverage supplied by the NFL Network. I love the NFL Network, but they’ve created a monster. Look, I’m a sports dork. I understand that; my wife not so much, but she loves me anyways. How much of a dork am I? I signed up for NFL news to be sent to me as a text message via my cell phone. They tell me who’s been cut, who’s been traded, who’s got what injury, etc. I am now getting texts on how fast someone ran on their 40 at the combine. I don’t know what’s more ridiculous: that a 40-something guy gets text messages about football on his cell phone, or that said text messages tell me how fast some guy ran a 40 yard dash.
Anyways, back to the monster that they’ve created. In this day and age, we have access to too much information (which isn’t a bad thing), and as armchair experts, we misinterpret said data, pawn it off as our own expert opinion, a few people on the web read it, it gains steam, and then before you know it, your team drafts Mike Williams because Mel Kiper, Jr., and your fan base DEMAND that you need to draft ANOTHER wide receiver with a top 10 pick! Man, I miss Matt Millen. Can you imagine him and Mike Tice together on draft day? That would be awesome, because they would draft me in the third round. Maybe that wouldn’t be awesome.
Now, let’s talk to mock drafts, because they go hand in hand with combine results. People take these artificial combine numbers and then try and extrapolate those numbers and decide who should be drafted by whom, while in many cases completely ignoring other numbers. Like football statistics. Now do some guys put up unreal college numbers and never make it in the NFL? Yes, of course. But many times, people ignore what a guy did in college and evaluate him solely on what they did at the combine, and that’s just plain silly.
I can’t get excited about mock drafts, either. I do look at mock draft sites, because a lot of them have useful information about guys coming into the NFL, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. I also get to find out about a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of before, because my college football expertise doesn’t go past the Big 10.
So how do I live with myself? I try and make an educated guess as to what the Vikings need position-wise, look at the top three or four players at those positions and try and get familiar with them. Then if the Vikings draft one of those guys, I’m generally pleased. If they go against conventional wisdom and grab a guy I didn’t think the Vikings were targeting (Percy Harvin) I’m pleasantly surprised. It’s a strategy that’s worked well for me for the last several years.
Now, does this mean I hold ill will towards those of you that live and breathe for the combine and all the mock drafts that come out before the real live draft? Nope, not at all. I’ve been there. I awaited every new mock draft with anticipation, and ate up the NFL combine information. I even generated a couple of my own mock drafts trying to figure out who the Vikings would really draft. 2005 cured me. I was all in. The Vikes had traded away Randy Moss, and held two first round picks. I was so excited, I actually attended the Draft Party at Vikings headquarters with my brother and a friend of mine. Yeah, I drove from St. Louis to watch the Vikings pick players for their team. And drink beer. AND listen to Red McCombs get heckled so bad when he officially kicked off the party I thought I was going to have an accident in my pants I was laughing so hard. That was worth the price of admission alone (the heckling, not peeing myself, just so we’re clear).
And who were those two players? Receiver Troy Williamson, who ran really fast at the combine but as it turns out, can’t actually…what’s the word I’m looking for here…oh yeah…can’t actually CATCH the football. And Erasmus James, a defensive end who can’t actually…man, I’m having trouble finding the words that fit…let’s try this one…can’t actually TACKLE. That pretty much did it for me. I entered a 12 step program for draftaholics, swore off the combine and mock drafts, and began concentrating on things that really matter.
Like assigning grades to those drafts as soon as they are over and declare success or failure for guys that have yet to take a snap in the NFL.
Now that stuff is important.