Shirty: Firstly, it’s great to be back after a long absence. I didn’t even see out the end of last season so paralyzed was I with shame given some of my picks (Texans to win their division and maybe make the SB cough cough). Let us never speak of it again. And if anyone does, know this – I’ve read all of the Song of Ice and Fire books, and will start posting Game of Thrones spoilers on here on a weekly basis.
So, to 2014 and the highly-anticipated-by-everyone-except-me NFL draft. I have been copping a bit of flack from my curly headed, smurf chasing co-conspirator and our reader (singular) to muck in and contribute to the Mock Draft. But alas, I just can’t get excited about trying to guess what some crazy ass billionaire and his equally bonkers management staff will do. It’s such a crap shoot, and the net benefit of actually getting it right is precisely zero. Speculating on who is going to be a good fantasy player – potential positive impact on people’s fantasy teams. Speculating on who will win divisions and matches this year – potential positive impact on people’s punting returns. Speculating on who’s going to get picked when in the draft – no impact on anyone except the author who is then able to say “I (and everyone else in the known universe) told you Clowney would go at 1.”
To be honest, the whole draft process strikes me as a little – off. You’ve got a bunch of old rich dudes fawning over a bunch of young fit men – making them compete in competitions of speed and strength, testing their fitness, “evaluating” them. Apparently GM’s and owners are inclined to become “smitten” and “enamored” with a particular prospect*. Meanwhile the common folk rank and rate them and try and guess who will pick who. It’s all a bit slavers of Yunkai for mine (to carry on the GOT theme**…)
The other thing that strikes me about the draft, and in particular about trying to pick how things are going to develop, is that, by definition, you are trying to guess the decisions of largely incompetent decision makers. Let me explain. If your team is high in the draft order, its generally going to be there because the team’s owner and its management have traditionally done a poor job of selecting talent (this is particularly true of the perennial high drafters – Cleveland, Oakland, Jacksonville, I’m looking at you). They have made poor decisions in the past. The most likely outcome is that history will repeat and they will continue to make poor decisions in the future. Occasionally you get a good team popping up at the top of the order (Indy in 2011 being the obvious example, who’s position was an aberration, quickly corrected) but generally, a team picking high is picking high for a reason, and often that reason is shitty personnel decisions
The sooner the whole thing is over the better. We should be moving on to more important matters like speculating on who is going to be the first draftee to hit the free trade list, and who is most likely from this years class to end up on a list like this.
*Interesting tid bit. Derek’s older brother David was the first draft pick ever taken by the Houston Texans in their inaugural draft in 2002. Unfortunately, he was thrust into the starting slot behind the worst O-Line in the NFL (think of the beating Archie Manning copped with the Saints and triple it) and turned out to be an absolute bust. This leads me to make the only confident prediction for this year’s draft – the Texans will not select a QB with the first pick.
** Speaking of GOT, I am seriously considering doing a Game of Thrones Mock Draft. Hear me out. The (currently living) children of each of the high born families go into the draft, and are then drafted into new families. The draft order of the families is determined by how crappy I think the family’s fortunes are currently (according to the latest TV episode, not the books, cool your jets). The more I think about it the more I think this is a brilliant idea, and the sort of shit I would do every day but for the fact that I need to maintain paid employment. In fact, it is such a good idea that I can’t shake the feeling that Grantland has either already done it or will do it before I get around to it – in which case, you heard it here first!