The Bleak Future Of ESPN's NFL Draft Coverage

Spenser T. HarrisonCorrespondent IApril 23, 2009

As the draft is just a few days away, I thought it would be a great chance to talk about the bleak future and rapid decline of ESPN’s draft coverage and analysis. And in my humble opinon I attribute 94.75% of this to one man; Todd McShay.

Apparently Todd McShay was brought in to single-handedly crap on the legitimacy (there wasn’t much to start) of the pre-draft analysis. It's as if the devil of sports created Todd McJudas himself, just to betray and destroy the pre-draft prophet that is Mel Kiper.

In his brief career Todd McShay has made a living suckling the knowledge off the draft tit that is Mel Kiper. He is a fraud, and it's an affront to Mel’s glory to even have them share the same spotlight.

While Mel has his faults, and has made his mistakes (Mike Williams most notably), at least he adds a flair and excitement to the draft not duplicated elsewhere. He transformed the coverage of the draft, as we know it to a year round business. 

Although he does a fantastic job of predicting what rounds people will go in, and how they will fit into the NFL, it’s the way he presents it that makes it entertaining; even though he’s not trying to be. 

Listening to Mel Kiper talk about the draft is like listening to a kid talk about Christmas morning; he's been waiting all year, and excited as hell its back. 

Todd on the other hand always seems to be talking to me in this fake, lathargic voice, as if he's 100% serious about the lackluster information he's about to feed us. If you don't know what you're talking about, which he doesn't, then at least entertain me.

Perhaps he should finish his segments with a jig, or come everyday in a different costume like Clinton Portis. At which point I would enjoy Todd as much as anyone else.Because at the end of the day mock drafts are a supreme waste of time to begin with.

No one outside the team holding the #1 pick knows who the hell their gonna draft. Ultimately it's all a giant crapshoot. If these teams knew they wouldn't spend the better part of five months discussing it, scouting hundreds of player, and then talk the whole ten or fifteen minutes during the draft to decide; I really hate when they do that.

Which is why I've always believed anyone with a computer and a vague sense of football can make a decent one. Thankfully, ESPN soldified that belief with the hiring of Todd McShay and his continued employment there.

In reality the true purpose of a mock draft is to get writers and fans alike to complain and moan at each other about how “stupid” their picks are, as we pass the time, longing for the football season to start anew. 

But, me, I used to look forward to the end of football season as painful as it seemed at the time. Why? Because I knew that right after the Pro Bowl, my TV screen would once again be continually graced with the legend that is Mel Kiper.

However, for some unfathomable reason, ESPN has decided to shit all over Mel’s work and bring in this no talent ass clown. I’m still dumbfounded as to why the hell ESPN decided they needed two of these guys anyway.

Do we need a second opinion on pure speculation? Or maybe they’ve always wanted two “draft gurus” and no one else had the testicular fortitude to stand in the ring with Mel. Perhaps they’re even trying to groom him to take over one day.

But therein lies the ultimate folly my friends, because there can only be one highlander.

It’s clear by his hiring and those of Emmitt Smith, Rush Limbaugh, Merrill Hoge and Stephen A. Smith, that ESPN doesn’t care about true in depth analysis, but rather just another talking head or recognizable face to fill time. That's fine fine with me; they’re entitled to run their organization however they want, but please don’t try to insult us by portraying these guys as experts.

At least they had the decency to fire a few of those aformentionted pin heads. But we're left with Hoge using the word "dynamic" fifteen times to describe a player and the the worst of all, Todd McShay.

Yet, Merrill Hoge's prescence is miniscual at best, where as McShay gets an entire three months, with daily facetime, to spew his ridiculous rhetoric in our faces. 

Perhaps ESPN hopes that, by force-feeding McShay down our throat, we’ll inevitably be forced to accept him and his “analysis.” Or that we'll begin to hate the draft coverage so much that we'll demand the draft be moved to March 1st, the season lengthened, and for it to start in April.

Either way ESPN's sad attempts at legitimizing this guy as anything more than a hack haven't worked on me. For instance they claim his ESPN bio, that Todd McShay’s analysis is "used and relied on by numerous NFL teams". Now if that’s not a ceiling high, load of bullshit I just don’t know what is.

NFL teams that know what the hell they are doing don't waste their time consulting with analysts from a TV show, no matter who they are.

It's an insult to our intelligence for ESPN to claim that with a GM, numerous scouts, and even more coaches, any NFL team would rely on talking heads from their channel.

The truth is, Todd McShay is nothing special (nor is Mel Kiper for the most part as much as I love him), and he brings no real in depth knowledge to the field.

Anyone on this website could do what he does, without the amount of "assistance from others" that he seems to deem necessary.

Although he has single-handedly tried to steal Mel Kiper’s thunder, no one is immune to his draft knowledge thievery. For information on that, read this great article written by Matt McGuire.

Before I digress, I must point out some of Todd’s particular points of idiocy in his short career.

Example ATodd’s First Draft Analysis for ESPN in 2006

For the better part of a week, Todd McShay assured us (to the contrary of Michael Smith’s in depth reports; something people call journalism) that the Texans were merely blowing smoke up the NFL’s ass with the talk of drafting Mario Williams instead of Reggie Bush. Then the unthinkable happens—they strike a deal with Mario before the draft.

Now prior to this seemingly unannounced pick, Todd McShay had Mario Williams rated as the top defensive end and player on the defensive side of the ball in the entire draft.

In fact in all of his mock drafts, Mario Williams was projected no lower than sixth to the 49ers and as high as second to the Saints.

He called him a “freakish combination of size, speed, and athleticism, and a perfect fit as a traditional end in a 4-3 defensive scheme.”  After the draft when ESPN has their "analysts" hand out meaningless draft grades, without any player having seen an NFL field yet, Todd McShay had this to say:

“A special talent like Bush does not come along very often. When blessed with the opportunity to obtain such a franchise-changing talent, passing simply cannot be an option. You pay the extra money, endure the additional hardship, and modify existing schemes in order to make it work."

He went on to say the "fans" wanted and deserved Bush.

Now obviously this one has blown up in his face, as it did 99 percent of the pundits out there.Mario has already proven that he was worth the pick and has clearly produced more than Reggie Bush.

But that isn’t even where I fault him, because everyone can make such a mistake. The real fault lies in his sad justification as to why they should have taken Reggie Bush instead.

He argues that a team should pay extra money, endure additional hardship, and modify their team for a particular player just to appease the fans. That's how bad organizations are run Mr. McShay. Prior to 2006 the Texans were a poorly run franchise.

Yet the truest example of poor analysis and overall lack of sports knowledge lies in his last sentence of this asinine diatribe. 

You don't pass on Michael Jordan simply because Sam Bowie fits a bigger needjust ask the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers.”

First off, no one single player will change a franchise in the NFL, outside of a quarterback, like a single player can in basketball.

Secondly, defensive end was a need for the Texans as they ranked bottom four every year in sacks, and have to play Peyton Manning twice a year. Moreover, he should have known that Gary Kubiak comes from a system that does not take running backs in the first round.

Lastly he compares Mario Williams to Sam Bowie.

Apparently Todd McShay forgot that Houston also held the No. 1 pick in the 1983 NBA draft and indeed passed on Michael Jordan for the Hall of Famer and two-time champion Hakeem Olajuwon; so perhaps it's in their nature to do bold things.

Sure Hakeem wasn’t Jordan, but no one will ever be. But, he did bring Houston their only championships and no one lambasts the Rockets for the move (then or now) as he was one of the best players and centers to ever play. And most importantly Reggie Bush was never a Michael Jordan-esq player.

Sure he could run for alot of yards against Fresno State, Arizona State, Washington, or any one of the sad, pouros defenses that permeate through the Pac-10. That shouldn't be to hard when you have a great offense line, one of the better college quarterbacks in history, and a bruising compliment running back to shoulder the load.

If Reggie was even the top back at USC, why wasn't he on the field during the 2006 Rose Bowl game, when it was fourth and one with the opportunity to seal it? 

Example B:(courtesy of Mark McGuire) “Well last year on an ESPN Sportscenter special, they thought it would be a fun idea to go old school-new school and have Kiper vs. McShay draft debates. They were talking about where Brady Quinn would fall in the draft and it went something like this....

McShay: "Brady Quinn, in my opinion, is not worthy of being a top 10 draft pick. He really struggled in the Sugar Bowl..."

Kiper: "Then why is he seventh on your board?"

McShay: (Silence, blank stare, and he was pretty much in shock because there was no way around that response. Kiper basically made McShay look like the preschool draftnik-wannabe that he is.)


Example C: 

At the beginning of the 2008 season, Todd McShay made a 2009 Mock Draft with only seniors, (for some awful reason ESPN does this).

His No. 1 was Fili Moala going to the 49ers. Now anyone is prone to a miss, but had he any knowledge of the NFL, he’d know that the 49ers are in need of a QB (regardless of what they tell you), and that they had just drafted Kentwan Balmer.

Moreover, even if they didn’t want a quarterback it is nearly impossible for NFL teams without a true starting quarterback to not draft one with the No. 1 pick. Either way, good Ol’ Fili isn’t even projected as a first day pick anymore.

Example D:

Once again this year, Todd decides to let his "creative" juices flow and put no real thought into this mock draft. He decides to have the Texans picking Mark Sanchez at 16. Now this is borderline retarded on two levels.

First of he shows that Sanchez was nowhere near his top ten, as he is now. Fine. Ok. I can deal with that I guess. 

But next time, when you want to just throw random picks out there Todd, at least of some semblance of truth or justification. The Texans have just recently given up picks, and 40+ million dollars to Matt Schaub. Last year they had the third rated offense in the league.

So clearly they are looking to start all over with Mark Sanchez. It's not like Gary Kubiak has a job to keep. 

I rest my case, and hope that we can all realize that McShay is a fraud. Since not everyone can change to the NFL Network and watch Mike Mayock instead of this bafoon, when Mel's not around, something should be done.

Furthermore Todd McShay's mock drafts always seem to be eerily similar to that of Kiper or Mayock anyway, so he has no real use or value. So it could even be a worthwhile buisness decision for ESPN.

What kind of world are we living in where we stand by and watch a clown steal the thunder and glory of actual professionals?

If action is not taken, Mel Kiper will eventually be phased out and we'll never again be able to find such a lucious, mesmerizing, and remarkably kept head of hair.


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