Every year in late April the NFL Draft is held, and for a few months leading up to it, most NFL fans suddenly become Nostradamus-like.
By predicting draft busts and sleepers, everyone wants the chance to say, "I told you so." It makes them feel smart.
Some go as far as writing nonsensical gibberish on internet message boards, watching hundreds of youtube highlight videos, and reading countless scouting reports from who knows where, from who knows who.
You know who you are.
Some poor souls may have even spent their hard-earned money on NFL Draft magazines, just for the sake of obtaining an upper hand in mock draft debates.
Many unjustifiable comments are said by even the most casual of fans at this time of the year. Some have merit, but like you'll see…most are ill-conceived.
"I can't believe we reached for this guy!"
Says who? The be all, end all mock draft you've recently looked at? Perhaps you spent hours combining mock drafts to equate your own draft averages. It’s anyone’s guess, really…but the bottom line is that you know your team could have drafted this player later and taken someone else.
Unless you have a team of flies on every wall in every draft war room complete with Blackberries and plans that include unlimited text messaging, you don’t really know anything.
If that’s the player your GM wanted and they thought another team was hot on his trail, then it’s a smart move to take him. Greediness never pays off in the draft.
“We should have just traded down for more picks.”
Alright…but with who? As Adam Sandler once said, “It takes more than two to tango, or something like that.”
Teams can’t just willingly trade down. This is the NFL Draft—not the NFL Auction. No GM in the league has ever said, (Auctioneer’s voice) “Alright! Pick No. 42 goes to the highest bidder. Do I hear a third, third, third? And…we’ve got a fourth, do I hear two fifths, fifths? We’ve got a fourth going once, going twice…sold!”
If only the draft really worked that way because it actually might be kind of fun. The reality, however, is that there are few teams actually willing to trade up, so this apparently easy idea can usually be thrown in the garbage.
“This draft is becoming a failure because we're not drafting the best player available.”
All that can be said about these folks is that no matter what happens, they still want the best value pick each round, every year. This is an attempt to put their mind at ease as this draft strategy yields the most positive value points according to their own rankings. To them, it makes their team look smart.
Sure, you’ve already got two Pro Bowl wide receivers…but according to you, this WR is a great value here. Even though your defense has given up over 2,000 yards rushing for three straight years, taking that defensive tackle there was a reach.
Failing to realize that there might be a reason why the player is sliding, this fan sees it as constantly cashing in small winnings on a slot machine. Just keep on pulling that lever, buddy. It’s comforting in a way, isn’t it?
“We wasted a pick taking a player with an injury history. He‘ll never survive in the NFL.”
What? This guy was injured in his pee-wee football playing days? Well then, write him off as the next draft bust because it's obvious he can’t stay on the field.
Football is a violent sport. Practically every player at some point has been injured playing this game during their life. It happens in high school, college, and at the pro level. Simply because someone broke their arm during a game does not mean that you’ll see a trend later in their career.
Some drafted rookies have never been injured, yet they get hurt constantly in the NFL. On the other hand, some players who could barely play an entire collegiate season go on to have productive, injury-free professional careers.
Obviously, some injuries are more severe and more career-threatening than others, but that’s why NFL teams hire doctors and specialists to give them a thumbs up or thumbs down on certain players.
Said player hasn’t even gone through one practice yet…not one. Just know that the doctors being paid by your favorite team have their jobs on the line as well.
Labeling him as a bust is one thing, but please don’t root for the player to fail or get injured just to support your own agenda. These types of people are out there. It’s definitely a minority, but this thought process is sickening to say the least.
“This guy better start from day one, or he’s already a bust.”
Come on now, you’re better than that. You might want to tone down your expectations of rookies. Some start right away, but most don’t.
Give these players a chance to learn and succeed before writing them off. They are now a part of your team after all—whether you like it or not. Call it blind support, but these rookies are just kids. Give them an opportunity to prove themselves first because they deserve it.
Regardless of my mockery of mock drafts—plenty of the players are correctly ranked, especially in the first round. Everyone has eyes, and everyone can see obvious college talent. It’s the scouts being paid to do their jobs that have to sort it all out.
Since not all scouts are the same, not all coaches are the same, and not all teams are the same…what you have are differing opinions all over the place. Just because it’s not what you’ve necessarily read or taken to heart, does not make it wrong.
No draft has ever mirrored that of any mock draft. Players rise and players drop every single year.
Each player ranking list you've scanned the past few weeks was based from another website or publication, which was primarily based from another, and so on and so forth. All it turns out to be is a trickle down effect that you've inherently regarded as the truth.
Listening to the talking heads at ESPN constantly drive their opinions into your skull like railroad spikes, it’s easy to be swayed and follow their leads. How do you combat this? Just realize that any supposed draft expert is wrong just as many times as they’re right—if not more.
It’s not entirely your fault…you’ve been partially brainwashed.
If it’s realized that you’ve said anything resembling what‘s been mentioned, then do yourself a favor. Relax, take a deep breath, and form an opinion after two or three years…because it’s the most reasonable and most logical thing to do.