Glenn Guilbeau / Gannett Louisiana
BATON ROUGE – Ah, the NFL Draft is finally over. We can get on with the rest of our lives now.
It was fun and interesting beginning Thursday when it started – not four months ago when the crazies started talking about it every day like drug addicts. Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Mike Mayock – go away now. Just go away.
The best thing about the NFL Draft is that it means the end of the mock drafts. Mock drafts can be fun much like fans filling out brackets for the NCAA Tournament, but brackets do not lead a sports cast for four months like mock drafts often do. And most people only do one bracket, and they do not do them until just before the NCAA Tournament actually starts.
Some of these draft “experts” do two dozen or more mock drafts. That way they can get it right at least once. Kiper, McShay and Mayock, who thankfully only does one mock draft just before the draft, no doubt have informative relationships with NFL general managers and other league personnel, but that does not mean an accurate mock draft.
NFL GMs and coaches are extremely sneaky and dishonest about who they may or may not draft, which is understandable. They rarely tell one another what they’re doing. They bring players in for workouts to throw other teams off. They sometimes do not bring the player they are really interested in for a workout to throw other teams off. The Saints did this with first round pick Brandin Cooks, who never even spoke to the Saints after late February and never visited the teams’ facility. So why would NFL teams be up front with Kiper? Mayock said his top rated player was linebacker Khalil Mack of Buffalo. Four players were picked before him.
Mock drafts are a joke. Yes, they are extremely popular. But so is the Real Housewives of Atlanta. That does not make either worthwhile pursuits.
Some of these draft analysts are very good, though. Mayock is one of the best, but all of them go a little nuts as the draft gets closer. Listen to what Mayock said on the Dan Patrick Show Thursday before the draft:
“My gut tells me that both Bortles and Manziel get through that top eight,” he said.
Wrong. Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles went to Jacksonville with the third pick of the first round. So Mayock missed that one by at least six spots. He was right about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel getting through the top eight, but he did not say Manziel would get through the top 20.
“And if they do, where do they land? And I think all hell’s going to break loose tonight,” Mayock said. “All I know is if he (Manziel) gets on the board when Dallas is picking, I just think it’s going to be the best moment in the history of the draft. If one or both makes it through the first eight picks, it’s going to be fun television.”
Wrong again. Manziel was available for Dallas with the 16th pick of the first round, but the Cowboys took offensive tackle Zack Martin of Notre Dame. Manziel did not get picked until the 22nd selection by Cleveland.
All hell is going to break loose? The best moment in the history of the draft? Gee, is Mayock working on some sort of TV ratings commission?
These guys like Mayock and Kiper and Lashay are all very smart and successful, but they need to devote their tremendous energy, knowledge and study habits to something more valuable than meaningless mocks. How about world peace?
The quote of the 2014 NFL Draft, though, goes to someone who saw it more up close and personal than most. Mark “Guffa” Quinlivan, the uncle of former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, lived the draft with his sister’s son. Mettenberger went from a projected second round pick on Monday to a sixth round pick on Saturday because of some fishy news stories about him having too much water in a urine test and a back condition. Mettenberger has no serious back issue and may well have not had any drugs in his system at the time of that test in February.
“The draft is such a game,” Quinlivan told Gannett Louisiana Saturday after Mettenberger was picked by Tennessee. “These people on TV - nobody really knows how it’s going to play out. Zach’s agents were here Friday night. They didn’t know what was going on either.”
The best moment in the history of the draft will not come until they move the draft up to March and end all mock drafts.