Until this evening, after picks have been made and dust has settled, we’ll all share the same knowledge of what Buddy Nix is going to do in the first round of this year’s draft. You, the reader. Myself, the blogger. Tim Graham, the local guy. Peter King, the national guy. Steve Johnson, the player. John Idzik, the opposition’s equal.
We’ve all got the same amount of insight into what Nix and his crew are planning for tonight. That’s why I can’t really wrap my head around the incredible demand for any and all draft information.
Up until that mark when ESPN and NFL Network start to make their magical guesses thirty seconds prior to Goodell taking the podium (which always seem to be spot on, go figure), everything that we write or say regarding this is guesswork. Case in point – the mock draft. I haven’t looked at a single mock this year, and only perused Mike Mayock’s last year because he releases just one annually which tends to be fairly accurate.
Mocks are lightning rods for this community, most can’t help but to read one and agree wholeheartedly with one selection while thinking the writer is a complete jackass for another. Even though many readers have a complete understanding that mocks are nothing more than someone throwing darts, they’re still going to click, read, and spew emotions one way or another – usually in outrage. It’s this way with all draft coverage, really.
If it has to do with a prospect, it’s going to get read. If the title even teases the idea of draft related content, plenty of folks are going to flip through it because the thirst for this type of information is damn near insatiable. That’s the main reason why bloggers do this. The thirst drives hits. Hits, for those with a website of any sort, tend to provide a feel as to whether folks dig what you’re putting out or not. We – as webmasters, as editors, as writers – have this understanding that more is good. More feels better. More sparks an ego boost, and ego boosts are fun.
Ignoring the self-inflation of a basement dweller such as myself, it’s pointless to even attempt solving the puzzle created by GMs and coaches spewing misinformation this time of year. If nothing else, Buddy is a master at playing this game.
Every single offseason, he provides a reminder that nothing coming from an NFL office is to be trusted in these months, and that doesn’t just apply to him and the rest of the organization. The whole ordeal is an intricate chess match. One team downplays their desire for a certain player while another without any intent of taking him ‘leaks’ their strong interest. Hell, that second team? I bet they’re even looking to trade up for the right price – or at least that’s what will happen to hit the ears of a writer with ‘sources.’
It’s the same situation each offseason. Some legitimate stuff occasionally leaks out when teams share secrets with the wrong people but, by and large, coaches and decision makers are playing games with whoever will listen to mask their direction. For them, it’s a necessity and simply a part of the job. Admittedly, it is fun to look back after the fact and compare what teams put out to what actually went down. To me, that’s where it begins and ends.
I don’t have a problem with people who are into this stuff, but I do get frustrated by those who don’t understand the nature of it all. The ones I speak of have a habit of seeing mock placements and values then taking them as concrete absolutes. They read the write-ups, the rumors, and the inferences then get worked up when things don’t play out as Mel Kiper or Mike Necci predicted.
What’s worse is the fact that some of you reading this assuredly are that guy. If that’s the case, cool. Don’t go yelling at me for breaking the news to you that wrestling isn’t real and the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist.
Embrace it, understand it, and by all means keep enjoying it. Just, for everyone else’s sake, take it for what it is – a charade, a fallacy, and a game. For what it’s worth (which is nothing), I expect Nix to pick up a defensive back or a signal caller with the eighth overall pick, but what do I know? Turns out, it’s the same as everyone else – absolutely nothing