What a mockery.
NFL mock draft season is in full swing, and a friendly, yet forceful, reminder: Nobody. Knows. Anything. Gasp. Shocking. Really! NFL draft analysts know roughly as much about which prospects are going where as they know how to change a flat tire on the Mars Perseverance rover. (Does it have tires?)
Until the card is turned in, mock drafts are nothing more than informed (in some cases) speculation and opinion and conversation starters. We’re all hungry for NFL news. We all want something to talk about. We’re minions and sellouts for Google, anyway, and Google loves itself some NFL draft #content.
But the truth is: Winter sucks and mock draft season is neatly tucked into the space after the Super Bowl and before the combine (or March Madness or Opening Day, if that’s your thing), providing a little bit of warmth among a sea of utter nonsense. A little Biz Cliz secret: Mock drafts are speculative and boring, and that’s why they have as much value as a dollar-store contraceptive.
Take Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft as the latest example of this. For the first time in his career, Kiper has constructed a mock draft that features trades!!! (which is a point that ESPN and its media machine will remind you ad nauseam today), and among them, Kiper has:
- The Jets trading down to No. 4 and selecting Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, the highest a tight end has ever been selected.
- The Falcons selecting BYU QB Zach Wilson at No. 2.
- The 49ers trading up and selecting Justin Fields.
- The Patriots trading into the top 10 to take Trey Lance.
By the way, he also has ‘Bama QB Mac Jones being drafted inside the top 10, going to the Panthers.
Could these things all happen? Sure. You, fair reader, could also be drafted inside the top 10 and become the league’s next great pass rusher.
Really, opinion is opinion and mock drafts aren’t to be taken seriously, especially in February, two months before the NFL Draft, before teams have the opportunity to meet with prospects and really get the ball rolling on the draft process. If we had less integrity and were really selling out for the #clicks, we could say that Trevor Lawrence is dropping out of the top 10 — and provide a fugazi reasoning for it. (That’s not happening, just for integrity’s sake.)
Imagine that Twitter fallout.
Let’s be fair: No one is perfect in crafting mock drafts, after all, and scouting analysis is very, very hit-or-miss. Kiper and plenty of other draft analysts likely put in hours on tape and agonize over some decisions. Let’s give Kiper the benefit of the doubt here and say maybe there’s a genuine attempt to provide a different, outside-the-box look at the first round, rather than what he thinks is legitimately going to happen.
The idea that this is the second of Kiper’s drafts this season (with more coming) means that this is probably more speculation (and fun) than it is legitimate opinion. Probably. (Hopefully.)
Kiper has a few big misses in his career, most notably his Jimmy Clausen prediction, in which he threatened (threatened?) to retire if Clausen wasn’t a successful NFL QB. Spoiler alert: He wasn’t, and Kiper is still cashing checks.
In any case, as you can imagine, Kiper, ESPN and the machine is playing everyone for suckers (and that includes me here, by the way, so insert the Spider-Man pointing meme where you please): We’re all talking about it, dissecting it, injecting it straight into our veins as we navigate the barren part of the NFL offseason landscape, at least for the next few weeks. Consider us played like paint-bucket drums in an NYC subway station.
Readers and fans, though, were less inviting to Kiper’s latest mock.
ESPN treats Mel Kiper’s Mock draft like it is scripture.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) February 25, 2021
Just remember the same people who are down on Fields *cough cough McShay and Kiper* were the same ones who were convinced the future of the NFL was Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold
— Chuggs 🎙 (@ChuggsVi) February 24, 2021
Absolutely ridiculous that kiper would even suggest a TE at 4. Why? Because the 9ers had Kittle?
— Rough Country (@doublearmbar1) February 25, 2021
Mel Kiper Jr. is a legend in the industry, but the mock is a reminder: Godzilla is a legend, too, but he’s stepped on Tokyo more than a few times.