Our roundtable of writers has gripes about the typically exhausting pre-draft process and long, ultimately boring offseason, and for a change, we’re not going to keep them to ourselves. Here are ours, and we encourage you to share yours.
A couple things here: 1) Every player is “just like [insert hall of fame player here]. Mitch Trubisky is not Aaron Rodgers, Dalvin Cook is not Lesean McCoy, and OJ Howard is not Antonio Gates. Throw in the abundance of “anonymous sources” and this time of year becomes one of the most annoying in the NFL calendar. My sources say that everyone should just be quiet and stop making stupid guesses.
I’m looking at you, random internet draft expert. You tell me all about the Falcons cap space (I know how to use overthecap.com, too) and the draft grade you have on some random QB/RB prospect out of Dumbledore University in Podunk, Alabama. You’ve watched more “tape” than I have hours in my entire life (youtube) and you know who and who isn’t going to succeed in the NFL better than the GMs of all 32 teams. Based on that, you told me that the Falcons “reached” on Keanu Neal and Deion Jones - who were both legitimate rookie of the year candidates. You also told me that Tevin Coleman was a “poor scheme fit.” Were it not for your knowledge and insight, I wouldn’t have known that Vic Beasley would be a bust. The internet has given you a powerfully loud voice. If only you knew what the hell to do with it.
I could not possibly care any less about your draft rankings or mock drafts or how many hours you’ve wasted watching any player.
Every year, the idea that the Falcons might trade up in the first round rears its ugly head. They’ve done so exactly three times in Thomas Dimitroff’s tenure, and this year, they only have six draft selections to work with. Please kill this with fire.
You hear repetitive terms like upside and versatility used for countless prospects. That can be frustrating, especially when you read eight scouting reports in a 30-minute timeframe. What infuriates me the most is know it all “draft analysts” or writers in general. They can’t take criticism or disagree with someone in a respectful manner. It’s an elitist mentality, where nobody can teach them anything. Only tape can teach them something. These people will frown upon anyone that hasn’t watched three games of a certain prospect. It makes me not want to interact with them. To watch draft tape, create positional rankings, and put together mock drafts is great. To act like you know every ounce of detail about every top 150 prospect makes me sick.
Can we put an end to draft projections, especially this year? It gets a little silly calling player X a round 6 guy. The Falcons took a round 6 guy in the 4th last year and he ended up starting. Plus, if player X is a 5th round prospect, the Falcons have to take him with their 4th round pick, thanks to being slotted the 31st pick. It feels ridiculous to write off a position or prospect based on inaccurate draft projections. People were mad about “reaching” on Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, and De’Vondre Campbell last year, and they made up one of Atlanta’s best drafts ever. So it’s probably not a good time to put a lot of faith in random draft projections.
At this time of year we simply have to learn to filter out the noise. The first two or three times that you follow the draft with an unhealthy passion, you try to soak in everything that the “experts” project. By the tenth time you dedicate your entire weekend to the draft, it’s more fun to laugh at the idiotic things they say. (Kiper, for example, said on TV way back when that it didn’t make any sense for the Falcons to select Justin Griffith because Atlanta didn’t need another running back, not even realizing that Griffith was a fullback and that Bob Christian had just retired.)
I’ll still listen to whatever Mayock or Gil Brandt have to say, but even their musings should not be treated as definitive and final. As for the rest, I trust what Phil Emery and the other Falcons scouts will think about prospects far more than anything spewed forth by the likes of Kiper, McShay, Nawrocki, WalterFootball and the countless other draft pundits.