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Old 02-21-2020, 05:51 PM
Omniscient is offline
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 17,702
[QUOTE=Hamlet;22139466]They do so, every fucking draft. Are they concerned the Raiders may draft a mascot or maybe a spoon from Alabama's team cafeteria? Jesus wept.[/quote[

That's a really specific example.

Which leads me to point the second: Mock Drafts are as useless and stupid as concluding the Raiders might draft an offensive and defensive player. So many people wasting so much time guessing what will occur, as if that has any relevance or insight whatsoever. You want to tell me your opinion of the game tape, great. You want to tell me you think the Packers are going to draft Laviska Shenault in the first round? Fuck you! That's utterly useless and based on nothing but deciding a team need and guessing who might be there at that need. It's so dumb.
I agree with all the criticism of Mock Drafts. They are dumb and objectively they aren't really useful at predicting anything about the draft. BUT, I don't think that's the point and I'm pretty okay with it. Here's why.

Think of a Mock Draft like one of those thousand stupid Listicles that pop up on blogs every other hour. On paper they are dumb. You can't really objectively rank most of this stuff and the premise is inherently flawed....but, they can still be fun to read and share. Their goal isn't actually to rank things in any authoritative way, their goal is to spur conversation and to create a format that really easy for people to scan and consume with a minimum of effort.

Mock Drafts are exactly that. Most scouting services and analysts have a "Big Board" and draft profiles that break down each player, review the game tape, and often provide some pretty insightful analysis. They are great and I love them. But they have a few inherent problems.

1. They don't change very often. Maybe you learn something new about a guy and he moves up or down a spot or two, but that's not really that interesting to most people.
2. They don't really relate to any specific NFL team. If you're a casual fan (or even an avid fan that doesn't monitor CFB that closely) you probably aren't pro-actively scouring the internet for new insight into prospects. You're really just looking out for press releases and trending stories about your favorite team.
3. They don't have a narrative structure. You can't really tell a story about a single prospect except to talk about his past. You can sort of tell a story about how each positional player ranks against their peers, but that's basically a listicle. You can't really talk about the kid's potential impact without knowing where he'll play.
4. There's not much personality or name recognition there. Those casual fans probably only know the names of one or two prospects. That's it.

Now the Mock Draft framework fixes all those problems. For example.

1. You can shake up the snow globe every single day if you want and by swapping just a couple selections you end up with a totally different article. Lots of content to be created. Lots of opportunities to trigger water cooler discussions.
2. They inherently @mention every single NFL team. All the content aggregators and social media feeds and local beat reporters can pick up your article and push it to their readers/viewers. Fans affinity is to their team, this gives them something to get emotionally invested in.
3. They allow the writer to tell a story. You're not just talking about the measurables of a 21 year old kid. You're talking about the internal politics and business of 32 football teams. You're @mentioning dozens of famous veteran players who will be challenged or replaced. You're talking about how the target teams might change and how their 2020 season might play out. The mock draft pick is just the spark that starts the discussion.
4. You can talk about team owners, GMs, coaches, veteran players and agents. It's not just about the kid. It's about how that kid might change all the relationships inside the team, might displace some players, might make or break a coach or GM's career. It oozes with personal drama.

That's maybe not a great defense of the objective merits of a Mock Draft, but it's a compelling reason why they are really interesting to read for a lot of people and why they make sense to keep writing them. Mock Drafts are like pop music....sometimes that's just the right kind of distraction for the moment. I still enjoy them.