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Posted Feb. 16, 2009
Kiper to Canton
I have been getting absolutely sick of all of the Mel Kiper Jr. bashing going on. A few of mine are not fans of his and think Todd McShay is better, which is completely ridiculous to say the least.
I gave my buddy, Scott Wright of DraftCountdown.com, a call and we chatted for a few minutes, and the topic of the Kiper-bashing going on came up.
Scott and I are both in 100-percent agreement. Not only do we think that Kiper shouldn't be bashed; we believe he is a Hall of Famer. Period.
Mel Kiper has done so much for the NFL Draft. His impact simply cannot be stated into words.
Some of you might be thinking, "What makes Kiper so great?"
The answer is everything. Kiper was one of the first draftniks. When ESPN started televising the NFL Draft in 1980, they brought on Kiper to be the on-screen draft analyst in 1984.
Ever since then, the NFL Draft has not been the same.
Kiper simply brings the passion and energy on Draft Day. In a world where people are completely scared to be wrong, he has very strong opinions and does not back down to anyone, including former GM of the Colts Bill Topin. After Kiper criticized the Colts for passing up on Trent Dilfer in 1994, Tobin called Kiper a "tortoise."
Mel stepped up to the plate: "I'm secure in my position. Obviously, Bill Tobin's not very secure in his position. ... You cannot go with Jim Harbaugh and pass up Trent Dilfer. That's why the Colts are the laughingstock of the league, year in and year out."
The Colts selected linebacker Trev Alberts instead, and he ended up being a complete bust in the NFL.
Kiper has one of the most legendary quotes of all-time. After the Jets selected defensive end Jeff Lageman of Virginia in 1989, he grilled them.
"It's obvious to me right now that the Jets just don't understand what the Draft is all about."
Lageman ended up having a solid career in New York and Jacksonville, but the fact remains no one else can measure Kiper's enthusiasm or knowledge on the NFL Draft.
He is the Godfather of the Draft. Kiper is a pioneer in the NFL Draft industry, and I certainly would not be writing for this Web site if it wasn't for Kiper. None of us would be fans of the NFL Draft if it weren't for Kiper. He saw what the NFL Draft could become before everyone else, and was asked when he became a fan of the NFL Draft:
"It was in high school. I was a big fan of the NFL and college football. I saw the impact of the draft then. It was the only way you could improve your football team from year to year. There was no free agency, there were very few trades. I always thought, if this is the only way to increase your talent base, there should be huge interest in this. I thought any college or NFL fan should crave the kind of information that I was interested in."
Just take a look at the NBA. They do not have any recognizable or historical personalities analyzing their draft.
You want to know why the NFL Draft is so much bigger than the NBA's? A big reason is Kiper. Granted, the NFL is far bigger than the NBA, but Kiper has made his impact on the NFL Draft and it will be remembered in the history books.
I am not saying Kiper is immune to criticism. Every draft expert puts themselves out there (some more than others) and I believe everything said can be questioned. He has certainly made his mistakes, but we all do and we always will make mistakes. Scouting and analyzing the NFL Draft is subjective analysis and based on opinion. To expect anyone to not make bad calls and be perfect is ridiculous.
However, I do not care how casual a football fan is or how hardcore a draftnik is ... everyone owes an extremely large respect to Kiper for what he has done for the NFL Draft.
Everything I have previously stated leads me to my aforementioned conclusion: Mel Kiper Jr. is a Hall of Famer.
Dick Vitale is in the Basketball Hall of Fame for being a contributor to the college basketball world, so why not Kiper? The day Kiper retires will be a very sad one. I will grieve like a 5-year-old witnessing his dog get run over by a car.
I am sick of all the Kiper bashing, and it certainly needs to stop. Bashing Kiper and saying he has lost his touch shows a tremendous lack of respect for everything he has done for the NFL Draft. Everyone owes him so much respect.
Kiper belongs in the Hall, and anyone who bashes him is an ignorant moron.
Scott Wright also blogged on this issue today, so you should check out his site as well. I have a great respect for Wright because on his forums, Kiper-bashing is against the rule. I wish we could implement the same on the WalterFootball forums, but for now, I think Kiper deserves his induction into Canton.