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Posted April 26, 2010
2010 NFL Draft Observations and Telecast Blog
The 2010 NFL Draft concluded last Saturday, and before long it will be time to hit the refresh button and look towards the 2011 NFL Draft class. However, I just had some observations I wanted to share while the 2010 NFL Draft is still fresh in the minds of Draftniks:
I'm really, really, really glad I didn't watch ESPN's coverage of Days 1 and 2 of the 2010 NFL Draft this year - I heard it was absolutely horrendous. Of course, this is what you get when you have Mel Kiper Jr. on a set with three other analysts who have absolutely no clue what is going on and NEVER follow college football or its prospects. If you start studying for final exams the night before, odds are that you will not do very well. The NFL Draft is no different - you can't just start studying for a massive event two weeks before and expect to know about the prospects or team needs. Draftniks on the Internet do this year round, but people shouldn't be paid so much money to be on television mindlessly rambling about how great Tyson Alualu is when they haven't heard his name before.
That said, Day 3 of ESPN's coverage was the best it has ever been - by miles, and I don't think people are giving Todd McShay enough credit. Sure McShay is bashed on this site endlessly, but give the man credit where he is due. He knew about every prospect and he complemented Mel Kiper Jr. extremely well. This is the type of mid-, late-round NFL Draft coverage that Draftniks have been demanding from TV broadcasts for YEARS. ESPN didn't just talk about the first round and Brett Favre; they seemed to focus on most of the prospects drafted late and gave the hardcore Draftniks (only people who watch Day 3 of the 2010 NFL Draft) the coverage they deserve. Again, Days 1 and 2 on ESPN were terrible, but Day 3 for me was my most favorite part of Draft Weekend by miles.
I can't complain enough about Michael Smith, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter and Jason La Canfora for ruining the NFL Draft. Honestly, it doesn't make you cool if you break who is drafted a minute before it happens. If we are going to find out in a minute or two, then just let us enjoy the moment of the commissioner announcing the pick. Teams texting you their draft picks doesn't make you a good reporter. Do you tell your children what presents you got them on Christmas/Hanukkah? No - so don't spoil the NFL Draft. This really pissed me (and apparently most Draftniks) off. Your job is to break important news stories when they happen; not ruin the NFL Draft experience for fans.
Why did ESPN do away with their NFL Primetime music when they showed the highlights of the prospect and Kiper's analysis of it? Honestly, why does ESPN feel like they have to change everything? Mel Kiper Jr. + NFL Primetime music, for me, is like peanut butter and jelly - you don't fix what isn't broken.
I know I am going on and on about Kiper, but he proved again this year why he - not Mike Mayock - is the best in the business. He came in third place on TheHuddleReport.com's mock draft contest and he did a great job with his picks. Mayock, on the other hand, apparently is too good to release mock drafts throughout the year.
Was it just me or did teams really shy away from football players who weren't anything but great athletes? Sure there were reaches in my opinion such as Trent Williams, Patrick Robinson, and Demaryius Thomas, who was evaluated primarily based on size and athleticism, but this will always happen.
Sergio Kindle (big upside, mediocre production) didn't come off the board until No. 43 overall. Linval Joseph apparently wasn't as high on most teams' boards as was hyped from the media. Taylor Mays fell to the mid-second round. Carlos Dunlap didn't come off the board until No. 54. Jared Veldheer didn't come off the board in the second round. Alex Carrington, a great athlete but was inconsistent on tape, was a third-round pick. Taylor Price didn't go off the board until No. 90 - some were talking about him in the mid-second. Kevin Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Brandon Ghee (whom I felt was underrated - but I know he relied on his athleticism) almost all fell to Round 4. Everson Griffen, Bruce Campbell and Al Woods were fourth-round picks.
Was this a case of a really deep, talented draft, or teams improving in the scouting department? Maybe it was a little bit of both. They seemed to have learned a little bit more from past mistakes.
Best team-prospect fits in the 2010 NFL Draft (meaning these players seemed like they were born to wear the jersey of the team that drafted them): Gerald McCoy-Tampa Bay (athletic 3-technique, very disruptive lineman), Eric Berry-Kansas City (very tough and a big hitter), Bryan Bulaga-Green Bay (physical, nasty, blue-collar lineman), Dez Bryant-Dallas (playmaker, "diva"), Jerry Hughes-Indianapolis (undersized, explosive end), Montario Hardesty-Cleveland (extremely tough, workhorse back), Bruce Campbell-Oakland (freak athlete).
Suggestions for NFL Network on how to improve their coverage of the NFL Draft: Michael Lombardi is one of your most popular and highly respected analysts - he should be there on Days 1 and 2. I'm just sick and tired of seeing Steve Mariucci say every single player in the NFL Draft is going to be a Pro Bowler and every single team is a Super Bowl contender. It gets old. I love Marshall Faulk and I'm a big fan of the mock draft-less Mike Mayock, but you need another person who actually knows a thing or two about these prospects. Michael Irvin doesn't follow draft prospects either - you gotta be kidding me. Either Lombardi or Charley Casserly needs to be on the draft set for Days 1 and 2; not the frauds analyzing the draft now.
Suggestions for ESPN on how to improve their coverage of the NFL Draft: Jon Gruden and Steve Young have got to go. Jon Gruden wouldn't criticize the Jaguars if they drafted Adolf Hitler at No. 10 overall. "Oh yeah! This guy is powerful, he's controlling, and he will make the Jacksonville Jaguars a much better football team!" Steve Young doesn't have a clue what is going on, but I knew that last year. It looks like Draftniks got the message a year late. Young is a joke. Replace both of these idiots with Todd McShay. No, seriously. McShay follows the draft year-round and he knows about nearly every prospect in the draft. McShay is the only person on ESPN truly willing to criticize teams and prospects. If Tom Jackson can't keep up with all the prospects in the draft, then sadly, maybe he needs to go too. Message to ESPN: less is MORE.
Suggestions for NFL to enforce NFL Draft entertainment: Teams aren't allowed to tell reporters their draft picks before they are announced by the commissioner in the first round. Secondly, teams aren't allowed to call their draft picks before they are made. Waiting five minutes to talk to their pick isn't a big deal, and it allows fans to truly enjoy the draft experience. Reporters aren't doing fans any favors - don't ruin the surprise of the NFL Draft. We watch the NFL Draft because we love the suspense and uncertainty - not because we want to know who the pick is three minutes before it's made.