By Matt McGuire.
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The NFL Draft is one of the biggest sporting events in America. Why is that? Well I think mostly because it bridges the gap between college and professional athletics. That can go for any draft though. Football is the most popular sport and the media obviously is going to cash in on that. Television shows, magazines, internet websites, books, etc. can all be traced back to how big the NFL Draft is.
Well one day ESPN realized maybe they needed more than one year-round draft guru. I guess a television audience can only take so much of Mel Kiper's hair that only rivals Steve Lavin's gel usage.
So they decided to add another college football expert to boost ratings and take some of the burden off of Kiper. ESPN purchased The War Room to bolster their football analysis especially for ESPN.com. The War Room's name was later changed to Scout's Inc. Gary Horton had hired an intern named Todd McShay. McShay was just some college kid who liked to learn about football, but really had no prior experience analyzing the game (as far as I know). He was mentored apparently by War Room/Scout's Inc. and in late 2006 he basically became the "next Mel Kiper Jr."
Ever since then ESPN has been feeding us the McShay brand name. On the surface, McShay looks like he knows what he talks about and he appeals to the casual NFL/NCAA football fan that likes a tidbit of draft info here and there.
Well last year on an ESPN Sportscenter special, they thought it would be a fun idea to go old school-new school and have Kiper vs. McShay draft debates. They were talking about where Brady Quinn would fall in the draft. I don't have the exact words, but it went something like this:
"Brady Quinn in my opinion is not worthy of being a top 10 draft pick. He really struggled in the Sugar Bowl..."
"Then why is he seventh on your board?"
Silence, blank stare, and he was pretty much in shock because there was no way around that response. Kiper basically made McShay look like the preschool draftnik-wannabe that he is.
ESPN seems to still really love McShay though. The recipe is simple if you want to sound like an expert - extend your sentences and talk with confidence, but it doesn't really matter what you say because no one really remembers your mock draft update back from Jan. 17, 2007 anyways. People never really question predictions to the point that one is fired. Let's just be honest, does ESPN really care how talented McShay's eye is for college football talent? They did hire personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Emmitt Smith (see Emmitt Smith Anthology
Let's just say I think it is time to put McShay in those two guys' company. Why?
McShay plagiarized the ideas and work of Mike Mayock, a real NFL Draft guru, from the NFL Network.
All season long McShay has been talking about how great Darren McFadden is, even going as far to say (so many times) he is the clear cut No. 1 player in the 2008 NFL Draft.
"A lot like Adrian Peterson a year ago coming out of Oklahoma, Darren McFadden from Arkansas is a tremendous talent. In my opinion he is THE No. 1 talent in all of the '08 class...If not the first pick overall I think he is a top-five pick in this draft," McShay said when McFadden declared for the draft.
McShay has the title of "Director of College Scouting," so I would assume he has a large say over their draft board. Well, ever since McFadden declared for the 2008 NFL Draft he has been No. 1 on Scout's Inc. draft board and McShay has backed that up adamantly - not once has he ever doubted McFadden's talent.
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Mayock's top five by position was updated on NFL.com's Draft Web site. In it McFadden wasn't even the best player at his position - Rashard Mendenhall was ahead of him.
On Wednesday, Feb. 13, Mayock was brought on NFL Network's Total Access to break down his top 10 of his draft board - no where was McFadden to be found.
"I don't touch Darren McFadden in the first twenty picks of the Draft," said Mayock.
On Thursday (or early Friday can't remember which), Mayock broke down Mendenhall and McFadden's game film and explained why he isn't as high on McFadden as the consensus opinion suggests.
On Friday, Feb. 15, McShay was brought onto ESPN Sportscenter to do their "Cold Hard Facts" series. A question was asked, "Who is the better runningback, Rashard Mendhenhall or Darren McFadden?"
I don't have McShay's exact quotes, but he said that Mendenhall was a better back than McFadden. He didn't say anything about Mendenhall rising on draft boards or McFadden falling - just that Mendenhall was better than McFadden and he was no longer an elite prospect.
Now you can say, "OK, well maybe that's what the scouts are saying now," but I have evidence that says not that long ago McShay was still singing McFadden's praises.
On Feb. 12 McShay released his analysis on the top running backs in the 2008 draft class (which is linked at the bottom of the page), "Darren McFadden, the top-rated prospect on our draft board, is one of eight early entries to bolster a weak group ... McFadden is likely a top-five pick, followed by Rashard Mendenhall..."
Even today Darren McFadden is still the No. 1 overall player on Scouts Inc's Draft Board with a player rating of 99 out of 100 despite what McShay said last Friday, which I don't think anyone ever really heard McShay say this (ESPN can go back to their tapes - he said it, I guarantee)
I mean, this is absolutely ridiculous. McShay says McFadden goes from "top-five pick" to "Mendenhall is better" in a matter of three days! All that hype McShay has been building the entire college football season that McFadden was an elite player and another Adrian Peterson automatically goes out the window in about a 72-hour timespan.
It's not that hard. Connect the dots for yourself. On Wednesday, Mayock said McFadden wasn't a top 20 pick in his eyes - then the next chance McShay gets on Sportscenter he reniggs on all the love he threw McFadden's way and he says pretty much the same exact thing Mayock stated two days ago.
It's plagiarism plain and simple. From WordNet on Dictionary.com, "Taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own."
If McShay is the "Director of College Scouting" of Scouts Inc., then what kind of scout changes his opinion on a dime based on what someone else said? How do you go from the next Adrian Peterson to not being better than Mendenhall overnight like that? It's ridiculous.
His opinion is going out to millions of people every month leading up to the Draft, and they all believe he does his own film study, and his thoughts are all original.
Everything McShay says is just the consensus opinion (other than him plagiarizing Mayock). It's nothing we haven't heard before (at least draftniks) and to me it just seems like he is too scared to go out on a limb, unless he steals someone elses work, that is. McShay's comments are almost always parallel with Kiper's, and quite frankly I think this is because McShay is too scared to say something that he would feel is wrong.
I can get a more innovative opinion about the NFL Draft at Victoria's Secret rather than having to listen to Todd McShay.
This guy is a clown. He has no real background. He is just some college kid that was helped out by War Room to learn football with no prior experience other than being cut by a Division III football team as a walk-on. ESPN wanted a specific draft expert and I guess they thought he was their best option because he was younger and energetic.
ESPN should fire McShay the day after the 2008 NFL Draft. He can be easily replaced - I'm not joking when I say I can find 200 to 300 teenagers from various football message boards who know more about football than McShay. It's not like he puts any real work into breaking down film - and if he is, then how come his analysis isn't more advanced, and how come he doesn't break down film like a Ron Jaworski, Brian Baldinger, Merril Hoge, etc.? If he is some college football expert then how come he never saw McFadden's weaknesses before and why didn't he ever tell us about them?
To get a job at ESPN, you should know something about football - but does a "Director of College Scouting" plagiarize the ideas of an analyst of a rival television network? I wouldn't think so.
Why don't we just start calling McShay for what he is: Todd McFraud.
McFraud is nothing special, and I think it is time ESPN becomes aware that he did steal Mayock's ideas in a matter of days and said them to every single household in America that tuned into him on Sportscenter. Why does he deserve to even write one senternce on ESPN.com if he is copying others' work? McFraud lied to America's face by acting like he came up with the shocking opinion that Mendenhall was better than McFadden.
If McFraud had any confidence in his previous statements about McFadden or his own original opinion than he wouldn't have been so fast to change his mind about something he has been saying since last summer (and hasn't withdrawn from at all).
If you want quality analysis and someone who doesn't steal others work, please contact ESPN (on the link below) and tell them what you think of McFraud for stealing Mayock's material. Don't be afraid to give a link to my blog
either. I have no reason to lie here; there is nothing in it for me other than wanting ESPN's analysts to not steal other's ideas. I am passionate about the draft and there are millions of casual fans out there in the upcoming months who are going to digest what McFraud is saying and take his ideas for what they are without even thinking he is a plagiaristic loser.
If McFraud was in the print journalism industy he wouldn't ever get a job again for passing off someone else's ideas as his own. I hope ESPN would treat him the same as a respected magazine or newspaper would and can him on April 28, 2008 - the day after the draft is finished.
McShay RB Analysis on 2-12-08
Mayock's Top 10 on 2-13-08
Mayock breaks down tape of the runningbacks (I think McShay likely saw this then changed his mind)
Mayock's Top 5 by position 2-12-08