DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a football expert, I am a Bears fan who likes to mock and who has a strong record of mocking successfully. I don't play Fantasy, I rarely bet on games, I don't watch tons NCAA, Pro, or tape. I do read others opinions frequently though. I am not a Jack of all things football and master of none, I just mock, while following mostly my home team and the league to a lesser extent.
To begin: One thing that I have noticed is sites and individual experts are rarely experts in all things, each site and individual has strengths and weaknesses too (much as prospects do). Take Deon for instance, sure his expertise is defense and more specifically DB; but that does not make him an expert on Guards does it? Not to pick on NFL.com, but I want to illustrate another point that caused me to write this rant today. My Bears have three major or primary needs: Pass rush (7.6), OLine (7.5) and ILB (6.5) and they have only two picks in the first three rounds (challenging). This means that (by a fairly wide margin) their main objective is to acquire another pick in the first three rounds. The conventional pick would be a 3-4 OLB, but these are not particularly gifted or deep with quality. Then there is Edmunds who has the right body type and skills to play either the OLB or the ILB and that versatility has value. The reason I have Pass slightly higher is because the quality is deeper for OLine prospects and because of the Bears unique front 5 they have flexibility, so it could be Tackle, Guard or Center. Conversely for Pass rush there is the OLB as we described, Edmonds (and to a lesser extent Vander Esch) and then there is the 3-4 DE. I have long thought Goldman also could use a backup, so I've had my eye open for somewhat of a hybrid 3-4 DE who has the ability to move inside. Does that sound like any two players in this draft (rhetorical question), because of course it does in Vea and Payne.
The other thing I should mention is I publish my books for a living and I'm a geopolitical strategist, the point is that I can often read in between the lines or see what is not obvious (at a glance) to others. Now we are looking at Vea and Payne (or according to NFL.com's Lance Zierlien) Payne (6.51) and Vea (6.50), granted almost no difference, but read the analysis closely and carefully for each by Mr. Zierlien:
What we notice is clearly he likes Payne a whole lot better than .01 over Vea! He is also in the minority over the other experts. Walt and Charlie (our guys here where I hang my hat) also liked Payne better for most of the season, but they always pointed out they were very close and it depended on team scheme and needs. Reading other expert opinions I learned that for my Bears, Vea was the better fit. Zierlien irked me today when I reread his comparison. It was not that he favored Payne, but that he clearly favored Payne by a lot more than by the .01 he said he did. For the record I still am debating on the Vea - Edmunds choice, and yeah, still reading expert opinions.
Now that I have said some nice things about Walt and Charlie, let me add some constructive criticism despite this is the site where I choose to hang my jockstrap (plug for Russel Crowe). Finally and I mean recently, Charlie and Walt abandoned the naive notion that my Bears would abandon their primary needs (with no 3rd round pick) and take Ward). There are still MANY experts (Casserly/Schrager to name but two) who have my Bears mocking Ward at 8....and this is absurd, despite the fact Corner IS a secondary need of the Bears so generously we can make it their fourth biggest need. Sure I'd like to see Cooper replaced, of course I would, yet Pace is never going to abandon his primary needs for that. My only other Bears related criticism for Walt and Charlie is the ILB. Throughout the year they had Burks ranked very high on their positional board (mostly between 2-4) then in February he dropped off the map with no explanation. That did not give this Bears fan a warm fuzzy feeling either as he did well at the Combine.
I could go on and on giving many examples of expert errors, but the point I am making is the same as I did with Deon early on here, experts have specialties and limitations and are not always correct and sometimes we get the feeling they are hiding something like with Mr. Zierlien.