Do I watch the NFL Draft? Religiously. Do I hang on the edge of my seat anxiously awaiting each pick, wondering how said selection will impact that specific team in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy? Of course. As a Bengals fan, do I love ridiculing Cleveland faithful as their organization strings together an unending streak of perplexingly awful drafts? You better believe it.
However, for as much as I enjoy the NFL draft, and admittedly the three-day extravanganza it has become, I vehemently despite one aspect of the process.
That, without a doubt, is the mock draft.
I know, I'm a member of the media, and I could, and probably should, have a mock draft column where I tell readers who I think each team is going to select during tonight's opening round. But I despise said columns, and they are running rampant on every sporting website and every newspaper across the country. Of the thousands of mock drafts that are in existence, many of which are composed by writers two months ago only to be painstakingly adjusted with each passing day, no two are the same.
You may argue that these columns are similar to filling out your March Madness bracket, in that every person suspects a team of doing something different, of valuing one player above another. Yet the two are hardly similar.
In the NFL Draft, we attempt to evaluate the impossible and guess on intangible evidence. We place a grade on up-and-coming prospects, and give them a projected round or section of the round where we think they will get picked. Then, it's entirely out of our control as we attempt to dig into the mind of those in the front office.
Do we have any knowledge if the Bears like linebacker A more than linebacker B? Not at all, and how could we. We have no idea if Chicago thinks that taking a linebacker in the first round is worth it. Furthermore, do we think they value LSU's Kevin Minter more than Kansas State's Arthur Brown in the second, and what about Oregon's Kiko Alonso? Will they even be available at that point?