Texans mock draft season is in full swing, and no one is happy
It's early April. Spring has sprung. Birds are chirping. We're experiencing the last few days of temps in the 60s. Allergies are running rampant and causing havoc. It's also in the prime of the NFL offseason. The new league year has started. Free agency has been in full effect for about a month or so. All the top guys have been signed. Vets have been cut for cap casualty purposes, or to make room for newer/cheaper talent. It's also draft season, and you know what that means!
ESPN 97.5's own Lance Zierlein put out his mock draft 3.0 for the 2023 NFL Draft. Per the usual, fans of just about all 32 teams were ready to do awful things to LZ. The things they said were even worse! Two of his 27 kids joined in on the beatdown! Our crack staff at Gow Media captured the segment from The Bench with John and Lance where the guys played audio of an AI voice reading the mean tweets:
There's something about a mock draft that sets people off. I'm not sure why. If you look at the adjective definition of mock, it states: not authentic or real, but without the intention to deceive. People tend to forget that part of the term “mock draft” and take it way too serious. They act as if this mock draft is a prediction, or a spoiler. As if these draft analysts are somehow inside the war rooms and meetings; taking the info they absorb from talking to coaches, scouts, and GMs; then formulating their mock drafts. I can assure you this is FAR from the truth.
Do some of these draft analysts pass on their mocks as gospel? Of course they do! They have egos just like any other paid professional. Do they take their jobs too seriously? Absolutely. If you don't believe in you, why would you expect anyone else to believe in you? Do they get sensitive when called out? Yes. I would too if some of you responded the way you do. Threatening people, making personal attacks, and cyber-bullying are very real. Some take it way too far.
One thing I want to emphasize is this: the people who do this for a living will get it wrong more than they get it right. LZ and I have had these discussions on and off since like 2009/2010. He once told me if you can predict the pick, player, and team eight to ten times out of the 32 picks in the first round, you're doing great. I got about six or seven right one year and acted like my bleep didn't stink! Others hated and only wanted to talk about how many I missed. They, too, missed the whole point.
I often wonder why people dislike draft analysts and mock drafts. My old co-host/mentor/great friend Craig Shelton (RIP) and I would regularly get into heated debates over draft analysts and stuff. We'd agree to disagree, then get into it again! His stance was that they don't know what they're talking about, since they can't accurately predict how it'll go. He also felt many would blame teams for doing something different and make it seem as if the analyst was smarter than the actual teams making the picks. While there are draft analysts out there like that, many are here to provide insight into what teams could possibly do.
One thing I know about LZ is he prides himself more on his player evaluations than his mocks. He's responsible for writing the evaluations you see on NFL.com and on NFL Network. That's what he thinks of all the players that are draft eligible. He has to study their game film and make the best assessment possible on their projected potential at the next level. Imagine doing this for well over 300 players over the course of about a year, sometimes more, only for some schlub on Twitter to tell you they think you should be fired for having the Raiders not draft a quarterback in the first round?
Weather forecasters get the weather wrong every day! Yet, we still go back to them every day to see what the weather will be like. Computers often fail us. Yet we use them every day. Our smartphones frequently do dumb things. Yet we won't give up on them either. People will often disappoint us. Yet we will give them chance after chance. My question is: why do we give draft analysts so much grief? Especially over something we're supposed to enjoy? I think it's time we start looking in the mirror and realizing we allow ourselves to get too worked up over something that's meant to entertain and help inform. Weed out the fakes, phonies, and pay attention to the ones who actually give a damn about their work.