Welcome to the world of “Clickbait”, the manufacturing of emotion. A familiar strategy pressed upon us internet zombies and unaware consumers of content. We have seen it and fell for it, and frankly it works.
In the football world, there is no better “Clickbait” than the ever compelling Mock Draft. (Scroll down, if reading hurts your brain: Mock Draft Below)
“The outsized role emotion plays in your intuitive judgements and daily choices, and your lazy brain.” Bryan Gardiner Wired
A mock draft, a speculation of the annual NFL Rookie Draft where teams get picks to select eligible college football players to join their teams. And quite possibly the most compelling aspect of the pro football offseason.
Year round, mock drafts are posted from top notch experts to your everyday football fan. There is even a mock draft the day after the real draft (Insane!). But mock draft season truly heats up after the Super Bowl. The season is over and draft positions have been finalized.
Between the NFL Combine, Free Agency, and college pro days, football sites and analyst have found mock drafts to be the best filler for what used to be a boring offseason. Now the offseason has been appropriately name “Draft Season”. A new age of 24/7 wall to wall coverage of everything draft from major networks to social media. All tied together by endless mock drafts.
Mock drafts tap into the emotion and passion of football fans. They turn real estate agents, police officers, students and car salesman into amateur scouts. Hours spent analyzing edited game tape of top prospects, listening to commentary from the draft experts like Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock, and deciphering the endless draft rumors and news coverage.
Mock drafts combine some incredibly tempting attractors to the human brain. They have become the perfect storm of click bait for football fans. From the use of numbers 1-32 picks/ 7 rounds (31 picks this year), use of structured list with NFL teams, the endless variable outcomes and of course the most essential ingredient….emotion.
Mock drafts play with our emotions on the level of porn and video games. Draftniks can not resist the “latest updated mock” or “mock draft 3.8” and “a mock draft shake up at the top”. Clever click bait titles that result in quick hits of dopamine for the mock draft dopes, me included.
The funny thing is, after this year’s draft, many of these mock drafts will never be heard from again. Everyone can be an expert again come next year. The mock draft continues to dominate football culture.
Umberto Eco-The list doesn’t destroy culture; it creates it.
Two emotions stand out amongst the rest. The absolute top two picks of the emotion draft: Hope and Anger.
Hope is tricky thing, it can mean loyalty or it can also equal stupidity. As a Raiders fan I am all too familiar with hope. Jamarcus Russell was hope, Darius Heyward-Bey too, and Darren McFadden was hope, he doesn’t break. But hope is what drives fans to tune in to the NFL Draft, and what drives us to keep clicking on those hopeful mock drafts. Hopefully this year we get it right, a lottery ticket in the form of young college athlete. (kinda sick)
Anger is basic and predictable. Mock drafts are subjective, pure opinion based, throw names on the wall, crap shoot. Of course they’re ripe for criticism. Comment sections, Twitter, and Facebook post, the hostility is evident. Don’t like who the latest mock draft chose for your team, let it be heard. Don’t think (fill-in the-blank) prospect deserves to be number 1? Tell them why. Who doesn’t like to stick it to these so-called draft experts. Who wouldn’t want to be the one who actually predicted that trade, or unknown prospect sneaking into the first round. Its competition mixed with animosity, rolled together with a little bit on football geekdom sprinkled in.
The mock draft is our football obsession and we love it. Click bait may be a bad thing, but I truly believe mock drafts are just fun ways to open up dialogue and interest for the game. A sensible addiction that lets us imagine “control” of our team, one mock draft at a time.
Just for good measure….My Mock Draft Below. #KeepOnMocking
- LA Rams-Jared Goff
- Eagles- Ezekiel Elliot
- Chargers-Deforest Buckner
- Cowboys- Jalen Ramsey
- 49ers *Trade w/Jags-Carson Wentz
- Ravens- Laremy Tunsil
- Jags *Trade w/49ers-Leonard Floyd
- Browns- Ronnie Stanley
- Bucs- Joey Bosa
- Giants- Myles Jack
- Bears- Noah Spence
- Saints- Paxton Lynch
- Dolphins- Vernon Hargreaves
- Raiders- Sheldon Rankins
- Titans- Jack Conklin
- Lions- Laquan Treadwell
- Falcons- Darron Lee
- Colts- Taylor Decker
- Bills- Shaq Lawson
- Jets- Kevin Dodd
- Redskins- Ryan Kelly
- Texans-Corey Coleman
- Vikings- Josh Doctson
- Bengals- Emmanuel Ogbah
- Steelers-Eli Apple
- Seahawks- Vernon Butler
- Packers- Reggie Ragland
- Chiefs- A’Shawn Robinson
- Cardinals- Keanu Neal
- Panthers- William Jackson III
- Broncos-Joshua Garnett