Are Mock Drafts Actually Addicting?

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

  1. LA Rams-Jared Goff
  2. Eagles- Ezekiel Elliot
  3. Chargers-Deforest Buckner
  4. Cowboys- Jalen Ramsey
  5. 49ers *Trade w/Jags-Carson Wentz
  6. Ravens- Laremy Tunsil
  7. Jags *Trade w/49ers-Leonard Floyd
  8. Browns- Ronnie Stanley
  9. Bucs- Joey Bosa
  10. Giants- Myles Jack
  11. Bears- Noah Spence
  12. Saints- Paxton Lynch
  13. Dolphins- Vernon Hargreaves
  14. Raiders- Sheldon Rankins
  15. Titans- Jack Conklin
  16. Lions- Laquan Treadwell
  17. Falcons- Darron Lee
  18. Colts- Taylor Decker
  19. Bills- Shaq Lawson
  20. Jets- Kevin Dodd
  21. Redskins- Ryan Kelly
  22. Texans-Corey Coleman
  23. Vikings- Josh Doctson
  24. Bengals- Emmanuel Ogbah
  25. Steelers-Eli Apple
  26. Seahawks- Vernon Butler
  27. Packers- Reggie Ragland
  28. Chiefs- A’Shawn Robinson
  29. Cardinals- Keanu Neal
  30. Panthers- William Jackson III
  31. Broncos-Joshua Garnett

Do Fisher and Snead Have Too Much Control of LA Rams Future?

Desperation is…well….Desperate. It can be plainly obvious and rarely ends with any positive result. Smart men make dumb decisions when faced with desperate matters. Football is no different.

Head Coach Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead have guided the Rams through a perpetual state of average since 2012.

7-8-1, 7-9, 6-10, 7-9 (win/loss column for Rams in past four years)

Many other Coaches and GM’s would have had their walking papers by now. Yet the duo of Snead and Fisher is one that is both well liked and respected amongst both players and personnel, resulting in a longer than normal leash.

It also helps that owner Stan Kronke is a very hands-off owner on football matters, and views an NFL franchise as another savvy investment, rather than a live and die on Sundays love affair.

Speaking of Kronke and investments, his latest is a big splash in the 2nd largest market in the US. Los Angeles, a hibernating bear awaking from its 20 year slumber to welcome the NFL back to LA. Kronke can not lose, and will do whatever it takes to win in LA market. Both in business and on the field, Kronke wants to do things bigger and better than ever before, making LA a football Mecca for all fans.

Frankly Fisher and Snead are just along for the ride. Both looking down the barrel of LA cannon. Help the Rams win or get shot out of LA, along with their lackluster records. Sorry but 7-9 just isn’t LA.

In a tenure that started off with promise, GM Les Snead in his first year pulled off one of the greatest draft steals in recent memory. Trading his top pick to the Redskins for three first round picks in consecutive years 2012-2014 as well as a second rounder in 2012. We all know the outcome of that trade, and what it meant for the Redskins who drafted QB RGIII, now playing for the Cleveland Browns.

For the Rams it meant slow and steady, building around Sam Bradford and Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s plan of running the ball and playing great defense. That plan was put into action using those acquired draft picks.

Three defenders used with the first three picks and offensive lineman Greg Robinson with the last first rounder obtained from the Redskins.

One big problem. What Fisher had in his previous stint with the Oilers/Titans was a MVP quarterback in Steve McNair. An underrated small school, tough as nails, by any means necessary leader on the field. The Rams had the opposite at QB, Sam “Fragile” Bradford.

Fisher and Snead forgot what their rivals in the NFC West knew. Having a great defense was good, but having a quarterback was better. All three rivals invested wisely in the quarterback position, with mostly positive gains. Outside of Kaepernick’s recent collapse, he along with Russell Wilson and Carson Palmer have been great successes. All three QB’s have led their teams to Conference Championship games and two of the three have played in Super Bowl’s.

Now back to that desperation I spoke of. Snead and Fisher are no doubt on the “Hot Seat”. The time to win was yesterday and the move to LA means even more pressure to produce. Both GM and Coach are launching that last Hail Mary, hoping to save their jobs.

Smart men, make dumb decisions.

Relying on a Rookie to save your job is not exactly a solid plan. Yet this is what desperation creates. From a savvy trade to a dumb one, I frankly can’t agree with the Rams decision to trade up from #15 to #1 in the 2016 NFL Draft. I understand it, but refuse to go along with it.

Two quarterbacks, who would be late first round or second round picks almost any other year, are now the “Saviors” of not only a Franchise, but two respected football men.

What right to Les Snead and Jeff Fisher have to trade the LA Rams future away on the 50/50 chance they land a franchise QB? Why are “Hot Seat” GM’s and Coaches permitted so much power to dictate future outcomes, when they may very well not be around to suffer the consequences?

As a Raiders fan I understand the value of lost draft picks. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie was left with no 1st, 2nd and 3rd picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, due to previous owner and coaches decisions. Of no fault of his own, McKenzie and the Raiders were punished by desperate moves made by individuals no longer with the team.

The Rams traded away two 1st rounder’s, two 2nd rounder’s, and two 3rd rounder’s in that “Desperate” move for a quarterback. 6 players of high value and potential, now gone on the hopes that Jared Goff or Carson Wentz can play and win…..Now!

That’s right rookie you start now and you better win some games while your at it. No sitting on the bench for a few years, no clipboard and visor. It’s now or never. That is a whole lot of pressure on a young player under the bright lights of Los Angeles with a team built to win now.

While I wish all the best to either Goff or Wentz, and I like both players, history is rarely kind to desperate moves. Recent draft history also shows the likely hood of either rookie QB producing and saving the jobs of Snead and Fisher to be very low.

I understand the move. Hell, what to they have to lose. For all the power NFL owners hold, you would think desperate moves like these would be blocked or vetoed. Rams will rise and fall on the next QB, and the fate of football in LA may rest on Jared Goff (My prediction) as well…..Good Luck.



Josh Gordon and the Hypocrisy of Professional Sports

Can we say it? Could it be true? What is the definition of a professional athlete in America? Can you explain what Professional Sport is?

It’s sacrilegious to begin a post with questions, but oh well. These questions are important and open up a vastly different perspective of how we view and treat today’s modern athlete.

We have a misconception in America and maybe across the world, that athletes represent the moral and respectful reflection of societies current standards. This is not true. Rather athletes are the representation of who we really are, not what we suppose or presume to be. Athletes are great, flawed, misunderstood, lost, found, misrepresented and every other adjective you can think of.

Some are murders, rapist, great leaders and philatrophist.

But in our intense admiration, and with the business that is all major sports leagues, athletes are held to a much higher standard. A standard that no longer fits the times, nor identity of the NFL and the other major sports leagues.

Welcome to Cleveland! Home to the NFL’s Browns, a team looking for a fresh start, but who boast two of the more high profiled players in recent months. Making headlines in the off season is never a good thing. For both Johnny Manziel and wide receiver Josh Gordon making headlines for all the “wrong” reasons has become the norm.

Both Manziel, who has battled alcohol abuse and Gordon who has numerous positive marijuana test, can now be classified, or should I say crucified as “Wrong”! At least in the public’s, media’s and NFL’s eyes. I emphasis wrong to make a point. The interpretation and the media analysis of young athletes has made us very clear about what “wrong” is.

Can you imagine, a 23 year old (Manziel) and a 24 year old (Gordon) participating in the drinking of alcohol and smoking Marijuana!!!! Oh My!!! Hide the woman and children! Somebody must act, before these heinous young men are let loose on the streets…..

That folks is sarcasm and false hysteria, if you didn’t catch on. But it highlights the kind of outrage produced by media commentators and league officials. It’s overhyped and overblown, not to serve as some kind of Public Service, but instead to hurt the brand of the player in question.

I am not here to defend the character of both Manziel and Gordon, I never met them. You can follow them on instagram or twitter if you want. Hell I’m not even a Browns fan, so no bias there either. I rarely drink and don’t smoke weed, so cross that off your list.

What I do know, is that they provided incredible entertainment while in college and in the pros for thousands of football fans, including myself. Note: Another key word; “Entertainment”.

Because what you see folks is, Sports, Football in general is just Entertainment. Which makes every game, every player and every participate in the NFL and every other sport league, merely producers of entertainment. No different from WWE, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Batman Vs Superman, or the next Kanye West album. Entertainment, plain and simple.

Why is ok for a rock star, a rapper, an actor, a reality star to not be subject to the high standards of morality, pushed upon the young athlete? Many actors and musicians have and are currently users of both drugs and alcohol. Did it prevent them from doing their jobs? Were they subject to evasive testing and harsh penalties?

Why do we demonize young athletes, many with troubled upbringings, some with no strong parental guidance. Why do we throw them to the trash, the minute they stop entertaining us?

Or rather, are stopped from entertaining us…

Josh Gordon’s play was never affected by his alleged drug use. Why should I care that he smokes weed on his off days. Manziel was given little time to develop, suffered in a dysfunctional franchise, and was tossed when the off field hysteria didn’t make Cents. From 1st round pick to expendable, hell even JaMarcus Russell got more time than Johnny Manziel!

Merely Business and Administrative decisions made on behalf of the financial interest of teams and the league. Nothing more, nothing less.

The double standard is clear. The NFL and other professional sports leagues care not for its young athletes, it cares for its brand. The shield is protected at all cost. The hypocrisy is allowed to flourish, while young men are left without a career and livelihood they worked their whole lives for.

You can be a millionaire, but only by our rules…That’s the NFL way. We’ll sell you beer and take money from taxpayers, but don’t you dare smoke weed or have off field problems. These heavy handed punshishments have to end. Especially for health, drug and non violent offenses.

The NFL dictatorship has spoken. I just feel bad for the wasted years and potential of these young athletes who are caught up in the hypocritical, backwards and outdated system of control. Welcome to NFL in 2016, same as it ever was.