Todd McShay is an ESPN draft expert, and I have no doubt he's as good as it gets in the business.
But is there such a thing as a 'draft expert?'
A lot of mock drafts are based on educated guesses; you look at a team's needs and plug in the draft pick that makes the most sense. Other mock drafts are based on what NFL sources are telling reporters, but are those sources telling the truth? For example, St. Louis has the 2nd pick. If they want to trade down, and if they know another team really wants Johnny Manziel, then the best thing for St. Louis to do is put out information that they really like and want to pick Manziel. That drives the price up.
Basically, all this pre-draft conversation is empty talk. I compare it to eating potato chips -- it's just a lot of empty calories, no substance.
Not to pick on McShay, because he's not the only one, but his first mock draft is one I happened to save in December. There are enormous differences between that one and his final mock. And all these changes are happening after the players have played their final game. Everything team executives need to know about a player has already happened. How a player like Teddy Bridgewater can go from being a near-consensus number-1 pick to a guy who might not be picked until late in the first round makes no sense to me. When Bridgewater was playing in real games, he was the best quarterback available. But after a few months of interviews and throwing against air and seeing how high he can jump, he has dropped significantly. I think this is one of the biggest problems with the draft process.
Here are a few examples of the differences between McShay's first mock draft and his last:
*He has Auburn tackle Greg Robinson going 2nd to St. Louis. In his first mock, Robinson wasn't a first-round pick
*McShay has Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald going 7th to Tampa Bay. A few months ago, Donald wasn't a first-round pick.
*UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr is picked to go 25th to San Diego. In December, McShay had him 7th to Tampa Bay.
*He has Johnny Manziel going to the Cowboys at 16 (uh oh), dropping 12 spots from where he originally had Manziel.
*There are 12 players McShay has going in the 1st round who were not rated as 1st-round picks in his first mock draft.
Look, I'm not telling you not to eat potato chips. I like potato chips. But just know when you're satisfying your NFL appetite with all this pre-draft coverage, you really aren't learning anything.
The good news is, by Sunday, we still won't know much. It will take a couple years to see how good all these draft picks really are.