Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

April 24, 2014

What will happen in NFL draft? No one really knows

(Continued)

This year’s pre-draft assessment has been as fluid as butter on a hot ear of corn. Ratings – and rantings – shifted over whether Bridgewater, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel or Central Florida's Blake Bortles had the most potential as a pro quarterback. Listening to all the talk and speculation served only to make one dizzy. That was followed by an equally spirited debate over whether South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney's defensive ability was more hype than performance.

Many of the draft gurus do have a flair for assessing talent and determining a team's needs, but there is certain information that the general public isn’t privy too.

Jack Bechta, who writes for the National Football Post, correctly pointed out that a potential draftee’s medical condition is never discussed. For a team to pass along information from a medical file or report on the outcome of a physical would be an open invitation for a lawsuit – a slam-dunk case if proven.

Discussion about a player's character or work ethic, often determined from studying practice films or interviews with college coaches, becomes classified information. Same with intelligence matters.

The so-called draft experts then must deal with information passed along by coaches, always speaking anonymously, who occasionally spread false and misleading information about a player to confuse teams also considering the prospect. It's one thing for a reporter to accurately pass along tidbits supplied by a coach or scout; it’s something else to know for sure whether that "news" also is the truth.

Except for the No. 1 selection,  there's no reason to think a team would ever knowingly tip its hand about who it will select.

This much is known about the 2014 draft. Not one running back was listed among the 30 players invited to New York. Alabama's Eddie Lacy came last year but didn’t get drafted until late in the second round. Alabama and Texas A&M will be represented by three players each. The Southeastern Conference has 11 invitees, more than twice as many as the Atlantic Coach Conference or the Big Ten.

If it turns out some skeptics were right and Bridgewater hangs around until all the hors d'oeuvres have been eaten and his name still hasn't been called, at least he spent time in good company.

In the end, though, the draft matters -- mock lists don't.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

Text Only
Sports column
Local Sports
Columns
Facebook
NDN Video
Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child World Cup Hero Mario Gotze -- HALF-NAKED MUD BATH ... With Hot Model GF RG3 answers critics, grateful for coaches' support Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Denver Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen Resigns Control Sterling says he's not trying to block Clippers sale Jack White's Cub Face Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Eli, Giants learning new offense How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China Selig: MLB 'more popular today than ever' Boy With Life-Threatening Tumor Gets Wish To Visit PNC Park, Meet Cutch Longhorns Coach Disses Texas With Compliment - @TheBuzzeronFOX James Rodriguez Joins Real Madrid Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX