From a business and news cycle perspective, the NFL made a brilliant decision to bump the NFL Draft back two weeks. We now have to wait until May 8th, which leaves a gaping void in April which is predictably turning into a cesspool of hot takes and non-stories.
The overanalysis of draft prospects is to be expected. It has only been magnified in 2014. Today, we heard Teddy Bridgewater compared to Willie Beaman, and discussion of Johnny Manziel’s decision to attend the Masters. We will continue to be bombed with faux news stories, like an anonymous voice calling Jadeveon Clowney “spoiled” and predicting he won’t work hard.
A headline grabbing article sourced by a nameless executive, an “out there” mock draft, or a ESPN/NFL Network talking head making a BOLD statement will fill your news feed in the coming weeks. Who is going to say Johnny Football shouldn’t go until round two next week? Who will be predict Sammy Watkins falls out of the top ten? Nevermind the endless smokescreens being leaked out by teams as they attempt to posture. I got news for you, Detroit isn’t trading up for Watkins, the Raiders aren’t using their 5th overall pick on Derek Carr and the overwhelming majority of rumors you will hear up until May 8th will be far from the truth.
The lack of real news at this time of the year, means news need to be created. It is a simple process, have a BIG NAME analyst make a surprising statement about a BIG NAME prospect. This immediately becomes “news” and is ripped through the entire media cycle. You can also throw out some “internal debate” stories about individual NFL teams and question who REALLY holds the decision making power.
You know what is coming? We are overdue for Nolan Nawrocki comparing Teddy Bridgewater to Michael Bishop. There is a New York Daily News headline coming saying Rex Ryan wants one prospect, while John Idzik wants a different one with a quote about somebody feeling marginalized.
I don’t fancy myself a NFL Draft expert but I find it hard to believe that a player’s stock should substantially plummet or rise because of a Pro Day workout or a botched drill at the NFL Combine. The tape from his collegiate games should always be king, while individual time spent with the prospect should further distinguish his personality and potential culture fit with the team’s leadership.
When it comes to the New York Jets in 2014, it is hard not to be excited. The Jets selected 12 players in 1998 and since then have selected less than 10 players in every year except 2006. This is a critical opportunity for them to further build the core of their team. At this point, wide receiver, tight end, safety, corner and linebacker have all been mocked to the Jets. People in our comment section and in many other forums still discuss the Jets potentially considering a quarterback at 18. The pick is wide open. There are assumptions about what John Idzik will do and how he will act but ultimately he has been through one career NFL Draft calling the shots. He has four more picks at his disposal than he did last year and a different cap situation. The pick is wide open and their entire strategy throughout the weekend is wide open.
Personally? I’d be satisfied with names like Evans, Ebron, Beckham Jr, Dennard, Gilbert, Clinton-Dix, Pryor, Cooks and a few others. I’ll attempt to further elaborate as we get closer to May 8th but the point is that it will be hard for the Jets to go wrong at 18. More importantly, finding value with their 2nd, 3rd and three 4th round picks could go a long way to making or breaking Idzik’s 2014 offseason when viewed a few years from now in retrospect.
Approach the hot takes with the caution, and ride out these next 3+ weeks. We are almost home.