Mel Kiper used to be the only draft wonk in the world. Now everyone with an internet connection and a WordPress account thinks they’re a draft expert, and they’re all firing off mock drafts with machine gun rapidity, all trying to become the new Kiper (or at the very least the new Shawn Zobel).
To put it plainly, there is a glut of mock drafts out there, most of which aren’t worth the paper nobody bothers to print them on. This is all just harmless, vaguely annoying noise unless you’re a person who happens to make a legitimate living evaluating college players and putting together mock drafts.
What is a legit draft geek like Kiper to do when the world is filled with so many clueless pretenders? Well, it’s simple. You sit back, wait for everyone else and their dog to release their stupid mocks, then release a mock that turns all the other mocks on their ears. And watch as everyone forgets about all the other mocks.
That is exactly what Kiper has done with his first mock of the season. Most everyone else is assuming Teddy Bridgewater will be the #1 pick overall, or at least the first quarterback picked. So what does Kiper do?
He drops Teddy Bridgewater to #8 and puts Johnny Manziel at the top of his draft instead.
This has the immediate effect of generating buzz for Kiper’s mock draft. It also creates lots of talker possibilities on all of ESPN’s other properties. This is known in the business as synergy.
Also, no offense to Teddy Bridgewater, but Manziel is way more interesting as a conversational topic. So it makes sense to stick him at #1 and let the arguing commence.
If you’re a Viking fan, this Bridgewater-to-8 scenario has the added effect of giving you something new to tweet about. Could the Vikings really get Teddy Bridgewater without trading up? In a word: no.
But it never hurts to stir up conversation in a fairly major media market with a depressed fanbase that is looking for stuff to talk about. You think Kiper and the ESPN people don’t know what’s up? They’ve done their research. .
Minnesota wants to talk about quarterbacks. Let’s mock them a quarterback.
Mel Kiper knows how to play this game people. He INVENTED this game. Now we wait for Todd McShay’s next mock which will in some way be an answer to Kiper’s mock.
And we watch all the other draft “experts” debate whether Bridgewater’s stock is falling. Even though nothing has happened to change anything since the last time we saw Bridgewater and/or Manziel. Draft stock is about as real as Packer stock.