The NFL Draft is coming up next weekend and, though we’ve had a moment of levity, we’re pretty obsessed at the moment. The two main Gods in our heretical-NFL Pantheon are Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. And since The World-Wide Leader is parading these two around the various arms of the organization, we decided it’s time to figure out who the real draft expert is around Bristol, Connecticut and the rest of the universe. You can also go vote on The Big Lead, but we like to talk about “the issues” and tackle the big questions here at Rumors and Rants. So here it is, the battle to be known as THE draft expert of the Milky Way.
Mock Draft Quality
Kiper: I doubt Mel Kiper Jr. invented the mock draft, but he might as well have. He’s the original, the chairman of the board of mock drafts. Problem is, they’re pretty bare bones. He basically just writes a couple of paragraphs before the picks and then lists the first two rounds.
McShay: Mr. Johnny-Come-Lately may not have what Kiper has in terms of originality or experience, but he’s got a much more readable mock draft. He does the first two rounds and also lists the ten best remaining players after those two rounds. Plus he lists each team’s needs and several alternate scenarios for the pick.
Kiper: This isn’t even fair to Todd McShay. Kiper’s hair is legendary along the lines of The Godfather or Rick Astley. On a side note, Kiper was also an extra in Goodfellas.
Advantage: Kiper Jr.
Kiper: Mel Kiper Jr. is a proud alumnus of Calvert Hall College High School and Essex Community College in Maryland, his home state. He never played football at any level, though he could be unlocked as a tight end in NFL 2K5.
McShay: Todd McShay went to Swampscott High School in Swampscott, MA and was quarterback of the football team. He walked on to the football team at the University of Richmond but was switched to DB and didn’t play a whole lot.
Advantage: Kiper Jr. How can you not love a guy that never played a down of organized football and yet became the most respected name in football expertise?
Kiper: Again, Mel Kiper Jr. is one of the original talking heads on sports television and he’s well known for his strong stances on many players. His greatest moment came when he said the New York Jets “didn’t know what the draft is all about” in 1989 after they reached on a couple of high picks. Also, you haven’t heard anyone say “who the hell is Todd McShay, anyway?” like then-Colts GM Bill Tobin did in 1994 after Kiper criticized their selection of Trev Alberts, saying they should have taken Trent Dilfer or Heath Shuler. And, of course, there’s the “I’ll see you at (USC WR Mike Williams’) Hall of Fame induction” comment he made to Merrill Hoge before the 2005 Draft. Ouch.
McShay: Though he’s been evaluating college players since 1998, McShay is pretty new to this ESPN-Talking-Head game. I thought Kiper would trounce him in their daily debates so far, but he’s definitely held his own.
Advantage: Kiper Jr. McShay is doing okay, but just like the hair, you don’t tangle with Mel Kiper Jr. when it comes to being sure of yourself. It’s amazing he can still show his face on television after those issues. That takes stones, my friends.
Kiper: He’s been doing it longer than anyone else and was hired as ESPN’s draft expert at the tender age of 24 back in 1984. While he was still in college, he started Kiper Enterprises and was told by Ernie Accorsi that there was a market for draft expertise and he should exploit it. Twenty-seven years after first establishing his company, he’s still at it.
McShay: McShay has also been a draft expert and talent evaluator since he got out of college. He’s also the head of college scouting for Scouts Inc, a place I love to steal, er, borrow information from. Since his profile has been raised by ESPN, he has been on essentially every possible show on every possible medium for TWWL. He’s become even more ubiquitous than Kiper lately, which is leading to rumors of Kiper hanging it up after this draft. Okay, I made that up.
Advantage: McShay. He really has been everywhere along with all the “debates” he’s had with Kiper. The guy kinda tries too hard.
Draft Rating System
Kiper: Mel Kiper’s big thing in evaluating a player is value at the number of the pick. He doesn’t like it when teams “reach” for guys, instead favoring choosing the best player available based on the team’s needs. He’s not always right in his evaluation, though. He once said Ryan Leaf’s attitude would be an advantage for him in the NFL over Peyton Manning. Ouch.
McShay: He is the director of scouting for Scouts Inc and is a very well-respected talent evaluator, but I can honestly say I’m not sure what his system is. He takes different scenarios into account for each team (needs, potential trades, etc) and suggests alternate picks should the player he says will get taken is already gone. He just doesn’t have much of a history evaluating drafts at this level.
Advantage: McShay. He seems to understand the chaos that is the NFL Draft and takes into account more variables per pick than Kiper does. Or at least he explains it all better.
Who I’d Wager On In A Sicilian Battle Of Wits
Kiper: Brash, confident, clever. Mel Kiper Jr. would be a formidable opponent indeed. He might even be as smart as he seems to think he is too, though overconfidence may be his undoing. In which glass would he hide the poison? Only if you can see behind the smirk will you escape with your life.
McShay: Straight-forward, calm, intelligent. But is he intelligent enough? Could he have the foresight to build up a resistance to a specific poison and therefore poison both glasses of wine in the battle of wits? He did manage to become the other draft expert for ESPN, which used to be entirely Kiper’s territory, that takes skill.
Advantage: Kiper Jr. This whole “rivalry” between the two guys is just another example of ESPN promoting the “talking heads arguing” idiom they seem to prefer lately. McShay, while very good at his job, has only been promoted because TWWL doesn’t think outside their own box anymore. Mel Kiper Jr. is the original, and you have to respect a guy that essentially invented an entire genre of talking head. And frankly, if this were real, and I firmly believe it should be, Kiper is definitely more likely to kill a man than McShay.
And there you have it: Kiper by a 4-3 margin. Thank god we had seven categories. It was a lot closer than we thought it would be, but Mel Kiper Jr. always comes out on top. He’s the man, the myth, the helmet-hair. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.