Leigh Steinberg takes on Todd McShay over Paxton Lynch

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Agent Leigh Steinberg, back in the game in a big way with the representation of quarterback Paxton Lynch, is committed to fighting for his client. The fight for Steinberg’s client includes a one-way (for now) Twitter fight with ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.

“Hope public knows that Todd McShay, self-proclaimed draft guru never played, coached, scouted in college or NFL,” Steinberg said Thursday night on Twitter. While McShay was a backup quarterback at the University of Richmond and an undergraduate assistant coach there, he never worked as an NFL scout. Those facts don’t disqualify him, however, from being a draft expert.

“Everyone entitled to opinion, but Todd McShay’s vitriolic assessment of Paxton Lynch’s ability is absurd,” Steinberg added. “Doesn’t work for a team!”

In a conference call this week, McShay had this to say about Lynch, via Dom Cosentino of NJ.com: “[H]e has all the physical ability in the world; he’s just coming from an offense that is very simplistic. He’s got to learn how to get his team in and out of a huddle, and how to make line checks, and pre-snap audibles, and get them out of bad plays into good plays — he hasn’t had to do any of those things. . . . Teams have gotten him on the board, and he has not performed very well, and so there’s concern. So he’s a long-term developmental project, a lot like a Brock Osweiler. But I think he’s less polished than Osweiler when [Osweiler] was coming out of Arizona State.”

I’ve had my own issues with McShay, who two years ago wagged a finger at the media for luring underclassmen into the draft by pointing out the importance of putting in time toward a second contract without pointing out his own role in putting ideas into their heads by including them in mock drafts prepared before the underclassmen gave up their remaining eligibility. For the most part, I don’t pay much attention to him, in large part because I’ve never gotten the impression that any of the 32 teams do.

To be sure, I texted the following question before posting this item to a long-time NFL scout who currently holds a key position with an NFL team and who has an extensive network of contacts throughout the league: “Do NFL teams pay attention at all to Todd McShay?”

Response: “No. Mel [Kiper] has more respect from NFL. And that’s a stretch, too.”

McShay initially emerged at ESPN as the in-house protection against Kiper making (another) power play with his contract, and McShay has since become the Stephen A. Smith to Mel Kiper’s Skip Bayless. Ultimately, they act like they know what college players will do at the next level, but they don’t know. Because no one knows. But if the TV draft experts were too candid about the fact that they don’t know, no one would want to know what they know, you know?

It’s still nice to know that Steinberg has teeth and that he’s willing to use them in defense of his clients. While the entire process is a crapshoot, players need strong advocates. In this specific case, that’s what Steinberg was.

33 responses to “Leigh Steinberg takes on Todd McShay over Paxton Lynch

  1. McShay is worthless. A total and complete disgrace.
    I always wondered why he made so many negative and inaccurate comments about Michigan State in general and Connor Cook specifically and then I see that he’s a “celebrity guest” of Jim Harbaugh’s for Michigan’s national signing day.
    Unbelievable and totally unethical for someone who’s supposed to be objectively analyzing college football.

  2. The parts about his offense that he’s played in aren’t incorrect, it’s true of most college coaches now, they play in simplified spread systems, call an initial play at the line, then look to the sidelines for the coaching staff to change the play based on the D and then run that. There’s very easy reads for the QB, don’t read the coverage as a whole, but look at one player, throw to either A or B based on what the read defender does, if you don’t know or he does something different…run. And then there’s the fact that they haven’t taken many snaps from under centre, and don’t have that footwork down yet.

    I don’t see that as an attack, that’s very true of a large majority of college QBs these days. His comparisons to Osweiler isn’t an attack either, that’s just his opinion on a comparison.

    Steinberg had to stick up for his guy, nothing wrong with that, but really what he’s getting upset about isn’t that outlandish, nor an attack on his player.

  3. I don`t think most NFL fans have ever thought Kiper or McShay were “experts” in the eyes of real NFL scouts but saying that teams have had him at the board and he`s struggled is just reporting what he was told by teams not scouting so he`s qualified enough to do that.

  4. Steinberg on the other hand had a long glorious NFL career after a star spangled college career, and went on to scout and coach at both levels for many years before becoming a player agent.

  5. Of course teams don’t listen to what Todd and Mel have to say that’s why they draft so poorly, have to bring in baseball team to manage their rosters, constantly hiring and firing scouts, and take the advice of homeless people on the street.

  6. I don’t know who’s more ‘respected’ by the NFL, but personally I like McShay over Kiper.

    Kiper thinks he is the God of the NFL draft and throws temper tantrums on draft night when a team doesn’t draft a player he likes.

  7. I think Paxton Lynch is the best QB in this draft, so I agree with Steinberg. Lets check back in five years and see who was right.

  8. I think Connor Cook is the best QB in this class but what do I know? Of all the tape I watched he looks most impressive against elite competition save the bowl game. But then again I never played college or NFL only high school. But I have watched football closely for 20 plus years and I know that a lot of times these cant miss blue chippers according to these experts end up being busts (Claiborne, Curry, Jordan) and the late round afterthoughts become stars (Brady, Sherman, Wilson)

  9. My playing career ended in 2006, I became a scouting assistant for an NFC West team in 2008 and am now in the AFC. As someone who has spent most of my life in this game, I can assure you that Mel Kiper gets NO respect from respected executives. Todd McShay has actually been apart of the game, has much more conviction and is much more consisntent than Mel. No matter what anyone thinks, playing the game gives you a totally different perspective as a scout. Its a perspective that those who have NOT played will never ever understand

  10. Jaws has decades of experience in the NFL, and he’s the worst analyst of football talent in the history of sports.

    Very few people in this world have a clue about talent. None of these guys do. Look to people like Tex Schram for an educated eye, and feel for true talent.

  11. To be fair, do people that do work for NFL teams or have played in the NFL have a better track record of predicting success than guys like McShay? Probably not.

    Listening to McShay, Kiper, Mayock or any of them try to predict what a team will do in the draft is entirely fruitless…but that doesn’t mean they can’t evaluate talent. There probably isn’t a scout in the league making what McShay is making to do his job.

  12. There could be a couple of things going on here. Sternberg is probably right that no sane GM gets his information from McShay, and McShay could be right that Lynch is behind Goff and Wentz. Sternberg actually gives McSay’s comments too much credibility by responding to them The success quarterbacks will have at the NFL level depends on so many things you can’t tell from the college game. The game is so much faster and quarterback who get to a great level have to be able to process information quickly and be able to read defenses and anticipate.

  13. Mcshay is a worthless on TV. He was the one pre draft touting how great Blaine Gabbert was. If he was touting Blaine Gabbert and he blows, how bad must Lynch blow.

    I agree with McShay on Lynch however. Lynch has slow feet and an avg arm.

    The only QB i would draft in this entire class is Jared Goff. There arent franchise QBs in every draft. Goff is the only one in this draft and hes going #1. ESPN and NFL Network just need to overhype the QBs to draw eyes to the TV.

  14. Mike Mayock is the best by far.
    But, McShay is right about Paxton Lynch. Not going to be a star by any means, but may be a serviceable backup.

  15. McShay may be wrong, but it is generally an honest opinion. Steinberg will make money from Lynch. In other words, if he were Ryan Leaf, he would be talking about future Pro Bowls.
    With that said, I don’t put a lot of stock in what either one of them say.

  16. McShay has been around for enough years now, I would think someone has enough time on their hands to go back and evaluate McShay’s evaluations.

    How many times has he expected a player to be a stud and then he ended up a dud? How many times has he expected a player to be a dud, but he ended up a stud? Those kinds of things.

    I say that, because every GM/Coach in the NFL has bombed on draft day. And all of them have waaaaaay more experience and training than McShay. And that doesn’t even factor in pre-draft visits. McShay doesn’t get that information. He simply gets to watch tape. So if the true experts swing and miss, its pretty hard to hold “fake” experts to such lofty standards. If McShay’s evaluations have panned out to be fairly accurate, then Steinberg is just being a d-bag. If his evaluations haven’t panned out, that makes McShay no better than any of the “trained” experts that also swing and miss regularly. Point is, “training” is virtually irrelevant.

    I am willing to bet that you could take 200 random football fans off the street, those that never played above a high school level, and I am willing to bet that they would all be similar in accuracy as all of the so called experts. Give those 200 people 50 players to evaluate. Let them watch 5 minutes of tape for each player, and make a decision. They have to choose “stud” or “dud” for their grade. And I am willing to bet most of those people would be as accurate as the “experts”. It isn’t a science. Even knowing what to look for doesn’t mean you will be correct. Ever single scout in the NFL has been wrong. Every single GM in the NFL has been wrong. Every single coach in the NFL has been wrong, etc. With that said, I think Kiper and McShay suck and offer no value to the draft

  17. Kiper and McShay are an invention of ESPN (they have minimal knowledge) but they survive because fans seem to be interested in what these two guys have to say…Go back the last five years and see how accurate Kiper and McShay are…You would be surprised they are both horrible.

  18. I can’t stand watching either McShay or Kiper. Just annoying is their bickering schtick. I would rather watch Mike Mayock and his breakdown on NFL network. At least he has got college and pro level experience.

  19. Two things are certain. The idiots who post here criticizing everyone are trolls, pure and simple. And as far as I know, no one in the NFL takes Foolio seriously, particularly when it comes to his “legal” opinions. Drafting NFL talent is not science. If it were, Tom Brady and Antonio Brown would not have been sixth round picks while Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf were number ones. Let’s just say for argument sake, McShay knows at least as much about assessing the potential of future NFL players as the posting trolls and Foolio .

  20. To be very clear, McShay is an entertainer-analyst and occasional source for insider tidbits like the one on Lynch’s predraft visits. Nothing more.

    Steinberg’s attack is bizarre for 2 reasons… First, he’s right that McShay does not represent any team, and thus his critiques are irrelevant. Second, it doesn’t even matter whether he played or coached at a high level. Many successful coaches and execs barely played, including Steinberg himself.

    Clearly Steinberg is using McShay as a straw man to counter criticisms he’s heard from actual decision makers.

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