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.