McShay issues a 2015 mock draft, with underclassmen in it

On Sunday, ESPN’s in-house leverage against a Mel Kiper contractual dispute (also known as Todd McShay) wagged a finger at those responsible for underclassmen who left school early for the draft — but who weren’t drafted.

I noted the hypocrisy of McShay’s sanctimony, pointing out that he and other draft experts include underclassmen in projections and analyses occurring long before the underclassmen must decide whether to leave school early.  The publication of mock drafts nearly a year early plants a seed in the mind of the player who now regards himself as a first-round pick.  It also provides plenty of ammunition to agents, family members, and friends who are in position to influence the player to quit playing football for free.

Last year, three of the players listed in McShay’s top 32 prospects immediately after the 2013 draft ultimately left school early, but weren’t drafted.

While the opinions expressed by folks like McShay nearly a year before the next draft aren’t the sole reason for players to leave school early when perhaps they shouldn’t, it’s undoubtedly a potential factor in the dynamic that begins to unfold the instant an underclassmen sees that one of the ESPN draft experts has pegged him as a potential first-round pick.  The only way to make it not a factor is to stop doing it.

But McShay has done it again, issuing a mock draft less than a week after the most recent draft.  McShay’s mock draft apparently includes underclassmen, given the presence of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in the photo accompanying the link to the ESPN Insider content (sorry, ESPN, but we’re not paying for the privilege of reading McShay’s mock draft, or anything else you’re not posting for free).   The addition of a disclaimer by McShay that it’s “way too early” is, as a practical matter, the act of declaring “I hope this toothpaste stays in the tube” while removing the cap and squeezing hard.

Even if the kids on the list are able to ignore the presence of their names among McShay’s projections, others they know will notice.  And they’ll inevitably say something.  And it will be impossible for those kids to not embark on the 2014 season thinking that their status as potential first-round picks means that they’d definitely be selected in a seven-round draft.  At a time when more and more people are resisting the idea of playing college football for free, who could blame them for leaving early?

If McShay is truly concerned about underclassmen leaving school early and not being drafted, he can easily address the situation.  He can refuse to include underclassmen in any mock drafts before the they are certified to enter the draft early.

Yes, some in the audience want to see the underclassmen included in the projections.  But if McShay is going to climb onto a soapbox after multiple underclassmen give up one or more years of eligibility and aren’t drafted, he needs to admit that he has a role in that process — and he needs to insist to his editors and producers that any and all projections that potentially could influence underclassmen should end.

55 responses to “McShay issues a 2015 mock draft, with underclassmen in it

  1. If people really think mock drafts can influence a player coming out then perhaps footballs games should not be played again because, you know, everyone comes out with predictions of what is going to happen.

    Is it the mock drafters that make players play horribly during the following football season that they can’t get the teams to actually draft them or is it squarely on the players’ shoulders?

    I think mock drafters get used as a punching bag too much. I blame agents and money-grubbing relatives that want to see a player turn pro. All they see are dollar signs.

  2. Thank you Florio! I complained about this once before but my post was deleted. However, now I see that you won’t post links to articles where it costs the reader money to read it. And at least you’re noting beforehand that it’s a cost issue with the link. So, again, thank you for that. I refuse to pay ESPN, or anywhere else for that matter, for information that should be posted free of charge.

  3. His top 5 and 8 of top ten picks are underclassmen. But his first line in the article says this should hold no weight for underclassmen coming out early and that’s why they have the draft advisor board

  4. Mike, I am totally with you on this. Folks that cover the draft especially as it relates to underclassmen bare the lion’s share of the blame. These kids aren’t old enough to buy a beer and they have ESPN telling them they are the next big thing. Your young and overconfident on your abilities already that one mock draft you saw back in the summer that had you in it is more than enough to convince you to jump ship, forgo the diploma and declare.

    Problem being most NFL players DON’T make it in the sense of being set for life or even make a team in a lot of cases. The diploma they opted out on would have been the key to success in life, a diploma they were likely being given for free on scholarship.

    At the end of the day everyone has no one but themselves to blame because we all make our own decisions. That said these fools that make mocks 2 days after the draft do share in the blame.

    The idea that you can even mock something that far out before teams know their needs and a whole NCAA season is still to be played is completely moronic.

    Further more I think the vast majority of these so called draftnicks fake the majority of what they say. Sure they get themselves some publicity but their drafts are completely wrong and they do nothing but harm. They either make a kid too overconfident or worse get one to start thinking less about the degree and more about what Mel Kipper had to say.

  5. Media types always love beating up on mock drafts and draft analysis because they don’t understand it. They feel compelled to report about something they don’t understand and that angers them. Therefore, what media people don’t understand must be destroyed. So they trash almost everything draft related. It’s a half-week later and they’re still trashing everything about the draft.

    Here’s an idea, stop reporting on it. Go talk about the other 3 sports. We’ll be fine if you leave.

  6. Mock drafts shouldn’t be done by anyone until the combine takes place. Way too many things change until that point to make them accurate enough to the real thing.

  7. any mock draft in May (for the following year’s draft), whether underclassmen are included or not is a COMPLETE waste of time and space….

  8. Half of the players actually drafted in the first round a week ago were underclassmen. Six of the top 10. The record for most underclassmen in a draft was broken for the fourth year in a row.

    There might be a problem here, but it isn’t people posting meaningless mock drafts a year ahead of time. The CBA has made a player’s second deal the most lucrative, so it’s a race to get there as soon as possible. But let’s not look at what the league itself is doing, let’s look at media members from other outlets.

    I will be shocked if this comment gets posted.

  9. Mcshay is obviously joking around because he has the giants picking 23rd and drafting a LB in the first round no less…hanging out with kiper all weekend has made him a little delirious

  10. Mcshay is probably not to blame here considering he was probably given that as an assignment by his editor. He works for espn, he’s not exactly doing freelance work…

  11. “But don’t come out early kids” … says Deputy Draft Dog McShay.

  12. Quit watching and listening to the jockless tool bags at ESPiN long ago. I’m sure they’ll thank you for the free plug and pub., but I recommend my path for greater harmony in your life. College football, NFL Monday Night, and World Series of Poker only. Blame the agents, players, and families looking for easy street. Quit blaming outside forces…

  13. I’m with McShay on this one. It is not the media’s job to advise players on their decisions whether to come out early or not. They’re job is to report factual news and provide opinions. The opinions they provide are basically to draw television viewers and provide website entertainment content to attract page hits and indirectly advertising revenue. Whether or not some player incorrectly uses their opinions in their decision-making process regarding declaring for the draft or not should be irrelevant to them. Everyone knows that draftnik ratings a year before the draft are worthless. If the players and the people advising them are not aware of this, then they are to blame.

  14. If a player is dumb enough to base his decision to leave school early and enter the draft based on a mock draft then he’s got bigger problems…

    leaving school early is a crap shoot like the draft, most of the players don’t make it anyway, some get screwed if they stay in school and play, if they don’t make it they can go back to school, if that’s what they really want, most of us have to give up sports earlier than we want to

    these players heads and egos get inflated throughout highschool and college by friends, coaches, other players, media, a mock draft isn’t the problem…its them being built up too much to begin with

    If the reality is that every year theres more underclassmen in the draft, then projecting a draft with underclassmen isn’t a big deal and if you think players shouldn’t go early you should be able to say so, its his job to project players individually so those that read can argue, debate and call him stupid

    the player that makes the decision is responsible and is to blame, whether he gets bad advice, catches a bad break, or just plain thinks he’s better than he really is…reality checks in on all of us at times

  15. This is McShay’s job. He is paid to make these mock drafts to boost sales and ratings. If anyone, including college players, actually take them seriously, they get what they deserve. If I am a player, I am not relying on him to determine my future. Players who do this are grasping at straws and not making educated decisions.


    the McShays of the world do these mock drafts because us fans want to see them.

    if you want to blame anyone. blame the fans.

    p.s. see how ridiculous that statement is?

  17. Don’t blame you Florio if you don’t pay for ESPN Insider articles…I did once and it’s not worth the money! Right on about McShay as well.

  18. Enough. Enough of these clowns McShay & Kiper.

    Was I the only one that was cracking when Gruden was disregarding or not even paying attention when Kiper was talking during the 1st rd ESPN coverage?

  19. I think this is an incredibly weak argument. We’re still months away from an entire football season that’ll be played before any of these players declare for the draft. If McShay’s mock that he produced today even accounts for 0.000001% of their decision to go pro in early 2015 I’d be amazed.

    McShay is in the prediction/speculation business, not the advice business. The only way he can exclude underclassmen from his mock is if his expectation is that no underclassmen will go pro next year. Then, when a whole bunch of underclassmen did go pro, you’d be calling him an idiot for not predicting that.

  20. Antonio Richardson was on his mock??

    I’m just asking because why PAY for the INsider?

    It’s likely PFT and a mock draft overpriced,

  21. If NFL teams are leading these guys to believe they will be drafted early a year out then that’s a problem. If these guys believe McShay and Kiper then I hope my team doesn’t draft them. Everyone knows their ceiling but there are those to stupid to realize it.

  22. McShay’s top 5, 11 of first 13, and 23 of 32 first round picks are underclassmen.

  23. If you’re not related to Kiper or McShay and you base a huge life decision on what they say, you’re probably not smart enough for college.

  24. I believe McShay’s point was talking about agents who benefit from getting guys to come out for the draft. McShay doesn’t benefit from it so I have no problem with it.

  25. I have a difficult time believing that underclassmen base their early declarations on what a couple of media guys think…especially considering the track records of ALL mock drafts. I’d like to see a list of the early declarations who had off field/character issues. McShay & his ilk are basing their rankings on football ability…not factoring in DUIs, drug possession, battery, sexual assault, burglary, cheating in school, etc. I’d also like to see what the grades from the NFL were for those that declared early but didn’t get drafted. I remember when people (even young men) took responsibility for their decisions.

  26. So true. McShay was trying to tell everyone how good Blaine Gabbert was 2 yrs ago. Anyone with 2 eyes could tell Gabbert blew. Just like this years overhyped QBs are Bortles, Bridgewater, and Johnny Football. Hopefully im wrong on Johnny, but i wont be.

    Meanwhile, McCarron, Mettenberger and Murray will all have better careers than the 3 above. Just shows how dumb scouts and these organizations truly are.

  27. you cant blame McShay or any of those draft experts .theres ex GMs that give mock drafts and they should know more than the Mel Kipers of the world but everyone knows there wrong every year not 1 person can predict all 7 rounds of any draft so to me the kids family needs to sit down with there own family and make there choice .. I am pretty sure there not going to let the mock draft make the choice for there childrens life…were talking about the kids life and its pretty stupid if you put that in the hands of people who have no say so in how teams draft..

  28. Here is my 2036 mock draft:

    With the first pick, the Tennessee Titans take a guy not born yet
    With the second pick, the London Jaguars take a guy not born yet
    With the third pick, the Toronto Bills take a guy not born yet
    With the fourth pick, the New York Jets take Mark Sanchez Jr
    With the fifth pick, the Baltimore Ravens take a guy not born yet
    With the sixth pick, the Oakland Raiders take a really fast guy not born yet

  29. These players that leave early and don’t get drafted need to take responsibility for it, not some draft guy. These are all college educated guys we are talking about.

  30. Antonio Richardson has a foot injury that will likely keep him out for his rookie year. He also is living off the fame of his great game against Clowney two seasons ago. He didn’t play as well this year, but I suppose that is McShay’s fault as well.

  31. There are NBA draft sites with projections for 2015 and 2016 so McShay’s not doing anything other analysts in football or other sports don’t do.
    Bottom line, if an underclassman wants to declare, its the responsibility of the coaches, educators, parents and maybe even the athletes themselves to have as clear an understanding of where they’ll go as possible.
    Blaming kids getting the wrong idea on a list McShay put together a year earlier (before their final CFB season even took place) seems like convenient way to pass blame, if you ask me.
    It’s not as if McShay sat down with them and gave them bad advise.

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