Few doubt that Oregon tackle Penei Sewell will be the first tackle taken in the draft. Most believe he won’t make it past the Bengals at No. 5.
That, of course, won’t stop the anonymous scouts from trying to make it happen.
Yes, only a few days remain for the anonymous scouts to do their work. Nameless, faceless fonts of opinion that, in the context of the NFL draft, are skewed by ulterior motives. This doesn’t stop media members from trafficking in these anonymous opinions, even though it gives the audience no way of knowing whether they’re coming from an anonymous scout whose team would love to see one or two or more teams pass on the player, so that the anonymous scout’s team can draft him.
Tonight’s example is Sewell. Bob McGinn, who has given voice to the agendas of anonymous scouts for years, has a collection of quotes from unnamed scouts, one or more of whom possibly aren’t giving a full and fair assessment of Sewell, for strategic reasons.
“I put the tape on expecting to see Jonathan Ogden or Joe Thomas or Walter Jones or Orlando Pace, and I didn’t see it,” an unnamed scout told McGinn. “But he’s going high because there’s nobody else.”
“He’s a good player, not a great player,” another unnamed scout told McGinn. “The guy’s young. He didn’t play this year.”
Said another unnamed scout: “A bit overrated. He is a naturally thick, big-framed tackle. His workout was actually better than he played. I didn’t think he was super explosive. He covered people up with his size, and he would gouge somebody just because he was bigger than them. And name one pass rusher he actually played against in the Pac-12 who’s on a draft board?”
Then came the kicker, at the bottom of the item on Sewell.
“Every time I circle back and watch him, I just don’t see it,” another unnamed scout said. “He’s not that gifted with his feet. He doesn’t really play that physical or strong. He can get in the way, but he’s not a really good finisher, and his balance isn’t that great. His technique is off. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Anonymously-provided facts fuel journalism. Anonymously-provided opinions always carry risk. In the context of the NFL draft, where the persons providing the anonymous opinions have multiple layers of epidermis in the game, it’s impossible to regard what they say as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
That’s the truth when it comes to any and all anonymous opinions from scouts currently employed by NFL teams. All’s fair in love, war, and the lies told to engineer the board to a given team’s advantage. And if those scouts can find reporters who’ll publish those lies, well, mission accomplished.