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Mike Florio and Todd McShay Are Squabbling Tonight

florioThe NFL Draft came and went this weekend, and the biggest collateral damage of the annual event is always the underclassmen who declare, go un-drafted, and are unable to return to college to finish their eligibility. ESPN analyst Todd McShay lamented the situation, which is getting worse and worse every year, this morning on Twitter:

Mike Florio took issue with the comments, intimating that McShay and others in the NFL Draft cottage industry shared in the responsibility for deluding prospects that they were worthy of being top picks only to then go entirely un-drafted. He wrote:

Last year, McShay put Tennessee offensive lineman Antonio Richardson at No. 16 on the top 32 players for the 2014 draft. Inevitably, Richardson gave up his final year of eligibility at Tennessee to enter the draft.  And Richardson wasn’t drafted. Ditto for Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy. Ranked at No. 19 last year by McShay, Purifoy left school early for the draft. And Purifoy wasn’t drafted. Then there’s LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson. He was No. 22 on McShay’s top-32 list last May. Johnson left school early to enter the draft. And Johnson wasn’t drafted.

A little more back-and-forth ensued on Twitter. Ryen Russillo got involved a little bit, too.

Obviously, the situation in which these players now find themselves is not entirely, or even mostly, on McShay or other mock draft experts themselves. Draft-eligible prospects may seek counsel from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee, which our site’s Jason Lisk covered in-depth this past January. Here, all 32 teams participate in player evaluations in conjunction with two scouting services (BLESTO and National) to give grades based upon which round they think the players will be selected. As these grades are anonymous, we don’t know what the three players that Florio mentioned were told.

A lot of players leave college early because they may be facing discipline or other personal issues. Purifoy, for example, was caught with marijuana and bath salts at Florida this past March (though ended up having his arrest warrant for that incident canceled), and was also arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession last year.

Finally, a whole lot can change over the course of a year.

The reality, though, is that the cumulative effect of mock drafts (disclosure: this site will be running a very preliminary one for 2015 tomorrow) probably does have a pronounced effect on prospects who leave before they are ready. Because McShay’s are published and broadcasted on ESPN, more players are apt to see his versus the bevy of others that are out there. Therefore, while it’s almost certainly not his intention, he probably does have a lot of influence on the attitudes of players and their families.

As we learn time and again, mock drafts are much more valuable for entertainment purposes than as a source of substantive prognostication. There is a fine line that exists in which they can feed into delusions of players with remaining eligibility, but that is something that, in an ideal world, the College Advisory Committee serves to educate them about.

 

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