I haven’t really been paying close attention to the NFL as of late. The NBA playoffs are way more interesting to me, and I typically burn out on NFL draft Silly SZN™ coverage around mid-March.
But today, after the Aaron Rodgers news broke, I started to kind of catch up on things in the NFL world and holy shit, what is happening right now?
Let’s just go through this one by one:
- The last time I checked, CJ Stroud was the consensus to go #1 overall. Now, Bryce Young is -2000 to go #1 overall, and CJ Stroud might not even go #2 overall. CJ Stroud’s draft stock has fallen off a cliff–there’s a report that he has poor cognitive abilities (which might be false), there’s a report that he blew off the Manning Passing Academy and totally offended “football royalty” (which also might be false). Now people are talking about how he’s supposedly bad under pressure when this information was all known months ago (because he hasn’t played a game since New Year’s Eve–and in that game he showed tremendous ability to operate under pressure on the biggest stage against the best team in the country!) Something really fishy is going on here; this feels a lot like Justin Fields’ draft stock falling off a cliff back in 2021–and what do Fields and Stroud have in common? Both from Ohio State. I am not saying there’s some big conspiracy against Ohio State, I’m just saying it’s awfully strange. It feels coordinated.
- Apparently now, WILL ANDERSON isn’t even considered the best edge rusher in the draft? Admittedly, this is just coming from Chris Simms in his latest mock draft, where he has the Texans taking Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson at #2. But like, dude, what the hell? It’s not like this is coming from nowhere. Simm is basing his mock draft off of what he thinks will happen, not what he thinks should happen. It’s now clearly a debate between Anderson and Wilson. I don’t know how that happened. Will Anderson has been the consensus top prospect in the 2023 draft for two years. Now, all of the sudden, with three days left before the draft, he’s falling out of favor? This is insanity. I thought Will Anderson was generational–the next Von Miller? Now he’s not?
- I understand why Jalen Carter is dropping down draft boards. That I fully understand–people have serious character concerns about him, and those who were raising the alarm a few months ago and getting bombarded with criticism–well, they they turned out to be right.
- Now Will Levis is favored to go #2 overall? Will Levis is now considered a better QB prospect than both Stroud and Richardson?
I think the media just has to change things, to be completely honest.
The NFL media has about two and a half months to fill between the end of the Super Bowl and the Draft, and if the draft order is finalized in late February, there’s nothing to talk about.
So the media has to constantly invent and manufacture all these twists and turns and “sudden developments” and all that crap. Just to have something new to talk about.
But then again, the media isn’t also basing this off of nothing. Unless it’s a situation where the tail wags the dog–where the NFL teams actually listen to the media and come to a draft consensus that way, as opposed to the media being investigative and piecing together the draft consensus through leaks and statements by the teams.
I don’t think the NFL media (the tail) wags the dog (the actual NFL teams) when it comes to draft boards. The media can hype up a guy all they want–if the teams don’t actually agree with the hype, then that hype is nothing but hot air.
I think a lot of this stuff coming out–Tyree Wilson ahead of Will Anderson!? CJ Stroud is a disaster!!–I think it’s coming from the teams, and the media is just repeating what the teams are telling them.
There are teams that want Will Anderson to drop, there are teams that want CJ Stroud to drop.
That’s how I see it.
There’s always an ulterior motive with any leak. There has to be, because leaking is serious business. Teams don’t take that lightly. You could lose your job if you spill the beans on your team’s draft plans.
I’m sure there’s going to be situations where some reporter meets up with an NFL source, they reconnect like old friends, the liquor starts flowing, and then all of the sudden the NFL source is telling the reporter a bunch of things that maybe he’s not supposed to say. I’m sure things get out that way.
But for the most part, I think most leaks are deliberate and calculated–teams trying to push narratives out there to influence other teams.
For example, if I’m the Colts drafting at #4, and I love CJ Stroud, you bet your ass I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure he falls down to me. My goal is to scare teams 1, 2 and 3 away from drafting him so that I can get him.
I’m sure the Seahawks at #5 would be thrilled if Will Anderson falls all the way down to them. They’re probably expecting a quarterback to go at #1, probably #2 to Houston, and then at #4 to Indy. But that still leaves Arizona up there without a need at quarterback, and they’re probably targeting Anderson. So what Seattle would do is try to manufacture hype for Tyree Wilson, and hope Arizona (Seattle’s division rival, by the way) buys into that hype and drafts Wilson, allowing Seattle to get Anderson.
That’s just my theory on what’s happening. It could be completely false.
But it is strange that so much of the draft consensus that had been built up over months–and even the past few years–has now been shattered to pieces over the course of a couple weeks.
There’s something else going on. There’s a chess match taking place behind the scenes and we’re only seeing bits and pieces of it.
2 thoughts on “The 2023 NFL Draft is Completely Drunk”
I love this
Great post! I found it very interesting how you discussed the potential for deliberate leaks from NFL teams in order to push narratives and influence other teams. Do you think this is a common tactic used in the NFL draft?
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Yes, absolutely I do.