Last week I read a story by Jeff Pearlman in the Wall Street Journal that basically said we, as fans, are more riveted by talking about sports than actually watching sports.
After thinking about it for a while, I agree. The NFL draft is the perfect example of that. We have all these sub-stories like the NFL Combine, player workouts and pro days that lead up to the NFL draft -- and these guys won't play a game for another four months, and probably won't make an impact for another 20 months (or longer...or never).
Throughout the NFL draft process, we'll have guys rising and falling. Todd McShay will predict a year early that Jevan Snead will be the top pick, and the next year he won't get drafted. Vince Young will perform poorly on a Wonderlic test and he'll be dropped on the draft boards, and still go third overall. Chris Johnson will fly up the draft board after dominating the 40-yard dash at the Combine.
All sorts of players rise, fall, and stay the same on our draft boards. On Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli's board, there's not much rising. Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston pulled out a four year old clip of Pioli, then the New England Patriots VP of Player Personnel, talking to the radio station 790 The Score in Providence.
Here's what Pioli said then about risers:
"For the most part," Pioli said in April of 2007, "players that in the past that have risen on our board, during the months of January, February, and early March, is when there is a great discrepancy between the evaluation process of the area scouts, regional scouts, and where they have a player rated, and where we [the decision makers in the draft] have a player rated. Very rarely is there a fast riser."
Pioli explains that, of the two, what's more likely to happen is that a player would fall after something like an arrest, or "additional information that is negative and has either been hidden in the past or somehow comes out".
Of course, fans aren't completely draft experts because we don't have the resources, like Pioli does, to put a draft board together by February. So our boards will see some fast risers.
Pioli's...not so much.