There are few content-crutches in the world of sportswriting as silly as mock drafts. Unless you’ve a) actually tortured a confession out of the Houston Texans general manager about whom the team will draft with their first selection, or b) developed the most useless psychic power imaginable, there’s no reason why any person should devote a second of his or her precious remaining time on Earth to reading your “projections.” Like trade rumors, mock drafts exist in the sportswriting space where any tidbit of information is treated as valuable and any prediction is worth reading because, hey, stuff has the potential to happen — according to, like, probability and such — and thus it’s better to error on the side of immersing yourself in a million baseless predictions with the hope you’re able to, in the end, triumphantly hold one up as proof-positive of your sports-fan superiority — Totally called that Cincinnati pick two months ago, bro! Does my greatness make you weep? — than it is to be appear ill-informed and/or indifferent with regards to the whole charade.
More importantly (and sadly), there’s a voracious public appetite for such information, mainly because fanatics are too narrow-minded with their interests to follow a new sport. People would rather feast on empty pieces of “information” — hearsay, cryptic tweets, hypotheticals, etc. — about an event that won’t occur for a few months, information reported by people with no actual insider knowledge, than they would go a month or two without reading about their preferred sport. Which is not to say that fans who follow multiple sports are somehow holier than fans dedicated to only one or two, but you probably don’t have a compendium of useless knowledge about various “big boards” right now if you’re interested in, say, hockey or track.
But maybe I’m just bitter because my 2013 mock draft was a debacle. I thought it would be wise to pore over all of the top prospects, weighing their respective pros and cons — regarding the latter, insert your own Manti Te’o joke here — along with each team’s respective positional needs in a series of matrices that ended up being entirely worthless, despite the sheer amount of data I’d collected, when I realized I didn’t know how to multiply matrices (or even what computational processes matrices are used for). Only thanks to the time and emotional distance am I able to discuss the tragedy without falling to shambles.
So, this year, I’m taking a different route. Pack up your pocket protectors and protractors and virginities and head back to math camp, suckers, because for 2014 I’m going with good ol’ gut instinct (which is German for “good instinct,” FYI). Prepare to be impressed by my prescience!