Last night SportsCenter ran their highly publicized fantasy football draft special. The idea was to have some of ESPN's football analysts do a draft so that the viewing audience could garner some insight from the "experts". It sounds like a great idea, except what actually transpired was far from what was intended.
What happened last night, was perhaps the worst fantasy football draft of all time.
The panel consisted of Chris Mortenson, Jerry O'Connell, Steve Young, Mark Schlereth, Sean Salisbury, Nick Bakay, Cato June, and Michael A. Smith. Out of that group it was glaringly obvious that only Schlereth knew much of anything about fantasy football. Just take a gander at what all of their rosters ended up looking like.
The odd final rosters only tell half the story however, as the draft itself saw the participants break almost every single rule in fantasy football. They drafted QBs in the first round. They drafted kickers before the final round. They didn't go 1-2 with RBs. They valued WRs over RBs. To put it simply, any of these guys would have finished dead last in even the most average of fantasy leagues. To explain why, here is a detailed look at some of the more horriffic mistakes that were made during the draft:
- Sean Salisbury selects Laurence Maroney at #5. Pretty odd considering the fact that Maroney is projected by anyone with half of a brain to be somewhere in the 8-12 range, not anywhere near #5.
- Peyton Manning goes to his former teammate Cato June at #7 which isn't really that bad considering it is an 8 team league. What happened after that however, has caused me to lose any faith in Michael A. Smith's sports knowledge. Smith was picking at the turn and had picks #8 and #9. With at least 5 elite fantasy RBs still on the board, Smith took Carson Palmer and Marvin Harrison 8-9. I repeat, Michael A. Smith went QB-WR in the first two rounds, and the QB was not Peyton Manning. Michael A. Smith knows as much about fantasy football as your grandmother, and maybe less.
- Cato June follows Smith's moronic moves by taking Thomas Jones at #10. Jones is not a bad fantasy back, but the pick is horrendous considering the other RBs that were still available, including...
- Shaun Alexander, who is selected at #13 by Mark Schlereth. Again, I reiterate; Schlereth is the only one in this thing with any fantasy knowledge at all.
- To lead off the 3rd round the 17th and 18th picks are Marc Bulger and Antonio Gates. Now, those would be good picks in a 10 or 12 team draft...if they were leading off the 4th round, with picks in the 40's. I would wager that this might be the only fantasy football draft in the nation not conducted by 9 year olds that will have Bulger and Gates both go in the top 20.
- Just so they can say that they broke the rule, our group of dunces engages in a WR position run in the 3rd round with Torry Holt, Chad Johnson, Steve Smith, and Roy Williams going between picks 20 and 24.
- Our motley crew enjoyed having a position run in the 3rd round so much that they have another position run in the 4th round. This time it is the QBs, with Drew Brees, Jon Kitna, Tom Brady, and Donovan McNabb going in order from picks 27-30. Yes, that does in fact mean that Kitna was drafted at #28. Just awful.
- I am guessing that nobody informed these 8 guys that fantasy football success is almost entirely dependent on having good RBs. Evidently someone lied to them and told them that WRs were the key, as they engage in a SECOND WR position run in the 5th round, with T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Terrell Owens, Andre Johnson, and Marques Colston going in order from picks 34-39. Yes, that means that in the first 40 picks there were two WR position runs and a QB position run.
- Running backs? Who ever heard of drafting running backs? The awful aversion to the best position in fantasy football continues in round 6, as 7 of the 8 picks in the round are either WRs or TEs. The only sane person is Schlereth, who snatches up Clinton Portis all the way at #45.
- As for the crazy people, Michael (knows less than grandma) Smith picks up Vernon Davis with pick #41, followed by Jeremy Shockey going to Cato June with the very next pick.
- With the 45th pick Sean Salisbury takes Calvin Johnson, about 40-60 picks too soon.
- The position breakdown for the eight picks in round 7: 4 TEs, 2 D/ST, 2 WRs. That's right, no RBs taken between picks 49 and 56, and only one taken between picks 41-57. To understand just how bad this is, just take a gander at what happened in...
- So who are the RBs that are left? Julius Jones comes off the board at #58. Marshawn Lynch is picked at #62. Fred Taylor is selected at #64. It is criminal that those three lasted this long, but not nearly as bad as the fact that...
- Ronnie Brown lasts until pick #59. No, that is not a typo. That really is Ronnie Brown, at #59. The same Ronnie Brown that is being selected in the first round in some 10-12 team leagues, and the second round in every other league. The ONLY way I can explain this oversight is that the ESPN crew just forgot. It woudn't be the first time an ESPN crew forgot about a player during a draft show. Remember when Mel Kiper and company completely forgot Amobi Okoye during their mock draft show?
- The misses just keep on coming, as the Patriots and Chargers D/ST are selected before Ahman Green in round 9.
- Cato June selects Adam Vinatieri at #74. Evidently he thought that Michael A. Smith was getting too much of a lead in the "Dumbest Drafter" category and felt like he had to play catch up.
- Jamal Lewis and Jerrious Norwood finally come off the board at picks #77 and #79. Watching these "experts" do a fantasy draft is like watching a dating advice show hosted by Screech and Bill Nye the Science Guy.
- Round 11 sees yet another 8 picks go by without a RB being chosen, although Nick Bakay does see fit to draft Rex Grossman at #86. Yes, that sentence does mean that Rex Grossman was drafted in an 8 team fantasy league. It was the first and last time.
- DeAngelo Williams goes off the board at #96...finally.
- With all of the QBs, WRs, TEs, and D/ST that have already come off the board, you just know there is still a RB left. And...yep, there he is. Steve Young selects Carnell Williams at #99. Just to recap, a starting RB with little to no competition was drafted after 3 kickers, 5 defenses, and Rex Grossman. It is now official; ESPN's football analysts are NOT smarter than a 5th grader.
- Nick Bakay, the man who drafted Rex Grossman, follows up that stroke of brilliance by picking Eric Johnson with the 107th pick. If you were wondering, Johnson is a TE for the Saints.
- Finally, this thing is almost over. The dunces won't go down without a fight though, as they reveal their final ace when Cato June picks Chester Taylor with the second to last pick in the draft. This draft is just painful to look at.
Before you can appreciate those lowlight, you have to take a gander at some of the players that went completely undrafted during the course of this travesty;
To understand just how bad that is, think of it this way; if you joined their league now and made a team solely of the undrafted players, you could probably still win a few games. Also, notice the fact that Drew Bennet, Santonio Holmes, and Wes Welker were all drafted, while Chambers, Glenn, Jackson, and Muhhamad were not.
So what are the lessons to be learned from this awful display of fantasy football ignorance by ESPN? First off, you should not listen to a single bit of fantasy "advice" that comes out of the mouths of an ESPN analyst. Second, ESPN does not take fantasy football seriously enough to prepare their analysts to discuss the topic. I do not exaggerate in the slightest when I say that an average high school male would have destroyed ESPN's paid "experts" in this draft. Third, don't listen to anything that Michael A. Smith has to say about NFL football. You'd be better off asking your grandma about it.
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