Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is a pot stirrer. Anyone who is willing to do something as ridiculous as getting in a Twitter fight with a mascot is just someone who likes to start stuff. (He’s a lawyer, so what else would you expect?)
In particular, Florio has a budding rivalry with pretty much the entire NFL reporting industry because of this unfiltered, abrasive style. At the conclusion of the 2014 NFL Draft, he put ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay in the firing line.
It all started when McShay tweeted this about declaring underclassmen going undrafted:
Seems reasonable, right? Florio then countered by writing a hit piece targeting McShay, and the draft prognostication industry as a whole. He provided examples of underclassmen McShay ranked highly that eventually went undrafted and wrote this blistering bit of prose:
The fact that these guys left school early without being drafted isn’t entirely the fault of McShay. But it’s hypocritical, to say the very least, for McShay to chastise those who persuaded players to leave school early in order to put in years of service toward a second NFL contract when McShay is a sizable cog in the machine that ultimately supports the argument that these players should quit playing football for free.
Maybe McShay and the rest of the self-styled draft experts should quit ranking players who’ll have remaining eligibility beyond the coming football season. Maybe the self-styled draft experts should ignore underclassmen entirely, until the underclassmen have decided that the time has come to stop playing college football without the influence of draft experts who think they know a lot more than they do.
If McShay and the other so-called draft experts are going to act indignant when players leave school early and don’t get drafted, they need to get out of the business of scouting and ranking and discussing underclassmen. Some of them perhaps need to get out of the business of scouting and ranking and discussing all players, but that’s a rant for another day.
Florio accuses McShay of being a hypocrite, but I’m not sure that he should suggest going down the road of banishing the industry of analyzing the NFL Draft. After all, Florio publishes his own mock draft. PFT also has videos breaking down draft rankings. And then there’s article after article after article aggregating the draft thoughts of Mike Mayock, Gil Brandt, and yes, even Todd McShay as PFT content.
Florio continued to try to egg McShay on via Twitter, although to this point the ESPN analyst has chosen to stay above the fray:
In the end, this is a pretty silly attack from Florio aimed at Todd McShay. As if some random dude’s big board is a bigger deciding factor in declaring for the NFL early than say, getting paid for playing football versus paying for free. I’d say that would be a major factor in deciding to turn pro.
For that matter – why single out McShay and his rankings over a few tweets? Why single out the draft industry when there’s a whole recruiting industry out there that is much, much bigger and attempts to rank thousands and thousands of high school kids.
Guys like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have jobs at ESPN for the same reason why millions of viewers watch the draft – entertainment. The entire draft process feeds our insatiable thirst for NFL-related content. Why else would someone publish draft grades a day after the event before any of the players step foot onto an NFL practice field? Entertainment.
It’s not like the league’s 32 scouting departments are working down their own rankings and checking them with Kiper, Mayock, and McShay to make sure they line up appropriately. If any college athlete declares for the NFL Draft based on the words of a television analyst, they deserve everything (good or bad) that comes to them.