cleveland nfl draft

Does any event bring out meaningless cliches more than the NFL Draft?

The draft is an event in which teams select players most fans and media members have never heard of, based on a series of highly technical skills most of us are woefully under-qualified to analyze. And in the absence of actual knowledge, we revert to empty aphorisms and tired labels.

But one media member is boldly fighting back.

Cleveland 19 News anchor Tony Zarella wrote and voiced a segment Wednesday in which he mocked the NFL Draft’s cliches, one after another, for two and a half minutes. Zarella went after everything from the racial coding in sports commentary to the nonsense of terms like “value pick.”

It’s very funny.

Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Here’s how Zarella describes a team’s draft strategy:

There’s no “franchise QB” in this draft. There never is when the Browns pick, so at No. 12 they’ll want a “safe pick” — that’s just a guy we’ve heard of.

Mitch Trubisky has a “big arm,” which means he’s tall and can throw hard. It’s also meaningless.

You don’t want to “reach” — that’s taking a guy higher than everyone else had him in their mock draft. In the middle rounds, you go “best available,” or a guy who’s not as bad as whoever is still out there. In the later rounds, you want “value” picks. Those are also just guys that we’ve heard of.

Because honestly, isn’t every pick a “value pick,” in theory?

Zarella then rolls into a riff about how players are characterized, including the line, “A possession receiver is a slow white guy. A Wes Welker-type is a quick white guy who is also deceptively fast.”

And toward the end he really gets rolling:

A guy with “intangibles” has no apparent skills.

A “tweener” plays more than 1 position and isn’t good at any of them.

A “winner” was on good teams in college. It means nothing.

A “workout warrior” looks good in the uniform, but can’t play.

The lesson, which all analysts across all fields should heed, is to think about what you’re actually saying before you say it. If the term you’re about to use doesn’t actually mean anything, you might want to try a different one.

Otherwise you’ll end up mocked on local TV in Cleveland.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.