An Open Letter to Todd McShay

Dear Mr. McShay,

I want to like you. I really do. You’ve got great stage presence, and you’re one of the many young people ESPN is pushing on-camera to replace the old guard. I, as a fellow young person, should obviously lap up every bit of your pabulum.

But you can’t stop making mistakes.

I will say that I’m a sucker for the draftnik’s catnip like your 2009 mock first round, which was the lead article on ESPN.com late Tuesday. (See, you’ve already got me!) And I can understand that I shouldn’t take it as much more than a stupid, impossibly forward-thinking projection.

I thought, before reading it, “I won’t hold any of those picks against you if they end up being terribly wrong; you frequently are that incorrect without the difficulty of looking a full year into the future.”

I mean, I didn’t want to believe anything those other sites’ epic takedowns said.

You’re Todd McShay. You rock.

But, generally, it’s possible for one person to keep a consistent story from one day to the next, so long as that story doesn’t involve sniper fire in Bosnia.

Not so for you, Todd.

You posted that 2009 mock draft on Tuesday; I read it around 5 PM Eastern.

But I remembered that on Monday, on the 6 PM Eastern “SportsCenter,” you were having one of your usual tete-a-tetes with Mel Kiper, Jr., this one moderated by “SC” anchor Mike Greenberg, who asked you both about the number one pick in 2009.

So I watched it again.

Kiper picked James Laurinaitis, from Ohio State, and you tabbed USC’s Rey Maualuga; you both know far more about football than I do, so I accepted this when I first saw it.

Yet, on Tuesday, your 2009 mock first round had Maualuga going ninth, stunningly low, I thought, for a player you referred to so glowingly less than twenty-four hours before.

Certainly, you didn’t put any other linebackers above Maualuga, so it’s possible you don’t think any of the teams above the St. Louis Rams, in the nine spot, will need linebackers in 2009. (Hey, kudos on predicting the ordinal finishes of the 2009 NFL season, by the by, and way to go out on a limb with the New England over Dallas Super Bowl pick!)

But, I wonder, Todd: Have you looked at the Oakland Raiders’ defensive depth chart recently? That’s a nondescript trio if I’ve ever seen one. And Atlanta, the team you give the number one pick, could certainly consider adding a linebacker to a corps that includes an aging Keith Brooking and the rather underwhelming Stephen Nicholas.

If you meant to say only that Maualuga was atop your “big board” in your “SportsCenter” appearance, I might give you a pass on this, but Greenberg asked Kiper (and, by extension, you) to tell him “who goes first” in 2009, not who the best player will be. (Your answer, I think, should have been Fili Moala, a defensive tackle from USC. But you’re the expert.)

To your credit, you do write under Maualuga’s name that he’s your “top senior prospect” at this “insanely early point in the process, although he wouldn’t be the first senior off the board.”

But if you can admit that there, why couldn’t you answer the “who goes first” question?

If you act like you can predict the order of finish for the teams for the 2008 NFL season and know the needs and wants of the drafting teams, you should be able to know what the top team will be and what it will be looking for when you go on television, not later, in print, and well equipped to handle that question.

Frankly, given your apparent powers of prediction, I’m just a little relieved you didn’t take the opportunity on Monday to predict the first death in the calendar year 2009 on “Lost,” because that would have been a tad too much Disney synergy for me. (And you would probably be wrong, too.)

I was heartbroken, Todd, and I was only a minute into watching the segment for the second time. I thought you knew better.

Then, looking back, I found another nincompoop’s nugget; it was as if, for good measure, you decided to contradict yourself once more.

“But arm strength’s the least important of all physical characteristics,” you said on Monday, after Kiper called Joe Flacco of Delaware, known best for his cannon arm, the second-best quarterback in the 2008 Draft.

Then you wrote that “supremely talented” Matt Stafford would go third to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009. I assume you’re referring to the player the rest of the Western Hemisphere calls Matthew Stafford, the Georgia Bulldog known best for his howitzer arm and partying hard.

I’m not sure what “physical characteristics” you’re referring to with Stafford, Todd; his arm’s pretty much his calling card for now. 

He’s best when rifling the ball downfield, and reminds me, a Florida fan who got to see his superb deep throws off play-action against UF this past year, greatly of Brett Favre or Jeff George in that respect.

But I also remember a terrible read and a blown audible that led to an easy Wondy Pierre-Louis pick-six and almost let the Gators back into the game.

For a team to risk a top-three choice and the money it entails on Stafford, I think he would need to show a bit more polish as a passer and work on his short- and mid-range throws.

You, Todd, seem to have no problem with his arm strength, his only demonstrably superb talent, “the least important of all physical characteristics,” propelling him to rarefied air in your mock draft.

Well, I do. And I have a problem with people who can’t answer very simple questions correctly.

So, Todd, what I guess I’m saying is this:

It’s not you, it’s…no, wait, it’s definitely you. You’re an idiot.

Sincerely,

Rockabye

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1 Comment

Filed under Columns

One response to “An Open Letter to Todd McShay

  1. Haha, I love the ending. I thought there might be some type of attempt at reconciliation, but you gave it to him in the end. And you were right–it’s frustrating when a guy says one thing in print and another thing on TV. Be consistent!

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