August 24th, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Making a Mockery
Ladies and Gentlemen, draft day is upon us. Which gets me thinking back to a memorable draft experience. I’d like to forget it, but the horror of it won’t let me be. An evening in early September. 2008. I sat with the ESPN Live Draft launched – the butterflies fluttering. The first round got under way just as the room began to dim with the setting sun. Right out of the gate, there was a stumble. Larry Fitzgerald went number one overall. That swerve shook up the whole virtual draft room. All of a sudden Adrian Peterson is available at #2 and everyone else gets pushed back. Sitting there with the eighth overall pick, suddenly a choice I thought I would not have looks me square in the eye. “Chris Johnson or LaDainian Tomlinson? Whatya gonna do, pilgrim?” “Uh, um, … okay, wait … let me see?” The first few picks go off in rapid succession – bam, bam, bam. No brainers. “Wait! Hold up a minute! Slow down! Okay, let’s see here. LT is consistent. Going to give me 12 to 15 every week. Chris Johnson is an incredible talent, but unpredictable. Multiple games in single digits his rookie season. But man, is he fast! And then there’s the vulture, Lendale. Oh, man!” And then it was me on the clock, and it was speedlining. My two kids looked at me, “Dad, what you gonna do? Is that sweat?” The clock went red and started the beeping at me. My brain went numb; I clicked LaDainian. Instantly, I felt sick.
We all know what happened next. LT turned his ankle in game one and showed his age the rest of the way. It was the beginning of the end. The next season he was no longer a Charger. The Rastaman in Tennessee went on to scare Eric Dickerson in posting Fantasy MVP numbers. The dude who drafted him right after me at #9 won our championship.
Do not make a mockery of your draft. This week, take a few minutes to do a couple mock drafts. In light of the amount of time you’ll spend during the regular season, the couple hours spent pre-season in preparation will be well worth your time.
When I do a mock draft, I am trying to to do three things:
1. Practice thinking on my feet. You have to be flexible. A bit of practice shifting with the ebbs and flows of a mock draft goes a long way in your ability to adapt on the real day.
2. Identify a basic strategy. For example, you may conclude after a mock draft, “If I wait ’til the 6th round for a QB, I’m done.”
3. Finally, I identify some key players who will make me “happy” or “sad”. Sounds ridiculous but for me, it’s huge. Last season when I did a mock draft to see where Matthew Stafford would go, I looked at my roster without “Stafford” and it made me sad. I jumped up to take him in the sixth. Looking at him after our real draft sitting there in my QB slot. I was happy.
Good luck everybody.