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Florio examines the McShay/Clausen relationship

I feel like every word I type talking about draft prognosticators is a wasted one, but friend of the blog Mike Florio over at PFT, had a great column on ESPN’s scouting analyst Todd McShay.

From Florio:

Once upon a time, Mel Kiper was the primary target of NFL scouts; Kiper has been supplanted by his on-air protege/rival at ESPN, Todd McShay. As McShay’s profile increases, and as he takes on the likes of quarterback Jimmy Clausen for reasons that many league insiders believe have no merit, McShay becomes a magnet for criticism.
“Most people at my level feel he is a joke,” a veteran NFL scout told us via e-mail. “People in the league respect Kiper. He is not a true scout but he does work at it. A lot of his info he gets from connections in the league, and over the years he has made quite a few. When he was younger he used to burn some bridges. He doesn’t do that any more.”

It’s no secret to Irish fans that McShay has been all over Jimmy Clausen. He’s been down on Jimmy as a football player and even harder on him as a leader and teammate. Making it worse, he’s been doing it on a weekly basis on SportsCenter, ingraining opinion into the subconscious of millions of casual sports fans with a point of view that’s hardly objective truth. I appreciate McShay’s conviction when he takes a firm stand on a player’s on field ability -- his questioning of Tim Tebow’s ability to play NFL football, for instance -- but I’m always skeptical when any media member comments with conviction on a player’s intangibles. Things like leadership or locker room behavior are hard to get a firm grasp on as a reporter -- especially one with a platform as large as McShay’s -- because it’s just so rare that someone gets a true look behind the curtain.

Florio’s source also takes time to point out McShay misses like Andre Woodson, a quarterback McShay touted as one of the top QB of the 2007 draft and Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead, who McShay expected to go in the top five picks at one time. Florio’s source also points to Clausen as another reason McShay will end up with egg on his face.

“On draft day McShay will look like a fool because whether or not you like Clausen as a person he is very talented,” the source said. “He has more training and game time in a pro system than any quarterback in the draft. His improvement from ’08 to ’09 was tremendous. If Notre Dame had a defense, Charlie Weis would still be there coaching. Offense was not the problem. I will agree that Clausen may have some A-hole in him but he is extremely talented. He has a strong arm and is very accurate. Plus he has played a lot in a pro system.”

The point of this post isn’t to call McShay an idiot, but to just remind everyone that the entire build-up leading to the NFL Draft is idiotic. As we watch McShay and Kiper debate players and move people up-and-down a virtual big board that has barely moved for NFL teams over the past few months but just so happens to shift weekly in Bristol, remember that what they’re doing is for entertainment purposes.