There's no denying it, Todd McShay is the man when it comes to what he does. NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for ESPN since 2006, McShay is best known for his television appearances/commentary and shockingly spot-on mock drafts leading up to the NFL Draft. Believe you-me, it wasn't easy compiling a list of McShay's misses when it came to his draft picks predictions.
However, as Santa so famously exclaimed when he ran into M&Ms on Christmas Eve, "THEY DO EXIST!"
These mistakes won't have anything to do with how he evaluated a player, but it will have to do with where he pegs a certain player being drafted and how they pan out. For example, McShay felt that Teddy Bridgewater was going to be an early first round pick, but it turned out Bridgewater slipped all the way to the 32nd overall pick before the Vikings traded up with the Patriots to get him.
It took some digging into his last few mock drafts but, even the most fertile of men shoot blanks every now and again. Don't think any less of McShay for this small sample size of mistakes. With that being said, read on for Todd McShay's 15 Biggest Draft Mistakes:
19 Eddie Lacy- Predicted 22nd - Drafted 61st
Eddie Lacy Jr. is a running back for the Seattle Seahawks. He played college football at Alabama, where he was a member of three BCS National Championship teams in the 2009, 2011, and 2012 seasons. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers late in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Many agreed that Lacy could have been the first running back to be drafted, but due to some of the issues he had encountered in the offseason, he was not guaranteed to go in the first round. But McShay still had enough faith that the Rams were interested with the loss of their veteran running back Steven Jackson. However, the Rams had other plans with their pick, giving it up to the Redskins, and leaving McShay’s first round running back prediction in the green room.
Recently, it seemed like McShay was sending some shade towards Lacy by predicting that the Green Bay Packers will be selecting a running back with their first round pick of this year’s NFL Draft, meaning that they’d be getting rid of Lacy (which they did). It could be his way of saying he was wrong for predicting Lacy would be drafted much earlier than he was in 2013.
18 Justin Gilbert- Predicted 25th - Drafted 8th
Cornerback Justin Gilbert must have felt so warm and fuzzy when he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Not only did he prove most football enthusiasts wrong about when he’d be picked up, but he proved THE football analyst Todd McShay wrong. McShay didn’t at all consider Gilbert going top ten. He slated for the San Diego Chargers to pick up the not-so physical Oklahoma State alumni. McShay did describe him to have an excellent combination of size and speed to go with very good ball skills and play-making ability, but didn’t see that as enough to climb the board past his predicted 25th slot. However, the Cleveland Browns saw his value and had McShay questioning his career path come Draft Day.
16 Jarran Reed - Predicted 21st - Drafted 49th
Jarran Reed is a defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks. He played college football at Alabama and McShay loved the guy enough to place him in his list of top 32 prospects. Part of McShay’s reasoning on predicting that the Redskins would be taking him in round one was due to his surprisingly good agility for his size and being extremely difficult to move off the line. Well yeah! Standing at 6-foot-4, 313 pounds, the guy is a brick wall. Although McShay touched on Reed’s periodic slowness to disengage that may have been reason enough for the Redskins to pass him up and Reed to fall into the hands of the Seahawks further down the line. Perhaps Reed was okay with it though, considering he went to a better team.
15 Connor Cook - Predicted 31st - Drafted 100th
Connor Cook is a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. He played college football for the Michigan State Spartans and holds the record for most career wins at Michigan State. Despite that admirable fact, the Raiders picked him up only in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft (100th overall). When it was clear that Cook was leaving a year of a eligibility on the table to enter the draft, McShay strongly voiced that he believed Cook needed another year playing college ball. He was one of the only analysts that zeroed in on Cook’s need to improve his footwork. Strangely, despite these statements, he went on to predict that Cook would be picked up by the Broncos late in the 1st round. Today, Cook’s grinning at the naysayers because he was named the starter for the Raiders' playoff game against the Houston Texans (yeah, yeah, due to injuries). He became the first quarterback in NFL history to make his first career start in a playoff game.
14 Ezekiel Elliott - Predicted 13th - Drafted 4th
Before you get on my case about listing this pick, this one is not based on the gap between where running back Ezekiel Elliott was predicted and where he landed. After all, he was still the first running back off the board. Rather, this listing is to highlight his production in his rookie season in comparison to when McShay projected him to be drafted. A player that McShay projects to be drafted 13th is not quite expected to wrap up his rookie season as the league’s leader in rushing yards. Had McShay seen that coming, he would not have flip flopped with Elliott’s fate as much as he did leading to the big day. Nothing from the Ohio State running back should have spooked McShay to take him out of his top-ten because as the man put it, “At 6-foot and 225 pounds, he has the frame and skill set to be an every-down back in the pros.”
13 Teddy Bridgewater- Predicted 20th - Drafted 32nd
You may think six picks off the mark is nowhere close to being considered a mistake, and you are right! However, this scenario is judging ESPN’s Todd McShay’s poor personal prediction when it came to Theodore "Teddy" Bridgewater Jr. A quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, Bridgewater played college football at the University of Louisville. With the NFL Draft approaching, ESPN's Todd McShay had released a slightly different kind of mock draft that highlighted the picks he would make if he was running the show for the Arizona Cardinals. McShay believes that Bridgewater showed excellent poise, footwork and accuracy on short to intermediate throws, and with Carson Palmer being no spring chicken, it is important to have a succession plan. With that, Bridgewater could benefit from some extra time to adjust to the pro game.
These are the reasons why McShay would have picked him as the Cardinals' 1st pick of the draft. Well McShay, the Cardinals picking up safety Deonne Bucannon from Washington State instead goes to show how little they value your opinion as their fake general manager. In other words, stay in your lane.
12 Jake Fisher - Predicted 21st - Drafted 53rd
Jake Fisher is an offensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals. He played college football for the University of Oregon and was drafted by the Bengals in the second round, 53rd overall of the 2015 NFL Draft. Just like previously listed Billings, McShay was bang-on when it came to which team would grab Fisher, but he failed at predicting when.
McShay believes that the bottom half of the first round was were teams would get the best bang for their buck when picking up an offensive linemen, but the Bengals disagreed. I am sure McShay won’t lose sleep at night over that disagreement. It's still a little early to tell how Fisher's career is going to shake out but he has some solid talent around him in Cincinnati to make it happen.
11 Eli Harold- Predicted 31st - Drafted 79th
Elisha "Eli" Harold is a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. He played college football for the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Prior to the draft, Todd McShay noted that Harold "keeps growing" on him and has the chance to be one of the best edge rushers in his class when the NFL Draft is upon us. He went on to stress that Harold was still developing into his long build; seamlessly converting speed to power. With those thoughts, McShay predicted Harold going last in round one to the New Orleans Saints. However, not everyone felt the way McShay did, and critiques surfaced describing his issues with counter moves and disengaging to create space. Those critics' claims were validated over McShay’s enthusiasm towards Harold, as he was only picked up by the 49ers in round three.
9 Timmy Jernigan- Predicted 16th - Drafted 48th
Timmy Jernigan is currently a defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and played college football at Florida State. Initially, McShay had Jernigan going to the Ravens or the Bears, but due to defensive tackle Aaron Donald looking to drop earlier in the draft after a stellar performance at the Senior Bowl and Combine, McShay believed the Cowboys would now have to settle for Jernigan. McShay expressed that Jernigan hadn’t impressed anybody at the NFL Combine with his physique and sure as hell doesn't look the prettiest out under those stadium lights, but he is a stout, quick and powerful football player who would still be a great fit for the Cowboys' meager defensive line. However, he was passed up in the first round by all three teams in need of some help defensively, and still available for the Ravens to snatch up in round two.
8 Morgan Moses- Predicted 19th - Drafted 66th
Post-draft, McShay gushed that the Redskins were incredibly lucky to have snatched up offensive tackle Morgan Moses in round three of the draft as he should have been taken off the board much earlier. McShay described defensive players needing to take a cab ride to get around the long arms of the Virginia college football player. Going into the draft, the ESPN analyst solidified Moses as a first-round NFL draft prospect. But there were too many ifs, ands, or buts to gamble with that kept him from being picked up by other teams earlier in the draft. There was no doubt about it that Moses would be an excellent starter if he displayed more consistency and did not rely so heavily on his length to bail him out of trouble. And the Redskins had the time to iron those kinks out since they didn’t have a need to start him immediately. Regardless, the Redskins got their right tackle for a steal at 66th and McShay would never had guessed that outcome.
7 Cody Latimer- Predicted 23rd - Drafted 56th
Cody Latimer is a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos. He was drafted by the Broncos in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and played college football at Indiana. McShay labelled Latimer at 23rd as his big surprise pick of the first round (a pick that he should have probably kept to himself) and that he was blown away at what a great job he does of getting off the press, his reliable hands, and his mobility after a catch, making him a perfect fit for what coach Andy Reid was looking for as per McShay. Alex Smith is very accurate with his mid range throws so having a guy that can run after the catch is important for their offense. The Chiefs had other things in mind, and Latimer went late in the 2nd round to the Denver Broncos. Maybe the Chiefs should have scooped up Latimer like McShay predicted they would, and he would have helped them get to (and win) Super Bowl 50. Just maybe?
6 Andrew Billings - Predicted 26th - Drafted 122nd
Andrew Billings is a defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals. He played college football at Baylor University and was always a player that McShay appeared to be on the fence about. Well, McShay was right about one thing, the Bengals loved them some Billings, but with not enough urgency to sweep him up during the first round. Billings was left on the board late. The ‘is anyone even watching this round of the draft?” kind of late. I guess the Bengals had other more pressing issues to address and McShay didn’t realize it. He was so caught up on what he called Billings to have an outstanding combination of quickness, athleticism and power, which helps him wreak havoc on the interior. Evidently, he ended up wreaking a bit of havoc on McShay’s professional reputation.
4 Blaine Gabbert - Predicted 1st - Drafted 10th
Blaine Gabbert was a highly touted prospect coming out of Missouri. The appeal to him was that he had an accurate arm and was playing in a pro style offense at Mizzou. So where did McShay's big error stem from? Well, he was so impressed with Gabbert that he had him ranked ahead of Cam Newton, who was in more of an improvisational offense at Auburn. He went so far as to say the Panthers should pick Gabbert over Newton first overall. Needless to say after six years, we can say that McShay was way off the mark with this one. Newton's raw talent has brought him to a Super Bowl and helped him break NFL records and Gabbert lost his starting job in two cities, first in Jacksonville, then in San Francisco. While Gabbert still went fairly high in the draft, McShay was way off in his talent evaluation here.
3 Sharrif Floyd- Predicted 3rd - Drafted 23rd
Having played college football for the University of Florida, Sharrif Floyd is now a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Selected as an All-American in 2012, I understand why McShay would have been overzealous about predicting Floyd going third overall in the first round to a team that desperately needed a defensive makeover. He described Floyd as having the potential to become a star playing in a 4-3 defensive scheme such as the one the Oakland Raiders run. Well the Raiders had other plans (and no, not even McShay could have predicted this happening), and traded their pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the 12th pick in round one and an extra pick in the second round.
Where did that leave Floyd? In purple and yellow, shorted $13 million, and picked 23rd by the Minnesota Vikings. Rumors have it that his drop was due to a mix of concerns over his character and having produced a mere five college sacks. To add, Floyd's inflated stock was the byproduct of irrational hype by television analysts. Ahem! He may want to reach out to McShay to discuss how to retrieve some of those millions that he missed out on.
2 Ryan Nassib- Predicted 8th - Drafted 110th
Previously with the New York Giants, quarterback Ryan Nassib is currently a free agent. He played college football at Syracuse and was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. You want to know where McShay had him landing? Eighth. ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay had predicted Nassib being picked up as a part of the top-10. To this day, I don’t think anyone knows what McShay thought he knew about Nassib’s value back then, but one thing is for sure, the man was way off his rocker when it came to this quarterback. Initially, McShay described Nassib on not having a great physique, being a mediocre athlete, unable to throw a great deep ball, but does a lot of the little things right.
What is scary is that McShay played the position of quarterback when he was in college, so one would think that he’d have an edge on predicting the appeal of a college quarterback. He went on to say that if the Bills didn’t select Nassib that there were a lot of other teams that would be happy to take him. *cough* I wonder what happened to those other teams. McShay, care to share your thoughts now?