NFL draft analysts help feed the fans' frenzy for information

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 19, 2013 - 7:20 AM

NFL draft analysts keep popping up, in part because there’s such a demand for them.

With the 23rd pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Vikings will select …

Keenan Allen, wide receiver from California.

And two picks later, at No. 25: Manti Te’o, linebacker from Notre Dame.

There you have it. Two early picks, two major holes filled.

At least those are the projections from 34-year-old draft analyst Scott Wright, a Sandstone resident, founder and president of DraftCountdown.com, and one of many people — some famous, some virtually anonymous — whose livelihood is providing draft information online.

An Allen-Te’o combo platter would be intriguing, wouldn’t it? Seems sensible, too.

With the Vikings needing additional playmakers in the passing game, Allen’s polished route running and reliable hands have to be eye-catching. And Te’o too seems like a natural fit given the Vikings’ affinity for Notre Dame standouts and their obvious hole at middle linebacker.

“If the Vikings are OK with the circus coming to town,” Wright said, “to me Te’o is one of the safest prospects in this draft.”

Never mind that the draft is still five days away and that many of Wright’s first-round projections for the Vikings and 29 other teams might not line up when the first night of picks finishes up.

For now, mock draft curiosity provides a perfect setup for endless debate and speculation. Which for Wright means business.

Now in his 17th year dissecting the draft for an online audience, Wright continues cooking up potential scenarios. Because he knows there’s a bottomless appetite for them.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., of course, is still widely considered the pioneer and icon of the always growing draft analysis genre. And in recent years ESPN colleague Todd McShay, 36, has emerged to carve out his own niche.

Mike Mayock of the NFL Network is another of the high-profile experts whose insight is often shared as gospel.

But make no mistake, the draft analysis market is open to just about everyone. Wide open.

Which explains why Wright, whose said bad knees kept him from playing high school football at Hinckley-Finlayson, can make a living delivering his wisdom on the Internet just a few clicks down from former Vikings safety Corey Chavous, himself a passionate talent evaluator at DraftNasty.com.

“We’re talking about the lives and futures of so many kids just out there hanging,” Chavous said. “That intrigues people.”

Added Wright: “As much as anything, the draft is that one time of the year where every single team has hope. The Super Bowl champion can add another prospect to the arsenal. And if you’re one of the worst teams in the league, this is the year you can land that superstar who’s going to turn everything around. From the Ravens to the Chiefs, this is all about the universal hope.”

Taking a chance

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  • Scott Wright with Harrison Smith at the Senior Bowl last year in Mobile, Alabama.

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