Subscriber Lounge, and join Bernie's Insiders tonight at 8:30 PM EST when's Brian Stevenson visits the chat room!"> Subscriber Lounge, and join Bernie's Insiders tonight at 8:30 PM EST when's Brian Stevenson visits the chat room!">

Rich's Rant: The Wild Wild Web

This week, Rich takes a look at the fervor of draftniks and fans all around the web, and particularly in the Bernie's Insiders forums. Join Rich in the <A href="">Subscriber Lounge</a>, and join Bernie's Insiders tonight at 8:30 PM EST when's Brian Stevenson visits the chat room!

When it comes to scoping the National Football League college draft, one thing has become crystal clear.

The draft gurus who populate the World Wide Web know as much about what's going to happen April 23-24 in New York as you and I.

Mel Kiper Jr., Frank Coyle, the people at Ourlads, the Huddle Report, Great Blue North, etc, etc. For the most part, they're guessing as to which team will select which player.

Most say the Browns will take a quarterback. Flip a coin on Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith.

Others proclaim they will select a wide receiver or outside linebacker Derrick Johnson. Ourlads is going with defensive end/outside linebacker Shawne Merriman.

The people at have the Browns taking a quarterback (Rodgers) and two wide receivers (Terrence Murphy and Fred Gibson) in the first three rounds.

Of course, that could all change – probably on a daily basis – as we steam toward the big day. Players rise and fall quicker than the stock market.

Sure, these guys know a lot about the players. Their strengths, their weaknesses, what makes them tick. They spend months evaluating these athletes. Their analysis, for the most part, is quite thorough.

Makes good reading. Even greater arguments. Visits to Draft Brew, Pure Football and the Watercooler are mute testament to the latter.

The Web landscape is pock-marked with rumors of all shapes, sizes and varieties. The closer we get to D-Day, the more furiously they swirl.

The Browns, sitting pretty at #3 in the first round, will trade down goes more than one rumor. The Minnesota Vikings want to move up because they don't think the wide receiver they seek will be there at #7. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers at #5 need a running back and want to jump over the Chicago Bears at #4 to grab him.

And where do they jump? Why to the Browns, of course, and then the Browns could extract extra draft picks in exchange. Makes sense. Yeah, right.

Then there's this one. The Browns and Philadelphia Eagles, who have a gazillion picks but draft low in each round, will swap all their choices. Cleveland gets Philadelphia's 13, including a yummy five in the first three rounds, in exchange for the Browns' seven.

What in the name of Mike Ditka is going on here?

Hold on. Another rumor just in. The Browns will stay put at #3. No team in its right financial mind wants to jump that high in the draft because it doesn't want to be stuck with a fat contract.

And while all this is happening, rumor trolls invade the Web world and infect the various boards and forums here from time to time. Some are taken seriously. Until, of course, the troll is exposed.

The closer we get to the draft, the more intense the posts become. Some of them reach the point where vitriol flows freely.

Ever-changing mock drafts by the gurus elicit disagreements of gigantic proportions from those who consider the NFL draft a sacred event on their sports calendar.

Arguments break out and posters take themselves way too seriously. One recent squabble revolved around a guru who worked up a statistical analysis on the wisdom of drafting a quarterback in the first round. Battles raged for the better part of three pages over that one.

Relax, people. This should be fun. Guessing who the Browns should pick should be fun. I'm not sensing that fun.

Instead, it seems to have turned into a contest of my guy being better than your guy and here are the myriad of reasons why. If you don't like it, you need to visit your favorite shrink.

I'm right and you're not.

Let's put this in perspective. We're talking about college football players here. Most of them are very talented, but have never played a down of professional football.

Some will become very good some day. Even great. The majority will turn out to be ordinary.

How many times do draft zealots need to be told that this annual event is nothing more than a crap shoot, an exercise in trying to be right more often than wrong. Luck is also part of the equation.

As one poster wrote late last week in a thread trying to guide Browns General Manager Phil Savage: "Common sense, Phil, use your best judgment. That's why we hired you. These are football players and human beings, not stocks and bonds."

Makes perfect sense to me.

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