Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki has a history of mixing scouting reports with personal attacks. Two years ago, he called Cam Newton a "fraud, narcissist and a con-artist." Two days ago, here's how he described Geno Smith, likely the first quarterback drafted later this month: "Not a student of the game … Not committed or focused -- marginal work ethic."
By most accounts, this is patently false. But NFL Network's Mike Mayock, one of the most well-respected draft analysts in the business, has come to Nawrocki's defense.
"I know Nolan Nawrocki very, very well," Mayock said during a Wednesday appearance on ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning (via NFL.com). "The guy has an unbelievable group of sources throughout the NFL. He works it tirelessly. I've been on the phone with the guy at midnight, 2 a.m., talking draft. The guy is crazy as far as his passion and love for the game."
Mayock goes so far as to say that when Nawrocki gets personal … it's not personal.
"When he puts that out there, there's no agenda. He's not trying to bash Cam Newton or Geno Smith. This is the feedback he's getting from scouts and what he believes based on his tape study. Does that mean it's right or wrong? No. We have to minimize that a little bit because scouts can say a lot of things to get their opinions out there for their own vested reasons."
If Nawrocki isn't trying to bash Newton or Smith, he's doing a terrible job. Look, we understand the difference between scouting (Nawrocki watching film, forming his own opinions and sharing them publicly) and repeating second-hand information ("feedback from scouts," as Mayock describes it), although it's not clear that Nawrocki does.
Nawrocki's opinions are his own. And if he thinks Smith would be a steaming pile of an NFL quarterback based on what he has seen, then he's certainly entitled to say that. But Nawrocki loses credibility when he opts for ad hominem scouting reports. He doesn't help himself by lazily calling Smith "a cross between Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks." (That's like us saying Nawrocki is a cross between Moby and Britney Spears simply because he's white and bald.)
Still, Mayock has his back. "I would bang the table for Nolan Nawrocki," he said before agreeing with Nawrocki's overall point: "I couldn't take Geno Smith in the top 10, probably the top 20. I can't stand this whole quarterback class."
It's good to have important friends, but this tweet from Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller seems to be more in line with the Internet's initial reaction to Nawrocki's latest unhinged diatribe.
If the only time you hear a draft analyst's name is once a year when he's blasting African American QBs…well…do the math.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 1, 2013