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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
The Observer

Mazurek: The NFL Draft according to esports compatibility

My almost four years of writing Sports Authority columns is coming to an end.

I’ve had some good ones, but a lot of bad ones. Don’t worry, people let me know when I wrote a bad one.

So for my final column, I wanted to be original. But then I remembered that my only original takes are about esports and that society isn’t ready to accept that nerds playing video games in their mom’s basements are the future.

Instead, I’ll water down my esports fandom by combining it with the most mundane opinion piece traditional sports has to offer: the NFL Draft. But instead of laying out my mock draft on football talent, I will choose the first 10 picks based on esports relevance.


No. 1 Browns: Josh Allen

The tea leaves point towards the Browns picking a quarterback with the first overall pick, which begs the question which quarterback is the most esports ready. I don’t know about you, but when I play Madden, my completion percentages never get above 60 percent. You know who else hasn’t had a completion percentage above 60 percent since before high school? Josh Allen.


No. 2 Giants: Vita Vea

While everyone knows about the New York Giants, not everyone is aware of the European League of Legends team Giants Gaming. Giants Gaming is well-known for fielding a roster of mostly Spanish players. Coincidently, Vita Vea’s first name is just one letter away from the Spanish word “vida,” meaning life. When you follow the process, the pick basically makes itself.


No. 3 Jets: Baker Mayfield

On top of everything else Mayfield has going on, he’s actually a pretty good gamer. According to Jaxon Uhles, Mayfield’s roommate at Oklahoma, Mayfield considered quitting football to pursue a professional career in Halo 3. Only time will tell if Mayfield can “pwn n00bs” at the NFL level.


No. 4 Browns: Tremaine Edwards

With their second pick in the first round, the Browns will go with the most talented esports-related player left on the board. That happens to be linebacker Tremaine Edwards. Why you ask? Because Edwards went to school at Virginia Tech. Tech is short for technology and esports uses a lot of technology.


No. 5 Broncos: Christian Kirk

With many of the top esports prospects off the board, the Broncos will turn to wide receiver Christian Kirk. Kirk has obvious esports connections as his school, Texas A&M, made it to the quarterfinals of the 2017 League of Legends collegiate championships.


No. 6 Colts: Mark Walton

Walton may not have the explosiveness of Saquon Barkley on the football field. But Walton spent three years at Miami, the host city of the spring finals of the North American League Championship Series. Edge: Walton.


No. 7 Buccaneers: Josh Rosen

Yes, I know the Buccaneers still have Jameis Winston, but Josh Rosen is deliciously subversive. Reporters have blasted him for everything from speaking out about paying college players to having a hot tub in his dorm room. Another thing that’s subversive to the traditional sports landscape? Esports. Allen will fit right in in Tampa, Florida.


No. 8 Bears: Lamar Jackson

Going back to Madden, the Chicago Bears pick up Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson with the eighth pick. Jackson is built just like a build-your-own player in the Madden franchise — an athlete with a 99 speed rating, who also happens to play quarterback. Plus Bears general manager Ryan Pace is the youngest general manager in the NFL, so he’s played more Madden recently than any other general manager.


No. 9 49ers: Roquan Smith

Most esports games are based on characters or champions which the player controls and these champions often have odd names like Urgot or Vel’koz. The most esports champion-esque name in this year’s draft class is Roquan. Whether it’s racking up killing sprees or sack sprees, Roquan is going to make an impact at the next level.


No. 10 Raiders: Sam Darnold

One very important part of esports culture is cosplaying. And between Sam Darnold and Saquon Barkley, I would much rather see Darnold dressed up as a pirate than Barkley. Simple as that.