Interview with Curt Popejoy Draft Board Insider


1). Tell our readers a little bit about how the site got started? 

The site started from a group of Pittsburgh Steeler fans, we all met online.  We have contributors from New Mexico, Rhode Island, Kansas, and New Zealand.  We all spent so much time talking prospects on the Steelers board that we decided we needed to share this information and more importantly the passion for college football with as many people as we could.  Personally, my scouting of players pre-dates the internet and 25 games a weekend on TV.  There’s nothing better than college football.

2). What’s your personal draft philosophy?

  It’s always about risk/reward.  There are really two ways to look at the draft.  If you are picking high because you are a bad team, you more than likely have many holes to fill.  So you have to weigh out the best player on the board at a position of need.  If you are picking later, and have fewer holes you have to take the best player you can regardless of position within reason.  Finally it’s a QB driven league and so if you have a chance to possibly draft a franchise QB and you don’t have one, you must do it.  You simply can’t win otherwise.
3). Is it ever worth taking a running back in the draft, and if so what are some of the running backs you would consider in the first round? 

 I would draft Mark Ingram in the first round and never look back.  Obviously history has shown that RBs are overvalued in terms of draft position, so it makes sense to wait.  They can acclimate themselves to the game quickly, so if you are going to spend a first round pick on them they have better be special.
4). This is question is personal to me, as a fan of a team reportedly heavily considering this player. Thoughts on Mike Pouncey? 

 As I said in my scouting report of him, I don’t think he’s as good as his brother.  I think he’s the best interior lineman in the draft, but when you consider that number 2 is going to be a 27 year old rookie, the competition isn’t there.   I think he’ll start for a  long time in the NFL, but I don’t consider him a first round pick even though he will likely be taken there.
5). Who are some of your overrated players?

Two guys jump out at me.  First is Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska.  I think he’s a great player, but I question how much he loves playing football.  He got beat deep last year by players who shouldn’t, and something I wonder because he’s committed to the game.  I do not doubt his skills.  A couple of others are Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder. Not because I think they are terrible players, but the idea these guys are first round picks seems very reactionary to me.
6). Who are some of your underrated players?

 Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin.  I keep seeing mocks where he’s the third and in some cases fourth tackle off the board and I don’t understand it.  There is no tackle in this draft with the resume’ of Carimi.  He’s a mauler and is going to anchor some line for a long time.  Mazel Tov, Gabe.  Another underrated guy a little further down is Quinton Carter S Oklahoma.  Partially because it’s a down safety group, but Carter is sneaky good.  He’s not Troy Polamalu but he’ll be a good starter in the league for a long time in the right scheme. 
7). Some of the picks I think could be big surprises this year (or Sayre) but not likely are Jimmy Smith to San Diego or the Giants, Robert Quinn to the Redskins, Colin Kaepernick to the Dolphins or another first round team. Are there any of those kinds of picks you think are possible this year?

I love Jimmy Smith as a player and have pimped him since Thanksgiving.  I think he’d make a great pick to SD.   Quinn to the Redskins makes perfect sense and I think really with all the Skins holes, the position they go in will really dictate the next 8 or 10 picks.  As for Kapernick, I’m not as high on him as many.  I think in the second he’s a nice project, but I am not sure I have go with him as a first round pick.
8). Do you have a favorite team? 

In the NFL, I’ve been a Steeler fan for 38 years.  I had Steelers crib sheets.  In college football I grew up an Oklahoma Sooner fan and they are still my team.
9). Five years from now who are the three best players in this draft? 

Gabe Carimi, Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Jimmy Smith, and Patrick Peterson.
10). You’re 14th in the five year averages for the Huddle Report mock scores what’s the secret to your success? 

 I don’t’ consider that success at all.  But that’s part of my philosophy.  I could probably do better, but my contest mock is always high risk/high reward.  
11). Plug time. Tell our readers about your site and why they should visit.

-Our site does a little of everything.  We do the nuts and bolts stuff with scouting reports, mock drafts, stuff like that, but I like to think we do a little more with editorial pieces, some nice statistical analysis, and lots of self-deprecating humor.  Not to mention we link to a ton of great NFL blogs that if you are a fan of a certain team, you need to read.
12). Anything else you want to add about this draft (Cam Newton or anything else I may have forgotten)?

 I’ve covered the draft as a hobby and more for a long time and the combination of labor problems and the overall lack of elite talent are really weighing on this draft.  But NFL fans need to wrap up in this, because there will be football this year and this young men are the future.


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