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Internet overrun with mock drafts!

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By Kevin Goheen

Post staff reporter

Trying to figure out the NFL draft was a hobby for Allen Trieu. He liked the idea of attempting to decipher all that was being written about the different NFL teams, their needs and just which player they were going to take come draft day.

That was about five years ago. Trieu has since combined his hobby with the Internet, becoming part of an ever-growing number of people who throw their two cents into football's annual spring discussion. It's no longer just the Mel Kipers and Jerry Joneses of the scouting world producing player ratings.

A search on Google.com for "NFL mock drafts" came back with 44,000 replies.

The fact is that people want to know about the draft and most everything else about the NFL. Trieu, at the ripe age of 19 -- yes, 19 -- and others like him do their best to give it to them. Some are more credible than others.

"I had no contacts or anything when I started," said Trieu, a freshman at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., who runs the site draftshowcase.com as well as another site hosted by NFLdraftblitz.com devoted strictly to giving links to other mock draft sites. Out of the 32 NFL teams, 31 subscribed to NFL Draft Blitz's draft guide last year.

"Over the course of the last five years I've met a lot of people, got a lot of names and discovered that the better work you do the more your name gets out. When I started, it was just the big media outlets that were doing this but now the Internet has gotten so big that anybody with a computer can make a mock draft.

"The ones that are credible are the ones that are like scouting services and go out to the Senior Bowl and to the combine. From being there, I know myself that when I saw these guys there they are the ones who know what they're talking about."

The draft has often times been called "an inexact science" and by taking a look at a few different sites, one sees just how. In an informal survey of more than 25 different mock drafts, The Post found 12 different players listed by these sites as players the Bengals will select with the No. 17 choice in the first round of the draft on April 24.

In reality, it's not much different from what goes on in NFL draft rooms. With just three weeks until the draft, the majority of the scouting process is finished. Teams have the names of players listed in order of how they have them ranked and they perform their own mock drafts as a way to prepare for the actual event.

"It's kind of an exercise in wasting time but what you're trying to do is have your guys prioritize and have an idea of what other teams will do," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who has his assistant, Jamie Janette, put together a spreadsheet of different mock drafts from different outlets. "Those people talk to people and they know if teams have an affection for a certain player and if that player is there, that's who they will likely draft. It will give you kind of an idea that maybe these four, five, six, seven guys might be gone by the time you pick."

Many of the sites are free of charge and were started up as a means to have an outlet for fantasy football players. That's how Paul Baitinger and friends Al Lackner and Bryan Hughes got started with their site, Ask the Commish.com in 2000. They would go out and buy draft magazines but they found that most of the information was outdated by the day of the draft.

In February, the site received five million hits. Once strictly a free site, Ask the Commish.com has begun a premium service that will allow for more resource tools not just for fantasy players but for the general fan as well, using correspondents for all 32 teams. The site had 3,000 premium members last year and expects the number to increase this year.

"It blends together fantasy football with the NFL draft, which is just a natural fit," said Baitinger, 31. "We've been studying the NFL and colleges for years and most of our evaluation comes from game tapes."

Trieu said he doesn't discriminate when it comes to posting links to Web sites; he'll put any site up and let the readers decide for themselves which are the better ones. Generally speaking, however, the premium sites provide better information from more knowledgeable sources.

"There are probably about 10 mock drafts out there that you can trust," said Trieu, who hopes to someday work behind the scenes doing for the NFL or one of its teams what he's doing now, possibly as a scout.


What do you bet this site contributed a fair portion of those Google hit!!

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