Date: April 20, 2008
About: Travis Yates - Class of 1994
Enticing prospect? Scouting NFL Draft
Travis Yates had a good reason for paying close attention to the NFL Draft.
"Being a Bengals fan, we draft early and often," Yates said. "I wanted to know as much about the prospects as I could."
What started as a project to see what his favorite team was going to do has turned into a passion for Yates, who is the coordinator of public relations at Quincy University by day and a local version of Mel Kiper Jr. on nights and weekends.
Twelve years ago, Yates started making out his top 10 propects at every position and passing them along to friends. That eventually grew into an obsession with pro football's meat market. This year, he produced a 20-page draft guide for his pals to look at and he's started a blog -- draftiq.blogspot.com -- to track his daily thoughts on the draft.
His guide, which is available for download at his blog, features a mock draft and a look at why there is no clear-cut No. 1 pick for this year's draft, which will start Saturday at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Yates combines forces with Scott Schwintdt of Springfield, who was an intern with the Indianapolis Colts at one time.
Yates spends his holidays watching as many bowl games as he can before taking in the senior all-star games. He scours YouTube for videos on prospects.
"I want to be as excited about the guy drafted in round seven as I am about the guy who goes in the first round," he said. "I want to know as much about every player from pick one through pick 220 or however long (the draft) is."
It's not surprising given that Yates works at a small college that he likes to identify the next small-school star who could break out.
But the big story going into this year's draft is the unknown. Look at 10 different mock drafts this year and you're likely to see 10 completely different orders of players inside the first round.
"The story at top of the draft is echoed throughout," Yates said. "It's a deep draft and a lot of positions have talent into Day 2. There is no set No. 1 (overall pick). I think teams are all over the place to where they have players rated."
Like a lot of pro football fans, next weekend is like a holiday for Yates, who put the draft just behind the Super Bowl on items of importance in the NFL today. He'll watch gavel-to-gavel coverage that ESPN and the NFL Network provide.
"Sadly, I'll tape it and we'll go back over the picks that Cincinnati makes," said Yates, who would like to attend the draft some year soon. "To me, Day 2 is just as exciting as Day 1. To be watching the seventh round and be excited or disappointed with who the Bengals take make it all worth it."