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Mocking the Mockers

NFL Draft Mocking the Mockers

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Mock drafts for me aren’t worth the time that it takes to read them.


Making matters worse this year is the fact that there are so few blue chip prospects. Are high-end athletes focusing on sports other than football that aren’t as taxing on their bodies both in the short-term and long-term?

Baseball is clearly a safer and more lucrative sport. So is basketball.

But back on point, with so few studs in the 2013 NFL Draft how can any mock draft produce anything but more mockery?

I also have to laugh at the mainstream media members and their insatiable appetite to break a story. They’ll chase any lead, real or false, and then put it out there to give them some kind of competitive edge.

Sometimes the news is real. Sometimes it’s qualified with some cleverly scripted language like, “According to a source speaking on the condition of anonymity…” And sometimes the “news” is intended to throw off a false scent – a red herring of sorts.

Agents will filter news about their clients to achieve a premeditated effect. Some teams might also do the same.

Maybe a team GM knowing that a particular beat writer or columnist has a solid following might let it out that they plan to move up in the draft to select a certain player.

In both scenarios the journalist becomes a pawn in the agent’s or GM’s scheme.

Does anyone really think the Ravens would let out their draft plans in Round 1? Really? Have you been paying attention at all?

All of this gamesmanship reminds me of snowball fights when I was a youngster. One guy on our side would throw a snowball as high as he could as the “enemy” watched the snowball in flight, the rest of us would throw fastballs hoping to drill them while they admired the lofty toss.

So mix in the lack of blue chip talent, with the plethora of similarly graded players with all of the smoke and mirror deception and this year’s mock drafts promise to be among the most wigged out mocks ever.

For you know what and giggles, I’ve decided to list the 2012 mock drafts of some well known mockers and then match them up. Even funnier is how each of these mock draft GM’s have a few versions of their mocks even though not a down of football has been played while they’ve shifted their draft boards.

Sure I get that they are just trying to factor in the combines, how teams have augmented their rosters through free agency, the reported results of the individual workouts and the rumored visits by draft eligible players to various teams that sometimes never even happen.

Maybe they should do just one mock after all that kicked up draft dust has settled, don’t you think?

In the comparison below, the players in green represent players that a “mocker” nailed right on the nose (although let’s be real here…EVERYONE knew the first 2 picks); those in red represent players who were picked to go in Round 1 by the mockers but never did; the players in blue were those selected in the first round that none of the mockers projected.

So in total of the 96 mock picks, the mockers hit on 14 (14.6%), 6 of which were gimmies. They made 11 (11.5%) picks that never landed on the day 1 draft board; 4 players were picked that none of the mockers had on their boards (4.2%). In other words, the number of players they all missed on plus the number of players they picked that were ignored by all 32 teams, added up to more than those they hit on even with the gimmies.



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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. Follow Tony's new Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

Am I the only one who finds the irony that Tony's website there are mock drafts posted by his columnists?

Fran the Fan
Fran the Fan

I'm enjoying all the statistical analysis talk (since I did my masters in stats), but we should go back to the primary question: What are you trying to measure? The accuracy of the analysts picking every selection for every team in the 1st round? Or, how many of the projected selections in the field of 32 were actually picked in the first round? In either case it's a total crap shoot, because the selection a team makes is dependent, to a large extent, on what selections are made by teams picking earlier or just prior. (Kinda like values on an EWMA control chart are dependent on previous data points). Because of that, most GMs laugh at mocks because even they don't know whom their going to pick until they're on the clock!

Purple Reign
Purple Reign

Doug Martin shouldn't be listed in Blue because Mayock picked him. All in all, Mayock is the most knowledgeable, and that's why I watch the draft on NFLN, not ESPN. Everyone knows the mockers don't know how trades will fall -- this isn't a measurement of clairvoyance. Doug Martin got picked in the first because Tampa traded back into the round -- nobody knew that was going to happen. But as even Eric DeCosta has conceded, mocks have some value because the best ones are based on what scouts and NFL personnel offices are saying off the record, and reflect a consensus of how things will generally fall. Mayock nailed the most picks because he's better connected than McShay and King, probably because he's a former player and front offices and scouts respect him. What's also interesting is everyone wiffed on Upshaw falling out of the first round. Ravens were so lucky that happened -- little did we know that after losing JJ to free agency, Suggs would blow his achilles. Upshaw was the only OLB on the roster who could set the edge, and we would have been screwed without him.


Mayock nailed 6 of the top 17 and 16 of his top 18 picks went in the top 18, that's pretty great.


Another point is that the blue coding has more meaning the higher on the draft board you go. Bruce Irvin was a big miss for the mockers. Picks 30, 31, and 32 were marginal, however, because they may have been early 2nd rounders on the mockers' lists. It's then unfair to put the 4 of them together in the same category.


I was thinking the same thing as sigma above: you need to look at mean squared error. I wouldn't expect any mock drafter to get too many perfect "hits", but as long as his/her average error is not more than a few slots, than I think the mock drafter has done a good job of estimating each player's draft value. I came away from your exhibit with a different conclusion from you which is that the mock drafters generally did a good job of estimating each draftees value and are worth reading to get an idea of how the draft is going to go.

six sigma
six sigma

You need a standard deviation analysis of projected slot, compared to where teams actually drafted a player. Upshaw was a "say" mean 20 slot and was drafted x picks away. "Say" 2 standard deviations away. Meaning they blew his position. Anything within one sigma, is tolerable. Meaning within plus/minus 34 percent.


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