Why Mock Drafts Frustrate Me
Ever since the end of the football season, many media outlets reveal their own mock drafts on an updated basis – until the impending draft. I understand why these are done; to get noticed, to banter why player X is better than player Y for team A, to gauge the abilities of players, and to try to get into the minds of several front offices. In 2014, nearly everyone is “an NFL insider” who completes several (up to twelve) mock drafts. This arduous process is time wasting and largely erroneous, which is just a part of why they irritate me.
The odds of correctly identifying the targets is low
While some try to take trades into account (which is still a crapshoot, as they are extremely hard to predict), numerous mock drafts are never correct even with the current positioning. Outside of a few years ago – when Andrew Luck went first then Robert Griffin III was chosen second – most early choices are incorrect. Once the top athlete is misidentified, a domino effect is then created with the subsequent picks. Exceptions to the rule can exist (i.e. a team voicing their glaring need at a certain position) but as a whole, these simulated drafts are never close to being right. Add to the fact that many versions are created, and the appearance of just guessing is given off by the authors.
The moving up or down of players is highly overstated
At certain points throughout the scouting season, players move to earlier or later selections in mock drafts. A few of times are during Senior Bowl week, after the scouting combine, after “pro days”, and just before the NFL Draft. Sometimes, one can even produce an idea of taking a prospect and removing him from the first round altogether (i.e. Teddy Bridgewater). I understand that a poor performance can hurt a player’s stock; at least in the eyes of NFL talent evaluators. However, most teams utilize workouts and practices as just a fraction of a player’s overall assessment. Franchises either like a guy or not; when a quarterback like Geno Smith or Ryan Nassib is drafted later than expected, it is simply a result of having other players evaluated better (and it was like that for many weeks).
Valuing prospects based on mock drafts is flawed
When player A “falls” into the second round and was projected to be chosen early in the first, the drafting team’s fan base gets excited. Likewise, team X chooses a signal caller in the second round when the athlete showed up in many mock drafts during the fourth round – infuriating supporters of that franchise. Why is this so? The issue comes from how many take the rankings from scouting websites and talking heads as gospel, and anything skewed from them is either magnificent or terrible. The truth is that, like all NFL scouts and general managers, these media outlets are correct some of the time and wrong a vast majority. As a result, fans should temper their enthusiasm or anger (at least initially) when their team makes a selection. When it comes to the draft, we are all analysts – however our assessments, as well as those by mock drafters, may not mesh with those who are making the ever-important decisions.
Conclusion: I do not disagree that the media is entitled to create mock drafts – and as many as they desire. However, they hold little weight in my opinion; I can go online and look up five and find five different choices for the Browns with the fourth pick. The moral of the story is, to just sit back, let the dust settle, and refrain from trying to predict who will get drafted when (chances are it will be wrong).