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Article On Mock Drafts And Why They're Inaccurate


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(This article is by Jack Bechta and is from the National Football Post)

I once had a client, DT Jim Hoffman of the famed early 1990’s Desert Swarm defense, listed in USA Today as going in the first round. He went undrafted because of an undisclosed knee issue discovered at the Combine.

An NFC North GM told me in 2010, a day before the draft that my client, Iowa LB Pat Angerer would most likely go late round or undrafted. The Colts drafted him in the 2nd round.

Last year multiple writers at bleacherreport.com had Geno Smith going 2nd overall in the first round. He was picked 37 slots later at number 39 in the 2nd round.

Some mock draft boards last year had QB Matt Barkley still going late in the first round. He was a 4th round draft pick.

In 2005, the most well known media draft experts had Pro Bowl Patriots OL Login Mankins rated as low as a 5th round pick. Others had him as a 3rd or 4th rounder. He was drafted in the first round. Mankins and these other examples of how most mock drafts are off the mark, are not outlier examples. They are the typical norm of how inaccurate mock drafts can be.

I’m not picking on any one draft expert or media outlet, everybody, including this site has had its major misses.

Each year, prior to the draft, I have to realistically set my clients and their families’ draft expectations. There is nothing worse than a player having a draft party on Thursday (1st round) and/or Friday (2nd and 3rd rounds), thinking he is going to have his named called in front of his friends and family. These depressing settings, which are usually inspired by mock drafts (along with a dash of the players’ ego and a spoonful an agent’s optimism), result in a very negative embarrassing draft day experience.

So why are mock drafts so misleading? I will tell you why:

The draftees’ medical condition: There is not one so-called draft expert or media outlet that has access to all the players’ medical information. A well connected former NFL evaluator such as Greg Gabriel, Daniel Jeremiah, Charlie Casserly, and/or a even a well-liked Mike Mayock, may get some whispers on which players are damaged goods. But the fact is that college medical files and Combine physicals are not for public consumption. Actually, if any of this information was released to the public without the player’s permission, it could mean lawsuits for anyone who does.

Another interesting fact about medical information is that different teams have different tolerances for different injuries. For example, my retired client OL Eric Steinbach (2003 33rd overall pick) was red flagged by several teams for having a bad knee and was moved way down their draft boards. Other teams never saw an issue. He played 9 years only missing six games on that knee before retiring due to a back issue.

Furthermore, teams rarely ever share medical findings with agents and players.

Seasoned area scouts can also get medical information from college trainers or coaches they have good relationships with. This information rarely trickles down to the media draft experts.

Medical information also includes drug testing for performing enhancing drugs, stimulants, and other banned substances.

Character/work ethic: With the exception of those who work for NFL media partners, most draftniks don’t even get college coaching tape but just some TV or highlights film, nor do they attend the all-star games and/or Combine and/or pro days.

In addition, they don’t have access to the players’ college coaches who know the players well. Some draftees may be great game day playmakers but they may lack intangibles that will help them excel in the NFL over a sustainable amount of time.

Character, work ethic, and their love of the game will ultimately determine the depth of a draftee’s career. Talent may get you on a draft board but the intangibles will determine how long you play in the league.

Most top NFL evaluators/scouts have access to coaches throughout college football. This helps them to collect detailed information about each and every player in the draft. Not all teams are complete in this area but most do the diligence needed to see the whole picture of a player’s make-up. So while the mock drafts have a player ranked high or low based solely on their talent and production alone, team draft boards have accounted for the intangibles as well.

Football IQ and fit: There are players who did horribly on the Wonderlic, don’t come across as intelligent but have amazing football IQs. This may be one of the toughest areas for evaluators to project and some teams do a better job at it than others. There are players in each draft who struggled learning their college playbook. Those same players will struggle even more at the next level. Unlike Major League Baseball, the NFL is an impatient league and they want fast learners.

As for “team fit”, some LBs and DBs just aren’t good fits for most schemes. The same goes for some TEs and RBs. Players who are one-dimensional wont have draft values as high as other players who are multi-dimensional. Most draftniks don’t have the personal experience and football IQ to project a player to be a fit for all 32 teams.

So while some draft experts have great experience, watch hours of film, and have an eye for evaluating, they simply don’t have the same buckets of information that teams have on draft prospects. So while entertaining and sometimes accurate on the beginning of the first round, don’t take projections of a player too seriously.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta

Edited by brooklyn
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For ordinary fans, drawing up a mock draft is simply a good way to become familiar with the needs of teams and the attributes of players. To seriously devote time in drawing up a mock fairly shows you to be a super fan. As for myself, on draft day I simply print out a list of some sports website's ranking for best available players, and check them off as they are chosen.

Mock drafts are just intellectual exercises. To correctly predict even the first 16 picks in the NFL Draft is probably less likely than perfectly predicting the brackets for the NCAA Basketball Tournament

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Didn't read. Didn't need to read. Very simple. Mock drafts are inaccurate b/c, outside of the rare occasion where the person making it has insider knowledge, most of the time, the person making it has, quite simply, absolutely positively no mother trucking clue what the flying heck they are talking about. They are just guesses, and usually not even educated guesses. They are just for fun. Anyone that actually thinks that they "know" something, is just a freakin idiot.

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A good read. And very true. What gets me though, is how teams or draftniks cry "they reached" on a player. Its all based on good guesses, lots of homework and data, and a sliver of luck. This shows how glaring it really is that the draft is a crap shoot.

Yes with the hard work and data you improve your odds of getting LUCKY!!! It is not rocket science it is more like magic.

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This was a great read. I also think it's why so many of us are against trading picks.

Exactly what I was thinking when I was reading that article. There WILL be a very good player who can help this team at #6. which is why I am so adamantly opposed to the idea of moving up in this year's draft just because someone on this message board had decided that "Player X" is the one player this team really needs.

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Exactly what I was thinking when I was reading that article. There WILL be a very good player who can help this team at #6. which is why I am so adamantly opposed to the idea of moving up in this year's draft just because someone on this message board had decided that "Player X" is the one player this team really needs.

If we did a trade I could see us trading our 3rd and a fourth to move into a late 2nd if we saw a great prospect. But trading 3 picks to move up 2-3 spots would not be smart. IMHO

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Exactly what I was thinking when I was reading that article. There WILL be a very good player who can help this team at #6. which is why I am so adamantly opposed to the idea of moving up in this year's draft just because someone on this message board had decided that "Player X" is the one player this team really needs.

Yea it would be stupid to trade picks to move up from #6, At least with the Julio trade we moved way to to grab a player we would not have any shot at, trading up from #6 would still cost to much and we would obviously get an impact player at #6 anyway. One of the top OT's will be their at #6 and that is who we should draft.

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need to also make available size of prospects entourage, and first years projected expense report. players can rise or fall based on time expected spent building new crib, bailing out friends, meeting lawyers preparing paternity suits, and ability to pick up women without getting them drunk or waiting for the strip club to close.

first round mocks would only consist of players that can get laid at happy hour, can get laid in a vehicle with only dealer features,has a female roommate to share apartment and drive women home in morning. allowing them maximum time to focus on football. STUDENTS OF THE GAME. EXCEL WITH KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNIQUE (long career)

players in relationship with women who are capable of handling all household purcases and responsibility without complaints, knowing her performance is important for success. SAME AS ABOVE


third round players livin with momma and a bunch of sisters to get him laid. SAME AS 1 & 2, EXCELS UNTIL GIRLFRIEND DERAILS CAREER

fourth round players with account with escort service. BACKUP /FRINGE STARTER/SPECIAL TEAMS


sixth round player livin wit baby mama ABOVE ATHLETIC ABILITY 3-6 YEAR CAREER

seventh round players needing flashy things, new crib,and entourage to get drunk women home.ABOVE ATHLETIC ABILITY 1-5 YEAR CAREER (5-10 WITH FREAK SPEED)

UDFA players only capable of getting strippers looking to have your baby so they can get implants and take your Mercedes, leaving you with her Hyundai . 1-3 YEARS WITH ABOVE ATHLETIC ABILITY 4-7 YEARS WITH FREAK SPEED. (3 TO LIFE IN PRISON WHEN NFL EARNINGS GONE)


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