Friday, April 24, 2009

I Hate Mock Drafts, Have I Mentioned That?

In February I wrote about what a load of crap the NFL Mock Drafts are because the experts' predictions at that point were no different than any other well-informed fan's predictions would have been. Then over the next 2+ months, their picks sway in the prevailing winds and by the time the draft comes, they wind up nailing most of the picks...just like any of the rest of us would have. So they come off as "experts" for their predictions even though the first 5-6 iterations of predictions were dead wrong.

A lot changed since February: trades, injuries, drug issues (I guess they are ready for the NFL), Andre Smith got really fat, etc. Honestly, we have 2-5 years of game tape on these athletes, so how much difference should a 40-time in March make in determining their ability? If Kiper and McShay and the others were so smart and really could identify talent, wouldn't they have been able to take all these variables into account? Instead, they seem to just make their picks, then watch Sportscenter to see what has happened and then make new picks every other week. That isn't predicting. That isn't identifying talent. That is reporting on what has already been clearly important skill, but not worthy of the pedestal that that bird-faced Kiper is on.

So being that the draft is this weekend, for argument's sake I will repost their picks from February 5 along with their correct picks. The prognosticators in question are ESPN's Mel Kiper, Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, Yahoo! Sports' National Football Post and's Chris Steuber. However, apparently realized that Stueber is a moron (see #1 pick), so they put another guy (Adam Kaplan) on it as well. Kiper's latest Mock Draft on ESPN required an Insider Subscription which I don't have because I don't really care, so I will use the latest one that is available to the rest of us peons. It is from April 11 and the headline for the newer Insider article is that Tyson Jackson is now #3, so what a good player he's become in the last two weeks while playing video games, buying new cars and having a giant, diamond "TJ" necklace made. Picks from February are shown first and their most recent available mock draft picks are second.

1. (Kiper) Matt Stafford, Matt Stafford
(McShay) Matt Stafford, Matt Stafford
(Yahoo!) Andre Smith, Matt Stafford
(Scout) Mark Sanchez, Mark Sanchez/Matt Stafford

2. (Kiper) Andre Smith, Jason Smith
(McShay) Jason Smith, Jason Smith
(Yahoo!) Eugene Monroe, Aaron Curry
(Scout) Michael Oher, Eugene Monroe/Jason Smith

3. (Kiper) Mark Sanchez, Aaron Curry
(McShay) Aaron Curry, Aaron Curry
(Yahoo!) Matt Stafford, Aaron Curry
(Scout) Aaron Curry, Matt Stafford/Aaron Curry

4. (Kiper) Michael Crabtree, Eugene Monroe
(McShay) B.J. Raji , Mark Sanchez
(Yahoo!) Michael Crabtree, Mark Sanchez
(Scout) Michael Crabtree, Jason Smith/Eugene Monroe

5. (Kiper) Aaron Curry, Michael Crabtree
(McShay) Everette Brown, B.J. Raji
(Yahoo!) Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Crabtree
(Scout) Malcolm Jenkins, Aaron Curry/Tyson Jackson

6. (Kiper) Jason Smith, Andre Smith
(McShay) Andre Smith, Eugene Monroe
(Yahoo!) Michael Oher, Eugene Monroe
(Scout) Everette Brown, Brian Orakpo/Andre Smith

7. (Kiper) Jeremy Maclin, Jeremy Maclin
(McShay) Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin
(Yahoo!) Jeremy Maclin, Jeremy Maclin
(Scout) Andre Smith, Michael Crabtree/Jeremy Maclin

8. (Kiper) Eugene Monroe, Brian Orakpo
(McShay) Eugene Monroe, Michael Crabtree
(Yahoo!) B.J. Raji, B.J. Raji
(Scout) Eugene Monroe, B.J. Raji/Darrius Heyward-Bey

9. (Kiper) Malcolm Jenkins, B.J. Raji
(McShay) Malcolm Jenkins, Andre Smith
(Yahoo!) Brian Orakpo, Brian Orakpo
(Scout) Brian Orakpo, Everette Brown/Brian Orakpo

10. (Kiper) Aaron Maybin, Aaron Maybin
(McShay) Jeremy Maclin, Michael Oher
(Yahoo!) Mark Sanchez, Aaron Maybin
(Scout) Matt Stafford, Michael Oher/Mark Sanchez

What do we learn so far?'s Stueber went to USC. Other than that, we know that Stafford will go first, Curry third and Maclin seventh. Other than that, we only know that this whole thing is a total crap-shoot, run by people who are clearly not good at their jobs. Kiper, McShay and Yahoo! changed seven of their picks after watching the Combine and individual workouts and Stueber was really just putting Sanchez first and then picking the rest out of hat all along anyway.

Granted, these are only their top 10's but the percentages are about the same for the rest of the mock drafts: these guys change a minimum of 70% of their picks as the spring rolls on, so why are their initial mock drafts even published? Don't they just reveal these people to be guessing?

Next week I will take a look at their correct predictions and see if even their final draft versions are worth paying attention to and also compare it to Kipers' and McShay's 2009 mock drafts that they filled out the day after the 2008 draft. That should be funny.

[This just in. McShay is apparently changing his picks by the minute leading up to the draft. Apparently B.J. Raji had the hiccups last week and McShay found out and re-ordered his board. 1-4 stayed the same, but 5-10 have all been changed since this morning. So 60% of what he said this morning was completely asinine, but now he has gotten it right. 5-10 are now Tyson Jackson, Andre Smith, Crabtree, Monroe, Raji, Orakpo.]

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