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BWTB: Grading the mock drafts

Posted May 19, 2014

A look at how NFL media pundits did predicting the 2014 draft.

We have heard the phrase many times. The draft is an inexact science.

The term 'mock draft' has become synonymous with draft season, becoming pro football version of a daily stock index. Player values go up and down while we all chart the results in real-time. From the Senior Bowl, to the NFL combine to pro days, performances are evaluated and ranked, changing the latest version of each mock. Although most mock drafts are admittedly guesswork, that didn't stop us from reading, as we continually kept up as pundits weighed in on who the Texans would take. We couldn't get enough of them. They are the NFL's version of recruiting rankings.

After months of speculation and smokescreens, there are always so-called 'surprises' once the actual event begins. Teams go 'off the board' so to speak, drafting players they haven't been connected to during the draft process. For fans, this creates a drama and tension that adds to an already exciting event. For media pundits...it just makes their predictions look silly.

We have been tracking mock drafts here at HoustonTexans.com for nearly five months, compiling lists to stay on the pulse of national opinion. As time passed, opinions changed, allowing us and you to watch it unfold as the 2014 NFL Draft closed in. 

Now that it is all over...how did the media do? The answer was...surprising.

In fairness to our media brethren, certain events can change everything. It is nearly impossible to anticipate trades, and one major move can shake up the entire draft board. The Buffalo Bills are a great example of that this year. The Bills traded up five slots to the number four pick, selecting Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. While many media had Watkins pegged in that range, no one could have predicted the Bills would move up to select him.

A few caveats before we get to the results.

We used the most recent mock drafts for this evaluation. Most pundits did between four and seven mocks, so I used their last one when analyzing their total. I also gave credit to those who predicted players to a certain team, even if the spot wasn't where he was picked. The best example of that is Johnny Manziel, who many had pegged to the Cleveland Browns at four, despite his being selected 22nd overall. This also occurred with Teddy Bridgewater. I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

The average media member of those we surveyed got five correct. Nearly all had the Texans picking Jadeveon Clowney, essentially giving them one point to start. The highest total went to Draftek.com, who had nine first round picks right in their final mock. On the flipside, CBS Sports Will Brinson scored just one prediction.

One of the hardest picks to nail down was number three, with Jacksonville selecting Blake Bortles. Only CSN Houston's Jason Passehl accurately called that. Many had San Diego picking Jason Verrett, which is rather surprising considering it was the 25th pick.       

Website (Writer) Best Pick Total Correct
ESPN.com (Mel Kiper) Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) 5
ESPN.com (Todd McShay) Eric Ebron (Detroit) 8
NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah) C.J. Mosely (Baltimore) 5
NFL.com (Bucky Brooks) Jake Matthews (Atlanta) 4
NFL.com (Brian Baldinger) Anthony Barr (Minnesota) 5
NFL.com (Charles Davis) Khalil Mack (Oakland) 5
NFL.com (Matt Smith) Jake Matthews (Atlanta) 3
NFL.com (Chase Goodbread) C.J. Mosely (Baltimore) 4
NFL.com (Mike Huguenin) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Green Bay) 7
SportsIllustrated.com (Chris Burke) Jason Verrett (San Diego) 7
CBSSports.com (Rob Rang) Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) 3
CBSSports.com (Dane Brugler) Khalil Mack (Oakland) 4
CBSSports.com (Pete Prisco) Jake Matthews (Atlanta) 5
CBSSports.com (Pat Kirwan) Jason Verrett (San Diego) 2
CBSSports.com (Will Brinson) Jadeveon Clowney (Houston) 1
NFL.com (Mike Mayock) C.J. Mosely (Baltimore) 5
SportsIllustrated.com (Don Banks) Johnny Manziel (Cleveland) 4
Yahoo! Sports (Eric Edholm) Zach Martin (Dallas) 6
FOXSports.com (Peter Schrager) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Green Bay) 6
USA Today (Brent Sobleski) Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) 4
NFL Spin Zone (James Dimaio) Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota) 5
WalterFootball.com

Kyle Fuller (Chicago)

8
SB Nation (Dan Kadar)

Jason Verrett (San Diego)

5
SB Nation (Matthew Fairburn)

Anthony Barr (Minnesota)

7

DraftTek.com

Zach Martin (Dallas) 9
CSN Houston (Jason Passehl) Blake Bortles (Jacksonsville) 7
Chron.com (John McClain) Johnny Manziel (Cleveland) 3


 

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