A futile exercise

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Apr 23, 2005



We generally shun any kind of exercise. Running? Sit ups? Weight lifting? Please, we don't average 35 percent body fat by eating well and caring for our bodies.

Despite our general aversion to all forms of exercise, we'd race Lance Armstrong up and down the Pyrenees before we'd consider participating in the exercise in futility called the mock draft.

We contended before the draft Saturday that the mock draft is the most useless event on the football-fan calendar. We're back today to prove that this is true.

We compared the results of the first round of the 2005 draft to the mock drafts of six "pundits." We selected three NFL beat writers and three draft specialist services. For beat writers, we looked at the mock drafts provided by Ron Borges of the Boston Globe, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports and Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline. Among draft services, we selected the mock ups from Mel Kiper, OurLads.com and Scouts Inc. (the service used by ESPN.com).

All performed poorly compared with the actual draft. The complete mock drafts of all six, along with the actual selections, can be seen in the charts below.

This is not an attempt to embarrass the "pundits." It's merely an effort to prove the uselessness of the mock draft. When it comes to predicting the outcome of the draft we could do no better than any of these "pundits." That's why we didn't even bother. When your goal is to contribute Cold, Hard Football Facts to the world of online gridiron analysis, mock drafts offer nothing of value.

When examing these six mock drafts, we looked only at the first round. We did this for two reasons. One, few mock drafts go much beyond the first round. And two, as we stated before the draft, there is a certain level of accuracy among the very first picks. But after that, all hell breaks loose on draft boards all across the country and nobody has any idea how it's going to go down. In other words, as bad as the first-round mock drafts proved to be, they get even worse the further down the draft they go. Simply look at the limited success our six "pundits" had in the first round alone.

Among the first 16 picks of the first round, our six selected "pundits" were accurate 39.6 percent of the time (38 of 96). Among the second 16 picks of the first round, however, they were accurate just 14.6 percent of the time (14 for 96). As we said, mock drafts become a complete crap shoot beyond the first few picks. What good are mock drafts if, even at their best in the first round, they're accurate little more than 25 percent of the time?

We rated the accuracy of our six selected "pundits" in two categories. The first was the most difficult. It shows the number of times each "pundit" had the correct player going to the correct team in their mock draft. We also looked at how they fared naming each team's positioinal needs. For example, if the mock draft had cornerback A going to Green Bay, but Green Bay actually picked cornerback B, we credited the "pundit" for accurately identifying the team's positional needs.

Here's how our six "pundits" stacked up in both categories:

"Pundit" Correct players Correct positions
Scouts Inc. 13 of 32 (40.6 percent) 15 of 32 (46.9 percent)
Pete Prisco 10 of 32 (31.2 percent) 14 of 32 (43.7 percent)
Jay Glazer 9 of 32 (28.1 percent) 14 of 32 (43.7 percent)
Mel Kiper 8 of 32 (25 percent) 14 of 32 (43.7 percent)
OurLads.com 8 of 32 (25 percent) 14 of 32 (43.7 percent)
Ron Borges 4 of 32 (12.5 percent) 13 of 32 (40.6 percent)

We must offer a tip of the cap to Pete Prisco. Yes, he's still an arrogant pussy who's afraid of us, but you can't argue with his mock draft performance relative to the other "pundits" on our list. He outperformed everyone but Scouts Inc., including two draft specialist services. That's pretty good when you consider these specialists spend most of their time looking only at drafts and many charge a premium for their services. Prisco, however, spends most of his time covering up for Peyton Manning's postseason collapses while cowering in fear of the Cold, Hard Football Facts.

Prisco also made the single most astute call among all six "pundits" on our list. He projected that Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers would go to Green Bay and that Arkansas quarterback-turned-wide receiver Matt Jones would go to Jacksonville. The two teams switched positions on draft day, yet each ended with the player that Prisco had selected.

Scouts Inc., meanwhile, had the best mock draft across the board. They also nailed everyone of the top nine selections.

Old friend Ron Borges of the Boston Globe failed miserably in his selections. He was tottering on the ledge of uselessness from the get go, projecting that San Francisco would take Rodgers with the No. 1 pick. Rodgers was not taken until the 24th pick. Every other "pundit" on our list accurately pegged Alex Smith as the No. 1 draftee.

Mock drafts of NFL beat writers (bold represents correct player or position):

Team Actual pick Ron Borges Jay Glazer Pete Prisco
1. San Fran Alex Smith, QB, Utah A. Rodgers, QB, Cal Smith Smith
2. Miami Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn A. Smith, QB, Utah Brown B. Edwards, WR, Michigan
3. Cleveland Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan Edwards Edwards D. Johnson, LB, Texas
4. Chicago Cedric Benson, RB, Texas C. Williams, RB, Auburn Benson Benson
5. Tampa Bay Cadillac Williams, RB, Auburn R. Brown, RB, Auburn M. Williams, WR, USC R. Brown, RB, Auburn
6. Tennessee Adam Jones, CB, West Virginia A. Rolle, CB, Miami Jones Jones
7. Minnesota (from Oakland) Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina Williamson C. Williams, RB, Auburn Willamson
8. Arizona Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami C. Benson, RB, Texas A. Rodgers, QB, Cal Rolle
9. Washington Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn A. Jones, CB, WVU Rogers Rogers
10. Detroit Mike Williams, WR, USC D. Johnson, LB, Texas A. Rolle, CB, Miami S. Merriman, LB, Merriman
11. Dallas Demarcus Ware, DE, Troy State S. Merriman, LB, Maryland S. Merriman, LB, Maryland Ware
12. San Diego (from NYG) Shawme Merriman, LB, Maryland M. Williams, WR, USC T. Williamson, WR, S. Carolina M. Williams, WR, USC
13. New Orleans (from Houston) Jammal Brown, T, Oklahoma (Houston) D. Ware, LB, Troy State (Houston) A. Barron, T, FSU (Houston), C. Williams, RB, Auburn
14. Carolina Thomas Davis, LB, Georgia A. Barron, T, FSU J. Brown, T, Oklahoma M. Spears, DT, LSU
15. Kansas City Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas C. Rogers, CB, Auburn Johnson T. Davis, S, Georgia
16. Houston Travis Johnson, DT, FSU (New Orleans) T. Davis, S, Georgia (New Orleans) T. Davis, S, Georgia (New Orleans) A. Barron, T, FSU
17. Cinci David Pollack, DE, Georgia E. James, DE, Wisconsin M. Spears, DE, LSU E. James, DE, Wisconsin
18. Minnesota Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin M. Spears, DE, LSU R. White, WR, UAB D. Pollack, DE, Georgia
19. St. Louis Alex Barron, T, FSU J. Brown, T, Oklahoma K. Barnes, T, Washington J. Brown, T, Oklahoma
20. Dallas (from Buffalo) Marcus Spears, DE, LSU D. Pollack, DE, Georgia D. Ware, DE, Troy State M. Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
21. Jax Matt Jones*, WR, Arkansas K. Barnes, T, Washington E. James, DE, Wisconsin (Green Bay) A. Rodgers, QB, Cal
22. Baltimore Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma Clayton Clayton T. Johnson, DT, FSU
23. Oakland (from Seattle) Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska T. Johnson, DT, FSU D. Pollack, DE, Georgia (Seattle) D. Cody, LB, Okl.
24. Green Bay Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal J. Campbell, QB, Auburn L. Castillo, DT, Northwestern (Jax) M. Jones, WR, Arkansas
25. Wash. (from Denver) Jason Campbell, QB, Auburn R. White, WR, UAB R. Brown, WR, Georgia Campbell
26. Seattle Chris Spencer, C, Ole Miss (Oak) F. Washing-ton, CB, Nebraska (Oak) B. Pool, S, Oklahoma (Oak) O. Thurman, LB, Georgia
27. Atlanta Roddy White, WR, UAB S. Cody, DE, USC M. Jackson, DB, Michigan S. Cody, DE, USC
28. San Diego Luis Castillo, DT, Northwestern B. Pool, S, Oklahoma D. Cody, DE, Oklahoma K. Barnes, T, Washington
29. Indy Marlin Jackson, CB, Michigan M. Patterson, DT, USC F. Washington, CB, Nebraska M. Roth, DE, Iowa
30. Pittsburgh Heath Miller, TE, Virginia Miller Miller M. Johnson, T, Ole Miss
31. Philly Mike Patterson, DT, USC M. Johnson, G, Ole Miss M. Roth, DE, Iowa H. Miller, TE, Virginia
32. New England Logan Mankins, G, Fresno State M. Jackson, CB, Michigan B. Ruud, LB, Nebraska M. Jackson, S, Michigan

 

Mock drafts of draft specialists (bold represents correct player or position):

Team Actual pick Mel Kiper OurLads.com Scouts Inc.
1. San Fran Alex Smith, QB, Utah Smith Smith Smith
2. Miami Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn Brown Brown Brown
3. Cleveland Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan Edwards Edwards Edwards
4. Chicago Cedric Benson, RB, Texas Benson Benson Benson
5. Tampa Bay Cadillac Williams, RB, Auburn A. Rodgers, QB, Cal Williams Williams
6. Tennessee Adam Jones, CB, West Virginia A. Rolle, CB, Miami A. Rolle, CB, Miami Jones
7. Minnesota (from Oakland) Troy Williamson, WR, South Carolina Williamson M. Williams, WR, USC Williamson
8. Arizona Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami C. Williams, RB, Auburn C. Rogers, CB, Auburn Rolle
9. Washington Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn Rogers S. Merriman, LB, Maryland Rogers
10. Detroit Mike Williams, WR, USC D. Johnson, LB, Texas D. Johnson, LB, Texas D. Johnson, LB, Texas
11. Dallas Demarcus Ware, DE, Troy State Ware Ware S. Merriman, LB, Maryland
12. San Diego (from NYG) Shawme Merriman, LB, Maryland M. Williams, WR, USC M. Clayton, WR, Oklahoma M. Williams, WR, USC
13. New Orleans (from Houston) Jammal Brown, T, Oklahoma (Houston) S. Merriman, LB, Maryland (Houston) D. Pollack, DE, Georgia (Houston) D. Ware, DE, Troy State
14. Carolina Thomas Davis, LB, Georgia J. Brown, T, Oklahoma A. Barron, T, FSU A. Rodgers, QB, Cal
15. Kansas City Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas T. Davis, LB, Georgia M. Jackson, CB, Michigan T. Davis, S, Georgia
16. Houston Travis Johnson, DT, FSU (New Orleans) A. Jones, CB, WVU* (New Orleans) M. Spears, DE, LSU (New Orleans) J. Brown, T, Oklahoma
17. Cinci David Pollack, DE, Georgia E. James, DE, Wisconsin T. Williamson, WR, S. Carolina E. James, DE, Wisconsin
18. Minnesota Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin M. Spears, DE, LSU T. Davis, S, Georgia D. Pollack, DE, Georgia
19. St. Louis Alex Barron, T, FSU D. Pollack, DE, Georgia J. Brown, T, Oklahoma Barron
20. Dallas (from Buffalo) Marcus Spears, DE, LSU M. Clayton, WR, Oklahoma B. Pool, S, Oklahoma Spears
21. Jax Matt Jones*, WR, Arkansas F. Washington, CB, Nebraska A. Jones, CB, WVU M. Jackson, CB, Michigan
22. Baltimore Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma M. Jones, WR, Arkansas R. Brown, WR, Georgia Clayton
23. Oakland (from Seattle) Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska (Seattle) D. Cody, DE, Oklahoma (Seattle) K. Burnett, LB, Tennessee (Seattle) D. Cody, DE, Oklahoma
24. Green Bay Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal J. Campbell, QB, Auburn M. Roth, DE, Iowa T. Johnson, DT, FSU
25. Washington (from Denver) Jason Campbell, QB, Auburn R. White, WR, UAB Campbell R. White, WR, UAB
26. Seattle Chris Spencer, C, Ole Miss (Oakland) J. Miller, CB, Clemson (Oakland) J. Miller, CB, Clemson (Oakland) F. Washington, CB, Nebraska
27. Atlanta Roddy White, WR, UAB A. Barron, T, FSU S. Cody, DT, USC S. Cody, DT, USC
28. San Diego Luis Castillo, DT, Northwestern K. Barnes, T, Washington K. Barnes, T, Washington K. Barnes, T, Washington
29. Indy Marlin Jackson, CB, Michigan T. Johnson, DT, FSU B. Ruud, LB, Nebraska M. Roth, DE, Iowa
30. Pittsburgh Heath Miller, TE, Virginia Miller Miller Miller
31. Philly Mike Patterson, DT, USC O. Thurman, LB, Georgia L. Castillo, DT, Northwestern B. Pool, S, Oklahoma
32. New England Logan Mankins, G, Fresno State M. Jackson, CB, Michigan F. Washington, CB, Nebraska J. Miller, CB, Clemson

* On Kiper's projections, Jones is incorrectly listed as a cornerback from Georgia. We believe Kiper was referring to Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, the cornerback from West Virginia.

 

 


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