Kiper the klown: our annual mock-draft scorecard!

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Apr 13, 2010



By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts mock draft mocker
 
Loyal CHFF readers know that slicing balls into the woods and the water is par for the course at the Mock Draft Country Club.
 
And the 2009 NFL draft was no exception: another embarrassing display of bombastic ignorance by the nation's most visible "mock draft" experts, the guys who devote 365 days a year to pinning down what's going to happen during the NFL selection process and then come up empty on gameday. 
  • Mel Kiper accurately predicted just 8 of 32 (25%) first-round draft picks.
  • Todd McShay, who was run on a 24x7 loop by ESPN in the weeks leading up to the draft, nailed just 7 of 32 (21.9%) first-round picks.
Those rates of success, as you'll see below, are fairly consistent with each "expert's" historic rate of success pinning down draft picks. It tells us that never does so much time, energy, emotion and hype devoted to a single cause – mock drafts – yield so little in the way of results.
 
Generally speaking, the most well known mock drafters get just 1 in 4 first round selections correct! They generally get one or two picks correct in the second half of the first round, and zero picks correct in any round beyond the first.
 
The Gang of Eight
We tracked the mock-draft performance in 2009 of eight football "experts" and we added two notable newcomers for the first time: Mike Mayock of the NFL Network and Peter King of Sports Illustrated.
 
Turns out we should have been looking at those guys all along: Both Mayock and King were the top mock-drafters on our list this year, each with 9 of 32 picks correct (28.1%).
 
King deserves extra credit because he's not on the mock-draft circuit 24x7, like Kiper and McShay. Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, a regular on the CHFF mock-draft watch list, deserves extra credit, too. He also has another job, like covering the Cowboys. But we were tipped off to Gosselin's success as a mock drafter several years ago, and that tip has proven a good one: Gosselin is consistently among the best at making mock drafts – which, we realize, is kind of like saying you're the most sober guy at the CHFF Christmas party.
 
The others on our list were OurLads.com, consistently the most accurate mock drafters through the years (see chart at bottom), Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com and Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com, the websites of the NFL's two network partners.
 
We also conduct our own mock draft each year with Bonzo the Idiot Monkey, who  randomly  picks names out of the pocket of his Texas A&M hoodie, simply to prove the futility of the mock draft. Despite Bonzo's primitive methods and small cranial cavity, he got only three fewer mock draft picks correct than Glazer, an advanced member of the hominid family tree who allegedly possesses inside information and who did NOT randomly pick names out of a hoodie.
 
2009 MOCK DRAFT SUCCESS
Mock Drafter
Picks
Pct.
Peter King
9 of 32
28.1%
Mike Mayock
9 of 32
28.1%
Rick Gosselin
8 of 32
25.0%
Mel Kiper
8 of 32
25.0%
Todd McShay
7 of 32
21.9%
OurLads.com
7 of 32
21.9%
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports)
6 of 32
18.8%
Jay Glazer (Fox Sports)
5 of 32
15.6%
2 of 32
6.2%
Total (not including Bonzo)
59 of 256
23.0%
 
Buoyed by King and Mayock, it was actually a pretty good year by the lowly standards of mock drafts.
 
In 2008, for example, our six mock draft experts got just 37 of 186 picks correct (19.9%). (There were only 31 first-round picks in the 2008 draft -- Thanks, Spygate!)
 
The numbers are worse than they look
But even in 2009, the 23 percent success rate is incredibly misleading.
 
In fact, almost all the success, as usual, came high up on the list, with selections so easy that even Bonzo got one correct. Our eight mock drafters, for example, all got Matt Stafford-to-Detroit with the No. 1 pick correct. Seven of the eight got Jason Smith-to-St. Louis with the No. 2 pick correct.
 
After that, all hell broke loose. In fact, the rate of success declines pretty rapidly after the first couple of picks, and is generally much worse late in the first round than early in the first round. Our team of experts got:
  • 15 of 16 picks correct in the top two (93.8%)
  • 44 of 240 picks correct after the top two (18.3%
  • 44 of 128 picks correct in the first half of the first round (34.4%)
  • 15 of 128 picks correct in the second half of the first round (11.7%)
In other words, the mock draft experts have a clue when it comes to the first couple picks. But so, too, does every blogger and grandmother in Podunkville. Once we get a few picks into the draft, the "experts" really have no clue what's going to happen.
 
Remember, these numbers apply only to the first round! Any mock draft that went beyond the first round was just a complete waste of time with zero, or close to zero, picks correct by anybody in any round.
 
The Five-Year Scorecard
There are four mock draft "experts" on the list we've tracked each year since 2005: OurLads.com, Kiper, Glazer and McShay/Scouts Inc. They don't even get one quarter of their first-round mock draft picks correct.
 
Here's how those four have stacked up over the past five mock drafts (again, this is with first-round picks only). OurLads.com, which gets like zero airtime anywhere, is consistently the best. McShay, whose dad must own ESPN if the amount of airtime he gets is any indication, is consistently the worst.
 
MOCK DRAFT SUCCESS (2005-09)
Mock Drafter
Picks
Pct.
OurLads.com
42 of 159
26.4%
Mel Kiper
40 of 159
25.2%
Jay Glazer
38 of 159
23.9%
McShay/Scouts Inc.
36 of 159
22.6%
Total
156 of 636
24.5%

Bottom line, football fans and Friends of the Facts: ignore the mock drafts, be a man for once in your life and do something more useful this month ... maybe go clubbing with Ben Roethlisberger or something. That night out can only end well.


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