Averaging The Mocks: Dallas Cowboys Take Luke Kuechly

Every mock draft out there agrees that Andrew Luck is going to be taken first in the NFL draft.

That is the only player that there is any consensus on. After the Stanford Golden Boy, the opinions vary, and the deeper you go, the greater the variation. Given the never-ending cycle of mocks coming out, I started wondering if there might be some way to come up with an overall ranking that considered a variety of sources to give a "most likely" draft order for the first round - at least through the 14th pick that fans of the Dallas Cowboys are so interested in.

So I put together a table using 12 different mock drafts. They are (in no particular order), Russ Lande from the Sporting News, Wes Bunting of the National Football Post, Rob Rang and Dave Brugler of CBS Sports, the separate CBS prospect ranking (which is different from Rang and Brugler's mocks), SBN's Mocking the Draft, Walter Football, Drafttek, DraftAce, Chad Reuter of the NFL Network, Draft King, and Football's Future.

If those look familiar, it is because I went with mocks that have already been used here for other articles. It means I am talking about some sites that you may be familiar with. And that I was able to go to OCC's various posts on mocks to get the links.

But then I had to decide what to do with this information.

The madness behind my method after the jump.

Since I am primarily concerned with what player the Cowboys would likely wind up with, and am using BPA to decide the picks in order, I wanted to make sure I got at least to that 14th pick. But to make sure, I needed to go a little past that. I decided to take the top 20 picks from each mock. It made the math work out, and by that point the names involved were beginning to vary so much that I began to suspect that a dart board is one of the primary tools for people who write these things. To cover the top 20 slots, 12 mocks needed 38 names.

I then assigned a value to the slot each player was selected. The number 1 pick is worth 20 points, the number 2 is 19, and so on. Then it was a simple matter of completing a spreadsheet and plugging in the value for each player in each of the mocks, and coming up with an aggregate value for each player that had shown up.

Here is what I came up with (my "value" is in blue):

Selection Player Value Selection Player Value
1 Andrew Luck QB Stanford 240 20 Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M 31
2 Matt Kalil OT USC 218 21 Janoris Jenkins CB N. Ala. 27
3 Robert Griffin III QB Baylor 207 22 Mike Adams T Ohio St 18
4 Morris Claiborne CB LSU 202 23 Cody Glenn G Georgia 16
5 Justin Blackmon WR Ok. St. 187 24 Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB Ill. 15
6 Trent Richardson RB Alabama 152 25 Mark Barron FS Alabama 14
7 Quentin Couples DE NC 149 26 Alameda Ta'amu DT/NT Wash. 9
8 Riley Reiff T Iowa 129 27 Zach Brown OLB N. Carolina 9
9 David Decastro G Stanford 98 28 Don'ta Hightower ILB Alabama 8
10 Michael Brockers DT LSU 98 29 Orson Charles TE Georgia 7
11 Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama 98 30 Fletcher Cox DT Miss. St. 6
12 Johnathan Martin T Stanford 97 31 Peter Konz C Wisconsin 6
13 Devon Still DT PSU 93 32 Alshon Jeffrey WR S. Car. 6
14 Luke Kuechly ILB Boston C. 83 33 Dontari Poe DT Memphis 5
15 Courtney Upshaw OLB Ala. 75 34 Brandon Weeden QB Ok. St. 3
16 Michael Floyd WR ND 54 35 Vontaze Burfict ILB ASU 3
17 Melvin Ingram OLB SC 49 36 Coby Fleener TE Stanford 2
18 Kendall Wright WR Baylor 47 37 Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers 2
19 Nick Perry DE USC 36 38 Alfonzo Dennard CB 1

This not only gave me a consensus order for the 12 mocks, but it also gave a way to show some relative strength from player to player. The closer together the numbers, the more likely, I would assume, that these positions might switch. For instance, the difference between RGIII and Morris Claiborne is only 5 points, so it would not be surprising to see them switch positions (assuming there is some credibility to this whole methodology). But the difference between Justin Blackmon and Trent Richardson is a whopping 35 points, so there order would seem to be pretty unlikely to reverse. Also, the later the picks, the smaller the difference, so it is not surprising that the value of prediction becomes less the further into the draft you go.

The darker blue squares show a tie between three names that have come up around here a lot: David Decastro, Michael Brockers and Dre Kirkpatrick, all with 98 points. It looks like those three guys could go in any order. Unfortunately, they all look to go before Dallas gets their pick.

The best player left for the Cowboys, based on the collective "wisdom" of these mocks, turns out to be Luke Kuechley, ILB of Boston. Not exactly a burning need - but Courtney Upshaw and Melvin Ingram are lurking very close for a possible trade down (the team could take Upshaw with some justification at 14, since he pretty close here). And DeCastro, Brockers and Kirkpatrick all might be in range for a trade, or could slip down.

I don't know if it is really more valid to use a composite like this, but I tend to think some of the less well-reasoned choices in the different mocks may cancel each other out here. I do think it may give a little bit better idea what players are in the Cowboys' range, and which ones are just too far away.

I like a couple of other things this does. I think it helps filter out players who are seen as outside the top 20 in most mocks, but get some unreasonable love in others. Ryan Tannehill is a good example, in that he was left off of 10 mocks, but showed up on the other two at the 6th slot! He still made the 20th pick in this average, but that at least got him far enough down to not affect Dallas' choice. I don't care about anything after that in this exercise.

I am going to be watching the mocks I have used here, and if things start to move, I may revisit this, particularly after the combine, when major movement is to be expected and things get a little more factual. Let me know if this interests you - I have done all the hard work on the spreadsheet already, so this will be easy to update.

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