Today Is Judgment Day: Grading The 2013 NFL Mock Drafts

Al Bello

We've featured them, now we rank them. We've reviewed many mock drafts by many different draft analysts here over the last four months, today we look at how good 34 of their final mock drafts were at predicting the actual outcome of the draft.

Over the last four months we featured and reviewed more mock drafts here on Blogging The Boys than I care to admit. And every time we looked at one of those mocks, there was always the nagging suspicion that they probably had very little bearing on what would actually happen on draft day. Sure, they were a good tool in helping us get to know the many draft prospects out there, but soon after Sharrif Floyd started dropping like a hot potato on draft day, and certainly when Geno Smith found himself still sitting in the green room after day one, many people were (once again) convinced that the predictive value of mock drafts approaches zero. But does it really?

Today is judgment day for mock drafts.

If you want to know how good all those draft experts that we reviewed here regularly actually were, you've come to the right place. Today we'll look at how good all those mock draft gurus like Mel Kiper, Mike Mayock, Todd McShay and many others were at correctly predicting what would happen on draft day.

Before we dive into the analysis, understand that we're not looking at these mock drafts with a sense of Schadenfreude, a malicious delight at seeing some of the big names in the business crash and burn - far from it. Consider that by their very nature, most mock drafts are bound to be inaccurate. For the most part, this is less an indictment of a particular writer's football knowledge but owes much more to the inherent unpredictability of the draft. So today, we celebrate the mock drafters who were more successful than others at predicting the draft, despite all the vagaries inherent in the draft.

A mock draft is generally considered successful if it hits on anywhere between 5-10 players and gets a large majority of first round picks right. Mel Kiper once defined a successful mock draft as one that gets at least 5 direct hits (in which the correct player is matched to the correct team) and correctly predicts 27 out of 32 players drafted in the first round..

The Huddle Report hands out mock draft scores every year and is widely recognized as "the most trusted and longest running such scoring available for NFL mock drafts". Their system is based on correctly predicting the player in the round (1 point) and matching the player with the correct team (3 points). Simply replicating their method wouldn't be a lot of fun, especially since you can just follow the link and look up their ranking.

Instead, we hand out our own 'Close But No Cigar' awards for the best mock drafts. We already have a bit of a tradition with these awards, as this is our fourth consecutive year of handing them out, after the 2010, the 2011 and the 2012 awards.

Our scoring system is designed to award points not just when a mock hits on a pick, but also awards points if the mock projected a player fairly close to where that player was eventually selected. Here's how it works:

Each pick can score between 1 and 4 points.

  • Player drafted in first round = 1 point
  • or player predicted to within +/-3 spots= 2 points
  • or player predicted to within +/-2 spots= 3 points
  • or player matched to team = 4 points

In the table at the bottom of the post you'll find the detailed results of 34 mocks from sites that have regularly appeared here on BTB, but let's run through a couple of highlights first before looking at the total scores.

My big board is better than yours: Three mock draft heavyweights, Mike Mayock (NFL.com), Todd McShay (ESPN) and Dane Brugler (CBSSports), accurately predicted 27 of a possible 32 first-round picks. Joining that trio at the top is Forrest Long of FFToolbox, also with 27 players correctly predicted as first rounders. Rob Rang, a well known draft analyst for CBSSports, comes in last in our panel with only 21 players correctly predicted as first rounders.

Nailed it: Seems like Mike Mayock knows what he's talking about after all. Mayock nailed a 11 picks, matching the right player with the right team, the best result among our panel of draft experts. Todd McShay and Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com) are next with 10 correct picks, Walter Football, Forrest Long and Mel Kiper all hit on nine picks. Doug Farrar of Yahoo's Shutdown Corner got Eric Fisher right as the first pick and nothing after that.

Missed by an inch or two: Peter Schrager (Foxsports) and Forrest Long both accurately predicted 15 of the 32 picks to within +/- 2 spots (Example: Forrest Long mocked Tyler Eifert 19th and he was picked 21st). Scott Wright (Draftcountdown.com), Daniel Jeremiah and Mike Mayock predicted 14 picks to within +/- 2 spots.

Three's a charm: Peter Schrager accurately predicted 18 first round picks to within +/-3 spots. Forrest Long is runner up with 17, six others are tied at 16.

If only there hadn't been any trades: Our grading doesn't award any points for predicting the right player in the right spot, but to the wrong team. Eric Galko for example had Eric Reid going to Dallas in the 18th spot, and while Reid was picked 18th, it was by the 49ers. Forrest Long again leads this list (marked 'Matched To Spot' in the table below), with 10 players mocked to the right spot, Mayock follows with 9.

And this year's Close But No Cigar Award goes to: Forrest Long and Mike Mayock, who both scored 68 points in our BTB CBNC methodology. Silver goes toDane Brugler (66), bronze to Peter Schrager (65). See the full results below:

2013 Mock Draft Accuracy (click on column headers to sort)

Mocker Correct round +-3 picks +-2 picks Matched to spot Matched to team Huddle report score
Close But No Cigar Score
Forrest Long (FFToolbox) 27 17 15 10 9 45 68
Mike Mayock (NFL.com) 27 16 14 9 11 49 68
Dane Brugler (CBSSports) 27 16 15 6 8 43 66
Peter Schrager (Foxsports) 24 18 15 7 8 40 65
Mel Kiper (ESPN) 25 16 13 8 9 43 63
Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com) 24 15 14 8 10 44 63
Walter Football 26 15 12 8 9 44 62
Scott Wright (Draftcountdown.com) 25 16 14 5 6 37 61
Todd McShay (ESPN) 27 12 11 7 10 47 60
Ryan McCrystal (DraftAce.com) 25 16 12 6 7 39 60
Dan Kadar (SBNation) 24 15 13 7 7 38 59
Dan Shonka (ourlads.com) 25 15 10 6 8 41 58
Jimmy Kempski (BlogginTheBeast.com) 25 15 13 4 5 35 58
Eric Galko (Optimum Scouting) 24 15 11 6 7 38 57
James Christensen (NEPatriotsdraft) 25 14 11 7 7 39 57
Robert Davis (FFToolbox.com) 24 14 11 7 7 38 56
Al Fronczak (EastCoastSportsnews) 25 15 8 4 7 39 55
Don Banks (SI.com) 26 13 11 6 5 36 55
Scout's Notebook 25 16 11 4 3 31 55
KD Drummond (BTB) 25 13 12 3 4 33 54
Pat Kirwan (CBSSports) 25 11 11 5 7 39 54
Peter King (SI.com) 24 15 12 1 2 28 53
Pro Football Talk 25 12 8 6 7 39 52
Ben Standig (FFToolbox) 26 11 10 2 4 34 51
Evan Silva (Rotoworld.com) 23 13 10 7 5 33 51
Doug Farrar (Yahoo.com) 24 13 12 1 1 26 50
Drafttek 24 10 9 3 6 36 49
Pete Prisco (CBSSports) 23 13 9 4 4 31 49
Lou Pickney (Draftking.com) 24 13 9 3 3 30 49
Rob Rang (CBSSports.com) 21 12 9 3 4 29 46
Josh Norris (Rotoworld.com) 23 10 8 2 5 33 46
Sideline Scouting 25 10 6 3 4 33 45
Matthew Fairburn (SBNation) 23 8 6 1 3 29 40
Russ Lande (NationalFootballPost) 23 9 6 1 2 27 40
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