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Grading the 2010 NFL Mock Drafts: The Close But No Cigar Awards

Mock drafts - we've debated them passionately, we've questioned their value, we've questioned their author's sanity. Some of them you glanced at and immediately discarded. Others you held up and proclaimed to be the 32 Commandments - like Moses at Mount Sinai.

But there is one thing that all of them have in common: As a predictor of which players are going to which teams, mock drafts aren't particularly accurate. Yet some mockers turned out to be better than others in predicting the first round of the 2010 draft. And perhaps, not unsurprisingly, some of the better known draft experts might actually have their jobs because they’re better than many others at what they do, as we'll see later.

Today we look at some of the mock draftniks we've been following over the last few weeks to see how their predictions turned out, and to hand out the official BTB 'Close But No Cigar' Awards.

The Huddle Report hands out mock draft scores every year and is widely recognized as, in their own words, "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 it up. So today we invent a new method for scoring the mock drafts. Here's how it works:

Each pick can score between 1 and 4 points.

  • Player in correct round = 1 point
  • or player predicted to within +-3 spots= 2 points (e.g. picking Bryant for the Cowboys in 27th nets you 2 points because the Cowboys ended up taking him in 24th)
  • or player predicted to within +-2 spots= 3 points
  • or player matched to team = 4 points

This elite award for mock draftnicks is limited to the first round mocks of 20 of the bigger names in the mock draft business. You'll find a full table with all the data points below, but let's run through the highlights.

Nailed it: SB Nation's own Mocking Dan at Mocking The Draft nailed 11 picks, matching the right player with the right team, and leads our panel of draft experts. Mel Kiper, the team at Profootballweekly (PFW) and Doug Farrar at are runners-up with 10 correct picks each.

My big board is better than yours: Rick Gosselin not only predicted 29 of the 32 players chosen in the first round, he called them in sequence: The first 29 players on Rick Gosselin's final mock were all selected in the first round. Nobody else came close to this type of uncanny accuracy, but five other mockers did get 28 first round players right - PFW, Don Banks, Peter King, Chad Reuter and Mel Kiper.

Missed by an inch or two: Peter King and PFW accurately predicted exactly half of the 32 picks to within +- 2 spots (Example: PFW predicted Jerry Hughes 29th and he was picked 31st). Pete Prisco, Clark Judge and Mel Kiper each had 14 picks within +- 2 spots:

Three's a charm: Rick Gosselin accurately predicted 20 first round picks to within +-3 spots. Peter King comes in second with 19, the PFW team is third with 18.

The CCC (Clausen Campbell Conundrum): Jimmy Clausen and Bruce Campbell were two surefire top ten picks on some mocks but ended up being picked in the 2nd and 4th rounds. Not a single mock drafter remained immune to the CCC. Every one of the 20 mockers picked Clausen in the first, and five mockers had a major stumble by picking Campbell in the first (, Walter Football,, Doug Farrar and Scott Wright).

No big surprises: Every single one of the 20 mockers got the top three picks right. Runner-ups are Trent Williams whom 13 mockers got right in the fourth spot, and Jermaine Gresham, also picked 13 times in the 21st spot.

Rooting for the underdogs: Pete Prisco is the only one who had Tyson Aluala in the first round. The two Peters (King & Schrager) were the only mockers to have Jahvid Best on their boards, and Patrick Robinson was correctly predicted as a first rounder three times (Gosselin, PFW and Bucky Brooks).

Whodathunkit? The amount of trading certainly impacted the draft success of each mocker. However, 23 teams did not move our of their spots on draft day. But they remained hard to predict regardless. Nobody predicted the surprise pick of the draft with Tyson Alualu going to Jacksonville. But surprisingly, eight other picks of teams that did not move on draft day were correctly called only once each by our panel of draft experts (CLE, OAK, SEA, ATL, HOU, ARI, IND, NO).

And this year's Close But No Cigar Award goes to: The Profootballweekly team, who garnered 72 points in our trademarked BTBCBNC methodology. Silver goes to Peter King (71), bronze goes to Rick Gosselin (70). See the full results below:

Mock Draft Accuracy (click on column headers to sort)

Mocker Correct round +-3 picks +-2 picks Matched to team Huddle report score
Close But No Cigar Score
PFW 28 18 16 10 48 72
Peter King 28 19 16 8 44 71
Rick Gosselin 29 20 13 8 45 70
Mel Kiper 28 17 14 10 48 69
Mocking Dan 27 17 12 11 49 67
Rob Rang 27 15 12 9 45 63
Don Banks 28 17 13 5 38 63
Chad Reuter 28 15 12 7 42 62
Clark Judge 27 14 14 7 41 62
Pete Prisco 26 17 14 5 36 62
Doug Farrar 26 14 11 10 46 61
Bucky Brooks 27 14 13 6 39 60
Wes Bunting 27 16 13 4 35 60
Chris Steuber 26 15 12 6 38 59
Peter Schrager 26 15 12 6 38 59
Scott Wright 27 13 12 6 39 58
Evan Silva 27 13 11 6 39 57
WEEI 25 14 13 4 33 56
Draftsite 23 15 13 5 33 56
Walter Football 25 10 9 6 37 50

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