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Grading The Mock Draft Gurus: 2015 Mock Draft Judgment Day

We've featured them, now we grade them. We've reviewed many mock drafts by many different draft analysts here over the last four months, today we look at how good 51 of their final mock drafts were at predicting the actual outcome of the draft.

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Over the last four months we've featured and reviewed more mock drafts here on Blogging The Boys than I care to admit. And while those mocks have been helpful in getting to know many of the prospects in the draft, their predictive value for what actually happened on draft day was widely felt to be approaching zero. But was it really?

Today is judgment day for mock drafts.

If you want to know how good all those draft experts actually were, you've come to the right place. Today we'll look at how accurate all those mock draft gurus 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 - at least not too much. The draft itself is such a crapshoot that most mock drafts are bound to be inaccurate. 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.

To do that, we review 51 mock draft published by draftnicks who've shown up on these pages in one form or another over the last four months.

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 uses exactly that approach to grade mock drafts as well, and they published their 2015 results earlier this week. Their system is based on correctly predicting the player in the round (1 point) and matching the player with the correct team (3 points). Unfortunately, they only evaluate those mock drafts that were submitted to the Huddle Report to be scored. If a mock drafter doesn't submit his mock draft to the site, he's not graded.

No such luck here on BTB. If you got our clicks for your mocks, you're facing Mock Draft Judgment Day. End of discussion.

Today we hand out our 'Close But No Cigar' awards for the best mock drafts of the year. We already have a bit of a tradition with these awards, as this is our sixth consecutive year of handing them out, after the 2010, the 2011, the 2012, the 2013, and the 2014 awards.

But simply replicating The Huddle Report's method wouldn't be a lot of fun, especially since you can just follow the link above and look up their ranking. Instead, we use a scoring system that 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 correct team = 4 points

In the table at the bottom of the post you'll find the detailed results of 51 mocks from sites or writers, almost all of whom are well known here on BTB. But let's run through a couple of highlights first before looking at the total scores.

Accurately predicting the first round: Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com walks away with the crown in this category after accurately predicting 29 of a possible 32 first-round picks. His only misses: OT Jake Fisher, DE Randy Gregory, and SS Landon Collins. Seven other draftniks got 28 first-round picks right and another eight got 27 picks right. So in terms of accurately predicting the correct first-round picks, this was one of the easier drafts in recent years.

Nailed it: Jason Boris, a little-known mocker who posts only one mock per year but consistently ranks very high, outclassed everybody by nailing 12 picks. Runner up is Jon Machota (11) of the Dallas Morning News, who also delivers a very impressive overall result.

Missed by an inch or two: Todd McShay, Peter Schrager and Jason Boris accurately predicted 17 of the 32 picks to within +/- 2 spots (Example: McShay mocked Damarious Randall 29th and he was picked 30th).

Three's a charm: Jason La Canfora predicted 20 first round picks to within +/-3 spots. Kevin Hanson and Charlie Campbell share second place with 19 each.

The vagaries of mock drafts: 44 analysts had Randy Gregory as a first round projection, just as 35 had Landon Collins as a frist-rounder. Eddie Goldman (30) and  Dorial Green-Beckham (17) round out the top misses. Conversely, only three analysts (Peter Schrager, Ourlads, Dave Syvertsen) had Stephone Anthony as a first-rounder in their mocks. Laken Tomlinson (5), Shaq Thompson (8), Phillip Dorsett (20) and Damarious Randall (20) also didn't get a lot of love in the pre-draft mocks.

And this year's Close But No Cigar Award goes to: Todd McShay and Jason Boris, whose mock drafts scored 73 points each in our CBNC methodology. Dane Brugler also achieved more than 70 points. See the full results below:

Mock Draft Scores 2015 (click blue 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
Todd McShay (ESPN Insider) 28 18 17 9 10 48 73
Jason Boris (Times-News Online) 28 17 16 10 12 52 73
Dane Brugler (CBS) 28 17 16 9 10 48 71
Jason La Canfora (CBS) 26 20 15 7 8 42 71
Charlie Campbell (Walter Football) 26 19 15 6 9 44 71
Don Banks (Sports Illustrated) 28 17 16 6 8 44 69
Jon Machota (Dallas Morning News) 27 16 15 10 11 49 69
Peter Schrager (FoxSports) 26 17 17 7 8 42 68
Evan Silva (Rotoworld) 26 17 16 4 7 40 68
Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com) 29 15 13 5 7 43 68
Ben Standig (CSN Washington) 26 16 14 6 9 44 67
Robert Davis (Football's Future) 28 15 13 9 10 48 66
Rob Rang (CBS) 28 17 15 4 5 38 65
Nate Davis (USA Today) 27 14 12 7 10 47 65
Ryan McCrystal (DraftAce) 27 14 14 7 9 45 64
Mel Kiper (ESPN Insider) 28 15 14 6 7 42 64
Walter Cherepinsky (Walter Football) 25 16 15 7 8 41 64
Bob McGinn (Journal Sentinel) 27 16 12 5 7 41 64
Pete Prisco (CBS) 26 17 13 6 7 40 63
Sam Farmer (Sam Farmer) 25 16 14 9 8 41 63
Scott Wright (Draft Countdown) 27 16 13 6 7 41 63
Matt Falk (Draft Season) 26 15 13 5 7 40 61
KD Drummond (CowboysHQ) 25 17 11 7 8 41 61
Matt Miller (Matt Miller) 26 17 13 4 5 36 61
Will Brinson (CBS) 27 16 13 6 4 35 60
Jimmy Kempski (Philly Voice) 25 18 15 3 2 29 60
Great Blue North 26 14 13 7 7 40 60
Greg Gabriel (NFP) 25 13 12 5 8 41 60
Jeff Risdon (Real GM) 26 13 12 7 7 40 58
Mark Maske (Washington Post) 26 14 11 5 7 40 60
Jason McIntyre (The Big Lead) 26 14 11 8 7 40 58
Mike Mayock (NFL.com) 26 13 12 6 7 40 58
Eric Galko (Optimum Scouting) 26 14 11 6 6 38 57
Frank Schwab (Yahoo) 26 14 12 3 5 36 57
Brian Burke (Sports Illustrated) 25 16 10 3 4 33 57
Charean Williams (Star Telegram) 26 15 10 5 5 36 56
John Dove (Draft Breakdown) 25 14 13 6 4 33 56
Jeff Feyerer (Ourlads) 25 13 12 5 6 37 56
Dave Syvertsen (Ourlads) 24 13 10 4 7 38 56
Dan Kadar (SB Nation) 26 14 10 4 5 36 55
Josh Norris (Rotoworld) 24 14 12 5 5 34 55
Ourlads 23 14 12 6 6 35 55
Peter King (Sports Illustrated) 27 11 11 5 5 37 54
Mike Florio (PFT) 25 13 10 4 4 33 54
Robert Klemko (Sports Illustrated) 25 14 9 5 5 35 53
Doug Farrar (Sports Illustrated) 23 13 10 5 6 35 52
Jamie Newberg (Scout.com) 24 13 10 4 5 34 52
Charles Davis (NFL.com) 25 11 9 5 6 37 51
Eric Edholm (Yahoo) 26 10 10 5 5 36 51
Lou Pickney (Draft King) 22 13 9 5 5 32 49
Shaun King (Yahoo) 26 13 7 2 2 30 48

We're expanding the number of mock drafts we look at on Mock Draft Judgment Day every year. When we started in 2010, we only looked at 20 mock drafts, this year we're up to 51. And with the back-data we have, we can now take a look at where some of the analysts above rank over the years.

You'll find the average score of 25 mock drafters below, all of whom got a mock draft score from BTB in at least three of the last four years.

Four-Year Average Mock Draft Score
Rank Mocker 4-year average 2015 2014 2013 2012
1 Todd McShay (ESPN Insider) 65.5 73 58 66 65
2 Dane Brugler (CBS) 64.8 71 51 70 67
T3 Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com) 64.3 68 58 67 - -
T3
Ben Standig (CSN Midatlantic) 64.3 67 54 56 80
5 Mike Mayock (NFL.com) 63.5 58 58 74 64
6 Walter Cherepinsky (Walter Football) 62.5 64 58 64 64
7 Ryan McCrystal (DraftAce) 62.3 64 55 62 68
8 Peter Schrager (FoxSports) 62.0 68 58 67 55
9 Mel Kiper (ESPN Insider) 61.0 64 57 65 58
10 Don Banks (Patriots.com) 60.8 69 49 57 68
11 Scott Wright (Draft Countdown) 60.5 63 62 63 54
12 Rob Rang (CBS) 59.0 65 60 51 60
13 Dan Kadar (SB Nation) 57.8 55 51 59 66
14 Pete Prisco (CBS) 57.0 63 53 49 63
15 Robert Davis (Football's Future) 56.0 66 46 56 - -
16 Peter King (SI.com) 55.5 54 49 55 64
17 Jimmy Kempski (Philly Voice) 54.3 60 41 62 - -
T18 Eric Galko (Optimum Scouting) 54.0 57 44 61 - -
T18 Lou Pickney (Draft King) 54.0 49 51 50 66
20 Evan Silva (Rotoworld) 53.8 68 48 51 48
21 Doug Farrar (SI.com) 52.0 52 54 50
22 Mike Florio (PFT) 51.7 54 47 54 - -
23 Josh Norris (Rotoworld) 50.7 55 48 49 - -

So there you have it. Despite all the uncertainty involved in the draft, there are some analysts who consistently perform better than others. In our case, Todd McShay and Dane Brugler sit at the top spot. Daniel Jeremiah, Ben Standig, and Mike Mayock follow.

The next mock draft season has already begun - Dane Brugler published his first 2016 mock on Monday - though it'll be a while before the mock draft industry starts cranking out weekly mocks again. Once they do however, you may want to read some mocks a little more carefully than others, and the results above may be a useful guide for that.

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