Mock Draft Speculation
Written by: Quintin Bentley Crevling
The NFL draft is an annual offseason event in which each team will select eligible college players to join their organization. A mock draft is a prediction of how said draft will unfold based on available players matching with team needs.
Sports organizations pay analysts hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and predict the best possible outcome for NFL teams, and players, entering the draft. The most respected draft analyst is ESPN’s Mel KIper, who grades each college player on a scale of 1-100 (most first round players scoring in the 85-95 range). Kiper will then sit with fellow analysts during the live draft and will break down his predictions for each pick, and may show some highlights from the players college career.
Fantasy football has become a multi-billion dollar industry, making mock drafts an extremely useful tool when the football season comes around. The internet is now full of mock draft generators in which the user can place their league’s scoring system into the generator and select NFL players as if it was their fantasy draft.
Most analysts use the NFL combine and individual Pro Days to assess the athletic ability of college players. The NFL combine is a yearly event where athletes show off their physical talent in front of general managers, coaches, and scouts, competing in several events including but not limited to the 40 yard sprint, bench press, vertical jump, etc,. The athletes are also given the Wonderlic test, which is an aptitude test that seeks to assess problem solving capabilities.
Most top ranked players are given a chance to host a Pro Day which is the same physical testing as the NFL combine, except they get to perform at their home stadium or weight room.
In a recent development over the last few seasons, top players have stopped attending the NFL combine, opting to only work out for scouts at their Pro Day. Some players have started to feel that there is too much pressure surrounding the combine and, if they underperform, it can affect their draft stock as top prospects could potentially lose millions of dollars.
The mock draft doesn’t factor in the wildly unpredictable nature of the NFL. The Seahawks are a prime example of a team that throws out all preconceived notions of drafting. In the 2012 draft, the Seahawks selected linebacker Bruce Irvin with the 15th overall pick in the draft. Irvin was given a draft grade of 80 and was expected to be taken in the late second round or early third round. Irvin has played extremely well over the course of his five year NFL career, helping Seattle win the Super Bowl in 2013.
A more recent example is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selecting kicker Robert Aguayo in the second round of the draft. This shocked the leagues as most kickers go undrafted, and if they are taken it’s usually in the last two rounds. The entire NFL community was surprised by the pick and were wondering how good this young kicker is to be selected over so many great players. Aguayo proceeded to implode throughout the season missing nine field goals and two extra points to finish the season with the lowest field goal percentage in the league.
While mock drafts are not always an accurate depiction of what will happen in the NFL draft, it is a fun way for fans to stay engaged throughout the offseason as they look at players and raise their hopes on how the players could positively affect their team’s production.