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2015 NFL Mock Draft Grades: Scoring the Experts

Taking a deeper look at how accurate mock drafts were.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Every spring in the NFL is filled to the brim with mock drafts. It's become so tiresome and ridiculous that we like to mock them. But there's another way to hold them accountable, and that is to score each of their picks. A mock draft is inherently flawed, no one knows what every single team in league is going to do. So they're always going to be inaccurate, it's just a matter of degrees. We could do a simple pass/fail of each pick, but that is extremely simple. The Huddle Report gives mock drafters a point if they correctly predicted a player would go in the first round and two points if they got the right team. There is no actual accountability in this system. Mocking Bud Dupree to go 8th to the Falcons when he actually went 22nd to the Steelers has the same score as mocking him to go 21st to the Bengals. That is not accountability, that is giving everyone a trophy for participating.

We have a much better system. It is also very simple but is a harsh scorer: the number of picks between where the player was mocked and where he actually went is the score. Add it up and see who did best. So mocking Bud Dupree to the Falcons is worth 14 points. If a player was taken with a different pick but to the correct team, whether it be by trade or by a team’s other pick in that round, that difference is halved. The mock drafter should be penalized for misjudging a player's draft value but not overly so because they recognized the team's significant interest in the player. So if someone mocked Danny Shelton to Cleveland at 19th overall, they get 3.5 points, not 7. However if they mocked an incorrect trade, they get penalized with double the points. The lower the points, the better you did.

This year presented two obstacles. First was La'el Collins. Universally considered a first round talent, he went completely undrafted through a combination of teams being afraid of his possible connection to the murder of his pregant ex-girlfriend and to his agent saying he would not sign if drafted on the third day. This information did not come to light until the day of the draft, so for this reason any mock draft with La'el Collins in it that was made prior to April 30th, he counts as null. The other was T.J. Clemmings, who was considered a top 50 pick by many pundits but fell to the 4th round over concerns about his broken foot. On one hand, there is no way national writers could see or properly evaluate his medical records. On the other hand, these are national writers and are supposedly plugged in, to give them a pass for not knowing how the entire league feels would be letting them off the hook.

I scored 18 mock drafters from various major publications, and the BGN Community Mock Draft, which last year came in a very respectable 6th, showing that there is wisdom in the crowds and no wisdom in mock drafts. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case this year. Still, the BGN crowd wasn't last, and that's good enough. You were tied for the 4th most correct picks, that's pretty good. These are professionals you're up against.

Mock Drafter Score Correct Worst Pick
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL 156 5 Jake Fisher 21st
Todd McShay, ESPN 170 9 Eli Harold 31st
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN 181 6 Jake Fisher 29th
Dane Brugler, CBS 191 9 Randy Gregory 13th
Rob Rang, CBS 193 4 Randy Gregory 22nd
Peter King, SI 210.5* 4 Randy Gregory 31st
Mike Mayock, NFL 225.5 6 T.J. Clemmings 25th
Charley Casserly, NFL 225.5* 5 Jaelen Strong 31st
WalterFootball 227.5 7 Eli Harold 32nd
Pete Prisco, CBS 235.5 3 Randy Gregory 31st
Charles Davis, NFL 238* 5 T.J. Clemmings 28th
Matt Miller, B/R 259 5 Eli Harold 31st
Dan Kadar, SBN 279 3 Randy Gregory 13th
Evan Silva, Rotoworld 287 3 T.J. Clemmings 28th
Chris Burke, SI 294.5 3 T.J. Clemmings 18th
BGN Reader Mock Draft 301* 6 Jaelen Strong 20th**
Will Brinson, CBS 307 4 Jaelen Strong 26th
Mike Florio, PFT 339 3 Eli Harold 28th
Doug Farrar, SI 364 5 Owamagbe Odighizuwa 24th

*pre-April 30th mock that had La'el Collins

**sports00fan00 has been banned from BGN it was nice knowing you

Best mock drafter: Daniel Jeremiah. The former Eagles and Ravens scout had 29 of his picks go in the first round, which kept his score extremely low.

Worst mock drafter: Doug Farrar. Farrar retains that title from last year, where he was dragged down by mocking 5th rounder David Yankey as a 1st rounder. This year he didn't have a singular whiff that embarrassing, but did have multiple players he mocked in the first round get drafted in the third or fourth rounds.

Biggest reach (not counting Collins or Clemmings): Eli Harold. Mike Florio mocked him 28th overall, McShay and Dan Kadar both mocked him 31st, he went 79th. That was more than enough to cost McShay the title.

Most common correct pick after Winston and Mariota: Trae Waynes. 10 mock drafters accurately selected him for the Vikings.

Most common close miss: D.J. Humphries. Nine mock drafters selected him 25th to the Panthers. He went one pick earlier to the Cardinals.

Kudos: BGN's AndyMcNabb was the only one to accurately mock Shaq Thompson to the Panthers. Pat yourself on the back!

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