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2017 NFL Draft Simulation and Selection Odds

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There is a lot of love for Christian McCaffrey

NCAA Football: Stanford at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a year makes. Last year Carson Wentz was all but certain to be selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the second overall pick. This year, however, Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas enter the draft sans any major trades (yet) and sit patiently at the 14th spot, sitting on the front porch sipping lemonade, waiting for their world to unfold. Or not. We have no idea. We know exactly what Jon Snow knows.

The Eagles could select any one of 20 million players at 14, trade up, or trade down. This is my attempt to narrow the field and provide some kind of logical insight into each selection. Historically, this method has done pretty well, rating similarly to mock drafts from your favorite (or least favorite) analysts. It’s a bit different though, more akin to a weather forecast.

The method is relatively simple. I gleaned 300 ranked prospects from our friend Arif Hasan’s consensus big board, a compilation of 40 big boards. I extended it to 350 using CBS Sports’ prospect ranking to create a single super big board to use for this simulation. BLG was then able to provide Todd McShay’s In$ider story ranking each team’s positions of need for the draft. With these two elements, I ran a simulation 1,000 times based on a random decision at each selection: to draft based on need or best player available.

This is still obviously flawed. Ideally, I’d have 32 meaningful big boards instead of one super board. The simulation also doesn’t account for trades, which obviously mucks up any mock draft. And the simulation is absent any war room debate, discussion, and emotion; it sticks strictly to the board.

The results are fun. I created a Tableau dashboard so you can interact and see selection odds/percentages for each team and each player in each round for different scenarios. For the Eagles, the big takeaway is that Christian McCaffery is commonly drafted by the Eagles in the first round (30.7% of the time, overall) when the decision is based on need (40.2%) and BPA (21.1%). Outside of Jonathan Allen to Jacksonville, he represents the best match of need and availability in the first round.

See for yourself. Hopefully you can use this to waste time until tomorrow. It’s better than waiting for the world to unfold.

Note: If you’re reading this via Google AMP or Apple News, your loss.