What if you could be wrong 99 percent of the time, without any negative consequence, and get paid for it? Although that sounds like Skip Bayless’ job description, in this case I am referring to “expert” mock drafts. They are driving everyone insane. They are making radio hosts attack each other. They are out of control and they must be stopped.
Mock drafts are a fun game for fans to play to satiate their longing for football in spring, they are also a decent way to familiarize yourself with the names you will be hearing over draft weekend, but they are entertainment and should be thought of as nothing more than that. A mock draft expert does not exist and anyone who pretends to know what will happen over the next four days is a farce.
The Internet has given a voice to far too many self-proclaimed experts. Some people, like Creed Bratton, weren’t meant to have a voice. Anyone with Internet access can look at a spreadsheet and assign names to teams. No one cares about your hot takes on: draft stock, position scarcity, hand size, locker room presence, Wonderlic scores, and grit.
“But, but…I cross-referenced for team needs and GM draft tendencies.” Oh, that’s amazing. I bet your Madden franchise is unstoppable. If you can pick more than two players the Redskins will draft this weekend, I will issue you a handwritten apology dubbing you a football wizard.
Here’s the thing, Redskins fans, Scot McCloughan doesn’t care about your Mock Draft. If you think you know what McCloughan is thinking, he’s already mentally lapping you. Even the people most familiar with the Redskins and the NFL — beat reporters and former GMs — are rarely accurate with their draft projections. The Redskins have many needs this year (DT, Safety, WR, ILB, RB, etc.) and it’s simple to look at player rankings and pick the best available players to fill those needs. McCloughan is anything but simple.
Last season, I researched McCloughan’s drafts in the past and noticed a few key points: 1) He doesn’t trade away picks; 2) He targets offensive linemen early in the draft and ignores them later; 3) He loves drafting defensive backs; 4) When in doubt, defense wins; and 5) His preference for size is also well-documented.
Despite all of that, everyone in the world was convinced that he would draft a defensive player with last year’s fifth overall pick. Of course he didn’t, he went with Brandon Scherff and all he got out of that pick was a 17-game starter. He didn’t care about where a guy was projected, or drafting for value — he got the guys he wanted and immediately improved the core of the team. He’ll do the same this year and it will still shock us.
Historically, the accuracy of mock drafts is about two percent, according to my caveman math. The first round is the only slightly predictable round and even the first 32 picks are so unforeseeable that the Redskins will give you one million dollars if you predict it correctly. Fortunately for Kirk Cousins, that money is safe (they’ll need every penny).
One trade or surprise in the first round and the next 250 picks have been tilted, that mock draft that Mel Kiper Jr. spent 2000 hours perfecting is kaput, yet each year more folks sign up to become an ESPN Insider just to see what Kiper and the rest of these phony experts see in their crystal balls.
If you’re predicting the draft, you’re trying to get into the minds of 32 GMs, about two dozen meddling owners, myriad coaches, and anonymous scouts, all of whose words and actions are interdependent. You’d have better luck predicting the draft with tarot cards. This is madness. BAN THE MOCK DRAFT!
We don’t need mock drafts anymore. Mock drafts are for loser franchises, so that their fans can feel momentary control over their doomed fates. Scot McCloughan is a lion quietly hunting his prey from the tall grass of the plains. McCloughan knows what you think you know about him and uses it to his advantage. Everything besides the phrase “football players” is smoke and mirrors.
Your best bet is to drop the mock drafts, grab a drink, kick your feet up, and watch Chef McCloghan cook for four days. You might not understand the ingredients individually but you’ll love the meal.
Because I am a walking contradiction, here are the results of my hypocritical mock draft as Redskins GM. You can trust me, I have a blog.
Rd 1, pick 27 – A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
Rd.2, pick 53 – Jeremy Cash, SS, Duke
Rd. 3, pick 84 – Jack Allen, C, Michigan State
Rd. 4, pick 120 – Kenneth Dixon, RB, LA Tech
Rd. 5, pick 158 – Sean Davis, FS, Maryland
Rd. 6, pick 187 – De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi St.
Rd. 7, pick 232 – Cody Kessler, QB, USC
Rd. 7, pick 242 – Jared Norris, ILB, Utah
Happy Draft Day, Skins fans. In Scot we trust. #ISWT
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