What are the mock drafts saying?

In my last post, I reviewed the big boards at several draft sites around the web.  In doing so, I kind of generated a consensus big board of the top 100 players in this year's draft.

The next step is obvious.  Now that the rankings have been determined, where do all of these talent evaluators actually predict that the players will go?  It's one thing to say that Sam Bradford is the fifth best player, it's quite another to leave him on the board until the fifth pick.

So with that in mind, I did some more research.  The criteria I used was simple.  The site had to be fairly well known, it had to have some decent research behind it, and it had to have at least three rounds in it's mock.

We all know that mock drafts are pretty worthless after the first round.  In fact, most of them are worthless by the middle of the first round.  Not only do NFL talent evaluators know more about what they want than bloggers and internet football geeks, there are also other elements at play that can completely change the dynamics of the draft.

For instance, there's the domino effect of a trade.  If one of those happens, there's going to be a sudden shake-up of needs versus available players, and that will impact how the next few picks go. 

You can also have runs on a certain position.  A couple of years ago a run on offensive tackles put Sam Baker in the first round.  Every year it seems that clubs can't get enough of one position early, and that can ruin predictions.

Then there's the Al Davis factor.  Need I elaborate?

So obviously, it's really hard to predict who's going to do what.  And I'm not even going to try.  Instead, I'm going to report on what the mock draft experts at http://www.draftsite.com, http://www.cdsdraft.com, http://www.drafttek.com, http://www.walterfootball.com (both Walt's and Matt's), http://www.sidelinescouting.com, http://www.draftace.com, and http://www.newnfldraft.com think.

The methodology is similar to that which I employed on the big board.  Players are averaged by selection, and if they don't appear in a draft they get a draft position of 100 for averaging purposes.

So without further ado, here is the consolidated draft for the first three rounds, according to the experts.

Player Position Average
Pick
Weighted
Average Pick
Highest
Pick
Lowest
Pick
Big Board
Value
Draft
Value
1 Sam Bradford QB 1.00 1.00 1 1 5 -4
2 Ndamukong Suh DT 2.25 2.57 2 3 1 1
3 Russell Okung OT 3.63 4.14 2 5 4 -1
4 Gerald McCoy DT 4.00 4.57 3 8 3 1
5 Eric Berry S 6.25 7.14 5 7 2 3
6 Jimmy Clausen QB 6.88 7.86 4 10 12 -6
7 Bryan Bulaga OT 8.50 9.71 5 24 11 -4
8 Trent Williams OT 10.38 11.86 5 17 18 -10
9 Joe Haden CB 10.75 12.29 7 16 8 1
10 C.J. Spiller RB 11.75 13.43 6 17 10 0
11 Rolando McClain ILB 13.50 15.43 10 25 6 5
12 Derrick Morgan DE 13.88 15.86 10 19 7 5
13 Dez Bryant WR 15.75 18.00 10 29 9 4
14 Jason Pierre-Paul DE 16.63 19.00 12 26 13 1
15 Dan Williams DT 17.00 19.43 9 36 16 -1
16 Earl Thomas S 17.38 19.86 10 24 17 -1
17 Anthony Davis OT 18.25 20.86 8 30 20 -3
18 Bruce Campbell OT 18.50 21.14 8 49 19 -1
19 Brandon Graham DE 19.63 22.43 12 34 15 4
20 Mike Iupati OG 20.25 23.14 13 31 14 6
21 Sean Weatherspoon OLB 21.88 25.00 15 32 26 -5
22 Taylor Mays S 22.00 25.14 11 38 23 -1
23 Carlos Dunlap DE 24.00 27.43 15 37 36 -13
24 Kyle Wilson CB 25.00 28.57 17 40 21 3
25 Sergio Kindle OLB 25.88 29.57 16 38 24 1
26 Jermaine Gresham TE 26.88 30.71 12 38 30 -4
27 Ryan Mathews RB 27.50 31.43 20 34 38 -11
28 Jared Odrick DT 28.38 32.43 22 41 27 1
29 Charles Brown OT 29.00 33.14 23 39 37 -8
30 Maurkice Pouncey OG 29.13 33.29 24 36 28 2
31 Golden Tate WR 30.38 34.71 21 36 32 -1
32 Terrence Cody DT 31.13 35.57 27 40 34 -2
33 Jerry Hughes DE 34.00 38.86 22 43 22 11
34 Everson Griffen DE 34.63 39.57 22 55 29 5
35 Brian Price DT 36.25 41.43 25 51 25 10
36 Arrelious Benn WR 37.63 43.00 29 45 33 3
37 Demaryius Thomas WR 39.50 45.14 33 49 41 -4
38 Jahvid Best RB 40.25 46.00 21 65 31 7
39 Devin McCourty CB 32.43 46.71 16 100 35 4
40 Damian Williams WR 42.50 48.57 33 58 45 -5
41 Patrick Robinson CB 49.13 56.14 34 65 43 -2
42 Tim Tebow QB 49.25 56.29 36 74 61 -19
43 Brandon LaFell WR 52.38 59.86 31 72 50 -7
44 Daryl Washington ILB 48.00 62.29 36 100 39 5
45 Rodger Saffold OG 49.43 63.71 31 100 53 -8
46 Colt McCoy QB 50.43 64.71 38 100 52 -6
47 Corey Wootton DE 56.75 64.86 35 79 49 -2
48 Kareem Jackson CB 56.88 65.00 30 81 44 4
49 Nate Allen S 57.00 65.14 43 80 48 1
50 Rob Gronkowski TE 58.50 66.86 46 88 42 8
51 Navorro Bowman OLB 60.00 68.57 39 85 56 -5
52 Aaron Hernandez TE 55.00 69.29 37 100 47 5
53 Jonathan Dwyer RB 62.25 71.14 40 87 46 7
54 Ricky Sapp OLB 64.13 73.29 39 92 40 14
55 Morgan Burnett S 64.88 74.14 51 79 58 -3
56 Vladimir Ducasse OT 65.75 75.14 42 98 60 -4
57 Tyson Alualu DT 61.29 75.57 42 100 69 -12
58 Dominique Franks CB 61.57 75.86 43 100 55 3
59 Chad Jones S 56.50 77.00 34 100 54 5
60 Brandon Spikes ILB 57.50 77.86 25 100 57 3
61 Cam Thomas DT 57.50 77.86 41 100 77 -16
62 Jared Veldheer OT 59.17 79.29 49 100 88 -26
63 Koa Misi OLB 59.33 79.43 49 100 74 -11
64 Brandon Ghee CB 59.83 79.86 47 100 63 1
65 Reshad Jones S 68.86 83.14 54 100 86 -21
66 Mardy Gilyard WR 56.60 83.29 42 100 71 -5
67 Perrish Cox CB 69.71 84.00 51 100 76 -9
68 Dexter McCluster WR 69.86 84.14 56 100 64 4
69 Chris Cook CB 66.17 85.29 57 100 59 10
70 Sean Lee ILB 66.17 85.29 55 100 68 2
71 Jon Asamoah OG 67.83 86.71 53 100 62 9
72 John Jerry OG 74.00 88.29 50 100 67 5
73 Eric Norwood OLB 70.33 88.86 54 100 51 22
74 Alex Carrington  DE 71.00 89.43 53 100 87 -13
75 Montario Hardesty RB 69.40 92.43 37 100 80 -5
76 Geno Atkins DT 62.75 93.00 39 100 96 -20
77 Donovan Warren CB 52.67 94.00 20 100 95 -18
78 Toby Gerhart  RB 72.60 94.71 51 100 65 13
79 Lamarr Houston DT 73.20 95.14 54 100 79 0
80 Thaddeus Gibson OLB 73.40 95.29 52 100 89 -9
81 Jason Worilds DE 78.50 95.86 47 100 70 11
82 Donald Butler ILB 68.50 96.29 46 100

83 Arthur Jones DT 69.00 96.57 62 100 66 17
84 Ben Tate RB 75.40 96.71 51 100 90 -6
85 Akwasi Owusu-Ansah  CB 75.80 97.00 69 100

86 Joe McKnight RB 80.50 97.57 60 100

87 Andre Roberts WR 62.33 98.14 48 100

88 Jevan Snead QB 72.00 98.29 49 100

89 Jarrett Brown QB 72.25 98.43 71 100

90 Jacoby Ford WR 81.67 98.57 59 100 73 17
91 Jordan Shipley WR 73.25 99.00 48 100

92 Dorin Dickerson  TE 75.00 100.00 53 100 91 1
93 Tony Pike  QB 68.33 100.71 46 100 83 10
94 Javier Arenas CB 77.75 101.57 59 100

95 Mike Johnson OG 78.00 101.71 50 100 98 -3
96 Linval Joseph DT 70.67 101.71 50 100

97 Jimmy Graham  TE 78.25 101.86 54 100 93 4
98 Greg Hardy DE 79.00 102.29 60 100 78 20
99 Eric Decker  WR 80.25 103.00 67 100 84 15

Interesting stuff, huh?  Everyone agrees that Bradford is the first pick, but that's about all they agree on.  Suh is always up there, but in some drafts Okung was the second selection and in others McCoy is the first DT off the board.

What's even more interesting is the contrast between where the big board rates a player and where the mock has him going.  A lot of that has to do with team needs, of course.  We all know that despite all the BPA talk out there, if a team can't draft at a position of need early they're going to trade down.

But which positions are the biggest beneficiaries of need versus talent?  Obviously, Quarterback is a top one.  What are the others? 

This table shows the average value based on position.  Remember, a negative means that the player tend to get drafted higher than their talent would otherwise suggest.

 


First Round First Two Rounds First Three Rounds
CB 2.00 2.00 -0.30
DE -0.75 1.57 2.90
DT 0.00 -2.25 -1.91
ILB 5.00 4.33 3.75
OG 4.00 0.00 1.83
OLB -2.00 -1.20 1.00
OT -4.50 -7.13 -7.13
QB -5.00 -8.75 -5.00
RB -5.50 0.75 0.71
S 0.33 0.67 -2.43
TE -4.00 3.00 2.80
WR 1.50 -1.67 2.10

What does it mean?  Well really, this isn't as scientific as it could be.  It's also a fairly small sample, so you wouldn't want to take any conclusions drawn off it to Vegas.  But there are a few items that are worth noting.

First, note how Offensive Tackle is actually a bigger "reach" position than Quarterback. And if you've been following the draft for a few years, that shouldn't be a surprise.  It seems like there are always a lot of OTs taken early in hopes that they can anchor the left side for years. 

And once they hit the field, it seems like a lot of them end up stuck on the right, or moved inside to Guard.

Guards and Centers, on the other hand, are always taken lower than they are predicted to be.  Panther fans can tell you that, given that Carolina nabbed the top guard on most draft boards last year, in the fifth round.  Remember that when someone tells you that Maurkice Pouncey may sneak into the top 20.

Wide Receiver is another position where teams tend to be more cautious.  And given the bust rate at that position, it's no surprise that they do.  If there isn't a run on WRs in this draft, that may bode well for the Panthers

The big board had Demarious Thomas and Damian Williams in spitting distance of the Panthers' first selection.  If the Cats decide that they have to have one of them, and if the receiver pick position slides a little, then a small "move me up" trade may be in the offering.

And another big position of need for the Panthers also tends to be a value choice--Defensive End.  That's probably because of the question on which DEs are better suited to OLB in the 3-4, but both Carlos Dunlap and Corey Wooten have 4-3 DE written all over them, and at 48 they have to be the DEs that the Panthers are looking at.

So that's the combined draft consensus.  Taken with the combined Big Board, you start to get an idea of what the possibilities may be where the Panthers are concerned on day two of the draft.

The next an final post in the series will discuss the team needs, and overlay their selections with the available players and what range they're predicted to fall in.

Until then, enjoy the guessing game!

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