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Mock drafts in January don’t mean much

Manziel Getty Images

If ESPN was on your television at all yesterday, you probably saw that Mel Kiper Jr. has released his first 2014 NFL mock draft, and that he’s predicting that the Houston Texans will select Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel with the first overall pick.

Mock drafts can be fun, but here’s why you shouldn’t pay too much attention: It was a year ago today that ESPN published Kiper’s first mock draft of 2013, a mock draft that had Damontre Moore as the No. 2 overall pick. Three months later, when the actual draft happened, Moore went No. 81 overall.

I point that out not to criticize Kiper personally, but simply to note that for all the attention they generate, mock drafts this early in the year are usually way, way, way off. The idea that we can pair a specific player to a specific team in January is, frankly, ridiculous. Teams have hardly even started their evaluations of draft prospects. The Senior Bowl and other all-star games are still ahead. The Scouting Combine is still ahead. Individual workouts are still ahead. Not every team currently has a head coach. Not every team currently has a general manager.

Manziel might end up in Houston, or he might not. Pegging him as the No. 1 overall pick right now gives the folks on ESPN plenty to talk about, but it’s nothing more than a guess.

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50 Responses to “Mock drafts in January don’t mean much”
  1. jdbaker01 says: Jan 16, 2014 10:08 AM

    Sure they mean a lot to Mel Kiper Jr and his salary.

  2. bennyb82 says: Jan 16, 2014 10:10 AM

    It should also be noted that mock drafts mean very little period.

  3. dwarftosser says: Jan 16, 2014 10:10 AM

    Mock drafts in don’t mean much.

  4. Patskrieg dot com says: Jan 16, 2014 10:12 AM

    In all fairness to Kiper, Moore had the talent of a top 10 pick. The full story of him being a head case hadn’t especially been revealed yet. Fortunately for him he was drafted by the Giants so he’ll fit right in (and looked like a steal at times).

    Mock drafts any time of year are fun and give you a jumping off point to prep for draft season. Don’t rain on the parade.

  5. cowpiesnotcowboys says: Jan 16, 2014 10:14 AM

    In addition, there are plenty of free agency moves (cuts and signings) that can change each team’s needs and priorities between now and the draft.

  6. mezter says: Jan 16, 2014 10:14 AM

    Mock draft never mean anything. Haha

  7. mikejune says: Jan 16, 2014 10:14 AM

    If Mel Kiper worked in an industry that had any accountability at all, he and McShay would have been out of work a long time ago. Wasn’t Jimmy Clausen his #1 prospect a few years back? That’s all you need to know.

  8. bosdober says: Jan 16, 2014 10:16 AM

    While I agree that it’s hard to put much stock in mock drafts, Gil Brandt ranks Manziel as the #1 prospect in the draft. Brandt’s background gives him a great deal of credibility.

  9. wawa33 says: Jan 16, 2014 10:16 AM

    The headline should be: “mock drafts deserve to be mocked. “

  10. smilesaustin says: Jan 16, 2014 10:17 AM

    Considering none of us have access to any team’s draft board prior to the draft, a mock draft at any given time is just a guess – that’s the whole point. Fans like to see what the different possibilities are, so they go around and check out different mock drafts to see what the different “guesses” are.

    They’re never meant to be taken as gospel. And really, most people are just as interested to see the analysis that explains WHY this individual has projected this pick than necessarily the pick itself.

  11. contactkylesmith says: Jan 16, 2014 10:17 AM

    They mean a lot to playoff starved fans (Bills fan here) that have nothing else to look forward to, starting in November….every year :(

  12. wearepennstate1984 says: Jan 16, 2014 10:19 AM

    Allen Robinson in the 1st Round to the Seahawks! HE should be the 1st WR taken after Watkins.

  13. thefiesty1 says: Jan 16, 2014 10:28 AM

    Pretty good guess. Houston is likely to waste another first round pick, again. They’ll never get it right.

  14. officialgame says: Jan 16, 2014 10:34 AM

    I love Johnny Football but he better change his style or they will be calling him Johnny Angel.

  15. behike54 says: Jan 16, 2014 10:37 AM

    Chiefs should select TBPA, from the following positions: DE, FS, WR, G, CB, RB.

  16. bigguccijets says: Jan 16, 2014 10:38 AM

    Love Johnny Manziel. The kid started from the bottom now he’s here. Anyone who thinks he’s not the best QB in a generation is a fool. Texans will go from 2-14 to 10-6 with him. #MoneyTeam #HeilManziel #ManzAMakeHerDance

  17. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 16, 2014 10:55 AM

    Kiper is all over the map and completely nuts on a number of issues every year. He just says what people probably pay him to say. I just don’t believe that he even believes some of the stuff he comes up with. He has a lot of good things to say mixed in with everything else, but I think he’s unhealthy for a young person to latch onto and try to learn from. He sets a bad example for those that would like to one day be NFL TV pundits. Just look at his mocks and compare them to others, he’s way off the mark on a handful of players every year.

    Big Mike Williams, he was #1 overall on the board too. I got really pissed off when the Lions drafted him because I always wondered if maybe it’s rankings like what Kiper does that could influence our perception of what players are worth. What if Kiper said BMW was the worst player ever? Would we still have drafted him? I dunno, all I know is he was the #1 player on Mel’s board, and we scooped him up so fast when he “fell” to us, as Mel Kiper saw it.

    Mocks may not mean anything exact, but this time of year I read more mocks than I read news about current events in the world!

  18. philtration says: Jan 16, 2014 10:56 AM

    We mocked Jerry Angelo’s draft for years here in Chicago.

  19. bassplucker says: Jan 16, 2014 11:04 AM

    Yeah, but the alternative this time of year is to follow the NBA. No thanks.

  20. mmeyer3387 says: Jan 16, 2014 11:16 AM

    Clearly, its way to early. But mock drafts do give us something to think about and enjoy. We must remember that they are for NFL fans, not GM’s.

  21. riverhorsey says: Jan 16, 2014 11:20 AM

    If you go back and look at Kipers picks they were very close in the order they were picked.

  22. htown1035 says: Jan 16, 2014 11:22 AM

    Bill O’Brien has been doing interviews the past couple of days – he’s still in the process of evaluating his own ROSTER, and hasn’t had a chance to even look at prospects yet.

  23. thatstinks says: Jan 16, 2014 11:26 AM

    Ryan Nassib agree’s with the headline . I guess the NFL does need a combine . LOL as a Raider fan I wondered why we didn’t just print a Kiper mock draft and get rid of our scouts with some of the silly picks we made .

  24. granadafan says: Jan 16, 2014 11:27 AM

    I like how the vast vast majority of the so-called draft pundits wait until Mel Kiper puts out his mock draft, then they steal his draft to make their “own” mock draft. Mock Mel all you want, he’s still the king of mock drafts.

  25. cm2006 says: Jan 16, 2014 11:37 AM

    It is kind of rediculous.

    But playing around with teams and needs and names – it’s the only way we can fine tune everything. If you stay away from it all until much later you’re much further behind.

  26. dtownsportslions says: Jan 16, 2014 11:59 AM

    As a Lions fan, I love mock drafts.

  27. ironmd778 says: Jan 16, 2014 12:01 PM

    Kiper’s knowledge of college players is insane. Never seen anything like it.

  28. rubenxx7 says: Jan 16, 2014 12:16 PM

    well this guess its pretty accurate. Texas will be pressured into drafting Manziel. Though i do believe Teddy is better nfl prospect.

  29. deezenucks says: Jan 16, 2014 1:00 PM

    I love mocks since typically the draft is what I look forward to after week 4 with my team ;)
    I think it’s crazy if the jags pass on bridgeh20 or bortles at 3, while DE is a huge need, NFL teams run through the QB.

  30. spg3081 says: Jan 16, 2014 1:04 PM

    I don’t understand why many site post a piece advising folks that mock drafts should be taken with a heavy serving of salt. They don’t post the same sort of piece in August when predictions come out as to who will win what division, who will win the Super Bowl or when predictions for MVP, ROY, etc come out. Mock drafts are simply predictions. Granted, they’re predictions that receive far more coverage and more TV time than other predictions. I guess it has to do with the fan boom of the last decade – neophyte fans need to be reminded not to live & die by every prediction and rumor.

  31. sdnative1904 says: Jan 16, 2014 1:06 PM

    Mock draft experts are touts

  32. oreo51 says: Jan 16, 2014 1:11 PM

    Mock drafts don’t mean anything the day before the draft. If the prognosticator gets 20% in the first round they are doing well. The rest of the draft they hit on almost nobody.

  33. obsession55 says: Jan 16, 2014 1:18 PM

    what the bigger joke…Kiper’s picks or that ESPN actually charges you money to see them!!!?? Hes on the “Insider” page. Unbelievable

  34. r8rsfan says: Jan 16, 2014 1:21 PM

    Chuckie Keeton for Heisman.

  35. phillyeaglefan says: Jan 16, 2014 1:34 PM

    The most accurate mock drafts come within a day or two prior to the draft, and that still isn’t perfect. Also, by then you can just wait a few more days until the draft anyway.

  36. haleyistheman00 says: Jan 16, 2014 1:37 PM

    Kiper and McShay should be weatherman

  37. igorjohnson88 says: Jan 16, 2014 1:42 PM

    Mock drafts are ridiculously stupid and I’m still dumbfounded Mel Kiper Jr is even employed. Draft expert? If you look at his predictions over the years he has been historically and astronomically wrong on every draft since he crowned himself the draft expert. Literally has never gotten anything right. The only other profession I know where you are rewarded for being wrong consistently is a weatherman.

  38. tooz72 says: Jan 16, 2014 1:50 PM

    i’m so happy Uncle Al isn’t around, he’d be looking at the long-snapper from Eastern Alaska Tech in the 1st rd because he ran a 4.33 40 time

  39. steeltuff says: Jan 16, 2014 1:56 PM

    Kiper’s a legend in his own mind.

  40. pacodawg says: Jan 16, 2014 2:37 PM

    Throw a dart who knows

  41. marinraider says: Jan 16, 2014 3:01 PM

    This is the only chart you need to look at to see how little credibility most of the mock drafters really have. bit.ly/1apHofG Mel Kiper ranked 20th in accuracy over the last 5-years but he’s got the ESPN megaphone so he gets attention, while the real mock champion is Bob McGinn in Milwaukee. If it’s entertainment, then who cares, but please don’t hold yourself out as an “expert” because you’ve memorized stats and names of kids and can say them fast on the air.

  42. discosucs2005 says: Jan 16, 2014 3:06 PM

    The other thing to is that, the playoffs impact the draft more than is usually considered. As a Niners fan, I feel like if we get booted out on Sunday, we’ll probably draft a little more aggressively than if we win the Super Bowl.

  43. billsfan1 says: Jan 16, 2014 3:18 PM

    They mean a lot to playoff starved fans (Bills fan here) that have nothing else to look forward to, starting in November….every year :(

    well said, from another sad Bills fan

  44. rrthomasxyz says: Jan 16, 2014 4:01 PM

    The reason Pete Carroll is so successful is he looks at who Mel Kiper Jr. would draft and then drafts the 5th or 6th choice Kiper has listed.

  45. mrfrostyj says: Jan 16, 2014 4:03 PM

    A Mock draft is when a bunch of people with opinions play GM and then get really grouchy when the actual GM’s don’t agree with them on draft day.

  46. aboveaveragejoe11 says: Jan 16, 2014 4:12 PM

    Geno Smith agrees. Can’t blame players for buying into the hype of early (and late) mock drafts. The downside is said player then ends up squirming before the cameras on draft day one….draft day two…etc.

    Mock drafts are for entertainment purposes only and have zero actual value.

  47. filthymcnasty1 says: Jan 16, 2014 4:14 PM

    Viking fans usually start their mock drafts in October, once they’ve been effectively eliminated.

  48. djshnooks says: Jan 16, 2014 4:30 PM

    Manziel never started at the bottom, he has always a been a rich, spoiled brat.

    And he will fall on his face in the NFL…at least Tim Tebow won something in college.

  49. flipola says: Jan 16, 2014 5:27 PM

    Obviously January mocks won’t wind up being accurate. They’re more about explaining team needs, and how a player might fit into a system. People still like reading them, probably hoping the mocker will mock the player you want to your team.

    (Crossing fingers for TEN – C.J. Mosley.)

  50. phillyphannnn83 says: Jan 16, 2014 11:07 PM

    Commit this to memory…

    5 years from now, the best QB from this draft will be Blake Bortles.

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