Mock drafts in January don’t mean much

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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.

50 responses to “Mock drafts in January don’t mean much

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

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

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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 .

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. This is the only chart you need to look at to see how little credibility most of the mock drafters really have. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.)

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