Oh yes, it’s that time of year again Green Bay Packers fans. The time of speculation. The time when talking heads talk and try to convince you that they know the most. Some of them might have some inside sources, and some of them really know absolutely nothing more than you and I. But the time of mock drafts is upon us.
What are they really, but speculation covered in different wrapping paper? Instead of paragraphs discussing who the creator thinks could be taken where and why, they’re lists with team and player names and positions. Sometimes you get lucky, and the creator shows a reason why they believe that team will take that player. All in all, they’re practically meaningless.
The Fun of Speculation
What would an NFL offseason be without some speculation? Whether it’s what players your team could sign in Free Agency, who your team could draft, or whether or not a certain Quarterback from California will return or not, it’s all good fun. All in all, I think it’s a way for fans to hype themselves up for the next season. What shiny new toy could be underneath the NFL Draft Day Tree?
If there is one thing the NFL is good at doing, it’s holding our attention. Granted football is my number 1 sport, it seems like the NFL still commands a very large amount of attention in sports media even in the offseason. It’s because they know they can. Fans at an LA Lakers game with Lebron James playing right in front of them will still pull out their phones to read if news hits of a big NFL trade or signing. It just seems to be the most popular sport, and everyone wants a piece of it. And that’s why some people are able to make a living on the draft alone.
The Draft Complex
I think around Christmas every year, ESPN kicks off a firmware update on their two most valuable robots. They make any facial adjustments they need to in order to simulate aging, and then by early February, they’re ready to go. You might know these cyborgs by their human names, Mel Kiper Jr., and Todd McShay.
Of course, I know Mel and Todd aren’t cyborgs. But the fact that they are basically MIA the rest of the year outside NFL Draft time, doesn’t make my joke too far-fetched, does it?
Cyborgs or real breathing humans or not, McShay and Kiper make their big bucks solely off NFL Draft speculation. They sit around and guesstimate what players will be taken by who. Granted a vast knowledge of college players is kind of needed for these estimates, it seems like a pretty cushy job. Factor in that you can basically be wrong more than a meteorologist and get away with it easier, man, what a job!
When you look back at Mel Kiper’s predictions for the Packers’ first round picks the last 5 years, he went 0-7. He predicted absolutely none of them correctly. Last year he did predict the Packers drafting Christian Watson with the 28th pick of the 1st round, but they ended up taking Devonte Wyatt instead, and then picked Watson in the second round.
It’s been noted that Mel Kiper’s correct prediction percentage in the first round is only at about 25-30%. Wow, give me Mel Kiper’s $500K+ salary and I could probably do that! When you take into account that the top 5 picks tend to be pretty easily predicted, 25% is pretty abysmal.
The moral of the story is, even the draft complex is a crapshoot.
Don’t take it too seriously!
In my opinion, mock drafts should be taken as reference info only. Not the gospel “should be” that many make them out to be. If you see a player listed for your team, look at the other players around them too. Is there a chance your team could pick them as well? If so, then prepare yourself for several possibilities.
One of the worst things about mock drafts is those that take them too seriously. NFL GM’s think differently than draft “experts.” Many draft experts focus on contribution “now.” Some GM’s see players as projects but worth the high pick in the long run to insure they have them.
Neither method is wrong. But what is wrong is deeming a pick incorrect because a guy like Mel Kiper predicted they’d go 7 picks later. These guys aren’t in the NFL war rooms, they have no idea what’s going on. So again, their predictions are as good as ours.
Go ahead. Read up on every mock draft you can find. Think about who is most likely to land in your team’s lap. It’s fun to get hyped over the potential of it all. But once again, don’t take it seriously. These guys essentially know no more than we do.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.