Shutdown Corner - NFL

I like a good mock draft as much as the next guy, but I like to think I keep them in the proper perspective. I don't see them as absolute, rock-hard predictions on where a player will be chosen, but instead, as a loose guide to who might be available when, and a way to get a general consensus on what players should go when.

There are also two kinds of mock drafts out there. The first kind, which I think is the most common definition, is an honest guess as to what will happen on draft day. It's generally accepted that these are impossible to do past the first few picks. The second kind, like the one we had here at The Corner, represents what the mock drafter thinks a team should do. It's not always made clear what a mock draft is trying to accomplish.

Anyway, The Big Lead, which is one of the good blogs out there, kept track of a bunch of different mock drafts and then, after the fact, rated the most accurate. Curious about the results? Here's your top ten. But first, a word about the scoring methods:

For scoring purposes - 1 point was given to anyone who correctly nailed the pick exactly; .5 was given to those who had Tampa taking QB Josh Freeman, even though he went at 17 instead of 19, as many predicted.

1. Mike Mayock, NFL Network: 10/32
2. Mel Kiper, ESPN: 8.5/32
2. The Big Lead: 8.5/32
2. National Football Post: 8.5/32
5. Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News: 8/32
6. Don Banks, Sports Illustrated: 7/32
6. San Diego Union-Tribune: 7/32
6. Shawn Zobel, 7/32
9. Todd McShay: 6/32
10. Peter King, Sports Illustrated: 5.5/32

So there you have it. Mike Mayock is the mack daddy of mock drafting.

I'd make the following argument, though: It is entirely unreasonable to judge a guy like Mayock, Kiper or McShay on how many they got right in their mock draft. There are 32 teams in the NFL, zero of them trust those three guys enough to consistently tell them the truth about whom they're drafting, and most of the teams are constantly peppering those guys with things that are deliberately untrue. It's not their job to get a mock draft "right."

It's their job to have a comprehensive knowledge of every player with a realistic chance to be drafted, and by that measure, Mayock, Kiper and McShay are all unbelievably good. If their limited success rate with mock draft predictions makes you feel like they're doing a poor job, try enjoying the 2010 draft without hearing a word from a draft analyst beforehand. See how enjoyable that is for you.

Here's a better way to judge a mock draft: Did you enjoy reading, watching or listening to it? When you finished, were you better-informed about the prospects and where they might fit in than when you started? Were you entertained? If so, you just read a quality mock draft. The after-the-fact accuracy is of little importance.

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