Over the past few weeks RCS has been featuring mock drafts from various 'experts' from a number of publications. Mock drafts are great fun to look at and discuss, but does anyone look at them after the draft to see if they were worthwhile? Short answer, yes, we do. RCS has reviewed the mock drafts from the 10 experts featured in our mock draft compilation as well as mock drafts by Peter King, Bill Simmons, and Mike Mayock to see who really had the best idea of what was going to happen.
First off, congratulations to all the mock drafts for correctly forecasting the top three picks in the draft, but after that the accuracy takes a serious dive.
We looked at a variety of factors to determine which mock draft was the most accurate. Total picks guessed exactly correct, total number of picks off (i.e. if they projected someone to go 8th and he went 10th that would be two points. Points were added up for each of their first round projections, most points being the worst.), and for fun, we looked to see what their worst prediction was.
Not surprisingly, ESPN's Mel Kiper led the way in just about every statistic.
Kiper nailed the most picks exactly correct, properly placing 10 prospects in their final draft spot. Peter King was right behind Kiper, correctly predicting nine picks. The worst of the group was NFL.com's Pat Kirwan, who only predicted four draft picks correctly (and remember, every single mock draft correctly predicted the top 3).
*The worst pick from each mock draft was excluded when calculating the total number off in order to prevent one bad selection from skewing the data too much
Best Mock Draft: Mel Kiper, ESPN
As mentioned, Kiper properly placed 10 first-round draft picks, while not great, it's the best of the bunch. In addition Kiper was off by double digits in his predictions only five times, which also led the way. There were also only four players selected in the first round that Kiper had not slated as first-round picks, in this category he tied for the best. Adding up the total of all of his misses, Kiper was off by 183 spots, an average of under six spots off per pick, pretty good considering Kiper's biggest miss was Jimmy Clausen, who he projected to go 8th, but fell down to 48th.
Second Place: Peter King, SI
The Monday Morning QB put together the second-best mock draft of the group, nailing nine picks correctly. King was off by double digits six times and tied Kiper by failing to include only four actual first-round picks in his mock. King was off by a total of 184 spots, only one higher than Kiper. King's biggest miss was also Clausen, who he predicted as the 14th pick.
Worst Mock Draft: Wes Bunting, National Football Post
A lot of the mock drafts were bad, but this one stood out above the rest. Bunting only correctly predicted five picks, one better than NFL.com's Pat Kirwan, who fared the worst in that category. Where Bunting really stood out was in big misses and exclusions. His mock draft missed 13 picks by double digits and failed to include eight first-round pick in his mock. Bunting's biggest misses were predicting Everson Griffen to go 24th and Bruce Campbell to go 26th, as neither were picked in the first three rounds (they ended up 100th and 106th). They also missed big on Charles Brown (projected 23rd, actual 64th), Taylor Mays (projected 8th, actual 49th) and Jimmy Clausen (projected 7th, actual 48th).
Extra credit to Todd McShay and Pete Prisco for being the only ones to predict 10th pick Tyson Alualo would go in the first round, even if they picked him at 31st and 29th respectively.