With the upcoming NFL draft April 23-25, mock drafts are appearing online. NFL mock drafts are the most popular due to the growth of interest levels and promotion.
Being televised since 1980, it has grown year by year. It went from only being shown on ESPN to being on NFL Network and ABC. Yes, all three networks are airing the same thing at the exact same time. No other sports draft or event holds that much airtime. Each network has different analysis and coverage, so the product is not completely the same.
With the NFL draft becoming such a spectacle, the 2020 draft was supposed to be the best one yet. The draft was supposed to be held in Las Vegas on a floating stage built in the middle of the large fountain at the famous Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the biggest show in draft history was canceled. First round draft prospects were going to be taken to the stage by boat to walk a red carpet on their way to shake the commissioner’s hand after being drafted. What a scene to take the famous hat and jersey picture with the commissioner that players have been working their whole life for.
To create popular, accurate, mock drafts gaining an inside source along the way is a must. NFL Draft insiders like ESPN’S Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay use the information they gain from their sources to create some of their mock drafts. There are a few different types of mock drafts that are used such as “what I would do mocks,” “what I think will happen mock drafts,” and mock drafts predicting trades.
Also, there is a new type called analytics based mock draft. All NFL insiders use their sources around draft time to see what different teams think of certain players and where they hear and think players are getting drafted. One team can have a first round grade on a player and another team could have a borderline top 100 third round grade on that same player.
Information from sources can make or break mock drafts and careers. NFL insiders get burned by bad information every year. Top insiders and analysts have top tier sources. Two years ago, Kiper Jr’s source told him former Oklahoma University quarterback Baker Mayfield was going number one overall. University of Southern California QB Sam Darnold was being projected to go first overall, throughout the whole draft process. Kiper Jr. broke the news on Mayfield the morning of the draft and was called crazy, until it actually happened.
Having good sources around draft time is a must to make a name for yourself. Or just have knowledge on all draft prospects and study game tape on the players, while having an understanding for all 32 NFL team’s needs.
Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network, Jordan Reid says “finding small school prospects is one of the more satisfying feelings on the job. It’s easy to evaluate a star player everyone knows. Finding a diamond in the rough can jumpstart an analyst/scout’s career.”
While creating a mock, knowing team needs and player projections is important, as well. Draft analysts spend countless hours watching a player’s tape. According to Greg Gabriel, a former NFL scout, a team scout is required to watch 4-6 games and meet with the player one on one to gauge his character as well. A player’s character is just as important as his abilities.
Also, keep up with what teams are doing in free agency. If a team signs or trades for a top tier player at a specific position, they likely will not draft that position early. Prospect information can be found in other mocks and from other draft analysts on TV or articles. Next, draft research can also be done by learning how to evaluate talent and watching player game film. Some players’ full games can be found on Youtube if you don’t have access to college game film, which most people do not, unless one have good connections.
With this information, a mock draft is ready to be created.
David Dyer’s Round One Mock Draft (no trades)
No.1 Cincinnati Bengals | Joe Burrow | QB | LSU
No.2 Washington Redskins | Chase Young | DE | Ohio State
No.3 Detroit Lions | Jeffery Okudah | CB | Ohio State
No.4 New York Giants | Jedrick Wills | OT | Alabama
No.5 Miami Dolphins | Tua Tagovailoa |QB| Alabama
No.6 Los Angeles Chargers | Justin Herbert | QB | Oregon
No.7 Carolina Panthers | Derrick Brown | DL | Auburn
No.8 Arizona Cardinals | Isaiah Simmons | LB\S | Clemson
No.9 Jacksonville Jaguars | Javon Kinlaw | DL | South Carolina
No.10 Cleveland Browns | Mekhi Becton | OT | Louisville
No.11 New York Jets | Jerry Jeudy | WR | Alabama
No.12 Las Vegas Raiders | CeeDee Lamb | WR | Oklahoma
No.13 San Francisco 49ers (from IND) | Henry Ruggs III | WR | Alabama
No.14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Tristan Wirfs | OT\OG | Iowa
No.15 Denver Broncos | Andrew Thomas | OT | Georgia
No.16 Atlanta Falcons | K’Lavon Chaisson | Edge | LSU
No.17 Dallas Cowboys | CJ Henderson | CB | Florida
No.18 Miami Dolphins (from PIT) | Xaiver McKinney | S | Alabama
No.19 Las Vegas Raiders (from CHI) | Kristian Fulton | CB | LSU
No.20 Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR) | Trevon Diggs | CB Alabama
No.21 Philadelphia Eagles | Justin Jefferson | WR | LSU
No.22 Minnesota Vikings (from BUF) | Jeff Gladney | CB | TCU
No.23 New England Patriots | Jordan Love | QB | Utah State
No.24 New Orleans Saints | Patrick Queen | LB | LSU
No.25 Minnesota Vikings | Denzel Mims | WR | Baylor
No.26 Miami Dolphins (from HOU) | Cesar Ruiz | OG\C | Michigan
No.27 Seattle Seahawks | A.J. Epenesa | EDGE | Iowa
No.28 Baltimore Ravens | Kenneth Murray | LB | Oklahoma
No.29 Tennessee Titans | Yetur Gross-Matos | EDGE | Penn State
No.30 Green Bay Packers | Josh Jones | OT | Houston
No.31 San Francisco 49ers | Grant Delpit | S | LSU
No.32. Kansas City Chiefs | A.J. Terrell | CB | Clemson