Which NFL Draft Expert Had The Dumbest Mock Draft?S

Republished with permission from Pundit Tracker.

The 2013 NFL Draft was widely viewed to be more unpredictable than most. After grading the mock drafts of Mel Kiper (ESPN), Todd McShay (ESPN), and Mike Mayock (NFL.com), we can confirm that those views proved correct: all three pundits had a rough year. Todd McShay, who was #1 in mock draft accuracy in each of the past four years, had a particularly woeful showing.

Let’s start with our simple variability measure, which is based on the difference between when each player was projected to be picked and when he was actually picked. A lower variability score is better:

Variability200820092010201120122013Average
Mayock7.39.69.99.37.910.79.1
Kiper10.18.810.47.78.511.79.6
McShay10.78.78.86.8721.510.6

The average variability for the three pundits from 2008-12 was 8.8, which underscores just how poor their 2013 performance (14.7 average) was. Big misses for all three included Sharrif Floyd going #3 to Oakland (he went #23 to Minnesota) and Eddie Lacy going late in the first round (actually went late second round). McShay and Mayock both whiffed on Geno Smith, picking him to go #6 to Cleveland (actual: #39 to Jets).

The worst projection of all, however, was McShay pegging Ryan Nassib going #7 to Buffalo (actual: #110 to the Giants). This was by the far the worst first-round projection since we started tracking the mock drafts in 2008.

Here are all the major hits and misses:

Biggest Hits and Misses (2008-2013)

The variability metric can be significantly impacted by “outliers” such as Nassib, so we have calculated a host of alternative metrics, including:

  • Capped Variability (lower = better): caps the maximum penalty of any pick at one round—for instance, McShay’s Nassib pick would be graded as 32 spots off rather than 103 spots
  • Median Error (lower = better)
  • Hit Rate (higher = better): pure percentage of how many picks were correct

Here are the results for these three metrics from 2008-2013.

Capped Variability200820092010201120122013Average
Mayock7.39.69.39.37.910.38.9
McShay10.78.78.76.8712.39.1
Kiper10.18.29.57.78.510.99.3
Median Error200820092010201120122013Average
Mayock24333.53.53.2
Kiper33.53433.53.4
McShay4433.5353.8
Hit Rate200820092010201120122013Average
Mayock35%28%22%28%19%28%27%
Kiper29%25%31%28%22%25%27%
McShay16%25%34%25%16%22%23%

PunditTracker's mission is to bring accountability to the prediction industry by cataloging and scoring the predictions of pundits. This post has been corrected to reflect that Pete Thamel works for Sports Illustrated.