Reminder: Mel Kiper Stinks At Actually Evaluating NFL Talent

While Big Mel does OK for himself in mock drafts, though not overly OK, we thought it would be prudent to remind you that the last time we looked, Kiper's pre-draft rankings (which are his estimations of how good the players are, not where they will be drafted) stunk pretty hard.

Last year, Tim Burke took a look at draft classes five and 10 years back, and how Kiper's rankings held up. They were not great! In the year since, no one in the '08 class has really shaken out—remember, this is career cumulative value, so that's hard to do in one season—though Aquib Talib had himself a very good season. You can see the original piece in full below.

Infographic: You're Better Off Guessing Than Listening To Mel Kiper

For most football fans, the NFL draft is associated with one name: Mel Kiper Jr. The ESPN analyst has been lauded as America's most famous draft expert for decades. We wondered how well his highly-publicized pre-draft rankings would hold up, though. Are the players Kiper claims will be NFL stars actually destined for success?

In order to answer this question, we looked at Kiper's final pre-draft top 20 from 2008 and 2003 (five and 10 years ago, respectively) and how those players turned out. Since players at different positions are difficult to measure against one another, we're using the Weighted Career Approximate Value statistic, as used by Pro-Football-Reference. (Details here.)

Of Kiper's 40 selections, only 12 ended up being in the top 20 of their draft class. 17 of the players ended up being average, and 11 were complete busts. Perhaps more importantly, Kiper missed more future superstars than he predicted.


Visualizations by Jim Cooke.