After all: the value of pick is established by an imaginary market comprised of dozens/hundreds of reporters/bloggers/analysts who know markedly less than the football people who are determined to be overpaying.
It’s absurd and we do it every year.
Tyson Alualu is a reach. Brian Bulaga is value.
I thought I’d take a look at how it goes when we annually fall into this trap. Let’s compare a mock database to the actual picks taken that year. Let’s see if there’s anything to the ‘reaches’ and ‘values’ assessments that are laid down.
The dicey part of this is finding old mocks. Our friends at WalterFootball still have their old mocks up going back to 2003. That is why I chose Walter as the arbiter for ‘reach’ and ‘value.’
On a quick tangent, let me take a moment to congratulate Walter on their accuracy.
Out of 322 first round picks since 2003, 211 were +/-6 of the actual pick. That’s 65.5% of the time they’re hitting the mark. 63 times nailed it.
There are no metrics on mocks so we can’t say with certainty that that’s great… but it seems great to me. There are misses (mocked Quinn to the Browns at 3 in 2007), but there’s also a few hits (DHB to the Raiders at 7 in 2009). And sometimes they get it more right than the pros (mocked all-pro Beatty 20th in 2009; he fell to the Giants late in second round).
For the most inexact of sciences, I’ll give them a ‘job well done’ rating.
For our purposes we’ll just say that if you pick someone twelve slots higher than the mock, it’s a reach. Twelve slots lower, it’s value.
I only looked at the first round. So if someone was mocked in the second or third round, I’m saying their mock position is 33. That’s why Alualu (mocked at #53, taken at #10) isn’t far and away the Reach Champion. Likewise, the best value picks are in the second, third, etc., rounds. I don’t account for those here either.
If you’re interested in the raw data, here’s the messy spreadsheet.
I’ll keep the whole list in the sidebar for reference for the next couple days.
What’s the batting average when one defies Walter?
If we eyeball the biggest reaches shown to the right:
Bad picks: Anderson, Mayo, Alualu, Moreno, English, B. Johnson, E. James.
Good picks: Whitner, Rivers, Warren, Timmons, Vilma, C. Pace, Hall, Flacco.
Damn, it’s a tie.
Maybe the other side of the equation will yield something more definitive?
Repeating the same process for ‘value picks,’ who wins: the mock or the pros? This measure is admittedly inaccurate since the ‘value’ picks are found in later rounds and I didn’t look at those.
Good picks: Wilkerson, Bulaga, Rodgers, Oher.
Bad picks: Udeze, Wells, Heyward, Quinn, Hughes.
I can’t make out anything here either.
Welp. They can’t all be homeruns.
All I’ve got for a takeaway on this is that there’s more validity to mocks (Walter’s anyway) than I expected.
And data like this is what makes Thursday night compelling TV.