One Mock to Rule Them All: Pooling Results from Draft Super-Predictors
Researchers use meta-analysis to synthesize the results of many studies on a single topic. It's a particularly useful tool when any one study likely contains error, or when studies produce conflicting results. Looking at a bunch of datasets in the aggregate can reduce the uncertainty associated with individual studies and get you closer to the truth.
That is the basic theory behind this mock draft. I selected five "super-predictors" from the Huddle Report's rankings of the ten most accurate mock draft creators over the past five years. Selections were made purely based on mock draft availability (darn you, paywalls!). I also picked a sixth super-predictor from the Huddle Report's list that scored extremely well but only did mocks for the past three years. This group of six experts formed my pool of super-predictors.
To make projections I simply identified the player most of the super-predictors chose in each spot, starting at the top of the draft and moving sequentially through the pick order. Where there was no clear consensus, I considered agreement about position (a few corner cases required a bit more thought, which I lay out below). The picks do not represent my own player evaluations or opinions about what a team should do. Just what a team is likely to do.
Round 1 Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow—QB, LSU
Anything else would be a shock.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young—EDGE, Ohio State
The experts unanimously agree on this one as well. Longtime stalwart Ryan Kerrigan is on the final year of his deal, so Young replaces him as the Redskins continue to build a quietly talented defense.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah—CB, Ohio State
Four out of six experts have the Lions selecting Okudah. With Slay's recent departure in free agency it makes sense for Detroit to look for secondary help. This is a potential trade up spot if the Chargers want to leapfrog the Dolphins for a QB.
4. New York Giants: Isaiah Simmons—DEFENDER, Clemson
Simmons transcends any single position. He epitomizes the modern defender and makes for a forward-thinking pick from a backwards-thinking GM. Three of six experts agree on this pick.
5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert—QB, Oregon
Five of six experts agree that the Dolphins will select a QB with the fifth pick. But, they disagree about who it will be. Herbert edges out Tua Tagovailoa three to two.
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa—QB, Alabama
Five of six experts also agree that the Chargers will select a QB. With Herbert gone, the most likely selection is Tagovailoa.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown—DT, Auburn
All six experts predict that the Panthers go defense. Brown is the next most likely pick with Okudah and Simmons off the board.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills Jr.—OT, Alabama
Four of six experts agree not only that Arizona will pick an offensive tackle, but also that it will be Jedrick Wills Jr. There is such a large top tier of tackles that it's somewhat surprising so many experts are on the same page. Have the Cardinals tipped their hand, or created an effective smokescreen?
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Javon Kinlaw—DT, South Carolina
Sacksonville lives! Three of six experts had the Jaguars selecting a DT, so with Brown off the board Kinlaw is the clear pick.
10. Cleveland Browns: Mekhi Becton—OT, Louisville
All six experts had the Browns selecting an offensive tackle in this spot, but there was no consensus on who that would be. Two experts have them going with Becton's "massive upside", and two had them opting for Georgia's Andrew Thomas. It seems like the Browns are keying in on combine performance and measureables (two experts had them taking Ezra Cleveland and Tristan Wirfs). Becton is the most enticing from that perspective.
11. New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs—OT, Iowa
The experts agree on this one—the Jets opt to protect their young signal caller by giving him the greatest leaper at offensive tackle in recorded history.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: CeeDee Lamb—WR, Oklahoma
All six experts expect the Raiders to take a WR with their first pick. Three say they select Lamb, two say Henry Ruggs, and one says Jerry Jeudy. Lamb winding up in Las Vegas would be unfortunate for the Broncos, as he would be an excellent fit in Pat Shurmur's offense.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Jerry Jeudy—WR, Alabama
A majority of the experts think the Niners will take a wide receiver. With Lamb off the board, Jeudy is the pick, just edging out Henry Ruggs III. Flipping a defensive tackle on an expiring deal for a top wide receiver prospect in their trade with the Colts is a coup, and for my money Jeudy is the best WR in this class.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Andrew Thomas—OT, Georgia
It looks like tackle Andrew Thomas is the likely pick for the Bucs. Gotta protect their new, elderly star (looking at you, Tom).
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III—WR, Alabama
Five out of six experts have the Broncos selecting a WR, though only one projects Ruggs to be the pick. Because Lamb and Jeudy are off the board, however, the Alabama speedster is the likely choice (though he may be a trap).
16. Atlanta Falcons: CJ Henderson—CB, Florida
The Falcons appear to have honed in on edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson and cornerback CJ Henderson. Four of six experts think Henderson is the pick though, so he replaces Desmond Trufant in Atlanta.
17. Dallas Cowboys: K'Lavon Chaisson—EDGE, LSU
CJ Henderson also appears to be a likely pick up here if available. If not, it looks like undersized rusher K'Lavon Chaisson will be the selection.
18. Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney—S, Alabama
The experts project the Dolphins will use their second pick to take the first safety off the board. Pairing McKinney with free agency addition Byron Jones and mainstay Xavien Howard would give the Dolphins a formidable secondary.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: Trevon Diggs—CB, Alabama
A CB is the Raiders most likely second selection. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock can consider Diggs, A.J. Terrell, Jaylon Johnson, and C.J. Henderson, if available. The experts suggest Diggs is the probable pick.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jordan Love—QB, Utah St.
This pick seems to be somewhat up in the air. But two experts project the Jaguars to take QB Jordan Love, putting a damper on Mustache Mania in Jacksonville.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson—WR, LSU
The experts unanimously project a wide receiver to the Eagles at pick 21. Most even agree that the wideout will be LSU's Justin Jefferson. Jalen Reagor and Tee Higgins are options as well.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Denzel Mims—WR, Baylor
The Vikings find Stefon Diggs' replacement in draft season riser Denzel Mims. The experts think that CB is also a possible option for Minnesota here.
23. New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa—EDGE, Iowa
Defensive end is a popular pick for the Patriots. They could go with Zack Baun, but most experts have New England selecting Epenesa.
24. New Orleans Saints: Patrick Queen—LB, LSU
If Jordan Love is still on the board the experts think the Saints will be interested, but otherwise it looks like Queen will be the pick. The Saints have spent years watching Deion Jones and may decide they want their own version.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Josh Jones—OT, Houston
This is the first pick where the experts are truly at odds. Two have the Vikings taking a CB, two have them taking a WR, and two have them taking an OT. Because they selected a WR with their first pick, they likely will not take one again in this spot. With no consensus among the experts it's truly a toss-up—let's project them to double down on Mims by taking a tackle.
26. Miami Dolphins: Yetur Gross-Matos—EDGE, Penn State
The Dolphins are projected to bolster their defense, this time adding talent up front. Offensive line is also a strong possibility here.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Grant Delpit—S, LSU
The experts agree that the Seahawks are likely to go defense with their first round pick, but disagree on both position and player. Safety and edge look like strong options, but with Gross-Matos off the board Delpit is the pick.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Kenneth Murray—LB, Oklahoma
Four of six experts have the Ravens selecting a LB, and three believe it will be Murray. Things get harder to project towards the end of the round, so this is a surprisingly clear pick from the experts.
29: Tennessee Titans: Ross Blacklock—DT, TCU
The experts have defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos as the most likely pick for the Titans in this spot. But because he's not available, we'll go with a different defensive line player that the Titans will hope can replace Jurrell Casey.
30. Green Bay Packers: Brandon Aiyuk—WR, Arizona State
The experts unanimously predict that the Pack will take a wide receiver—the question is who it will be. Denzel Mims is a popular choice but he was selected by the Vikings, so Green Bay goes with a different speedster.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jeff Gladney—CB, TCU
The 49ers got elite play out of Richard Sherman last year, but he is getting long in the tooth and can't be counted on for much longer. The experts agree that John Lynch and company will try to find his replacement, but it's uncertain which corner they'll land on. Gladney appears as likely as anyone.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kristian Fulton—CB, LSU
The first round comes to a close with a pick that the experts mostly agree on. Three out of six have the reining champs selecting sticky cover corner Kristian Fulton.