One Mock to Rule Them All—Pooling Results from Draft Super-Predictors (2022)
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 most accurate mock draft creators over the past five years. All are ranked within the top ten of the Huddle Report's list; selections were made based on website permissions and date last updated.
To make projections I simply identified the player that 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. Rather, they represent the current state of knowledge within the mock draft industry; a collective best guess at how the draft will play out.
Round 1 Super-Predictor Mock Draft
1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travon Walker—EDGE, Georgia
Our experts appear certain that the first two picks of the draft will be EDGE players, but they don't know who will be selected when. Aidan Hutchinson and Travon Walker are in play for the first overall pick. Interestingly, Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux (but not Walker) appear to be the options at number two.
Three of five predictors think Walker comes off the board first, making him the pick over Hutchinson.
2. Detroit Lions: Aidan Hutchinson—EDGE, Michigan
With Walker off the board, this pick comes down to Hutchinson and Thibodeaux. The experts are split three to two in favor of Hutchinson.
3. Houston Texans: Kayvon Thibodeaux—EDGE, Oregon
Just like last year, the uncertainty begins at pick three. This could be an offensive tackle or a defensive player. But the majority of experts think that the OTs will start coming off the board at pick 5, making it three EDGE players in a row to start the draft.
4. New York Jets: Sauce Gardner—CB, Cincinnati
If Thibodeaux is available he may be the pick. Barring that, our experts think it will be Sauce Gardner.
5. New York Giants: Evan Neal—OT, Alabama
The super-predictors unanimously agree that the Giants will take a tackle with this pick—either Evan Neal (Alabama) or Ickey Ekwonu (NC State). Three out of five think it will be Neal.
6. Carolina Panthers: Ickey Ekwonu—OT, NC State
The experts are again in unanimous agreement that the Panthers are looking for an offensive tackle. With Neal off the board, Carolina will choose between Ekwonu and Mississippi St.'s Charles Cross.
7. New York Giants: Derek Stingley Jr.—CB, LSU
Four out of five super-predictors think the Giants will use this pick on a CB, but are split on whether it will be Sauce Gardner or Derek Stingley Jr. With Sauce off the board, Stingley Jr. is the pick.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Garrett Wilson—WR, Ohio St.
With Calvin Ridley's future in question, the Falcons are in desperate need of playmakers on offense. They will have their pick of the bunch if this is how the board falls. Three of our five super-predictors think they'll opt for Ohio St.'s Garrett Wilson.
9. Seattle Seahawks: Devin Lloyd—LB, Utah
Could it get more Seattle Seahawks than this? Offensive tackle is also an option here.
10. New York Jets: Drake London—WR, USC
This pick appears to be somewhat of a wildcard. But three of our experts have the Jets going WR, and two of those believe the pick will be London. Jameson Williams is also in play at this pick.
11. Washington Commanders: Kyle Hamilton—S, Notre Dame
Three of five experts believe Washington will select Kyle Hamilton, which is fairly strong agreement at this point in the draft. The other two think they will draft a WR.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Trent McDuffie—CB, Washington
Four out of five super-predictors think the Vikings will use this pick on a CB. It will likely be Stingley Jr. if he's available. McDuffie makes sense if he is not.
13. Houston Texans: Jordan Davis—DT, Georgia
Our experts strongly believe that the Texans are looking to beef up their defensive line. Three have Jordan Davis as the pick, while the other two have Purdue EDGE George Karlaftis.
14. Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Johnson II—EDGE, FSU
This pick seems like Derek Stingley Jr.'s floor. He's not making it past the Ravens if he's available. And if he's already been taken, as is the case here, Baltimore may turn to ACC defensive player of the year Jermaine Johnson II.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Olave—WR, Ohio St.
The Eagles go back to the well at WR. Good luck, Howie!
16. New Orleans Saints: Charles Cross—OT, Mississippi St.
Penning is the most popular pick for the Saints, but that's only because other experts already have Cross off the board.
17. Las Angeles Chargers: Zion Johnson—iOL, Boston College
The experts think that LA is looking to bolster their offense, either with an interior offensive lineman or with a deep threat WR. They were split on which WR that would be, so the convergence on Zion Johnson at iOL makes him the pick.
18. Philadelphia Eagles: George Karlaftis—EDGE, Purdue
Our super-predictors clearly believe that the Eagles will use this pick on defense, but they have no idea who it will be. Karlaftis is the player with the highest average draft position across the experts' mocks (who's still available).
19. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Pickett—QB, Pitt
Our experts think that the QBs will start coming off the board at pick 19, but are not sure who will go first. Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Desmond Ridder seem to be the most likely candidates. They each received one expert's endorsement at this pick, but the experts expressed fairly strong certainty about Willis and Ridder's landing spots later in the draft. That means we'll send Pickett to the Saints in this spot.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: Malik Willis—QB, Liberty
Perhaps New Orleans will feel some pressure to take a QB because Pittsburgh is picking behind them. Either way, Pittsburgh appears to have landed their guy—three of five experts think they're targeting Willis.
21. New England Patriots: Daxton Hill—S, Michigan
The Patriots look like a strong bet to take a defensive player. Two super-predictors think it will be Daxton Hill.
22. Green Bay Packers: Treylon Burks—WR, Arkansas
This is the first time our experts have mocked Burks to anyone, and three have him going to Green Bay. A fourth has them taking London.
23. Arizona Cardinals: Jameson Williams—WR, Alabama
Three of five super-predictors think the Cardinals will take a WR. Each has a different player tabbed, but Williams is the only one still available in our mock.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Green—iOL, Texas A&M
This pick looks like it will be either Zion Johnson or Kenyon Green (both iOL players). Johnson is already off the board, making Green the pick.
25. Buffalo Bills: Kyler Gordon—CB, Washington
Five experts think the Bills will take a defensive player. Four think it will be a DB. Three think it will be a CB. But of those three, each is guessing that it will be a different player (Kyler Gordon, Kaiir Elam, Andrew Booth Jr.). Gordon is the pick because his name comes up the most across the experts' mock drafts (i.e., collectively, they think he is most likely of the three to go in the first round).
26. Tennessee Titans: Matt Corral—QB, Ole Miss
Three experts are picking the Titans to select a QB here. One has them taking Matt Corral, another has them taking Desmond Ridder, and a third has them taking Kenny Pickett. Pickett is already off the board in our mock, and there is strong consensus around Ridder at a later pick. That leaves Corral as the Titans' guy.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Trevor Penning—OT, Iowa
Three of five super-predictors have the Bucs taking an offensive lineman with this pick. All five actually have Penning being selected earlier than this, but none of them agreed on exactly when it would happen. So despite none of the experts having Penning down for this exact pick, it makes sense to slot him in here to the Bucs—they're looking for an offensive linemen, he's available in our mock, and the experts think this range represents Penning's approximate floor.
28. Green Bay Packers: Nakobe Dean—LB, Georgia
Our experts clearly agree that the Packers are looking for a WR at 22, and a LB at 28. This could also be Boye Mafe (or Devonte Wyatt, although that seems less likely).
29: Kansas City Chiefs: Jahan Dotson—WR, Penn St.
Three of five experts think this pick will be Jahan Dotson. That's remarkable agreement for this late in the draft. Only one of the other two experts had Dotson going in the first round (to the Titans at 26).
30. Kansas City Chiefs: Boye Mafe—EDGE, Minnesota
The experts are convinced that WR is the Chiefs' first priority, and after that they'll look to take either an EDGE player or a CB. With Kyler Gordon off the board, Boye Mafe is the pick.
31. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Linderbaum—iOL, Iowa
Three of five experts have the Bengals taking Linderbaum. I suppose this is the sort of pick you make after giving up seven sacks in the Super Bowl.
32. Detroit Lions: Desmond Ridder—QB, Cincinnati
Three of five experts think this pick will be Desmond Ridder, bringing the first round QB total to four. The other two think they'll take Georgia safety Lewis Cine.