Updating the Super-Predictor Picks—Mock Draft 2.0
Updated: Apr 24, 2020
If you haven't seen the first version of this mock draft, the idea is relatively simple: identify the most accurate draft forecasters, and create a single mock draft based on their predictions. The idea comes from meta-analysis, which is a research technique that synthesizes 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.
For this exercise, I selected six "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. One super-predictor in version 2.0 is new, replacing an expert that has not updated their mock draft since March. Like before, my pool of super-predictors contains six analysts.
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.
Since the last meta-analysis I did on this topic, the experts have tended to coalesce around the same picks that the prior model forecasted. The majority of picks remain the same and are more heavily supported than before; a few of the lower confidence projections have flipped. This consolidation around picks made in the first mock draft suggests that the previous meta-analysis effectively captured the industry's best assessments.
Round 1 Mock Draft
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow—QB, LSU *Same Pick*
Burrow to the Bengals appears to be written in stone.
2. Washington Redskins: Chase Young—EDGE, Ohio State *Same Pick*
This pick also appears locked in, as the Redskins don't seem to be interested in trading down and the experts still unanimously agree on Young as the selection. Adding a top edge-rushing talent would further add to a quietly talented defense.
3. Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah—CB, Ohio State *Same Pick*
Even more of the experts agree on this pick now, with five out of six projecting the Lions to select 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 *Same Pick*
Simmons transcends any single position. He epitomizes the modern defender and makes for a forward-thinking pick from a typically backwards-thinking GM. Three of six experts agree on this pick (the other three have New York taking an OT).
5. Miami Dolphins: Justin Herbert—QB, Oregon *Same Pick*
The experts unanimously agree that the Dolphins will be picking between Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa at pick number five. Four of six give the nod to Herbert (up from three the last time around).
6. Los Angeles Chargers: Tua Tagovailoa—QB, Alabama *Same Pick*
Five of six experts also agree that the Chargers will select a QB, though only two have Tua in this spot. The other four have the Chargers selecting Love, Herbert, or Tristan Wirfs. But with Herbert off the board, Tagovailoa is the likely pick.
7. Carolina Panthers: Derrick Brown—DT, Auburn *Same Pick*
The experts are still split between Isaiah Simmons and Derrick Brown. But with Simmons likely headed to New York, Brown is the pick here.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Jedrick Wills Jr.—OT, Alabama *Same Pick*
Four of six experts believe that Arizona will take an offensive tackle. The top tier of tackles is fairly large (read more about it here), but it looks like Jedrick Wills Jr. will be the pick.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars: Javon Kinlaw—DT, South Carolina *Same Pick*
Sacksonville still rising! The experts are now even more convinced that Kinlaw will be the pick, with three of six experts projecting that he goes to the Jaguars.
10. Cleveland Browns: Andrew Thomas—OT, Georgia *New Pick*
All six experts had the Browns selecting an offensive tackle in this spot, with three naming Thomas as the pick. Previously, it looked like Cleveland might go with a combine standout like Mekhi Becton or Ezra Cleveland, but the experts have pivoted to the less divisive Thomas.
11. New York Jets: Tristan Wirfs—OT, Iowa *Same Pick*
Five of six experts believe this pick will be an offensive tackle, but they are split between Tristan Wirfs and Mekhi Becton. Becton is widely tapped to be taken in a later slot in the draft, so we'll go with Wirfs here to break the tie.
12. Las Vegas Raiders: CeeDee Lamb—WR, Oklahoma *Same Pick*
All six experts project the Raiders to take a WR with their first pick. Three say they select Lamb, two say Jerry Jeudy, and one says Henry Ruggs III. 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 *Same Pick*
A majority of the experts think the Niners will take a wide receiver. With Lamb off the board Jeudy is the pick, just beating 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: Mekhi Becton—OT, Louisville *New Pick*
It looks like tackle Mekhi Becton is the likely pick for the Bucs. The high ceiling low floor prospect represents a riskier choice than the previous selection (Andrew Thomas).
15. Denver Broncos: Henry Ruggs III—WR, Alabama *Same Pick*
Five out of six experts have the Broncos selecting a WR, and this time around three project Ruggs to be the choice (up from one in the previous mock). He brings a long absent element of speed to Denver, though he may be more of a trap than a savior.
16. Atlanta Falcons: CJ Henderson—CB, Florida *Same Pick*
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 *Same Pick*
Cornerback also appears to be an option for the Cowboys, though three of six experts project undersized rusher K'Lavon Chaisson to be the pick.
18. Miami Dolphins: Josh Jones—OT, Houston *New Pick*
The experts project the Dolphins will use their second pick to take one of the many offensive tackles with a first round grade in this class. Bolstering their line would make sense after taking a QB at the top of the round.
19. Las Vegas Raiders: A.J. Terrell—CB, Clemson *New Pick*
The Raiders are most likely to use their second selection on a CB. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock can consider Terrell, Trevon Diggs, Jaylon Johnson, and C.J. Henderson, if available. The experts suggest Terrell is the probable pick.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevon Diggs—CB, Alabama *New Pick*
The previous mock had the Jaguars taking QB Jordan Love in this spot. This time around the experts project Jacksonville to go defense. Four experts project a secondary player to be the pick, and two think Diggs is the guy.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Jefferson—WR, LSU *Same Pick*
Five out of six experts project the Eagles to take Justin Jefferson. Unless Henry Ruggs III is on the board, Jefferson to Philly looks to be a done deal.
22. Minnesota Vikings: Austin Jackson—OT, USC *New Pick*
The experts have shifted away from projecting WR and CB to predicting Austin Jackson in this spot. Jackson is young and unproven, but bolstering the offensive line makes sense—Kirk Cousins needs all the support he can get. I think he's a third tier prospect.
23. New England Patriots: A.J. Epenesa—EDGE, Iowa *Same Pick*
Defensive end is a popular pick for the Patriots. They could go with Zack Baun, but three of six experts have New England selecting Epenesa.
24. New Orleans Saints: Jordan Love—QB, Utah St. *New Pick*
As in the previous mock, the experts are split between LB Patrick Queen and QB Jordan Love. This time around the balance tips in favor of Love.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Jeff Gladney—CB, TCU *New Pick*
Last time around the experts were unsure what the Vikings would do in this spot, splitting the pick between offensive tackle and cornerback. The vote has since shifted towards cornerback, making Gladney the pick here.
26. Miami Dolphins: Xavier McKinney—S, Alabama *New Pick*
Offensive line remains a strong possibility here. But with the Dolphins selecting Josh Jones earlier in the draft they're likely to use this selection to bolster their suddenly excellent secondary.
27. Seattle Seahawks: Grant Delpit—S, LSU *Same Pick*
There was little agreement on the Seahawks pick previously, and there's even more uncertainty now. One expert even projects them to trade out of the first round, which makes sense given the lack of a clear option. Multiple experts do have them taking a secondary player, though, so Delpit remains the selection.
28. Baltimore Ravens: Patrick Queen—LB, LSU *New Pick*
Four of six experts have the Ravens selecting a LB, but they are split over whether it will be Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray. Queen is the more frequently mocked player throughout the first round, though, so the pick flips from Murray to the LSU star.
29: Tennessee Titans: Ross Blacklock—DT, TCU *Same Pick*
The experts project the Titans to either go either offensive or defensive line. It makes sense after losing OT Jack Conklin and DT Jurrell Casey during the free agency period. Because the experts are split about which offensive tackle they would pick, Blacklock remains the selection.
30. Green Bay Packers: Denzel Mims—WR, Baylor *New Pick*
The experts unanimously predict that the Pack will take a wide receiver—the question is who it will be. Denzel Mims remains a popular choice, and this time around he is available.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jaylon Johnson—CB, Utah *New Pick*
As noted last time, Richard Sherman played like a star in 2019, but unless he finds a fountain of youth, his seasons are numbered. The experts agree that John Lynch and company will try to find his replacement, but it's uncertain which corner they'll land on. Last mock had them taking Gladney, but because he's no longer on the board the Niners are projected to land on Johnson.
32. Kansas City Chiefs: Kristian Fulton—CB, LSU *Same Pick*
There is less certainty about this pick than there was before. Most experts still believe the Chiefs roll with a cornerback though, which means Fulton remains the pick.