NFL Draft Prep: Who Are the Best Mock Drafters?
Setting the stage for NFL Draft betting by determining who the best mock-drafters are
It is NFL Draft szn, and that likely means plenty of wagering on the upcoming festivities. My enthusiasm to lock up large sums of money in the market has waned — and I need to spend some serious time contemplating unit size — but I have had immense success wagering on drafts. I will obviously be going back for more in 2021.
The current plan is to make all of my 2021 draft betting content free for all to read. One day I’ll probably write about this, but bet touting is not something I enjoy doing. I do, however, like to provide information, and create a transparent view into my process. Please make sound decisions based on your own risk tolerance. I am not promising “winners” at In the Aggregate.
One of the most important parts of my wagering process is utilizing mock draft data to inform decisions. On a large scale, this means living on Benjamin Robinson’s Grinding the Mocks in order to visualize general trends in the mock-drafting market.
There is obviously going to be a ton of value in aggregating all of the available mock information, but when considering exact team matches, potential trades, and other more micro details, I like seeing the best mocks. Typically these are folks who have great inside information, insight into the draft process, or are fantastic at synthesizing all that is available.
Determining Who Is Best
In some ways, who puts out the best mocks is largely subjective. Grading accuracy is complicated, and comes in different forms. Fortunately, there are three major mock-draft accuracy competitions:
The Huddle Report
Mock Draft Database
Each of these competitions grade accuracy in a unique way, which provides for us a more comprehensive view of mock-drafters. Of course, not every mock-drafter competes in each competition. In addition to mock accuracy, how frequently someone posts a mock update is valuable, since those updates will be key to informing decisions.
With all of these things in mind, these are the mock-drafters I will be paying the most attention to this spring (in no particular order):
Hanson is by far and away the most accurate in the FantasyPros contest of all entrants competing in at least two of the past three seasons. He also ranks fourth in the five-year accuracy (2016-2020) at The Huddle, where he was the champ in 2015. Hanson is extremely active, having already posted his fifth mock of the year.
I consider Matt a friend, so perhaps that makes me biased, but there are few people I know more intelligent and better at synthesizing information than Freedman. Much like myself, he is an avid bettor of the NFL Draft, meaning Freedman has skin in the game on the accuracy of his predictions. His grinding of the news has paid off, as he is second only to Hanson in FantasyPros accuracy.
Mel Kiper probably is the better-known half of the ESPN scouting syndicate, but McShay has been excellent at predicting draft outcomes. He is third in FantasyPros accuracy, and was top-25 on Mock Draft Database in 2018 and 2019. Unfortunately, McShay was infected with Coronavirus last year, and was unable to even appear as a part of ESPN’s draft coverage. Here’s to hoping he is back healthy, and ready to dominate yet again in 2021.
Jeremiah is extremely plugged in to NFL Draft circles, and is someone I receive Twitter notifications for, on top of following his mocks. He is ninth in FantasyPros accuracy, and was 19th last year on The Huddle. Jeremiah was also top-11 each of the past three years on Mock Draft Database.
As a former Rotoworld (sorry, NBC Sports Edge) guru, you know that Silva is excellent at grinding the news, and keeping informed on the draft. He also has connections that give us great insider nuggets within the mocks. Silva is 13th in FantasyPros accuracy, and 10th in the five-year numbers at The Huddle. He was dominant in 2018, finishing top three in all three individual site competitions. Silva has not yet posted a mock this year, but has intimated that there will be NFL Draft content on Establish The Run (as there was last season).
If you’re looking for frequent updates, Walt is your guy. Especially as the draft gets closer, multiple updates within the same week are not uncommon here, which is big for making moves in the betting market. Cherepinsky has also been very successful, ranking just two spots behind Silva at FantasyPros.
Standig had a rough 2020 on FantasyPros — finishing 100th — but was fourth and 17th the previous two years, so I’m comfortable giving him a pass. He was third in the five-year composite on The Huddle, and won the Mock Draft Database competition in 2018. Now with The Athletic, Standig is likely more plugged in than ever before.