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Journalists fail dismally at NFL mock drafts

Posted by Mark Leccese  April 29, 2011 01:42 PM

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For reasons beyond my grasp, every football beat reporter, every year, insists on publishing an NFL mock draft a day or two before the actual draft in which they predict the selections of all 32 NFL teams in the draft’s first round.

It strikes me as odd because no matter how good they are as reporters, no matter how much they know about college football and all the teams in the NFL, they cannot possibly come close to knowing what the leaders of pro football franchises know. Those guys have entire staffs working full-time just on this stuff.

As far as I know, only one person in the media works full-time on nothing but the NFL draft: ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. And he is a very strange guy.

Nevertheless, every year sportswriters spend hours that could be put to more productive use working up their mock drafts.

I put the 2011 mock drafts of five local sportswriters into a spreadsheet, entered the actual picks the NFL teams made, and calculated the journalists’ rate of success.

Here are the five local sportswriters, in alphabetical order:

I judged a correct prediction to be when a team drafted the player the sportswriters predicted that team would draft. Out of 32 draft picks in the first round, here are the number the sportswriters got right and their percentage of successful predictions:

  • Karen Guregian, Boston Herald: 5 (15.63%)
  • Greg Bedard, Boston Globe: 4 (12.5%)
  • Hector Longo, Gloucester Daily Times: 4 (12.5%)
  • Mike Reiss, ESPN Boston: 4 (12.5%)
  • Christopher Aston, PatsPulpit.com: 2 (6.25%)

Congratulations to Karen Guregian, but with a success rate of 15.63 percent, she probably shouldn’t transfer her mock draft skills to the roulette table.

Guregian got one more prediction right — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafting Adrian Clayborn — than three of the other draft day soothsayers.

Although at least three of the reporters are full-time sportswriters who cover the Patriots, not one correctly predicted the Patriots would draft Nate Solder.

The total predictions made by the five football writers was 160; they got 19 right.

All five predicted the Carolina Panthers would choose Cam Newton in the first round. But that was easy, since Newton won the 2010 Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player.

Of the teams that drafted in the 16th through 32nd, the five sportswriters put together made one correct prediction, Guregian’s guess that Tampa Bay would draft Clayborn. That’s 84 wrong and one right.

Oh, by the way, I did not include Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock draft my Prediction Bowl because ESPN.com makes you pay money to read Kiper’s predictions. If anyone knows Kiper’s successful prediction rate for this year’s draft, feel free to add it to the comments section below.

Follow @mleccese on Twitter.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Mark Leccese, a journalism professor at Emerson College, covered Massachusetts politics, business and the arts for more than 25 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and magazine writer. He has More »

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