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Are winning GM's smarter drafters than journalists doing mock drafts?

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I am perplexed by people evaluating real draft decisions in the context of popular selections in mock drafts.  I believe the level of information available to GM's is a magnitude greater than the level of information available to sports writers and sportscasters.  It is also clear over time that some GMs are consistently better at drafting than other GMs.  It seems common for people to defend questionable draft decisions with "everyone expected so and so to go even higher, so you can't fault GM x for the decision".  My view is always not only don't we know what "everyone" thinks, we don't even know what anyone who matters (people putting boards together for NFL teams) thinks.  
 

Would people think a documentary on how each teams draft boards were put together 20 years (before any current GMs were drafting) to see the range of variation would be interesting? (maybe something like that already exists)

 

 

 

 

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It would be near impossible to do definitively because of all the variables that go into being successful. Talent can easily be misapplied by different regimes.

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Some GMs are. Some aren't. The ones that aren't get fired. The winning ones tend to be better but then Elway won a Superbowl as a GM and I would say his draft record has been average at best

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Yes winning GMs are much smarter then “journalists” doing mocks. Not even close. 

 

There was an espn special a few years back with Bill Parcels and other former GMs I believe and they detailed the draft process and had a draft board and detailed the process of the draft if anyone out there can find it online and post here would be amazing. 
 

Here is an article on it:

https://www.espn.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/28276/bill-parcells-takes-you-inside-the-draft-room

 

 

Edited by wppete
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Its a lottery. These GMs are of course more capable than the rest of us. But it doesn’t mean they are any good either. 32 GMs passed on Brady five times each. 20 passed on Rodgers. Romo and Warner go undrafted. The list of draft busts is endless. 

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The problem with mock drafts compared to the real thing is in mocks one guy is making every pick, so he is going to logically make the picks in the order that he feels they should be chosen.  Where as in the real draft there are 32 different selectors and one guy going "off script" upsets the entire apple cart very quickly.

 

Would be interesting to take all these journalists and have each of them make one pick in order like a real draft, then see how close there real draft like picks compare to their own mocks or does any of there mocks come close to resembling what they just picked on a one pick GM like basis.

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There was a movie called "Draft Day".  I thought Costner did a great job of showing the differences between mediocre and great GM drafting and how owners can often muddy the waters.  It was entertaining and also informative of what goes on behind the scenes even if a bit hyperbolic.  Russ probably showed his true colors in the movie in terms of draft ineptitude.

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it all comes down to, 'an eye for talent'. while GM's employ people that hopefully possess this ability, it is not exclusive to scouts only. 

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There are some "journalists" who put together mock drafts for the sake of getting clicks. Then there are some who seem to actually put forth an effort into divulging into a team's needs, take on the time necessary to generally rank the college crop, and make an educated guess. It's basically a sports science fair project with a round, or multiple rounds, of hypotheses. Some guys tend to rank better than others at this. Truth is there are so many variables with how teams move around on draft days and the curve balls that get thrown in that it is damn near impossible to peg. As noted by Ed, you also have one guy making every pick. It's usually easy to peg the first 2 or 3 guys in a draft, but the number I look at are the people who end up having the most players in their mock selected in that given round. I think our own Bandit one year got like 25 players right as far them being drafted in the first round. That's an insane number when you think about it. 

 

When it comes to the smartest, most successful GM's? It boils down to taking BPA who is also best fit for your team. Certain players' talents fit better with certain systems and schemes. They, GM's, also have to be successful beyond the first round and be able to find those gems on days 2 and 3. Beane/McDermott/Our Scouting Dept. seemingly have shown a knack for that the last couple of years. It is another reason that the future is bright around here.    

Edited by H2o
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1 hour ago, Chaos said:

 

Are winning GM's smarter drafters than journalists doing mock drafts?

 

 

 

GMs have much larger staffs working on all this than the guys doing mocks do. The team doctors get to directly examine the prospects, that's a huge advantage. Generally the more decisions are crowd-sourced the better they're likely to be. Journalists have much less of a chance to do much of this, and if they do they'd likely get closer together as they got better, and readers will start criticizing.

 

And in terms of process, not the preparation for the draft, but the draft itself, the GMs have it much much easier in maybe the most important way ... the guy drafting 22nd will know absolutely for sure which 21 guys he can't pick. While the mock makers are only guessing. They have to do all seven rounds before the first pick is made, so your mocker might predict the Bills going with a guy who was picked 17th, say.

 

Plus the GMs have a much more focused task ... maximize the talent their team gets out of it in a way that maximizes team performance. The mock community has to as well as possible simulate every pick, an absolutely impossible task.

 

This is a pretty huge advantage.

 

IMO another advantage they have is a much greater knowledge of the coaches and staff's opinions of their own players ... how smart those players are, how well they fit the system, etc. Guys doing mocks are guessing ... educatedly, but they're guessing. The GMs know what kind of guys the coaches are looking for, how much improvement a player is making, who's understanding their own assignments and helping out others, who works like a dog ... all that stuff. Which gives them a major advantage in knowing what is needed, what is not, and what kinds of solutions would be best to fill those needs in the coaches' opinions.

 

Having said that, it's absolutely clear that word gets out in the last week or so about what teams want and like. Some of it's smoke certainly, but a surprising amount is not. The community figures some things out as they better get to know the GMs, and as they hear from the janitors who clean the rooms war rooms, or the owner or the assistant defensive line coach can't help but talk to his chatty girlfriend, or whatever. Predictions do get closer the last few days or so.

 

Word gets out. But not everything, and yeah, plenty of smoke too. But after the draft it comes out, especially as the NFL releases those little war room dramatic videos as they've done the last few years or the Peter Kings of the world do a story where they tell about the war room they were embedded in, or whatever. And that's not even mentioning stuff we never used to know like how many coaches visit guys ... like the number of Bills coaches who went to Lenoir-Rhyne which has pretty much only Dugger as a major pro prospect. Or who the Bills get in for their facility visits.

 

People have a surprisingly decent grasp on what's going on. Far from perfect, though. There'll always be lies and misdirections, and when you have to do all your guessing before the first guy is even picked, you have a poorer chance the later the pick.

 

 

Edited by Thurman#1

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1 hour ago, Dave in Bluffton said:

 Russ probably showed his true colors in the movie in terms of draft ineptitude.

 

Are you saying Brandon's choice of Aaron Maybin as our #1 pick was foolhardy? How dare you...........

 

Remember kids, RUSS BRANDON, HEAD OF MARKETING, was our GM one season.

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10 minutes ago, Seasons1992 said:

 

Are you saying Brandon's choice of Aaron Maybin as our #1 pick was foolhardy? How dare you...........

 

Remember kids, RUSS BRANDON, HEAD OF MARKETING, was our GM one season.

 

Yeah - was like GM fantasy camp for a year.

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I think one of the bigger factors is the relationships between scouts and the college programs staffs. I’m sure there’s a lot of info out there no “journalist” is ever going to hear. 
Little tidbits like “his mom was sick the last two years and it affected his play but that kid is an insanely hard worker” There’s inside info out there especially for these round 4-7 guys or UDFA players. No journalist is ever going to get that kind of info because they can’t have a chat with a member of a coaching staff. This could also factor into some teams poor drafts as well, if your scouts aren’t tied into these programs you may not get the same info other teams do. Talent on tape if a fantastic tool, but it rarely tells the whole story of a player. With limited visits and exposure to players teams have to guess what kind of man they are drafting. 

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Mocks are like fantasy for the "Experts" it's just a guessing game that makes the hype of the combine & the draft better the GM's only get 1 shot not 5 or 10 to get it right & there are even some "Experts" that were players that flamed out as players & in Bucky Brooks career flamed as both a player & a scout or he would still be doing it .

 

I don't do the fantasy thing because i'm just not into it so all the mocks do for me is possibly give me some type of insight on players that might be good enough to look into, but that happened when Rosen was in the draft & i thought he was "The Guy" of that draft due to his college career & we see what happened to him .

 

The GM's put a lot more time into their prep & have a lot more on the line if they screw it up the so called "Experts" that do mocks spend a good deal of their time on it but have a lot less to lose & it's all speculation for them !! 

 

 

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GMs have a bunch of talented scouts who talk to coaches, interview players and watch hundreds of hours of game tape.  Some GMs use private investigators.   As Thurman#1 points out, they get doctors involved as well.   Even a good ex-GM like Gil Brandt can't come close to the analytical work of a real GM - he just doesn't have the massive resources at his disposal that they do.  NFL teams literally spend millions of dollars on talent evaluation.   While all that cash doesn't buy any team a crystal ball, it's largely money well spent.  

 

When the media talks about a guy rising or falling on draft day, what they're really saying is that they under- or over-valued a player.  The amateur/media evaluation of the player didn't match how the professionals evaluated him. 

 

I'm interested though in how well GMs mock each other.  Guessing who other teams will pick is an integral part of the draft process.  While GMs are much better at evaluating college talent than the media, I wonder how much better they are - if at all - at mocking other teams.   I'm not sure how they do this. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Seasons1992 said:

 

Are you saying Brandon's choice of Aaron Maybin as our #1 pick was foolhardy? How dare you...........

 

Remember kids, RUSS BRANDON, HEAD OF MARKETING, was our GM one season.

The reason Brandon took the job for a year was because no one wanted the job. The place was in turmoil, with an increasingly senile owner growing closer to death. Mary Wilson wrested control from Ralph and the Detroit Mafia. With no competent football man willing to take the job, it fell to Brandon who immediately begged the just-retiring Buddy Nix to come in and clean up the scouting department with the understanding he'd take the GM job after a year and mentor Doug Whaley, a guy Brandon had identified as a "comer." Then Nix could finally retire. Now, you can hate Russ, Nix and Whaley but the reality at that time was was no one even close to top flight, up and coming would even interview for a Bills job. That was why Chan Gailey reluctantly became the coach and the unheralded Marrone demanded and received the "dead owner" buyout clause. It would take the death of Wilson and the change to stable ownership to make it possible to attract top execs, scouts, coaches & players. Unless you're 14 & new to the Bills, you should already know this. 

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2 minutes ago, yungmack said:

The reason Brandon took the job for a year was because no one wanted the job. The place was in turmoil, with an increasingly senile owner growing closer to death. Mary Wilson wrested control from Ralph and the Detroit Mafia. With no competent football man willing to take the job, it fell to Brandon who immediately begged the just-retiring Buddy Nix to come in and clean up the scouting department with the understanding he'd take the GM job after a year and mentor Doug Whaley, a guy Brandon had identified as a "comer." Then Nix could finally retire. Now, you can hate Russ, Nix and Whaley but the reality at that time was was no one even close to top flight, up and coming would even interview for a Bills job. That was why Chan Gailey reluctantly became the coach and the unheralded Marrone demanded and received the "dead owner" buyout clause. It would take the death of Wilson and the change to stable ownership to make it possible to attract top execs, scouts, coaches & players. Unless you're 14 & new to the Bills, you should already know this. 

 

 

Image result for why so serious stevie johnson gif

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You'd hope so, especially in relation to their own rosters. These guys have an opportunity to be around the players day in day out, seeing their workout, work ethics, personalities etc with a much closer eye than any journalists. 

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2 hours ago, Seasons1992 said:

 

Are you saying Brandon's choice of Aaron Maybin as our #1 pick was foolhardy? How dare you...........

 

Remember kids, RUSS BRANDON, HEAD OF MARKETING, was our GM one season.

 

Could be worse like when a team picked a media member to be GM or even worse than that a fan.

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I think these are some interesting questions proposed by the OP.  

 

GM's and draft experts/analysts do two completely different things.  A GM is trying to rate/grade players, then identify their team needs and predict future needs based on collaboration with his staff for only his team.  They grade the players and at the end run through some mock draft scenario's and try to figure out who may be available to them.  

 

An analyst is mainly trying to identify who will go where based mostly on team needs.  Some do their mocks based on what they think will happen and others do it based on what their sources are telling them teams may do. 

 

The good analysts can breakdown a players strengths and weaknesses as good as any scout or GM.  They have staffs and a lot of them know what they're talking about.  A good one can also be as wrong as any scout or GM.  

 

There's, IMO, a clear difference between a mock draft done by Jeremiah, Kiper and Brandt vs MJD and Bruschi.  

 

 

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There are some people who think someone is in a nfl front office, they can’t be questioned.  There are some great guys who are some knowledgeable.  There are some guys who are there because their dad had the right connections.  They are certainly “regular” people who can do their job.

 

the flip side of This is media guys aren’t going to get fired over bad picks.  These guys make tons of errors.  Mike MAyock who is one of the best once had Blaine Gabbert over Cam Newton and Robert Ayers as the best defensive player in his draft.  Picks like that would get you fired if you worked in a nfl front office. 

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5 hours ago, Chaos said:

I am perplexed by people evaluating real draft decisions in the context of popular selections in mock drafts.  I believe the level of information available to GM's is a magnitude greater than the level of information available to sports writers and sportscasters.  It is also clear over time that some GMs are consistently better at drafting than other GMs.  It seems common for people to defend questionable draft decisions with "everyone expected so and so to go even higher, so you can't fault GM x for the decision".  My view is always not only don't we know what "everyone" thinks, we don't even know what anyone who matters (people putting boards together for NFL teams) thinks.  
 

Would people think a documentary on how each teams draft boards were put together 20 years (before any current GMs were drafting) to see the range of variation would be interesting? (maybe something like that already exists)

 

 

 

 

Sports writers and sportscasters are picking the best player whereas a GM/coach are trying to build the best team.  This by itself yields different results.

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6 hours ago, Chaos said:

I am perplexed by people evaluating real draft decisions in the context of popular selections in mock drafts.  I believe the level of information available to GM's is a magnitude greater than the level of information available to sports writers and sportscasters.  It is also clear over time that some GMs are consistently better at drafting than other GMs.  It seems common for people to defend questionable draft decisions with "everyone expected so and so to go even higher, so you can't fault GM x for the decision".  My view is always not only don't we know what "everyone" thinks, we don't even know what anyone who matters (people putting boards together for NFL teams) thinks.  
 

Would people think a documentary on how each teams draft boards were put together 20 years (before any current GMs were drafting) to see the range of variation would be interesting? (maybe something like that already exists)

 

 

 

 

The "Pros" making draft selections for NFL football teams all have horrible hit rates.  Do some research.

 

It's just one reason why you never, ever, trade UP in a draft because you just have no idea what you are getting.

 

It's also why it's almost always a good idea to trade DOWN and get more picks.  More throws at the dart board = better chance of success.  It's that simple.

 

 

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One of the articles I read on analytics showed that there appears to be a limit to how well GMs can draft.  One of the issues that they face is actually the excessive amount of information on prospects.  It can (and often does) create a certainty bias.  IOW over the years greater and great amounts of information have been gathered on the top prospects, but the gains topped out a long time ago.  But, as is human nature, the additional info has still made GMs more confident.  That explains why Mike Ditka gave up so much for Ricky Williams.

 

It also found that the real problems occurred when GMs didn’t stay true to their process.  A big one is when an owner it coach with little real knowledge comes in and demands a player (coughManzielcoughHaslamcough). It happened again with the Browns with the coaches and Justin Gilbert. The DC came in at the last minute and demanded him, saying he was the player he needed to make his defense work.  The took him in the top 10 despite not having done any homework on him.  The teams that had realized he didn’t even like the game.  There are countless examples of this kind of thing (with just the Browns alone).

 

The best teams do their homework, listen to their scouts and stay true to their process.  They don’t fall in love with players and are realistic about what they have and how well players can possibly do their jobs.  They look for system fits and don’t get caught up emotionally with aspects of players that don’t matter.

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1 hour ago, Nextmanup said:

The "Pros" making draft selections for NFL football teams all have horrible hit rates.  Do some research.

 

It's just one reason why you never, ever, trade UP in a draft because you just have no idea what you are getting.

 

It's also why it's almost always a good idea to trade DOWN and get more picks.  More throws at the dart board = better chance of success.  It's that simple.

 

 

You have clearly never played competitive darts. 

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