With 129 versions of 51 mock drafts compiled in Scout.com’s Mock Draft Muncher, there is plenty of speculation congregating in one place.
But what do all these mocks compiled into one big think tank have to say about the headiest position on a football field – the quarterback?
About 10 weeks prior to the 2017 NFL Draft, two defensive ends – Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett and Alabama’s Jonathan Allen – are held in higher esteem than any quarterback. Garrett is easily the most often chosen for the first overall pick in the draft with an average draft position of 1.24. Allen’s average position is 3.45, but he’s still in second place.
After that, the quarterbacks start to appear, and they usually ascend in the first round as the draft approaches and quarterback-needy teams contemplate moving up to grab one. However, look no further than the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, who picked quarterbacks first and second overall last year, as examples of the risks associated with such a move. Teams can never be too sure how it will all turn out, no matter the position.
Even so, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky is the first quarterback on the Mock Draft Muncher’s compilation of picks. He was chosen as high as first overall and as low as 25th in the 51 drafts that Scout.com munched, with an average draft position of 5.26 and the third-most popular pick overall.
Trubisky averaged 288 yards passing for the Tar Heels last year with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions. He added another five touchdowns running as dual-threat option.
Next among the quarterbacks is Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, the sixth-most popular pick overall with an average draft position of 9.11. He was selected as high as second overall and as low as 33rd.
Kizer has the physical qualities of an NFL quarterback at 6-foot-4 (one inch taller than Trubisky) and 230 pounds, but he was benched at times last year. Despite that, he ended up with 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Fighting Irish.
Also making the top 10 in the Mock Draft Muncher was Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, ninth overall with an average draft position of 10.77 and a range from first to 29th overall.
Watson started the last two years at Clemson, leading the Tigers to the National Championship Game twice and winning it in January. He was ultra-productive the last two years, throwing for 4,593 yards, 41 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and rushing for 629 yards and nine touchdowns last year.
Munching the mined data another way – to create a consensus mock draft – Trubisky was selected second overall by the San Francisco 49ers and Watson was picked 10th overall by the Buffalo Bills. Kizer went No. 12 overall to the Cleveland Browns (who bypassed a quarterback with their first pick) in the draft simulator.
The Mock Draft Muncher uses a computer algorithm to look at the most popular players selected at each draft position in order to create a consensus mock draft. It first looks at the most popular selections in mock drafts and picks them if they are available. If the first several selections at a particular position are not available, the algorithm assigns an available player to the team based on (1) low average draft position and (2) top team needs.
If mock drafts are an inexact science – just as the real draft is – then the Mock Draft Muncher gets a plurality vote to help meld the opinions. What that means for the quarterbacks, at least according to the MDM, is that three of them could be selected in the top half of the first round. Whether that happens or not, the MDM is a powerful compilation for draftniks to sift through, analyze and enjoy now and in the coming months as it is updated.