DataHog: Ranking Mock Draft Experts

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Predicting when someone will be selected in the NFL Draft is part science with a dash of art and a pinch of witchcraft. Prognosticators will need to have watched hours upon hours’ worth of video, analyzed NFL teams’ needs and wants, closely monitored Combine results and successfully drew conclusions based on past general manager and coaching staff draft strategies and organizational philosophies.

Or they’re just making it all up.

Which is it? Now that the dust has settled after the 2016 NFL Draft, we take a look at five national sportswriters, columnists and personalities who’ve worked out substantive NFL mock drafts and rank them based on how five Razorbacks went in the draft.

2016 NFL Draft: Razorbacks Selected     
PlayerColumnistPredicted PickPredicted TeamActual PickActual Team
Brandon AllenDane Brugler (CBS Sports)Rd. 6 (203)Kansas City ChiefsRd. 6 (201)Jacksonville Jaguars
Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN)Rd. 4 (104)N/ARd. 6 (201)Jacksonville Jaguars
Matt Miller (B/R)Rd. 5 (157)Chicago BearsRd. 6 (201)Jacksonville Jaguars
Chad Reuter (NFL Network)Rd. 5 (158)Washington RedskinsRd. 6 (201)Jacksonville Jaguars
Peter Schrager (Fox Sports)Rd. 6 (185)Chicago BearsRd. 6 (201)Jacksonville Jaguars
Alex CollinsDane Brugler (CBS Sports)Rd. 3 (84)Washington RedskinsRd. 5 (171)Seattle Seahawks
Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN)UDFAN/ARd. 5 (171)Seattle Seahawks
Matt Miller (B/R)Rd. 4 (99)Cleveland BrownsRd. 5 (171)Seattle Seahawks
Chad Reuter (NFL Network)Rd. 6 (210)Detroit LionsRd. 5 (171)Seattle Seahawks
Peter Schrager (Fox Sports)Rd. 4 (127)Chicago BearsRd. 5 (171)Seattle Seahawks
Hunter HenryDane Brugler (CBS Sports)Rd. 2 (50)Indianapolis ColtsRd. 2 (35)San Diego Chargers
Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN)Rd. 2 (54)N/ARd. 2 (35)San Diego Chargers
Matt Miller (B/R)Rd. 2 (41)Chicago BearsRd. 2 (35)San Diego Chargers
Chad Reuter (NFL Network)Rd. 2 (41)Chicago BearsRd. 2 (35)San Diego Chargers
Peter Schrager (Fox Sports)Rd. 2 (50)Atlanta FalconsRd. 2 (35)San Diego Chargers
Sebastian TretolaDane Brugler (CBS Sports)Rd. 6 (213)San Francisco 49ersRd. 6 (193)Tennessee Titans
Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN)Rd. 5 (164)N/ARd. 6 (193)Tennessee Titans
Matt Miller (B/R)Rd. 5 (143)Oakland RaidersRd. 6 (193)Tennessee Titans
Chad Reuter (NFL Network)Rd. 4 (104)Baltimore RavensRd. 6 (193)Tennessee Titans
Peter Schrager (Fox Sports)UDFAN/ARd. 6 (193)Tennessee Titans
Jonathan WilliamsDane Brugler (CBS Sports)Rd. 4 (135)Dallas CowboysRd. 5 (156)Buffalo Bills
Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN)Rd. 5 (149)N/ARd. 5 (156)Buffalo Bills
Matt Miller (B/R)Rd. 4 (135)Dallas CowboysRd. 5 (156)Buffalo Bills
Chad Reuter (NFL Network)Rd. 4 (134)Baltimore RavensRd. 5 (156)Buffalo Bills
Peter Schrager (Fox Sports)UDFAN/ARd. 5 (156)Buffalo Bills

By taking the difference from each player’s draft prediction and their selection number, we get a value: A positive number indicates an undervalued pick while a negative number implies an overvalued pick. The goal is to be as close to zero as possible. Adding up all of these numbers and dividing the sum by five produces the differential average and provides the basis how we rank all the mock drafters.

Ranking The Mock Drafters
MediaHenryAllenWilliamsTretolaCollinsTotal PtsDiff. Avg.Worst PickBest Pick
Dane Brugler (CBS Sports)132-2120-87-73-14.6A. CollinsB. Allen
Mel Kiper Jr. (ESPN)19-97-7-2983-31-6.2B. AllenJ. Williams
Matt Miller (B/R)6-44-21-50-44-153-30.6S. TretolaH. Henry
Chad Reuter (NFL Network)6-43-22-8939-109-21.8S. TretolaH. Henry
Peter Schrager (Fox Sports)15-169861-4411422.8J. WilliamsH. Henry

Out of the five mock drafters, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. comes in first with a differential average of -6.2, meaning he overvalued each Arkansas draft pick by an average of 6.2 draft spots. His best prediction was running back Jonathan Williams. Drafted 156th overall in the fifth round by the Buffalo Bills, Kiper predicted he would be selected seven spots earlier in the same round. On the other hand, his worst prediction was quarterback Brandon Allen. Kiper thought he’d go in the fourth round at 104th overall, but Allen wouldn’t have his number called until the sixth round as the 201st overall selection.

At the opposite side of the spectrum is Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller who scored a -30.6.  His best prediction was tight end Hunter Henry in the second round at 41st overall (Henry was the 35th overall selection). Miller’s worst pick was offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola as the 143rd overall pick in the fifth round – Tretola would be called up in the sixth round as the 193rd selection.

Beyond the numbers, the five Razorbacks taken in the draft – Allen, Collins, Henry, Tretola and Williams – represented the second largest group of offensive players selected from a single school. Arkansas tied UCLA for that accolade and was one off from Ohio State.

Other draft highlights:

Arkansas was one of five schools (Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Clemson) to have at least four players selected in the last five NFL drafts.

Head coach Bret Bielema has developed 39 NFL Draft picks, good for 14th place among active head coaches, including 28 picks over the last six drafts.

During Bielema’s three seasons in Fayetteville, Arkansas has had 14 NFL Draft picks – eight on offense, five on defense, and one on special teams.

During the same time span, Arkansas ranks fourth in the SEC with 14 NFL Draft picks. Alabama (22), Florida (19) and LSU (18) ranked first through third, respectively. Other league institutions include Tennessee with three, Ole Miss with six and Texas A&M with eight.

Arkansas and Alabama are the only programs to have two running backs taken in the same draft within the top five rounds since 2008. This has happened twice with Arkansas, the last instance being Darren McFadden and Felix Jones being selected fourth and 22nd overall, respectively, during the 2008 NFL Draft.

Looking ahead, Bielema continues to attract top talent to Fayetteville and build upon his reputation as one of the best coaches to mentor and develop collegiate talent into NFL-ready prospects.  As the 2016-17 season approaches, one of the most difficult home schedules in program history is set to challenge Razorback Football and propel it to new heights and generate even more #ProHogs for the 2017 NFL Draft.

Editor’s Note: Mel Kiper’s selections were based from his Big Board of top 300 college football player prospects. His format of ranking players is different from a round-by-round mock draft, but for the purposes of this feature, ranking a player No. 54 is the same as stating said player is a second-round talent.