Early in March, we started tracking the post-combine mock drafts of the seven services we’ve been following for two years now. Then the coronavirus happened, and all our efforts went into trying to fill the pro day gap.
This week, we’re trotting our grid back out, dusting it off and giving it a look. Next week, we’ll look at the last round of mocks (by the same services) for the last time before NFL teams do it for real the last weekend of the month.
Here’s what we found in this month’s mocks.
- This is something we’ll be watching more closely going forward, but one trend we detected was a great level of similarity between mock drafts (OK, we weren’t surprised that much, either, but still). Every one of the seven services we surveyed in their first mock draft of March had LSU’s Joe Burrow No. 1 overall. Six of seven had Ohio State’s Chase Young at No. 2 (hello, PFF). Four other players received the same top-10 grades from at least four of the services, including Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons (Tony Pauline, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, ESPN’s Todd McShay and Sports Illustrated all at No. 4); Auburn’s Derrick Brown (Pauline, Miller, McShay and Walter Football have him at No. 7); Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs (Pauline, PFF, Brugler and Sports Illustrated at 8); and Alabama’s Jedrick Wills (No. 10 according to Pauline, PFF, Brugler and McShay).
- Georgia’s Andrew Thomas at 11 (Pauline, PFF, Brugler, Miller and Walter); Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy at 12 (according to PFF, Miller, Sports Illustrated and Walter); Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III at 15 (PFF, Brugler, McShay and Walter) have also drawn some sort of consensus.
- For what it’s worth, three services have been on the “Burrow is No. 1” express since October: PFF, Sports Illustrated and Walter. McShay was one of the early adopters, too, but got off the train in December (Young) before re-boarding pre-combine.
- If you’re looking for a draft expert who most closely resembles an analytics model, look to Brugler, who has 12 picks (1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 19, 22 and 29) in common with Pro Football Focus. I should note that there was a pretty major “clustering” among the draft experts post-combine, and I presume that if I reviewed last year’s totals, we’d see the same thing.
- Overall, we saw a “narrowing” of the board among the seven services, with 20 players on all seven services’ top 32. Just missing were Alabama FS Xavier McKinney (snubbed only by Pauline) and Oklahoma OB Kenneth Murray (not rated by McShay).
- Also, only three players (Wisconsin OB Zach Baun and OC Tyler Biadasz; Oregon OG Shane Lemieux; Alabama DT Raekwon Davis; Dugger and Gallimore) were on only one board. Baun was 30 by Brugler; Biadasz 31 and Lemieux 27 per Walter Football; Pauline listed Davis at 23; Dugger was 28 on the PFF mock; and Gallimore was 25 according to Sports Illustrated).
- New entries to mock drafts were Clemson DC A.J. Terrell (No. 20 according to Miller, 27 for PFF, 32 for Brugler); Boise St. OT Ezra Cleveland (No. 29 per PFF and Brugler, 31 on Pauline’s board); Lenoir-Rhyne SS Kyle Dugger (No. 28 according to PFF) and Oklahoma DT Neville Gallimore (No. 25 to Sports Illustrated).
We’ve given the services a more extensive look in today’s Friday Wrap, which comes out this evening (6:30 p.m. CT). As always, you can register for it here.