19-Year-Old Proves Mock Drafts Are Child’s Play

Can we all agree that NFL mock drafts are ridiculous? And that Clever Hans has as good a chance at accurately predicting the first round as Mel Kiper, Jr.? Here’s more evidence, in the form of a 19-year-old kid who claims that his mock draft beat Kiper’s last year, and was in fact “the best in the country.”

Mark Clayton and Shawn Zobel

(Tweety Bird and a young Seth Rogen discuss Matthew Stafford.)

Let’s leave aside the fact that this is completely unverifiable, as fantasy mock draft leagues have yet to catch fire. What’s Shawn Zobel’s secret that makes his projections so accurate compared to real football writers who have inside sources? He watches a lot of TV.

Yep. He watches college football every Saturday, and that’s pretty much the extent of his research. Oh, and he went to the Senior Bowl twice!

BS: Do you watch film of draft prospects?

SZ: Not as much film. Because I’m 19 and I haven’t been able to get much credibility, I haven’t been able to get film. A lot of it is based on what I see on TV. The last two years, I’ve gone to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

I’m not being fair. He also attended the Scouting Combine, which isn’t open to the public. You might have heard of the combine. It’s the workout that’s so overanalyzed by every media outlet that you or I know a heck of a lot more about what happened than someone who was there in person, with just his own two eyes.

Here’s Zobel’s 2009 mock draft. To test his skills, we can watch for one major first round upset he’s predicting: the Vikings taking Percy Harvin, instead of the consensus pick of an OT.

I have pretty good information that eight of the 10 offensive coaches want Percy Harvin, and Childress wants tackle Eben Britton from Arizona. The source I talked to said Percy Harvin. The source isn’t in the organization, but he has contact with them. Harvin is going to put people in the seats and have highlight reels. When a team takes an offensive tackle, it doesn’t add excitement to your team.

Catch that? He actually does have a source, but not actually someone with the Vikings. Whereas Kiper and the rest of the pros are on the phone every day with GMs and scouts, we’re supposed to take this third-hand gossip as gospel.

Look, the NFL draft is pretty unpredictable, save for major trends and the first few picks. You can have it all planned out, but once the first team takes someone you didn’t expect, then the rest goes to pot pretty quickly. Unless you’re the Lions, or your team is willing to grossly overpay for a kicker, there’s very little chance you can know ahead of time who you’re going to get.