They're not just for fans—front offices around the league use mock drafts as an exercise to prepare for draft night
A few weeks ago we took you behind the curtain to see how NFL teams mock the draft to figure out who could and could not be available when their pick comes. But in recent days, I’ve also heard of some teams getting even more creative with their mock drafts.
Take, for example, the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have a second-year general manager in Brandon Beane, but this will be his first draft in Buffalo. He walked WGR 550 through his team’s mock draft process for this week; it started on Monday and included five different mock drafts. The first two involved going around the room with scouts and personnel men picking 1 through 22. (The Bills own picks No. 12 and 22.) The next two mocks took the Bills from picks 1 through 56, which would include Buffalo’s picks at 53 and 56. The final mock had Beane assign each man to be a GM of a team—Person A is Cleveland GM John Dorsey—and that person would be in charge of Cleveland’s draft, and so on.
I spoke to a source from a team that went to the playoffs last season who said they’ve done anywhere between eight to 10 scenarios. What happens is the team will do those mocks until their late pick, and based on the situations—say a quarterback-needy team did not take a quarterback in the first round—the second round was extrapolated out.
The Panthers don’t bother too much with the full exercise. General manager Marty Hurney, back for his first draft in the chair in six years, told me at his pre-draft press conference Tuesday that he doesn’t go around the room and necessarily worry what the Browns are doing at 1 and 4. Carolina, picking at 24, will identify and rank about eight guys they feel good about in that area. “For us [the draft] probably starts at 18 or 19 because then what happens between 18 and 23 is going to affect who’s there,” Hurney said.
I’d love to compare these teams’ mocks with the ones we in the media put out.
NOW ON THE MMQB: Conor Orr delivers a great piece on an African immigrant’s draft dream … You’ve read Ben Baskin on Saquon Barkey, so now watch SI TV’s 17-minute documentary on the running back who could be a Giant … Andy Benoit takes you to Boise to meet Leighton Vander Esch ... and more.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Jenny Vrentas asks the prescient question of the draft: Are any of these quarterbacks going to be any good? … Peter King’s mock draft (he got 29 of the 32 first-rounders last year, with seven direct hits)... and more.
1. Rapper Meek Mill was finally released on bail, much to the delight of Philadelphia sports fans and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
2. The NFL is trying to top last year’s fantastic draft experience in Philadelphia by getting more than 400,000 people out this week in Dallas.
3. Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia had a strange Twitter exchange with Tampa Bay Times writer Greg Auman, who correctly pointed out that if Garcia wanted to announce Tampa Bay’s third-round pick, the team would first need to acquire one.
4. A few unsurprising transactions across the league, as teams have started picking up fifth-year options on players from the 2015 draft. The Dolphins picked up DeVante Parker, the Panthers will use Shaq Thompson's fifth-year, and the Rams did their thing with both Todd Gurley and Marcus Peters.
5. Along with divulging his draft prep, Hurney showed plenty of self-awareness on his draft hits and misses over the years in Carolina.
6. Colts center Ryan Kelly detailed his battle with the concussion symptoms that marred the latter half of a disappointing 2017 season.
7. And quarterback Andrew Luck won’t be throwing at all during Colts’ minicamp. According to the Indy Star, the plan is he won’t throw with his surgically repaired shoulder for at least another month.
8. Giants tackle Ereck Flowers is on the trade block. That shouldn’t be surprising since it’s clear New York wants to rid itself of the former first-round pick.
9. The Boston Globe put together a fun, interactive piece on the all-time first-round draft picks just in time for us all to embrace debate.
10. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is the latest to be deposed in Colin Kaepernick’s collusion case against the NFL.
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The scuttlebutt yesterday was that the Browns are now eyeing Baker Mayfield at No. 1. That was after they had their sights set on Sam Darnold. And that came after they were locked in on Josh Allen. No doubt that today, the word around draft circles will have them keying in on Josh Rosen.
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