Proving that you can bet on almost anything sports-related and then crunch the resulting data and write about it, Pro Football Focus published what might be the most fascinating mock draft of the year.
Let’s look at their methodology and intent first:
(bolding mine, to signify intent)
(This mock draft) is based on our interpretation of the current betting markets, with betting lines courtesy of our friends at DraftKings and other places. This differs slightly from Benjamin Robinson’s great work on Grinding the Mocks, which uses mock draft data and models built from them to make predictions on draft position. Both are wisdom-of-the-crowd approaches; it is just that the crowds differ.
This mock is intended to be predictive by its very nature, but there are a few editorial assumptions here. Additionally — and unlike a few years prior — there are not robust markets for players after around Pick 14, so inferences past that point are extremely noisy. All lines are as of April 12 and are from DraftKings Sportsbook unless otherwise specified, although previous prices were also considered.
Let’s emphasize the bolded portion one more time . . .
This mock draft is supposed to PREDICT what will happen in the first round of the actual NFL Draft on April 27.
Note: For the results-oriented among us, there is an image that shows the entire first round at the end of this article, and for those that are curious how accurate this approach might be, the results of last year’s market-implied mock draft are addressed in the Bonus Coverage section.
Ready to see who the Seahawks add to their roster if the sports-betting public is right?
Round 1, Pick 5: EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
The 12s go wild !!!
Lumen Field opens the gates and Seattle throws a spontaneous party that spills into Day Two of the draft.
Will Anderson is a Seahawk !!!!!!!!!!!!
And, yes, that’s 12 exclamation points on that thar’ sentence.
Here’s what PFF shared about the pick:
There is an 80% implied probability of the Alabama pass-rusher being the first non-quarterback drafted. The market is paying a 33.3% chance that Anderson goes No. 3, and if not, a slide to No. 5 looks like the likely outcome.
And, because it’s relevant to understanding why PFF has Anderson sliding to us at #5, here’s PFF’s prediction for pick #3 and the accompanying write-up:
Tennessee Titans (from Arizona Cardinals): QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
Richardson recently moved to a minus price to be selected third, with the Cardinals expected to become sellers when it’s their turn on the clock.
Round 1, Pick 20: DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
Everyone wants Seattle to go quarterback in the first round, but this approach to their two picks could set them up with years of productive play at the key positions along the defensive line.
I don’t agree with the first part of that write-up (everyone is A LOT of people), but the second part sure seems true.
Here are some other notable predictions from this market-implied mock draft:
Quarterbacks go 1-2-3-4.
At this point, it wouldn’t be a shock, but it would be historic because no draft has ever had QBs come off the board with the first four picks.
Jalen Carter’s ‘slide’ ends in Sin City.
Apparently the betting public doesn’t believe the reports that say the Raiders have taken Carter off their draft board.
Tyree Wilson ends up about 2,600 miles away from Seattle.
That’s a ‘shout out’ to the 17,432 mock drafts that have given the Seahawks a player that doesn’t fit their scheme with the 5th overall pick.
No running backs are selected in Round One.
Just kidding! Bijan Robinson actually goes to one of the worst places imaginable: the Philadelphia Eagles (at #30).
It could have been worse - he could have landed with one of our NFC West rivals . . . or the Kansas City Chiefs.
Note: If Robinson is still on the board in the late-20s on April 27th, I will be praying for Seattle to move up from #37 to grab him. Someone will have to call and tell me though cuz I’ll have broken every TV in my home when we passed on him at #20.
Now, as promised, here is the entire first round of PFF’s ‘Market-Implied’ Mock Draft:
some most of the highlights from the market-implied predictions for the 2022 NFL Draft:
Two of the 32 predictions were spot-on.
PFF nailed #10 (Garrett Wilson to the New York Jets) and #20 (Kenny Pickett to the Pittsburgh Steelers). Pretty sure 90% of America nailed that second one (since Pickett spent his college career in the same stadium).
Six picks were one pick away from the PFF prediction.
PFF predicted that Aidan Hutchinson would be the #1 overall selection and Travon Walker would be #2; those were reversed on Draft Day.
Kayvon Thibodeaux went #5 instead of #4.
The Atlanta Falcons were predicted to select Charles Cross at #8; we all know what happened there.
Jordan Davis went one pick earlier than predicted (#13 instead of #14), and Daxton Hill went one pick later (#31 vs. #30).
Seven predictions were either two or three picks off.
Let’s do this one bullet-style.
- Ahmed ‘Sauce’ Gardner got some social distancing on his #7 prediction; he was picked by the Jets at #4.
- Ickey Ekwonu went to the Carolina Panthers at #6 instead of the Texans at #3.
- Evan Neal “slid” from #5 to #7 - which is sort of amusing since the 5th and 7th picks belonged to the same team (the New York Giants).
- Jameson Williams was predicted to go #15 but the Detroit Lions rolled the dice on him (and his ACL rehab) at #12.
- PFF’s market-implied mock had Kyle Hamilton going 12th overall; he went 14th instead.
- Trevor Penning, who someone took at #9 in the SBN Mock Draft, was predicted to go #16 overall but ended up being picked at #19.
- Tyler Linderbaum was predicted to be selected at #27 but actually went #25.
More than half the selections were within five slots of PFF’s predictions.
Fifteen of the 32 first round picks were selected within three spots of where they were predicted to be selected.
Four more came off the board within four or five picks which puts the total at NINETEEN players that were drafted within five spots of where PFF predicted.
That ain’t too bad in my book.
Note: So that no one has to ask in the Comments: Drake London (13-to-8), Treylon Burks (22-to-18), Trent McDuffie (17-to-21), and Devonte Wyatt (24-to-28). Key = prediction-to-actual.
There were some BIG misses.
The biggest whiff was the prediction that Malik Willis would be selected by the Panthers at #6 overall. He stayed on the board until pick #86. That’s a difference of +80.
The second-worst miss was another QB. The prediction was that Detroit would select Matt Corral with the last pick in the first round (which they got from the Rams). Nope! Corral landed in Carolina at #94 overall (+62).
Nakobe Dean slid 55 spots: prediction = 28; actual = 83.
Jermaine Johnson was predicted to go to the Seahawks at #9 overall. That clearly didn’t happen. The Jets took him 17 picks later.
Not all of the misses were because of players sliding down the board though.
Four players climbed 8 spots:
- Derek Stingley (predicted at #11; selected at #3)
- Chris Olave (from #19 to #11)
- Kenyon Green (#23 and #15)
- Zion Johnson (climbed from #25 to #17)
As impressive as those climbs were, the BIGGEST climber was the SMALLEST player selected in Round One . . .
- Predicted selection: #29
- Actual selection: #16
Note: Jahan Dotson might not have been the biggest climber since there were five players selected in Round One that weren’t predicted to be selected that early. However, without predictions to go off of, it’s hard to say how much those five players climbed since, for all we know, any of them could have theoretically been predicted to come off the board with the first pick of the second round.
* Quay Walker, selected by the Packers at #22 overall
* Kaiir Elam, selected by the Bills at #23 overall
* Tyler Smith, selected by the Cowboys at #24 overall
* Cole Strange, selected by the Patriots at #29 overall
* Lewis Cine, selected by the Vikings at #32 overall