The simple answer is not much! They are fun to do! And what a good projection can do is provide some insight into what players are going to be available at different points in the draft. What no mock draft, even the very best ones, is going to tell you with any greater accuracy than that proverbial blind squirrel who finds a nut every once in a while is what specific player a specific team is going to take at a particular spot in the draft.
Yet that is exactly how people read them. In fact, we sometimes wonder if the vast majority of mock watchers actually treat them literally as mini-drafts on their own. They come across a mock draft and scroll down to their team and say: “Gee, Mel Kiper, or Mike Mayock or Grumpy Lindsay thinks that the Buckeroos are going to take a “fill-in-the-blank” with their ‘X-round” pick this year. And then comment ‘love that pick’ when it fits what they personally hope their team will do or wonder WTF we were they smoking when we made that pick when it doesn’t.
Fact is that neither Mel Kiper, Mike Mayock nor Grumpy Lindsay, nor any other draft analyst has any idea who that particular team is actually going to take. However, based on their knowledge of the talent available, the Kipers, Mayocks and Lindsays of the world can make a reasonable guess based on the players that are likely to be available at any particular point in the draft what a particular might do based on its needs and past draft tendencies.
Fact is that whenever we do a mock draft here, and for just about every pick, we’ll have a list of 2-3, and sometimes more players, that one can make a pretty good case that that particular team could take at that particular point. In fact, one could finish a mock and then come back, change just a few picks and the second version would look quite different than the first. And so on. What tends not to change all that much, however, is the general area that players come off the board. In that sense, the real value of a good mock is to give readers a sense of what players are likely to be available at different points in the draft.
The final thing we note that mocks are in reality projections and all projections are based on a certain set of assumptions. Change the assumptions and the projection will likely change. In this year’s draft, for example, one could do a projection starting with the idea that will be an early run on QBs. One could also do one in which the QBs didn’t go all that early. And so on. Although in the end, again, the vast majority of players are still going to go within several picks whatever the underlying assumption.
All that said, in order to get to the two updated GBN mock drafts please click the appropriate link: I have read the above and now understand how to read a mock.