It's a business of being wrong.
Everyone reads mock drafts at this time of year in the same way they'd view a car accident on the side of the road. They'll grind their teeth and curse the fact they see another one, then they'll look over it, see who their team took and where their favorite prospect was selected.
Then they'll gnash their teeth some more.
Not only after that, they'll call the writer's credibility into question, pointing out how wrong they are. The industrious among that group will go back to their previous year's picks and point out how wrong they were.
In that research, they won't find anyone who was right. It just doesn't happen. But the act of proving how wrong they were becomes a pastime (pass time?) in and of itself.
Philly.com writer (and former SBN writer) Jimmy Kempski was one of the industrious ones, recently having highlighted some of the most prominent draft prognosticators and the picks they made in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Of the five, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay, CBS's Pete Prisco, FOX's Peter Schrager and Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, none of them accurately picked the Steelers' pick at No. 17 last year - Jarvis Jones.
In fact, those five mockers were off by a combined 132 spots - or an average of 26.4 spots. That's nearly an entire round.
Prisco led the pack by sending defensive tackle John Jenkins to Pittsburgh at 17. He ended up as the 82nd overall pick to New Orleans.
Todd McShay sent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to the Steelers at 17. He ended up with the Giants as the 49th overall pick.
Schrager had the Steelers taking Manti Te'o and his imaginary friends at 17, a full 21 spots away from where San Diego ended up taking him. Kiper had the Steelers taking Ziggy Ansah, who ended up being the fifth overall pick by the Detroit Lions - representing the only one of the five who put a player to Pittsburgh who ended up being selected higher than 17.
Don Banks was by far the closest, predicting Kenny Vaccaro to the Steelers. He went two spots later to New Orleans.
Hindsight is 20/20, and Kempski's research appears to have been done in mocks those writers filed around this time of the year - before the Combine and individual workouts had been conducted.
Jones went 5 (Kiper), 6 (Prisco), 9 (McShay), 3 (Schrager) and 5 (Banks), so the results would have sounded pretty good back then.
It's easy to rip these apart, and many of them written have a certain tongue-in-cheek flavor to them. If nothing else, they provide good conversation fodder and bring a few names into the fold to consider. That's part of the enjoyment for fans - it's not about what WILL happen, it's about what COULD happen. There's no trophy for predicting these accurately.
But there's certainly a lot to gain by ending up humorously off-base.
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