Let’s say that half the people that matter think that Johnny Manziel is a complete bum, and that he won’t go in the first round. Let’s say a handful of others, as reflected in Barry Switzer’s comments and noted in this piece from last week, think very highly of him.
Now, let me tell you that on average, with all those opinions and rankings, from early in the draft to outside the 1st round, Manziel rates out as the 25th pick. Does that mean that is where he will be selected?
Absolutely not. It matters very little whether Ron Jaworski thinks Johnny Manziel is a late first pick, third round pick, or should be permanently on spring break. Draft position is not dictated by the average view of a player; it is controlled by what the top 20% that are most bullish believe.
Conversely, if you have a player who everyone agrees is the 20th best player in the draft, that player will not go 20th. He will go around 30th. Why? Because even though everyone agrees on that player, they disagree on the ones in front. No one ever takes the player they think is only the 20th best with the 20th pick in the draft.
Last year, I tried to do a second order mock draft. This year, I expanded it by running several simulations to get an average draft position. I used the mock drafts prepared in the last week by NFL.com, by CBS Sports, by Kiper and McShay, and our own latest mock draft (a final version will be out tomorrow). Fifty different players appear in at least one mock draft.
Here are the top three tiers, comprising players that should make up most of the top ten in the real draft:
Yeah, Manziel and Bortles were down on a few of the mocks, but they were in the top 7 enough to get drafted highly. Consensus is pretty high on Clowney, Robinson, Mack and Watkins near the top.
Here is the next two tiers, where many other first rounders will come from.
Some of these players are uniformly found in the middle of the first round. Others, like Timmy Jernigan, show a great amount of fluctuation but appear highly on some boards. If that reflects what some front offices think, expect him to be drafted higher than other mock drafts list him.
This final group features players who were scattered on a few mock drafts but did not appear frequently.
Related: 2014 Commenter Mock Draft