Sure, you’ve read some mock drafts. But who is likely to go in the first round, and what are the tiers? To look at this, I combined 16 different mock drafts, with no more than two from one publication, all published since the start of April. Here were the mocks used:
ESPN (Kiper and McShay), CBS, CBS again, SB Nation, Sporting News, Yahoo, Draft Analyst, The Huddle, Draft Tek, Bleacher Report, Houston Chronicle (McClain and Wilson), Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Walter Football.
While the top of many boards look similar, groupthink has not sunk in yet. Fifty-five different players were included in at least one first round, and only 17 different players appeared in every mock draft examined. The results are below, and are color-coded to also show the volatility in a given player’s projection. I used the draft values from Football Perspective, and the standard deviations of the picks, to assess relative volatility of where a player was being selected.
Josh Allen, for example, is the most volatile player because he is 1st overall in several mocks, but also falls outside the top 10 in several others. That kind of range represents a large difference in how his future is viewed, moreso than a guy who ranges from pick 22 to 32.
The color coding of volatility is as follows: dark blue are the most stable picks, light blue then follow that. The dark red are the least stable picks and represent players who have a wide range of projections, while light red are also less stable (but not as volatile as the dark red). It should come as no surprise that the 4 quarterbacks (Allen, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackson) are wildcards in this draft.
You can also see where the relative tiers fall. There’s a fairly pronounced group in the top 13. There is a large gap between Vita Vea’s average projection and Calvin Ridley and the names that follow. That’s not to say that none of those guys will rise into the top 12 who are below (individual mocks have various ones projected) but that the top tier is pretty firm. There’s also then a pretty large gap between Da’Ron Payne, Marcus Davenport, and Ridley, and several guys who are quite variable in where they are projected. Then, there’s a large gap after Isaiah Wynn (at #24 in average slotting) and the next large group of players who could be taken in the first round, but not seen as locks.