Commentary

NFL mock draft: the experts' consensus

We gather a range of experts to create our own war room. Who is the best prospect?

Updated: April 10, 2009, 4:44 PM ET
By Chris Sprow | ESPN The Magazine

Earlier today, we released Mel Kiper's latest mock draft. As we get closer to draft day, experts are zeroing in on where they believe players will land. But what might surprise you is just how much they disagree. How is it that one draft guru has a guy at No. 1 and another has him at No. 12?

Getty ImagesTop overall value might not mean top overall pick for Jason Smith.

So we create our own war room. The process helps us with three things:

Assigning value. If 10 experts argued about who the top pick should be, who would go first, on average? Sounds like an actual war room, no? Average helps determine who is a steal. If you get a guy with a 15.8 average at No. 24, that's great value, regardless of need.

Creating an agreement index. By calculating the standard deviation of likely draft positions among experts, we can determine whose value is set. The lower the number, the closer the consensus.

Finding a range. If one expert has a pick set for No. 5 overall and another has him in the No. 28 spot, it's a good indicator that a lot of mystery still surrounds the guy.

Our pool includes Kiper and McShay, plus draft experts from CBS, Fox, the NFL Network and Yahoo! Sports. All second-round projections are given a No. 35 pick standing. The numbers in the "Scouts" section all refer to the Scouts Inc. grades.

The expert rankings are for ESPN Insiders. Insider

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