The New York Times could really use an NFL draft schedule

The New York Times published an expose today revealing the startling fact that publishing an NFL mock draft is largely an exercise in futility. Generally speaking, it argues that “[d]espite all the brainpower devoted to projecting picks, the truth is that no one can possibly know what is going on inside all 32 N.F.L. teams.”

To bolster its claim, the Times shared a(n allegedly) startling statistic: Of 115 mock drafts “evaluated by Huddle Report, none had more than eight picks going to the right team in the first round.”

But that rate of failure hasn’t stopped mock drafters from mock drafting: “Yes, though most mock drafts stop at pick 32, there are draft-watchers who are so committed that they mock out Rounds 2 and 3, or even all seven. ”

Just one problem with the article: the New York Times seemingly has no clue when all those rounds will actually be drafted. It writes, “[t]he guesswork will end Thursday night, and fans will find out for sure who will join the rosters of their teams.”

But that’s not even remotely true. The only thing that will end Thursday night is the first round. The guesswork will continue through the next two days — Rounds 2 and 3 take place on Friday, 4-7 on Saturday — and some fans (of teams without first-round picks, like the Seahawks) will have little more certainty by the end of Day 1 than they did at its outset.

It’s not even like the Times mistakenly believes the first round is the only one that counts. The very next paragraph notes that “even when a player goes exactly to the team that was expected, it does not mean he will play as well as anticipated.” And I would add that even when the New York Times publishes an article, it does not mean anyone carefully fact-checked it.

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