Mock drafts for the NFL Draft or other league drafts are very popular in magazines and online. ESPN has run mock drafts on the front page of its website, allowing any visitor to vote towards a specific team's choice. Mock drafts are often found to be helpful to fans because they allow them to speculate on which members of the collegiate ranks will join the fan's favorite team.
There are many Internet and television analysts that are considered experts in this field and can give the fans some understanding of where players are expected to go in drafts. Although mock drafts are created for nearly every sport that uses drafts, they are most commonplace for the National Football League. Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN and Mike Mayock of the NFL Network are considered television experts on the NFL Draft.
Some draftniks diligently base evaluations on careful research and tape study. Others blend workout results, regurgitated wisdom, generalities, jargon, rumors, hallucinations and educated guesses into elaborate and seemingly precise scouting reports.-- The New York Times, 2011
Mock drafts, however, do not replicate the real methodology that teams' general managers use to choose players. Internet mock drafts typically rank many dozens of players per position, often with immense detail for each prospect, and some forecast drafts for several years into the future. NFL teams, by contrast, each year often view even likely first round picks as little more than faceless statistics during the Combine in February, do not evaluate so many players (only about one dozen quarterbacks are selected in each draft, for example), and do not complete their detailed evaluations until just before the draft in late April. Draft analysts often claim that a player has "climbed" or "fallen" into another draft round due to various factors, but such statements presuppose--often inaccurately--that teams have already made detailed evaluations of the player and that a consensus exists across the entire league.
Mock drafts are practice fantasy sports drafts. Before a league's draft takes place, mock drafts are a way to practice before someone's pride and/or money are on the line. Participating in a mock draft alerts fantasy players to real players that are going higher or lower than one expected. Savvy fantasy sports players also monitor the results of these drafts for trends and to see where players are being taken to get a feel for each player's value (as shown in the Average Draft Position (or ADP) from multiple mock drafts).
Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star wrote in 2010, "Die-hard participants are set to engage in this activity throughout the summer as part of an evaluation process to gauge player values before drafting for real."