The draft is, by far, the single most important part of your season. The one tool you can use prior to your real draft is mock drafting. There are sites on the web that offer free mock drafts. Preparing for a draft is the difference between being average or playing in the last few games of the season, while calling the average guy and busting his chops when one of your guys scores, because your team is still in contention and his isn’t. Better Luck Next Year!
Do not be the guy who shows up to the draft, after stopping and grabbing some magazine on the way there. That’s the guy who drafts someone that was hurt in training camp, happens every year, sometimes more than once, by more than one person. You may as well just hand over your fee and highlight what players you want so someone else can draft for you. In fact if that sounds like you, forget what I just said and if you’re having trouble getting into some new leagues, I know of a few that have openings still.
Mock drafts may have scoring systems different than the league you play in but they are still crucial to your preparation. You can look over all the projections you want, they’re generally consistent with one another except for a few different players at each position. The scoring system used for the projections might determine that difference as well as opinion. The problem is, looking at a projection sheet doesn’t give you the feel for the draft. Very valuable information can be uncovered by doing mock drafts. Every year there are gems that fall into the late rounds. Your team is not built in the first couple rounds, it will be built between rounds 5-12.
Do your homework on teams and team positions as a whole, besides just doing individual projections. Alot of a players success depends on the talent that is around him as much as his own talent and individual success. Unless your initials are L.T. and you played for NYG or SD, there are exceptions. Also pay attention to coaching changes and the effect that it will play on the individual positions. Will it be a positive or negative, will the coach imput a system that doesn’t fit a players skill set? Rookies? There are alot of things to weigh out making projections and doing mock drafts will put some of these types of questions to ease.
Get your projections and a notebook, you’ll need it. Going through the draft, take some notes. Who’s getting drafted higher than you expect? Who’s dropping? How many running backs went in the first round? How many quarterbacks were drafted in the first 5 rounds? What round and pick did Gates go in? A mock draft will uncover the flow and feel of players and where they are being drafted at.
After your draft start looking at who went where and start tiering players, this will also be useful for your draft. When faced with a decision on draft day about one position or another depending on who’s still available, this will provide you with depth for the positions and show you the greater value pick for that round versus the next round and this way you will not reach for a player and miss out on a better pick the next round.
Every year I do my projections and after doing many, many, many mock drafts I know the team I want and where I will get certain players going into my draft and I do not get off my plan. There are certain players I will target and get a top finish for a late pick. 2 years ago it was Carson Palmer and last year it was Frank Gore. Alot of people knew they were both sleepers going in but with the assisstance of the mock draft, I knew a good range of where to draft them without reaching for them. I usually walk out of the draft with around 75-80% of the players I target walking in. Every year there are certain players that will have ranked between 20-30 at there position from the previous season and they will vault into the top ten at every skill position. Right now I’m looking for my 2007 targets, are you?