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Guide: How to Build a Mock
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MaddHatter


Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Posts: 45392
Location: ROH Class of 14
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:22 am    Post subject: Guide: How to Build a Mock Reply with quote



So you want to build a mock, but aren't sure where to start? Well you're in the right spot. First off, kudos for taking the first step in the very daunting process that is a Mock Draft, and taking the time to educate yourself first. As Iím sure youíve noticed, there are a lot of very good mock drafts posted on this forum, but there are also a lot of pretty bad ones. How do you go about making sure yours is not one of the bad ones? Iím glad you asked. In this guide, I will be giving you a very detailed guideline of how to make your mock draft the best it can be, but remember Ė itís just thatÖ a guideÖ and what makes your mock drafts special is your own unique twist.

Step 1 Ė Commitment
Writing up a mock draft takes a great deal of time, and effort, especially a good one Ė and that time amount increases exponentially as you add more rounds. Most people either canít afford to, donít want to, or arenít capable of going a full 7 rounds. They might just post a 1st round mock, or they may go the extra round or two to give it some extra depth and showcase the direction he/she feels that team will go. In the worst case scenario, if you post a simple 1 round mock, itíll probably take you at least an hour Ė if it takes you less than that, you should probably review this thread and see if you hit all the steps. If you plan to do a full 7 rounder, it could take you a weekís worth of time, if not more. Why? Well in a 1 round mock you can pretty much get by using common draft prospect rankings to get a feel of who the Top 40 or so prospects are, and then work with that. For a full 7 rounder youíll have to dive much deeper into players, watch video (if you can find it), read multiple analysis write ups on each player, and youíre going to do this for over 200 prospects. .. a daunting task indeed.

Step 2 Ė Draft Order
The first thing you should probably do is familiarize yourself with the correct draft order of each round. NFL teams will often trade picks for future drafts so you canít just throw up each team in the same order for all 7 rounds. There are several great websites to look at to get the proper order, but the one I use is Walter Football which seems to be the most accurate. Whenever you great ready to start, this is the first place to go. Copy and paste the draft order into a word document and youíll ensure a mistake free draft and knock out a key mistake that many first time mockers often make.

Step 3 Ė Team Needs
Once youíve gotten the proper order established, itís important to invest a great amount of time learning not only the key needs of each team, but also their draft philosophies, offensive and defensive schemes, and the intricacies of how those key needs will fit with those schemes. Example: Team A needs a DT Ė but after a bit of digging you learn that they run a Tampa 2 4-3 and that they need a very athletic, penetrating DT as opposed to a large, hulking, Point of Attack DT. Had you not done that research, you may have made a mistake and given them a DT that has no fit in their system whatsoever Ė and then every pick afterwards would have been thrown off. Itís much better to do this research early on, rather than be humiliated by fans of the team who you were ignorant of who will ruthlessly critique your mock. But guess what, Iíve taken a few steps to help you out by creating a thread for you in which teamís best posters elaborated on their specific needs. Each link will direct you to that thread and allow you to review their responses to my questionnaire, and if thereís anything you felt went unanswered, you can post your follow up questions there. Some of the most knowledgeable posters on this forum rarely leave their own teams forums Ė so Iíd encourage you to read through these threads before you start your mock.

AFC EAST
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets

AFC NORTH
Baltimore Ravens
Cincinatti Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC SOUTH
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans

AFC WEST
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers

NFC EAST
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

NFC North
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

NFC SOUTH
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC WEST
Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams

Step 4 Ė Big Board
Now that you have an understanding of the teams psyche, and how they handle business, itís time to figure out what your big board is going to look like. Whether thatís a Top 100, Top 250, or Top 300 really depends on how many rounds you plan to go. Many will start with a stock ranking, and then tweak it to their own accord, before the mock begins, based on personal preferences. Iíd recommend doing this, and there are a slew of valid ranking sites out there, so use your favorite search engine and look around. The important part here is, know going in, who you have ranked where, and get this out of the way before you mock. Itís also a good idea to have an understanding of each players skill set and what theyíre good at (ie. WR who is a possession guy vs. a stretch the field guy) so read some reports and watch some film on at least the Top 50 if not Top 100.

Step 5 Ė Trades
Before you get started, itís important to decide whether or not you want to have trades within your mock. Some people do, to enhance the realism, while others stay away completely due to the difficulty. Whichever way you decide to go, itís important to decide now and then stick with it throughout. You donít want to have 3 trades in the first round and then none the rest of the mock Ė it just doesnít look right. If you do decide to use trades, you must figure out which players a team might have on the trade block as ammo to move around in a mock as well as understand those players values and the values of a pick. The value of a player really comes down to personal thoughts, but doing research into the players history, current status, and projected future as well as the history of previous trades and the value similar players brought is only the first step to getting this right. The value of a specific pick, and trading of picks for other picks, is much simpler and is detailed on multiple sites, but I prefer the one ESPN has on their website.

Step 6 Ė Creation
Only once you have an understanding of both the teams and the players, should you begin. The most important factor of a successful mock is honesty with yourself and with your readers. You must be impartial and go into the mock without an agenda (having player x fall to team y) or predetermined pick already in mind. I would highly recommend always focusing on only the pick at hand, and projecting yourself into that teamís war room and asking yourself, of all the players available, who is this team most likely to take? Too often, I see mockers who will build a mock around a certain pick (usually so that a certain player falls to their favorite team) rather than starting at the very top and slowly working their way down. I would also highly recommend, at least for the first few rounds, going into a short detail for each pick. Use this space to elaborate on your thought process and why you made the pick that you did; maybe even talk about whom else you had in mind that might have been a candidate but why you picked the one you did. This gives the readers an opportunity to understand where you were coming from, which will typically net you a much better response, even if they donít agree with the pick itself.

Step 7 Ė Format
Now that you have your mock written down, itís time to format it. This is to ensure that it is easy to read, and visually appealing. I have seen a lot of variations and creative ways of doing this, so take a look around at some of the other mocks here on Footballs Future, and come up with your own ideas. Some examples to get you started though, are proper usage of bolding, coloring, the use of team logos, player images (sized properly of course) and spacing between lines. If you really want to impress people and show off your photoshop skills, creating images like this will go along ways to getting great reviews for your mock...


(Credit to Matt Gambino for the artwork)

Conclusion
Congratulations! If youíve finished reading this, youíre one step closer to building a successful mock draft. Now the only thing standing between you and success is yourself. Remember, the objective is to have fun, entertain, and provide your readers with the most insightful and accurate mock that you can. Once you get it posted, read the feedback, discuss your picks with the posters, and take notes for your next one.

(This post was created in honor of my 20,000th post and is my contribution to Football's Future, a site I've grown quite fond of over the last several years.)
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Last edited by MaddHatter on Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:59 pm; edited 4 times in total
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vike daddy


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ka-zowie.

and 20,000 posts at that.

Applause
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scar988


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great guide. "Professionals" barely do half of this in their mocks. I would also say make sure the players fit the character profile of the team that drafts them, but other than that, this is clutch.
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FLOODx


Joined: 26 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, congrats on 20,000 Wink
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bucstopshere


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great great post hatter!


you can use my mock as an example Wink
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james.mcmurry13


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, make sure you spell players' names correctly. Its an immediate turnoff if you see Jimmy Claussen being drafted in the top 10.
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MaddHatter


Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Posts: 45392
Location: ROH Class of 14
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

james.mcmurry13 wrote:
Also, make sure you spell players' names correctly. Its an immediate turnoff if you see Jimmy Claussen being drafted in the top 10.


Haha - that's a very good point McM
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james.mcmurry13


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more thing. If you're going to quote your picks, ONLY quote YOUR picks, not the entire draft!
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Valkyrus


Joined: 08 Jan 2007
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Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

---Great job. Let's hope anyone thinking of making a Mock Draft, reads this first.
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skatebeanz


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What was the image? It is gone.
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MaddHatter


Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a great example by Olympia Martin
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MaddHatter


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is an excellent example of a mock with Trades by bucstopshere
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TheDeeeeej


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a great example by TheDeeeeej


Wink
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49ers_52


Joined: 15 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if this was mentioned but anyone doing a 2011 mock and guessing the order of the picks needs to consider:

One team from each division has to be in the playoffs therefore picking no earlier than 21 I believe. I have seen a lot of people putting the NFC West at picks say 2, 8, 10, 14 but one of the teams has to make the playoffs. Say the 9ers win the division at 8-8, they wouldn't be picking say 16 with the rest of the 8-8 teams , they would pick in the spot for the worst playoff team (assuming they lose) which I believe is 21.

If anyone can think of a better way to make this clear that would be great. Also, if you want to add this to your draft suggestions MadHatter that would be great.
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MaddHatter


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point 49ers 52
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