Mock drafts are fundamentally useless as a predictive tool beyond the educational value of the process itself. I doubt there has ever been a first-round mock draft that has actually accurately predicted the entire round, because there are always curveballs when you have 32 unique agents making real-time decisions based on the other decisions being made in real time.
No matter what route you take, you’re inevitably going to come up short, but some models try to take more predictive approaches than others. For example, Pro Football Focus offered a ‘wisdom of the crowd’-style mock recently by using the betting market to try to extrapolate where players are projected to be drafted and by whom.
Whatever methods they used churned out yet another mock draft that has the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting a quarterback, and since they have been connected to every major quarterback coming out of college this year already, we’re certainly not going to be treading any new ground.
This time around, though, they do have the Steelers sitting at pick 20 rather than attempting to trade up, and they see the betting markets predicting that Pittsburgh will end up selecting Matt Corral out of Ole Mis as their next quarterback.
“The number of quarterbacks taken in Round 1 is lined at 2.5 (-200 to the over), and Corral is 15/1 to be the first quarterback chosen (third-highest odds)”, the article reads. “Sam Howell of North Carolina is 18/1 to be the first quarterback taken”.
This mock has Malik Willis as the first quarterback taken, selected sixth overall by the Carolina Panthers, who are obviously one of the teams this offseason who have shown the most interest in the quarterbacks this year. Even with Sam Darnold under contract, shockingly.
The New Orleans Saints are the second team on the board for a quarterback in this mock, taking Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett with the 16th overall selection. Corral at 20 is the final quarterback that they predict to go in the first round, to Pittsburgh.
That means Sam Howell and Desmond Ridder and Carson Strong will all have to wait until Day 2 in order to hear their names called and find out who their next teams are going to be, if Pro Football Focus’ interpretation the betting lines—and the betting lines themselves—prove to be correct. Which of course they won’t.
Still, it’s easy to predict that point that the Steelers are going to draft a quarterback. Almost everybody probably believes that at this point whether they think that they should or not.