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2020 NFL mock draft: Picking random names out of a hat

Unquestionably the best methodology for a mock draft.

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Arizona v Oregon Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Mock drafts are a huge waste of time.

Sorry to hit you with that at the top of this article, but it’s true. Sure, they help pass the time in a painfully-long offseason—especially when quarantined—but the same could be said for counting the strands in your living room carpet. And at least the latter activity may give you some appreciation for the overlooked art of carpet manufacturing.

In reality, mock drafts are uninformative, they require absolutely no skill to do yet everyone is horrible at them, and by the end of draft season, everyone’s pretty much looks the exact same.

And the dirty little secret is that everyone hates doing them. Professional journalists spend years hoping to find an inspirational story or discover some deeper meaning in exhaustive analytic research. But the thing that always gets the most page views is a boring predictive article using the same mock draft generators and the same algorithms to spit out the same opinions that everyone agrees upon by March.

Perhaps the worst part about mock drafts is the expectancy it creates. “Hey, I got Denzel Mims in the third round of my mock! So the Lions better not take him earlier, or it’s a reach.”

No, shut up. That’s not how this works. Mock drafts are not real life.

I’ve never written a true mock draft in my 10+ years of sports writing, but I, too, have accepted this inevitability as an “important” part of sports media. I pretend it matters when Mel Kiper Jr. has an opinion on things. I gather hundreds of mock drafts together in a matter of a couple months and act like maybe there’s some important discovery at the end of it. And each time I do it, I die a little inside. I’m complicit in the thing I hate about this job the most.

So to help me cope with Mock Draft season, I create the dumbest mock draft of all—and that’s saying something.

Introducing, the annual Completely Random Mock Draft.

First created by original Pride of Detroit managing editor Sean Yuille, each year we create a mock draft created entirely by picking names out of a hat. My methodology: I write down the top 32 prospects—according to Arif Hasan’s consensus big board—on individual pieces of paper. Then I pick the names out randomly and slowly fill out the first round of the draft. Obviously, there are no trades.

Since we started this tradition in 2013, we have yet to nail the Detroit Lions’ pick (although last year, we got Quinnen Williams to the Jets).

Is this the year we finally nail Detroit’s pick? Take a look:

1. Bengals – LSU LB Patrick Queen
2. Washington – Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor
3. Lions – Oregon QB Justin Herbert
4. Giants – Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb
5. Dolphins – Michigan C/G Cesar Ruiz
6. Chargers – Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins
7. Panthers – Louisville OT Mekhi Becton
8. Cardinals – Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs
9. Jaguars – Baylor WR Denzel Mims
10. Browns – Ohio State EDGE Chase Young
11. Jets – LSU CB Kristian Fulton
12. Raiders – LSU S Grant Delpit
13. 49ers – Alabama S Xavier McKinney
14. Buccaneers – South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw
15. Broncos – Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
16. Falcons – Iowa EDGE A.J. Epenesa
17. Cowboys – Alabama OT Jedrick Wills
18. Dolphins – Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
19. Raiders – Houston OT Josh Jones
20. Jaguars – Wisconsin LB Zack Baun
21. Eagles – Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III
22. Vikings – Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos
23. Patriots – Georgia OT Andrew Thomas
24. Saints – Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy
25. Vikings – Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray
26. Dolphins – Florida CB CJ Henderson
27. Seahawks – LSU QB Joe Burrow
28. Ravens – LSU WR Justin Jefferson
29. Titans – Auburn DT Derrick Brown
30. Packers – Georgia RB D’Andre Swift
31. 49ers – LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson
32. Chiefs – Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons

Notable picks in this very scientific mock draft: The Dolphins end up getting Tua... but at 18 instead of five. This is an absolute dream draft for the Philadelphia Eagles, who get a top-three receiver in this class when they absolutely need one. And, of course, the Detroit Lions set their fanbase aflame by taking a quarterback third overall.

Pick most likely to actually happen: Tristan Wirfs to Cardinals at eight,

There’s another few minutes successfully wasted. Is it Thursday yet?

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