From the start of the NFL Draft last week until several days after its completion, sports networks, news stations, commentators and Monday-morning quarterbacks pored over the results, analyzing and grading every team’s decisions. But not Todd McShay. He leaves that to the other guys. After all, he’s a draft predictor, not an NFL commentator. This draft class is out of his hands now, set free into the real world to show their skills on football’s highest platform. Barely a day passed by before he got back to work on his mock draft for next year, despite not knowing for another 10 months what the draft order would be or what college players would declare for the draft, much less how those players would perform this season or what positions teams would be looking for. In the face of these supposed hurdles, McShay still released a full 2013 first-round mock draft just four days after the completion of the 2012 draft.
When he finished with that, he moved on to the 2014 Draft class. And the 2015 class. Before he knew it, he had forecasted the next 15 years of NFL Drafts.
“I got a little carried away,” admitted McShay. “Once I get an itch for analyzing draft prospects I just can’t stop. We can’t know exactly how these teams will do in 2026 or what unforeseen injuries or developments might happen with these players between now and then, but I think in the end it is still a useful tool for looking forward and planning.”
With the first pick in the 2027 draft, McShay has the Saints selecting QB Ethan Daniels.
“We figure the Saints will get 3 or 4 more good years out of Drew Brees, then replace him with someone else, and we’re looking at probably a decade with that guy if they find a good one, so by 2027 they’ll probably be in a rebuilding phase and should be looking for Brees’ successor’s successor, and right now Ethan Daniels looks like the best prospect in that class. He enjoys throwing his Nerf football with his dad, and both his parents are tall and fairly athletic.
Second in his mock draft is offensive tackle Jacob Wesley to the Titans.
“Some might say this is early for a lineman, but Wesley really projects to be a solid dependable force on the left side of the line. He likes to tussle with his older brother and he eats everything his parents put in front of him. And with the [predicted] makeup of their roster at the time, this will be the biggest need.”
Third, McShay has the Browns selecting another quarterback, Caden Weeden. “The Browns will likely be coming off their 19th straight 5-win season and will be looking for an offensive leader to build around. They’ll try to regain fans’ trust by drafting the son of new quarterback and probable future fan favorite Brandon Weeden.”
McShay found most of his prospects by looking through various kindergarten yearbooks, then analyzed them by watching hours of film. He says he enjoys his unique job.
“It’s a little bit of psychology—putting yourself in the mind of teams’ front office personnel; a little bit of scouting—seeing which players have the most NFL potential; a little bit of straight up futuretelling; and a little bit of willingness to take yourself seriously while doing a pointless job,” McShay said of his job. “I love it. My great-great-great grandmother was a soothsayer, so I think I have it in my genes.”
“As long as people keep having babies faster than I make mock drafts, I’ll be happy.”
-Matt Gwin ’14