What is Mel Kiper Jr's track record?

My query is, “What exactly is self-proclaimed NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.'s actual record?” Kiper has carved out a very nice niche for himself on ESPN and other sports media as one who supposedly knows the ins-and-outs of every draftable college player. Is he right more often than not, or is he just a gas-bag? I tend to think he’s a gas-bag but I haven’t done the research. Kiper’s had his gig for well over a decade now at least, so he’s had to have his share of hits and misses, but has anybody ever bothered to double-check his prognostications? Or has anybody compared Kiper’s records to any other the other alleged draft experts, whose names I have mercifully forgotten? I doubt it and I wish somebody would.

To a great degree, I suspect that Kiper’s mistakes are very easily hidden and rationalized. The players he touts can and do get hurt, just as all players in pro football get hurt. Players also don’t always get a fair chance to play, and can get stuck being backups to somebody else. Then there are players who “don’t live up to their potential.” If a player that Kiper touts stinks in the pros, shouldn’t this go on Kiper’s record as well as the player’s? Maybe Kiper overrated him to begin with. On the flip side, what players that Kiper disparaged have gone on to have successful football careers? Does anybody know?

I definetly feel a pit thread coming on regarding the upcoming NFL Draft.

ESPN likes to tout the Greasy One (Kiper) as some divine draft personality. Buy their own account, I’ve heard them claim that he is anywhere from 50-80% correct on first round picks. Note, they don’t tell you how they CALCULATE those numbers.

But he is one of those guys that everyone I know loves to hate. Since scouting talent is pretty much his only job, many like to prove their superiority when Mel is wrong.

I think he does a good job personally. A great analyst for those not so obsessed with the draft day thing. But I am more partial to Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreet.

The short answer: Kiper’s record as a predictor of NFL success is terrible. Absolutely terrible. I could make a long list of Kiper’s “sure things” who turned out to be major busts, and I could make an equally long list of NFL superstars he never paid any attention to on draft day.

But, lest you think I’m insulting Mel, or picking on him personally, I should point out that almost EVERYONE’S track record is pretty poor! That goes for journalists, scouts, fans and NFL executives alike.

Think about this: almost NONE of the NFL’s best quarterbacks was a first round draft pick. NOBODY drafted Kurt Warner at all! Jeff Garcia had to play in Canada before anyone in the NFL figured out he was good! Tom Brady was a 6th round selection. I have no idea where Rich Gannon was drafted, but it wasn’t anywhere near the top. Even Brett Favre was only a 2nd round choice. Of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, only one (Donovan McNabb) comes to mind who was highly touted by draft gurus and NFL scouts.

Again, lest you think I’m insulting these people, I recognize how hard their job is. I’ve made LOADS of predictions on Draft Days past that turned out to be ridiculously wrong. On the plus side, I knew how great Joe Montana (a mere 3rd round choice) would be. On the minus side, I was sure Todd Blackledge would be the best QB in the class of '83. On the plus side, I knew my Giants were right to draft Phil Simms in the first round. On the VERY negative side, I called George Young an idiot in 1981 for drafting another linebacker with the 2nd overall pick (some nobody from North Carolina… I forget his name, but his initials were L.T.), because I really wanted the Giants to get a running back or a good receiver.

Get the idea? No matter how knowledgeable we THINK we are, picking athletes can be a crapshoot. Mel Kiper CAN come across like an arrogrant jerk, so I understand why people like to point out his more blatant errors. Just bear in mind, almost ANYBODY who replaced him would make embarrassing miscalls just as often. It can’t be helped.

Doug Flutie put it well. He said, “These experts, these scouts, they weigh us, they measure us, they give us psychiatric tests, they poke us, they prod us, they make us run sprints, they make us stand around in our underwear… and they think all that MEANS something! WHen the truth is, it doesn’t tell you ANYTHING about the one thing that matters: can this guy play football or not?”

Whether it’s you, me, Kiper, Bill Walsh, or anyone else, we’re all just making educated guesses.

I think Mel’s track record in regards to his prodigious daily use of Grecian Formula is admirable.