My name is Ryan Mink and I'm addicted to mock drafts.
There, I've admitted it.
I love mocks, I love watching YouTube highlights of prospects linked to the Ravens. I love the draft.
Here's why I love mocks: because they mean something.
I see people all the time brush them aside, saying they are pundits' guesses just like anybody with a computer and access to WordPress. But the difference is that they are educated guesses.
And from educated guesses, you can sometimes find some truths, or make some deductions.
You see, pundits like ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay and the NFL Network's Mike Mayock spend their entire year, or most of it, dedicated to studying these prospects. They know generally where they should be drafted.
Then they talk to scouts and front office executives about who they like and who they don't, and scout what their team needs are. They see which teams are giving what prospects a lot of attention at workouts. From this, they can make some fairly strong predictions.
Even though they'll never be entirely right, or even close to it, there are hints. For example, pundits nailed the Ravens' 2011 first-round selection of cornerback Jimmy Smith. Many also believed the Ravens would pick wide receiver Torrey Smith, although some said in the first round. That's what we call 2-for-2.
Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta told me last year that he monitors mock drafts because they provide information about how teams around the league value a certain player.
"The mock drafts are interesting from the standpoint of kind of getting a consensus from around the country," DeCosta said. "You have to understand that people who do mock drafts talk to people like me."
So when you see the final round of mock drafts come out tomorrow, don't scoff and toss them aside. Study them, and you might* *impress your friends Thursday night.