Mock season is well and truly upon us and The Draft Society is ready to deliver! We host weekly mocks, mostly 12 team and 10 team, and members of the Inner Circle get first dibs on getting in on the action. Mock drafts usually help us identify fallers, risers, and overall player value beyond the ADP figures. I recommend that everyone does at least a few mocks before actual draft day comes around. "A mock draft a day keeps the bad picks away!" a great philosopher once said. Or was it Ryan?
Without further ado, here is a brief analysis of the second Inner Circle Mock which was a "normal" (non-slow) draft and it happened on the 11th July 2021.
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Instead of doing a run-of-the-mill round-by-round analysis of which team picked which player, I wanted to have a look at this draft from a different perspective. Roster construction is a very important part of draft day and in my opinion, if not planned for, it could cause the biggest headaches in those precious 90 seconds that one is on the clock. In most cases, you have a pretty good expectation of which players will be available to pick in your draft spot. If sufficiently prepped, you will have your own preferences when it comes to player evaluations as well. It is the roster construction that usually has the managers straying from their original plans.
First, Let's have a look at the draft board:
The First 3 Rounds
In the grand scheme of things (remember, we are not looking at specific players now) the draft went pretty similarly for most teams. All but 3 of the teams ended the first 2 rounds with at least 1 midfielder and 1 forward.
Team Raphinha went for value picks in each of the first 3 rounds and ended up selecting 2 midfielders and a defender. At round 3 pick 10, he was stuck with a dilemma. He has 2 midfielders, but the next best forwards on his tiers were probably Jimenez, Firmino, possibly Auba or Richarlison. After confirmation that the 3 teams coming after him in the draft, were set for forward, he made the correct decision to pick Robertson (starting a defender run) and he was able to pick up the best forward available in the 4th round. Smart decision.
Team Sancho (Elanga)
Elanga acted as a makeweight for Jadon Sancho in this and so any other drafts. Team Sancho was in a similar situation to our previous contestant, as in he was stuck with 2 forwards, but the outcome couldn't have been different. I suspect a Manchester United fan, he must have been looking for a certain French midfielder to complement his blossoming team, but the abruptly started defender run spooked him into reaching for a defender in Shaw who would have most likely been available in 5 picks time when he was up again in Rd4. By not selecting a midfielder, he fed into the defender run, which could have been a good tactic, but not considering the teams after him. With no midfielders selected for Team Rashford or Team Watkins at this point, it was highly unlikely that both would pick 2 non-midfielders. Unfortunately for our presumed Red Devil, 3 midfielders were picked in the next 4 picks and he had to contend with a lower ranked midfielder as his MID1. Too risky.
Team Rashford was in a very similar situation to the person picking before him. The defender run continued and the unnecessary risk taken did not pan out. 2 highly-rated midfielders gone on the turn. Too risky
These are the rounds where everyone starts getting into a rhythm, picking players based on preferences, as the cores of rosters had already been set. I would like to focus on:
Roster construction can mean 2 different things. One is what I have discussed so far, the number of players at certain positions on a team, but the other meaning is to do with the balance of high-floor, high-ceiling players. I would like to highlight Team Bruno to demonstrate. The manager selected Vardy as his FWD1 in Rd3, which is good value, but after going Defender in Rd4, on the turn, he wanted to strengthen his attacking line, which is a good aim for the roster at its then shape. His selection of Wilson is the one I would like to highlight because in Wilson he complemented his goal-dependent FWD1 with an even more goal-dependent and even more injury prone FWD2. Although value-wise, Wilson could be argued as a good pick in Rd5, I would have much rather looked at someone like Jesus, Rodrigo, Benteke, or Pepe to complement Vardy and upon closer examination decided that one or more of those players would have been available in Rd6 to pick up.
Evening out overpicked positions, reaching for personal favourites, the late rounds are more like Sudoku than the chess of the early and mid-rounds. Everyone is in it alone, plodding along to complete their rosters. Shifting team priorities and tactics mean that these rounds are usually less about screwing over others and trying to anticipate their moves and more about identifying your target and picking him ASAP.
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