NFL Draft Games: Keeping the Spaces Between Your Team's Picks Fun

Caleb GarlingCorrespondent IApril 20, 2011

I think we can agree that between our own team's picks, making fun of a buddy's team's suspect selection and guessing whether Mel Kiper uses motor oil or model airplane glue in his hair, sometimes the NFL draft can be a bit slow.

Of course, the league has mercifully sped up the time for each round and it’s always overly tense when your team is on the clock, but the other 31 selections can drag on after a while; other than a few trades, not much commands the word “exciting.” Sure, we can listen to Kiper and crew banter back and forth, yet, at that point, their speculations are like debating what presents you’re going to get for Christmas, on Christmas morning.

So, as fantasy football made us care about every team in the league, why not create games that make us care about every pick in the draft?

(Great idea, Caleb!)


Each day until the draft I’ll publish a different game, contest, whatever you want to call it, that has a different spin on how to wring competition out of the slow spaces between our team’s picks. For liability reasons, we’re going to score these games using standard football values: extra point, field goal and touchdown.

If you’d like to convert the one, three and six points to a monetary amount or volume of a beverage, I can’t stop you…

We’ll start with a basic draft game and move out from there. I relinquish copyrights in case you want to modify or hybridize these games (but provide your changes in the comments for others to enjoy).

Good luck.

I. The Standard Draft Game

Many like to write up predictions on the entire/first and second round selection order beforehand and then compare how they did afterward.

But I've never liked the idea of being locked into all your picks for 32 selections. Why not make the competition more fluid than basically replicating a March Madness bracket? If you get a few picks wrong, it seems there is more skill in being able to make changes on the fly. You clearly know the draft better if you can make alterations to a team's needs under pressure.

So keep it dynamic; once a team is on the clock for their pick, everyone in the room (or at your bar table) has sixty seconds to fill out the following sentence:

“I believe the team on the clock will select [Position] [Player] and [The Transaction] with [Team] for [Return Trade].”

1) The Player. Obviously, who’s getting selected?

2) The Position. A separate point category than Player; points are still deserved if you get a positional need correct, but get the player wrong.

3) The Transaction. Your options here are only: Trade or Do Nothing. Most times a team does nothing with their pick, but if you predict a trade, bonus points are in order. 

4) The Team. If you select "Trade" in No. 3, who are they trading with?

5) The Return Trade. What are they getting back?


Add up the points for each correct answer in each blank. Wrong values are not subtracted, just left as zero.

Points for correct answers are:

- (6) for Player

- (3) for Position (still eligible if wrong player)

- (1) for Do nothing/No transaction 

- (7) for Trade pick/player

- (10) for Team

- (14) for Return Trade. (Comprised of players and/or picks. Have to be 100% correct. Disregard financial considerations. Trade has to be consummated on day of selection.)

And there you go. Keep rinse and repeating for each pick and adding up your points.

Here is a score sheet template; you'd just cross out or circle your answers and add the points:

Pick Team Position (3)  Player (6) No Trade (1) Trade (7) Team (10) Return Trade (14)  Total Points 
4 Bengals CB Patrick Peterson X -- --  --  [X]
5 Cardinals QB Cam Newton -- X Browns 1st and 3rd Round pick [X]

And a few scoring scenarios in case something was unclear:

If you say “I believe the Bengals will select [CB] [Patrick Peterson] and [Do Nothing].” And the Bengals instead select CB Prince Amukamara and don’t trade him, you get (4) points: correct Position (3) + No Transaction (1). If the Bengals actually select Peterson and trade him, you get (9) points: correct Position (3) + Player (6).

If you say “I believe the Bengals will select [CB] [Patrick Peterson] and [Trade] him to the [49ers] for [the 49ers' first- and fifth-round picks].” And the Bengals select Peterson and trade him to the 49ers for their first- and  fourth-round picks, you get (26) points: correct Position (3) + Player (6) + Trade (7) + Team (10). (No credit for Return Trade points; wasn’t 100 percent correct.)


- The gamble may seem worth it to always guess that a team will trade their pick/player, since correctly predicting “No Transaction” is just one point and “Trade” points are pretty hefty. Yet, I’d strategize that that tactic is bound to burn. I’d only guess a trade if I was more than 30 percent sure it’d happen because those extra points, like in real football, will add up in the end.

- If a team trades their pick (i.e. did pick and then trade) disregard the predicted player in that scenario and add up the points for the trade portion of the prediction.

- Two ways to raise the intensity: 1) All aspects of your prediction had to be correct to receive points, but in my opinion, the more scoring the better. 2) Double the points in the second round, (triple in the third, and so on) since those picks are so much harder to make than first round picks. 

- You can always assign bonus points for a guy who can shape his hair to look most like Mel Kiper’s or that can create a nickname cheesier than anything Chris Berman will come up with.

- Like I said, I have no way to stop you from converting these points into dollar amounts or beverage volumes, should you so choose.

- Have fun.


Next: The Girlfriend Game: How to watch the draft if you’re on the hook to spend that time with the lil’ lady (and she doesn't love football).

Friday: The Twitter Game: A competitive way to (maybe) get famous during the draft.

Next week: The Buzzword Game and more…

[Caleb Garling also writes for and can be followed at]


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