Social Media Algorithm a Faulty Predictor for 2013 NFL Draft

By Thomas Emerick
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The online marketing company iProspect has developed an algorithm to synthesize Facebook, Twitter, message board and blog mentions into a prediction for the top 10 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. I know what you’re thinking, and here’s social media news site Mashable’s reply:

“But before you scoff at how accurate the methodology could be, consider this: iProspect ran a test using mentions of last year’s top prospects in the weeks leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft. Those social predictions, the company says, correctly placed six of the top 10 picks, with the remaining four projections each being off by just one place.”

Hmm, six out of 10? That’s a fail according to the public school systems, and I don’t think Nate Silver would call that a success either. I wouldn’t call the vast majority of football opinions floating around Facebook newsfeed “informed.” I mean, I could’ve trained an ape to predict Andrew Luck to the Indianapolis Colts, Robert Griffin III to the Washington Redskins, Trent Richardson to the Cleveland Browns, Matt Kalil to the Minnesota Vikings and Ryan Tannehill to the Miami Dolphins … so there’s five.

This year’s draft presents an actual challenge in getting to that illustrious 60 percent mark that apparently proves social media algorithms can predict something as absurdly difficult as front-offices’ April intentions. There’s also no consensus on the draft stock of this quarterback class or even the teams that immediately seek a quarterback, with players like Michael Vick, Carson Palmer and Kevin Kolb leaving and wondering whether their teams will reach in the top 10 for competition.

Outside of Luke Joeckel to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 1, we’ll just see how this algorithm performs, won’t we. The iProspect picks as follows:

1) Joeckel, Chiefs
2) Geno Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars
3) Dee Milliner, Raiders
4) Dion Jordan, Philadelphia Eagles
5) Eric Fisher, Detroit Lions
6) Lane Johnson, Browns (By the way, absolutely ridiculous. Wrong, wrong, wrong. They have the league’s best LT in Joe Thomas and just drafted a perfectly good starting RT in Mitchell Schwartz last year. So, starting at 9/10 and counting down.)
7) Chance Warmack, Arizona Cardinals
7) Jarvis Jones, Buffalo Bills
9) Barkevious Mingo, New York Jets
10) Star Lotulelei, Tennessee Titans

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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