Mock Draft Tips: 3 simple On The Clock hacks

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As part of an occasional series, Fanspeak will offer tips and best practices for its wildly popular and first-of-its-kind On The Clock draft simulator.

Today’s topic: Three tips for using the simulator – great for newbies!

Not seeing prospects fall in the draft? Don’t like any of the trade offers? Does your favorite prospect always seem to get drafted right before your turn?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are three easy tips for playing the Fanspeak On The Clock NFL draft simulator:

1)  Classic vs. Difficult setting

The “Difficult” setting for On The Clock is set to give you the most realistic draft. That means, just like in real life, you’re not going to see too many huge slides by players, and when you do, it’s usually no more than a 10- to 15-spot drop. That usually only applies to the “non-premium” positions. Tthe edge rushers, cornerbacks, offensive tackles, wide receivers and, of course, the quarterbacks won’t slide much at all.

But if you’re hoping a starting-caliber OT falls to you in the third round, then the “Classic” setting is the way to go.

Oh, how we love the Classic setting.

This setting is particularly good for non-premium positions. If there’s a cluster of safeties in the mid- to the late-second round range, for example, then consider skipping over the position – there’s a good chance at least one of them will still be around when it’s your turn to draft again in the third round with the Classic setting.

The same applies to positions of quantity. If it’s a loaded draft class at a position, then several players from that position were going to fall anyway due to the sheer numbers. In the Classic setting, you might see an even bigger fall for a few of them.

2) I WILL find a trade partner

On The Clock will sometimes suggest trades before a round starts and/or before it’s your turn to draft. But those trades aren’t always ideal, as is the case in the actual draft.

Of course, this isn’t reality, and you can always offer a boat-load of future first-rounders and pretty much whoever you want, but that’s no fun, right? (OK, it’s a little fun …)

And you’re too lazy to break out the Jimmy Johnson trade chart, so what do you do if you decline the initial OTC-suggested trades?

Try this trick: Pick a team – any team – and trade a future first-rounder for a future second-rounder. The team you’re trading with will always accept that trade – and if you accept a trade, it sometimes triggers another OTC-suggested trade. Do this enough times until you get the type of trade return you’re looking for.

3) Trade up!

The trade-up is always a risky proposition when you’re dealing with high picks.

But don’t forget about it in the later rounds.

Say your team needs depth at receiver and is looking for a player who could start in a year or two. So you decide to skip over the position in the early rounds, thinking you can still find a slot receiver in Round 4.

But, dang it, the Eagles take the last of the good receivers right before you draft, every time.

This is where the trade-up comes in handy. Offer the team ahead of the Eagles your pick in that round, plus a future fifth-round pick in a later draft. You might have to sweeten the pot a bit with a future-sixth, too, if you’re moving up 15-plus spots.

Eureka! Now that receiver is available when it’s your turn to draft!

Sorry, Eagles fans.


Jake Rigdon covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak. He can be reached at

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