I've been working on this damn mock for weeks. Every time I get through a handful of picks, something changes and I have to go back and redo a pick or two which changes the next 7 or so. Example: Andre Smith. His drama at the combine followed by a subpar pro-day workout has tanked his draft stock. How bad was that workout? He finished with 19 reps in the bench press. 19 reps for an OT who was supposed to be one of the top 3 draftees just a couple of months ago. 19. David Buehler beat that with 25 reps at the combine. Who is David Buehler? He's the ex-USC Trojan kicker. A 6'2", 225 lbs. kicker outperformed a 6'4" 330 lbs. (or so) offensive tackle by 6 reps.
But enough on that crap, let's talk mock. We start by checking in with our resident hair, Mel Kiper Jr.'s hair. Hair?
Hmm, interesting take. We'll get back with you later for more.
Despite the fact that Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia) is starting to suffer slightly as the conventional wisdom (CW) around the league begins to suggest he lacks certain intangibles, Detroit's trade for Julian Peterson reinforces my belief that they will go for Stafford at #1. As I compiled this mock, I had them taking Curry first and addressing OT at #20. We'll get to that pick later, but I can't put an OT here when the need for a QB (and the need for one now) is so obvious.
Pulse of the Nation (Pride of Detroit): No specific story or FanPost necessary: Detroit fans do not want to take Stafford to start the draft.
This is getting ridiculously hard for me to mock. I had Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech) here last time and Andre Smith (OT, Alabama) before that. Although I still like both of them, I think with those two sagas playing out over the last couple of weeks, the Rams will look to complement the maturity they're building around and take either Smith or Eugene Monroe (OT, Virginia). One of those gives the Rams a solid core on the O-line to make the most of Steven Jackson which makes the most sense to me in terms of maximizing the Rams' offensive firepower. Taking Crabtree would give us a legit #1 WR, but would do so in leaving Pace and Barron as our two starting OTs. That's a formula for mediocrity, and the clock is running out on the Rams to be able to make the most out of SJ.
So Monroe goes to the new-look Chiefs. Matt Cassel and Monroe anchor a post-Larry Johnson/Tony Gonzalez offense as KC looks to become a player in the AFC West. The argument for Curry here is fair, but KC has a lot of work to do on offense, and with Cassel on board, I think they have to bulid around him sooner than later.
The draft gets VERY interesting after Curry/J-Smith/Monroe, especially for a team like the Seahawks. Do they take whichever DE they grade out the highest? What about B.J. Raji (DT, Boston College)? Do they take Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech) to pair with TJ Housh? I had them taking Stafford before Detroit's Peterson trade, but Curry is too certain for Seattle to . Seattle can spend a while grooming him behind Hasselbeck and Wallace as they rebuild the offense over the next 2-3 years.
Last time I had Malcolm Jenkins (CB, Ohio St.), who I still like very much, but his 40-time (4.5+) killed his draft status. Cleveland could go for Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois) here, but with Jenkins' performance, and Davis' character questions (Vontae's older brother is San Fran TE Vernon Davis. Make sense?), D-line makes more sense. I had gone with Orakpo, but reports are beginning to surface that the Browns' front office is less than awed by Orakpo, which to be honest is a bit surprising. That makes the options either Raji or whatever DE they have ranked highest. If that's the case, I mock Raji here.
Pulse of the Nation (Dawgs by Nature): The readers at DbN go over some ooptions for the draft. They have three first-day picks; they'll have to make the most of them to be competitive any time soon in the AFC North.
Last time I had Orakpo here, but after looking at Cincy's financial situation at DE, meaning the contracts of Robert Geathers and Antwan Odom, I dont see them putting that much more money into the position. This is a tough mock, and honestly, I would expect them to make every effort to trade down. Oher is a huge reach here, but they need OT help especially after Stacy Andrews left for Philadelphia. In my eyes, Crabtree gives them a replacement for Chad Cinco, or Ocho Cinco or whatever the hell he's going to be called this year. But again, I would expect them to trade down and pick up an OT at value for their pick to a team who wants to slide in front of the Raiders to take Crabtree.
Makes for a nice offseason after re-signing Asomugha. If Crabtree gets past Cincy, he'll go here and give Oakland a young WR with whom he can form a potent duo over the next few years.
Last time, I said, "Between, J-Smith or Oher. Without the combine, I lean Oher, but I expect J-Smith to open some eyes." Well, he did open eyes, and now they're too big for the Jags to have a shot at him. E-Brown gives the Jags a beast on the outside; I could see them going for Orakpo here too if he's available.
Maybin's versatility allows the Pack to keep him at DE or move him out to a 3-4 OLB.
In my first couple mocks, I had them addressing the D-line, but with Raji & the top-tier DEs off the board, I could see the Niners going after Maclin. San Fran has collected a crop of young wideouts, but none have breakout talent; Maclin does.
I can't get away from this pick. It might be a bit of a stretch, but with the top-tier of DEs off the board, the Bills would have to decide from the next tier, which IMO, contains 3 names: Michael Johnson (DE, Georgia Tech), Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU) & Robert Ayers (DE, Tennessee). Of those, Johnson would probably be the best fit for the Bills, but Pettigrew would be an even better fit. If, however, one of the top-tier DEs falls here, they'll have to take whomever that may be.
Pulse of the Nation (Buffalo Rumblings): Brian Galliford examines Buffalo's options if that top-tier of DEs isn't around at #11. And here are his top 5 best fits for the Bills. The only name on both lists? Pettigrew.
Last mock, I had the Broncos taking Raji with the caveat that if he was gone, I assumed they'd go for Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia). Well, Raji's gone, and I can't put Moreno here since the Broncos just signed J.J. Arrington, Correll Buckhalter and Lamont Jordan. They also signed ILB Andra Davis who is coming from Cleveland's 3-4 defense; Maualuga would be a perfect young ILB beside him to improve Denver's woeful defense from last year. I do wonder, however, if Denver ends up having to move Cutler if they are pressured to take Mark Sanchez (QB, USC) here.
Pulse of the Nation (Mile High Report): MHR has way too many awesome posts to list here, so I'll get unconventional with this PotN; styg50, "head coach" of MHR, is also a main contributor to Mocking the Draft. At MTD, he covers both the AFC & NFC West; styg recently compiled an interesting post on Denver's three most recent drafts and the impact they've had.
Well, last time I said I wouldn't have Oher here again and my prognostication skills again prove themselves to be perfect. The big pockets of Dan Snyder made themselves known yet again this offseason landing Albert Haynesworth, DT, and Derrick Dockery, G. They were also able to re-sign DeAngelo Hall, a move that was as important I would think as the Rams re-signing Bartell. As for the pick, Johnson is a tall DE at 6'6" which poses some tactical problems; his athleticism should help him deal with those specifics as he showed off his leg power in the combine by running 5th in the 40, 3rd in the vertical jump and 2nd in the broad jump against the rest of the crop of DLs (meaning DTs and DEs).
Pulse of the Nation (Hogs Haven): CJHutch asks for contributors; rest of NFL Fandom replies, "Then why are you throwing out free agency contracts that even the Treasury Department would laugh at?" Oh, and this is funny.
Jenkins could move to FS once he gets to the Saints. Certainly, the recent signing of Jabari Greer lightens the pressure to draft a CB. Either Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri) or Percy Harvin (WR, Florida) would be fair value here, but do the Saints want to spend their 1st round pick on offense? And I don't see them going LB or DT here, so who knows. Maybe a trade gets done here.
Well, the Texans went out and got Antonio Smith in free agency, so I doubt they'll spend this pick on a DE; Cushing gives them a bit more assuredness at a position that has some serious question marks (although I've been a Xavier Adibi fan since he was in college).
Pulse of the Nation (Battle Red Blog): A March 11th poll at BRB puts Clay Matthews, Jr. (OLB, USC) above Cushing. That's not my take, but my take doesn't matter much; it's up to the Houston front office and how they grade out OLBs.
Had LT bolted (no pun intended), I could have seen them taking a flyer on either Chris "Beanie" Wells (RB, Ohio St.) or Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia), whoever they ranked higher. Since they kept him, and with Oher and Andre Smith on the board, they would have two options to fill their RT spot. Oher has some work to do, but he lacks the off-field issues that Andre Smith has shown over the last month or so.
Well, that's halfway through the first. Let's check back in with Kiper's hair. Hair, any surprises so far?
Wow. I'm not sure you can say that on TST. Let's press on and act as if that never happened.
I'll be very honest; I don't think Sanchez will be successful in the NFL. Nevertheless, his intangibles and his hype at USC make him the 2nd QB in this draft. WIth the question marks at the position for the Jets, I don't see them getting around this pick.
I think there's a good chance the Bears go with Sanchez or Freeman depending on their availabilty, but Hey-Bey's athleticism would be hard for the Bears to pass up given their current WR corps. He was a 20-30 pick before his combine performance; it's tough to see him dropping that far with his size and speed.
Pulse of the Nation (Windy City Gridiron): How desperate are the Bears for a receiving threat? Bad enough for WCG to look at picking up Torry Holt, Joe Jurevicius and trading for Anquan Boldin in a 24-hour period. These guys really need a receiver.
The Bucs could do a ton of things here. In fact, I could definitely see them trading down since they traded away their 2nd round pick (and a pick in 2010) for TE Kellen Winslow. Tough team to mock here. Much like Maclin to the Bears, the Florida WR-Tampa connection is alive and well if the Bucs grab Harvin. Plus with Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard having been shed from the roster, the Bucs could use an infusion of youth in the receiving corps to take the focus off of Winslow.
With Curry at #1, the Lions will probably look to shore up their O-line at 20. They could go DT - Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss) and Evander "Ziggy" Hood (DT, Missouri) would be acceptable here -, LB - James Laurinaitis (MLB, Ohio St.) or Clay Matthews (OLB, USC) also fair value - and some random options exist. Hell, they could jump Britton and take on the red flags that Andre Smith (OT, Alabama) brings.
Previous pick: 1st rd., #1 - Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia)
With Westbrook & Moreno, the Eagles have one of the best running tandems in the NFL, although the NFC East is stacked with great running tandems. Will Moreno take over this team from Westbrook for the 2012 NFL season? Westbrook will be 33 when the 2012 season starts; what kind of contract could he land in free agency? That will be an interesting acquisition for somebody.
The last two times I had Eben Britton (OT, Arizona) here. I think the Vikings would like to upgrade their O-line, but with some tantalizing options at CB and WR here, I don't know if they could avoid taking someone to either expand their passing game or help shut down their opponents'. My only caveat is that there are some options at WR in free agency that I could definitely see the Vikings going after.
I changed this one from Cushing to Matthews with Cushing off the board at 15, but I still see NE going OLB in round 1 especially since Vrabel left with Cassel. The aging LB corps that once defined New England is quickly turning into a younger but equally talented one. At some point soon, maybe in the 2nd round where the Pats have 3 (!) picks, they need to get a CB. In my last mock, I had them using their 2nd round, #15 pick. I think they'll use the #2 pick of the 2nd round that they got from KC on a CB. I think Kiper and McShay both had Matthews going to the Pats too.
24.) Atlanta Falcons - Larry English, OLB, Northern Illinois
Atlanta could certainly go with a CB here since Domonique Foxworth bolted to Batlimore, but taking English helps the Falcons fill the OLB chart out after Michael Boley and Keith Brookings left in free agency.
The Dolphins will probably go WR or CB, depending on who's available. Davis gives them a significant upgrade in their secondary and continues the defensive youth movement in Miami. Unfortunately, it means less playing time for Scorpio Babers who has one of the greatest names of all time. If I ever write an action movie, there's a good chance the lead villain's first name is Scorpio. Of course it could just be my love for a certain old-school hip-hop group...
Laurinaitis fills the hole Bart Scott created when he left for the Jets. Plus, with Ray Lewis on the tail end of a HOF career, Laurinaitis gives them a young LB to solidify that ridiculous defense. They could go with a top center, probably Alex Mack, to fill that spot since Jason Brown left for the Rams (yay).
I am definitely a member of the "Wells will not be a productive NFL back" crew. Expect his shoulder to split into four parts in the preseason.
I don't think A-Smith will drop this far on draft day, but it's hard to see who would jump at him right now. He's still going to visit teams and have a chance to erase the mantra that he has created recently and his game tape is undeniably impressive, but head cases are plentiful in the NFL, and we've all seen what they do to teams (TO, Plaxico, etc.). Stilll, with Donovan's leadership, maybe he can screw Andre's head on to pave some blocks for the running duo of Moreno & Westbrook.
Previous pick: 1st rd., #21 - Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia)
Hometown marketing, good size, good hands, good pick.
Now Haynesworth-less, the Titans fill the gap with Jerry. A pariah for a Peria... ok, not funny. They could definitely go CB here too and use later rounds for WR.
So from my last two mocks, I went from Beanie Wells to LeSean McCoy (HB, Pittsburgh) and now to D-Brown. I thought about mocking them at DE, but with the talent at RB and the need to fill, I think they'll go RB in round 1, then snag a DE later on day 1.
Anyone else not see this happening? Unless someone drops hard, this fills a need and hits BPA boards. Maybe they go for Steven Beatty (OT, Connecticutt) or another center if Mack isn't their top C, but I can't see them avoiding an O-line pick here, even though good D-line and CB options are readily available. They can grab them later on.
Pulse of the Nation (Behind the Steel Curtain): A rational looki at the Steelers' units and how they can address them through the draft..
Well, that's it for round 1, which means one thing: we have to check in with Kiper's hair once again for insight and the nose-wrinkling aroma of Vitalis. What surprised you from the first round, hair?
Yeah, that was shocking. What was I thinking? Thanks for your pragmatism, hair. You're always a voice of reason. Let's carry on.
Previous picks: 1st rd., #1 - Aaron Curry (OLB, Wake Forest), #20 - Eben Britton (OT, Arizona)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #23 - Clay Matthews (OLB, USC)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #2 - Jason Smith (OT, Baylor)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #5 - B.J. Raji (DT, Boston College)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #4 - Matthew Stafford (QB, Georgia)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #6 - Michael Crabtree (WR, Texas Tech)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #8 - Everette Brown (DE, Florida St.)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #7 - Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas)
(41) 9.) Green Bay - Ron Brace, DT, Boston College, MTD
Previous pick: 1st rd., #9 - Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn St.)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #11 - Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Oklahoma St.)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #10 - Jeremy Maclin (WR, Missouri)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #25 - Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois)
(45) 13.) New York Giants (via New Orleans) - Evander "Ziggy" Hood, MTD
Previous pick: 1st rd., #29 - Kenny Britt (WR, Rutgers)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #15 - Brian Cushing (OLB, USC)
Previous picks: 1st rd., #23 - Brian Cushing (OLB, Southern California), 2nd rd. #2 (34) - Alphonso Smith (CB, Wake Forest)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #12 - Rey Maualuga (MLB, USC)
(49) 17.) Chicago - William Beatty, OT, Connecticut, MTD
Previous pick: 1st rd., #18 - Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR, Maryland)
Previous picks: 1st rd., #5 - B.J. Raji (DT, Boston College), 2nd rd. #4 (36) - Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #17 - Mark Sanchez (QB, Southern California)
(53) 21.) Philadelphia (via Carolina) - Cornelius Ingram, TE, Florida, ESPN
Previous picks: 1st rd., #21 - Knowshon Moreno (RB, Georgia), #28 - Andre Smith (OT, Alabama)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #22 - Hakeem Nicks (WR, North Carolina)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #24 - Larry English (OLB, N. Illinois)
(56) 24.) Miami - Connor Barwin, DE, Cincinatti, MTD
Previous picks: 1st rd., #25 - Vontae Davis (CB, Illinois), 2nd rd. #12 (44) - Brian Robiskie (WR, Ohio St.)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #26 - James Laurinaitis (MLB, Ohio St.)
Previous picks: 1st rd., #23 - Brian Cushing (OLB, Southern California), 2nd rd. #2 (34) - Alphonso Smith (CB, Wake Forest), #15 (47) - LeSean McCoy (RB, Pittsburgh)
(60) 28.) New York Giants - Rashad Johnson, S, Alabama, ESPN
Previous pick: 1st rd., #29 - Kenny Britt (WR, Rutgers), 2nd rd. #13 (45) - Evander "Ziggy" Hood (DT, Missouri)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #27 - Chris "Beanie" Wells (RB, Ohio St.)
(62) 30.) Tennessee - Coye Francies, CB, San Jose St., MTD
Previous pick: 1st rd., #30 - Peria Jerry (DT, Ole Miss)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #31 - Donald Brown (RB, Connecticut)
Previous pick: 1st rd., #32 - Alex Mack (C, California)
So there it is. Feel free to lambast me, but at least provide a sensible argument as to why your team (or whatever team your criticizing my mock for) won't go after a certain pick. Just trying to get as much info from everyone as I can. So with that in mind, have at it. And feel free to post as many unique pictures of Mel Kiper, Jr. as possible. Thanks.