Thank Heavens for the SEC--- A Mock without Monsters



When it comes to the NFL Draft, just how dependent are we on the SEC? I took the time to scope out what would happen if we lost the players that come out of the Southeastern Conference, and while there are talents elsewhere, it is a staggering difference.

Mel Kiper's and Todd McShay's drafts were recently released, and between them, the picked in common 13 SEC football players to be taken in the first round. They each had 3 players the other mock-drafter didn't select, for a total of 19 players that are considered first-round picks this year.

To get an idea, HALF of the first round in each of their mock drafts were from one conference. I believe the next conference with the most impact would be the PAC-12. McShay had 4 from their conference, and so did Kiper.

So what would the first round look like without the big, bad Alabama... the hard hitting Florida... the big-game choking Georgia... and the rest of the best? Here is a mock draft of the first round without these monsters-at-large.

  1. Kansas City- Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT... Arguably the best option outside the SEC, Andy Reid will have to weigh his options in picking his next quarterback, or this behemoth. I say he goes with the tackle and puts him on a never-ending carousel with Dorsey and Poe. This guy is complete, from strong hands to nimble feet. Fortunately for us, with the SEC gone, the only QB worth taking that is missing is Tyler Wilson. The bad news, the rest still aren't that good. Best player wins.

  2. Jacksonville- Bjoern Werner, Florida St., DE... I would have picked Ansah here, but he doesn't have as much as experience in the game as Werner. To me, this pick/player fits well with new head coach Gus Bradley's success in defensive ends. He reminds me of Chris Clemons.

  3. Oakland- Dion Jordan, Oregon, OLB... Whether or not Oakland resigns their two best OLB's for next year, they need an upgrade. Jordan's atypical size will help him in coverage, even though he has worked well at the DE position in pass rush.

  4. Philadelphia- Eric Fisher, Central Mich, OT... The Eagles OL is my biggest concern. The main thing Vick needs to do this year is be healthy and upright making good decisions. Fisher has to be the pick, possibly even with the SEC in the picture.

  5. Detroit- Ezekiel Ansah, Purdue, DE... I keep hearing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul, and I think I believe them. Detroit's entire defense is kinda in shambles with their recent releases of multiple players. This is a nice security blanket.

  6. Cleveland- Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, ILB... This is getting much harder already. The SEC players were really going to help here. Probably won't pick a QB, no OLB ready for action, and WR/CB not a terrible need, I went with a abnormal pick. If Te'o were to go this high, he would partner up with D'Qwell Jackon- two polar opposites in the same linebacking core. Makes for a great story, but a hard pick to determine.

  7. Arizona- Geno Smith, WVU, QB... The Cards get their QB, even though they could desperately use the Oline help. This class is deep with O-line though, and I'm sure Fitzgerald would enjoy a partially rejuvenated career with a few more accurate passes than the Kolb can throw.

  8. Buffalo- Keenan Allen, California, WR... Some people have them taking a receiver this early. I think it is a definite need, and in this limited mock, it's just going to have to work. To me, it's a coin flip between Hopkins great hands and Allen's size. But Stevie Johnson has good hands and speed, so to balance it out and make a great target for Fitzy or Travaris Jackson or whoever becomes a QB for that perpetually sorry team, we take the big man.

  9. New York Jets- Kenny Vaccaro, Texas, S... LaRon Landry or Yeremiah Bell; one of them is walking outta free agency no longer a Jet. Both are old, both could be pricey. Take one out and this Texas product in, and dare I say you might see a slight improvement in the Jets defense. Plus, I'm sure he has great feet.

  10. Tennessee- Johnathan Cooper, North Carolina, OG... Missing out on Vaccaro on one pick will sting, because that secondary really needs someone. But I think Cooper is the kind of talent that you can plug in and get CJ2K back up to speed. After all, if you're gonna pay the guy money, you want him to succeed.

  11. San Diego- Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, OT... They get to protect Philip Rivers one more year. Woohoo. Let me jump for joy a bit. But seriously, it is a pretty good get considering the limitations.

  12. Miami- Xaiver Rhodes, Florida State, CB... They are in desperate need of a cornerback after sending Davis to Indianapolis and letting Smith ask for big money.

  13. Tampa Bay- Blidi-Wreh Wilson, Connecticut, CB... Another team desperate for a CB. Plain and simple. Deciphering which is 2nd best outside the SEC? Not as simple. I personally like Blidi-Wreh Wilson, and he rose his stock in Mobile. I'm gonna catch flak for picking him and I don't care.

  14. Carolina- Sylvester Williams, North Carolina, DT... Oh boy, lots of DT's available! Maybe because Carolina is one of few teams that are astoundingly terrible against the run. Williams has great size and seems like a fit in any system. He should be going higher than he is if you ask me.

  15. New Orleans- Kawann Short, Purdue, DT... Picks go in bunches, and the Saints could use anyone to improve their defense. Short is much taller than his name indicates, and can tear through O-lines. This pick plus a few more good ones, and Rob Ryan's new defense might actually earn a winning record.

  16. Saint Louis- Tavon Austin, WVU, WR... Kinda makes you see how the picks fall, doesn't it? If you know my previous drafts, you know I like Patterson more here. Comparing Patterson and Austin, it makes you feel like you're falling short, but remember what everyone else says on other mocks: "Austin will be a great receiver in New England if Welker doesn't come back." If Danny Amendola is the poor mans Welker, then shouldn't Austin be a good replacement for him, too?

  17. Pittsburgh- DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson, WR... If the Steelers don't want to pay Mike Wallace good money, then they should get a kid that looks a lot like him. We saw how the offense looked when Antonio Brown went down. Big Ben needs multiple options when dropping back to pass. Besides, would you take Khaseem Greene at this pick? Nuh uh.

  18. Dallas- Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State, DT... Not their biggest need, but Monte Kiffin could use a new toy, as the offenses of their division rivals continue to increase. (Even in Philly, cus you can't get much worse than they were last year!)

  19. New York Giants- Arthur Brown, Kansas State, LB... This versatile guy will be the talk of the town come draft day, if you ask me. Problem is, nobody wants to take him above pick 25 or so because he is a jack of all LB-ing trades, but not a king in a single one of them.

  20. Chicago- Justin Pugh, Syracuse, OG... Who's got a possibly worse o-line than the Rams? Da Bears. I feel like they will take anyone they can get. Kinda like when they fired Lovie after a winning season, and then interviewed every guest star to appear on Law and Order for the job. Or at least, thats how it felt, waiting for them to settle on Trestman. Like I said, they will take anyone they can.

  21. Cincinnati- Khaseem Greene, Rutgers, OLB... Cincinnati is in a bind here. All of the really great LB's are taken, and all of the best RB's are still gambles. (Remember, no Ed Lacy.) I went with Greene because given his smaller size, he has been able to produce respectable numbers at Rutgers.

  22. Saint Louis- Kyle Long, Oregon, OT/OG... Is this considered a win? With a lineman lasting all the way to this pick, I think it may be. Safety is a big need here, and I was torn between John Cyprien and Long, but I took long because I still like players like Duke Williams and Phillip Thomas for S. Not that my mock will go that far, but I like them too.

  23. Minnesota- Robert Woods, USC, WR... This is getting extremely tough. I wanted to finally put Ertz or Eifert down, but the Vikings seem committed to Rudolph. They do seem committed to Harvin too, given the rumors of them not wanting to trade him, but that doesn't change the problem. (Woods may not change the Ponder-ing problem, either, to be fair.)

  24. Indianapolis- Desmond Trufant, Washington, CB... Considering the number of CB's in this draft, I say Indy takes a corner to solidify against some pretty average QB's in their division. Luck seems to be able to handle anything in the offense, so either DT or CB would be great here. Problem? Next best option at DT is Everett Dawkins.

  25. Seattle- Aaron Dobson, Marshall, WR... The biggest reason I have Dobson strapped here is he has had no injury issues. None. Which is a great quality when you have Sidney Rice, who seems to hurt his ankle when he gets out of bed. A sleeper for the second round in my mind, this kid is well rounded and was the face of Marshall. I'd be very happy if this guy was a Ram in a real draft.

  26. Green Bay- Zach Ertz, Stanford, TE... Oh man, huge get here. How do you make Rodgers even more dangerous? Give him an upgrade over Finley, who was rumored to be getting the axe this year anyways.

  27. Houston- Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech, WR... This pick almost feels like a cheat. I mean, the guy played at Tennesse for the majority of his career. Think if Tennessee didn't suspend him indefinitely- Hunter, Patterson, and Rogers? Dang. We know this guy's speed, we know his route running, and I see this as being a very possible pick for Houston anyways.

  28. Denver- Logan Ryan, Rutgers, CB... Again, yikes. Everett Dawkins best option left at DT? Oh boy. Finding a different option, I picked Logan Ryan to be the pick, and moved to the safety position. Someone was in deep trouble after the Rocky Mountain Rainbow. That someone, not naming names, needs to go.

  29. New England- Quinton Patton, Louisana Tech, WR... To me, Brandon Lloyd didn't look as effective in their offense as he should have. To stretch the field against their AFC-East, secondary-ridden foes, Patton has great speed, good route running ability, and a big vertical. Plus, being on the Patriots, just thought of a great nickname- "The General" Patton.

  30. Atlanta- Datone Jones, UCLA, DE... Not far off from what I thought their pick would be! Jones is a great player. His hands seem to be very quick and strong, and he moves like a train off the edge.

  31. San Francisco- John Cyprien, Florida International, S... Really sucks that the Rams will have to face him twice a year, because this guy is quick and ruthless in coverage.

  32. Baltimore- Kevin Riddick, North Carolina, ILB... It was a great time for Ray Lewis to call it quits... for him. But for the team, they have so many free agents and so little cap space, I don't think they bring Ellerbe back either. Riddick is one of those players that hasn't been talked about, but given Baltimore's track record on LB's, he could be a starter.

See how hard that was?

Most of these players are solid picks, and more are great second rounders. Hopefully the best thing this mock does, besides reminds us that there are incredible players in the SEC, is to see who the quality players outside the SEC are that are ready for game time. After all, Jeff Fisher loves small schools, and he's the kind of guy who would take a risk on lesser known names than Patterson or Warmack.

I hope this does lend a hand in getting people ready for an option for WR outside the first round, too. Names like Patton, Williams, Austin, and Dobson may not be the ones you want called on Day One, but I can guarantee that given the chance on Day Two of the draft, they will not disappoint.

Love to hear what you all think about these picks, and try it for yourself.

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