Day after day this late February, college prospect are showing their wares for NFL scouts. Indianapolis has a cloud of young NFL dreamers hoping to turn the heads of talent evaluation experts. "Doesn't bend at the hips," or "he bends at the hips too much..." "Well, he's game fast, so the 40 yard dash time isn't an accurate barometer..." "He ran a 4.30, so he has the speed to succeed in the NFL..."
Before the start of the NFL Combine, I pondered and posed Mock Drafts of every ilk. I've traded picks, and grabbed players who "appear" to be a perfect match for my favorite team - the St. Louis Rams. Most of my choices - as well as reason - have flown in the face of the guru-esk. Mike Mayock would laugh at me, and Mel Kiper helmet head wouldn't do much more than turn away. Still, as an NFL fan, I continue to slash and snag players to build my "mind's eye" perfect draft.
If you aren't susceptible to addictive things, give First-Pick.com a go. As a "trade anything and everything" maven, this site feeds my need to juggle. It's Mock Draft heroin, so beware. Yet, this little site has taught me something. In many instances, I've drafted players for the Rams that literally make me drool. But the site's "expert" metrics judge my picks wanting, giving me scores that question my ability to not just draft players, but walk and chew gum. Clever guy that I am, I've pulled up Mayock's top choices and used them to do a Mock draft at First-Pick. Thinking I'd score better was yet another misjudgment. My scores actually went down? Hmm?
Now, with data from the NFL Combine, I've done Mock drafts using all the new information flooding in. My brain might explode, but I battle on. I take in what I know about my team - the Rams - and I'm positive the First-Pick.com guys are loopy at best. I take a a guy like C.J. Mosley in the first round, and I get an internet kick to the family jewels - "B-"! Not swayed, I grab a guard - Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA - and they give me a soothing nod - "A". Like Pavlov's dog, I keep picking, looking for more affirmation of my now suspect prowess. The site slaps me around when I take Antone Exum - corner back, Virginia Tech - and I spew Cheetos enhances invective at my computer screen. The draft ends with a final score of 4202, and my head drops in shame... But what the hell do I know, right? I took the Mock draft and checked it against three widely held experts: Rob Rang, Mike Mayock and Mel Kiper. It looks like they concur with First-Draft, but they pick names I've never heard of to fill my slotted picks? Not all-knowing, I begin to realize something when I see none of my experts agree with each other on ANYTHING! This time of year, there's simply no way to accurately predict who will be pick by the Rams.
I firmly believe they'll trade away their #2 overall pick, but just where they'll land in the draft order is anyone's guess. Based on what I've seen at the Combine, players have moved up based on their performances. Mike Evans looked great, so could he move up and ahead of Sammy Watkins? If so, the Top 15 picks probably takes a massive jumble. The same can be said of the Top 3 offensive tackles. They could fall down into the 8 to 15 range based on the possible rise of skill position players. Plus, you just KNOW a guard is going to creep into the Top 15, since the 2011 CBA has skewed traditional rational draft choice thoughts. The two top rated safeties - Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor - are going to sink down unless a team like the Dallas Cowboys absolutely falls in love with one of them. The area we could see the most movement is at outside linebacker. As a possible need for the Rams, the talent available at this position should be available throughout the first round, and even the top of the second day's choices.
So, as confused and befuddles as I am, I keep trying to make that perfect Rams draft. I'll be waking up with keyboard marks on the side of my face all the way to the NFL Draft on May 8th. But that's the way it's supposed to be, isn't it?
If you haven't visited First-Pick.com, get over there and do a Mock Draft. I'd like you to post your results here with the confirmed score - NO CHEATING! Let's see how you do, and try to resist draft that include more than three trades.