About a year ago, I dropped my first 2011 mock draft. As is usually the case, there wear plenty of hits and some wonderfully embarrassing misses. I'm working on a 2012 mock, but I figured it would be more interesting to go back and look at my first effort just to provide some perspective when I do throw out my shot at next year's draft.
After the jump, mockery gone astray.
Let's hit the big misses first. They're plentiful.
- #12, Tennessee Titans - Sam Acho, DE Texas: Acho slid into the 4th round to Arizona, and of course I think he's a great value pick. I love his game and his motor; hopefully, we don't notice him twice a year.
- #16, New York Giants - Quan Sturdivant, ILB N. Carolina: The G-Men took Michigan St. ILB Greg Jones in the 6th. I'm still surprised Q-Sturd fell this far. Can't shake my own biases and scouting. He also went to the .
- #30, New Orleans Saints - Evan Royster, RB Penn St.: Right position, right team, nearly right draft spot. WRONG PROSPECT. Sometimes, you're just really, really wrong. This was one of those times. The holes is Royster's game jumped out in 2010. His power game fell off, he seemed to get slower, and he was never the most athletic running back in the first place. I'm surprised he was drafted at all.
- #34, Buffalo Bills - Marcell Dareus, DT/DE Alabama: Not the worst miss. Hell, I matched the prospect and team. But since Dareus went third overall, I would mark this down as an accurate miss. Oxymoron, sucka!
- #48, New York Giants - Jacquizz Rodgers, RB Oregon St.: Oh, little Quizz. I do hope you make it, friend. Atlanta's a solid fit too.
So what are the lessons I've learned? One, there will always be one-year wonders and transfers that explode onto the national scene (see Auburn 2010 season); those are nearly impossible to predict. But maybe I'll throw one or two out there this year.
Also, I think teams are started to draft away from the running game, both offensively and defensively. It will be tough next year with what looks like a solid RB class, including Texas A&M's Cyrus Gray and potentially Alabama's Trent Richardson, Arkansas Razorback Knile Davis and LaMichael James from Oregon. Add to that MLB. I'm not feeling too comfortable about throwing 4-3 MLBs near the top of my mock. So Alabama's Courtney Upshaw and Chris Galippo from USC with potential options including Vontaze Burfict from Arizona St., Luke Kuechly from Boston College, Bama's Don'ta Hightower and Manti Te'o from Notre Dame. Lots of talent, not a ton of value.
Lastly, character concerns matter. For some guys, it's huge. For others, not so much. Jimmy Smith still went in the first round to the Ravens. Marvin Austin took a slight hit, as did Greg Little. Weslye Saunders slid all the way out of the draft. Those are tough to factor in a year out.
So what do you think I need to consider as I put my 2012 mock together? I'm not talking about names; I'm talking about concepts. Conceptually, mocks are just a collection of things someone is comfortable with and uncomfortable with. Feel alright about undersized ends? Sam Acho pops up. Still think many teams place a ton of value on stopping the run? MLBs and strong safeties are all over the early rounds.
Drop some knowledge on me, and help me think about how to think about my 2012 mock. And remember, sometimes it's good to be wrong. You learn more that way.