I am not a morning person.
I like my quiet, my uber-black coffee and my very bad habit...I call it nicoffeine. This is my time to get my head in order [insert joke] and scan the net for the daily news. Sometimes football, sometimes the latest events in the Ukraine. I check out the latest kitten video on facebook and then scan the latest brutal homicide. I let my mind wander where it will [insert joke 2] as the precious drugs begin to course through my system. Lately however, I have acquired another thoroughly sinful habit- one that is nearly unspeakable in it's hellish ferocity. Kids, stop reading now. Yes, that one. First-pick.com.
Hi. I'm Charles and I am a mock draft addict.
Every morning, I have to run through at least a couple of mocks. Without my daily fix, I can't concentrate, I get nervous and anxious, my hands tremble and the paranoia kicks in- what if today was the day I could set the high score? What is SEIG...that bastard... up to now? Must...get...to...computer...draft...Hundley! No wait! Aargh!
I am a sad case [insert joke 3].
I sometimes go for the high score (and fail miserably) or sometimes I limit myself to what is realistic, taking only trades and players that are in line with some form of reality. For instance, the Vikings at #11 often offer a swap and their second round pick, to move up to #10. When going for the high score, I will always take that, but when attempting to keep it real- no way.
This mornings mock and subject of this article is one of my attempts to be legit. This is not a prediction and not intended to be actually real, but offered as an exercise in playing general manager and the decisions that that would entail. The trades accepted have some basis in reality and the players picked may not be perfect, but fit the scheme and needs- at least according to my sluggish, early morning brain [insert joke 4].
So, this is what happened-
Your score is: 7374 (GRADE: A+)
Round 1 Pick 12 (CLE): Dante Fowler Jr., OLB/DE, Florida (A)
Round 2 Pick 9: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (A-)
Round 2 Pick 29 (IND): Tre' Jackson, OG, Florida State (A)
Round 3 Pick 8: Reese Dismukes, C, Auburn (A)
Round 3 Pick 29 (IND): Nelson Agholor, WR, Southern California (A)
Round 4 Pick 29 (IND): Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida State (A)
Round 5 Pick 9: Jalston Fowler, FB, Alabama (A)
Round 7 Pick 10: Matt Jones, RB, Florida (A)
Your Future Picks:
2016 Round 1 Pick
2017 Round 1 Pick
Now hold on to that cynicism for a moment...
As the clock began for the Rams at pick number ten, there was a lot of top shelf talent still available-
A tough choice that got tougher as Cleveland rang up and offered their #12 and #43 picks in exchange for #10. At first blush, that may seem to be an exaggerated trade offer, but consider that the Browns are desperate for a number one receiver and that the Vikings are most certainly in the market for one as well. They just might make that offer if their crush is still on the board. According to the Draft Trade Value Chart (DTVC), Cleveland is spending a tad too much to move up two spots- their offer is valued at 1670 points vs St. Louis' 1300. Again though, look at the talent still available- the consensus best offensive tackle (Scherff), the number one wideout (Cooper) and the top rated outside linebacker (Fowler). With all of that still on the board and with other GMs giving the Rams a jangle with potential offers, you would need to overspend a bit to lock in that trade.
Realizing that I was in a no-lose situation, I took it.
Round 1 Pick 12 (CLE): Dante Fowler Jr., OLB/DE, Florida
So, why would I take Dante Fowler Jr over Andrus Peat(arguably the best OT in this draft), when the Rams so very desperately need help on the offensive line?
For starters, offensive tackle is not really the issue with the O-line. Yes, of course this depends on Joe Barksdale and Jake Long, both of whose futures are a tad uncertain at the moment. It is the inside where help is needed and Andrus Peat doesn't project well as a guard. Fowler was chosen for two simple but sublime reasons-
A. At this point, he is simply the best player available and
B. He fills a need on the Rams defense.
St. Louis defense flashed moments of absolute dominance last year and one is tempted to consider it a complete unit. In fact, it has one almost glaring discrepancy- a strong side linebacker. Alec Ogletree is a damned fine WILL, but a true SAM on the other side of JL55, would be the icing on the cake and give Gregg Williams manifold options that are simply not there right now. Worth the number ten pick, he is a steal at twelve and the Rams future defense could be one for the record books.
Round 2 Pick 9: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
I am not that high on Hundley, but he was BPA and if Bradford can stay healthy long enough for him to absorb some proper coaching, he could be a solid starter. Maybe.
Round 2 Pick 11 (Trade)
Indianapolis offered their next three picks (Rds 2/29, 3/29 and 4/29) and consulting the DTVC, you will find that the Rams pick is worth 470 points and the Colts combined offer is 467. So, spot on really- I took it and Indy took RB Todd Gurley.
Round 2 Pick 29 (IND): Tre' Jackson, OG, Florida State
It is hard to get excited about this pick, but Tre Jackson should pan out to be a solid long time guard in the NFL. Not flashy, but a guy who will just get the job done.
Round 3 Pick 8: Reese Dismukes, C, Auburn
A bit raw in my opinion, but the basic makeup for a solid and possibly Pro Bowl center are here. I think Paul Boudreau can make that happen. Considering that the Rams are likely to add someone in free agency, the O-line shopping is now complete.
Round 3 Pick 29 (IND): Nelson Agholor, WR, Southern California
Since Kendall Langford was released, I was looking for a defensive tackle here. Without some serious reaching though, none was available and this was another BPA pick. I could sleep at night no problem with this one.
Round 4 Pick 29 (IND): Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida State
Lance Kendricks just might be another cap casualty this year and if so O'Leary is a solid replacement. Again, no defensive tackles worth the pick were on the board.
Round 5 Pick 9: Jalston Fowler, FB, Alabama
What? A fullback? Are you sure that was coffee and not crack?
Since the offensive philosophy is run-first, smash-mouth, why not have an old school fullback? Jalston Fowler could pave the way for Tre Mason/Benny Cunningham/Zac Stacy or...Tavon Austin (God, I hope we have seen the last of Tavon running off-tackle). He could also be Bradford's personal bodyguard on passing downs...the O-line needs help, doesn't it? In addition he could take limited snaps and likely be a special teams star. A versatile workhorse.
Round 7 Pick 10: Matt Jones, RB, Florida
Ok, I only made this pick to keep my streak of "A"s going and finish with a good score...sue me. However, considering that a certain Isaiah Pead should do the honorable thing and
fall on his sword free up a roster spot, this wouldn't be a bad pick in round 7.
Fantasy land? Maybe. The #10 overall could become a very hot commodity if the right players fall just a small bit. In this scenario, both Brandon Scherff and Dante Fowler are talked about as potential top five picks and I happen to agree that they both have that level of talent. I find it difficult to believe that they will both be available then, but it could happen with other sought after names like OT La'el Collins and of course quarterback's Marcus Mariota Oregon and Jameis Winston Florida St being picked up in the first nine. Defensive tackles Leonard Williams USC and Danny Shelton Washington took up two more spots and indeed, seemed to kick off a run on DTs. While DE Shane Ray Missouri, SS Landon Collins Alabama OLB, Randy Gregory Nebraska and OT T.J. Clemmings Pittsburgh finished off the precursor picks, before I, as Les Snead's temporary doppleganger, could make my move.
Some of those names are highly debatable to be picked that high (T.J. Clemmings, Landon Collins), but they have been speculated to the top ten, if not recently. As one example...and here also. Ya never know.
When it comes down to it, if Les Snead could make this happen, his job would be assured for the foreseeable future and the Ramned Faithful could rest easy, knowing the offense's woes have been addressed. Hopefully brought up to near the level of the defense.
Oh and if you are still not convinced...just imagine the delicious screams coming from the NFC West as Roger Goodell reads out, "Rams pick, Dante Fowler Jr, linebacker- Florida"