Thursday, April 26, 2018

2018 MOCK DRAFTGASM

It's that time of year again, the only time I ever put anything on this site anymore. NFL DRAFT MOTHERFATHERS!

As usual, this is not "based" on anything - it's a hybrid of how I feel the draft WILL unfold and how I think the draft SHOULD unfold. Sometimes I purposely keep players I really don't like (e.g. Jabrill Peppers) out of the first round, but usually not if they are extremely likely to be a high selection (Josh Allen, etc.). I will however often drop those guys way below where they are projected to and probably will land out of principle. This also, as previous iterations, carries the Business Horse Guarantee that everything laid out in this exercise is a 100% leadpipe lock to happen exactly as predicted in the actual draft.

Let's get to it.


1. CLEVELAND BROWNS - Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Let me get this out of the way first....interviews, white board stuff, etc. all matter greatly for the QBs and I'm not there. I have no idea how knowledgable they each are, how they are relating to teammates, exactly what they were supposed to be doing in their offense, etc. Anything we hear also needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Some of it is exaggerated rumor or just plain misinformation put out to reporters by people who have a reason to do so. For example, do I think there may be something different about Josh Rosen? Yeah, I do. Do I think all of his teammates hate him? Come on, man. So I ignore most of it unless I have a feeling myself that something is an issue, in which case I'll weigh it accordingly and make it clear that it is an opinion.

So that out of the way, I'm going to guess that the Browns take Darnold first overall and do not trade the pick or take Saquon Barkley or wait until 4 overall to take whatever QB is left because...they aren't "all the same", like so many people are suggesting. On the flipside, there are so many good QB prospects in this draft that I think to some degree we are nitpicking the hell out of them to some degree (and ignoring nits with Rosen and Allen for some reason). Anyway, since the Browns have a football guy now, they take the QB. In reality, and you can look back and read this, the plan previously was believed to be acquiring draft capital and putting off the QB selection until this year, when all of the great prospects would be available. That's conveniently out the window now, though, as football guy Jack Dorsey rides in to the rescue to draft a QB, watch the tape, piss on all the stats people (IN THEIR MOM'S BASEMENT! Hahahahah because I guess their parents are always divorced) and resurrect the franchise before destroying the team's cap by overpaying marginal talents and older stars.

Darnold has some Andrew Luck in him. He also has some Jameis Winston:










He also has a tendency to immediately roll out to his right...not sure how many are by design or if he gets skittish easily due to whatever reason(s). But outside of the dumb throws, and many are also from the pocket, he seems to be the most well-rounded of the QB group. He looks like if Andrew Luck had a younger brother that liked to impersonate Russell Wilson. Not as big and strong as Luck, but bigger than the other QBs in this class except for maybe Allen (I don't mean just height). Good arm, not great. Mechanics not great, but largely good and consistent. Makes a lot of tough throws into coverage that could be dangerous, but so does Luck. If he can cut down on the dumb throws, he'll be fine. And I think he will...his WRs are USC were atrocious. So bad. Maybe not worse than Allen's, but when factoring in the competition, I think he had it worse than any of these guys in terms of supporting cast. So I still think that Darnold is the first pick, even if his star has faded since last season (2016).

I know the Browns have Tyrod Taylor, and I like Tyrod, but Tyrod Taylor on essentially a one-year deal with options doesn't keep you from drafting your perceived long-term guy at the top of the draft. Even if you were the biggest Tyrod Taylor fan in the world, dude is damn near 30. Browns go old school and draft a QB and not a calculator hahahahahahahahaahah ROFL


2. NY GIANTS - Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Alright. This is by all accounts not going to happen. However, I think Rudolph is the best QB in this draft, and I want to give the Giants a QB, and I also think he fits their system brilliantly, so I'm not going to dance around that just to match online draft projections. In truth, they mean jackshit, and hell, last year Pat Mahomes and DeShaun Watson showed just that. No one thought Kevin Byard was going 2nd round, or that LeVeon Bell was going ahead of Eddie Lacy, or so on and so on. Talent is talent.

Point two - these teams often telegraph who they are interested in. Pre-draft visits, pro days, dinner meetings, etc etc. I don't have time to track that and I'm not interested in doing so either, so I ignore them much of the time unless it's obvious. If I think a team should draft a guy, I'm going to make that their pick, even if in real life they have shown no interest in that player and thus probably aren't going in that direction. I'm just a guy doing mock drafts for fun in his spare time. You get what you pay for.

Anyway, there are two traditional drop back QBs in this draft, Rudolph and Rosen. And only one of those seems like he'll be really good. Rudolph is great at creating space in the pocket and if he isn't pressured, he'll sit in it as long as he needs to before finding a good throw (that, btw, is in my opinion one of the most significant reasons that Aaron Rodgers is so good). Yeah, he has decorated WRs, and this is a Big XII spread offense so there a few occasions each game where guys are running open downfield, but mostly these guys aren't getting much separation. Rudolph is throwing into tight windows and throwing them open. They are particularly adept at the catch point, and that helps, but without a top QB, I don't think this offense is very good. Oddly enough, if Rudolph were worse and struggled, I think people would actually think he was better and would blame his supporting cast (the Allen Effect). People forget that Peyton Manning also had a first round WR - turns out that it was Manning making that offense go, not Marcus Nash.

And the Giants? Well, they have great WRs and a statue of a QB. Rudolph isn't a statue (same 40 time as Kirk Cousins) but he will function best in that style of offense. Eli was not nearly as bad as people think last year, but he wasn't nearly as good as many of his defenders say. He was average-y, and he's just going to continue to decline. At MOST you have two more decent years. Take your last chance with Eli this upcoming year and draft a QB in an epic QB draft while you have a chance. If you don't, you may not again. Let's say you go 7-9 and it's clear Eli is done. And then next year is say the 2009 draft. Your replacement is Josh Freeman. Let's say it's 2010. Tebow? Clausen? If it's 2011...Jake Locker? Blaine Gabbert? CHRISTIAN PONDER???

Keep that in mind when you talk about getting a QB later when you "actually need" one. This draft is a 1983 type of draft for QB prospects. And back then, Marino was picked apart and fell. Probably because there were so many QBs available so they all blended together in people's eyes, each looking less impressive than they would if there were just one or two. Like, Matt Stafford. If Matt Stafford were in this draft, everybody would wonder why his completion percentage were under 60 and why he threw so many picks. And yeah, you may draft Todd Blackledge. You may also draft Vernon Gholson. What's the difference? If your QB is pushing 40, and a top QB prospect is available (that you like, obviously)....take him. Most teams don't go Manning to Luck...they go Manning to Siemian.


3. NY JETS - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Do I think this will happen? No. But, I think the Giants should take a QB, and I don't like Rosen or Allen. The Jets are pretty much a lock to go QB, so that leaves Mayfield or Jackson. Which one do I think is more likely to go here? I like Jackson more, but I think it would be Mayfield. Draw your own conclusions.

Mayfield gets compared to Russell Wilson a lot, and I see it. I see a lot of Russell Wilson in many QBs, because they are all running around. Do you know why? Because a lot of pro teams don't run "pro style" offenses anymore. That's arguably one reason why there are so many decent-to-good young QBs these days. These offenses are easier to run and lead to efficient passing numbers and it's all Andy Reid's fault. Alex Smith can't function in a "pro style" offense. Put him in Reid's, and it covers up many of his flaws while making him look elite statistically. Is he elite? No. Could he be? Yes. Alex Smith is one of the biggest what-ifs of this era. DId Urban Meyer ruin him? Did he never have it in him to play actual QB? Whatever it was, Alex Smith is a good athlete and great downfield passer who refuses to throw downfield. He can't sit in a pocket for more than 3 seconds and senses pressure coming from 20 yards away, and thus misses a TON of open throws downfield to run into 2 yard gains or hit his back for 6 yards. Makes the stats look good, but in the end it hurts your team and you end up losing playoff games you should win and skating off to Washington as an underrated star while Andy Reid is again saddled with a can't win the big one! stigma. They should have beat Pittsburgh by 10 points last year and should have beaten Tennessee by just as much. He is what everyone thinks Tyrod Taylor is. Anyway, that's today's NFL for many teams.

And that's what Baker Mayfield does. He has some Russ Wilson in him but nobody seems to compare him to Mariota and that's the offense I think he's running at Oklahoma. People rave about his completion percentage and thus his accuracy, but....he's throwing to wide open receivers. Wiiiiide the f open. If he didn't have the highest completion percentage of this group, something is wrong. Is he all a creation of scheme? No. He does throw accurately, particularly shorter deep routes. He'll throw great passes on the run right over a tight end's shoulder with three defenders around him. He throws darts, just like Wilson. It's almost like Mariota impersonating Wilson. He seems to struggle, however, on go routes/fades down the sideline and short throws into tight windows. The latter could be a huge concern, if he gets thrown into the wrong offense and forced to be Tom Brady or Phil Rivers. Just keep him away from Mike Mularkey and he'll be fine. He would wreck shop in Kansas City. He'll have to settle for the Jets.

Oh, and stop comparing him to Manziel. He doesn't move around for the same reasons Manziel did. Both are shorter. Both have, I guess, SWAG. But one was definitely a drug addict and an alcoholic. Maybe Mayfield is too, but until he starts blowing lines after the draft, I'm going to assume he's not in Vegas under an assumed identity when he should be studying his playbook.


4. (TRADE) BUFFALO BILLS trade with CLEVELAND BROWNS (give up both first rounders and change) - JOSH ALLEN, QB (I think), Wyoming

I hate Josh Allen as a prospect (I'm sure he's a fine young man). All of the bad that comes with Alex Smith? That's Josh Allen. He's like Josh McCown on meth. Josh McCown is a 40 year old rookie who stumbles out of clean pockets to throw into triple coverage that he should have seen coming from a mile away, and yet he still is thought of as an underrated QB and great mentor type for some reason because he throws a pretty deep ball every couple drives. Josh Allen is that in a younger, more athletic body. He's got the big arm. He can run. He throws effortlessly. He makes amazing highlight throws regularly:





BUT....he more regularly does idiotic things. He runs out of clean pockets into sacks. He gets off balance and misses his WR by 5 yards. He blindly throws into double coverage. He floats backside sideline passes that are pick-sixed by a DB that actually has to time his break lest he get there too early. He throws checkdowns 10 feet over the WR's head. He does so much awful shit that the good doesn't do nearly enough to compensate.

But he gets the defense of, how can anyone win with this shitty supporting cast? That definitely matters, but he's also playing shitty teams. He has many instances of his shitty WRs being open, and he's missing them by a mile. He has plenty of plays where the shitty OL gives him a good pocket, and he runs out of it early into a sack. He has multiple plays with a wide open checkdown, yet he's oblivious to the pressure and takes a bad sack or decides he's throwing deep into triple coverage. He gets all the excuses that Christian Hackenberg got.  I read that comparison a lot now, but I've been using it for months. Here's what I said in March of 2016 about Hackenberg when he was getting defended by a ton of people for having to suffer through a spread-type scheme as his draft stock plummeted:

"I watched so many plays where there was a normal dropback pass called, the shitty line did protect, a shitty WR did get open, and Hackenberg stepped up in a clean pocket and either bounced the ball to him or threw it 5 yards over his head.

Franklin may have hindered him but he also did more than his fair share of sucking."

This isn't Sam Darnold having everything go right and his shitty WR, who is barely open, lets the ball hit off his face and bounce to a safety. This is a more functional version of Hackenberg with more consistency and better peak plays. Funnily enough, his boring pro style offense gets blamed while for Hackenberg, he also got the excuse that he needed a boring pro style offense. The reason is that he sucked as a prospect and was always going to look bad. I feel the same way about Allen, but the ties to Buffalo are out there so I can't ignore that Buffalo needs a QB and likes Mayfield and Allen. The Bills mafia will love Allen - he'll make some huge plays up there in the snow and might will them to a couple wins and he'll get excuses for every bad thing he does for a year or two. But...here's the thing about Buffalo. Buffalo DOES have shitty personnel that actively hampers the QB's performance. They ran Tyrod Taylor out of town but came up with excuses for Nate Peterman. And you know what? You CAN excuse some of Peterman's atrocious play. But that's the point. Nate Peterman exposed just how truly awful that team was. It had NO business in the playoffs. None. The WRs are plodders who are never open and struggled to catch when they were. The scheme was boring as hell just like Allen's at Wyoming. Mayfield would be a disaster in that scheme. Taylor was at times (particularly in the playoff loss when Jacksonville just erased every predictable route by each unathletic WR and ran right through their OL). Allen will be right at home. And he will probably struggle, and they will probably win 6 games.

Could Josh Allen excel? Yes. If he learns to keep himself under control, and throws WRs open before their breaks, and makes anticipatory throws into tight windows, yes. He could. He's got the talent and the ability when he actually puts it all together. But will he? I'd bet heavily against it. Carson Wentz is like Allen in a lot of ways, he misses a lot of WRs, makes great plays with his athleticism, etc. But Carson Wentz doesn't make the bad plays like Allen. He makes enough throws in the pocket to keep his offense moving until the big plays present themselves. But let's not forget that Carson Wentz plays in an offense where his backup just won a Super Bowl and many of his flaws are covered up. To me, Allen is Alex Smith without the good parts. Josh McCown with pedigree. He's gonna struggle mightily if he has a bad fit on a bad team IMO - moreso than most QBs. But he's not hopeless, like Hackenberg was.


5. DENVER BRONCOS - Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Whoa! Five QBs! Yes. Five QBs. Kirk Cousins just got $90 mil guaranteed. KIRK COUSINS. He's the definition of mediocrity, Andy Dalton without the opportunity to even have playoff meltdowns. The man that you can beat with the prevent defense - he'll throw for 340 yards and score 20 points. Case Keenum got $18 mil a year. Jameis Winston has actively regressed each year, gotten Lovie Smith fired and he's gonna get a massive contract soon. QBs are gold. If you have one, you pay him whatever it takes. If you don't, you do whatever it takes to find one. Last year, Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson were considered highly flawed 2nd round prospects. (Sidenote: why Pat Mahomes, who is a significantly better version of Josh Allen as a college QB, was ranked so low, I don't understand). Teams gave up boatloads of picks to move up and take them in the top half of the first. So in an era where this is the case, and a bunch of elite QB prospects available, hell yeah I'm mocking all of these QBs at the top. Any year where there are two guys like this, they go one-two. This year there's 6 of them.

So that gets us to Lamar Jackson. King of the hot takes. Running QB! Nevermind that half of these guys need to run in order to set up their passing and can barely function without it. Ignore that Ben Roethlisberger needs to run around more and get out of the pocket because that's where he's at his best. Because when it comes to Lamar Jackson, we need a pocket QB. A QB that can make multiple reads! A QB that doesn't depend on his feet! So....Mason Rudolph? Nope, he's gonna go 2nd round according to most. Baker Mayfield! It's ridiculous to me.

Here's the thing with Lamar Jackson - the whiteboard stuff if true, does matter. The mom as agent stuff - might matter, but might not and will absolutely not matter for the reasons most people say it will. He struggles to communicate with the media, has a bit of a speech impediment, and it makes him look dumb sometimes. QBs don't sound like that, typically. Supposedly got a 13 on the Wonderlic. Could it matter? It might. But he seemed to be able to run a "pro style" (hate that term) offense at Louisville, and presumably will be able to call a play at the NFL level. He does get lazy with his mechanics sometimes and sails passes. This is all true.

But with Lamar Jackson, it is blown to nuclear proportions and he is hammered into a role to fit his narrative. Dumb, running QB. I'll listen to you if you don't think Lamar Jackson will be a great NFL QB. Absolutely. His arm isn't elite. He does have accuracy issues at times. He is slight of frame. But if you think he's Kordell Stewart? I don't know what to tell you. If you think he should switch to WR? I don't know what to tell you. Josh Allen is a great athlete, should we put him at tight end? Even Tebow was a QB until he proved he wasn't. And Lamar Jackson is light years ahead of Tebow. He's better than Kordell Stewart was in college. He's better than RGIII. I think he's better than Josh Allen as a college prospect. Better than Rosen. Better than Mayfield too, but that one's close for me. If you tell me that Lamar Jackson cannot stay in the pocket and make a throw? I don't think you've watched him play all that much. If you say he can't make more than one read? I don't think you've watched him all that much.

Baken Mayfield would probably not make this play:



Josh Allen will NEVER make this play:


He's got the 2nd best pocket presence in this draft behind Rudolph. But nobody cares, because he's a runner. He's RGIII!

Here's the thing - being able to run isn't bad. Being able to run opens you up to making plays that aren't available to lesser athletic QBs. Being a runner is why Aaron Rodgers is not just a great QB but is instead probably the greatest QB of all time. (Sidenote: being really good is why people thought Aaron Rodgers was washed up while he was playing out of his mind in 2015 and being dragged down by an interdimensionally shitty offense while Kirk Cousins is considered a top 10 QB playing well in spite of the receivers that he continually misses downfield). Being a runner gives you a margin for error. Where it becomes bad is when you look for it before it presents itself, like Mike Vick. Kind of like Alex Smith. Johnny Manziel is a unique case who would not be able to function as a QB but once you allow him to set up his throws with his legs, he can not only play QB but make it to the NFL. That's not Jackson. Carson Wentz is a running QB. It lifts him to MVP level play. Tyrod Taylor's running was the only way Buffalo's offense would function at times. Andrew Luck's running let's him extend plays and keeps defenses from selling out to get to him. Cam Newton's running (like Lucks in this regard) gives him an option when on short yardage plays. Lamar Jackson could play through a hypothetical injury that Manziel or Vick or Tebow could not, because there is an underlying QB there who can dropback and read progressions and throw downfield. This is NOT Robert Griffin.

I admit I liked RGIII at Baylor - he too could sit in the pocket and his downfield throws were a thing of beauty. But I went back and watched some college tape of Griffin. He's not Jackson. Griffin threw short, or he threw deep, and his intended WR was usually wiiiiiiiiiide open. If he couldn't do either of those, he ran. If he had to go through too many progressions, he ran. If he sensed any pressure, he ran. And he was often indecisive. He took big hits in the NFL. He hurt his knee the first time at Baylor on an option play where it looked like he wasn't sure whether to pitch or not and got himself all awkwardly contorted in the confusion. Colin Kaepernick never took big hits. But Colin Kaepernick also couldn't throw with touch and didn't develop even a little bit as a pocket passer until the 2016 season, and he's still an awkward thrower. Lamar Jackson is the good part of both of them. He throws with touch like RGIII. But he'll also throw 20 yards downfield on a line and runs with purpose like Kaepernick. On the whole, he's not really all that similar to either of them (particularly Kaepernick - he is certainly somewhat comparable to RGIII but far superior IMO).

And finally, when people talk about not being able to run in the NFL like you could in college - many of Lamar Jackson's runs in college were designed runs. He wasn't Mike Vick, bailing on passing plays to try and make Sportscenter. Those won't happen in the NFL like they do in college. Cam Newton runs a heck of a lot less in the NFL than he did at Auburn, but he still can when he needs to. Lamar Jackson does not depend on running to be able to throw. He just ran in college because his coach realized he was awesome at it.

So, will he fit in Denver? Yes. He'll fit anywhere. Stop that. He doesn't need a massively customized scheme around him. He just needs what Bill Belichick did for Jacoby Brissett - a downfield scheme with a few dedicated plays that take advantage of his athleticism. John Elway has shown an interest in QBs that can move - Kaepernick, Tyrod Taylor, and now Case Keenum, a guy who needs to move around a bit to compensate for a lack of arm strength - and I don't see why he wouldn't be interested in Lamar Jackson if the draft board falls this way.

Unless there's fire to the off the field smoke. And with the view so many people reflexively have of Jackson, excuse me if I think that there may not be nearly as much there seems to be.


6. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Now this starts to get interesting. Rosen is still on the board, but who wants him? Nobody in the next few picks, clearly. While I think there is certainly something wrong with Luck's shoulder and I would bet he'll never be the same guy that he used to be, I'll operate as if the Colts truly believe what they are saying.

So, the team that "swindled" the Browns and led to Mike Holmgren's last moment of relevance when they traded a first rounder for the frog-human hybrid Trent Richardson, the team who's Frank Gore-lead rushing offense could best be compared to the excitement of watching trees grow - why wouldn't they take an elite RB prospect like Barkley? I understand the thought that they would take Bradley Chubb, because you need pass rushers and they suck all over their defense. I get the thought of adding Denzel Ward or Quentin Nelson. But I think that if this team had the chance to draft a guy like Barkley they would do it. He's ridiculous. I think Fournette was better as a pure runner, but Barkley can do everything and being a pure runner isn't always your best bet in the NFL these days. Teams don't line up in the Power I formation. They need RBs to pass block and to catch short passes and run stretch plays out of shotgun and RPOs and all that jazz. Barkley is like a slightly better version of Zeke Elliott as a prospect, IMO. You can get a good RB late, but great RBs can still be game changers and as much as they depend on their surroundings, their mere presence can also lift said surroundings. The Cowboys with Zeke are a different animal than the Cowboys with Alfred Morris. I don't think Chubb is at a high enough level to go ahead of an RB like Barkley here.


7. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - Derwin James, S, Florida State

I like James and Minkah Fitzpatrick. But I like James more. He can do everything and he can do it at a higher level than Fitzpatrick, IMO. Fitzpatrick to me is a more elite version of Jamal Adams. James, however, I'm not even sure who to compare him to. He's like a bigger Bob Sanders. He's what Jalen Ramsey could have been if he stayed at safety. He can do absolutely everything important in the NFL. He can play centerfield. He jumps short routes. He can man up on RBs and inside WRs. He can house any ball he touches. He can come up and knock ballcarriers into 2007. He can obtain consent from women before he has sex with them. He can rush off the edge like a literal edge rusher....it's ridiculous.




What the fuck is that shit? Seriously, if someone doesn't tell me what the fuck that shit is, I have to quit writing this. I at least need to take a break.

*30 minutes pass*

This guy is absolutely ridiculous and I'm fighting an urge to move him up to the Colts pick. I also want to move a team up for Rosen but there aren't enough contenders to trade up and there are too many elite guys that have fallen as a result of mocking 5 QBs to the top 5 picks that I just can't do it. I can't see a team like Tampa Bay that starts CHRIS FUCKIN' CONTE at safety passing on Derwin James to pick up an extra 2nd rounder. The teams in the back half of the top 10 this year are in primo spots. There's always one sweet spot in each draft and to me, this year it's 6-10. Similar to 2014 but a little earlier.

If there's one flaw with James, it's his tackling ability. Not that he can't tackle, but that he misses a lot of tackles because he's moving too fast and not in good position. Sort of like Ryan Shazier but not quite as out of control. It would seem to be a big issue but it typically rears it's head when he's attacking a play near the line of scrimmage, so it's not like there's nobody behind him to clean up his mess. Maybe Conte can earn the nickname of "The Maid". Either way it's not something that I think teams will be all that concerned about, as Derwin James is an alien assuming the human form. Imagine if Jabrill Peppers were a lot bigger and also didn't suck. That's kind of what you're getting with James. To me, he's like a bigger and better and more all-around capable Eric Berry.


8. CHICAGO BEARS - Quentin Nelson, G, Notre Dame



I can't keep dropping Karate Bear. Every year I mention that I only have a few players in my top, top tier, which is determined not only by skill but just by a certain feel for each prospect. The list is going to be a bit biased toward recent players because I started paying a ton of attention only a few years ago, but it goes:

Reggie Bush

Calvin Johnson

Andrew Luck

Khalil Mack

Myles Garrett

Leonard Fournette

Quentin Nelson

Something is keeping Derwin James off of it - perhaps injury history, lack of huge production, I don't know. It kept Jalen Ramsey and Malik Hooker off even though I loved both of them as prospects. But Nelson is the best OL prospect that everyone has ever seen, and in a world where Brandon Scherff was a top 5 pick once, I can't keep dropping him just because people don't care about guards anymore.

But why not care about guards? The left tackle as most important component belief just won't die, and especially in a passing league, but I think ironically the thing that is making left tackles less important (and similarly non-elite receivers and corners) IS that it's a passing league. You don't need an elite LT like you used to, because everything is tilted in the direction of the passing game and QBs are running all over the place and throwing quick slants to wide open WRs that you can't touch. Scheme seems most important these days. Two things though - 1. what do the best OLs in the league have? and 2. what wrecks modern schemes the most? 1. Great interior linemen and 2. interior pressure. Tom Brady can get the ball out when his left tackle gets beat. But Aaron Donald charging through the center of your line? That destroys most plays from the start. Now, I feel that with safeties and guards and ILBs you should sign them instead of drafting them, but that doesn't apply to elite talents and the only reason I say that is due to market values (draft expensive positions like WR and CB and Edge Rusher all things equal). Guards are valuable even though teams don't draft them highly or pay them as much, though that may be changing a bit.

There are jacks of all trades, and then there's Quentin Nelson. Power? Elite. Technique and footwork? Elite. Athleticism? Not quite elite but very good. Elite pass blocker. ELITE ELITE run blockers. There is nothing he can't do very well and that is particularly valuable for a team that wants to run like the Bears by mauling people and has recently highly valued its guards. Nelson should go higher and probably will but I don't really have anywhere to put him.


9. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS - Harold Landry, Edge, Boston College

I am not nearly as high on Bradley Chubb as most people seem to be. I think he's underwhelming as a top-pick Edge guy, which is where he's consistently slotted in mocks. But I do think he's a good player, good all-around (seems to be a lot of those types in this draft), and he fits a huge need in San Francisco. However, I like Harold Landry a bit more, and he's more explosive and seems to be a better fit for a 3-4 rush OLB, even though I'm sure Chubb would be fine there too and it's really just become a stand-up DE on most downs. I don't believe either of these guys are the best OLB/edge guy in this draft, but they seem like they are going to be the first ones of the board so I'll conform a little bit.

Landry can disappear but his top plays look more "NFL" to me than Chubb's, who I think will beat up on lesser OTs. Landry is explosive as hell and can dip and collapse the pocket like top NFL rushers. I think he'll be a better version of Vic Beasley. Edge rushers are so hard to mock because (IMO) none are really all that developed technically when they reach the NFL, they get so much production that does not translate against NFL blockers, they often have outside rush/option responsibilities that don't really apply similarly in the NFL and finally, even the best ones are kept in check on a majority of plays. So, with the exception of the Myles Garretts and Khalil Macks that just consistently jump off the screen, I never know with edge guys (and it seems NFL teams don't either). So who knows. Either way, Landry is the type of athlete that CAN become one of the good ones at the next level. I'm not as convinced about Chubb. And his name is Chubb. Who wants that jersey?


10. OAKLAND RAIDERS - Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama

Typically, I wouldn't put a player like Fitzpatrick in this spot, but the Raiders are not the same Raiders anymore and particularly with Gruden, since this seems like the type of player that he likes to jerk off on live TV when broadcasting games. To me, Fitzpatrick is a better version of Jamal Adams as a prospect. He does everything well (GUH). He's very smart and instinctive, a decent deep safety, a decent slot corner, etc etc. He is however a sure tackler who reads plays very quickly and attacks them before they can really develop. The Raiders could really use help anywhere on defense, and there's no fullback for Gruden to draft here on his charge to 7-9, and Fitzpatrick's versatility will allow him to potentially complete a talented on paper secondary group, so I'll slot Fitzpatrick to play a few years in the Sewage Bowl before bringing his wholesomeness to Vegas with the rest of the team.


11. MIAMI DOLPHINS - I don't know.

Do they want to go forward with Tannehill and the ACL that he treated before last year with ancient tribal remedies? This team remains criminally boring, even with Jay Cutler's mopeshow headlining last year's team. Can I put Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds here? Sure, but...they don't seem splashy. I'm going to do something stupid with the team that gave us top ten selection Teddy Ginn.

MIAMI DOLPHINS - Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

This is a hilarious overdraft. Gesicki is more like Jimmy Graham than a real tight end, but he's fast, did awesome at the Combine, the Dolphins need a tight end, have watched Gronkowski for the last 8 or however many years (and Gesicki is definitely not Gronk) - I'm gonna do it. Fuck it, WE'RE DOING IT LIVE! Gesicki! Dolphins! Tannehill!

The excitement is back at Turnpike Stadium. Man does this team suck, and they probably always will. They are perfect to overdraft Gesicki. He's gonna catch so many screen passes. He can take all of his explovesiveness and use it to replace Jarvis Landry's 4 yards per catch role.

I already think this was stupid and definitely isn't going to happen but I like it so I'm keeping it here.


12. CLEVELAND BROWNS - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

I can't see this happening but I still have Ward available (he'd probably go to the Dolphins if all of this happened in real life) and Cleveland has a need at general defense. The more I watch Denzel Ward, the more I'm convinced that he IS Darrelle Revis.

Denzel Ward's feet are ridiculous (settle down, Rex Ryan). He can get up in any WR's face and lock them down on most routes. He does seem to struggle just a bit on in-breaking routes, but those are hard as hell to defend. Corners with true man-to-man lockdown ability like Ward are few and far between.

Here’s what a typical top corner looks like (Isaiah Oliver, going to be a first rounder this year most likely):



Here’s what your Revises and Denzel Wards look like:



Most people on Earth just simply cannot do that. There are great corners like Richard Sherman and Josh Norman and even Marcus Peters who can't do what Denzel Ward can do. Marlon Humphrey cannot do this. Josh Jackson cannot do this. I have faith that Gregg Wi....oh shit. Nevermind. Gregg Williams would have him 70 yards off the ball on 2nd and 2. Gregg Williams will blitz him and have him playing personal protector on punt and anything but locking down WRs. Is Gregg Williams still in Cleveland?

I don't know what Cleveland likes to do with their corners other than fill them with syringes and prostitutes, but they can figure out a way to incorporate a guy who can go step for step with any WR off the line into their defense, I'd hope.


13. WASHINGTON REDSKINS - Vita Vea, NT, Washington

Washington runs a 3-4 and there are only so many nose tackles on the planet. Particularly ones like Vea, who move like people that are 50 pounds lighter. Washington doesn't really have a nose tackle. Also, their defense sucks, particularly their run defense. NFL teams love them some big Samoan dudes. All those signs point to Vea. I know nose tackles are "2-down players", but if Vea doesn't get tired quickly (not a small feat though for big NTs), I don't see why he couldn't play on passing downs. And anyway, if you aren't stopping other teams on 1st and 10 and 2nd and 5 and setting up 3rd and longs, you aren't even going to get a chance to use your shitty pass rush. Why do teams pass over guys who are great on 2 downs and set up good situations for their defense to draft guys who suck on 3 downs? Reminds me of Jacksonville drafting a punter in the 3rd round because he was going to be a starter. Like they are trying to get more letter-winners or something. (Hat tip serious professional JJ Watt!). Vea looks ridiculous when it all works out - he can push OL back into the QB, rush through the middle of the line, even chase QBs down if they go into Josh Allen mode - but he often has plays where he looks like a complete non-entity. This seems early for him in that light but when there are teams constantly searching for a certain position (like Pittsburgh with Edge guys or KC with 3-4 DEs or Cleveland with functional NFL talent), I usually mock that position to them when it lines up like this.

I’m tired of GOATS so maybe Vea can be the BIRD (Best Interior Run Defender)? Or the HAMSTER (Huge-Ass Man Stopping Teams Every Rush)? Nelly Furtado was like a bird once. She had a long career. Think about it.


14. BALTIMORE trades with GREEN BAY – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

This is so far off the rails that I may as well be hanging out with Strawberry and Gooden. But fuck it – weird things happen every year during the draft, so you better put some weird ass shit in your mock. And this is some weird ass shit right here.

Anyway, Baltimore has to realize that Flacco is about shot. He’s been awful for years now, there’s no rebound coming, A smart franchise would cut their losses and move on when given the chance. Baltimore is a smart franchise. You can’t really cut Flacco this year but you can next year at a tolerable dead money hit, especially since they’d be saving a lot of money by not paying his 2019 salary. Maybe they can trade Flacco for a 9th rounder, I don’t know. Flacco used to be Rex Grossman in a functional QB’s body. Now he’s Brock Osweiler in Steven Tyler’s body. He’s doesn’t even throw deep anymore and is wildly inaccurate on many of the short passes that he leans on these days. It’s not coming back. Flacco hasn’t been Joe Flacco since the ACL injury and probably before that.
So I’m going to get weird here and have them jump over Arizona for Josh Rosen. Josh Rosen seems to fit their scheme, at least stylistically. Do I think he’ll be good? No. I don’t. He seems to flinch at pressure more than the other QBs in this class, he makes too many horrible decisions when not pressured even a little bit, and he misses quite often on difficult throws into tight windows. I think he’s going to be a pick-6 machine in the NFL, like a version of bad Carson Palmer. Carson Palmer between 2008 or so and 2014-ish would just routinely make a boneheaded inexcusable throw into the middle of the field or the flat into the teeth of a cover 2 zone and you just had no idea what he was thinking. That’s what I see of college Rosen, and he just wasn’t punished for it all that often. Rosen is the guy that stares down a vertical route in the middle of the field and throws the ball right to the deep safety like he meant to do it. When not doing that, he’s throwing 50 times a game and lighting teams up – just like Carson Palmer. I think he’s like Mason Rudolph if Mason Rudolph were not actually good at QB. Plus, he’s frail and had a completion percentage barely over 60%, which means he’s too slender to play QB. I think. Heard that somewhere.

But he’s a top prospect this year and there’s gotta be a reason for that so I’ll figure that my analysis is incomplete or wrong and some team that needs a QB takes him early. The Ravens need a QB. (In real life they’ll probably take a WR, and I’d bet Courtland Sutton, but that’s no fun so I’m not doing it).


15. ARIZONA CARDINALS – Connor Williams, OT, Texas

I have no idea why Mike McGlinchey is considered the consensus top tackle in this class. He anchors well enough in pass protection but he just looks sluggish, gets beat around the edges and doesn’t really seem to explode off the ball. It worked for Ronnie Stanley, but Ronnie Stanley is a hell of a lot stronger than Mike McGlinchey.

But Connor Willams? He looks a complete douche, like Taylor Lewan. And that’s what you want in your offensive linemen, isn’t it? He’s relentless and just drives defenders downfield like they offended him personally. He’s also the athletic type tackle that teams are looking for these days, like your Lewans, or your Lane Johnsons, or your Al Villanuevas. Bradley Chubb just ran by McGlinchey. The NFL is full of pass rushers that will probably run around McGlinchey. At least Connor Williams has a chance to move with them.

Arizona could go in a number of directions but the QBs are gone and they are tasked with the monumental task of protecting Sam Bradford from defenders and particularly strong winds, so they better build that wall. At least in this case we know what the wall is going to cost.

16. GREEN BAY PACKERS – Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

I want to give the Packers a WR but with all the talk about their shitty secondary last year, I think they will go there high in the draft yet again. With so many applicable prospects available in my mock, they can afford to trade down a bit and still get one of these guys. And if I had to guess which one they would take, I’d go with Oliver.

While Oliver isn’t Denzel Ward, he is capable of playing press man pretty well, and he comes in a bigger body that NFL teams are always looking for out of their corners these days. He isn’t a tremendously explosive athlete but he runs well and has good makeup speed. He jumps routes very well and has a nose for the ball. He could be a damn good corner in a lot of schemes, be it a more aggressive man scheme like Kansas City’s or a cover 3 man/zone scheme like Seattle’s and I believe like Green Bay runs. (Scheme isn’t hugely important for good corners if you also have a good coach who puts these guys in positions where they excel within his overall scheme). I think Oliver could be your Marcus Peters type of corner if he hits. If he sucks, well, in that case he’ll still fit in nicely in Green Bay’s secondary.

One thing though that would scare me is that he has a habit of recovering and breaking up deep passes late, which is something that both Justin Gilbert and William Jackson III did commonly. One of those two couldn’t work an alarm clock and the other is already an absolute animal. I think Oliver is closer to Jackson in that regard but who knows.



17. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS – Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

Assuming Hurst’s heart checks out (I have a minor heart issue myself that probably would have been flagged during a medical exam as comprehensive as I image the NFL’s are), interior pass rushers are the new hotness in the NFL and Hurst is the best one in this class. He’s compared to Aaron Donald a lot but, come on, nobody is Aaron Donald. But Hurst does look explosive and he is a good interior rusher and if surrounded by the talent that San Diego has up front, he’s going to get an easier road to the backfield than he would with most other teams. If I’m San Diego, I’m adding to my strength here and drafting OL later on. The Chargers with another dominating pass rusher up front, this one coming up the middle, could be the most dominant cosmically cursed 8-8 team we’ve ever seen.


18. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS – Bradley Chubb, NC State

If the hype is to be believed, this is wayyyyy too late for Chubb. Like, 10+ spots too late. But every year top guys (according to the media at least) fall, and this year I think Chubb may be one of them. But if he does fall, Seattle would be a great place for him to land. They need help on both lines (I’m also tempted to give them Josh Jackson to rebuild the secondary), but if there’s a guy like Chubb available I think they take the pass rusher over an offensive lineman. Plus they probably want to continue using converted CFL nose tackles as guards and who am I to tell them not to do that.
Chubb seems to me like the kind of guy who’s going to feast against lesser tackles, but he’s definitely got ability and he’s not just a one-trick pony, and Seattle’s defense is built around guys like this coming after the QB in waves. Seattle collects pass rushing defensive linemen like Aldon Smith collects subpoenas and just like Smith, it’s time to start restocking.


19. DALLAS COWBOYS – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

It’s time to let go of Dez Bryant. I have no idea why the Dezbian is still on their roster – they are strapped for cap space and can afford to cut him. The receiving corps in Dallas is in shambles and is in desperate need of an upgrade. Now, they could also use a Roquan Smith type, and arguably Smith is elite enough to overcome the fact that non-edge LBs are much less expensive than WRs, but Sutton may be tempting enough to be the pick here over a defensive player. The Cowboys have a sneaky top-heavy roster that is showing cracks, and one of the things that held it together in previous years was a top-flite WR. They don’t have that anymore and Sutton could be that guy. Sutton seems a bit slow out of his breaks, but he is a tremendous deep threat and can make tough catches downfield. He’s a deceptively fast strider who doesn’t look like he’s moving all that fast until he’s 2 steps ahead of the DB chasing him (kind of like Josh Gordon in that regard). Can you throw him out there like OBJ or Antonio Brown or Keenan Allen, have him running the full route tree and revolve your passing game around him? I don’t think so but there’s really not any of those guys in this draft. But can he be Dez Bryant? Fuck yeah he can be Dez Bryant. Especially the washed up current version of Dez Bryant, who couldn’t get separation if he hired a divorce attorney.


20. LA RAMS trade with DETROIT – Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Va. Tech

Every mock I see seems to put Edmunds above Roquan Smith, and I can buy that. They also have him in the top 10, which I do not buy as readily. Edmunds shows flashes of spectacular ILB play but there’s just too much inconsistency for me to slot him that high. Alec Ogletree has apparently been playing ILB like a drunk moose and was just the latest in a string of inexplicable contracts given out by the Rams to bad players that made people think that they might actually be good players (I was fooled on Ogletree – he was godawful last year), and while Roquan Smith appears to understand the rules of football, he’s too similar to Ogletree in (theoretical) style to go to LA. Smith is a sideline to sideline missile, similar to Ray Lewis but in a smaller body. But the Rams have penetrating DTs – they don’t have the kind of defensive line that occupies blockers for LBs to make tackles. (Can you imagine Ndamukang fuckin’ Suh just holding up blockers? Ha! He’d rather hit QBs on running plays in the CFL). Edmunds is much more along the lines of a stack and shed LB. When he’s on, he reads plays, throws blockers out of the way, and is always a sure tackler. He’s a great athlete. He has a chance to be really, really good. But too often he’s just way out of position or makes the wrong read. He also has pass coverage ability. With teams just running straight at the Rams last year and bowling Ogletree and Mark Barron 10 yards backwards, they need an LB in this mold. Edmunds is a great tackler even when he’s playing poorly, and if he hits he’s going to be a more athletic, non-crazy version of Vontaze Burfict that actually has marginal respect for human life. That’s why he’s mocked top 10. I just don’t see enough of it to do that myself.

EDIT: Well, the Rams traded their pick to Brandin Cooks while I was working on this. So inconsiderate! (Maybe they think a QB will fall to 23?). Back to the drawing board. I want to move the Lions out of this pick. I’m going to say that the Browns trade with them. This probably isn’t likely because who are they really jumping to get Davenport but I’ve already written most of this and I don’t want to do the last third all over again.

20. CLEVELAND BROWNS trade with DETROIT – Marcus Davenport, OLB, UTSA

Marcus Davenport is an interesting prospect. He’s like 7 feet tall, very good athlete, plays at random state, has only been an edge rusher for like 30 minutes…you don’t see these too often. He’s like Tanoh Kpassagnoh in a lot of ways. Like an even rawer Anthony Barr.

But when you watch him, you expect to hate him as a prospect. But if you’re like me, you can’t. His development was incredible. He definitely struggled early on but as time went on, you can see why people talk about this guy as a potential top 15 pick. I know he’s playing against future Winn-Dixie store managers but he’s a monster.

The Browns probably want to add some pass rushers to help Myles Garrett, who got like 6 sacks as a rookie in 10 games for a team that was never ever winning even for like a few minutes and so Browns fans inexplicably think he’s a bust. And they don’t need a plug-and-play finished product here. This team is going to win a fuckin’ game this year baby yeah!



21. CINCINNATI BENGALS – Isaiah Wynn, OG/OT, Georgia

Wynn is a unique tackle, standing “only” 6’2” and weighing 310 lbs. He’s a fireplug of a lineman that looks like a guard and I think that’s what he’ll end up being in the NFL, at least at first. But Cincinnati doesn’t care – there are bad O-lines in the NFL, but the Bengals line actively sabotaged them for much of the 2017 season. They can put Wynn wherever he fits best. Wynn is very stout (and he should be at that height) and stonewalls defenders who try to bull rush him. He’ll stop guys in their tracks. He’s aggressive. He’s got good feet. He might be fine at tackle. Either way, he’s a really good lineman and the Bengals need a shit-ton of players at the “good lineman” position.

I want to mock a corner here because it’s the Bengals and all they do is draft first round corners and it’s hilarious, but I can’t have them passing up on Wynn. Plus, if he’s a guard, he’ll be cheaper on that 2nd contract! You think that doesn’t matter to Mike Brown? Mike Brown is the kind of guy who takes a 5:35 am flight with a stop in Atlanta just to save $34. Mike Brown 100% flies to the owner’s meetings on Spirit and you know he’s in the $9 fare club.



22. DETROIT LIONS – Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

I’m tired of Detroit not having a running back. It’s never a huge need for them, but I think that’s because they’ve just convinced themselves that good running backs don’t exist because in actuality, it’s consistently a huge need for this team. Wtf? Any time they draft a halfway decent RB he’s always like 180 lbs, immediately suffers every injury and he’s done in a few seasons.

So fuck it, and fuck their other “more pressing” needs. The Lions need a damn top running back. Derrius Guice is a top running back. Everyone is comparing him to Adrian Peterson. Previously the only time the Lions have been compared to Adrian Peterson is when other teams savagely beat them as if they were a small child. I’m not giving them a 25 year old tight end (Hayden Hurst), and they should have learned their lesson last them they drafted a TE in the first round. I’m not giving them a guard or a defensive lineman. Let’s get Detriot running again! Is there some Ford slogan similar to that? I think there was something like that.


23. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (trade with LA Rams) – Roquan Smith, ILB, Alabama

Well….the Patriots also need an ILB, and an edge guy, and some OL…this is also a spot where they like to add OL…I’m actually going to slot Roquan Smith to them here. They certainly don’t have any issues drafting an Alabama inside linebacker, and the seek-and-destroy type of ILB fits their system much better than a team like the Rams. They traded for Danny Shelton to eat up blockers, not to get sacks. I want to mock Edmunds here to wrap this all neatly in a bow but I just can’t help but think that Smith would be a great fit here.


24. CAROLINA PANTHERS – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

The Panthers absolutely refuse to add WR talent, so why would I start now? This team is driven by defense and by Cam Newton doing absolutely everything offensively and still getting ripped for it in the media. Ever since Josh Norman left, they’ve been struggling to patch up their secondary, and Josh Jackson is a very similar corner to Norman stylistically. He’s not going to get up and press people like Denzel Ward or even like Isaiah Oliver. He is going to be at home in a heavy zone scheme reading QBs and jumping routes. This is the guy who if he hits becomes Richard Sherman.
I saw him getting mocked lower and lower and didn’t see it at first but after having done this exercise, I get it. He’s not as versatile as the other top corners – he has to be played a certain way to really succeed. But he’s not a bad athlete by any stretch. People downplayed Desmond King last year and Josh Jackson is a more athletic version of King in a better body. King did very well as a rookie and I think Jackson will as well. He finds the ball very well. And in a league where even Case Keenum is throwing for like 400 yards a game, it may be a better plan to go after picks to offset the completions rather than try to shut down receivers that you aren’t allowed to breathe on or stare at directly without being flagged.


25. TENNESSEE TITANS – Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Va. Tech

See above. The Titans may not have the biggest need at ILB but it definitely is A need for them and they just lost Avery Williamson. I think they would take Taven Bryan here in real life but I don’t have time for this shit. Fuckin’ New England. Damn it.



26. ATLANTA FALCONS – Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Atlanta can go in a bunch of directions with this pick. They could use one more weapon on offense to really lift their passing offense. They could use a rush DE. They also paid Dontari Poe after whiffing on some interior DL picks in years prior and still haven’t really solidified it. Looking at the available prospects, I think they would take the DL here and worry about the other spots later.
I’ve never really liked big, sluggish Alabama monster defensive tackles, and that will continue here. I don’t know what it is, but while I see Da’Ron Payne in a higher light than I do A’Shawn Robinson, I’m just not a huge fan and I like Bryan a lot more. He’s like a bigger Joey Bosa, just powers his way into the backfield at will. He’ll take one arm, bend an OL back and just push him into the QB’s lap. He can also go around the edge a bit, kind of like Stephon Tuitt. He’s probably going to go higher than this in the actual draft, because teams always need more 3-4 DE than are available, and Bryan looks like he could be a monster 3-4 DE. I won’t say he’s a JJ Watt type because nobody is a JJ Watt type but impact at that position really sets your defense up to wreck shop. For Atlanta, they would probably want more of a Maurice Hurst type but talent is talent and Bryan has a lot of it.



27. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State

STOP COMPARING THIS GUY TO LUKE KUECHLY, MEDIA.

For one, Luke Keuchy is the absolute gold standard of college ILB tape. Vander Esch is a phenomenal athlete, more like Roquan Smith but with a better ability to sort through trash and get by blockers. But, he seems to get fooled a lot. He is raw and only started for a year at Boise State, but here is how he will often play a misdirection play:



Here’s Luke Kuechly in a similar situation, immediately diagnosing the end-around like he was the one who called it:



Kuechly’s college tape is full of that. He was absolutely ridiculous. Great athlete, just like LVE, but different players. Both had questions about athleticism until they blew up their respective Combines, because we live in a world of narratives where the majority of people don’t even bother to learn about the shit they’re talking about, but that’s about where the similarities stop. Nobody is really all that similar to Kuechly, because nobody I’ve seen in college recently has combined that understanding of the position and ability to immediately recognize the playcall with his level of athleticism. Yet I read “oh, scouts tell me he’s like Kuechly” and it makes me think – maybe so many teams blow draft picks because there are a lot of scouts who are just plain morons? I don’t know.

Anyway, Vander Esch may end up being the best ILB in this class if he develops a little further and I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he’s the first ILB taken. He’s just as good an athlete as the others and seems to be better at slipping through trash and finding the ball.


28. PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Ognonnia Okoronkwo, OLB/EDGE, Oklahoma

Ok. This guy is projected as a 3rd or 4th round pick or something. I don’t get it. Every year there are guys like this that are projected so low and go early because teams aren’t using CBS Sportsline or WalterFootball or whatever to rank players, and I often make the mistake of trusting those rankings too much. Kevin Byard is an example that jumps out every time I think about later prospects who I don’t think should be late round prospects. I thought he looked like a hell of a player. So did the Titans, and they didn’t care if Todd’s Draft Bonanza dotcom ranked him as a 6th rounder.
This year that guy for me is Okoronkwo. He’s an explosive athlete. He’s strong as hell. He consistently gets pressure when he rushes. He can play more of a traditional linebacker role. I’d bet he can excel inside as well. He comes up and destroys RBs in the backfield. He’s shorter in the James Harrison mold. He just seems like a Steeler.

And yes, I know he isn’t an ILB or a safety. But ILB and safety can be replaced in the FA market, at least temporarily. 3-4 OLB? You can’t go out and get a Morgan Burnett or a Tre Boston type at that position for a few million bucks. And don’t look now but Edge rusher is about to become a huge need for the Steelers. I treat them like borderline QBs – unless you are absolutely rock solid set at that position, it’s always at least a bit of a need. LBs drive this system. I don’t care how many picks you blew on LBs prior – just like Detroit didn’t care about how many picks they blew on WRs when Calvin Johnson was there or Carolina didn’t care about blowing a pick on a QB when Cam Newton was there. Calvin Johnson is not Mike Williams, so how is that relevant? Same here. Even if Bud Dupree breaks out in year 4, he’s probably gone next year. And that’s a best case – this could be a huge pressing need right now.

Okoronkwo is one of my favorite prospects in this draft and this is more wishful thinking than anything but if I think a top edge guy is there at 28, I take him and buy my time with Jon Bostic and Burnett. Hell, there will be more rounds in the draft. Draft some slapdick ILB in the 2nd. Get the guy who’s going to beat the shit out of QBs in the first.


29. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

The Jaguars offense is still as boring as ever, and they’ve shown that they like boring WRs who put up 100 catch seasons at football factories. Calvin Ridley is like a version of Amari Cooper with a nagging hamstring injury.

I would give them a lineman if I there were a mauler type available or a QB if the same opportunity presented itself, but the way I have things going, I think they take Calvin Ridley and immediately crown him king of the midgets. I’d probably prefer to put a DJ Chark or DJ Moore here, but for some reason I feel that the Jags would go with Ridley in this case. Their defense is kick-ass as fuck but if one of the ILBs drop or if a beast DT (maybe Da’Ron Payne) is there, I wouldn’t be surprised if they went in that direction. Hell, they could even add to the secondary. Nothing wrong with stacking strength on strength and in a year or two they are going to start losing guys for cap reasons and it’s probably smart to keep restocking the engine that drives your team.
Either way, they are going to rush for like 3,000 yards next season and Blake Bortles is going to get a sixth developmental season.


30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS – Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Another freakshow athletic tackle (he’s also like 8 feet tall) that I can’t see being taken behind McGlinchey. The Vikings have either the best or 2nd best roster in the NFL but the one place they could really use some fresh talent is on the OL. They patched it up last year but the year before it sank their entire season, so I doubt they rest on their laurels if a top OL prospect is sitting there at 30.
Kirk Cousins is going need some time to throw 4 yard slants on 2nd and 15 or loft one too far inside for Adam Theilen to catch over two guys’ heads. He’s going to take a 13-3 roster to 10-6 and somehow yet again avoid all blame and scrutiny.



31. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – Sam Hubbard, OLB, Ohio State

This is a big assumption that they keep this pick, but I don’t really have an opportunity for them to move up and get a QB in my draft. I want to put a WR here but I think edge rusher is a bigger need. It’s all we heard about last year, after Belichick geniusly traded Chandler Jones to Arizona where he probably struggled mightily in between all of his league-leading sacks. I also really want to put Arden Key here, but I just don’t think they’ll go after a weed guy. Or whatever issues he has.

So I’ll give them Hubbard, another guy who lit up agility drills at the Combine and probably IMO the best combination of edge-setting run defender and pass rusher in this class. Apparently he struggled a bit last year but in his 2016 tape he jumps off the screen at times defending stretch/outside runs. He doesn’t always show much in the way of outside rushing ability but he’s got great hands that allow him to have success on inside rush moves and he’s quick enough to threaten around the edge after setting the tackle up. He’s also good on stunts and other designed inside rushes. I think he would fit very well into NE’s defense.

He’ll then get traded to Chicago for a 3rd round pick in 2020.


32. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – DJ Chark, WR, LSU

In real life, one of the off-ball linebackers is probably available here and Philly takes him. Malik Jefferson doesn’t count because he’s not very good. I could also see them going corner.
But with this being a bad WR draft relative to recent years, I think there will be a bunch of the higher end guys available at 32 and Philly has shown a proclivity towards big-play WRs in free agency. I think they’ll take another shot at one in the draft if the opportunity presents itself. Chark is tall and fast and should be able to run downfield while Carson Wentz runs around and throws 60 yard darts downfield across his body while falling sideways. Kind of like Josh Allen, if he understood how offenses work.

Usually there are trades back into the first, but I don’t have any this year because I don’t see anybody available that jumps out to trade for. I’d bet that if NE doesn’t move up, they move back out of 31, but I don’t have all day to write these, man.

Some popular names that I left out of the first round:

Malik Jefferson (Texas ILB): As mentioned above, I just don’t think he’s very good. Great timed athlete but doesn’t show it on the field. Looks sluggish and does not work through blockers well. I think he’ll be mediocre at best.

Donte Jackson (LSU CB): I do not get it with this guy. Always see him mocked into the first but he just doesn’t cover well. He’s like 170 lbs as well. That would be fine if he could do anything more than run fast in a line, but I don’t think he can.

Christian Kirk (TAMU WR): Gimmick piece WR that makes Percy Harvin looked refined. He might be successful in the NFL but I don’t see a team spending a first rounder on a guy who has to move around pre-snap and run fake screens every other play to get him open. He rarely just lines up and runs an actual route.

Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame OT): Covered him a few times but I have no idea how he’s the general consensus top OT. Seems like a Riley Reiff situation where he’s going to “fall”.

Jaire Alexander (Louisville CB): No reason I dropped him, just haven’t watched all that much and didn’t have a spot where he jumped out as the probably pick. He’ll probably go in the first in reality.

Da’Ron Payne (Alabama DT): I just don’t like Alabama DL, I guess. Monster DL but they all look great at Alabama. Hell, even Jonathan Allen fell to 18 last draft. Payne though with his Combine performance is almost certain to go in the first round, and the more I think about it I doubt he’d get past Jacksonville if he fell that far.

Billy Price (OSU Guard): I don’t have time to watch all these guards and centers and stuff, man. Come on now.

Hayden Hurst (SCAR TE): It was funnier to mock Gesicki to the Dolphins even though Hurst is the consensus top TE. But he’s also going to be a 25 year old rookie. Who drafts a 25 year old tight end in the first round?

Rashaan Evans (Alabama ILB): Actually he would probably be in the mix for Philadelphia or Pittsburgh if it fell this way but I don’t love him and can see him falling into the 2nd round. This is already a lot of ILBs to be drafted this high and Evans has medical concerns and also performance concerns.

Carlton Davis (Auburn CB): I literally have no idea who this guy is and don’t feel like finding out right now.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

BUSINESS HORSE'S 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT

It's that time of year again! Time to waste a few hours of my time and 5-10 minutes of yours. 

I probably don't need to state this, but I will anyway: all of these mock selections are foolproof and are guaranteed to actually happen. Bet heavily on them if you are given the opportunity. 

Let's get this fake show on the metaphorical road.


1. Cleveland Browns - MYLES GARRETT, EDGE, TEXAS A&M

With the first pick, the Browns select Myles Garrett from Texas Ass-to-Mouth.

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The Browns shouldn't overthink this...Garrett is one of the best prospects I've ever seen, and he plays a position arguably 2nd to QB in the modern NFL hierarchy. I don't think this is hyperbole. Since 2000 or so, there have only been a few guys in this top class for most people. I pick 2000 since I was like, 13 in 1997 and I wasn't dialing up to Netscape and streaming Shawn Springs games through my RealPlayer. Though that was the Orlando Pace year and he is my gold standard for college OT tape, but I digress. 2000 is even a stretch since I've only paid significant attention since like, 2010 but whatever. Here's who I put in that class:

• Reggie Bush (may sound funny now, but people accused the Texans of purposefully blowing a game to draft him and people really believed this when Kris Brown shanked that field goal)

• Calvin Johnson 

• Andrew Luck

• Khalil Mack

That's it. I put Garrett in that class. (Tangent: A lot of people had Robert Gallery at that level - he was the ultimate "safe can't-fail" guy, IMO - and he's proof that there's no such thing and why I'd never say that about anybody, even Garrett).

Reggie Bush was like a new Barry Sanders in college, and most people thought he'd just dominate the NFL as well. Didn't happen. Calvin Johnson was the ultimate freak athlete wide receiver, with the tape making one hand diving catches behind his back from whoever the hell their QB was to back it up. Matt Millen was a national joke for his WR fetish and even he could not pass on Megatron. No QB has come into the NFL as clearly "franchise ready" as Luck since Peyton Manning, and Luck was a 4.75 40-yard type of athlete on top of it. And Khalil Mack was just an absolute unstoppable animal.

Clowney was not that level of guy, IMO. Neither was Sammy Watkins or Julio Jones or Jalen Ramsey or Larry Fitz. But Garrett is, I think. Usually a top edge rusher's profile will say that this guy is great but he's either a little undersized, he's not the fastest guy, he doesn't have elite bend or flexibility, or he struggles to win with technique. I liked Clowney a lot, but I loved Khalil Mack and thought the Texans should take him #1. Garrett is bigger, faster, and a better rusher technically. He might have the best bend in this class, even though he's like 7'2" and 430 pounds. The cons you are forced to say about Garrett are things like "well there were some plays here where he didn't dominate everybody" and "well I mean he could be a little better setting the edge against the run". You have to stretch. I will be stunned beyond belief if Trubisky goes #1 over Garrett. 

TRADE!

49ers trade the 2nd pick to Jacksonville for the 4th pick, a 3rd rounder this year and let's say a 2nd next year

2. Jacksonville Jaguars - LEONARD FOURNETTE, RB, LSU


That class I mentioned above? I have Fournette in it, too. And I can't seem to make the 49ers pick anybody else with it. Not Jonathan Allen, not Solomon Thomas, not the guy I have them picking at 4 who is the guy I want them to pick here. So it works out. 

The way I worked the Texans getting Mack into my mock that year was to have them trade with Jax, who would take Clowney, and then they would take Mack at 3. Because Jacksonville, in addition to running a 4-3, had been blowing draft picks on shitty pass rushers for years. It had become a thing there and just as important to their identity as those "piss meets shit" helmets that look like someone taught a first time Photoshop user how to use the gradient fill layer in a how-to class.

It didn't work out that way, but I'm not gonna stop going to the Jags well. The Jags are kind of in the same spot they were on the DL at running back, trotting out Toby Gerhardt and TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory and Michigan QBs in a futile attempt to replace MJD. Why not give up a few picks to jump up and grab a guy who is the best RB prospect since AP in a lot of people's minds, and arguably (well, I'd argue it) even better? Fournette isn't the best all-around RB, that's Dalvin Cook, or maybe Christian McCaffery, or maybe even Joe Mixon. But it's not like he can't catch, they just didn't really utilize him like that at LSU. And more importantly, the #1 with a bullet job of a running back is to, well, take the fuckin' ball and run with it. Yeah, David Johnson and LeVeon Bell get their cocks gobbled because they can take screen passes, jump over a guy and spin around and run 30 yards and shit like that but that wouldn't happen if they weren't also phenomenal at just plain running the ball. There are a boatload of RBs in the past half decade or so that could have spent the night before a game in Lamar Odom's opium den and still been more of a 'complete' RB than Adrian Peterson. But which one of them are you taking over 2012 prime AP? Probably none of them. So why do so many people knock Fournette because you can't motion him into the slot? Who cares?

This guy came to LSU with a Peter North sized load of hype, and he lived up to it almost immediately. He looks like the biggest and fastest guy on the field, at a D-1 school in the SEC. This isn't normal. Guys aren't supposed to go up against Tennessee and have film that looks like a high school phenom. Fournette's does in some cases - it looks like one of those "watch Dez Bryant dominate in high school!" type of videos. I can't think of another player that as ever made me think that. And he was pretty much the LSU offense...I think they have a lineman that might go late and then Malachi Dupre might get drafted in the 4th or something. Teams knew Fournette was the LSU offense and unless slowed by injury or by an Alabama team that has more NFL caliber players than Jacksonville, it didn't matter. This is an absolutely ridiculous draft. It's this draft and 2014 in some order, and then I don't even know who's third. Don't say 2011 - that draft wasn't considered all that great at the time.

3. Chicago Bears - JONATHAN ALLEN, DT/DE, ALABAMA

Alabama guys can be difficult to judge because of their team's borderline NFL rosters, but Allen certainly looks like he's one of the guys that created that environment and not one that just benefitted from it. I think he'll fit great as a 3-4 DE.

This would have been a slam dunk pick a few months ago, because Allen looks like a bigger version of Aaron Donald on tape. Then he went to the Combine and performed more like Aaron Carter. However, I think his tape is too good and Chicago's defense is too bad to go elsewhere with this pick. Maybe they'll take Trubisky - the signing of alien life form Mike Glennon will have no impact on that if they really want to take a QB - but I'm just gonna guess that they continue to add talent to that defense. And really, that's the only side of the ball that's ever seemed to work in Chicago. You can no joke make a decent argument that Smokin' Jay Cutler is the best QB they've had in the Super Bowl era, which is hilarious. Even more hilarious is the top 2 QBs all-time in Chicago in passer rating, minimum 200 attempts: 1. Josh McCown and 2. Brian Hoyer. McCown is still cashing Alshon Jeffery's checks. Hold on a second.

3. Chicago Bears - MITCH TRUBISKY, QB, UNC

That's just too hilarious to not have the Bears taking a shot at a franchise QB in the draft with every decent chance they get. How has this team not drafted QBs every single fuckin' year until they found one? JAY CUTLER AND JIM MCMAHON ARE YOUR BEST QBS SINCE 1950! This guy's gotta be better than Goff, right? All this talk about "oh it's such a shitty year for QBs" a year after the Rams traded hella picks for Jared motherfuckin' Goff? 

I haven't really watched Trubisky but it seems clear he's the top ranked guy and he's at least a legitimate top 10 draft pick...I mean, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker are top 10 draft picks so Trubisky certainly seems like he'd be - do the Bears really pass that up to take a guy who performed in the 10th percentile in most of his Combine drills? I don't think they do after thinking about it for a bit. Look, teams are trying to win first and foremost but they also have fans to please and entertain and excite. Chicago fans are all rah rah defense and whatnot but at some point, I mean, you gotta do better than Jay Cutler as QB of your all-time team. Here are the first round QBs for the Bears since 1970 in order of draft pick:

1. Jim McMahon, 5th overall in 1982
2. CADE MC-GOD-DAMN-NOWN, 11th overall in 1999

Pause to appreciate that this team drafted Cade McNown at 11th overall. 

3. Rex Grossman, 22nd overall in 2003
4. Jim Harbaugh, 26th overall in 1987 (don't argue for him at #1 Bears QB, he sucked there)
5. NOBODY

That's it. The Bears, a team that has never had a legitimate top 10 NFL QB, has taken 4 QBs in the first round since 1970, with the 2nd highest being CADE MCNOWN. He lasted 2 years in the NFL. Even Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell managed to stick around for three. He's underrated in all-time QB busts due to his draft slot but damn, McNown was the Gio Carmazzi of first round QBs. 

So my point is that maybe they should try drafting some QBs. So why not try here? Allen is still on the board.



4. San Francisco 49ers - MALIK HOOKER, FS, OHIO STATE

I seem to have Malik Hooker higher than most people, but he's just ridiculous when the ball is in the air. I've never seen a prospect this good as a centerfield safety, and he's played like 2 years. He's Ed Reed. I don't care if he's getting surgery, this guy is ridiculous and you see how a safety like Earl Thomas makes a defense go.

Only question about him is he run defense - for all the ability he has to run across the field against a vertical route and get the pick, he seems to be a bit hesitant when backs reach the 2nd level. He's just out there throwing shoulders at people much of the time, and this keeps him from also being in that Myles Garrett/Fournette class. If you want a safety that can do that, you'd want Jamal Adams. But Hooker is so damn good against the pass, and that seems to be the most important role of a free safety these days especially, that I think he'll end up being the first safety off the board. He will let you do so much with your coverage schemes by really minimizing that fear of getting beat deep. He's a complete game changer and I think those guys generally go before jack-of-all-trades types like Adams.



5. Tennessee Titans - MARSHON LATTIMORE, CB, OHIO STATE

Tennessee has improved a great deal in the past few years, particular on offense. They don't need OL. They could use a big time WR but I don't think this is the year they would do that, as most of the talent resides on defense. They could certainly use secondary help, though, and so I'll give them Lattimore over a guy like Allen, even though 3-4 teams can always use guys like Allen. Hard to pass on Allen - because often when you need secondary help you really need pass rush help - but there are top notch corners in this draft too because this draft is absolutely ridiculous and why wouldn't there be.

Lattimore is a true eraser of a cornerback. He's big, tall, fast and fluid. Those traits do not often come together. Humphrey out of Alabama is as well, but Lattimore is jusssst a bit faster and quicker and played a ton of press man to Humphrey's zone/off-man and I think he ends up going first among them. These guys get $10+ million contracts in free agency - hell, look at Dre Kirkpatrick and even a guy the Titans let move on in Alterraun Verner - so they are tough to pass up when they come on rookie deals with a 5th year option. I don't think Tennessee passes in this case. And neither will the opposition hahaahahaah get it? Whatever. Go fuck yourself.


6. New York Jets - JONATHAN ALLEN, DT/DE, ALABAMA

Allen has tremendous film but a bad Combine, but then again, so did Terrell Suggs. Already went over him earlier so I'll just slot him to a team that is never afraid to take too many defensive linemen and a team that probably wants to pull out of the Sheldon Richardson experience. Former Jet Antonio Cromartie can advise them of the dangers of pulling out too late. 


7. San Diego Los Angeles Chargers - JAMAL ADAMS, FS/SS, LSU

Jamal Adams is a free safety, but with exceptions for guys like Malik Hooker, I'm usually a "two safeties" guy as opposed to someone who insists on free and strong. I don't know what the Chargers like to run but if they run any Cover 2, it's nice to have two guys who can cover and play the run. Hell, Eric Weddle is a prime example of what I'll call a "box free safety" and he had plenty of success in San Diego. Unfortunately, like most of San Diego's good players in the past decade since AJ Smtih went through menopause and destroyed one of the best rosters we've seen in the 2000s, he gone. So is Jahleel Addae. And Marcus Gilchrist. If they let Jason Verrett walk then I'm convinced that the AJ Smith's ghost has moved with the Chargers to LA. I just remembered now that they are in LA now and will play this year on, like, a high school practice field. 

Anyway, Jamal Adams can pretty much do it all and he can fit into anyone's defense. I'd rather have a Malik Hooker or Kam Chancellor type who is absolutely elite in a particular area, but there aren't many guys like that and it being a box safety who can cover just damn near won Landon Collins DPOY. I didn't like Collins coming out of 'Bama because I didn't think he was that great in coverage but I was wrong on that. I was wrong on that and what he became is what I think Jamal Adams is as a prospect, if that makes sense. Then again, maybe that's the kiss of death, because I hated Joey Bosa as a top 5 pick and he turned out to be historically great as a rookie. Can't win 'em all.


8. Carolina Panthers - SOLOMON THOMAS, DE, STANFORD


I was really tempted to put Humphrey here, because the Panthers really bungled their corner spot last year and spent a lot of draft capital and effort trying to patch up those holes, but in the end, this seems to be a team that goes front 7 on defense and lets the rest of the chips fall as they may. Thomas is getting hyped as a possible first DL off the board this year, and while I don't see teams moving Jonathan Allen that far down over his Combine performance, he's still an elite pass rushing prospect with a particularly explosive sack reel, particularly for a 4-3 team driven by beast DL like Carolina. St. Louis/LA Rams fell off with decline in their DL, but the NY Giants were able to remain truly competitive for years by keeping that 4-3 DL flush with talent. Carolina seems to have the same blueprint. 


9. Cincinnati Bengals - MIKE WILLIAMS, WR, CLEMSON

I'm tempted to slot Humphrey here, as no team seems to be as driven by corners as Cincinnati, but they've drafted so many of them recently and have William Jackson III coming back after an injury redshirt year and there seems to be a lot of corner depth this year. You can't say the same about the WR class, however, and Cincinnti saw a huge decline after letting their #2 and #3 WRs walk and slotting Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd across from AJ Green. I think that they draft Williams (or Corey Davis) in an attempt to get back to the 2015 version that was a truly dominant unit. Andy Dalton looked like an actual top-5 QB that year until he broke his thumb on a tackle attempt after daltoning a really bad dalton late in the year. And then AJ McCarron came in and looked like a legit NFL starter. Putting one of these beast WRs across from Green and letting Boyd play in the slot while getting Tyler Eifert back might go a long ways toward turning back the clock for a team that watched their window begin to rapidly shut. 


10. Buffalo Bills - MARLON HUMPHREY, CB, ALABAMA

I mean, why not replace Stephon Gilmore with a Stephon Gilmore type? Strongly considered OJ Howard here but Buffalo is a team that also seems to place a lot of emphasis on the corner spot and in the secondary as a whole, and there aren't that many guys that look and move like Humphrey walking the planet. Though half of them seem to be in the draft this year. I can't say enough how stacked this draft class is, particularly defensively. There are years that don't have a single corner with these kinds of measureables and this year we've got like 4. 


11. New Orleans Saints - JOHN ROSS, WR, WASHINGTON

This may be a head-scratcher, but why not replace Brandin Cooks with someone who is even more electric? Ross isn't just a Combine creation - this guy was killing people all year. He broke both of Adoree' Jackson's ankles, his pelvis and fractured his soul with a double move. The Saints have been drafting WRs high forever because they like to throw 1200 times a year and Ross is a rare bird. He's Corey Coleman again but even faster. The Saints need to draft a ton of defense, but they have New England's first rounder and there's a lot more depth on that side of the ball so I can really see them making a move like this and then drafting defense the rest of the way. The goal is to draft talent first and plug holes second. I have been high on Ross for awhile and I think that anytime you can draft a game-breaker type of player, you should really consider taking that guy even if he doesn't feel a huge need.


12. Cleveland Browns - PAT MAHOMES, QB, TEXAS TECH

The Browns are like the bizarro Bears in that they have had a history of shitty QBs but in contrast to Chicago, they have drafted them high for millions of years with little to nothing to show for it. Also, both teams can probably say that Brian Hoyer is in their top 3 all-time. 

I think it's pretty clear that the Browns would take Carson Wentz if they could do it all over again, but this isn't Hot Tub Time Machine and they can't. You can ask Mark Chmura if you don't believe me. Since they haven't been able to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo (yet), I think they go for talent and ceiling over floor and take Mahomes at 12.

I love Mahomes as a prospect. He comes from one of those 'gimmick' Big 12 offenses but before Mahomes, there was Aaron Rodgers coming from a similarly gimmicky offense. Oh, those QBs can't succeed in the NFL! Look at Kyle Boller! Well, Aaron Rodgers can throw dimes off his back foot across his body 40 yards downfield while running to his right, so it really didn't matter that he took a lot of shotgun snaps or whatever it was with Tedford. Mahomes is the same way. Nobody else except maybe Russell Wilson can throw like this. Mahomes' arm is ridiculous, and he's accurate as hell, and his deep ball is amazing, and he's a pretty decent athlete, and why are we focusing so much on how he took a snap? Imagine if Mahomes had less talent but had the same issues he has now, taking primarily shotgun snaps, having inconsistent footwork, making limited reads...and pretend that his name is Jared Goff. What's the difference? Why are we talking down Mahomes so much on the negatives while completely ignoring all the unbelievable talent that he has and the actual throws he's put on tape? Is Texas Tech that toxic? Just because Kliff fuckin' Kingsbury didn't make it, nobody from that school can? I think Mahomes will be a star and the best QB in this class and I don't see him dropping anywhere near the 2nd round in this draft. Even in the deepest drafts, teams could not help but reaching for Blake Bortleses. This guy actually has real elite QB talent, so I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't even make it to pick 12.


13. Arizona Cardinals - REUBEN FOSTER, ILB, ALABAMA

Reuben Foster big-timed a staff member at the Combine and was sent home. Yet I am not banishing him to the 7th round as punishment. Why? Ignoring that it wasn't really the biggest of issues, the main reason is that he's really fuckin' good at football. This guy is all over the field destroying people. Teams like ILBs that are all over the field destroying people. Vontaze Burfict is a literal insane person who has done like actual human sacrifices on the field and he's so good at football that the Bengals pay him a lot of money in spite of that. Foster has one incident, and it's really not all that bad. He could probably get caught snorting coke out of a dead hooker's wilting bush and he'd still go in the 2nd round. 

I really wanted to put OJ Howard here but the Cardinals love to take defensive players and Foster is a really, really good one. He's kinda like Jaylon Smith but with functional nerve endings.



14. Philadelphia Eagles - DEREK BARNETT, DE, TENNESSEE

I really haven't even started throwing out edge guys yet, and in retrospect I'm probably wrong to wait this long. Teams love edge guys. Teams draft edge guys like Justin Blackmon drafts Miller Genuine Drafts. Barnett is a tape over measurables kinda guy, but his tape is damn impressive and he really knows how to turn into the QB once he gets into the tackle - a ton of college guys just run right up the arc, but Barnett bends well and crashes the pocket very consistently. He's like Myles Garrett without the elite speed and explosiveness. In a scheme that made Brandon Graham into a star, why not Barnett? 


15. Indianapolis - OJ HOWARD, TE, ALABAMA

I just can't keep dropping OJ Howard. He's too good. He's the best TE prospect I've ever seen - complete TEs are so rare these days and you don't see guys that are as explosive as Howard also showing an ability to do regular tight end stuff, like block people. The Colts like Jack Doyle but they've seem to have used two tight ends for awhile now, and I don't think that alone would keep them from drafting OJ Howard. The only reason a guy like Howard would fall this far is the continued neglect of the tight end position, but a true stud like Gronkowski can make offenses nearly impossible to defend. I know Indy needs defense defense and more defense, and offensive line of course but there's really no studs this year that would merit a selection over the large pool of BPA type players, but I'm that high on Howard and I think he'd be tough to pass on.


16. Baltimore Ravens - MALIK MCDOWELL

It's the Ravens. There are a lot of pass rushers available. I think the Ravens take a pass rusher because that's what the Ravens do. 

Malik McDowell is a bit of a polarizing prospect - a lot of people hate him and think he'll drop into the 2nd and he does appear to be a bit of a headcase. His interviews are just...there's just a weird vibe he gives off. It's kind of reminiscent of Nkemdiche. And both were destroying OL in their tapes. But McDowell can finish, and Nkemdiche couldn't. I've read that McDowell can disappear, and I obviously haven't watched that much tape, but I didn't really see that. He was consistently throwing guards around and facing double teams and blowing up plays. He looks like he can be an incredible prototype of a 3-4 DE. Could be a risky pick but I have a hard time seeing the Ravens passing that up unless they really like Corey Davis or if maybe OJ Howard falls. I'm gonna give them a guy like McDowell over say a Haason Reddick.


17. Washington Redskins - CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY, RB, USC

Everything says that the Redskins need an ILB, and everyone is mocking Zach Cunningham here. I'm not a huge fan of Zach Cunningham, so I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm gonna give them a running back, because outside of one year of pre-injury Bob Griffin and Alfred Morris and one big game from Robert Kelley, they've had a collection of stiffs at the position since the Clinton Portis era ended. After Dalvin Cook's poor Combine, I'll slot McCaffrey here instead. If McCaffrey goes in the first round, he'll be the first white halfback to be drafted there since John Cappelletti in 1974. But this guy isn't John Riggins. McCaffrey is electric. Boogie woogie woogie.


18. Tennessee Titans - COREY DAVIS, WR, W. MICHIGAN

Tennessee eventually gets their WR, in an attempt to have one guy who is capable of averaging more than 10 yards per reception. I haven't watched much on Davis, but he appears to be pretty damn good, so here Titans, have a receiver. 


19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CHARLES HARRIS, DE, MISSOURI

The Bucs have been trying to find competent defensive linemen for what seems like 10 years, and I don't think they are done just because Noah Spence looks pretty good. Harris looks explosive as hell on tape coming off the edge, but he didn't time well at all at the Combine and people are dropping him into the second round. I don't think he'll fall that far. This may be early but I don't really feel like giving the Bucs an RB here or Melinfonwu or another corner or Zay Jones - and I think Harris is probably the best fit for them. If Malik McDowell were still on my board I'd probably slot him here. When the hell did Missouri start recruiting all the pass rushers?


Denver Broncos - CAM ROBINSON, OT, ALABAMA

Finally, someone takes an offensive lineman. Watching Ty Sambrailo last year trying to block Justin Houston was like watching Freddy Mercury's immune system trying to block Ebola. It was awful. Someone has to give Trevor Siemian enough time to be mediocre, and I think Robinson can help. He's kind of a plodder but he's stout and he's got some good tape. Showing well against Myles Garrett certainly doesn't hurt his stock.

A year with all of these great edge rushers, and so few competent tackles. No wonder they all look so great on the Youtubes.


21. Detroit Lions - HAASON REDDICK, LB, TEMPLE

This is kind of a weird choice, because Reddick seems like a better fit for a 3-4 team, but Detroit needs help everywhere in the front seven. Reddick can play outside and inside linebacker, hell, maybe he can play 4-3 end. He's an absolute freak who jumped far and ran fast, and was expected to run even faster. If the Vikings can work with Anthony Barr, I think the Lions can work with Reddick. 


22. Miami Dolphins - ADOREE JACKSON, CB, USC

Jackson is more well-known than he probably would be otherwise due to his return abilities and his moonlighting as a WR. But he can play well at corner primarily, and Miami needs people that can do that. If this draft weren't full of ridiculous players and particularly corners, he'd probably be a much higher pick. I'm always tempted to mock pass rushers to Miami but the guys left this year seem more 3-4 than 4-3 to me. 


23. New York Giants - DALVIN COOK, RB, FSU

I know Dalvin Cook had a poor Combine, but I can't let him continue to fall like this. The Giants were thrown into the AP sweepstakes - though I guess sweepstakes is a bad word - but why not just take a guy like Cook if he falls to you? This dude can do just about everything and I watched him destroy Michigan live a few months ago in Turnpike Stadium, so I'm putting that over the timed metrics. He can run in any system, he finds holes, he has great vision and runs to daylight and all those cliches, and they can split him out wide and throw him 60 yard go routes. This will be the latest addition to put the Giants over the edge and make them an unstoppable juggernaut, according to Giants fans.


TRADE - NY Jets trade 2nd round pick and 3rd round pick and a 2nd rounder in 2018 and also some bullshit pick in 2018, like 9th rounder or something, and maybe a punter or whatever

24. NY Jets - DESHONE KIZER, QB, NOTRE DAME

This is probably stupid, but how can the Jets keep never having a QB? There's always trades and so I have to throw a few in here. Why this spot? Well, it's close enough to the 2nd round that it may not require a king's ransom, it's a deep draft, and nobody left screams to be the Raiders pick right here. So I can see it. Also, if you want a QB, you probably need to jump ahead of the idiot Texans, who continue to waste one of the league's better defenses with QBs they bought at TJ Maxx. Why is Brian Hoyer the best QB of the past 5 years for like, 3 NFL teams? 

Anyway, I haven't watched much at all of Kizer. I don't know if I like him or not. I do know that I read in multiple places that he has the best skillset of all these QBs, so I'll throw this trade in there just for the sake of having one. QBs are QBs and I don't care how uninspiring this year's choices are or how stacked the rest of the draft is - even in another stacked year, Johnny Manziel got the Browns to trade back into the first and take him just by texting the Browns. I think Kizer has a shot to be this year's Paxton Lynch.


25. Houston Texans - DAVIS WEBB, QB, CAL

Can the Texans continue passing up on QBs? If Derek Carr were anything else - Derek Smith, Derek Jefferson, Derek Andthedominoes - the Texans probably would have taken him a few years ago and been a legit Super Bowl contender. But they didn't, and then they experienced a full year of Brock Osweiler, and now I think they take another of this year's toolsy QBs that people just don't like for some reason. I was gonna put Watson here, even though I am a bit scared off by Watson's consistent inaccuracy and misses to wide open WRs - sometimes he looks like Marcus Mariota with vertigo - that I'm gonna put Davis Webb here instead.

I know NOTHING about Davis Webb. I just read that he's "rising up draft boards" and he's "gonna be a first rounder" and "could be the best QB in the this draft" (couldn't anyone?), and so I'm gonna blindly say this is the pick where people go "who?". Someone please come into Houston and start throwing the ball to DeAndre Hopkins pleeeeeaaassseeee


26. Seattle Seahawks - RYAN RAMCYZK, OT, WISCONSIN

Another guy I know nothing about, but Seattle's line is such hot garbage that it probably started the Centralia mine fire. So draft some linemen. 


27. Kansas City Chiefs - OBI MELINFONWU, FS/SS, UCONN

Kansas City needs some secondary help, and Obi Melinfonwu is secondary help. He's not just a Combine wonder, the guy has some tape where he is just striding across the entire field in like 4 steps. And it worked for Byron Jones, so why not? Melinfonwu is not Kam Chancellor in that he's not going to come up and pop you, though he is fine coming up and stopping the run - I just expected more violence in his hits. But that's not the main job description. Melinfonwu reminds me of George Iloka, a big, tall strider that can probably play corner, too. I really would try him out at corner, and I think he could be ridiculous there. 6'4" burner that can move laterally? That's just rare as hell...except for this year, of course. I haven't even figured out where to slot Kevin King yet.


28. Dallas Cowboys - GAREON CONLEY, CB, OHIO STATE

Dallas could use a pass rusher, but they could arguably use a corner more and I think Conley is a better prospect than is available in the 2nd tier of the edge class. Conley is another athletic phenom (so many guys this year have wide athletic webs) who can move both straight forward and side to side. In fact, he might be the second most fluid corner in this class behind Tre White. I can't put Takk McKinley here with Conley still on the board...and does Dallas even have any corners left at this point?



29. Green Bay Packers - KEVIN KING, CB, WASHINGTON

Another damn corner? All I heard last year was "man, Green Bay's corners suck!", so I guess I'll give them one. Kevin King's athletic web is INSANE. Wtf? He makes some of the other guys look pedestrian. This motherfucker is 6'3", 200+ lbs, runs a 4.4, has 95TH PERCENTILE AGILITY NUMBERS, he just can't bench press. If he could bench press then he might legitimately have the best athletic web of any corner in this history of dudes in borderline gay shorts running in circles around cones. This is Richard Sherman after a summer training with David Boston and Mark McGwire. 

And he can play, too. Now he can play in Green Bay. Hope he likes Big Lots.

Actually Green Bay is a pretty cool town with some bad-ass breweries. But he's an athlete so he probably shouldn't drink too many nitro porters.


30. Pittsburgh Steelers - JORDAN WILLIS, OLB, KANSAS ST

This was tough. If I could think of a trade-down scenario for Pittsburgh, I'd put it here. I'd give them any of the corners just taken, Melinfonwu, OJ Howard...I'm considering David Njoku but I just don't see it...Budda Baker as well but I just don't see it....Zay Jones but I just don't see it....I think they end up taking the edge guy in this case and I guess it will be Willis. It might be Carl Lawson, it might be Takk McKinley, it might be TJ Watt, but for some reason I see Willis' metrics and his production and think he might be the guy here. 

I don't love this pick or really even like it. But I gotta put somebody here so Willis it is.


31. Atlanta Falcons - DAVID NJOKU, TE, MIAMI

This is a tough one as well. I don't see a DL that jumps at me as the pick here. It seems like the Falcons have been trying to find a TE forever, though, so I'll slot Njoku here. He's not OJ Howard but the potential to be OJ Howard is there, and I think it's going to get him into the first round.


32. New Orleans Saints - BUDDA BAKER, FS/SS, WASHINGTON

Not sure how much sense this makes, but New Orleans needs help everywhere on defense and I just wanted to put Baker into the first round. He does so many Troy Polamalu-esque things that I don't think he's going to be a late 2nd or 3rd rounder like I often see him mocked. So he can go down to New Orleans, drink a couple hurricanes, piss on some painted lady in the street, jerk off next to a police horse, check out some 48 year old Iowa housewife's floppy tits and then go and blow up some stretch runs on Sundays. 

Guess that's it. Didn't put the three guys I don't really like (Cunningham, Taco Charlton and Jabrill Peppers) in the first. Couldn't put Watson in the first with his lowlight reel of misfired passes. I would have legit "first round grades" on Zay Jones, Takk McKinley, Tim Williams, Carl Lawson, probably Jarrad Davis, Joe Mixon (yeah yeah), Jourdan Lewis, perhaps Raekwon McMillan (probably alone in that one but I think he's better than Reggie Ragland), and probably some others. It's a ridiculous draft year, and Ryan Grigson isn't around to pick the bust out of this group. 

There's also a guy named Fish Smithson.