Friday, January 04, 2008

NFL Draft Mocking, Part 1

The regular season is done. 20 of the 32 teams are done (well, 21, once my Seahawks break my heart in a poetic fashion on Saturday.) Most people are likely breaking down the weekend's playoff matchups to see who has the edge, who has more heart, who has the better bedroom skills, to determine which team will ultimately earn the right to get crushed by the Patroits.

But not me. I'm devoting my time to one thing and one thing only: mock drafting.

I have a sick, sick obsession with mock drafts. Every year I tell myself, "self, this is dumb. Who the fuck knows what GMs are going to pick months in advance?" But every year, I get sucked back into the guessing game. It's a force as unstoppable as Eli Manning's Citizen Eco-Drive.

The NFL draft's recent explosion in popularity has certainly been interesting, if a bit stupefying, to witness. Not more than 6-7 years ago, the draft was an afterthought, something you catch up on in the next days' newspaper, discuss your favorite team's picks for a few minutes, then forget it and wait for training camp. Nowadays, it is an all-weekend extravaganza, web sites are popping up that gauge the senior classes years in advance, and the NFL Combine is now a televised event. There has even been talk of moving the first round to a prime-time slot to attract more viewers. Is it oversaturation? Probably. Personally I don't get the entertainment value of watching a bunch of guys run drills while TV analysts sit around, trying not to look bored. If I wanted that I'd just watch 2004 Olympics reruns.

But I digress. I still find it fun to play GM, to bring out my inner Mel Kiper, so here Part 1 of my mock, picks 1-10. A quick note: the 3-5 picks will be determined by a complicated series of coin flips. So I flipped a coin several times, and the result was such: Oakland 3rd, Atlanta 4th, Kansas City 5th. On to the picks:

1. Miami Dolphins: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
Bill Parcells could go in several directions here: he could take Jake Long, Chris Long, Darren McFadden, or he could trade the pick altogether. Assuming none of that happens, Dorsey is the obvious pick. He will bring instant credibility to an otherwise atrocious defense, and will also lower the median age by about 7 years.

2. St. Louis Rams: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
I normally get annoyed when people excuse bad seasons by saying, "we had a lot of injuries." Everyone has injuries, but what separates the good teams from the great ones is good enough depth to overcome those injuries. However, when you lose Marc Bulger, Stephen Jackson, Orlando Pace and half your O-line to injuries, that is probably understandable. Pace is nearing the end of the line, and Long is the perfect pick here to eventually replace him.

3. Oakland Raiders: Chris Long, DE/LB, Virginia
Al Davis is a crazy old bastard who hires guys like Art Shell because of sentimental reasons. What makes you think he won't take Howie Long's son for this same purpose? Of course, Chris is a pretty good player, so it won't be a totally bad pick.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas
I'll let you make your own Ron Mexico/Bobby Petrino joke here. It's obvious the Falcons need a QB, but Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm and Andre Woodson are reaches at #4. So they will settle for what is perhaps the best player in this draft, what with Warrick Dunn aging and Jerious Norwood not #1 back material.

5. Kansas City Chiefs: Sam Baker, OT, USC
Why did Larry Johnson disappear? Why didn't Brodie Croyle show as much promise as hoped? Simple. The O-line blows.

6. New York Jets: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
The Jets would love for Chris Long or McFadden to slip here, but if they don't then Ellis is a fine option to anchor the D-line.

7. New England Patriots (from San Francisco): Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
When you go 16-0, you obviously don't have many holes on the roster. But one area of concern is the secondary, where Asante Samuel is due to become a free agent. James Laurinaitis is a strong possibility here, but the Pats hate drafting linebackers.

8. Baltimore Ravens: Andre Woodson, QB, Kentucky
And the first QB comes off the board. People love Matt Ryan and his "NFL ready" skills, whatever that means, but Woodson has much more upside, as I believe that Ryan and Brian Brohm have already hit their ceiling. Consider Woodson/Ryan to be this year's Young/Leinart.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: James Laurinaitas, MLB, Ohio Stats
The law of averages says that at least one of the Bengals' first-round picks on defense will pan out someday.

10. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
Don't blame Reggie Bush or Sean Payton for the Saints' regression this year. Blame a secondary that has been so godawful it redefines the meaning of "godawful."

I will post picks 11-20 soon.

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Blogger Whisk E. Bear said...

I'll have to disagree with your assessment of Jerious Norwood, who is 6.2 yards per rush in his brief NFL career. He'll start in the backfield next year along with whichever QB emerges from the Combine. The Raiders will draft McFadden to pair with Russell. Too bad for them that Robert Gallery blows.

Fri Jan 04, 04:38:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lord Benne said...

I wouldn't say I dismissed Norwood outright. He is a fine player, albeit in a complementary role. He'll play the Felix Jones part if ATL takes McFadden.

Justin Fargas ran for 1,000 yards. The Raiders defense took a major step backwards. Thus my logic that they may pass on McFadden.

Fri Jan 04, 04:48:00 PM EST  
Blogger Craig said...

I'll go with Tyler on this - Raiders take McFadden (probably the biggest name in the draft) and the Falcons reach for Matt Ryan, who becomes Joey Harrington.

Fri Jan 04, 04:59:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lord Benne said...

"Falcons reach for Matt Ryan, who becomes Joey Harrington."

I will laugh when that happens. If anyone is going to reach for a QB it should be Woodson. But like I said, enough people are going to slob Ryan's knob for being "NFL ready" and a "natural leader" that he will get taken higher than he deserves. Ditto for Brohm.

Fri Jan 04, 05:03:00 PM EST  
Blogger David Bowie said...

Wow, a real football post. I know a certain Indianan (sic?) who is going to be very happy.

Fri Jan 04, 05:18:00 PM EST  
Blogger Lord Benne said...

Yeah, I always considered myself one of the bigger football junkies around here and SD. When the season wraps up, I plan on discussing college basketball; that should tie me over until spring training starts.

Fri Jan 04, 05:32:00 PM EST  
Blogger Sycophantman said...

Have they come up with a satisfactory way to measure 'heart' yet? Until so, this is only so much speculation.

Tue Jan 08, 09:38:00 AM EST  

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