Sunday, April 19, 2009

Feeling the Draft '09: Getting Mocky With It

Should that have been "wit it"? I dunno, I'm lame.

Anyway, here's a look, totally separate from any reportage or inside information, as usual--at how the first round might break down. I'll make sure to give the Chefs a long snapper at #3 and the Raiders Ken Stabler at #7.

Not really. But don't think I didn't want to. I must behave, because this whole exercise is nothing if not dead serious business.

#1, Detroit Lions -- Jason Smith, T, Baylor

The rumor is, obviously, that Detroit is going to take the Cutlerian figure known as Matt Stafford first. They might well do so. They have not agreed to a contract with the kid in advance, though, which could complicate matters. In any case, in a draft with no clear-cut No. 1 pick, go with a potentially great pro like Smith.

#2 St. Louis Rams -- Andre Smith, T, Alabama

That's right, I'm taking a chance on manboobs early. Smith had all the momentum in the world for the No. 1 pick overall, right up until the end of the college season. He didn't play versus Utah--and I've read people who say that if he had, Paul Kruger likely would have destroyed him with his quickness--and then he just fell, fell, fell. But the guy is still enormous, quick for being so enormous and a fit for a deprived St. Louis team. (By the by, isn't it interesting that the Rams, a two-win squad last year, were so eager to let one of their best-ever players, Orlando Pace, walk in free agency to the Bears? Cutler is going to be hit this year like he hasn't since Vandy.)

#3 Kansas City Chiefs -- B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

I dunno why more mock drafts don't have the Chefs taking the supposed best nose tackle prospect. Isn't Pioli supposedly a devotee of the New England System of Intelligent Drafting (patent pending)? Didn't the Patriots build those great teams by emphasizing defensive line (Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork) in the first round? Who cares if he blazed a few down prior to the Combine--if that's even true, which we don't know yet--if he can collapse two blockers as the centerpiece of a rebuilt 3-4?

#4 Seattle Seahawks -- Eugene Monroe, T, Virginia

Virginia has had a run of first-round talent on the offensive line in recent years, with D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Branden Albert hearing their names in called early, and that continues with the Ferguson-esque Monroe. I absolutely loved Ferguson when he came out and he's been a solid and totally uninteresting pro, so what the fuck do I know? But this Monroe kid could be a great replacement for the once-great-but-now-rapidly-aging Walter Jones.

#5 Cleveland Browns -- Matt Sanchez, QB, USC

They took Brady the Quinn in the first scant few years ago, but that's what a new regime will do (read: Broncos, Denver). Quinn is likely to be dealt, maybe even to the Mile High city's favorite team, heaven forfend, leaving Sanchez the heir apparent to Derek Anderson. A coup shouldn't take lone. (Why, by the way, is Sanchez skating by on the character issue considering the sexual assault charge he had as a freshman? Rey Maualuga is getting killed from every direction, but the experts just looooove Sanchez.)

#6 Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Some folks think Crabtree is the single best player available, but he does have a foot injury, comes from Mike Leach's wacky passing orgy and is rumored to be an egotistical, posse-heavy headcase. That won't bother Mike Brown even a little bit. Plus, Cincy needs to replace both Hooshyermama and the soon-to-be-departed Ocheta y Cinco.

#7 Oakland Raiders -- Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

I admit, I have no originality. If a mock drafter doesn't have the raiduhs taking Darrius Heyward-Bey, they have 'em taking Maclin. He seems like a nice kid, which would be incidental to Al Davis, but he's definitely got the elite speed and production. Sadly, the Raiders seem to be on the upswing.

#8 Jacksonville Jaguars -- Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

Curry, another potential #1, falls past a bunch of teams that would have been well-served by his attacking nature and impeccable off-field character and ends up in north Florida. The Jaguars find the perfect replacement for Mike Peterson without having to do a thing.

#9 Green Bay Packers -- Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee

Why not? Tyson Jackson would be the popular pick here in this particular imaginary scenario, but Ayers has found a lot of traction following his senior season and subsequent all-star game performances. If the Packers' coaches think they can transform him into a 3-4 end, he certainly has the physical skills to make it.

#10 San Francisco 49ers -- Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

The Niners can't believe their luck. They were supposedly players in the Cutler game and came out with nada, and they end up with his virtual clone a full nine slots later than he was expected to go. Unbelievable, say fans and detractors alike--but don't put a crown on his ass yet. Stafford is as big a gamble in some regards as Josh Freeman, another strong-armed passer who wouldn't be ranked as highly as he is in a better year for QBs. What, exactly, did he prove at Georgia? He's not the best pressure player. Who cares if he can throw it through a fire door if he hits the hinges instead of the knob?

#11 Buffalo Bills -- Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State

The Bills need help in the defensive secondary, they have a recent history drafting Buckeyes (Donte Whitner, Ashton Youboty, Nate Clements) and this guy will likely be solid citizen, which will come as a relief to Bills' fans tired of shenanigans.

#12 Denver Broncos -- Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

This simply makes too much sense. The kid is a 300-pound end, for God's sake, and might as well have been ordered out of the 3-4 Five Technique mail catalogue. He also played well at a big-time program and feels strongly about his chosen profession, which can't be discounted these days. The Broncos' first pick simply has to be defense--has to--and this is a good place to start with no chance at Raji.

#13 Washington Redskins -- Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

Almost unbelievably, Orakpo falls down to Washington. While in some other universe--one more attuned to reality, perhaps--Orakpo is gone by this spot, potentially to Denver the pick before, in this candy-colored version he falls, making a certain short, spendcrazy owner extremely happy. O-sack-po is just the tonic Washington's aging D-line needs.

#14 New Orleans Saints -- Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi

Jerry is a mature, confident player with great quickness and would be a fantastic fit on this team's defense I can't snipe at this one at all; alongside Sedrick Ellis, Jerry could be a Pro Bowler for years to come and, barring injury or unexplainable freakout, the Saints could be set on the interior of their defensive line. He's no 3-4 prospect, which is the only reason that Denver and Green Bay passed earlier.

#15 Houston Texans -- Evander "Ziggy" Hood, DT, Missouri

An extraordinarily bried "run" on defensive tackles is on, with Houston reaching way up high, high, higher than his draftable grade for Hood, whose quickness would seem to mesh well with their 4-3 scheme but whose overall power seems to be in question. In any case, Ziggy is a great nickname.

#16 San Diego Chargers -- Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State

Wells fits the Chargers' tendency to draft talent regardless of its ancillary components; he's clearly a stud when healthy, but that's not often. There also seem to be whispers about his overall competitiveness. If he's physically and mentally right, this pick could be pure genius, which would only make Bronco fans more tetchy than we already are. This team can't live with Sproles as the lead tailback, that's not their style, they need a bruiser--Michael Turner, in other words, who they lost previously to the Atlanta Falcons.

#17 New York Jets -- Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State

Freeman, for whatever reason, seems to be rating really well in the opinions of certain teams, and the speculation is that the Jets are one of those. Who knows, of course, how true that is--but a squad set to go into the season with Brett Ratliff and Kellen Clemens as its' two number one starters could probably use some competition at the spot. Thing is, we fans in Big 12 country saw a fair amount of Freeman the last few seasons, and while I can't speak for anyone else...WTF? How is this kid rating so highly, beyond his pure physical attributes (6'6", 240 lbs)? He couldn't even beat CU, and boy, that hasn't been tough in about 6 years.

#18 Denver Broncos -- Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

Yes, I know this is a popular opinion following a certain newspaper's recent communication of such interest. Yes, I know that I have been in favor of the Broncos drafting Rey Maualuga for nearly two full years and yes, yes, seriously, I get it, running back is hardly the team's biggest need. But I keep thinking how dangerous this offense could be with a ferocious number one like Moreno who can also catch passes and block, and that as much as I like Peyton Hillis, there still isn't real true lead back and...and well, that's how you talk yourself into a place like this.

#19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Everette Brown, DE, Florida State

Brown is widely predicted to go higher in the draft than this, but circumstances happen. The Bucs might have wanted Freeman, they might have wanted Wells or Moreno, but they get a pretty good pass rusher from just down the road instead. Here's to the kid proving the Florida State defensive end curse wrong.

#20 -- Detroit Lions -- Rey Maualuga, LB, USC

This one pains. I've been wishing, hoping, praying to my Atheist God, whatever, that Rey-Rey would become a Denver Bronco. I just don't see him going earlier, so the Lions make up for last year's terrible 2nd round pick of Jordon Dizon--I mean, wow--with potentially the best defender in this whole shebangzoombop. I just made that word up to honor Rey.

#21 Philadelphia Eagles -- Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest

I love this pick. The Eagles need to get younger in the secondary and Smith is a ballhawking interception machine with the short-area explosion to make a difference. Was that last sentence cliched enough? If not, I can re-write.

#22 Minnesota Vikings -- Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State

This is just the kind of maddeningly odd pick that Vikes fans would expect from the Childress regime; not that it's not a position of need, but still. A tight end,mostly recognized for his blocking, in the first round? Pettigrew is one of those late risers, though, and could theoretically (realistically?) go even higher than this--or much later in the second round. But a pair of short throwers like Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels need help in the short and intermediate game, so here they go.

#23 New England Patriots -- Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut

This mock draft is, if nothing else, unpredictable. Belichick is supposed to have attended one of Butler's workouts personally, but maybe that's because they were located just down the street. Butler is a superfast, tackling-averse corner with the ability to hang all over an opposing receiver. Yes, USC linebackers Clay Matthews Jr. or Brian Cushing would make more sense, but we're not about making sense, here.

#24 Atlanta Falcons -- James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State

This kid has been killed everywhere recently, but he fits what the Falcons want to do with their 4-3. Everyone knows that his dad was Animal in the Road Warriors, but just in case you didn't: his dad was Animal in the Road Warriors. Hopefully for the many, many folks on the many, many Peachtree streets in Atlanta, some of that scripted violence transfers over.

#25 Miami Dolphins -- Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State

Maybin is another guy who was expected to go earlier, but drops. He's probably the quickest defensive lineman in this draft with excellent potential as an outside linebacker in the 3-4, so it makes sense that the Dolphins would want him as an eventual replacement for Joey Porter.

#26 Baltimore Ravens -- Brian Cushing, LB, USC

In the real world, Cushing would never fall this far. In imaginary mock draft candy canes-and-whiskey-for-breakfast world, he falls to a team that always seems to find the best defensive player available at their slot. That happens again.

#27 Indianapolis Colts -- Alex Magee, DT, Purdue

The first true reach of the round, Magee fits perfectly with what the Colts like to do--attack, attack, attack. He might not have, as the scouts say, sand in his pants, but he fills a need and fits the system.

#28 Buffalo Bills -- Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers

Sure, they signed T.O., but that dude is old as the meadows and breezes, so they get the closest thing to him in this draft in the big and agile Britt.

#29 New York Giants -- Percy Harvin, WR/RB, Florida

Thwarted by their fellow Empire State squad's previous pick, the Giants take the immensely talented but potentially nuclear Harvin, who not only has drug test problems but a history of conflict wherever he's been. He's also the most elusive and versatile offensive player in this draft.

#30 Tennessee Titans -- Clay Matthews Jr., LB, USC

Ex-Trojan Jeff Fisher can't resist adding a guy like Matthews, who improved over the course of his college career from a walk-on to a starter, and whose uncle was one of the best players, if not the best player, in Titans/Oilers history.

#31 Arizona Cardinals -- Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut

The underrated Brown will be a fine compliment to the up-and-coming Tim Hightower and help Arizona kiss goodbye to the do-everything talents of Edgerrin James.

#32 Pittsburgh Steelers -- Alex Mack, C, California

Another pick that everyone else is making, but in this case, it's the right one. Mack is a tough, strong player with the natural ability and competitiveness to be the next great Steeler center, in the tradition of Mike Webster and Dermontii Dawson.


bankmeister said...

Holy. Christ. I can't believe you just hammered out the entire first round. On a Sunday.

That post was nothing shy of incredible but at least it was really long.


1) Why, pray tell, does everyone think the Chiefs are taking Curry? I just don't see it. Trouble with that vision, though, is that I'm a moron.

2) We all know you still have a 3/4 chub for D'Brick in orange and blue.

3) Why does everyone think the Donks take Sanchez?

4) Why do many feel that Crabtree is the best pick of the whole lot?

5) Maclin in the top 10? Really? Again. Moron. Me, that is.

6) Raiders? Upswing? I'll bash this Pabst bottle and challenge you to an Inigo Montoya duel if you ever utter such profanity again.

7) Freeman. You said it. Why is he rating so high, and why are you caving to the pressure of picking him as going in the first? Is ESPN looking to replace "The Hair" with "The Cecil"?

8) If your name is Knowshon, you pay no cover charges. Ever. Anywhere.

9) I can dig on some "shebangzoombop." Still don't get the atheism, though.

10) Road Warriors=Pascual Perez.

11) You are obsessed with liquor-for-breakfast-oriented motifs.

Sweet Jesus. The players in this mock draft is who we thought they was.

) Karl Mecklenberg is the greatest long-snapper I ever saw.

Cecil said...

Ok. Let's get to it by number:

1. Because Curry is seen as probably the safest player in the draft, i.e. a guy with a high ceiling, yes, but a high floor as well--he's almost certainly going to develop into a good, maybe great, pro. At least that's the thinking.

Although I don't personally think the Chefs would, because he's not, as you clearly seem to agree, seen as a good 3-4 linebacker.

2. No longer. I have since applied a liberal coating of Oil of Clad-ay.

3. Because people like groupthink and easy answers.

4. You must have seen a few Texas Tech games living where you do, yes? The guy is a stud. He may not be as fast as the NFL wants, he may have a foot injury--which in turn may make all of this moot--he may be a prima donna, but he can play some ball. And this draft is low on guys like him, potential offensive superstars with the college production to back up the hype.

5. Yes. Maclin in the Top 10. I know you ain't no Missurah fan, Kansas boy, but Maclin's game--speed, size and production in a big conference--gets NFL draft people all twitchy in the drawers.

6. Look, I didn't want to write that any more than you wanted to read it. And it isn't like they are ticketed for a Super Bowl or anything. But right now, they've got--gag--better talent on defense than either one of our teams and are potentially a playmaker or two away from being a more than competent offense.

7. I ain't cavin', Draven. But it's gonna happen. It's a bad year for passers and he's got the tools. He can throw it forever, he's huge, he can run...he's just not very good at playing quarterback. But some team (coff coff Tampa Bay coff Jets coff hack) will take him anyway.

8. Not in Denver, he won't. We made TD a fucking 5-story mural in downtown for four years. Knowshon gets off the plane with a free turkey bag and a year's worth of private dances at the Opera.

9. Once you're out of the cabin, you can look in at the warm fire all you want. But you can never go back inside.

10. Pascual Perez was one of the Road Warriors? Whoa.

11. Because I like groupthink and easy answers.

Hey, at least I gave your boys someone that everyone and their pet goat hasn't already assigned them. Although Peter King sayeth that Pioli probably wants to trade down...not that it matters, because no one will want to trade up.