It seems the Super Bowl just ended and we still find more than enough to talk about when it comes to football. One of the hot topics of the past few months has been the upcoming NFL draft and the teams that potential prospects would be best on. I personally have only been doing draft analysis for a short time but have always found it interesting for as long as I have followed football to try and assess team needs and what players I thought fit where. I have always thought draft analysis is pretty biased and limited in many ways, I mean how can one person possibly predict what teams were going to do in the draft? The answer truly is they can’t, so it’s hard to take any one persons opinion seriously with so many conflicting viewpoints.
While browsing the football news on twitter as I frequently do, I came across a few people talking about an electronic based draft forum where each individual is a GM for their prospective team. I thought this was an excellent idea, I finally found a draft site that gave a broad perspective of the draft instead of a biased one sided view. I visited the website and while reading saw there was a spot to sign up and thought why not, I probably won’t be selected but it’s worth a shot. Unfortunately I was not selected but I followed along in fascination and watched some very respectable names in the draft community make picks in Mockone.net’s draft. I will say although a lot of the picks didn’t make complete sense to me, by reading the individuals comments I was able to get a better idea of where they were coming from. Overall I would say it was a tremendous success and really enjoyed as an observer.
Driving to work the next week I really didn’t think much of it until I checked my email and saw I had an email from the Mock One Commissioner. What could that be about? Much to my surprise another mock draft (Mock Two) was being held and I was selected as the Chargers GM. Now before I start getting jokes thrown my way I am not a Chargers fan but follow them closely because I live in San Diego and they actually have some pretty interesting needs that this year’s draft can provide help with. So with that I jumped on my computer and really dug into my research, as most of you know I really only cover and study potential Fantasy Football impact players so I had a lot to catch up on and less than 24 hours to get it done. My initial assessment of the Chargers was that they really needed some extra support for Phillip Rivers due to the recent departure of Darren Sproles and Vincent Jackson, but found that was the least of their concerns with the acquisition of Denario Alexander and a quickly recovering Vincent Brown. So with the skill players out I decided to fully embrace the Charger’s new GM Tom Telesco’s philosophy of building around their current players as he stated at this year’s combine. I immediately looked at the offense and see that the offensive line is struggling to say the least and on defense there are some key positions that needed to be fixed right away. My final draft board had my needs set at OT/OG/TE/RB and S/CB/ILB/DE. Going into the First Round I had my sites set on Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson who had an exceptional combine performance and who I was pretty sure I could get with my first pick drafting in the 11 spot as I was really trying to avoid trading up. Round One started off with…
1.02 Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Ezekial Ansah Brigham Young
1.04 Philadelphia Eagles: OT Lane Johnson Oklahoma
Pretty reasonable and expected picks with the first three and then bam!!! The Eagles make a huge reach and draft Lane Johnson at 1.04. This caused quite the eruption on twitter demanding justification for such an off the wall pick. Personally I wasn’t concerned with whether it was a good pick or not but more that my guy who was supposed to fall to 1.11 was now off the board, time to start rethinking this. In retro spec going back to it I really can’t blame the Eagle’s GM for that pick as Lane Johnson really is the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft and fits well into what we can only assume will be a modified Chip Kelly offense. So now we are now we are all anxiously awaiting the Lion’s pick at 1.05, at this point my two top OTs were Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher.
1.05 Detroit Lions: OT Luke Joeckel Texas A&M
There it is now it’s full panic mode as we have now gone back to back offensive tackles. I immediately reached out to the Brown’s GM knowing that they were without a 2nd round pick this year (Josh Gordon in 2012) I thought I had a shot at getting a fair deal to trade up to draft who I thought was by far the best OT left on the board. We went back and forth and finally the demands became so high that I let it go apparently there were several other GMs making offers for the 6th pick. I had now come to the conclusion that they were either after my OT Fisher or after highly sought after DE Dion Jordan. I just had to wait and pray, if Fisher goes my draft strategy must change.
It turns out the Brown’s GM valued Jordan too much and wasn’t worth giving him up even after several strong trade offers, I personally think it was the right move. So Fisher is still there right? Not so fast Arizona is picking at 1.07 and with Geno Smith off the board Arizona would only be right to draft such a great OT prospect to add to their porous offensive line of 2012. So I got with the Cardinal’s GM and surprisingly was able to work out what I thought was a great deal. I get 1.07 and 6.08 for my 1.11 and 3.07. The deal was done and I made my pick.
1.07 San Diego Chargers: OT Eric Fisher Central Michigan
1.10 Tennessee Titans: OG Chance Warmack Alabama
1.12 Miami Dolphins: DE Bjoern Werner Florida State
1.20 Chicago Bears: OG Jonathan Cooper North Carolina
1.24 Indianapolis Colts: DT Jesse Williams Alabama
The remainder of round 1 was fairly solid with a few exceptions; QB Matt Barkley going to the Bills at 1.08, Miami trading several early round picks to attack hard for WR Cordarrelle Patterson and Atlanta taking WR Kennan Allen. That last one really had everyone shaking their heads as Wide Receiver was not an obvious need for the Falcons. The rest of my picks are explained below by round and feel I did well drafting the necessary positions first and then drafting value skill players towards the end. All in all I would give myself a B- and if I could change anything it would have been to wait to see who fell to me in the first round rather than panicking and trading up for Fisher.
2.15 Matt Elam, S Florida: I was targeting Safety Jonathan Cyprien for this pick but he went in the first round. I had a couple of trade offers but none that were interesting enough. I decided to stick to my draft plan and pass on several talented tight ends so I went with Elam. The secondary needs immediate help and Matt Elam is an outstanding prospect and vocal leader.
4.13 Kiko Alonso, ILB Oregon: I was torn between Kiko Alonso and Nico Johnson of Alabama and although I think Nico is the better athlete I think Kiko was the better leader and prospect that was ready to step right in. Chargers need an inside presence to replace Takeo Spikes, like what I saw from Alonso. He reminds me a lot of SDSU’s Miles Burris. Great value in round 4.
5.12 Mark Harrison, WR Rutgers: A friend of mine who’s draft opinion I really respect had mentioned that Harrison was on the board, a big possession WR with surprisingly good speed (4.46) and top performer in both the broad and vertical jump. Great insurance for Denario Alexander who has durability issues. Rivers needs more weapons, time to start getting them.
6.08 Landry Jones, QB Oklahoma: San Diego really needs to start developing a backup QB for Rivers. Although Jones was not my first choice, Glennon, Dyzert and Scott were all taken. He is more than capable to fill the needed role.
6.11 Zac Stacy, RB from Vanderbilt: Ryan Mathews lack of durability is the biggest reason San Diego needs to start developing a young Running Back. Most impressive and complete Running Back left on the board was Zac Stacy. I could have gone with Ray Graham but poor combine and fumbling issues were too big of a concern.
7.15 Earl Watford, OG James Madison: I wanted to take a OG earlier but couldn’t pass on the talent I ranked ahead of them. Surprisingly, one of my favorites fell to me in the middle of the 7th.
*You can see a full summary of picks by round and by each GM with comments at Mockone.net and I would personally like to thank the creator Brandon Nall and his support group for making such a complicated Mock NFL Draft look so easy with all of their hard work behind the scenes. Looking forward to Mock Three where I will be the Saint’s GM, my true NFL team.