Aussie Mark Dickenson's Mock Draft|
This is a good Draft to be humble. Any previous success predicting who's going to do what, or when someone is going somewhere, is irrelevant now. This is the Draft from the Twilight Zone.
The program starts simply enough, with a familiarly frightening San Diego opening their mansion gates for a familiarly dazed and awestruck quarterback who needs to make a quick phone call. But then, a strange and menacing voice (maybe Rod Serling, maybe Chris Berman) fills the room and the recognisable world disappears behind the fantastical, impossible and ridiculous. Who? Where? Why? How? Your guess is as good as Dan Pompei's (and probably better).
All we really know for sure is that there's a *lot* of players who seem to be really, really, really okay. Clearly, some will be good one day, and some will not, but no-one knows who will be what so everyone just wants to draft lots and lots of them. As last year was the Year of Staying Put, this looks like being the Year of Running Around Like A Headless Chook.
In that spirit, a Mock Draft that wants to be meaningful must factor in player value just as much as team need. For instance, the draft's top two Running Backs have to be included in a top ten, even if we all know that the current top ten teams won't draft them. Some teams want in! Alternatively, some teams will soon start offering their 7th Round picks in order to move *out* of the top ten (paging Mr St Louis, a Mr Arizona on the line for you).
So without further ado about nothing, I present the first appearance of the first version of the first annual Mock Duck Draft, with just a little Seahawk seasoning on the side. All power to Miguel, King of the Draft, and Becky, Queen of the Seahawks.
Round One Pick | Position | Player | Current Team at this pick | (Likely Tradees)
01 QB Michael Vick Chargers (maybe Falcons, just kidding) No debate, consensus no.1 pick. Such a lock he's not worth discussing.
02 DT Gerard Warren Cardinals (cough, cough, splutter ... anyone) There's debate whether DE Justin Smith is an option at this pick, but, well, no. If the Packers slide in they just might go for WR David Terrell here, as Ron Wolf's salutory Thank You to Brett Favre. Overall, though, Warren is the draft's No.2 guy.
03 RB LaDainian Tomlinson Browns I'm 99% sure the Browns will stay here and take their pick of the top two RBs, LaDainian Tomlinson and Deuce McAllister, and the top two WRs, David Terrell and Koren Robinson. Both receivers provide minor worries, and the Browns have no serious RBs, so they go for Tomlinson. The draft's only other Young Gods, OT Leonard Davis and DE Smith, don't really address the Browns' needs (so of course they'll probably select one of them, instead).
04 OT Leonard Davis Bengals Now that Jerry Wunsch has proved the 'Todd Steussie Rule' true (ie. no free agent offensive lineman will *ever* sign with the Bengals), drafting Davis is the only way Jon Kitna will survive the upcoming season. Do it, Bengals, forget your other needs, save Jon Kitna!
05 DE Justin Smith Falcons (maybe Packers) Unless they trade up, the Falcons are at everyone's mercy. Vick would be their top choice, then Warren, then Davis, and probably even Tomlinson. Fortunately for them, they don't lose because there's still Terrell, Robinson and Smith available. Will there be great WRs available for them in Round 2? Yes. Will there be a premier all-round champion DE? No. And if the Falcons trade places, I believe every team in the NFL would choose the same way.
06 RB Deuce McAllister Patriots (maybe 49ers, Packers, Panthers, Chiefs) Deuce had an impressive visit to New England, and the Patriots need a blue-chip half-back. He is quite simply the man for this pick. And though it seems quite bizarre to mock the top two RBs higher than the top two WRs, there's a steep drop-off from McAllister to the next few RBs. On the other hand, the top two WRs are now being considered a Top Three (Mel-K has included Rod Gardner), and the next four are Round 1 locks anyway.
07 WR David Terrell Seahawks (maybe Packers, Panthers, Rams, Texans, Hitmen) My recent thinking had Terrell and Robinson gone by this pick, but I just can't see any of the previous six players still available at this point. If Smith or (amazingly) Warren are still available, sure, we take one of them. If either of the RBs are still on the board, I guarantee that Mike will trade down with Carolina; they want a RB, Mike wants a third-rounder. Ditto with San Francisco or Jacksonville if Davis is still around. But they'll all be gone, and the only question will be 'Terrell or Robinson?'. Personally, I don't think Mike wants to make this choice, but I reckon Ron Wolf does, so that's another trade scenario. And if Terrell has actually gone in the first six picks, it means that one of the previous six players is available. Refer to the previous few lines for likely outcomes to that situation. So do I actually believe the Seahawks will pick Terrell here? No. If the Seahawks somehow get stuck with this crazy, middle-of-nowhere pick and only WRs to choose from, I expect Mike will just reach for best of the five best defensive players still available.
08 DE Andre Carter Bears (maybe Bills, Panthers, Rams) And talking about the five best defensive players still available ... all signs point to the Bears going defensive early. If the draft has gone as above, the best defensive players available will be LB Dan Morgan, DTs Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud, and DEs Andre Carter and Jamal Reynolds. All grade out relatively even, so the Bears can pick a favourite, which I think will be Carter. They also have an interest in a running back, so Tomlinson or McAllister definitely won't slip past this pick. That interest might also result in a trade for the Bill's Antowain Smith, though. At this position, the Bills will probably go D-Line too, or maybe reach for OT Kenyatta Walker.
09 OT Kenyatta Walker 49ers (maybe Packers, Chiefs, Jaguars, Bills, not the Rams) Koren Robinson just doesn't fit here, so he keeps doing a Randy Moss. The 49ers might've liked Tomlinson or McAllister, and maybe even Carter, but no luck for them. LB Morgan and DE Reynolds will tempt, but someone's gonna reach for Kenyatta Walker sooner or later. The 49ers would like that someone to be *anyone else*, and it probably will be.
10 WR Koren Robinson Packers (any of the previous nine teams) Assuming they don't trade up, the Pack have a good chance of getting lucky at No.10. The question still lingers, though: why exactly were Green Bay interested in trading up to this position? If it's for a WR, will they trade back down if Terrell and Robinson are gone? Or reach for Gardner? Maybe a shot at the best defensive prospects will be satisfactory ... somehow I doubt it. And if the Cardinals are here, they still get to choose from three or four excellent defensive players if they want.
11 ILB Dan Morgan Panthers (any of the previous ten teams, maybe not 49ers) Let's just say that Carolina somehow find themselves still at this pick (virtually impossible, but hey). A vast number of draftniks have Carolina, and Kansas City too, looking at QB Drew Brees and RB Michael Bennett. Personally, I doubt *either* of these players will be taken anywhere in the first round. If Shaun Alexander could slip to No.18 last year, then Bennett slips to Round 2. And look at how Pennington was shunned last year. For either Brees or Bennett to go in Round 1, a team would have to be 100% secretly-in-love-with-them. And who can predict that?!!? The only players actually worth this selection are Dan Morgan or the top DTs. And the depth of DTs, and the dearth of LBs, makes Morgan the truly precious commodity.
12 DT Marcus Stroud Chiefs (Rams, lower teams) For all the reasons I gave above, Stroud is the next logical pick. Exciting surprise choice here might be a wacky reach for a Cornerback (like Denver did for Deltha O'Neal last year). Mel Kiper actually predicts CB Nate Clements here, so who knows? And remember, Kiper was the only reputable draftnik to put Sebastian Janikowski in Round 1 of his Mock Draft ... you gotta respect a man with that kind of imagination! Also, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise if Kansas City give Santana Moss the respect he deserves ... in a fair or sensible world he'd be off the board by now.
13 G Steve Hutchinson Jaguars They might've liked Walker here, but they're not going to complain about Hutchy. Guards don't often go this high, but he's very very good, the best 'in-the-trenches' player on the board. I doubt they'll hesitate for a moment.
14 DE Jamal Reynolds Bills If the Bills are still here, they'll consider a WR (like everyone else) but go for the replacement for Marcellus Wiley. Yes, I know they took Erik Flowers last year. Just maybe they'll take a CB, but Reynolds is a better prospect than any CB available.
15 DT Richard Seymour Redskins Certain pundits put Santana Moss here, but others note that Moss just isn't a Schottenheimer kinda guy. Seymour is. Rod Gardner probably is, too, but Kevin Lockett has already arrived to help. And while there are plenty of DTs available later, Seymour is the last of the ahhh-that-feels-good front seven players.
16 CB Fred Smoot Steelers D-Line is a big need for the Steelers, but Seymour was the last of the rock-solid draftees. So does Cowher take the 1st-ranked CB, 3rd best WR, or reach for the 7th best D-Lineman? He's gotta go CB! It's impossible to seriously grade the CBs, so I can't guarantee that Cowher likes Smoot the best. He just grades the highest.
17 DT Damione Lewis Seahawks Santana Moss and Rod Gardner are far superior to any other players available, and unless Seattle took Terrell or Robinson at No.7, they will draft one of these guys here. But in this particular reality (hopefully soon to be superceded), the Seahawks have to go defense now. A CB would be a reasonable pick, but a Safety at pick 40 looks mighty likely, and two DBs from their top three picks is mighty unlikely. Damione Lewis would be a reach, but he's fast and would complement Eaton and Randle.
18 CB Nate Clements Lions CB is needed. So's a TE, but I'm not sure if the Lions will be that fancy.
19 WR Santana Moss Jets At last. And the crowd will go wild, too.
20 WR Rod Gardner Rams Too good to ignore, especially if Damione Lewis has already gone. (note: regardless of team or order, I believe these will be the top twenty players drafted)
21 OT Jeff Backus Buccaneers Hey, it's what everyone else says, and I can't find a flaw in their logic. Even though the Bucs have re-signed Jerry Wunsch, there's not really a defensive front seven player worth this pick.
22 CB Jamar Fletcher Colts Next CB off the rank for a team that needs one.
23 WR Freddie Mitchell Saints Freddie Mitchell, Chad Johnson, Chris Chambers, Reggie Wayne, whichever they want. All four will be drafted within the next ten picks, so it doesn't matter which one. Randy Mueller, we miss you, best of luck.
24 TE Todd Heap Broncos You read it here, the Broncos continue their Spy-vs-Spy drafting routine by snapping up the best TE available. Just to irritate everyone else. Mission accomplished.
25 WR Chris Chambers Eagles Or whoever. Whatever. Whichever WR they feel like.
26 WR Chad Johnson Dolphins Ditto on the previous pick, but by Quincy Morgan, Ken-Yon Rambo and Robert Ferguson all fit into the mix. Also a chance that Brees will slip in here. Quite possible, poor fellow.
27 CB Willie Middlebrooks Vikings Best available here.
28 QB Drew Brees Raiders I know I said that he wasn't likely to get drafted in Round 1, but the Raiders are like the Broncos, always doing the wacky. They just don't care!!
29 DT Casey Hampton Rams Even though they've re-signed Ray Agnew, they need this depth.
30 CB Will Allen Giants An eventual replacement for Dave Thomas.
31 RB LaMont Jordan Ravens The Ravens are interested in O-Line and LB help, and a solid back-up running back. How wonderful to imagine that they might go after the RB, and so thoroughly upset San Diego who are destined to choose him with the next pick
* Forget the Safety nonsense. If Deon Grant slipped last year, all of this year's Safeties will slip too. No way is a team going to spend a 1st round pick on Derrick Gibson or Adam Archeluta when there's still respectable CBs on the board.
* Forget the Linebacker nonsense. Sure, the Jets went stupid last year and drafted John Abraham, clearly a second-tier LB, at No.13. But guess what, he's just been converted to a DE. Julian Peterson was a reach at No.16 and Rob Morris reasonable at No.28, but both these guys had been actually been ranked even higher. Linebackers slide down, and this year there's no linebackers after Dan Morgan averaging better than 39th best player available.
* Having said that though, Round 2 will be Safety and Linebacker heaven.
Roll the credits, a happy ending after all.