The smell of spring is in the air, the sun dances to the indecisive tune of Should I Stay or Should I Go and the NFL draft is just around the corner. That can mean only one thing—mock drafts—lots and lots of mock drafts.
Wake up to your alarm mock, pour a bowl of Mocky Charms and look around. Here a mock, there a mock, everywhere a mock.
They're our coping mechanism—some sort of replacement until the real thing arrives. Like my dad who, subject to a strict diet, fulfills his cravings by sniffing s'mores-scented candles. ("If you can't eat it, smell it," is not a bad motto to live by.)
I've made a few mocks (one of which you are about to read), so have you, and I'm pretty sure my neighbor's dog tweeted his just the other day (you can follow him @ChaseKatz).
Bleacher Report recently undertook its first ever community draft—a full seven-round simulation with each team represented by a Featured Columnist. I, being a draftaholic and mock addict, jumped all over the opportunity and landed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Fellow writer Caleb Abner offered his services, and the work commenced. We identified team needs, created a "big board" and drafted accordingly.
And I must say, in the most humble way, we are very pleased with the results.
Round 1: CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
Really a no-brainer here (insert joke about Claiborne's low Wonderlic score).
The Buccaneers recently signed Eric Wright but are not done improving the secondary. Claiborne is a shutdown corner and starter in Week 1.
Round 2: LB Mychal Kendricks, California
Linebacker sits atop our list of team needs heading into the draft, and Kendricks provides an instant upgrade. He has impressed throughout the pre-draft process and has the on-field production to back it up.
The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year totaled 106 tackles with 14.5 for a loss, two fumble recoveries and one pick-six in 2011.
Round 3: LB Bobby Wagner, Utah State
Wagner, a fringe—first-round talent, falling this far was far too tempting. The linebacking corps is now complete (and quite dangerous) with the addition. He's a tackling machine with great football instincts and the versatility to play both inside and outside.
The defense is shaping up to be a force, now time to focus on the offense...
Round 5: Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State
A change-of-pace back to complement LeGarrette Blount, Hillman has breakaway speed and wreaks havoc in the open field. He's also a reliable receiver out of the backfield and ideal for key third-down situations.
Round 6: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State
Like stealing candy from a baby—an extra large piece of candy. Adcock is 6'6" and 325 pounds, yet surprisingly, quick off the snap. He can (and has) played every spot on the line, though he's more suited for right tackle and should develop into a solid starter in the league.
Not too shabby for a sixth-round pick.
Round 7: B.J. Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga
We were equally stunned and delighted to see Coleman, considered a fourth-round prospect by many, drop here, so there was little hesitation to pull the trigger. He has prototypical size (6'3", 233 pounds), superb arm strength and the athleticism to make plays outside the pocket.
Plus, is anyone really that confident in Dan Orlovsky's abilities should something happen to starting quarterback Josh Freeman? Knock on wood.
We stuck to the plan but were prepared to call audibles along the way. Let us know what you think!