Maurice Jones-Drew (the NFL's reigning rushing king) has seen his pre-draft stock drop to the tail end of Round 1, due to a contract squabble with Jaguars management.
To break up the monotony of training camp, I executed three simultaneous mock drafts on Tuesday afternoon (12 teams/standard scoring), holding the No. 10 pick each time.
Adding to the degree of difficulty, I answered a slew of reader tweets during the blitz and watched NFL Network's re-airing of Texans and Panthers from last weekend.
(Still awaiting an explanation for Carolina's I Want To Paint It Black end zone.)
Here are my results from all three mocks. For those attempting this exercise at home, expect an avalanche of under-the-gun choices after Round 2, with only 45 seconds between each selection:
Draft No. 1—RB Chris Johnson, Titans
Draft No. 2—RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
Draft No. 3—RB Matt Forte, Bears
There's really no mystery to drafting at the 10-spot. Simply let the player with the greatest value fall into your lap. For what it's worth, Maurice Jones-Drew went 12th, 10th and 11th in the three drafts.
Draft No. 1—RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
Draft No. 2—RB Matt Forte, Bears
Draft No. 3—RB Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
Marshawn Lynch (11 straight games with at least one TD last year) was available at No. 15 in all three drafts. This conveys the apprehension fantasy owners might have about a player who could be suspended for a game or two in September (depending on how his recent DUI arrest is classified in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement). Personally, I have no qualms about grabbing Lynch at this slot.
Draft No. 1—RB Fred Jackson, Bills
Draft No. 2—RB Fred Jackson, Bills
Draft No. 3—RB Fred Jackson, Bills
Fred Jackson, a top-10 tailback on my standard-scoring and PPR boards, was the AFC's leading rusher at the time of his season-ending injury (leg), a setback that helped perpetuate the Bills' late slide in 2011. F-Jax averaged 137.6 total yards per game, a figure that was eerily similar to Ravens wunderkind Ray Rice.
Draft No. 1—RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
Draft No. 2—RB Frank Gore, 49ers
Draft No. 3—RB Frank Gore, 49ers
It wasn't my intention to go RB-RB-RB-RB in all three drafts. But to belabor the point one more time, I only care about getting value, value, value with every single pick.
Draft No. 1—WR Percy Harvin, Vikings
Draft No. 2—WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Draft No. 3—WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
Percy Harvin (87 catches, 967 yards, 6 TD, 120 targets) also rushed the ball 52 times for 345 yards and two touchdowns last season, accounting for 1,312 total yards and eight TDs. Progressing one step further, Harvin averaged seven catches, 79.1 yards, 0.75 TDs and 9.63 targets in his last eight games. That elite-level finish prompted this lofty draft standing.
Draft No. 1—WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
Draft No. 2—WR Steve Johnson, Bills
Draft No. 3—QB Eli Manning, Giants
Eli Manning is a solid bet for 4,600 passing yards and 27 touchdowns in a normal season. Subsequently, he represents stellar value at No. 63 overall.
Draft No. 1—RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
Draft No. 2—WR Kenny Britt, Titans
Draft No. 3—WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
C.J. Spiller, who racked up 405 total yards and four touchdowns (per-game average of 135 yards/1.33 TDs) in Weeks 15-17 last year, was a no-brainer handcuff with Fred Jackson. Ideally, I would love the pair to combine for 200 yards per game by season's end.
Draft No. 1—WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
Draft No. 2—QB Matt Schaub, Texans
Draft No. 3—RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
Draft No. 1—WR Nate Washington, Titans
Draft No. 2—WR Nate Washington, Titans
Draft No. 3—WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Darrius Heyward-Bey collected seven or more targets in 10 of his 14 games last year, including 17 in the finale against the Chargers. (Darrius had nine catches for 130 yards and one TD on that day.) He also crossed the PPR-elite threshold of six catches, 100 yards and/or one TD six times, or roughly 43 percent of his games.
One more thing: DHB boasted separate four-game streaks of at least 70 yards (Weeks 4-7/Weeks 13-16).
Draft No. 1—QB Carson Palmer, Raiders
Draft No. 2—WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Draft No. 3—QB Carson Palmer, Raiders
Carson Palmer averaged 293 yards passing in his nine starts with Oakland last year, a figure befitting of a top-notch backup QB.
Draft No. 1—TE Dustin Keller, Jets
Draft No. 2—WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
Draft No. 3—WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
Draft No. 1—TE Brent Celek, Eagles
Draft No. 2—TE Dustin Keller, Jets
Draft No. 3—TE Brent Celek, Eagles
From Weeks 6-17 last year, Brent Celek posted top-10 numbers amongst tight ends—53 catches, 78 targets, 738 yards and five touchdowns. With a reasonably healthy Michael Vick starting at least 14 games this year, Celek would be a safe bet to match or eclipse his numbers from 2009 (76 catches, 971 yards, eight TDs). And if he should pull that off, he'll be a certifiable steal by season's end.
Draft No. 1—QB Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Draft No. 2—QB Andrew Luck, Colts
Draft No. 3—TE Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
Draft No. 1—WR Jerome Simpson, Vikings
Draft No. 2—D/ST Buffalo Bills
Draft No. 3—WR Jerome Simpson, Vikings
Draft No. 1—K Nate Kaeding, Chargers
Draft No. 2—K Mike Nugent, Bengals
Draft No. 3—K Dan Bailey, Cowboys
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.