NFL: Another Mocking Of The April Draft
I assume that all teams lie this time of the year. So my mock will take that into account. It will based on no inside information or knowledge of any draft room in the NFL. It is pure guess work and my bias.
Stafford has a stronger arm, however the difference in arm strength is actually trivial. Sanchez can make every throw that Stafford can make. More to the point, Sanchez has demonstrated much better accuracy then Stafford did at his Pro Day and over their short careers.
Furthermore Stafford's accuracy is an issue. During his career at UGA, Stafford completed 57.1 percent of his passes and 61.4 percent his last year.
Sanchez, on the other hand, completed 64.5 percent of his passes at USC (it should be noted in far fewer games). He completed 60.5 percent in part-time duty in 2007 and 65.8 percent in 2008.
For more perspective, JaMarcus Russell of the Oakland Raiders completed 61.9 percent (in a high-risk, vertical passing game). In 2006, he completed 60.5 percent and by 2007 was up to 67.8 percent.
It should be noted that Stafford and Russell were tossed into the fire much sooner than Sanchez was.
You want to know why Brady Quinn dropped in the 2007 draft?
His accuracy at his Pro Day was awful, and teams went back and looked at the film. For his career, playing in a QB friendly offense for the last two, his completion percentage was 60.8 percent. He regressed as a senior from 64.9 percent in 2005 to 61.9 percent in 2006.
(2) St Louis—Matthew Stafford, QB, UGA
Like Detroit, the Rams take a cue from Atlanta and choose a young QB who can be groomed and become the face of the franchise.
In a typical draft neither Monroe or Smith would be top five picks. Neither is close to Thomas, or even Long, in ability. They both have been elevated because there are no clear cannot miss prospects out there, and offensive tackles who can project to be LTs are safe picks.
(3) Kansas City—B.J. Raji, NT, Boston College
I know about the drug test rumor. I know what all the experts are saying, but the Patriot Way has now become the "Chief Way", and the Patriot Way says you build from the inside out.
The Chiefs have no one to play NT, and this draft is as thin as any in recent memory for that type of athlete.
With the Patriot infection in four front offices, I expect we will hear the term "The Patriot Way" yammered quite a bit on draft day.
(4) Seattle—Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
My pick for the biggest bust of the draft after Michael Crabtree. Seattle going to a 3-4 defense, and he is a perfect fit for rush end on paper.
(5) Cleveland—Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
Curry is the best player in the draft and will be an impact player on day one.
(6) Cincinnati—Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Bengals have the biggest need for an offensive tackle in the draft and get to choose whom they think is the top prospect.
(7) Oakland—Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Smith gives the Raiders flexibility and additional depth along their line. He can be slid inside and play at a Pro Bowl level from day one.
He has the feet, strength, and reach to be an All-Pro left tackle for decades. He has the longest reach (36-plus inches) of this class of OLs.
He has the biggest upside of all the OLs in the draft, and the Raiders are willing to gamble.
(8) Jacksonville—Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
He reminds me of a smaller version of Keyshawn Johnson.
(9) Green Bay—Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State
The Packers are another team converting to 3-4 and are in need of a rush end to get pressure on the QB.
(10) San Francisco—Eugene Monroe, OT, UVA
Monroe is a value pick. San Fran takes the best player left on the board in an area of need.
Monroe will start from day one. He is the most pro ready of the top OTs in draft. However, he is also probably the least projectable of the three. What you get day one is what he will be five years from now, and that is not a Pro Bowl caliber OT.
He will be a good starting tackle but nothing special.
(11) Buffalo—Everette Brown, DE, FSU
The Bills are a team in dire need of a pass rusher.
Brown's lack of bulk for a 4-3 end would concern me.
Maybe the Bills will take Ayers or Tyson Jackson instead, but they need a pass rusher.
(12) Denver—Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
The Broncos have to draft as many defensive linemen as they can find. They need a NT most of all, but Raji is gone, and it's too early for Brace.
If Denver takes Ayers, then the 'Skins will take Jackson. Both are ideal five-technique DEs for either a 3-4 or a 4-3 team.
(14) New Orleans—Darius Butler, CB, UConn
They will pick Butler over Jenkins and Davis. I think they will regret it.
(15) Houston—Clay Matthews Jr., OLB, USC
I think the best prospect of the USC linebackers.
He has out performed Cushing and Maualuga this year on the field and at each step in the evaluation stage since the season ended.
(16) San Diego—Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
They need help at inside linebacker and safety. The safety class is thin, and Maualuga has the explosiveness to make plays. However, he will be a liability in pass coverage.
(17) New York Jets—Josh Freeman, QB, KSU
Freeman has some ability, but he is a project who will require patience. If the Jets can afford that patience he could be a good quarterback in two or three seasons.
In that case, would it make more sense to take someone like Nate Davis later in the draft?
(18) Denver—Brian Cushing, OLB/DE, USC
Cushing will get to line up as a 3-4 rush end for the Patriots...whoops, sorry...Broncos.
I like him a lot, and this is about where I expect teams to start considering him. Broncos take him.
(19) Tampa Bay—Peria Jerry, DL, Ole Miss
He can play inside or the five-technique end for the Bucs.
(20) Detroit—Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Maclin is a value pick for a franchise with lots of picks and even more needs.
(21) Philadelphia—Moreno Knowshon, RB, UGA
Moreno provides help for Westbrook and McNabb.
(22) Minnesota—Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
The Vikings take a speedster in an effort to find a receiver who can get at least one safety out of the box on every down.
(23) New England—Malcolm Jenkins, DB, Ohio State
He is the best DB in the draft, and the Pats get him towards the back of the draft.
Mark my words, this will be an absolute steal.
(24) Atlanta—Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
Davis is hot and cold as a player. If Atlanta can motivate him they will have a steal and if not, a bust.
(25) Miami—Alex Mack, C, Cal
You don't think Parcells sees Jake Grove as a long-term answer at center in Miami, do you?
(26) Baltimore—Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
What is he? I think he really was a running back at UF, and it will take a ton of work to turn him into a receiver.
However, in the mean time he can return kicks and be used as sort of a slash athlete by Baltimore.
(27) Indianapolis—Hakeem Nicks, WR, UNC
Nicks is just another toy for Manning.
(28) Philadelphia—Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech
They have two first round picks and take a chance on the biggest feast or famine prospect in the draft.
(29) New York Giants—Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Britt will be a big receiver to compliment the ones the Giants have on hand after the departure of Plaxico Buress.
I will be holding my breath that they do not take Ramses Barden from Cal Poly, but I think the Giants will go with the more polished product in Britt.
(30) Tennessee—Evander "Ziggy" Hood, DT, Missouri
The loss of Haynesworth is going to be huge. They take Hood and hope he can make up for some of the lost production.
(31) Arizona—Max Unger, C, Oregon
They could take a running back here, but they have plenty of options on offense. They need a center, and Unger is a first-round talent. He can also play almost everywhere along the line.
(32) Pittsburgh—Connor Barwin, OLB/DE, Cincinnati
The Steelers have few weaknesses, so they take the best athlete on the board.
The Rest of the Raiders Draft
(2, No. 40) Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly
The Raiders have clearly identified him as the receiver who they think fits their needs. I like him a great deal.
He has enormous hands and 33 3/4" arms to go with his 6'6" and 230-pound frame.
Many draft experts will criticize this pick as a reach. I think he might turn out to be the only real impact WR from this draft.
(3, No. 71) Jarron Gilbert, DL, San Jose State
Gilbert can provide depth along the entire defensive line and compete with Richardson for the starting spot at end.
He is more explosive and athletic than Richarson, and he will be a better pass rusher.
I believe he can play inside in certain situations.
He gives the Raiders a second stout end who can hold up against the run. Maybe playing him and Richarson on obvious running downs and resting Burgess more could save Burgess' legs and allow him to miss fewer games and be a better player overall.
(4, No. 126) Antonio Caldwell, OL, Alabama
He can play center and both guard positions. He may have been the most under-appreciated player in the college football the last four years.
He has everything to be a Pro Bowl center in the NFL.
(7, No. 216) Terrence Knighton, DT, Temple
He's a big plugger with long arms and some explosiveness.
He has ideal size for nose tackle and gets a good push in the pass rush.
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