I thought that before I assert my knowledge of the NFL Draft, and thereby college football, I would go back and see what would make a successful mock draft.
Um, that would be correct picks.
If that is the case, then many experts are actually wrong.
Case in point: Of the first 16 picks (I can only get those...I'm not an "Insider") that Todd McShay and Mel Kiper predicted last year, they only got three right...each.
Pretty crazy, huh?
I mean, who'd have thought that Michael Crabtree would fall to the 49ers? Not I.
How about Mark Sanchez to the Jets? Ditto.
That means that it is more than likely that all of our mock drafts are gonna suck.
Life sucks sometimes, doesn't it?
Oh well. It's fun anyways! Let's mock everyone!
(That could be taken a number of ways...)
One thing most of the mock drafts had in common last year, however, was Matthew Stafford going to the Lions.
The Rams need a franchise QB to hang their hat on. It's that simple.
Bradford isn't as NFL ready as Stafford was last year (I can't believe I'm saying that), but his maturity level is a lot higher—although he isn't as tough (see Stafford against Browns).
Like the Lions last year, the Rams would be foolish not to take a QB here. I don't see anyone trading up to get him either.
There are usually two draft strategies that teams follow: draft based on need or draft the best player available (or perhaps the best way: a mixture of the two).
Wanna guess which strategy the Lions employ?
The Lions, famous perhaps for drafting a wide receiver in the first round for several years when they didn't need one, would draft Dez Bryant if they had a chance. Okay, maybe not.
But if you look at the Lions' picks in the first round last year, or rather their 20th pick, it follows this trend.
What they needed was defensive help, and they went for the big name in Brandon Pettigrew.
Logic says they should go for Russell Okung, the offensive tackle from Oklahoma St.
But when was the last time the Lions followed logic?
Tampa Bay isn't in the position they were last year. Unless something goes wrong, the Bucs should get the second coming of Warren Sapp.
The Redskins luck out this draft. They get the best offensive tackle to protect the McNabb, which by the way sounds like a snack from McDonald's.
The Redskins did well last year to get Brian Orakpo, and for the second year in a row, they have a quality pick drop to them.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Clausen waits...
Unlike last year's draft, this draft is a little easier to predict. Everybody knows that the Chiefs need to get someone to guard the Castle...er, Cassel.
However, I should point out that if there's anyone who could trade down like the Browns did last year, it may be the Chiefs.
The Chiefs know now they made a mistake in the first round last year and could look to trade with someone who has a plethora of picks, such as San Francisco or Philadelphia.
Here's where things start to get interesting.
The Seahawks seem to follow the philosophy of picking the best player available. Of course, when that player is said to be the best in the draft (Aaron Curry), it's easy to do that.
The Hawks are under new leadership in Pete Carroll, however. With the best two offensive tackles off the board and the Seahawks in desperate need of a playmaker, they go with the best player available: Eric Berry.
And then the inevitable article is written about how Berry comes from Tennessee, which is where Lane Kiffin was the coach. Kiffin now coaches Southern Cal, which is where Pete Carroll comes from to Seattle.
Oh, the twisted web we weave...
And now Cleveland is upset. Like that's ever happened before...
No need to fear Browns fans! You won't end up with Brady Quinn!
The Browns, even though they haven't had some of the best drafts lately, do employ a good strategy in a mixture of need and best available.
Since the best available is gone, they could go with need.
I'm probably wrong though.
If they do get Earl Thomas, though, they probably won't regret it.
But whoever Thomas goes up against in training camp will.
Ah, yes. One team is fairly predictable: the Raiders.
The Raiders follow their own draft strategy: reach for players they think will be good.
They remind me of a guy in my fantasy football draft this last year. He picked LaDainian Tomlinson with the third pick. Then he declared he was winning the championship.
Reminds you of the Raiders, doesn't it?
The Raiders go for another Maryland Terrapin (or as I call them, the Turtles) that excelled in the Combine.
And Jimmy Clausen jumps up! And then sits down.
In the back of the Bills' minds, they remember the last time they drafted a QB in the first round: J.P. Losman.
Yeah, how'd that work out?
While Losman is tearing it up in the UFL (stifling a laugh), the Bills have real problems in the NFL. They could go anywhere with this pick.
But the Bills generally go with need. Why else would you draft Eric Wood in round one?
Although they do need a QB, the Bills will go with another big need instead.
The Jaguars: You know, other than the Buffalo Bills, there's no other team I feel sorry for. They put together some decent teams, yet the people in Jacksonville couldn't give a care.
How ironic that they're picking back-to-back.
The Jags tend to go with the best player available, and if it fits a need, well then, hallelujah! How else do you explain Matt Jones going in the first round?
The fans, I'm sure, want them to pick Tim Tebow.
They can't go quite that far, but they can go with a hometown guy.
The Broncos definitely use the mixture approach. Why else would they take Knowshon Moreno last year and then go Robert Ayers?
I mentioned how unpredictable the draft was at the beginning of this slideshow. If I somehow nail the Broncos pick, then I'll consider my life complete.
Seeing how Brandon Marshall isn't going anywhere, I believe they'll go defense.
McClain is the best linebacker in the draft, so the Broncos, I think, would go with him.
The Dolphins seem to have the strategy of going for a need in round one—then going with whoever the heck they felt like after that.
But then again, this is Bill Parcells. He's a guy that likes to go in a certain direction. Usually he goes with defense, especially in round one.
Dez Bryant is still on the board, and the Fins take a long look at him, but eventually they go with a solid outside rush linebacker in Sergio Kindle.
And Jimmy Clausen starts to get excited again.
And then sits back down.
The Niners have done a very good job when they've had a top 15 pick. Their last three have been Michael Crabtree, Patrick Willis, and Vernon Davis.
What these guys all have in common is they're athletic freaks, and they fell to the 49ers.
So it's certainly possible they could take Taylor Mays here. But I doubt it.
Say hello to Joe Haden, Niners fans.
And Jimmy Clausen...
Well, you get the idea.
I would put C.J. Spiller here. I really would. But Kiper and McShay both think he could go there, so I decided not to.
With the Hawks needing to replace Walter Jones, the best available offensive lineman comes off the board.
The Giants usually go for need, especially in round one.
Their biggest need is for a linebacker. But, gasp, Rolando McClain is off the board.
Cue Brandon Spikes from the back of the room:
"Oh! Pick me! Pick me!"
I have to admit, at this point, I'm a little bit in the middle of the guessing game.
Who will fall further than others? Will there be a trade? Will all this be for naught?
Ah, well. Such is life. I face these decisions every morning at breakfast.
Over the last few years The Titans have tended to reach for a need, hence Vince Young and Chris Johnson. Not that I'm criticizing at all—that's a pretty good combo.
They like guys who are deemed as having some special ability. Graham tore it up in the Senior Bowl, so, even though I'm probably the only one saying the Titans are picking him, what the heck?
A-ha! I outsmarted Kiper and McShay by having Spiller go later in the draft! And to the 49ers, no less!
I'm just kidding fellas—you know I love you. Call me later.)
Much like last year, a budding offensive star falls to the Niners, and they can't resist.
And no, I wasn't referring to Jimmy Clausen.
You might be tempted to think that the Steelers' draft strategy is to draft defenders.
You'd be wrong.
The Steelers have done a great job of selecting guys who they know will fit into their team mold. Guys like Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, and Heath Miller have been drafted in round one the last few years.
So I thought to myself, who fits the Steelers' mold?
A 6'5", 331-pound guy oughta do.
I started glancing through the Falcons' drafts the last few years and noticed a few things:
1. They draft for need.
2. They alternate going for defense and offense.
3. They draft guys from the East Coast.
Now the last is probably coincidental.
Or maybe not. It's probably a conspiracy theory.
Derrick Morgan is from the East Coast.
On a side note, if this happens, the Falcons will be eternally grateful. Morgan is regarded as a top 15 pick in many circles, so if he falls, Atlanta will be thrilled.
The Texans, in their short history, have not been very conventional when it comes to drafting.
They usually take the boring pick. They select the player who in their minds is the best, like Mario Williams, for example.
Although Brian Cushing did work out well last year, guys like Omobi Okoye haven't turned out so well.
Yawn. Dan Williams from Tennessee, who should the Texans pick him, and will play against Tennessee.
The Bengals actually follow the "picking the biggest need" draft strategy. How else do you explain picking defense with four of their last five first round picks?
I don't think they'll go defense this year. I don't think anyway.
The Bengals haven't had a good tight end, since, well...anyone know their TE on Tecmo Bowl?
It might be that long ago...
Like the Falcons, the Pats also like players from the South, with three of their last five first round selections hailing from the southern parts of the US.
The Patriots, as always, are armed to the teeth with picks, so they aren't too concerned with this one. A couple of exciting prospects remain on the board. They could go with Dez Bryant and make a splash.
But they need help with their pass rush. They hear Jets footsteps already.
The Green Bay Packers are a good organization that generally makes smart picks. When Aaron Rodgers fell to them a few years back, for example, they could have passed on him.
But they didn't. You can say it's worked out all right.
They could use an offensive tackle, but they can hold off on that.
They also have to think about their secondary—hence Kyle Wilson.
Gotta love a guy from Boise St. coming off the board.
The Eagles always seem to take the guy they have in mind, regardless of how he's rated.
It's worked out pretty well so far.
I've seen this on a lot of mock drafts, and I can't say I disagree.
Welcome in the new Brian Dawkins.
The Ravens have actually gone with offense with four of their last five first round picks.
History usually repeats itself, but not this time.
The Baltimore Ravens actually have needs on defense, as their offense was shored up in the offseason by adding guys like Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth.
What they do need, apparently, are some defensive linemen. So they decided to add another Pryce...er, Price.
Amazingly enough, Dez Bryant and Jimmy Clausen are still on the board. Don't hate me. Like I said, it's my mock draft. It's going to be very wrong, so I'll make it on my terms.
You probably won't believe me when I say the Cardinals have actually done well at drafting the last few years. But they've also gotten a little lucky in having guys they wanted fall into their lap the last couple of years.
So I imagine if these two were here, they'd take one, even though they need a linebacker and defensive tackle.
Ah...that can wait.
Nope, Jimmy. Not yet.
Speaking of trends, the Cowboys have gone with linebackers with three of their last four first rounders.
What? I wasn't speaking of trends before? Forget you then...
So, anyway, the Cowboys are obviously going to take a linebacker this year, right?
With the 'Boys needing a more long-term solution at left tackle, they go with the best available.
The Chargers are actually fairly unpredictable in the draft.
Larry English last year? Who saw that?
Antoine Cason the year before? How about Craig Davis before that?
I've seen several mock drafts with Mathews going to the Chargers. With them having let LT go, I'm not sure what other option they have here.
See? Reverse psychology. The Chargers will be predictable.
The Jets have a big need to fill at WR.
Don't get me wrong—their receiving corps is fine for now. But Braylon Edwards is only there for another year, maybe.
The Jets defense doesn't need a ton of help, and they can fill any holes in later rounds.
Time to make a splash with a big, physical receiver with good (read: not Braylon Edwards) hands.
And the dream scenario happens for all parties involved.
Brett Favre won't be around forever.
Yay! Jimmy can get out of his seat now!
The Indianapolis Colts actually have a simple draft strategy:
We're going to take exactly who we want and they'll fit, because we have Peyton Manning and you don't.
In that sense, however, they need to protect the savior of the franchise, as his quick release hides some weaknesses in the line.
They could go with a guy like Maurkice Pouncey, but this pick is way better, mainly because it says "Screw you. We'll make it work."
One only knows how he fell this far.
But that's why it's my mock draft, and not yours.
Either way, if this did happen, the champs would have found a solid replacement for Scott Fujita.
Well, thanks for reading this. I'm going to guess right now that only about three of these picks come out correct.
But at least I had fun. Hope you did.