Mock drafts are... awesome.
We all love mock drafts. Every time Mel Kiper or Todd McShay puts out a new version of their mock draft we all eat it up like it's turkey on Thanksgiving. Even though the earliest versions of their mock drafts often look nothing like their final ones, we still have to take a peak.
Think about last year. No one had Sam Bradford on the radar for the No. 1 pick at all after the college football season ended. And this year no one really had Cam Newton up there as Carolina's pick initially. These things are always in flux.
And at the end of the day, how close do the "experts" even come to with their final mocks? If they get 20 out of 32 picks right isn't that pretty good? The odds of getting every pick in the first round correct are not very good. You can never account for trades or anything like that. One errant choice starts a domino effect that throws everything off.
So that leads me to the ever-present and always captivating "7 Round Mock Drafts for Team X."
What are the odds that you can even come close to getting all those picks right? Especially in the later rounds? Million to one?
But let's try and break this down for our Cleveland Browns and see what we can come up with.
What are the team needs?
Defensive End, Defensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Right Offensive Tackle, Linebacker, and just general depth at every other position.
These are the primary positions that the Browns will be looking to fill with the draft, especially considering there has not been any free agency or trades to this point thanks to greedy owners and players who are squabbling over money.
The Browns will be picking sixth in the first round. What do they do with pick?
I think they should take CB Patrick Peterson from LSU if he's still on the board which many project he will be. Others think they should select WR Julio Jones because it is more a position of need. And others still believe they should trade back and potentially address the D-Line with Nick Fairley from Auburn or Robert Quinn from North Carolina.
Okay stop right there!
Your seven-round mock draft hangs in balance with this very first pick. If you pick a WR then you'll have to go DT and DE in the later rounds. If you go with the best player available in Peterson then you'll have to get all those other positions of need. So what do you do?
I'm going to go with Peterson because I don't think you can pass up a blue-chip guy like that at No. 6.
So what do we do with our pick in the second round then? How could you possibly know who is even going to be available. At this point 36 players have already come off the board. We would need to do a mock draft for every team in the league (unbiased of course) to determine who will be around at pick 37.
Well now I've decided that (since I am an Ohio State fan) DE Cameron Heyward is still magically on the board so we're going to pounce on that pick.
Now we're getting into a bit of bind. We need a WR and have already passed on that position twice. Lucky for us Titus Young from Boise State is still around at pick 70 (after extensive study working through who teams will select in picks 38-69). We need a wide receiver in a bad way and bless our lucky stars an underrated talent like Young falls in our lap. Easy choice.
Next, we do more homework... deciding who teams are going to take (based on their needs and making sure some good players continue to slide a little).
However, at this point we're getting into the fourth round and I really have no idea who any of these players are. Because, let's be honest, I didn't watch every college football game this past year or the entire NFL Combine taking copious notes. But we need a defensive tackle. So let's get on espn.com and check out who might still be around (as if I have any idea).
I immediately notice Christian Ballard because I recognize his name having coming out of Iowa. His overall rank is No. 78 which makes it very unlikely that he'll still be around in the fourth round at pick No. 102. But you don't know that so I decide to fudge on this one banking on every team forgetting that he's still available.
What a steal! The Browns are putting together a fantastic draft to this point.
But now I'm getting lazy and kinda tired with this whole thing. So I'll go to Ohio State and take WR Dane Sanzenbacher in the fifth round. A bit of a reach but who really cares?
I remember that we need to bolster to offense line so I pick (random player) OT Willie Smith from East Carolina. He will need some polishing, but I really like his upside (naturally).
We have another pick here in the sixth so I'll go O-Line again with... OG Zach Hurd from UConn (I lived in Connecticut for 10 years so this is the obvious choice).
Alright... seventh round... finally. And, oh crap, I forgot all about drafting a linebacker! Let's see... Jabara Williams from Stephen F. Austin should do just fine (I love schools that are simply named after people no one knows... also "Jabara" is an awesome name).
So there you have it! My seven round mock draft!
But let's go back up to the top and reconsider that first round choice. What would happen if we changed our minds?
If I went with Julio Jones instead it will totally throw off the whole operation!
Or if I trade back and take Robert Quinn then I need to reconsider that second round choice as well as who I'll take with my now extra second rounder from the trade!
My point is this: Seven round mock drafts are just a little bit silly.
You have no clue who the Browns are targeting in the FIFTH round. Nor do you really know how the Browns' staff has evaluated their team needs. Just because Todd McShay says the biggest need for Cleveland is DE doesn't mean that Tom Heckert agrees with him.
But I don't want to rain on your party. Go ahead... continue with your expert predictions. I'm sure Player X you have us taking in the sixth round will still be on the board after 169 picks.
As for me, I'm just stoked that Christian Ballard fell all the way to us the fourth round! Steal of the draft!
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