NFL Mock Draft 2011: The Fictional Player Draft
There is nothing quite like the NFL Draft, the greatest sporting event in the world that doesn't actually require any physical competition.
Weeks of mock drafts, speculation, studying game film, combine workouts and interviews with players all boil down to Darth Vader—excuse me, I meant Roger Goodell—taking the podium and revealing the picks.
But there is a group of players out there that often go unnoticed (though not always). A group of players we would like to see drafted this year, who have captivated and entertained us in the past, and deserve a moment of recognition.
I'm talking about fictional football characters, of course.
So on this particular mock draft, we will draft one fictional character per team, taking into account team needs and the strength of certain positions from the fictional pool of players. However, you won't find any characters based on real people here, so our apologies to fans of Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights (the movie), and Rudy.
So without further ado, with the first pick of the 2011 Fictional Player Draft, the Carolina Panthers select...
1. Carolina Panthers: Willie Beamen
The Panthers, in desperate need for a quarterback, take the biggest playmaker on the board, Willie Beamen.
Undoubtedly, Beamen comes with some risks, namely concerns that he is more interested in being a celebrity than a great quarterback.
He has also been rumored to fight with both players and has been given the "uncoachable" tag in the past, though he appears to have grown beyond these issues.
In the end, the Panthers simply couldn't ignore his athletic abilities—unmatched by any other quarterback in this draft—or his ability to learn an offense quickly and lead his team to victory.
2. Denver Broncos: Andre Krimm
The Broncos, desperately needing help in the interior of their line, select Krimm after trying unsuccessfully to trade down.
Krimm should provide stability in the interior, though most experts had him going much later in the draft, especially given the other talent on the board at this point.
It is only the first of many head-scratchers to come.
3. Buffalo Bills: Charles Jefferson
The Bills are thrilled Jefferson falls to them here, who they believe will be the perfect fit at outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.
Jefferson is a star, and is known for having such a mean streak he even scares his own teammates from time to time.
He has the ability to take over the game, known for having a nose for the ball and the propensity for the big hit. One scout said he was the mutant hybrid of Patrick Willis and Jack Lambert.
There were rumors that UCLA gave him a Mustang when he was a sophomore in high school, but they were quelled for good when Jefferson's car was apparently ruined by an opposing team.
Jefferson was set into a rage that resulted in a performance for the ages, finishing the contest with 27 tackles, five sacks, and three opponents knocked out cold by a Jefferson hit.
The Bills instantly upgrade their defense with this selection.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: Paul Crewe
The Bengals, in a move finally acknowledging the imminent departure of Carson Palmer, take the controversial quarterback at No. 4.
There is no question that Crewe has all of the tools to be the best player in this draft, but he has character issues that raise red flags everywhere, including his involvement in a point-shaving scandal and his arrest for stealing his girlfriend's vehicle.
But the Bengals obviously believe there is still good in the quarterback, and believe he can unify the squad and reverse their losing ways from 2010.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Shane Falco
Falco is a long-term project, but the Cardinals desperately need a quarterback and won't be able to make a trade for Kevin Kolb or Donovan McNabb due to the madness surrounding the lockout.
Falco is risky, as he very often choked on the biggest stage, though his final game before the draft suggests he may have overcome that issue.
But many NFL insiders have also said that he underwhelmed in interviews, displaying a "robotic lack of personality and the habit of answering questions as though he was poorly reciting lines from a script."
Falco could become an excellent quarterback in the NFL, or he could wind up a failed head case. Time will tell.
6. Cleveland Browns: Rod Tidwell
Cleveland needs a playmaker at the wide receiver position and is thrilled that Tidwell falls to them after almost every expert assumed Arizona would select him at five.
Tidwell has game, though he is a fairly zany guy who many expect will likely hold out in a lengthy contract dispute.
His agent is a rather kooky character himself, the diminutive Jerry Maguire, who currently is only representing Tidwell and may tie the Browns up in a lengthy and emotional contract negotiation.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Lance Harbor
The proliferation of quarterback picks continues with Lance Harbor going at No. 7 to the 49ers.
This pick comes at a surprise to many people, who have suggested that Harbor's knee issues actually make his backup, Jonathon Moxon, the more appealing pick.
While Moxon is the more cerebral player and a gifted leader, he has also been labeled as a player who has difficulty with authority figures. As well, many doubt that he loves football, rather playing because he has been expected to throughout the years.
Harbor's skill set is simply greater, considering he was the starter over Moxon before the injury. In tests with teams he has allayed fears about his knee.
At one point, Harbor had expressed interest in coaching, but his knee injuries in actuality were nothing that surgery couldn't fix.
8. Tennessee Titans: Alvin Mack
Things couldn't have gone worse for Tennessee to this point, with four quarterbacks off of the board in the first seven picks.
With quarterback their most pressing need, but unwilling to reach for another quarterback, they go with a controversial pick nonetheless, selecting Alvin Mack.
Mack is an All-American who is known to punish ball carriers from the linebacker position, but suffered a devastating leg injury that threatened to end his career.
He has apparently rehabbed his leg to the point that the Titans felt comfortable picking him, and he could wind up as the steal of this draft if he is able to stay healthy.
9. Dallas Cowboys: Billy Bob
The Cowboys, filling a need at the offensive tackle position, select Billy Bob with the ninth pick.
Billy Bob has had concussion issues (this draft class has been labeled as the most "comically and egregiously flawed" class in the history of the NFL), but he is a dominating force when healthy.
Additionally, Billy Bob could be utilized much like the Bears once used William "Refrigerator" Perry, handing him the ball at the goal line to plow over the defense. Billy Bob is a surprisingly good runner for a man his size.
10. Washington Redskins: Forrest Gump
The Redskins have needs all over the field, and decide to select playmaker Gump.
Gump's position on offense is unclear, and many teams were wary of selecting a player most-known for his return skills, citing offensive projects that haven't panned out such as Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs.
It has been rumored that Daniel Snyder was high on the exciting Gump, however, leading to the pick.
Gump is a touchdown machine, clocked an impressive 4.23 in the forty, and presents no off-the-field issues.
The potential for him as a multi-faceted weapon is immense, though teams worry he will have struggles learning the playbook.
11. Houston Texans: Steve Lattimer
Despite his issues with substance abuse, the Texans select Lattimer, who they feel will satisfy a dire need at the outside linebacker position in Wade Phillips 3-4 scheme.
Lattimer is a workout warrior, though the NFL will probably test him regularly given his past indiscretions.
Intensity shouldn't be a problem for Lattimer, as he has been known to smash windows with his head when excited.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Joe Kane
The Vikings, in need of a quarterback, select the fifth of the first round, ESU's Joe Kane.
Kane's previous season was a disappointment, as the Heisman hopeful missed time due to a drinking problem, which many people thought would drop him into the second or third round.
But Kane has the tools in place to become a solid quarterback, and clearly the Vikings feared he would be long gone before they picked again.
But will Kane be able to handle the pressure of being an NFL quarterback, or will he revert to old habits? Time will tell.
13. Detroit Lions: Bobby Boucher
While Boucher does not come without issues, he is a playmaker at the linebacker position who possesses too much potential for the Lions to pass up.
Boucher is a brutal tackling machine who strikes fear in the hearts of quarterbacks and ball carriers alike.
He has a nose for the football despite being undersized, and is at his best when given the green light to freelance and attack the line of scrimmage.
However, there are several red flags with Boucher. For one, he is dramatically undersized and has limited experience, having played only one season for SCLSU. He suffers from rage issues, having once tackled a professor over a disagreement.
His intelligence has also been called into question, and rumors persist that he actually spelled his own name wrong on the Wonderlic.
14. St. Louis Rams: Phil Elliott
Needing a playmaker at wide receiver, the Rams select Elliott with the 14th pick.
Elliot possessed the talent and passion for the game to be the first receiver off the board, but he has been linked to drug use and partying.
As well, his well-documented spats with coaches and disdain for authority dropped him from the top 10.
Elliott produces on the field, but it will be interesting to see if he can deal with the organizational expectations of NFL players. If he doesn't, he may find himself watching from the sideline.
15. Miami Dolphins: Julian Washington
The Dolphins need a running back, and are happy to see local product Julian Washington available at pick 15.
Washington is a talented runner, though he very much wants to be the center of any offense, and it is suspected that he will be the type of player who loves the money more than the game itself.
That said, Washington will likely work very hard for that very reason, eager to earn the next big contract. Not the flashiest pick for the Dolphins, but a safe one.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Charlie Tweeder
In need of a wide receiver, the Jaguars reach here for Tweeder.
He's undersized, slow, and known as a party animal off of the field, but he is popular with his teammates and was Harbor and Moxon's primary target, so the Jaguars take a chance here.
Even he upgrades their receiving corps.
In a true love story, he is also married to his high school teacher, Miss Davis.
17: Oakland Raiders (from New England (from Oakland)): Ricky Baker
In a shocking move on a number of levels, the Raiders traded their second-round pick this year and first-rounder next year, reacquiring the first-round pick they had previously traded to New England.
They then selected Ricky Baker, leading to a hushed audience at Radio City Music Hall while Al Davis excitedly pumped his fist. Despite protestations from his personnel people and even Roger Goodell, Davis insisted on making the pick.
Baker, of course, was gunned down outside of his home, thus marking the first time in history a deceased player has been selected at the Draft.
Davis later apologized to fans and the Baker family, acknowledged his own senility, and stepped down from the team.
18. San Diego Chargers: Luther Lavay
With the possibility of several linebackers departing San Diego once—or perhaps more accurately, if—free agency hits, the Chargers scoop up "The Shark."
Lavay is a high-energy, intelligent leader who leaves everything on the field each week. However, a neck injury that has plagued him throughout his career likely factored into him dropping to this point.
Lavay is well-liked by his teammates, though it is rumored he once cut an offensive player's car in half to make a point after being frustrated by said player's attitude. One theory out there has suggested it possibly could have been Beamen's car, though it is merely hearsay.
19. New York Giants: Brian Williams
With the pending free agency of Ahmad Bradshaw and the rocky career of Brandon Jacobs, the Giants were looking to bolster their rushing attack here, and "Smash" should do just that.
It has been a long road to the NFL for Smash, as he has faced issues stemming from steroid use, selfish play, the loss of a Division One scholarship stemming from a fight, and a knee injury that cost him his scholarship at Whitmore.
Despite an incredible amount of drama and setback, Smash eventually would walk on at Texas A&M and make the team.
Good for you, Smash. You really should be on a television show or something.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Fred Palowaski
An "Ogre" has been spotted in Tampa.
Coming off of a surprisingly successful 2010 campaign, the Bucs shore up their line with Ogre.
Some of the lingo in the playbook will likely change for Ogre, however, as run blocking schemes will include "block Nerd No. 97" so that Ogre understands his role.
You see, Ogre hates nerds.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Buster Keaton
Scott Pioli, one of the game's best general managers, shocks everybody by selecting Buster Keaton to play wide receiver. We managed to get our hands on the film that impressed Pioli, which you can see here.
Cleary, Pioli and Todd Haley were impressed by Keaton's toughness, intelligence, and unorthodox yet highly-effective evasive maneuvers.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Earl Megget
With Donald Brown looking like a bust, the Colts decide to select Megget with the 22nd pick.
Megget should be the perfect fit for the Colts offense, as his speed, agility, and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will improve the running game, and give Manning an excellent drop down option in the passing game.
Clearly, the Colts are not concerned with Megget's previous imprisonment.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Joey Battle
Another player with a checkered past and previous prison sentence, the Eagles nonetheless select Battle to shore up a weak linebacker corps.
Though they had needs on the offensive line and in the secondary, Battle was the best player on the board.
Battle should add a nastiness and tenacity to the defense that has been missing since the team broke the hearts of Philadelphia fans and failed to re-sign Brian Dawkins.
Battle has noted that he may take up professional wrestling if a lockout extends into the season.
24. New Orleans Saints: Becky O'Shea
The Saints make history, selecting "Icebox" to play linebacker for the team, the first female drafted to play in the NFL.
Don't sleep on the Icebox, folks—she jacks people up.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Kevin Thompson
In a shocking pick, the Seahawks pick little-known Kevin Thompson, as Mel Kiper scrambles to find his paperwork on the Lawndale High football star.
Thompson is fairly dense, though he clearly loves football, as he wears his uniform and pads in even when not playing.
Thompson will need serious media training, as he is prone to saying incredibly insensitive and stupid things.
A curious pick by Pete Carroll and staff, though Carroll will surely abandon Seattle if the pick doesn't pan out and scrutiny turns toward him.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Earl Wilkinson ("Ray Smith")
The first corner off the board, the Ravens fill a pressing need with a questionable player.
A former star cornerback and kick returner at the University of Minnesota, Wilkinson is a talented corner and a big hitter, though he served time for assaulting a police officer.
Ray Lewis apparently assured the Baltimore front office he would tutor Wilkinson, and said another player with his intensity will serve the Baltimore defense well.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Brian Murphy
With Tony Gonzalez aging, the Falcons select the best tight end available, Brian Murphy.
Murphy would have gone much higher in the draft were it not for the fact that he was born deaf.
Matt Ryan hinted before the draft that he would have no problem incorporating a silent count into the offense to accommodate a player such as Murphy, though it is uncertain if the entire team will be learning sign language to improve communication.
28. New England Patriots: Michael Jordan MacKenzie
The Patriots surprise a few folks here by taking MacKenzie, a running back often overshadowed by Thompson at Lawndale High.
But MacKenzie is a talented running back respected for his leadership (he was the team captain) and intelligence.
Rumors circulated that MacKenzie studied both his own playbook and Thompson's, so as to explain the quarterback's responsibilities to him in the huddle.
Both have denied the claims.
29. Chicago Bears: Al Bundy
The Bears, with many other targeted players off of the board, take hometown favorite Bundy to throw into the running back mix.
The locker room will never be the same.
30. New York Jets: Lucy Draper
The Jets make no bones about this selection, taking Draper because she is hot.
Rex Ryan says he is glad the Jets now have "one of our own to catcall and hit on during practices."
The Jets fans in the audience provide a boorish "T—I—T—S TITS TITS TITS" chant after the selection.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bud-Lite Kaminski
The Steelers, seemingly always in need of offensive line help, turn to Kaminski. The Steel City faithful instantly find this man named after a beer endearing.
32. Green Bay Packers: Gavin Grey
Though beset by judgment issues and alcoholism, the Packers can't resist the upside of the Heisman Trophy winner and add him to the running back mix.
With so much talent already accumulated, the Packers can afford to take a chance here.