Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Mock Castles Down"

Sorry about the quote above. It's just the literary nerd in me. It's from Shakespeare's Henry V, which, by the way, is one of the manliest plays ever. It's where "Band of Brothers" gets its name from—from the speech Henry V gives to his men before a battle where they are outnumbered 10-1. It's a speech so testosterone-filled and crazed, I think he might have written it in Klingon.

Anyway, this entry is my first mock draft of the year. Now that the Senior Bowl is played and the draft order mostly set, I figure now is a good time to do a first draft guess. Anyway, here goes.

1. Miami Dolphins: Matt Ryan QB — Boston College
Parcells probably wants to trade down, as there is no sure-fire, number 1 consensus player. And Lord knows, Miami needs help everywhere and could use the extra picks. A lot of people feel since Parcells is a defense guy, he's take Dorsey. But Dorsey doesn't fit a Parcells 3-4 role, and don't forget, Bill did take Drew Bledsoe no 1 during his time with the Pats. Ryan can make every throw, and more importantly, has "It", the "Winner" factor, which makes him a Parcells guy.

2. St. Louis: Glenn Dorsey DT — LSU
St. Louis was G-O-D awful this year, on both sides of the ball. They lok at Jake Long, but with Alex Barron and Orlando Pace—hopefully—healthy next year, the Rams follow the Jacksonville plan and take two DTs two years in a row and sure up their interior line for years.

3. Atlanta: Jake Long OT — Michigan
As of this writing, the Falcons starting tackles are Quinn Ojinnaka and Tyson Clabo. The Falcons, if they have any wish to keep whatever QB they have next year, alive, take the Wolverine OT to protect the left side.

4. Oakland: Darren McFadden RB — Arkansas
As evidenced by the shenanigans this week out in Oakland, this is a franchise run by a crazy old coot. By that coot is definitely the man in charge, and he loves speed. McFadden is the consensus no 1. back in the draft, and being so, Davis will take him in hopes he will be the next Adrian Peterson and add speed and excitement to one sorry Raider franchise.

5. Kansas City: Sedrick Ellis DT — USC
Ellis had a coming-out party week at the Senior Bowl, where he was unblockable and disruptive. The Chiefs haven't had a dominant DT since Len Dawson was throwing passes at Arrowhead. They take him in hopes he can combine with Allen and Hali to give them a tough D-line.

6. New York Jets: Chris Long DE — Virginia
The Jets sing out "Caloo Calay!" as the man they wanted all along falls into their laps. Chris Long is perfect as a bookend for the 3-4, and is versatile enough to move around when Mangini decides to play the 4-3. A hard worker with a great attitude and intangibles, Long will fit right in as a Mangini guy.

7. New England: Vernon Gholston OLB — Ohio State
I can't see the Patriots staying here and guess they will trade down to acquire more picks. Also, the prospects for their main needs, CB and ILB, aren't worthy of a no. 7 pick. So, if New England actually did stay here, they take this year's "Freak," Gholston, a fast, strong and athletic pass rusher who would fit right in at the rush 3-4 position.

8. Baltimore: Brian Brohm QB — Louisville
The Ravens look longingly at Ryan Clady, but in the end, the first year coach, picks a QB he can groom and grow with. Lord knows Boller and Smith aren't the answers, and Brohm has the edge over Woodson and Flacco. Brohm is the pick.

9. Cincinnati: Keith Rivers OLB — USC
The Bengals had been praying for Ellis or Gholston to fall since the D-Line is where they truly need help. That didn't happen so they take help in other place of need, their linebacking corp, where no one there keeps opposing coaches up at night.

10. New Orleans: Mike Jenkins CB — South Florida
It seems the Saints have needed a shutdown corner, since, well forever. Jenkins is no midget and and has the fluidity and change-of-direction to stick to a receiver in the NFL. Not a polished talent, he will need some time and coaching, but could be a quality CB soon.

11. Buffalo: Malcolm Kelly WR — Oklahoma
The Bills have a tough time with this pick. Both of their biggest needs, CB and WR have no one worthy of their selection. However, Kelly has the size (6'4") and the over-the-middle-fearlessness needed to match well with Lee Evans in the Bill offense. So Buffalo reaches a little and takes Kelly.

12. Denver: Ryan Clady OT — Boise State
At first glace, it would appear that the Broncos would take a D-lineman, as they have been using castoffs and journeymen (usually from Cleveland) to patch up their line for years. However, Matt Lepsis' sudden retirement has changed all that. The Broncos take the surprisingly nimble Clady to fit into their zone-blocking scheme.

13. Carolina: Sam Baker OT — USC
Both the Panther's offensive tackles coming into free agency, and it would be odd for the Panthers to be able to retain both of them. Also, Carolina has no one able to step up for them. Baker had a nice week at the Senior Bowl and solidified himself in round one. Phillips and Campbell are other possibilities here.

14. Chicago: Kenny Phillips S — Miami
For a team one year removed from the Super Bowl, the Bears are a team with a myriad of problems. Expect the Bears to be aggressive in free agency, getting some help for their O-line and RB (Cedric Benson has been a galactic-sized bust). That done, they take the best safety in the draft.

15. Detroit: Aqib Talib CB — Kansas
Detroit would line to take a line guy here; offensive or defensive, either as the Lions need major help on both sides, but no one at this spot is worthy. So they take a guy who can help in another area of major need. The Lions were 31st in the league in passing yards and could use help in shutting anyone down.

16. Arizona: Calais Campbell DE/OLB — Miami
The Cards could use big help on their offensive line and get it with Alan Faneca coming to his old coach's team via free agency. With some measure of help there, the Cardinals focus on defense where they need help with their fledgling 3-4. Campbell is an athletic wonder, who needs some coaching to help him become the player he could be.

17. Minnesota: Derrick Harvey DE/OLB — Florida
WR is a concern for this team, and the Vikings could get Tavaris Jackson some help. But DE has been a bigger concern. Despite spending two 1st round picks in recent years, the team has nothing to show for it as Erasmus James and Kenechi Udeze have been less-than-helpful in rushing the passer. Harvey is a pure pass rusher who fires off the snap and can get to the QB.

18. Houston Texans: Jonathan Stewart RB — Oregon
I thought about Felix Jones here, but Stewart is the stronger and the better blocker, something underrated, but that coaches love in their running backs. Stewart is big, quick and can catch the ball out of the backfield, relieving Houston of the Ron Dayne experiment.

19. Philadelphia: DeSean Jackson WR — California
As wide receivers go, Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown are fine no. 2s. And with Donovan McNabb nearing the end, he would like some weapons for his final hurrah. Jackson has explosiveness you can't teach. He lasted a bit longer than some project because of his size, but fits in well in the Eagle's offense with his after-the-catch ability. Dan Conner is another option here.

20. Tampa Bay: Limas Tweed WR — Texas
The Bucs would have loved for Jackson to fall to them (and in fact, may trade up to get him), but are happy to take Tweed instead. In any case, it is obvious that the Bucs need help at WR, with Galloway defying the laws of aging and Hillard no spring chicken himself. Tweed is big, strong and can help Garcia (another oldster) move the ball down the field.

21. Washington: Kentwan Balmer DT — North Carolina
Whomever coaches the Redskins next year has improving the defensive line as priority one. With no end on the board worth the pick, the Skins take the best available tackle. Balmer has been climbing up some boards (Kiper has him at 14 as of this writing) and could be a late first round pick as DTs are always in short supply. Conner is another possibility here.

22. Dallas: Leodis McKelvin CB — Troy
With two number one picks, you know Dallas is going to go CB and WR. The only question is, in which order. After the mini-run of WRs a couple of picks earlier, Dallas takes the best possible CB in the draft to help the multiple wide sets more teams are running. Jacque Reeves is a better dime back, and McKelvin could come in and play the nickel and help in the return game. Cason is also an option here.

23. Pittsburgh: Gosder Cherilus OT — Boston College
The Steelers have both Max Starks and Faneca in free agency years with Faneca almost assured to go to Arizona. Also, Marvel Smith has battled injuries. Cherilus had a nice week at the Senior Bowl showing some toughness and fire the Steelers like. Bypassing local lineman Jeff Otah and backer Dan Connor, the Steelers take the born-ready right tackle, Cherilus.

24. Tennessee: Fred Davis TE — USC
Can anyone name a Titan receiver? Troupe and Scaife have been less-than-quality outlets for Vince Young. Davis had a excellent senior year and showed at the Senior Bowl week he was the top TE in the draft. He would help Young almost immediately. Manningham is also possible with this pick.

25. Seattle: Rashard Mendenhall RB — Illinois
Anyone who watched the Seahawks in the playoffs saw that Mike Holmgren completely gave up on the run game. If Holmgren truly only has one more year to make it to the Super Bowl in Seattle, he is going to need a running back tout suite. Mendenhall is a big, breaking tackles kind of back that can help this year.

26. Jacksonville: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB — Tennessee State
Jacksonville ranked 27th in pass defense this season and got hosed by Tom Brady to the tune of 26 for 28 for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns with no picks. While Mathis has been above average on one side, Brian Williams has been subpar. A replacement is needed and Cromartie opened some eyes with stellar play at the Senior Bowl. At 6'2", he can match up with bigger receivers. Manningham and OT Chris Williams are possible as well.

27. San Diego: Chris Williams OT — Vanderbilt
The Chargers would like a DT to start to replace the aging Jamal Williams, but unless somebody rises up the charts, they will look at NT later. Felix Jones is a possibility as Michael Turner is leaving via free agency and LT isn't getting younger, fresher legs. The Chargers will end up taking the best player available. Shane Olivea slipped this year in his play and Williams can push him at RT. Also, with a lack of depth here, this pick makes sense.

28. Dallas: Mario Manningham WR — Michigan
With Dallas having taken a CB earlier, now they turn to their WR problems. Namely, they are really old there. Mario plays bigger than his 6'0" size and can give Dallas some big play ability.

29. San Francisco: Early Doucet WR — LSU
It's plain and simple: The Niners need serious help at WR. So they reach a little for Doucet, who didn't have a great year, but has talent. Within seconds, Early places Arnaz Battle on the bench. Somewhere, Alex Smith cheers this pick very loudly.

30. Green Bay: Reggie Smith CB/S — Oklahoma
Green Bay's secondary is starting to get old, and Smith comes in with the versatility to play any secondary position. The Packers are happy, that Dallas, after flirting with Smith passed on him. Connor from Penn State and Highsmith, from LSU gets a look here, as well as CB Cason from Arizona, but Green Bay opts for the versatile secondary help it needs.

31. New York Giants: Dan Connor — Penn State
Another shout of "Caloo Calay!" comes from New York fans, this time, though it's the Giants who are happy, as the player they coveted falls into their laps. With Kawika Mitchell heading into free agency, the Giants aren't expected to resign him as his play, while OK, wasn't anything to write home about. Connor, though he had a nice senior year and a excellent week at the Senior Bowl wins this year's Slippery Slider award and falls all the way to the Giants. He should come in and contribute immediately. The Giants need help at corner and could look at Cason, Thomas or Tribble. (They seem to go for Boston College guys.)

Pick 32 to the Patriots is forfeited because they are cheaters.

That's the mock, guys. Expect changes as we get closer to the draft. As always, please comment with any thoughts or disagreements.


Pete S said...

The Giants could use depth at linebacker, so Connor would be juicy. I have this sneaking suspicion that he won't be there, though.

Getting Chris Long would be a dream for the Jets, but would you be satisfied if that had to settle for "The Ghoul?" He looks like an impact player, and the Ohio State defensive players seem to stick in the NFL.

P-Cat said...

Hey Pete,

Nobody was more surprised than me when Connor slipped. I tried to do this mock as each team would do it, and the truth was, the teams took players who fit their needs better. Washington almost took him, but needed a DT more, and San Diego almost did too.

Ghoul looks like he'd be great for the Jets. i think Mangini would be very happy with that kid.

P-Cat said...

Just saw over at PFW. Their mock draft doesn't even have Connor in the first round.

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