it's early but Santa is on his way (almost) so here we go again -- MOCK TIME.
Rules -- I'll be using the Big Board from DraftTek, which includes underclassmen and is culled from the rankings of a variety of quality sites.
As in my past MOCKs, only picks that fall below our designated draft slot will be considered. I've broken that rule only when a player appeared to be available at our pick (Malcolm Jenkins, who did end up being available in the real draft) despite what DT's BB says.
Reaches are explained, and are usually for positional fit considerations. This is also the same logic a team would use, since their Big Board is not the same as those listed on draftnik sites.
Also, later picks will be higher than in reality because compensatory picks have yet to be awarded, which will happen at the annual meeting. We'll also know by mid-January which underclassmen will enter early. The point at this juncture is to merely get a look at the type of draft that would be possible. I think MOCKs are valuable tools for examining team needs and re-creating the mental exercise of team building.
Position -- I've set our position at #12 based on Chicago's current record and our own picks at #25 in each later round (our real pick order could vary as it rotates between members of a tied group). Chicago is currently in the #9 - #14 group and we are in the #23 - #27 group.
#12 -- Rolando McClain - ILB ( +3 reach )
DISCUSSION: the Big Board has Colt McCoy @ #12 but I don't see us trying use our top pick at QB at this point. I didn't formally state needs in advance (which I could still do by editing) but I don't mind doing an exploratory MOCK to see how I feel about the picks, which helps me develop a strategic draft plan in a backwards sort of way.
OTHERS -- Brandon Graham @ #14 is a prospect who interests me but I can't completely warm to the idea of taking a player that early who appears to have talents that we already have on the team. Unlike the thrust of late, which emphasizes production over workout warrior metrics, I'm reluctant to take someone who doesn't appear to offer some metrics.
Also -- Trent Williams - OT @ #16 and Charles Brown - OT @ #18. I've outlined the justification for taking an OL in previous posts and that thinking has now transformed into taking a OT in the early part of the draft. Williams can play OG, but I'm not convinced he's the best value. I think we may be able to find appropriate value if can trade for more picks and make an OT selection at a later point. A suggested trade with Green Bay, which would allow them to pick an OT, makes sense since we could still address the OL adequately somewhat later in the draft.
#57(#25 in 2nd) -- Cameron Heyward @ #65 - DE34 ( + 8 reach )
DISCUSSION: He's not really going to be available that late so it's almost like cheating. He also appears headed back to OSU but you can never know for sure, unless they formally declare (hire an agents, etc.). It would be an extraordinarily easy pick if he's available, but there are a number of prospect that we'd also like that are ranked immediately above this pick, which is why so many draftniks like the idea of us trading our 1st pick for lower picks, even more than usual.
OTHERS -- Maurkice Pouncey @ #56 is tantalizingly close. Arthur Jones - DE34 @ #51 and Dan Williams NT @ #53 also are frustratingly gone. Jones is an injury red flag but that's the only reason he slips this far. More on him later. Williams could also help at DE#4 perhaps, so it's irritating to see scheme appropriate players elude us.Stephan Paea DT @ #57 is another prospect I'd love to fit in some how. Like Graham, he produces, but his metrics make me wonder whether he fits our scheme. There's so many players we could use around this point in the draft that I"ll save my comments on all the possibilities till later.
APPRAISAL -- I think you have to reflect on what you've achieved after each pick and re-evaluate accordingly. One of the objectives was to find help on the OL and it's yet to be addressed. It's not a worry, actually, but it is something to think about in the following rounds.
#89(#25 in 3rd) -- Matt Tennant - OC/OG @ #94 ( +5 reach )
DISCUSSION: It's a pleasure to address the OL finally, and this would be a perfect pick even though OT is still a concern. I've written so much about addressing the interior-OL but things have changed in the last two days. Finding a good C/G candidate is still a worthwhile goal but a big OT/OG hybrid might be even more attractive at this point. However, it's irrational to worry about what a pick isn't rather than what he is.
#121(#25 in 4th) -- Mike Neal - DT43/DE34 @ #130 ( +9 reach )
This was a very tough pick. I'm not nearly as 'up' on the talent in this draft as I need to be. There simply weren't many scheme-appropriate and positional need choices available. An alternate choice might be Justin Boren - OC/OG, who's a reach of ( + 29 ). I don't have much confidence that DT's Big Board is completely accurate at this point. I've heard that Boren is very good but I have to rely on 2nd hand opinions at this point. Neither Neal nor Boren would be poor choices, and, as before, the only real problem is in what hasn't been filled. Both the defensive secondary and OT could have been good choices, if only I had more confidence in my knowledge of the prospects available.
ALTERNATES -- Joe McNight - RB/KR had some appeal. Picking another RB after last year's draft might raise some eyebrows but we'd be a little better off if Arrington had been able to play for us this year, so I'm not shy about drafting a player with his skill set. I'd also take a OT if I had a clue of who's worth taking.
#185(#25 in 6th round) -- The Big Board isn't helping much now. I'd probably take Vladimir Ducasse - OG/OT who's at #209 for a reach of (+ 24). A CB would be an appropriate choice, too, but I'm not familiar with these prospects and I don't want choose without some knowledge of their abilities.
#217(#25 in the 7th round) -- Here's some of the alternatives: Myron Rolle at #223 (reach +6 ). Ted Larsen - OC/OG at #217 ( 0 reach). Riley Cooper - WR at #225 ( + 8 reach).
1) - Rolando McClain - ILB
2) - Cameron Heyward - DT/DE34
3) - Matt Tennant - OC
4) - Mike Neal - DT
6) - Vladimir Ducasse - OG
7) (?) Riley Cooper - WR
ANALYSIS: I doubt that I'd actually ignore the CB position but that's what can happen in a real draft. I'd also have difficulty ignoring Myron Rolle if he were available that late -- which is very doubtful. Picking players when you have no real room is a bad practice, but I think they would take him anyways.
I'll save further comments for replies to other's comments.