DRAFTEK released their updated 7 round mock today, and I thought it would make a good test track to take my fancy new Big-Board out for a spin. I really want to get an idea of how she handles before the draft rolls around. How is she in the corners? What kind of acceleration are we talking about here? Will it have a good trade in value? What is it's safety rating? Above all, will my border collie like riding in the back?
All very important questions.
[NOTE: Scroll down to the bottom to see Version 1.1, where I target Moreno early, in an aggressive drafting strategy.]
1st round, pick #12 overall: Well, the usual suspects are off the board. Our highest need, Dline, loses the best option, since Raji went to GB at 9. The highest ranked player on my board is Moreno, but I also like Maualuga here. Tyson Jackson has benefitted from a lot of pre-draft hype, and though he is good and a good fit, he isn't BETTER in either category than a number of other players still on the board. I decided to wait on Jackson and Moreno, to see if either was still around at #18 to reconsider. Cushing was also available, but I really want Maualuga's fiery presence. I am making a statement in this draft: Denver's D is going to put it all out on the field, and play with intensity and urgency.
Draftek had us taking: DE, Tyson Jackson
Top guys I passed on: RB Moreno, OLB Cushing, RB, Wells, ILB Laurinaitis, TE Pettigrew, OLB/DE Barwin, C Alex Mack.
I took: ILB, REY MAUALUGA, USC
1st round, pick #18 overall: Well, crap. Missed out on Moreno, who went to the Saints at #14, and Washington took T.Jackson. Looking at my board, I still want to address that Dline, and my highest ranked options are Barwin, Peria Jerry and Ziggy Hood. Of the three, Barwin is my favorite, but like Moreno at #12, I am tempted to see if he lasts to #48. Not a very good chance, for any of them, especially Hood. For now I'm leaning towards Hood, but who else is available? There are still several offensive options up there at WR, TE, C and RB, but I will pass and wait to see who slips. I have plenty of time between now and my last pick in third to recover if there is a run on any of those positions. Laurinaitis is still there, but with Reyrey, I might be doen shopping at ILB. Patrick Chung is still around, but I feel like I can wait there as well, though I can't wait too long for good safety help. Thank god for Bdawk and Renaldo Hill. At OLB Matthews is available, but I'm not too high on him, and am willing to wait until he is a much better value. Looks like my best choice is probably 'ol Ziggy.
Draftek had us taking: ILB, James Laurinaitis
Top guys I passed on: RB, Wells, ILB Laurinaitis, TE Pettigrew, OLB Barwin, C Mack, SS Chung, RB A.Brown
I took: DT/DE Evander Hood, Missouri
2nd round, pick #48 overall: The top players on my board right now are SS Chung, RB A..Brown, followed by Jonathon Luigs and DE Mitch King. I still want my pick of the Dline prospects that are left, so I note that Fili Moala, Paul Kruger and Dorell Scott are all still there. Good. Between them and King, I am in no rush to nab one right now, so I'll take a minute to look and see what else I could adress. There are some offensive weapons on the board, but nothing that I rate as highly as Andre Brown, and I still think I can wait and see if he slips to the third. He is becoming more and more of a value by the second. The other RBs still there are Shonn Greene and Rashaad Jennings, both of whom I like. Maybe I will get to take my pick later? WR still looks healthy on my board, so I will see if I can nab a falling value sometime before the fifth. After that I might get worried. Everyone looks like they will be around for awhile. Three centers are already off the board, so Luigs is in danger, but he might last until the third. Chung will undoubtedly be gone, but I am worried about a continued run on quality Dline prospects. This is a very tough call, and one I might regret.
Draftek had us taking: RB, LeSean McCoy
Top guys I passed on: RB Andre Brown, TE Jared Cook, C Jonathon Luigs, DE Mitch King, RB Shonn Greene, RB Rashaad Jennings, DT/DE Fili Moala
I took: SS Patrick Chung, Oregon
3rd round, pick #79 overall: Well, obviously #79 is too long to wait for my top choice of RB Andre Brown. Gone. Surprisingly, Rashaad jennings is still available. I thought for sure he would go before Brown, even though I had brown ranked higher. Shows to go ya. Also, I lost out on Luigs as well, so that gamble didn't pay off, but I'm ok with that. I will need to prioritize a couple of my C/G prospects in the coming rounds, but for now I can look elsewhere. Surprise of surprises, Mitch King is still available, and he goes straight onto my short list. As far as Dline goes, I still want more, so I am keeping my eye ona couple of guys from here on out, namely terrance taylor, Roy Miller and Darryll Richard. No hurry though. There are a number of offensive weapons available right now, including a couple of TEs, but I want to get maximum value here. So Jennings or king, King or Jennings.... Tough choice.
Draftek has us taking: QB, Stephen McGee (booooo!)
Top guys I passed up: DE Mitch King, ILB Scott Mckillop, TE Chase Coffman, TE Shawn Nelson, ILB Dannell Ellerbe, RB Cedric Peerman, CB Coye francies, CB Mike Mickens, DT/DE Corvey Irvin
I took: RB Rashaad Jennings, Liberty.
3rd round, pick #84 overall: My board hardly changed at all between these two picks,a nd I have my pick of everyone I was listing above. BUT, I have a 30 pick gauntlet to run before I am up again. I need to look ahead and make sure I don't get a top guy sniped off my list from down the road. I'm still not worried about NT Taylor, but I should be, as he is that last legit NT on the board. Character questions exist there, so I defintiely do not want to jump the gun. Wrs are starting to thin out, and intriguing guys like Jarrett Dillard and Ramses Barden likley won't be around much longer. But I have some backup plans for WR and TE both, so again, no need to reach just yet. I still don't have my center/guard and I am starting to get the feeling that the best value might be in CFA there. I'll keep an eye on them. In the end, I'm not going to overthink this too much.
Draftek has us taking: OG, Hermann Johnson
Top guys I passed up: ILB Scott McKillop, TE Chase Coffman, TE Shawn Nelson, ILB Dannell Ellerbe, RB Cedric Peerman, CB Coye francies, CB Mike Mickens, DT/DE Corvey Irvin
I took: DE Mitch King, Iowa
4th round, pick #114 overall: Well, that 30 picks did indeed clean out a lot of my top picks. Surprisingly, McKillop is still hanging on, too bad that ILB isn't really a need anymore. Terrance Taylor is still there, and he's starting to get onto shaky ground, (not good for such a big guy). Irvin hasn't gone anywhere, and I suspect he will last a bit longer, but I am pretty content with how much DE depth we have rustled up. WR is still a solid group, with Austin Collie, Brandon Gibson and Mike Wallace on the board, but I am starting to feel the pinch. Looking past them I see a number of WR roleplayers, but nothing really striking. But I think I will be ok seeing if one of these guys slips to the fifth. If not, no biggie, I'll take a roleplayer. Sammie Lee Hill is now on my Radar, but only for his potential as a NT, which isn't much. I'll pass and see what happens to the bigboy. 35 picks till I go again, so I want to be confident about this one.
Draftek has us taking: SS Michael Hamlin
Top guys I passed up: ILB Scott McKillop, DT Corvey Irvin, ILB Antonio Appleby, TE Cameron Morrah, RB Corey Sheets, OLB Zack Follett, WR Austin Collie, DT Vance Walker, ILB Jasper Brinkley
I took: NT Terrance Taylor, Michigan
5th round, pick #149 overall: Well, I got the BEEF I was looking for on the line, but believe it or not, I'm still keeping my eye on some more. Vance Walker, Darryl Richard, Roy Miller, ra'Shon Harris and Khaliff Mitchell are all on my radar, but I am thinking about those WRs right now. Somehow WR Mike Wallace slipped through the cracks, so I'll take a long look at him. All of my TEs are still on the board, so we'll see about getting to that position on the next turn. Someone reached for Center A.Q Shipley, which I was hoping would be a player that slips into the 6th or 7th round. No luck. there are still a handful of guys I like on the oline, and I'm thinking seventh round for them. In the end, this pick is pretty easy. A receiving deep threat who was a good kick returner? Where do I sign?
Draftek had us taking: FS CJ Spillman
Top guys I passed on: DT Vance Walker, OLB Lee Robinson, CB Cary Harris, ILB Appleby, WR Quan Cosby, TE Bear Pascoe, DT Roy Miller
I took: WR Mike Wallace, Mississippi
6th round, pick #185 overall: So far I have addressed a lot of needs, and I got some prospects I like on the Dline. I have absolutely no overwhelming needs at this point, which is good, but I would like to address an Olineman if possible. Looking at who is left, my favorites are G Matt Slauson, C Jon Cooper, C Brett Helms and C Alex Fletcher. Unfortunately Edwin Williams went right before I was up, so no luck there, he would have been a nice pickup. As it is, any and all of these guys might be available in the seventh and even in CFA. So are there any other values that I can stock up on instead? The top values on my board right now are ILB Antonio Appleby and DT Darryl Richard, and I like them both a lot. Roy Miller is also still there, and I'm afraid someone will snipe him. So far I haven't been very lucky with the gambles, but I THINK I can wait on Richard and pick him up later or in CFA. Same with Appleby. There are still a lot of nice TEs on the board, would that be the next best thing to taking an olineman?
Draftek has us taking: WR Darrius Passmore
Top Guys I passed up: Antonio Appleby, WR Quan Cosby, FS Troy Nolan, DT Rashon Harris, DT Roy Miller
I took: TE Bear Pascoe, Fresno State.
7th round, pick #225 overall: Getting into the home stretch now, thanks for hanging in there with me! Well, I was right about Roy Miller getting sniped, and Rashon Harris got taken too. I was disheartened to see RB Ian Johnson get nabbed up, I would have taken him with a seventh. Another CFA RB I was hoping for, Arian Foster out of Tennessee got nabbed too, darn the luck... Appleby also was taken, so no luck there either. On the bright side, all the c/g prospects are still there, and one of my favorite guys, in Darryl Richard is still there. A couple more good WR projects are gone, and it doesn't look like I will take another, but I am very happy with Wallace. A lot of LBs, and SS that I like are available too. I'm wondering about DT Richard though. I still feel like he will make it to CFA. Think I should keep testing my luck?
Draftek has us taking: WR Domonique Edison (who?)
I took: DT Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech
7th round, pick #235 overall: This is it, last pick. Its kind of funny, because Draftek has us taking Darryl Richard here...lol. I should have taken a chance. As it was, only OLB Corey Smith is gone from my board, so I have my choice of guys, but there is a looooong list of compensatory picks before college free agency starts, so I need to be careful here. My top guy on the board is FS Troy Nolan. This guy has 'playmaker' written all over him, and he was Torain's teammate. I would love to get him. But I still want to take my pick of the centers, it is important that I don't just take leavings at that position. DT Khalif Mitchell is still there, but he is a bigtime project, despite his upside, and I'm feeling good about the Dline depth we have now. WR Sammie Straughter is available, I think he has what it takes to make the roster. There is also a lot of athleticism available at LB still, such as Worrell Williams, DJs little brother, and lots of work ethic and drive available, ala ILB Daniel Holtzclaw. Tough call.
Draftek has us taking: DT Darryl Richard
I took: C Jon Cooper, Oklahoma
Colleg Free Agents: I got lucky taking Cooper with my last pick, because Draftek had him getting scooped up if I didn't. The other C I was really wrestling with taking was Alex Fletcher from Stanford, and he is available as a CFA. I'll also try to sign WR Sammie Straughter, RB Chris Ogbonnaya, TE Jared Bronson, DT Khalif Mitchell, ILB Daniel Holtzclaw, OLB Marty Ivy, and SS Terrence Moore. There are a couple of others, but this is a nice start!
Final Haul and Overview
1st round, pick #12 overall ILB, Rey Maualuga, USC
1st round, pick #18 overall DT, Evander Hood, Missouri
2nd round, pick #48 overall SS, Patrick Chung, Oregon
3rd round, pick #79 overall RB, Rashad Jennings, Liberty
3rd round, pick #84 overall DE, Mitch King, Iowa
4th round, pick #114 overall DT, Terrance Taylor, Michigan
5th round, pick #149 overall WR, Mike Wallace, Mississippi
6th round, pick #185 overall TE, Bear Pascoe, Fresno State
7th round, pick #225 overall DT, Darryl Richard, Georgia Tech
7th round, pick #235 overall C, Jon Cooper, Oklahoma
Obviously, I'm highly disappointed that we didn't get Moreno, and it seems likely that he will be gone by #18 in the real thing in a few weeks. I do like the amount of young leaders that I have added, especially on Defense. That will be a noticeable addition in a few years. I only have one "risky" pick, in NT Terrance Taylor, who may have some motivation concerns, but I really like that he gives us the option not to let the supply/demand nature of the NT position push us around too much. 6 out of 10 picks went to defense, and I was able to nab one each of the key areas on offense. I love the depth on the Dline here. That could pay off in the long run, and hopefully even sooner!
You may have noticed a lack of QBs. That was intentional. QB needs to be looked at through a wider lense than any other position, and I think we will scavenge around for a third QB in college free agency, or off of the waiver wires. Denver MAY take a QB, but I can't imagine that it will be a very interesting or exciting pick, because there aren't any interesting or exciting QBs coming out this year. We'll see, though...
Biggest Regret: Taking Evander Hood at #18. I should ahve reached and taken Barwin, because he will be a better fit in the long run I think. Hood isn't ideal, and he will be asked to learn some new tricks. Barwin didn't last long after, and I think he is worth the #18 pick and the money there. C'est la vie...
Biggest Plus: This is tough, since its hard to narrow it down, but my favorite pick has to be my number one pick, Rey Maualuga. I hear a lot of talk about how he isn't a 3-down backer, but none of the talk really holds water. He is the first step towards the future of our defense, and it is a very good step.
In this Version I wanted to be aggressive about pursuing overall value initially, which means using the same 7 round mock, but taking Moreno #1 overall, just to see how much pressure was on me to reach. Dline depth, especially at NT and 5-tech is still considered the greatest need. I'll spare you the play-by-play commentary on each pick, and then briefly look at how it went down in the the overview.
1st round, pick #12 overall RB, Knowshon Moreno, Georgia (Now that is what I'm talking about!!)
1st round, pick #18 overall OLB/DE Connor Barwin, Cincinnati (This could have been Hood again, also)
2nd round, pick #48 overall C Jonathon Luigs, Arkansas (Chung was highest ranked player on my board, but I think I already have my luxury pick in moreno)
3rd round, pick #79 overall DE Mitch King, Iowa (I took him a little earlier than last time, but he is the highest rated dline player on my board right now)
3rd round, pick #84 overall CB Coye Francies, San Jose St. (I find that I am taking less valuable players overall in this scenario)
4th round, pick #114 overall NT Terrance Taylor, Michigan (I took him again at the same spot)
5th round, pick #149 overall ILB Antonio Appleby (He is my highest rnaked player at an area I haven't addressed yet. I could have went WR Wallace again here too).
6th round, pick #185 overall DT, Roy Miller , Texas (He could be a late round steal)
7th round, pick #225 overall FS Troy Nolan, Arizona St. (Josh Barrett's teammate from the Sun Devils)
7th round, pick #235 overall DT/DE Darryl Richard (I'll take him again, but it was tempting to take TE Jared Bronson)
Overview: I got a lot of the usual suspects on the Dline, but I noticed I had to prioritize them a little bit more. Overall I found myself reaching throughout this draft, but not for need. I was reaching to find value that was worth the pick. I found that it wasa simple matter of addressing need at any given point, since all of the highest ranked players on my board were available at every pick, and were good fits for need. The problem was they all would have been available later too.
For example, I wanted a WR in the third, but the only one that wouldn't have been a super reach was Brandon Tate... Same story in the fourth, and the fifth, and next thing I knew there wasn't ANY WR worth taking. To get good value at WR in this draft I needed to take it with one of the top 3 picks, and I would be hard pressed to take a WR in the first. All the WRs in the second round were third tier, and I still had my choice of first tier offense and defense.
Bottom line, picking the highest ranked player available on my first pick put me in a position where picking the highest ranked player was the better option throughout the draft, even if that player was likely to slip down the boards further. I think one way of remedying this situation, is to try to trade down in the first. If we trade the #12 to move down, we should only go a 2 or 3 spots at the most, and take Moreno there. If we take Moreno at #12 we should try to trade the #18, and 'reset' our draft position value-wise.
But hey, we got Moreno! ;)