When you put together a mock, there are two questions you have to answer; will these be the picks you think the teams ought to do or is this what you think they will do. The second is will this mock be a static with all teams selecting in their current positions or will it be dynamic and attempt to anticipate positional moves.
This mock is what I think teams will do and dynamic in that it tries to anticipate what moves will happen. Both of which are a hell of a lot harder to pull off well. In the end, mocks are mostly speculation and I think its almost as fun and interesting to prognosticate positional moves as it is trying to guess player selection.
I’m leaving any trades for Edwards, Boldin, Quinn and Campbell out of the mock as including them while also allowing positional moves simply makes the mock rather chaotic and too dependent upon pure speculation as to where these guys might get moved.
This mock was complete April 19 – I’ve added Walter’s new April 20 mock’s positions prior to posting, but did not use this when building this mock.
1. Detroit – M. Stafford – QB (Walter 1-1)
This pick appear to be moving from consensus speculation to a matter of fact as information regarding the contract negotiations between Stafford’s people and the Lions has started to leak out.
2. St. Louis – J. Smith – OT (Walter 1-2)
Could easily be E. Monroe, and in the end its just a matter of which way St. Louis goes as Cincy at 1-6 will take the other. I’ll respect the walterfootball.com board’s collective wisdom and will go with their take, which is J. Smith.
3. KC – A. Curry –OLB (Walter 1-3)
KC is the first of the teams involved in the Sanchez story. I believe that the Sanchez story will dominate this draft’s media coverage and make for great mocking and debate. KC is one of several teams in the giving column; that is, teams who might offer their slot to teams seeking Sanchez. KC’s 1-3 pick is worth 2,200 points on the public TVC. There is some good speculation that teams are actually valuing these early 1st round picks with some discount to the public Trade Value Chart due to escalation in early first round rookie contracts. I think this is probably true (which also helps explain Cutler being traded for no more than what the DVC claims to be the 1-3). If KC were offered anything close to 2,200 points for the 1-3, they should hit the bid without hesitation. For my part, I think the leaks of teams considering a move to 1-3 to seal the deal for Sanchez are faints and will not materialize. Curry is worth a 1-3 and simply makes the most sense for KC as many mocks have articulated well.
4. Seattle – M. Crabtree – WR (Walter 1-4)
I concur with the take by several mockers here at walterfootball.com that the case for a WR for Hasselbeck while he still has some good years left is more compelling than drafting Walter Jones’ future replacement. Seattle comes into play at 1-4 in the Sanchez story. Seattle like many others sitting at the top of the draft has two considerations: is Sanchez a good fit for us; and what could we get for our pick. I don’t like the idea of paying Sanchez 1-4 money to sit and develop for perhaps the majority of his contract behind Hasselbeck. It’s simply too soon for Seattle to devote this much of its resources to a future QB. Crabtree is a legit 1-4 and solves a pressing need for the ‘Hawks. The down trade always has to be considered, since it can command an array of picks.
5. Cleveland – B. Orakpo – OLB (Walter 1-5)
I agree with Hunter Ansley’s opinion on Orakpo not being a lock. Perhaps this is because I’m a Denver guy and Orakpo reminds me too much of Jarvis Moss. But, I’m not as convinced as Ansley, that Maybin isn’t just as big of a risk. I think this whole Rush or Hydrid DE/OLB fad is getting out-of-hand. Again, my Denver experiences may be showing … want a 272 pound college DE stud who ran a 4.69 for your hybrid? I give you Tim Crowder, who was standing up and playing OLB this weekend at mini-camp. Want a 260 DE who led the nation in sacks for your DE/OLB hybrid … that’s a 4th round pick in 2006 named Dummervil. This year’s DE/OLB fad isn’t new, it was all the rage the last time the 3-4 was the defense de jour. We in Denver did OK with the college DE to pro 3-4 LB game – Simon Fletcher and Karl Mecklenberg. The bottom line is that any pro position which requires a unique set of skills and is not a position typically found in the college game is necessarily a reach and more often than not filled by guys who did not contribute significantly as rookies. This same phenomenon goes for many DL guys who are projected to use a different technique or even a pro level technique at all rather than simply having overmatched their college OL opponents physically.
But back to Cleveland, Orakpo is the safer pick, politically, and GM/Coaches under scrutiny are more likely to play it safe. Cleveland has been involved in the Sanchez Story, and could become a central player in the drama. The Cleveland analysis is to either draft Sanchez outright and then trade one of their two QBs to a losing Sanchez suitor or simply trade down out of the 1-5 for points. I think in the end, Cleveland goes Orakpo, a pick I hate. Cleveland will be offering Quinn for additional picks once Sanchez is selected. They’ll then draft a QB prospect later in the draft.
6. Cincinnati – E. Monroe – OT (Walter 1-6)
As mentioned in many other recent mocks, the signing of Tank Johnson is a very strong tell on Cincy’s play for Raji. The need is OT and value is there in Monroe.
Oakland is the favorite mock for mocks. “Crazy Al wets his pants over some guy’s 40”. I can’t believe a Denver guy and lifelong Raider-hater is going to defend Oakland, but I am. I think the “Oakland is insane” storyline has been overplayed and Oakland has been dismissed as a freak show, just waiting to do something stupid at their next pick. I’m going to go original here in my mock and bring Oakland into the Sanchez Story, because it is rational for Oakland to do so. The focus on the counter-party for the Sanchez play has been Jacksonville at 1-8. Walter made this case I think first and as well as anyone. His insight into the plausibility of a Jacksonville down trade with a Sanchez suitor has been thoroughly adopted by media all over the nation.
By bringing Oakland into the equation, I do so with a lot of hesitation because the Jacksonville move as thought through by Walter is so compelling. But, it is because the Jacksonville play is so strong that I believe that at least one of the Sanchez suitors will try for a move in front of Jacksonville and trump the others. The move to 1-3 with KC is simply a bridge too far for most - perhaps all. This leaves the 1-4 to 1-7 picks as the targets to get ahead of Jacksonville’s 1-8 and the rest of the Sanchez pack. A move with Oakland at 1-7 is merely a 100 point cost over a move with Jacksonville at 1-8. If you’ve tossed $1,400 chips into the pot, why not raise $100 if that wins the hand. I found Matt and the board’s thoughts on Michael Johnson for Oakland compelling. I’m signing on. But while his stock may be rising rapidly, taking him 1-7 is a reach that even Oakland shouldn’t be presumed to make.
So, let’s line up the Sanchez suitors and figure who’ll end up with Oakland’s 1-7 and win the Sanchez sweepstakes. Denver? Not happening. Denver will never make a major move with Oakland as their counter-party. The organizations hate each other. McD can’t move up move much beyond 1-8 because if he does, the roughly 2,200 points he got for Cutler becomes the price he’ll pay for Sanchez, turning the whole Cutler debacle into a Cutler for Sanchez trade. McD and Xanders are meeting with Sanchez Tuesday. Denver is interested. But, Denver makes the move with Jacksonville or they’re out of the game.
NY Jets? This is plausible. The Jets are an above average team, which makes an up trade more rational (teams needing a few key players rather than a roster overhaul). But, I just don’t feel the love from New York that Sanchez is that much of a better solution than Freeman or Quinn. I see New York in the game for the Sanchez up trade but not at 100%, as they consider other QB options.
Tampa Bay? They signed Leftwich, but, the contract was not guaranteed. For me, this signals a wait for next year concession, a play for Freeman, talks with Cleveland and DC or just selecting a later round QB prospect.
San Francisco? SF holds the 1-10, so the marginal cost for them of a move to the Jacksonville 1-8 or beyond is the least of the suitors. But I sense hesitation. They might be hoping for a Sanchez fall to their 1-10 and be reluctant to pay up. They might be happy enough with their current QBs. They have committed a lot to the position in the past. I think SF makes some half hearted inquiries and then settles on seeing what drops. If Sanchez falls into their lap, great … if not, they can draft the best OLB on the board.
Minnesota? Not a name widely tossed into this ring, but I place a lot of weight on how politics impacts purely rational thinking. Chicago just got Cutler. Detroit lands Stafford. Green Bay has Rodgers. The Minnesota fans and media will be anxious about the escalation in the NFC-North. So, the Minnesota HQ must respond with something, even if it is somewhat half-hearted. Getting your name leaked into the Sanchez story might not be a bad thing. They’ll be talking to Jacksonville and may throw out a bid, but, probably not with enough commitment to win this war.
Washington? The owner has a mancrush on Sanchez. But DC has a problem. Washington has no 2nd, so a play for Sanchez becomes their draft. The move for DC begins with the 1-13 (1150) and the 3-80 (190) which equals only 1340 … 160 points short of what Oakland might expect. They could offer Campbell but that probably doesn’t do much for Oakland. This means that DC may seek a third party to take Campbell later. I think Washington ups the offer to include the 2010 3rd. After the trade is announced at 1-7, DC may see Campbell’s stock rise.
7. Washington from Oakland (for the 1-13, 3-80, 2010 #3) – M. Sanchez – QB (Walter 1-8)
8. Jacksonville – Maclin – WR (Walter 1-26)
Snookered by DC’s move with Oakland, Jacksonville goes with a player they like but can’t afford. Jacksonville might still get some inquiries for the pick from elite teams with a hole at WR. But trading up for a WR is diminished by the opportunity of acquiring Edwards from Cleveland or Boldin from Arizona.
9. Green Bay – B.J. Raji – NT (Walter 1-12)
GB is going 3-4 and has a potential solid NT, the key position in the 3-4, on the board.
San Francisco – Down trade to SD (trades the 1-10, 1300, for the 1-16, 1000, the 3-78, 200, and a 2010 4th)
SF is more than a player away and needs picks. SD pulls one over on Denver and grabs the 3-4DE both want. SD isn’t thinking about winning the AFC-West, that’s presumed. They’re seeking a few more key ingredients filling holes and playing 2009 for the AFC.
10. San Diego – T. Jackson – DE (Walter 1-9)
Jackson is the best 5 technique 3-4DE in the draft and fills a critical need for SD. Jackson is a rare prospect that has a higher probability to be able to contribute as a rookie which is by no means a given drafting DL prospects. Some analysis will dismiss this as a reach. I think its genius.
11. Buffalo – Oher – OT (Walter 1-10)
This pick appears to be less and less about speculation. Whatever order Monroe and J. Smith go, Buffalo presumes they’ll both be gone and apparently has Oher as the #3 OT. Picking your OT 3rd worked last year for Denver with Clady, who turned out to be the best of the lot. (Note to Chitown: Cutler attempted a zillion passes last year and his blind side OT gave up ½ a sack).
Denver – Down trade to Miami (trades the 1-12, 1200, for the 1-25, 720, and the 2-12, 460)
Disaster has struck Dove Valley. DC pulled around the Denver-Jax deal at 1-8 in a play with Oakland. Then SD grabbed Jackson at 10, in an up trade with SF. Denver needs numerous holes filled whereas Miami needs a couple of key starters to stay in playoff contention. Miami has two 2nds and can afford to move up to grab either the first CB in the draft or fill the Rush OLB with Maybin.
12. Miami - Maybin – OLB (Walter 1-13)
The Tuna sees depth at CB in the 2nd, and flaws with the tops CBs in V. Davis and M Jenkins, although entirely of a different variety. Maybin is a great fit for a major hole in Miami.
13. Oakland (from Washington) – M. Johnson – DE (Walter 1-7)
Ok, now Al can be Al. With a couple of 3s in his pocket for the effort and having kept Sanchez out of the AFC-West, Al gets his speed freak he might have spent the 1-7 to get.
14. New Orleans – C. Wells – RB (Walter 1-17)
Ansley claims sources on this one. Who am I to argue with that? Like Ansley, I hate this pick and am looking for a down trade for New Orleans … just not finding one.
15. Houston – C. Matthews – OLB (Walter 1-15)
Both Walter and Matt make the case for this pick. Their thinking is sound; so I’ll stay with their pick here.
16. San Francisco (from San Diego) – L. English - DE/OLB (Walter 1-28)
Singletary gets his Rush linebacker.
17. New York Jets – J. Freeman – QB (Walter 1-19)
The choice is RB in Moreno or QB in Freeman. Jets go QB and figure to solve RB later.
18. Denver – R. Mauagula – ILB (Walter 1-23)
Having lost out in the play for Sanchez, seeing Raji go to GB and having been flanked by San Diego on Jackson, Denver goes for best talent that fits the system on D … that would be Rey Rey. Denver fans applaud and McD gets a few more hours in town.
19. Tampa Bay – R. Ayers – DE (Walter 1-21)
Matt suggests the PewterReport.com for the best sourcing on Tampa. Matt has the Bucs going M. Johnson here, but I have him off the board to Oakland at 13 in their down trade. I’ll dismiss P. Jerry on Matt’s comments with all due respect to the Board which favored him here. Here’s a bit of free Pewter insight that’ll guide me, “"It's a different defense, it's a 4-3, but there are a lot of differences style-wise. It's just different. It's not the Tampa 2 everybody is used to here. It's detailed and requires you to play hard, but that's no different than Monte." - LB Barrett Ruud on the Bucs new Defense per the Pewter Report”
20. Detroit – W. Beatty – OT (Walter 1-20)
OK, Detroit got its QB and now needs to keep him from getting killed by landing a solid OT, ala Atlanta. Detroit must be counting its lucky stars as A. Smith has dropped and they still have the guy they thought they’d land in Beatty. So, it’s a choice of what you know and like versus perhaps a greater prospective talent at the cost of drama. Every draft has its projected top of the draft guy who takes a dive. For me, the 2009 award goes to A. Smith. This is no time to take risks and buy character issues. Doing that repeatedly in the past is one reason Detroit is Detroit. The Lions plays it safe and gets a solid guy they have examined thoroughly.
21. Philadelphia – B. Pettigrew – TE (Walter 1-24)
With OT solved, let’s get Philly a weapon. I think Reid, being in good with God, designed Pettigrew personally.
22. Minnesota – A. Smith – OT (Walter 1-11)
On sale due to drama and stupid behavior, Smith falls far enough for a team to say, we’ll buy – kind of like a track home in Vegas.
23. New England – M. Jenkins – CB/S (Walter 1-14)
I simply can’t have Jenkins fall any further. NE likes tweeners and they will play Jenkins at safety, which is probably best for NE and Jenkins. Having Jenkins fall to 23 has nothing to do with character, just the opposite, he’s a solid guy. But, I just see the whole class of DBs this year as weaker than most mocks have them. NE considers Cushing here too.
24. Atlanta – V. Davis - CB (Walter 1-25)
Matt has Davis falling to 24 and Atlanta as well. So I’m not too far out on a limb with both Jenkins and Davis here at 23 and 24.
25. Denver (from Miami) – S. Smith – FS (Walter 1-30)
Denver has an interesting decision here, fill free safety with either of two solid guys whose stock has been rising for months, S Smith and R Johnson, or go with either of two Rush OLB, whose stock has also been rising. I don’t think OLB is Denver’s most worrisome hole. Dummervil would be a top 10 pick if he was in the 2009 draft rather than the 2006 and he’d be labeled the prototypical Rush DE/OLB prospect. Dummervil gets at least a year to prove himself at OLB. This is an example of a central theme in my mock – the college DE to Rush OLB hysteria. Consider this: Dummervil, a proven NFL guy at DE, is considered a risky project moving to OLB, but some kid with numbers no better than Dummervil’s in college is worth $10-20 guaranteed. Hmmm. Jarvis Moss too would be in the DE/OLB hybrid category if he was in this year’s draft and Tim Crowder, as I mentioned in the 1-5 comments, is playing OLB at camp.
At safety, I love R. Johnson’s leadership and brain and Denver has worked him out. I’ve been a fan of Smith for some time. I’m going here with Smith over Johnson due to pure talent. I think Denver goes safety rather than the two good OLBs in Cushing and Baldwin because of need and because Smith has what the NE/Amoeba system calls for - versatility. It’s a bit of a reach, perhaps, but come draft day, perhaps not. The DTs here are 3 technique guys suited for the 4-3. Denver will also consider Knowshon Moreno, but the needs on defense are simply too great to ignore. Here’s a local insight for a national board: McD places a lot of value on guys who were on teams in college that won.
26. Baltimore – P. Havin – WR
Matt, Walter and Hunter all have Baltimore going WR but both Walter and Matt have Maclin dropping here, making the decision easy. It’s not quite so easy with Havin, due to character concerns. But the talent and speed is there and Flacco needs a vertical threat.
27. Indianapolis – P. Jerry – DT (Walter 1-27)
This is one of the few consensus picks with Walter, Matt and Hunter all agreeing. That’s good enough for me.
28. Buffalo – E. Brown – DE/OLB (Walter 1-18)
Buffalo has no reason to think TE J. Cook will not be around at 2-42, so this is a pick to be used elsewhere. The Bills solved the OT hole with Oher at 1-11 so that’s off the list. The Bills are delighted that concerns about strength have caused E. Brown to drop. They’ve got a big need for outside passer pressure - hole filled here. Walter has the Bills landing Brown at 11 before the trade; getting him at 28 makes Buffalo’s day.
29 New York Giants – B. Cushing - OLB
The Giants need a strong side LB and Cushing is a solid if not spectacular player.
30 Tennessee – D. Butler – CB (Walter 1-22)
Tennessee got knocked out by getting burned deep a couple of time by Flacco. They need a cover corner. Butler has questions about his ability to tackle in the open field, but if you’re burned you can’t tackle a guy who’s 5 yards behind you anyway. At least, Butler will lower the probability of a guy needing to be tackled at all.
31. Arizona – K. Moreno – RB (Walter 1-29)
Arizona may look for a WR but with Knowshon on the board they’ll grab him.
32. Pittsburgh – A. Mack – C (Walter 1-32)
Drafting centers and guards in the first is a no no. But, Pittsburgh plays by their own rules because they can. They draft quality and over time that gives them luxury. They might consider R. Johnson here too. Center for the men in black and yellow is solved for a decade.
Into the 2nd, guys Walter has in the 1st:
E. Bitton OT, will go fast in the early 2nd
Into the 1st, guys Walter has going in the 1st that I have going in the 2nd:
D. Brown RB (Walter 1-31)
Into my 1st, guys Walter has going in the 2nd
P. Harvin WR
B. Cushing OLB
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