1. The draft never turns out how we think. Therefore, making a prediction that is different than the mainstream can be more accurate. Picking Knowshon Moreno last year was a contrarian-type of pick that was only predicted and desired by a small amount of people here, EJRuiz among others.
2. The best drafters always error on the side of best player available over position of need. With that said, you still don't draft a QB if he is the best player available when you have a Peyton Manning on your team. There is a balance, but it tilts heavily towards best player available.
3. We are not a great team. We are not one or two players away from a Super Bowl. We should not pick an OG, a WR, or a DT just because they are the highest rated at the position they play. Here is an example. If you go for best player available let's say you obtain two five star players, one four star player, and one three star player. That gives us a total of 17 stars. If we just draft based on positional need we would likely draft one five star player, one four star player and two three star players. That gives us 12 stars. After three years drafting best player available gives us 51 stars. If we draft based on position need that gives us 36 stars. You get the point.
4. I am skeptical we can obtain as much as people are saying for Brandon Marshall. I wish the media would report what they are hearing from GM's as to what his value out there is. Also, I go back and forth as to what to do with Marshall. The bottom line for me is that if he is a chemistry killer, we should move him, regardless of his production. His teammates also appeared to support his benching against the Chiefs, and that spoke volumes.
5. Unlike most pro football fans, I am a Tim Tebow believer. I would love to draft him and I am not ashamed to say it. I would even take him in the first round. Offenses evolve in the NFL. In the 80's and 90's we had the west coast offense, which dominated, won tons of Super Bowls, and had defensive coordinators scratching their heads. After that we had the Patriots-type of offense, which won Super Bowls as well. Both offenses have become well known and, for lack of a better term, "figured out." I still think you can win games with both offenses, but I think the next great NFL offense is going to be here soon. My hunch is that a player with Tebow's skills would be the prototype for that offense.
No, I don't think the spread-option is going to be the NFL's next great offense. I do think some modified version of it will be though. In my mind, Tebow has a strong arm, is accurate, smart with the football, can obviously run with the football, and is a legendary leader. His long release can be modified but I would not mess with his throwing motion too much. I would bet than his long release problem would be offset by his threat to run the ball at any given time. If we draft Tebow, we no longer have problems with 3rd and 1, or 4th and 1. That problem is solved overnight.
6. This upcoming draft appears to be first-round defensive heavy and relatively weak offensively. I think we should draft accordingly. Next year may be a more offensive draft and we should draft accordingly then as well.
7. We are currently in the pre-combine draft evaluation period. We always underestimate the effect the combine has on opinion. I don't believe the combine should be given much stock, but somehow it always does. I think players like Gerald McCoy, Eric Berry, Taylor Mays, Rolando McClain, and Carlos Dunlap will light up the combine and possibly push them out of our range.
8. Rolando McClain is a man-child, beast of a player who has elite talent. I am pretty sure he will not be around by the 10th or 11th pick. We should just assume he will be gone. After watching the championship game it reminded me what an effective blitzer and run-stopper he is.
With that said, here is my mock draft, with a Brandon Marshall trade obtaining a first and a third and a Scheffler trade obtaining a third. Both trades seem slightly far-fetched to me, but you never know. I also wonder if we will trade someone like Chris Kuper, who may be a better fit with the Redskins.
1st Round (A) - Carlos Dunlap DT. Yes I know about the character concerns. Has there been anything else other than one DUII? I'm not sure. What I am sure of though is that Dunlap looks like the second coming of Richard Seymour. In my mind, he is three times the player as Tyson Jackson and Tyson Jackson was taken 3rd overall (what a reach!). He seems to me to be the prototypical five-technique prospect. He can get to the QB and stop the run. He is 6'6" and 290 and can dominate games, especially big games. I would be all over him. By the way, I don't want to hear that he will slide a long ways. His "character" concerns might allow him to slide two, three, or four slots, but he is not sliding much more than that. As I said, I am assuming McClain will not be available.
1st Round (B) - Dan Williams NT. This guy has an ass that is as big as a Ford Truck. He is gigantic, BUT he is also athletic, aggressive, and agile. He will force teams to run around him and if they run at him, they will pay a price. I am sick and tired of teams running the ball up our ass. We need more weight on our line and he fits the bill. I like him more than Terrance Cody because he appears to be more active and more aggressive. He throws people around like rag-dolls. I'm quite sure he would command a double-team. Put him next to Dunlap, who might also command a double team and you have CHAOS! This would be two-thirds of our defensive line for the next ten years. Taking a guard with this pick is desirable as well but solid nose tackles don't come around too often.
2nd Round (A) - Mike Pouncey OG. I have a well documented man-crush on the Pouncey twins. They are big bruisers who are part of one of the best offenses in college football history. They create monster holes and have a nasty streak that I love. They don't take any S#%#! Putting Mike right next to Clady would equal running to the left all day! At this point in the draft he might just be the best player available too.
2nd Round (B) - Mardy Gilyard WR. I am pretending we traded our third from Marshall and our third for Scheffler to get this second round pick. This 6'1" receiver is a speed demon who is not only a great kick/punt returner but is a dynamic playmaker at wide receiver. We need some team speed and he adds to it definitely. This would free up Eddie Royal. Gilyard, in my mind, is similar to a Percy Harvin, but maybe one notch below.
3rd Round - Anthony McCoy TE. Big TE who can block and catch. Was having a great year before he got injured. Would be a good value here. I would take Maurkice Pouncey in a New York second if he was available.
4th Round - Ben Tate RB. Averaged over 5 yards a carry. Is very fast and weighs almost 220 pounds.
5th Round - Eric Olsen C. Possibly won't fall this far but you never know. Ranked as one of the top 5 centers in the nation. Is a very good player who could be a more than adequate back-up.
6th Round - Brent Bowden P. I don't know anything about him other than his punting looks good on paper. Our punting was abysmal and I think this would be a wise choice.
7th Round - Legarrette Blount RB. He probably won't be available here but you never know. I would even consider taking him as early as the fifth round. I watched him all last year and thought he was poised for an amazing senior season, guess not.
Thoughts: I am trying to avoid taking McClain or Ilupati because usually the players we get tunnel vision for are not available. I am also very high on Brian Price DT UCLA, but I wonder how he would fit a 3-4 defense. I think we could pick up a center via free agency.