Hey folks, just wanted to get out a heads up of what went down on Sunday with EJ's second 2010 Live Interactive mock draft.
First of all, for those of you who didn't catch the open thread it was a TON of fun. EJ did a great job of orchestrating it, and this run was nearly four hours shorter than the first run for three rounds of mock drafting. People came prepared, eager, and ready to draft.
I must say, a quick jog down memory lane reminded me that the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, and Arizona Cardinals had very, very good drafts. The Chiefs in particular, run by our own elvisalex, came away with a haul that included Rolando McClain, Golden Tate, Terrence Cody, Jared Veldheer, and Matt Tennant if I remember correctly. Much kudos to elvisalex for orchestrating a very sound draft for Kansas City. His general manager skills were in full form on Sunday!
Not that I feel like rubbing it in the faces of the other 31 reps, but I don't think the Broncos ended up with such a raw deal either. In fact, I think many of you will enjoy greatly the draft I mocked for us.
I struck a pre-draft trade with our own Skotty almost right after we became the general managers of our teams (Broncos and Patriots, respectively). Skotty was looking to move up in the first round, and he had the ammunition (three second round picks) to do so. We agreed upon a trade that sent the 11th overall pick to New England in exchange for picks 22, 47, and a sixth rounder. This trade checked out on Walter Football's updated trade value chart.
After failing to move one of my two second round picks for two third round picks (from the Steelers), I had a draft slate that included the following picks:
1. Pick #22
2. Pick #45, 47
3. Pick #80
With our first round selection, I was absolutely torn. Dez Bryant had fallen all the way to pick #22, and let me tell you I had a tough time when deciding between he and Florida center Maurkice Pouncey. Some folks on the thread were calling for Sean Weatherspoon, and some for others.
It literally came down to a coin flip. Bryant is rated 11th on CBS Sports' big board, and Pouncey is all the way down at 32nd. Conventional logic says you should go with the sexy value pick, but I reached for need, and I think it will pay huge dividends.
With the 22nd pick in the first round, the Denver Broncos selected MAURKICE POUNCEY, C, FLORIDA
The general consensus was positive. Pouncey is an instinctive interior lineman who has the potential to start in this league for a decade, and be a consistent Pro Bowl performer. He is far and away the best center prospect in this draft, and he fits the biggest area of need for the Broncos. Who knew?
I felt I had set myself up very nicely for the second round. I had taken care of our biggest need, and quickly glancing over the roster and my projected depth chart, I saw one or two more glaring areas of need, and a bounty of prospects still on the board from which to choose.
With two picks up-coming in the second round, my top target was Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate, who was my #2 target in round one at pick #22. Tate fits our offense to a "T", but sadly he was gone to the Kansas City Chiefs as I mentioned earlier. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I wound up adding who I believe to be the best true nose tackle prospect in this draft.
With the 45th pick in the second round, the Denver Broncos selected CAM THOMAS, DT, NORTH CAROLINA
My first two picks stood at 6'5" and 6'4" respectively, and weigh in at 306 and 331. That's what I call adding beef to both sides of the line. I felt the additions of Pouncey and Thomas, along with Seth Olsen's addition to the offensive line had really set me up nicely.
After I selected Thomas and failing to trade one of my extra second round picks for additional third rounders, I knew I was in a position to take the best player available on my draft board. Initially, I was hoping for a receiver like Golden Tate or Demaryius Thomas to fall to me, but as the live mock indicated and as I anticipated, that notion was unrealistic.
Instead, the best player available on my board was Cal running back Jahvid Best. I saw one full game of Best's in 2009, and it was against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Best had three touchdowns in the first half, and I knew immediately that there was something special about this kid.
One scouting report I read said (paraphrase) that some of Best's moves are those that can only be fathomed in a video game. He is an electrifying playmaker who adds another dimension to our offense. He is a great receiver out of the backfield and an excellent return man. I have mocked Jahvid to the Broncos once before, but at this point in the draft I felt the value was just too high to pass on.
With the 47th pick in the second round, the Denver Broncos selected JAHVID BEST, RB, CALIFORNIA
With my selections up to this point, I realized that the two areas I wanted to address next were inside linebacker and wide receiver, not necessarily in any particular order though there was a specific player I was targeting at the 80th pick (I got him, by the way).
As we were approaching the 80th pick, I noticed that Dexter McCluster was taking a miniature free fall. Since I had already selected Jahvid Best, I decided it was in my best interests to keep my temptation to myself and stick with my gameplan. Like Dez Bryant in round one, it was very, very hard to pass on Dexter with my third round choice.
With the release of Andra Davis, I believe inside linebacker will be addressed within the first four rounds of our draft, and there is one prospect I have my eye on in particular as a great value.
I picked up a Sporting News NFL Draft preview magazine, and this player was ranked as their top inside linebacker. He is one of Tim Lynch's favorite prospects. He is compared to Jerod Mayo of the New England Patriots. He is Washington linebacker Donald Butler.
Butler is ranked 101st overall by CBS Sports, but his value is fast on the rise and he likely will not fall out of the third round. I have mocked him as high as the second round, and Sporting News believes him to be not only the best inside linebacker but a first round pick.
Butler is the best inside linebacker in this draft in terms of his ability to not only stop the run (15.5 TFL in 2009) but his potential against the pass. He has excellent range and projects as a 4-3 outside linebacker or a 3-4 inside linebacker. I could not resist the thought of adding him into the fray with D.J. Williams, Elvis Dumervil, and Robert Ayers.
With the 80th pick in the third round, the Denver Broncos selected DONALD BUTLER, ILB, WASHINGTON
At this point, many of the mock drafters were pleading for E.J. to allow a fourth round to be added. Probably wisely, EJ politely declined and the draft ended after three rounds.
I feel I came away with a massive haul. I acheived goal number one by nabbing Pouncey, who was my top target heading into the draft. In the second round, my top targets were Cam Thomas, BPA, and Donald Butler. I was really hoping for Golden Tate to slip to me, but that was out of the question.
Thomas was an easy selection, and I was elated to add Best with the other pick. Butler is currently one of my favorite prospects in the entire draft, and I picked him up at pick #80.
Had the draft carried on, my top target in the fourth round based on the players still available would have been Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley or Ohio speedster Taylor Price. I was shocked to see both of those guys out of the third round, and likely I would have ended up taking Jordan Shipley with my fourth round selection, which would have been around 114th overall.
In the sixth and seventh rounds, I would have had three picks and would have targeted Adrian Tracy, a pass rushing defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid from William and Mary, an offensive lineman, perhaps Dace Richardson of Iowa, and Trindon Holliday.
1. Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
2. Cam Thomas, DT, North Carolina
3. Jahvid Best, RB, Cal
4. Donald Butler, ILB
**5. Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas