It's not going to be long before you're sick of seeing them but here's the first of my annual series of MOCKs. And without further adieu. ..................
What this MOCK is not -- this is NOT a shopping list of my favorite prospects who miraculously happen to be available in my fantasy construction. I have no problem with the choices that many of the mini-Kipers have made but I do have a problem with the fact that so many of their favorite players are still available long after they would be taken in a the actual draft.
What this draft is -- hopefully, it will be an attempt to replicate a real draft to a certain degree, which means that players who are ranked higher than our selection number according to Big Board values are no longer available. [note: I made an exception to this rule once, when it appeared that a player was ranked too high, and it proved to be the case in the real draft, too]
A note on strategy -- I usually declare my strategy in advance. I've yet to write an extensive analysis of our needs but I want to declare what I'm looking for in this draft and why I'll chose one player over another. Part of it is clearly a positional decision but there are other factors, such as BPA and the 'shape' of the crop. There are also supply & demand considerations but I'll discuss these at a later point.
Here's what I'm looking for:
DL need: high (both positions)
OLB need: moderate to high. Round is a consideration because we don't want to pay another OLB at a 1st round salary, but fairly high is OK because of the importance of a pass rush.
ILB need: moderate to high.
CB need: moderate to high. The round consideration is fairly important, as in higher is better. We don't need a crowd at CB but there's still an opening for a top CB.
S need: fairly high. Round consideration is important. We're looking for a starter but we could survive without one, so there's a go high or not at all strategy in effect. And I'm not saying that we can't take one we like later, just that there's a premium on finding one fairly early is we go with a S pick.
I've listed the defense first because I intend to focus there. There are some areas on offense that could be addressed but my intent is to fill any areas that are deemed needy in the end-of-season review through free agency. There are a few exceptions however:
RB need: moderate. I'm specifically looking for a playmaker change-of-pace RB. I'd also consider a FB but not until somewhat later, which is a positional value decision.
OL need: moderate. OT is a position I'll consider starting later on (late 2nd and after) but I hope to fill any needs through free agency.
TE need: moderate to high. We're looking for an upgrade so higher or never is the rule. I'll also be keeping the positional specification that demands blocking ability on top of receiving ability.
A final note on procedure -- I don't read the Big Board in advance because I want to be surprised. Of course, it won't be a complete surprise but it will still force me to make a decision, just like the real draft. Also, I'm only including the first four picks in this draft but I'll discuss possibilities for the 6th and 7th round picks at the end. I'll be using the DraftTek Big Board because it includes underclassmen.
Pick allotment: #2, #4/36, #15/47, #3/67
#2) -- Nick Fairley (DT/DE) reach/value - ( 0 )
#36) -- Stephen Paea (NT) reach/value - ( - 5)
#47) -- Jimmy Smith (CB) reach/value - ( - 1)
#67) -- Kendall Hunter (RB-C) - ( -2)
I'm going to leave most of the discussion till later but I want to discuss alternate choices before the list changes.
The first pick isn't going to be easy and I could easily change my mind and go with Patrick Peterson, CB, who ranks four spots lower at (#6).
The second pick could have been Allen Bailey, DE ( #36), LaMichael James, RBC (#39), Martez Wilson, ILB (#42), Tyler Sash, SS (#43)
The third pick could have been Justin Houston, OLB34 (#49), Ahmad Black, SS (#53)
The fourth pick could have been Luke Stocker, TE (#67)