So the moment of truth is nigh. What players will be taken later today and tomorrow in the hopes of taking their respective franchises to the much sought after "next level?" Will some lucky team find the next Tom Brady (or Joe Montana), or will we see the next Ryan Leaf (or Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, etc.)? The NFL draft is hyped up like no other in major American Sports, and covered nearly as much as the Super Bowl itself. Ok, maybe that last part is facetious, but it sure seems like it.
So how will I fare in the 2nd Annual Fan vs. the Experts Mock Draft Challenge? Only time will tell. A little recap though. First of all, I separate the picks into three different categories: Right On, Right Player Wrong Team (in the event of a trade), or Dead Wrong. Lat year I had 3 Right On selections, and 3 Right Player Wrong Team selections, and 26 dead wrong picks. That pretty much put me in the mid to lower portion of the pack. In contrast, last year's champion, Mel Kiper, had 8 Right On selections and one Right Player Wrong Team selection. This year I'm going to add a (simple) point system - 1 point for a Right On selection, .5 points for Right Player Wrong Team, and 0 points for Dead Wrong selections. And to clarify, to qualify for the Right Player Wrong Team type, the player must be picked in the same draft slot as originally projected or it counts as a Dead Wrong pick.
So who have I included in this challenge? For those of you who have read my previous posts, you'll know I went over this in EF #9, but for those of you new, here's the break down of challengers:
- Rob Rang, Chad Reuter, Pete Prisco, and Clark Judge from CBSSports.com
- Jamie Dukes, Pat Kirwan, Charles Davis, and Steve Wyche from NFL.com
- Mel Kiper (the reigning champ) and Todd McShay from ESPN.com
- Don Banks and Peter King from SI.com (King's actually from the SI magazine)
- Steve Silverman from NBCSports.com
- CollegeFootballNews.com from FoxSports.com
Alright, now on to my final Mock Draft selections:
1. Detroit Lions - Matt Stafford, QB
For all of those who told me from the on set that there is no way the Lions would take Stafford no. 1 this year, all I have to say is "How you like me now?"
2. St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith, OT
This one was particularly tough, as I have liked Eugene Monroe more.
3. Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry, LB
KC needs help on D, and Curry is arguably the best player in the entire class.
4. Seattle Seahawks - B.J. Raji, DT
As stated before: Colin Cole who?? Also, the 'Hawks need D help more than a back-up QB for three years, Todd McShay. The can try for their QB of the future next year.
5. Cleveland Browns - Michael Crabtree, WR
I shouldn't really have to explain this one, but I will anyway. Donte' Stallworth's legal troubles and Braylon Edwards probable trade.
6. Cincinnati Bengals - Eugene Monroe, OT
If Cleveland grabs Crabtree, Bengals look to bolster their O-line which needs a lot of help. Also could potentially go Jeremy Maclin, but I doubt it.
7. Oakland Raiders - Jeremy Maclin, WR
Al Davis, fast WR. 'Nuff said.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars - Andre Smith, OT
Jags gave up 42 sacks last year.
9. Green Bay Packers - Brian Orakpo, DE
Packers' D only registered 27 sacks.
10. San Francisco 49ers - Mark Sanchez, QB
Once they tried to sign Kurt Warner, you could probably guess this would be the next step.
11. Buffalo Bills - Tyson Jackson, DE
With the Bills securing another 1st rounder, they go for aiding their pass rush and hope they can add offensive help later.
12. Denver Broncos - Malcolm Jenkins, CB
"What? After you dogged on Jenkins last time, now you have him going higher?" I know, I know. But it's my blog, and my mock draft, therefore, my rules. Besides, Broncos ranked 31st in INTs with only 6 all last season, plus gave up 228.5 passing yards/ game (26th). Trust me. They need this.
13. Washington Redskins - Everette Brown, DE
Could the Skins trade this pick to get Mark Sanchez? Possibly. Will they? I don't think so. Skins need more D-help than Albert Haynesworth can give them. Brown would be a great addition to a pass rush that ranked 28th in sacks (24).
14. New Orleans Saints - Vontae Davis, CB
With Jenkins gone, the Saints take the player I originally had them with.
15. Houston Texans - Brian Cushing, LB
They added DE help for Mario Williams, now need to focus on another aspect of their D. Cushing should help a D that gave up 122.6 rush yards/ game last year (23rd).
16. San Diego Chargers - Knowshon Moreno, RB
Didn't LT rework his deal? Yes, but two things here: 1). LT won't be there forever, and 2). Moreno is too good to pass up at this spot.
17. New York Jets - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR
Even though they need a QB and it's possible they could reach for Josh Freeman here, I think they'll take a WR. With the recent Harvin and Nicks issues, Heyward-Bey would be the next WR off the board.
18. Denver Broncos - Peria Jerry, DT
After adding help to their pass D, they now focus on the D-line.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Aaron Maybin, DE
They need to replace Simeon Rice, and Maybin is rated higher than this by a lot of people. Hard to pass up here.
20. Detroit Lions - Michael Oher, OT
While the Lions on officially signed one player, they pretty much cemented their 2nd first round pick (as long as he's still here).
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Chris Wells, RB
With only one 1st round choice now, the Eagle really need to focus on getting running game help. But you may also see this pick get traded to Arizona for Anquan Boldin.
22. Minnesota Vikings - Percy Harvin, WR
Positive drug test or not, Harvin is too good to fall further than this.
23. New England Patriots - Clay Matthews, LB
Pats have an OLD LB corps. Need an infusion of youth and talent.
24. Atlanta Falcons - Rey Maualuga, LB
Pretty much the same thing in Hotlanta.
25. Miami Dolphins - Hakeem Nicks, WR
No real change here, the 'Phins need to give Pennington (and eventually Henne) some offensive help.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Darius Butler, CB
Still the most needed position and the best player to fit there.
27. Indianapolis Colts - James Laurinaitis, LB
I know what you people who have been reading my other posts are thinking: "Ever since this year's draft analysis began, he's been saying that he wanted Laurinaitis to fall to Indy." I was ecstatic to see that James was still on the board. Colts pounce.
28. Buffalo Bills - Brandon Pettigrew, TE
Well how lucky is this? Bills still get Pettigrew, and at a price a lot less than the 11th overall pick.
29. New York Giants - Kenny Britt, WR
Plaxico Burress, self-inflicted gun shot wound. Need I say more?
30. Tennessee Titans - Evander Hood, DT
Titans take Hood in the hopes he can fill the gap left by Haynesworth.
31. Arizona Cardinals - LeSean McCoy, RB
I still like McCoy better than Donald Brown.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Eben Britton, OT
Steelers really need to shore up their O-line. Center Alex Mack is also a possibility here.
Alright folks, that's it. I'll be posting my 2nd round mock picks today before the start of the second round of the draft. Until then, enjoy draft day. May your ripping apart of my mock picks commence!!