I often talk about my desire to use mock drafts to experiment.
I’d say it’s a need to review everything that ‘could’ happen rather than an unrealistic prediction months before even the combine, let alone next April’s draft.
However, I’m using this week’s projection as a ‘where we are now’ type experience.
It’s the end of college football’s regular season and now we’re waiting for Bowl season to begin. Things will change as we get to the Senior Bowl, the combine and then individual work outs. As of today, this is how I see things panning out.
It’s the purest mock I’ve done so far – and maybe the most reckless. There’s more opinion and ‘hunch’ involved to justify picks, rather than a qualified, “what if?”.
I will archive this mock and keep it in the ‘Scouting Reports’ section of the blog. It’ll be interesting to see how things have changed by April.
A few thoughts and explanations:
- Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas) isn’t in the first round. I am a big fan of Mallett’s on field talent, but I remain unconvinced that he has the necessary mental aspects that teams want in an expensive young quarterback. It’s harder, in my opinion, to place Mallett with a team than it is Newton or Locker. Whilst there are teams in need of a quarterback (and Mallett has top-15 qualities) I would predict a fall as of today. I’m willing to be proven wrong.
- Jake Locker (QB, Washington) on the other hand remains in the top-15. Some people would (rightly) question this logic. Others might call it ‘bizarre’ or ‘plain wrong’. I would not grade Locker in the first round myself. His accuracy issues are a major concern. However, I do think some teams – rightly or wrongly – will see the physical qualities, the character and occasional flashes of brilliance and feel they can turn water into wine. I can see a situation where Locker drops (and badly). I can also see a situation where one team takes him as high as I have projected here. The Seahawks could easily be that team.
- Cameron Jordan (DE, California) and Tyron Smith (OT, USC) are two prospects on the rise. That is represented here – with both having the potential to crack the top ten during work outs. For both – it’s the promise of potential and the physical quality they bring to the team that will be attractive rather than any brilliance shown in college. Smith in particular is the hot tip right now to be the first tackle off the board – representing a year without any obvious top end OT prospects.
- Other prospects might fall, such as Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska) and Robert Quinn (DE, UNC). I’ve kept both high on the board here with Quinn at #6 and Amukamara at #11. Quinn might suffer after missing the entire year through suspension and I could see a drop into the teens. This is a best case scenario for him based on the assumption he will work out well at the combine. Amukamara also has to show well in Indianapolis after only a so-so year without any picks. He struggled against Justin Blackmon and whilst he hasn’t been challenged that much this year, that hasn’t stopped a guy like Patrick Peterson having an impact.
You can see the latest projection by clicking here or selecting ‘Mock Draft’ in the title bar.