I've changed my draft title from the "Ultimate Mock Draft" to the "Supremely Wicked Mock Draft" as I've noticed other sites are using the "Ultimate Mock Draft" slogan.
The NFL Draft offers a deeply rooted football fan to play the ultimate game of "fantasy." As fans, we can position ourselves as GM & say "here's who I would have drafted." Through the years, I've missed mightily on some & hit others. Regardless of whether I'm "right" or I'm "wrong" - the purpose of this mock draft is entertainment.
In the past, I was high on guys like Ben Troupe. YIKES! But, I hit J-Mike on the head. I asked for the Packers to take Jeremy Thompson. Ouch! But, I wanted DeSean Jackson. I also said to stay away from Brian Brohm. I predicted the Packers would draft Robert Francois, a little-known LB out of Boston College. He finished the year on the Packers practice squad. That's what brings out the fun in the build-up of the NFL Draft.
I'm taking the 2010 NFL Draft to a whole new level. After spending numerous hours watching college football in 2009 followed by the East-West Shrine game & practices, the Senior Bowl, and a decent portion of the combine, I'm going to build my own white board. Seriously. I'm also using a variety of websites to help me concoct my opinions. In the end, it'll help build the intensity for the middle rounds of the draft.
As usual, I'm a fan of trading down in the 2010 NFL Draft. I think there could be great talent to be had in the 2nd & 3rd rounds this year. I don't like where we sit. #23 is no-man's land. Yes, you can find a gem. No doubt. But, really, it feels like you're stuck in the middle.
At this point, there seems to be a lot of uncertainty with regard to where players will be drafted. After all, the free agency period just began and the draft is only one tool for fulfilling roster needs.
It's interesting because I hear CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson could be drafted in the top 10, but I also hear that he could slide to 20 due to injury concerns. Joe Haden, CB, Florida was long thought to be a top 10 pick, but after a poor combine, he appears to be sliding. Presently, it appears to be nonsensical to wonder if Haden could be around at #23, but we'll see where he stands 5 weeks from now. If Brandon Graham is available at #23, he'd have to be strongly considered, however Graham seems to be skyrocketing up draft boards. I've seen Jason Pierre Paul, OLB/DE, South Florida being drafted in the top 3. I've also seen him in Round 2.
Over the coming weeks - if time allows - I'll spend ample energy taking a look at a position-by-position analysis. Difficulty arrives in the form of a lack of video evidence to go along with some of the players that I did not see enough of in college. Therefore, my judgments are based on others written opinion. Still fun, just not ideal.
Two guys who I know a lot about, but who I wish I could see more of are Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri & Daryl Washington, LB TCU. Both were dominant in college. Often times, they looked like grown men against High School kids. Physically, they are totally gifted. I wish I could confidently say that they could play OLB across from the Claymaker. Some websites suggest that they could. Others state that they should strictly be ILB's or 4-3 OLB. Weatherspoon will be a 1st rounder. Washington will fall to the 2nd or 3rd. Both would render strong consideration if they fit the scheme. For the record, the Claymaker has publicly asked for the Packers to draft Weatherspoon via twitter. In return, Weatherspoon expressed an interest in playing with the Packers and across from CM3. If I were positive that both could play OLB, I'd make sure that I left the draft with one of the two of these guys.
As a reminder, I do not draft OL. I don't know enough about the players. Clearly, the Packers need a LT. It's arguably our greatest requirement.
Round 1 - The Packers pick Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State. Mathews is a strong, physical back. He is tough to bring down. Oh, and he ran a 4.41 at the combine. He catches the ball out of the backfield. He's a weapon. I also considered Jahvid Best. His concussions scare me. But, he might be a perfect player for the Packers needs. Give him the ball 8-13 times a game. If the Packers trade down, it could be with the hope of selecting Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State. He'd fit the CB need that we have. He'd also be able to return kicks for us. I'd like him at #23, but it's unlikely. He'll probably get drafted between picks 30-45.
Round 2 - The Packers select Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama. Jackson wore #3 in college. He was an island cover guy in Saban's system. He's aggressive in coverage. He understands football. He'd mature gracefully beneath Ras-Al, Sir Charles, and T-Mon. I prefer Jackson over Dominique Franks, CB, Oklahoma. Most speculate that the Packers will target Franks. I also considered Koa Misi, OLB, Utah. He can get to the QB & drop back in coverage, but I feel that you can get OLB help later in the draft. It should be noted that some very good 3-4 OLB's are found later in the draft. They need agility, a motor & speed. I love the size & speed of Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech. It'll be interesting to see where he falls after breaking his foot before the combine. I heard an interview with Reshad Jones & Morgan Burnett, S, Georgia Tech. Both mentioned that Thomas was the best WR they ever had to cover at the college level. Burnett would also be a good value pick in the 2nd round. Tyson Alualu, DE, Cal, is a possible option as well. If it does not happen via FA, the Packers will undoubtedly look for depth along the DL, probably at the DE spot. Ted Thompson has placed a premium on investing in the DL. Alualu is the ideal size for a 3-4 DE & he's been extremely productive at the college level. Great size and endless motor. Plus, he played in a 3-4 defense at Cal. Seems like a logical pick for the Packers in the 2nd round.
Round 3 - The Packers choose Eric Norwood, OLB, South Carolina. He's a sack-master. At times, he dominated SEC games. He has the size & athleticism. He's a hard worker. He can rush from both the right & left side. He can drop in coverage. He might warrant a 2nd round selection for the Packers. I've seen some have him falling to the 4th round. As a Senior, he had 7 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. As a junior, he had 9 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Reshad Jones, S, Georgia is also in the running. Good range. Hard hitter. Good hands. But, he does occasionally lack field awareness. Great size and a true presence in the middle of the field. The Packers do not need a TE, but if they did, there are a boatload of great TE prospects. In the third round, you might be able to get Ed Dickson, TE, Oregon or Jimmy Graham, TE, Miami. Dickson reminds me of J-Mike. Traditionally, Ted Thompson drafts an athletic WR. This year, I'd like that guy to be Andre Roberts from the Citadel. He has all of the gifts to make it at the next level. He's a dangerous return man. He's electrifying with the ball in his hands. He goes up for the ball in traffic. He does not appear to be afraid of contact. He's elusive & he seems to have sublime football presence, which is an underestimated football talent.
For the record, I predict the Packers select Larry Asante, S, Nebraska in the 3rd round. I'd like the pick. He's a physical player who will be familiar with Green Bay as Bo Pelini was his college coach. I'm sure Pelini has told him stories. Asante is a hard hitter with an aggressive mentality. Much like Ras-A-tari. While I think the Packers will select Asante, I'm hoping for Norwood.
Round 4 - The Packers select O'Brien Schofield, OLB, WI. Realistically speaking, if I could have one guy in the 2010 NFL Draft, it might be O'Brien Schofield in the 4th round. Literally. Schofield was born to be a Green Bay Packer. He is a cold weather athlete with a working man's mentality. His size and torn ACL should prevent him from getting drafted earlier than the 4th round. Schofield is a "football player." Ted Thompson is known for drafting "football players." This is almost too good of a fit to be true. Due to his ACL, Schofield probably won't be able to play until November. Regardless, he'd be a great pass rushing addition at this spot. Walter McFadden, CB, Auburn. He's confident. At 5-10, he's a little smaller than the ideal Ted Thompson CB, which means we probably won't draft him, but McFadden plays taller than he stands. Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa is a shutdown type CB who plays the ball well. He fits the Ted Thompson height & weight at 5-11, 195. He ran a 4.47 & he seems like the type of guy Thompson might target.
Round 5 - The Packers pick Trindon Holiday, KR/RB, LSU. It's no secret that there's a mutual interest between Holiday & the Packers. They talked at the Combine. They talked at the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star game. Holiday would be an interesting addition as he's strictly a scat back/kick returner. Clearly, the Packers need to bring in a KR. Willie B. has proven to be an injury prone player. We need competition and reliability. Holiday might be a mini-version of Mardy Gilyard or Dexter McCluster. Holiday might have Dave Meggett capabilities. Joique Bell, RB, Wayne State is an interesting player. He dominated lower level college football. If you have not seen him on youtube, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWf1bHtg1tc&feature=related - there is other Joique Bell video available via youtube. He's definitely worth a look. Andre Anderson, RB, Tulane reminds me of a mix of Ryan Grant & Matt Forte. Good hands. Somewhat of an upright runner. If he steps through a tackle, look out. Good cut back runner. Brandon Sharpe, OLB, Texas Tech. All he did was have 25.5 sacks over the last two years. He has the ideal size for a 3-4 OLB. I'm not positive that he can drop in coverage, but one thing is for sure: he could rush the QB at the college level.
Round 6 - The Packers choose Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor. With Hawk likely about to play his last year in Green Bay & Desmond Bishop not performing up to his potential, I'd be surprised if the Packers did not draft an ILB in 2010. He's active. He finds the football. He's tough minded. I'd be surprised if he were not a sure fire special teams guru early in his career. Danario Alexander, WR, Missouri is injury prone. He's also a sublimely gifted WR with 1st round potential. He wins jump balls. He runs the slant. And every time he touches the ball, he's thinking 6 points. Jamar Wall, CB, Texas Tech is also a name to discuss in Round 6. He broke up 26 passes over the last two years after compiling 5 interceptions as a sophomore.
Round 7a - The Packers select Stevie Brown, S, Michigan. I would be absolutely shocked if the Packers leave the 2010 NFL Draft without a Safety. Brown has range & speed. Not overly productive in college, but he has the size, speed and athleticism to continue to develop in a legitimate NFL player. Much like Brad Jones last year, Stevie Brown could be a big school system guy that is witty enough to pick up the scheme and make an immediate impact. I also thought about Lonyae Miller, RB, Fresno State. He was Ryan Mathews teammate in college. He ran a 4.49 at the combine. He can catch the ball. He's elusive. He'd fit the West Coast style of offense. If the Packers are seriously considering a draft pick exclusively delivered towards enhancing special teams - Brandon James, KR, Florida might be that guy. James is a fascinating, elusive kick returner. He offers little to no offensive punch, but he was a dynamite playmaker at the college level. He is absolutely electric.
Round 7b - The Packers select Lantz Mathers, OLB, Northwestern Oklahoma State. Every year, I try to target a small school prospect that the Packers might choose. A late round draft pick that you hope becomes a gem a la Donald Driver. This year, I'm targeting Lantz Mathers. He's 6'1, 253. He can rush the QB. He can drop in coverage. He was an NAIA All American. From what I read, when Mathers tackles you, he's getting the football. He's been a premier player at a lower level of football. Last year, we drafted Brad Jones in Round 7 to compete at OLB. This year, it's Lantz Mathers. If you've been following, you know that I'm high on Lucien Antoine, S, Oklahoma State. Nicknamed the "Punisher." Every time I watch Antoine play, he's doing something. He lives for contact. Plays the ball well. He would compliment Nintendo Nick at Safety and bring some much needed competition to Ras-A-tari. Dexter Davis, OLB, Arizona State is a good option as well. As a junior, he had 11 sacks. As a sophomore, he had 10.5 sacks. As a freshman, he had 6. He has great size and ran a 4.56 at the combine. He's slipped due to a poor Senior Season. At this point, he'd be worth the risk.
As a side note, the Packers are assumed to be receiving a 5th or 6th round pick in exchange for the loss of Colin Cole. The compensatory picks have yet to be announced. Compensatory picks are generally given at the end of March at the annual NFL owners meeting, which is held March 21-24 this year. After the compensatory picks are awarded, I'll attempt version 2.0.
Enjoy St. Patrick's Day.