The NFL Draft is fickle in the sense that one unexpected selection by a team (can you say Christian Ponder) renders months of analysis meaningless. Now that Round 1 is in the books, let’s take a look at the mock draft that was done here at sidelionreport.com to see where it got close and where it went off the rails.
In determining what picks I thought each team would make I first had to determine what each team’s needs were. This is a daunting task that is complicated by what the primary need was, what the secondary needs were and further complicated by whether a General Manager would take the best player available and throw need out the window.
My initial thought while watching the draft last night was one of embarrassment. I can pinpoint at least three factors that led to the mock draft looking like an old physics test I took in 11th grade, full of red pen marks, players crossed out and my Mom and Dad asking me “Did you even try?”
The first factor was that four quarterbacks went in the top 12 overall selections. Had I known this, the mock draft would have been much easier to predict. I had a suspicion all along that the prospects of a rookie wage scale may push quarterbacks up the draft, especially for teams that had a clear quarterback need. This financial savings proved to be more important that I gave it credit for.
The second factor that threw the mock draft into disarray was the massive trade that the Falcons pulled off to get Julio Jones. While some had Jones going 6th overall to Cleveland, I had him going 10th to Washington. The trade makes the mock draft look silly with the Cleveland pick (6th overall) and the Atlanta pick (27th overall) automatically being wrong. Not only wrong, but now the mock draft looks ridiculous.
The third factor was the minor deals here and there. Jacksonville moved to No. 10 and selected a quarterback (Blaine Gabbert) while Washington moved back to No. 16 and got their defensive end (Ryan Kerrigan). Cleveland had already moved back through Atlanta but moved back up via the Kansas City Chiefs and grabbed a defensive tackle (Phil Taylor). Kansas City dropped to No. 27 and grabbed a wide receiver (Jonathan Baldwin). Finally the New Orleans Saints moved back into the first round and got a running back (Mark Ingram) through the New England Patriots.
All of the above were unforeseen by me when I was putting together the mock draft. In the end there were 32 selections that were made in round 1. I had 28 of them on my first round mock draft. I don’t know what a good number is, as far as getting the players taken in the first round goes. It was not difficult to determine that guys like Von Miller and Marcel Dareus were first round picks.
The players that I had listed as first round selections that slipped out of round one were Da’Quan Bowers, Akeem Ayers, Justin Houston and Rahim Moore. The players that were drafted into the first round that I missed were Christian Ponder, Danny Watkins, James Carpenter and Jonathan Baldwin. Who knew????