Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft, Take 3

In Mambino Nation, this week is about the end of the NBA regular season. Mambinos get handed out to rookies, defensive stalwarts, coaches, and of course, the superstars.

Everywhere else, this week is NFL Draft Week. America's favorite sport that doesn't include a race car (palindrome!) has been building the anticipation for Thursday night's Draft kickoff for what seems like an eternity. Mock Drafts are so prevalent around the interwebs that there are websites that have compiled hundreds of mocks, to produce the "ultimate" mock. I would call it extremely dork-tastic, but after I realized that I was a tad excited that this exists, I'll merely call it "innovative."

In this space we've had two previous NFL Mock Drafts. The first had a simple alternating style, in which TuckRule, Gotti, and I took turns making picks for each team. The second version added Pucklius and Zimmy to the mix, giving each of the 5 participants virtual ownership over a set of teams.

This third and final edition has yet another wrinkle. The three original mockers were given the task of submitting who SHOULD be drafted by each team (predicting who WILL be drafted is an exercise in stupidity). Using those picks, a "consensus" pick is agreed upon, and that player is thereafter taken off the board.

Special thanks to Gotti for making these charts; God knows I ain't getting down with html code on my own.

MINMatt KalilMatt KalilMatt KalilMatt Kalil
CLERyan TannehillJustin BlackmonRyan TannehillRyan Tannehill
TBMorris ClaiborneMorris ClaiborneTrent RichardsonMorris Claiborne
STLRiley ReiffJustin BlackmonTrent RichardsonJustin Blackmon
JACMelvin IngramMelvin IngramMelvin IngramMelvin Ingram

There's no point in even analyzing the first two picks. On Tuesday, Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson revealed what we knew would happen ever since Andrew Luck declared his draft eligibility: the former standout Stanford signal-caller (alliteration!) will take over Peyton's Place. Furthermore, the Washington Redskins traded up to the St. Louis Rams' original pick at #2 overall, and there's just about the same security in predicting that Baylor Superman Robert Griffin III will head to D.C.

So we start at #3 with Minnesota, which has a unanimous consensus pick in So-Cal offensive tackle Matt Kalil, but the more interesting pick is at #4, where Mambino has decided, despite TuckRule's vehement protests, that the Cleveland Browns take Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The latest out of Ohio is that the team will choose between Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne, but current Browns QB Colt McCoy can't throw a lick. TuckRule would like to solve that problem by giving Cleveland the best wide receiver available, but in my not-humble-at-all opinion, you gotta take a first-round grade quarterback if you need one. Five of the past six Super Bowl-winning teams have been led by a first-round pick under center. Since 2000, 122 quarterbacks have been drafted in rounds 2-7. Just FIVE of them have won a playoff game, and 4 of those 5 were drafted before 2002. The Browns do have two first round picks, but Tannehill, athletic with a lightning-quick release, won't be available later. The NFL landscape has changed; winning teams need someone that gives defenses headaches, not guys that allows defenses to cheat and play basic formations.

MIAQuinton CoplesMichael FloydTrent RichardsonMichael Floyd
CARFletcher CoxFletcher CoxDontari PoeFletcher Cox
BUFStephon GilmoreDavid DeCastroRiley ReiffRiley Reiff
KCDavid DeCastroLuke KuechlyTrent RichardsonLuke Kuechly
SEAQuinton CoplesQuinton CoplesQuinton CoplesQuinton Coples

Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd is a dirty human being. In March of 2011, he received a citation for drunk driving and was suspended indefinitely. However, just as fall practice was about to begin, his suspension was curiously lifted by fellow dirty human being, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. There is nothing good that comes with being associated with Notre Dame, but a write-up on Floyd is necessary since most expert mocks have Tannehill to the Dolphins at #8 overall. Miami traded BockerKnocker-favorite Brandon Marshall to Chicago in the offseason, so I guess he fits a need for them, if you're willing to equate wide receivers with dirty human beings.

Looks like a Chestnut Hill girl to me, save for being okay with touching Dirty Human Beings.

On the other hand, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly is a clean human being. He has no dust-ups with the law, which is saying something, considering the ticky-tack stuff on which BCPD trades its name. But his football accomplishments read like a grocery list accomplishments. Keeks led the nation in tackles in each of the past two seasons, and finished with the most tackles in Atlantic Coast Conference history. His mantle holds the Butkus Award, the Rotary Lombardi Award, the Lott Impact Trophy, and the Bronko Nagursky Trophy. When critics slammed him for not being athletic, he went out and produced the best linebacker combine numbers. The guy has elite instincts and will succeed at the professional level. But for me, I don't know if you can ask him to stop Adrian Peterson in a goal-line situation, or shadow Wes Welker in a zone scheme, so I wouldn't pick him this high. But AT LEAST HE'S CLEAN.

ARZJonathan MartinDavid DeCastroTrent RichardsonDavid DeCastro
DALStephon GilmoreStephon GilmoreTrent RichardsonStephon Gilmore
PHIMichael BrockersDont'a HightowerDontari PoeMichael Brockers
NYJJonathan MartinTrent RichardsonTrent RichardsonTrent Richardson
CINCordy GlennMark BarronMark BarronMark Barron

South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore is shooting up draft boards like a bullet. The experts' consensus pick of Mark Barron, therefore, might be skewed by earlier mocks that don't account for Gilmore's rise. The former Gamecock plays like he has eyes on each side of his head and possesses good technique in open field tackles:

Let's be clear on one thing: NFL teams will not let Trent Richardson fall outside the top 15, and maybe not even outside the top 5. Richardson is an all-world talent. So why would Mambino mock him to the New York Jets at #16? Well, our jobs aren't on the line if we don't get 10 wins on the gridiron next year. Richardson will have an immediate impact to the team that picks him, but the impact has a good chance of being just that. The every-down running back is on its last legs when it comes to a NFL depth chart; almost every team prefers the fantasy-dreaded Running Back By Committee over the traditional bellcow. So it doesn't make sense to me to build your team's future around a running back, as good as Richardson is, and as incredible as Arian Foster is for the Houston Texans. I mean, Marion Barber III retired after this season, and the dude is 28 years old! In basketball, that's prime for an elite season. In baseball, he's ready for his first gargantuan contract. In hockey, he's due for something, but I won't opine on what that something is because the puck game is still so foreign to me. But in football, the 28-year-old running back is out getting Old Yellered? Come on!

SDJonathan MartinDontari PoeDontari PoeDontari Poe
CHIChandler JonesJonathan MartinCordy GlennJonathan Martin
TENDre KirkpatrickDre KirkpatrickDre KirkpatrickDre Kirkpatrick
CINJanoris JenkinsJanoris JenkinsCordy GlennJanoris Jenkins
CLEMike AdamsKendall WrightCordy GlennCordy Glenn

A ton of expert mocks won't even feature Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe. But Gotti absolutely loves his athletic intangibles so much that he's willing to overlook how raw the kid really is. If it were up to him, Gotti would have Carolina take Poe at #9 overall, but it took until pick #17 for TuckRule to finally jump on the bandwagon to make Poe the consensus pick for San Diego. But what a beast this kid is. Go outside and run 40 yards. When you look at your time, extrapolate how much worse it will be when you realize that you're NOT 346 pounds:

DETMike AdamsShea McClellanCourtney UpshawCourtney Upshaw
PITDont'a HightowerJerel WorthyDont'a HightowerDont'a Hightower
DENChandler JonesChandler JonesCoby FleenerChandler Jones
HOUJerel WorthyKendall WrightStephen HillKendall Wright
NEJerel WorthyShea McClellanStephen HillJerel Worthy

The Indianapolis Colts are sitting at the top of this Draft, and even though it's been said time and again, their shameful season last year shed more light on the 2000-decade MVP candidacy for Peyton Manning. That team isn't just a crap sandwich, it's got a side of turd-tasting fries and a large vomit drink. Peyton's new team, the Denver Broncos, are so deep that I can't wait for the first soundbite of Von Miller celebrating with #18 on the sideline. Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones is a sack machine, but just to mix things up, here's a video of his more famous brother:

GBShea McClellanAndre BranchNick PerryAndre Branch
BALShea McClellanStephen HillStephen HillStephen Hill
SFMike AdamsCoby FleenerCoby FleenerCoby Fleener
NEHarrison SmithMike AdamsNick PerryHarrison Smith
NYGMike AdamsMike AdamsMike AdamsMike Adams

I'm tired. Find some analysis on the bottom five picks elsewhere.

It's pretty dope that the NFL was able to stretch its draft into 3 freaking days without so much as a peep from its audience. But with 10-15 minutes in between picks, it's still not something I can stomach from beginning to end. After all, I'll be watching the riveting Knicks-Bobcats game tonight anyway.

@BKMambino @TheGreatMambino

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