this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Method behind the mock Posted: Thursday April 21, 2005 1:45PM; Updated: Thursday April 21, 2005 5:36PM This is the day I fill you in on the behind-the-scenes action that went into my mock (I hate that word) draft. No more ...
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Dr. Z's mock
Method behind the mock
Posted: Thursday April 21, 2005 1:45PM; Updated: Thursday April 21, 2005 5:36PM
This is the day I fill you in on the behind-the-scenes action that went into my mock (I hate that word) draft. No more padding. No more prelims. Here we go. (*projected trade)
Dr. Z's Mock First Round
Pick Team Pos. Player College
1 QB Alex Smith Utah
Aaron Rodgers was the frontrunner. Stronger arm. Measurables. But love is blind and Mike Nolan loves Smith. We think. But the club doesn't like the amount of money his agent wants. If this drives the Niners to Rodgers, then the owner, John York, will get holy hell for being cheap. If they don't take Rodgers, they'll catch a few bullets for ditching a local guy (U. of Cal) who wanted to play for the Niners all his life, even though it was mentioned to him at 4 or 5 he was far too young. I'm writing this on Wednesday, and I'm sure the verdict will be in by draft day. I just hope it's Smith, because nothing looks worse on a mock (isn't there some other word I can use?) draft than a wrongo at the very top of the board.
2 * RB Ronnie Brown * Auburn
The trade was strictly my idea. No one on the Bucs confirmed it, and the Dolphins only weakly agreed that "Anything can happen." (If you're a Mouseketeer you know that Wednesday is Anything Can Happen Day). Bucs GM Bruce Allen shrewdly offered the Dolphins Warren Sapp as a throw in for the position swap. Just before the deal was signed, it was pointed out that Sapp now plays for the Raiders. Curses, foiled again! Almost killed the deal, but Jon Gruden is really nuts about Brown -- especially his terrific pass-catching ability. Well, yeah, he'd like to have a QB, too, and there's a good chance that Rodgers or Smith could drop to No. 5, but I close my eyes and see Paul Tagliabue adjusting his glasses and reading from the little slip of paper, "There has been a trade at the second spot."
3 WR Braylon Edwards Michigan
A few weeks ago I would have said that it's gotta be a QB or an RB, but then the Browns traded for Reuben Droughns, and I offered a hearty congratulation to both Romeo Crennel and GM Phil Savage for the deal (they took it calmly). Actually what I said was, "You guys ought to be put in jail ... Droughns for Ekuban and Myers? C'mon now ... there's a law against stealing." Where was I? Oh yeah, the draft choice. Well, taking a QB still seems more logical to me than choosing Edwards, but everyone in the organization has supported the pick, so who am I to argue?
4 RB Carnell Williams Auburn
Well, they have a young QB, and the Muhsin Muhammad pick up addressed their WR problem. When I talked to Lovie Smith, he said, "We're interested in three running backs and two wideouts." So I narrowed it down to the two premier runners left, Cadillac and Hyundai -- I mean Cadillac and Cedric Benson -- and chose the former on gut instinct. What did GM and personnel director Jerry Angelo tell me? Nothing. He hasn't talked to me in 20 years, ever since his Giants days. Bears writers tell me he doesn't talk to anybody. Maybe someone can figure out a different method of communication.
5 QB Aaron Rodgers * California
GM Rick Spielman put me through this line of questioning: "So what do you think is our most pressing need?" "Quarterback." "You don't think we can use a runner like Ronnie Brown?" "Quarterback. You can get a runner lower down." "You don't like the QBs we have?" "Quarterback." I could see him getting off the phone and telling someone, "You know, that guy from SI sounds demented or something." To that I answer, "Quarterback." Never mind who they want, this is what I want for them and it's my (there's that word again) draft.
6 CB Adam (Pac-Man) Jones West Virginia
Everyone has them down for Antrel Rolle, the Miami corner. "We like Pac Man better," said my super confidential, deep throat Titans source. "Faster than Antrell." I'm rooting hard for my pick to come in, so everyone else can be wrong and old Zee be right -- a draft handicapper's dream. If it happens the other way around, then I'll be a very bitter bloke and there'll be still another person on my "don't send him a Christmas card" list.
7 WR Mike Williams USC
"We'll have to re-think it if Rolle or Pac Man are there," Mike Tice said. "Why do you need to draft a corner this high?" I said. "I mean, you've got two fine ones now with Smoot and Winfield." Not noticing, of course, the look Tice was giving me that said, "Oh, so you know my team better than I do, huh?" That's a major problem of mine. I get carried away. And get real stupid about it. So I guess that's two problems.
8 RB Cedric Benson Texas
If the trade for Bills RB Travis Henry goes through, then Dennis Green will take the best corner remaining -- Rolle, Pac Man or Auburn's Carlos Rogers. Green says the deal -- Henry for tackle L.J. Shelton, plus they'd switch second round positions, Arizona's No. 44 for Buffalo's No. 55 -- could happen. But, he says, the Bills seem to want more, which is what's holding up the trade. They'd be happy to get Shelton, he adds. Didn't seem right. Why would the Bills want Shelton, a great big right-tackle type coming off a knee injury? They need a left, not a right tackle. So I called my man on the Bills. "Why would we want Shelton?" he said. "We need a left, not a right tackle." Huh? I tapped the side of my head to let some of the sawdust fall out. Didn't I just hear that somewhere?
9 CB Antrel Rolle Miami
The Broncos' trade changes everything. At the 25th pick. The ninth is still the best CB on the board.
10 OLB Derrick Johnson Texas
It'll be defense. One of the two top corners could oust Johnson. And if he's gone, too, then the Lions will trade down -- assuming they can find someone to do the deed with them. If they go mid-round they'll take any of three outside rushers, David Pollack, Shawne Merriman or Erasmus James. But if they drop waaay down, maybe to the second round, they'll look hard at center Chris Spencer. And if by some fluke either of the top two QBs is around, then, whooo boy, something weird and wonderful could happen.
11 DE-OLB Demarcus Ware Troy
The Cowboys' A-list of outside pass rushers includes Ware, Merriman and Marcus Spears. They want two of them. The problem is which one goes first -- how they can position themselves to have a shot at another one at pick No. 20. I solved the problem by giving them both Ware and Spears. It's youngsters they want. New Orleans offered them Darren Howard, who's 28 and coming off an 11-sack season. Even though the Cowboys haven't had a double-digit sacker in nine years, they nixed the deal.
12 DE-OLB Shawne Merriman Maryland
Two picks in the first round, two positions to fill, D-line and WR. That's their game plan. OK, I'll give you the six names they mentioned, pick two, one here, one lower down: James, Merriman, Spears (where have I heard those before?), plus wideouts Mark Clayton, Troy Williamson and Roddy White. I've already showed my hand with pick No. 12, but still remaining is the 28th, unless they trade it. As of this writing, which is, as I've mentioned, on Wednesday, the 28th pick is ... No, I won't ruin the suspense and give it away. You'll simply have to hang in for another 16 selections to find out.
13 WR Troy Williamson South Carolina
The one and only name mentioned by my spy in Houston is that of tackle Alex Barron, and he certainly makes sense, but Spy No. 2, who's lobbying for Spy No. 1's job, says don't believe a word of it. They're blowing smoke. Williamson's the guy they really want. Don't fight, boys. Tell you what I'll do. I'll give Barron to the magazine and Williamson to the Web site. How's that?
14 T Alex Barron Florida State
Are you suspecting some kind of flimflam here? Some mock draft (oy, those words!) dipsy doodle? Or perhaps the assumption that I don't take this whole endeavor as seriously as I should? No, nothing like that. The Panthers have expressed a definite desire to make Barron's overlong arms and crushing fingers part of their offensive line.
15 S Thomas Davis Georgia
Dick Vermeil is a friend, actually a wine friend, which is even better -- so I offered him all sorts of miraculous defensive stars: the versatile Pollack, who, as of last week, had shot up on the board like a rocket; the gigantic, athletic Spears; Rogers, the No. 3 cornerback in a class that's loaded with them. No, he said, there's a li'l ole safety in Georgia (breaking out his guitar) who can just do so many things ... "can give me so many options back there," etc. The option play is not dead in football. Davis it is.
16 CB Carlos Rogers Auburn
Yes! A big need for Jim Haslett. He has pass rushers, plenty of them. He wants help in the rear rank. He likes Davis (gone). He also likes Barron (gone). Rogers is right up there with the other blokes.
17 DE Erasmus James Wisconsin
Many teams rate James the No. 1 defensive lineman. Luckily for the Bengals, they're either behind them on the board or in greater need of people at other positions. But before you start celebrating, Cincy, bear in mind that when a premium player drops this far, then the trade-up guys wake up. If this happens and someone does the old scoop play in front of the Bengals, then their options are either Pollack or a switch to WR.
18 DE-LB David Pollack Georgia
It's worked out beautifully for the Vikes -- big possession wideout, then a fire-eater to juice up the defense. Let's hope they don't screw it up.
19 T Jammal Brown Oklahoma
This is no secret. Everybody, but everybody, projects the big guy to this spot -- including Ravens' player personnel director Ozzie Newsome, who flatly stated that "my heart is broken," when he talked about the Rams' pick. This is what could happen: Around pick No. 17 or 18, if Brown is still there, the Ravens, at No. 22, could use a third- or fourth-round pick to swap first-round choices with someone and squeeze in ahead of St. Louis.
20 DE Marcus Spears LSU
Do I think he'll still be on the board? Frankly, no. But I do believe Dallas will wind up with him somehow, and I get a hit on the chart if they get him at some juncture.
21 TE Heath Miller Virginia
Beware the recovering sports hernia. What's a sports hernia? Well, it's one of those new phrases that seems to have come up within the last few years, such as "high ankle sprain," or "torn ACL." (For many years I thought that one meant three keys ripped off your typewriter.) So the question remains: What's a sports hernia? And, you know, someone just explained it to me. I think it means when, uh, you hurt yourself doing some athletic maneuver instead of trying to lift your girlfriend's VW out of a ditch. Some say Miller has fully recovered, others say it's a bit worse than people are letting on.
22 WR Mark Clayton Oklahoma
Nope, Ozzie didn't mention this guy. He talked defense. But I think he didn't mention him because he felt that Clayton, rated by some as the second best receiver in the draft, behind Edwards, would be long gone. A pleasant surprise, to help get over the Brown disappointment.
23 DE Dan Cody Oklahoma
This is a sad thing, but a diagnosis of clinical depression has sent Cody from top half of the first round to a possible second-round selection. If the Hawks are willing to gamble, they'll get themselves the ultimate heart-and-desire guy, the kind of player who can light up a whole defense. And what's wrong with a pass rusher when Chike Okeafor is gone, Chad Brown is aging and has trouble staying healthy, and Grant Wistrom is coming back from an injury?
24 DE-DT Shaun Cody USC
When I talk to personnel director John Dorsey I always have to use this formula: Pay close attention to the people he doesn't name, rather than to the ones he does. He threw about six names at me, and I immediately scratched them all. Cody was not mentioned. He's better than any of the other guys named. I made him their pick. Ah Fra Diavolo, is there no limit to the cleverness of the New Jersey mind?
25 CB Fabian Washington Nebraska
Denver coach Mike Shanahan called me back on Tuesday, exactly one day after my story in this week's magazine was locked up. Apologies. Then chitchat. "So who'd you give us?" he asked. "Hmmm, pretty good choice. You might not be so far off." FAR OFF? I was 1,900 miles off. All the way to DC. What I want to know is what time did the Redskins trade go down? If it was before our conversation, then this is a very cynical way to treat a young writer who's merely trying to get by in this vale of tears. Why am I boring you with all my personal problems? It happened, period. Next case. I had given the Broncos the same guy that I wound up giving the Skins. That'll show 'em!
26 NT Luis Castillo Northwestern
This was the guy I had penciled as the Jets' choice before the Raiders trade. I will not, repeat not, screw up my board just because New York and Oakland decide to mess around with a late trade. Besides, the Raiders can use a guy like this with Teddy Washington seriously on the downside.
27 WR Roddy White Alabama-Birmingham
They want to move up for D-line. Shaun Cody's a nice choice. Some of those offensive tackles look pretty good, too. But I think that when they do a value at the position equation, they'll find that this big guy (6-foot-1, 204) with the 4.44 speed represents the best deal possible.
28 T Khalif Barnes Washington
The last of the big three O-linemen. No, he wasn't originally mentioned. The choice is a product of my febrile brain.
29 DT Travis Johnson Florida State
"Front seven," Tony Dungy said. Now we have to decide among a pass rusher (only one high-profile guy left on my list, and the coach doesn't want him), a LB (maybe a bit farther down), a cornerback (you heard me say front seven ... what's wrong with you, anyway?) or an interior D-lineman. Ah, bingo! Two names, Tony. Pick one. Mike Patterson of USC. Plays hard, hustles, but, uh, stands only 5-11. Pretty good choice, but not at this position in the draft. Well, I've got one left, Travis Johnson of Florida State. No knocks, no blemishes, a big guy to stabilize things and keep the smaller people from getting shoved around.
30 T Marcus Johnson Mississippi
I had been rooting for Matt Jones, the freaky 6-6 quarterback with the 4.39 speed to fall to either the Steelers or Eagles, only because I wanted to write about him. I mean the only 6-6 guy who ever ran faster was Ichabod Crane. So I lobbied for him. How about it, Steelers? "Intriguing," said their personnel guy, Ron Hughes. A first-round choice for you? "Lower down," he said. Oh. Clunk. So I gave them a tackle to fill in for departed Oliver Ross. They'll look at Miller, the TE, if he's there. There are linemen they like ... Patterson, Jonathan Babineaux, Castillo, Travis Johnson, and so forth.
31 DE Matt Roth Iowa
Last chance for Matt Jones, because it's too flaky a pick for a serious team such as the Patriots. Waddya say, Tom Heckert? You're the personnel director. Be a sport. "Tremendous athletic ability," he said. So are you gonna pick him? "Looks a little freaky, watching him run, but he runs away from safeties." So you're gonna pick him, right? I mean you want to watch him running away from safeties, right? "Well, I'm not sure we want to gamble in that spot." Yeah, right. You've got Roth, a good, functional pass rusher to make up for the loss of Derrick Burgess. Logic wins again.
32 FS Brodney Pool Oklahoma
Who am I kidding? He'll be snapped up already. Everybody likes this guy. Matt Jones is just a pipe dream, a wisp of smoke, a vision ... watching him run downfield under a Tom Brady pass. Naah, it won't happen. Everybody's making Justin Miller, a talented cornerback, their pick. I know different. He's supposed to be a bit of a wiseguy. Not recommended for matriculation into Belichick and Pioli U. They like guys who sit up straight in their chairs, and don't chew gum, and speak when spoken to. Hell, they ran a guy out of their office once because he *****ed about not being flown in on first class. But if Pool somehow winds up here, hurrah, because I figured it out all by myself.