So, you’re thinking, “Gee, I’d sure like it if my team could draft ____________ (so-and-so).” And, you begin to write it all down but, somewhere, something doesn’t fit.
To begin with, there is no one set of right answers when making a mock.
I never have seen anyone make a mock that was completely right for even the whole first round, much less seven rounds. The odds are beyond astronomical. So, these mocks are mostly meant to be entertaining. Besides, the so-called experts on NFL Network, ESPN or CBS Sports change their own mocks as often as I change lanes on the way to work each morning.
I’ve seen and read many a mock that doesn’t make sense for one reason or another. Please don’t take it personally. I’ve gone back and reread some of my own mocks and they didn’t make sense either.
Here are the top 8 mistakes I’ve seen when fans go assigning prospects to teams.
That’s a nice word for plagiarism. Not that anyone is going to track you down for agreeing with a particular talking head or NFL guru. We all do it: identifying with one expert more than another. But, when it comes to creating your own mock it will mean more to you if you actually watch some game tape on a prospect and form your own opinions. Rate a prospect by comparing them to other prospects playing the same position. Compare the prospect to other players already in the league. Then, your mock will become, too legit to forget. It may be a copycat league but that’s not an invitation to go ditto heads on us.
Bottom line: do your own homework (should have listened to your teachers in school).
7. Predicting Trades
There are a high percentage of trades made involving actual draft picks each year but, doing so in a mock adds too many elements of change that can get quickly out of control making a mock unrealistic. I read a mock recently that showed how the Colts could re-sign Peyton Manning and the Chiefs would trade for him. That’s just crazy talk because everyone knows that if the Chiefs are going to trade for an elite QB it will be Tom Brady. Besides the Patriots would probably love to have Cassel back.
Bottom line: keep the element of trades out of your mocks.
6. Taking a Whiz
No. Not that kind of “taking a whiz.” I mean… falling for a combine whiz. Every year a handful of prospects show up at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and they “wow” the crowds. NFL Network repeatedly highlights those best performers and suddenly, those prospects, who had mediocre seasons, are transformed into the next best solution to your team’s problems. The challenge here is sorting out the actual phenoms who fly up the draft board and deserve to be taken high in the draft from the rest of the sodas who are all fizz and no taste. Players like the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul or the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware turned out to be excellent. They deserved to be taken seriously.
This year Dontari Poe would like that honor but, I’m not a believer. I liked him for one week during the combine. However, I appreciate good game tape too and his is not good. Not good at all. Even if he was playing division-I ball, but, he didn’t.
Bottom line: remember that your first round pick is always “franchise defining.” So, try to control your impulse to take someone chancy.
5. Getting Man Crushed
Ever get a Man Crush? Sometimes a mocker gets too locked in on their wish-list prospect and abandons all reason in the process. Most of us has a player we’d just love to see the Chiefs pick up. Sometimes we hold on to that player for the length of a whole draft season and never give up hope of the Chiefs taking them. Sometimes even longer. I still hear fans calling for Aaron Curry. Remember how Chiefs fans clamored for LB Ray Maualuga? I heard a fan still talking him up just last month, saying, “We should have taken him.” I can recall falling in love with Taylor Mays myself and not letting go until shortly before the draft. I’ve read a number of bloggers who still believe in Vontaze Burfict even though some NFL analysts are now saying he may not even be drafted at all.
When I was a kid, there was this 3 year old who lived down the street. He’d come toddling past our house and stop… hug a car… or a tree… and each time he’d say, MINE! … MINE! Same problem here. I know we can get attached to people, places and things but, you’re going to have to tell yourself, “It’s alright… if I let go… I won’t die. It’s all right… if I let go… I won’t die.” Please repeat that eleven times before bedtime while, listening to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”… and your mock should turn out just lovely. No emotional damage. My guarantee.
Bottom line: I have no real advice to give here because I’m afraid those who have this specific attachment disorder will grow too fixated upon this advice… and never let it go… and I just can’t make that kind of commitment.
4. Schlepping Replacements
It happens all the time. I decide to take a chunk of time reading a long list of mock drafts and there it is: the pick that makes no sense and appears to be a filler. A pick that has no rhyme or reason. The mocker is filling in their mock slot with an unknown prospect just so they can get to the part of the mock they truly care about.
I understand. It’s a difficult task keeping up with the Joneses… knowing what your division rivals are doing each day of the week. The larger stories of course make their way to PFT, Yahoo and other sports outlets. However, attempting to really understand what’s going on with another team’s roster… is a bit tougher.
When most mock bloggers reach this point in their mock, they tend to take the next player listed on some web site’s prospect ranking list. Often these, quick-way-out selections, don’t even take into account the GM or HC’s past patterns or previous picks.
Bottom line: try to resist “filling in the blanks” when making a mock.
3. TN and BPA… Gone Wild
Plenty of mock drafts focus on the best player available (bpa) but, ignore team needs (tn). Other mocks often focus on team needs and neglect the best player available. Perhaps they take care of a team need in one round but, then neglect them altogether with the rest of their picks.
Many GMs and HC tout the drafting of the bpa when the situation often prevails for the drafting because of need. General managers often trade up, or down, the draft board to get into the perfect position to take the best player available, at the correct ranking for a player who happens to be their highest team need.
Many team executives claim to be selecting players only from a best player available (bpa) philosophy but, I’ve yet to see a team really do that. Great drafting is a combination of both.
Bottom line: balance your draft selections based on team needs and the best player available.
2. Strange, Bad Partners
Some fans try to make a round peg fit in a square hole by forgetting to match a player’s size, strength and abilities with the position a prospect will be asked to play for a specific team. Mockers often ignore the offensive philosophy or defensive scheme that a particular prospect performs well in… and neglects to consider those same elements in the team he’s matching the prospect with.
It’s often thought that certain famous football players would never have been very good had they played for a different team in a different system. I’ve even hear that about Joe Montana, one of my favorites. Would he have done as well if he played for the Chicago Bears or the Houston Oilers?
Bottom line: matching player talent and team systems help make a great mock… and draft!.
And now… the number one mistake mockers make…
1. Reaching, Reaching, Reaching
It’s easy to spot a mock like this. The mocker reaches for players not even meant to go in that round and the mocker’s team just so happens to get every pick they wish they could get. No, I’m not talking about the “Raiders” but, it’s a tribute to Al that I mention them here.
This is akin to “location, location, location” in real estate, and location is everything in the draft as well. Pick a player too late or too early and your mock takes on the feel of a ten year old throwing darts.
That’s not a mock… that’s a mockery. Basically because at that point your mock becomes a total fantasy. I have a friend whose mother told them that you have babies by ”wishing and hoping and praying.”
A mock that is frequently “reaching”… falls in that same category of thinking.
Bottom line: make not a mockery of thy mock.
My 2012 First Round Mock
1. Colts- QB Andrew Luck
2. Redskins- QB Robert Griffin III
3. Vikings- OT Matt Kalil
Kalil will become the NFL prototype.
4. Browns- QB Ryan Tannehill
It’s a QB-copia… and did the Browns really over reach? That would be a no.
5. Bucs- CB Morris Claiborne
Perfect case of matching wits.
6. Rams- WR Justin Blackmon
Fisher is feeling smug.
7. Jags- DE Quinton Coples
Can’t pass on the next Julius Peppers.
8. Dolphins- OT Riley Reiff
Best way to get players to “want” to play in Miami: draft them.
9. Panthers- Anywhere in the front 7/Melvin Ingram
Can’t pass on the next… Melvin Ingram. He’s a phenom.
10. Bills- DL Michael Brockers
Bills make defense, priority one.
11. Chiefs- OG David DeCastro
Pioli said he would fix the OL this off season. Consider it fixed.
12. Seahawks- ILB Luke Kuechly
Kuechly is going to look goood in the new Hawk uni.
13. Cards- WR Kendall Wright
Fitz and Wright will wreak havoc and have fun doing it.
14. Cowboys- S Mark Baron
Jerry is feeling that good about his new defensive backfield.
15. Eagles- OT Jonathan Martin
Reid knows how to find that “just right player.” Hey JoMar… have fun blocking for the Vick.
16. Jets- RB Trent Richardson
Another Bama falling star. Rex can’t pass.
17. Bengals- CB Stephon Gilmore
They’ll love the 4.4 dread head for his mental and physical presence.
18. Chargers- NT Dontari Poe
A.J. Smith gets his man amongst boys.
19. Bears- Cordy Glenn
Some guys just seem like they were born to be Bears.
20. Titans- LB Courtney Upshaw
Helping those who need help.
21. Bengals- CB Janoris Jenkins
Bengals are set for years to come, to conquer the NFL’s “passing fancy.”
22. Browns- WR Stephon Hill
Now one of their young guns has someone to shoot for.
23. Lions- CB Dre Kirkpatrick
Gunther sells snow to Eskimos… and defensive prospects to GMs… easily.
24. Steelers- OT Mike Adams
Haley will whip Adam’s apple into shape!
25. Broncos- DL Fletcher Cox
Breaks my heart (and Lyle’s) to see him go there. Maybe Pioli reads this… and history changes.
26. Texans- C Peter Konz
Good out. Good in.
27. Pats- WR Michael Floyd
Hoodie say, “It a gift for U, my Tommy.”
28. Packers- ILB Dont’a Hightower
Hoping to jump from one champion to another. Packers go bpa.
29. Ravens- OLB Whitney Mercilus
The new savior of their front seven. Wish they’d stop that.
30. 49ers- OLB LaVonte David
49ers looking to move LB core from Pro Bowl to HOF.
31. Pats- OLB/DE Nick Perry
Now that Bill is done letting Tom have his fun, he gets his pass rusher.
32. Giants- SS Harrison Smith
Giants don’t play D until January but, it’s nice to have the pieces when the time comes.