Mock drafting is hard.
It always seemed that way from afar, watching the experts spend months gathering information and tweaking their predictions only to see everything fall apart in minutes as soon as the actual picks begin. This year, however, we jumped into the fray ourselves here in the CB, and the results were…
Well, let’s just say we’re not quitting our day jobs. (Our day jobs are writing about football, so maybe I don’t want to think too hard about that statement.) Late last week, Andrew Norton and I took turns assigning all 32 picks in the first round and the best thing I can say about our efforts is that we really didn’t do any worse than anyone else. Including the so-called experts.
Oh, it started out well. The first pick of the draft was Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher, and while that was heavily rumored by Thursday afternoon it was a more controversial pick when we (we? Okay, I) made it a week earlier. I know I surprised Andrew when I made it last week, and it kind of threw our early picks into a little bit of disarray.
And that’s exactly what happened during the real thing on Thursday night. When Texas A&M Luke Joeckel was not taken first overall, the Jacksonville Jaguars pounced at #2. Miami then pulled off the draft’s first shocker by trading up nine spots to get Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan, and the run on offensive linemen continued to heat up at #4. That’s where Philly took Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson, and while we were high on Johnson last week (I had him going #7 overall to Arizona, which eventually chose a different blocker in North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper.
So, again, good start. We (I) were (was) 1-0 after just one pick. And that’s exactly where our counter stayed for another half of the round. The next pick that we (I) got right was #17, where the Pittsburgh Steelers went with Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, as predicted. A week ago, we (I) said:
“The Steelers are absolutely masterful at drafting linebackers for their 3-4 scheme. It’s time to grab the next star-in-the-making.”
Okay, I guess it’s about time to stop being coy and put my gloating out front, Andrew. Counting only the predictions that we got exactly right in terms of both team and overall slot, I completely and thoroughly demolished you 2-0. Think of it as a soccer match. That’s domination.
Now, if we look a little deeper, there were some quiet successes among our (especially your) many, many failures. I will give you partial credit, Andrew, for believing that West Virginia waterbug Tavon Austin would end up with the Rams, even though you picked Austin at #16 and in reality they had to trade up to #8 to get him. You kinda sorta sniffed out the Bills intentions, though you gave them West Virginia QB Geno Smith at #8 when in fact they traded back to #16 before taking Florida State passer E.J. Manuel. You had the Vikings taking Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant at #23, which is within shouting distance of their actual selection of Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes at #25.
We also correctly left Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o out of our first round. We said that 10 of the first 12 picks would be offensive or defensive linemen; in fact, it was nine of 12, but that’s close. We said only one QB would go in Round One, even if we didn’t get the right one.
Obviously, I’m stretching things a bit. For the most part, we were as thrown by the draft’s twists and turns as anybody. We joined the entire online rank in file in not having a clue that Manuel would be the first quarterback selected (though Mike Mayock did throw it out there just moments before the surprising pick was made by the Bills). We never even sniffed around such names as D.J. Hayden, Justin Pugh and Kyle Long, and all three went among the first 20 picks. We agreed with almost everyone else that Florida DT Sharrif Floyd was a top-five pick, and then he fell all the way to the Vikings at #23. We were way too high on Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson, and way too low on BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah.
But, hey, we had fun, right Andrew? I say we do it again next year. It’s not like we set the bar very high.
(Oh, and…2-0! Read it and weep.)