We all have our favorite sources for NFL Draft content on the web. NFL Network, in addition to their coverage of the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine, and prospect Pro Days, has catnip for draftniks (how’s that for an awkward phrase?) in the form of their daily “Path to the Draft” show. Of course, in print, the best draft publication on the planet is Ourlads Guide to the NFL Draft, and our paid Members can get their guide for free this year.
Here at PowerHouse, we have SiriusXM NFL Radio on pretty much all the time, and their best show, hands down, is “Movin’ the Chains,” with former NFL personnel man Pat Kirwan and former journeyman (in case he reads this) QB Jim Miller. Every year, they do a series of mock drafts in a format where they take turns.
If you’ve never done a mock draft in this format, it’s an eye-opening exercise that exposes you to other ways of thinking and eliminates that tendency we all have to slot guys where we think they are a best fit.
The truth is, the 32 real-life NFL General Managers are each making one vitally important decision for their team, and not trying to make their contribution to a first round that looks elegant, neat, and well thought out. When you draft with a friend doing half the picks, you’re forced to stay focused only on the team you’re picking for at the moment, those coming after you be damned.
Here are the results of their first mock draft of 2015, broken into three segments, which is how they did it on their show on Friday, March 27th:
- Jaguars (from Buccaneers) – Pat made the odd-numbered picks this week, and trades were allowed. In the first of several surprises, he had Tampa trade down to Jacksonville’s #3 slot, picking up the Jags’ R2 choice in the process. With the top pick, Jacksonville selected Leonard Williams, DT/USC.
- Titans – Jim selected Marcus Mariota, QB/Oregon
- Buccaneers – Pat took Jameis Winston, QB/Florida St, and still has Jacksonville’s high R2
- Raiders – Pat and Jim had their Producer, Eddie Borselli, pick for his favorite team, and he took Amari Cooper, WR/Alabama
- Redskins – Pat took Dante Fowler, Jr., DE/Florida, to complement Ryan Kerrigan
- Jets – Jim was looking for a dynamic front seven defender after loading up on DBs in free agency, and the off-the-chart measurables for Vic Beasley, DE/Clemson made him the pick
- Bears – they’re going to a 3-4 defense, so a front seven player would make sense, but Pat felt that they need a S more, and took Landon Collins, S/Alabama to team with free agent acquisition Antrel Rolle
- Falcons – they need a pass rusher, but with Randy Gregory’s issues, Jim went with Brandon Scherff, OG/Iowa
- Giants – Pat had Scherff on his short list, as the Giants surely will, but with him gone, the pick was La’el Collins, OT/LSU. This might look like a boring pick, but that was fine; they can get a dynamic defensive player later
- Rams – Jim felt their biggest need is on the offensive line, and went with Andrus Peat, OT/Stanford
The guys did this draft throughout their show, and took a break to reflect between each segment. Doing the same here, and after talking with many of our virtual NFL General Managers here at PowerHouse, I have a few observations:
- We say it every year: If you believe a guy is a franchise QB, you don’t hesitate, you draft him. Tempting as it is to pick up a high R2 pick from Jacksonville, if Jason Licht and Lovie Smith feel that Jameis Winston is that franchise QB, they are simply not moving out of that top spot, and we think Winston can go apartment hunting in Tampa today.
- Speaking of QBs, there is no way Mariota should go ahead of Winston
- I simply don’t understand the infatuation some have with Andrus Peat
- Pat said that if Mariota was available at #3, Tampa would have traded that pick along with more to SD for Phillip Rivers. Sorry, but Rivers is already firmly in that second tier with Roethlisberger and maybe a couple others. He is going nowhere, and he’s certainly not going for Mariota, who really should be in the second half of R1 at best.
- Saints (from Vikings) – Rick Spielman likes to trade and Pat had Minny move down two spots, picking up a R3 choice in the process. The Saints rolled the dice on the gifted but “marijuana-challenged” Randy Gregory, DE/Nebraska.
- Browns – Jim took Ereck Flowers, OT/Miami and slated him to play RT in Cleveland
- 49ers (from NO thru MIN) – The Vikings are targeting two players, and neither is who SF is after. So, they trade down again, picking up another R3, and San Fran takes Danny Shelton, DT/Washington.
- Dolphins – Jim and the Dolphins simply cannot believe that this guy is still there, and they jump all over him: Kevin White, WR/West Virginia
- Vikings (from SF) – White was one of Pat’s targets for the Vikings, so their trade-downs are done with. Trae Waynes, CB/Michigan St is headed to Minnesota.
- Texans – Jim wonders about health of last year’s top overall pick, Jadaveon Clowney, so he adds another DE to the mix in Houston: Shane Ray, DE/Missouri
- Chargers – SD was looking to make a splash and find their QB of the future early in this draft, but they were unable to do so. Pat shifts gears and selects Melvin Gordon, RB/Wisconsin
- Chiefs – Jim looked at interior OL or ILB for Kansas City and zeroed in on Cameron Erving, OL/Florida St
- Browns – Pat grabbed Maxx Williams, TE/Minnesota to replace Jordan Cameron
- Eagles – with the Mariota drama over, Jim considered S, OLB, and even QB before turning to yet another former Duck: Jake Fisher, OT/Oregon
The idea of trading down a few spots when you have a few players you like about equally is a sound one, and Minnesota executed the strategy well. Other comments on this second segment:
- If Kevin White ever slides to #14, the Dolphins will be turning handsprings (he won’t, and they might be, but he won’t be the reason why)
- Ereck Flowers is a nice player, but it’s a big risk to take him that high with Jake Fisher, T.J. Clemmings, and Cedric Ogbuehi still on the board. Of course, that’s personal preference and one man’s opinion.
- Cameron Erving is a perfect replacement for Rodney Hudson, who the Chiefs lost to the Raiders in free agency – he’s even (also) from Florida State
- I like Maxx Williams, but I don’t believe there’s a R1 TE in this draft
Moving on again…
- Bengals – the need a defensive tackle badly, and Pat chose Malcom Brown, DT/Texas for his huge production and sudden inside rush ability
- Steelers – Pittsburgh and Mike Tomlin love speedy DBs, and Jim’s selection of Kevin Johnson, CB/Wake Forest helps their back end get younger and faster
- Buccaneers (from Detroit) – Pat was in wheeling and dealing mode, and he had Tampa give two R2s for this pick to draft Bud Dupree, DE/Kentucky
- Vikings (from Arizona) – Jim had the win-now Cardinals trade this choice to Minnesota for Adrian Peterson; the Vikings drafted his replacement in Todd Gurley, RB/Georgia
- Panthers – they wanted an OT, but that group was wiped out already, and they will not reach for one. Instead, Pat went to their second need and took Devante Parker, WR/Louisville to pair with Kelvin Benjamin
- Eagles (from Baltimore) – Jim went a step further with the Chip Kelly Oregon Alumni Association growing in Philadelphia and had the Eagles deal next year’s R1 (and something else he did not specify) to the Ravens to get up to #26. With this pick, Jim took Arik Armstead, DE/Oregon.
- Cowboys – Pat feels that the Cowboys are committed to building their defense, and he took Carl Davis, DT/Iowa, who he liked at the Senior Bowl
- Broncos – With needs at RT, TE, and S, Jim gave Peyton and the Broncos another weapon in hybrid Devin Funchess, TE-WR/Michigan. Pat felt he will be successful “if they can get him to do what they need him to do.”
- Colts – Pat took Shaq Thompson, LB/Washington – who can play any of the LB spots for them – and couldn’t believe he was still there
- Packers – Jim chose Eric Kendricks, ILB/UCLA
- Seahawks – they need a WR, though Paul Richards is developing, but Pat felt Eddie Goldman, DT/Florida St provided the best value… BUT, he then remembered that this pick was traded to the Saints for Jimmy Graham (you need to run a tighter ship, guys!) After a break, he slid Marcus Peters, CB/Washington into this slot for New Orleans.
- Eagles (from Patriots) – In the wake of the gaffe at #31, Jim once again engineered a Chip Kelly trade, this time sending next year’s R1 that Philly previously got from Cleveland, plus this year’s R2, to New England for this pick, which was used on Brett Hundley, QB/UCLA.
At the conlusion of this mock draft, Pat said the best prospects he had left on his board were Eddie Goldman, Eli Harold, Jaelen Strong, and Benardrick McKinney. Jim added Dorial Green-Beckham, Cedric Ogbuehi, Preston Smith, Mario Edwards, and Jaelen Collins.
We feel that Adrian Peterson is a wonderful player, but he is also a 30-year-old RB with a $13M contract, off-field baggage, and a lot of mileage on him. There is absolutely zero chance that the Cardinals – or anyone (including Jerruh) – would trade a R1 pick for him at this point. The Cardinals would be better served by just drafting Gurley themselves.
After that, our issues with this mock draft are a matter of opinions of the specific prospects, and that’s very subjective and outside the scope of this post.