My “Mock” Mock Draft

With just a few weeks to go until the NFL draft, pretty much everyone has done a mock draft. I haven’t seen one from President Obama yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s working on it. I think mock drafts are ridiculous. Which is exactly why I wanted to do one.

Yes, I am mocking the mock draft.

#1 Houston Texans – Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M) I know Houston has discussed possibly trading down from the number one pick, which may make sense, especially in this draft. But if you ask me, it’s kind of cruel. Because it inevitably leaves the fans thinking, “Really? We lost all those game for nothing?” So, I’m keeping the Texans at number one. For the fans. And yes, I’ve got Johnny Manziel going number one overall to the Texans (sorry). But with former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush (and their dogs) at his pro day, it’s pretty clear who the Bushes want the Texans to draft. Plus, “Johnny Football” was born in Texas (as was his nickname), played high school and college football in Texas. And you don’t mess with Texas. Or the Bushes. Or their dogs. It’ll be fine. Johnny Manziel was the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. And he handled that well.

#2 St. Louis Rams (from Washington) – Greg Robinson (OT, Auburn) Want to keep Sam Bradford upright? 6’5” and 332 ought to do it.

#3 Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles (QB, Central Florida) Florida guy. Stays in Florida. Unfortunately, it’s Jacksonville. Which is still better than Orlando. Plus, maybe his college fans will fill some seats at Everbank Field. If nothing else, to see his girlfriend.

#4 Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State) This guy is married with a baby. He’s not looking for nightlife. He just wants to play professional football. They still have professional football in Cleveland, right?

#5 Oakland Raiders – Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville) The Raiders acquired former Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in free agency. Which is exactly why they’ll need another quarterback.

#6 Atlanta Falcons – Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina) Goodbye, Tony Gonzalez. Hello, Eric Ebron. Not quite Tony Gonzalez with a mohawk. But he could be in a few years.

#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State) Darrelle who?

#8 Minnesota Vikings – Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson) Nolan Nawrocki described Boyd as, “better suited as a backup” and “the type you look to replace.” Well, no one likes to sign backup quarterbacks in a starting role like the Minnesota Vikings. And with more than a dozen starting quarterbacks over the last decade (and three last season), no team likes to replace quarterbacks like the Vikings. Thus, Boyd is a perfect fit.

#9 Buffalo Bills – Jake Matthews (OT, Texas A&M) Protecting EJ Manuel is the key to this season. A tackle who hails from football royalty (dad is Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, cousin is Packers linebacker Clay Matthews) is about as good as it gets. But just in case that doesn’t work out, they should take a backup quarterback with their next pick.

#10 Detroit Lions – Calvin Pryor (S, Louisville) The Lions need a safety. And a Calvin worked out well at wide receiver, so… At 5’11,” maybe they can call Calvin Pryor “Minitron.”

#11 Tennessee Titans – Zach Mettenberger (QB, LSU) A promising future as a quarterback. If he can recover from injury and stay healthy. Just like current Titans quarterback, Jake Locker. With two of them, maybe they have a better chance. Also, SEC.

#12 New York Giants – Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M) The Giants are in desperate need of a wide receiver and one who will catch more of Eli’s passes than the other team’s defenders. At A&M, Evans and Johnny Manziel formed one of college football’s most dominant quarterback-receiver pairs. And the Giants do play the Texans this season, so there’s a chance they could again. If the Giants play Evans at cornerback (which is unlikely).

#13 St. Louis Rams – Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, Eastern Illinois) Just in case the “protect Sam Bradford” thing doesn’t work out (see #2).

#14 Chicago Bears – Logan Thomas (QB, Virginia Tech) With Jay Cutler as your quarterback, it’s not a matter of if he gets hurt – it’s a matter of when. I picked Thomas for two words: “tough and durable.” What about Jordan Palmer? Please. I’m not crazy about Carson Palmer as a starting quarterback. Let alone his lesser known little brother.

#15 Pittsburgh Steelers – Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State) The Steelers need youth at cornerback (no offense, Ike Taylor). Roby ranks high in speed, tackling, and ball handling. He has “thin ankles and large hands.” Which is much better than fat ankles and small hands. He is also known to get in trouble in bars. Thankfully, the Steelers have a quarterback who can help him with that.

#16 Dallas Cowboys – Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina) DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher are out. And defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was out last season. So basically, the Cowboys need a whole defense. And Jadeveon Clowney could be that. If he’s available at number 16. It’s more likely that Jerry Jones will show up at Radio City Music Hall on his unicorn. But that could happen too.

#17 Baltimore Ravens – Antonio Richardson (OT, Tennessee) The Ravens need to replace Michael Oher on Joe Flacco’s blind side. Like Oher, Antonio Richardson also grew up in Tennessee. And is also huge.

#18 New York Jets – Marqise Lee (WR, USC) The Jets could use another receiver to complement Eric Decker, who they signed from the Broncos in free agency. Lee is athletic, fast, and a good route runner. He has also overcome great adversity in his personal life. Which should help him playing for the Jets.

#19 Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin (OT, Notre Dame) Described as a “clean player.” And God knows, the Dolphins could use some clean players in their locker room. Miami is also the new home of Jordan Rodgers (backup quarterback and brother of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers). Does anyone else think it’s weird that all the little brothers of NFL quarterbacks are named Jordan?

#20 Arizona Cardinals – Aaron Murray (QB, Georgia) Again, Carson Palmer. We all know the Cardinals are looking for the second coming of Kurt Warner. And Aaron Murray looks kind of like Kurt Warner. So, that’s a start.

#21 Green Bay Packers – Aaron Donald (DT, Pittsburgh) The Packers defense needs help. This guy has the name of two of the Packers’ most beloved players (even though one of them is now retired). Nuff said.

#22 Philadelphia Eagles – Deone Bucannon (S, Washington State) Tough, punishing, physical safety. Led the PAC-12 in tackles. Chip Kelly will like him. Unless he already hates him.

#23 Kansas City Chiefs – Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson) The Chiefs have someone who can throw the ball, someone who can run the ball, and now they have someone who can catch the ball. Which is nice.

#24 Cincinnati Bengals – Tom Savage (QB, Pittsburgh) Andy Dalton? I don’t know. So, just in case that becomes “hell no.”

#25 San Diego Chargers – Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State) Distant cousin to Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. So, maybe this could help them land him too.

#26 Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis) – HaHa Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama) In a surprise move, the Cleveland Browns trade their second first round pick back to Indianapolis. For nothing. They just feel really bad about the Trent Richardson trade. And they should. The Colts proceed to draft HaHa Clinton-Dix as a reminder. Also, when my sister Jenny was little and couldn’t say my name, she shortened it to Haha. And when my nieces and nephews were little, it became Auntie Haha. And the Colts are my team. And the Colts need a safety.

#27 New Orleans Saints – Kyle Fuller (CB, Virginia Tech) Saints need to fill out the backfield. From a football family, his brother Vincent played for the Titans, brother Corey is on the Lions practice squad. He should have them saying, “Who dat?” in no time.

#28 Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin (WR, Florida State) After trading away all his talent, Cam Newton needs someone to throw to. Benjamin is someone and then some. He caught the game winning touchdown in the National Championship game to beat Auburn (where Panthers quarterback Cam Newton won a National Championship). So, that should give them something to talk about.

#29 New England Patriots – AJ McCarron (QB, Alabama) Bill Belichick is just shrewd enough to find the next star quarterback – at the bottom of the first round. And it’s about time Tom Brady had some competition. Also, it’s about time Gisele Bundchen had some competition – from Katherine Webb, former beauty queen, object of Brent Musburger’s oggling, and McCarron’s brand new fiancée. I just hope that Ugg sponsorship is transferable, because coming from Alabama, McCarron’s going to have some cold feet up in New England.

#30 San Francisco 49ers – Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, LSU) Confident, competitive, playmaker. Sadly, not related to David.

#31 Denver Broncos – Jason Verrett (CB, TCU) Peyton Manning says the Broncos need to reestablish their identity after the Super Bowl loss. And so far, John Elway is redefining the Broncos — as a defensive team. He basically signed all the defensive free agents, will probably draft all the defensive players he can get his hands on, and may also sign all of the undrafted free agents on defense.

#32 Seattle Seahawks – Patrick Laird (WR, Army) If you win the Super Bowl by 35 points, you shouldn’t even get a first round pick. But, since that’s not a rule (yet), and the Seahawks do need to replace Golden Tate, I gave them the lowest ranked wide receiver I could find (who still doesn’t sound too bad). After all, the draft is supposed to be the great equalizer. Right?

The Houston Texans are on the clock…

And since they’ve been there for about six months now, I hope they pick fast.

XO

Credit: Nolan Nawrocki at Pro Football Weekly and  NFL.com for practically all of my player research.

Note from the author: I guess mock drafts are kind of fun. Basically, you just make shit up. I can do that! And I will declare victory if any of these players actually go at my slotted position.

 

Out of the Closet…and Into the NFL

Michael Sam, defensive lineman for the Missouri Tigers

Michael Sam, defensive end for the Missouri Tigers and potential NFL draft pick
(Photo: Brandon Wade | AP)

Ready or not…here he comes!

Missouri defensive end Michael Sam hasn’t even been drafted, but already he’s changing the National Football League as we know it.

A projected third or fourth-round draft pick, Sam is an All-American defensive lineman and SEC Defensive Player of the Year. But, that’s not why he’s making headlines in the NFL draft talk.

You see, Michael Sam is gay. He’s not the first gay athlete to come out publicly. But if he’s drafted in May, he’ll be the first to do so where no one else has…the NFL locker room.

We knew this day would come. It was just a matter of when. In coming out, Sam and his Mizzou teammates set an example for his future team and all teams.

“Sam had in fact told his team at the University of Missouri that he was gay last summer. It was prompted by a simple team-building exercise with a question from a coach: ‘Tell us something we don’t know about you.’ Some of the team had already known. Some were shocked by the news. All of them embraced him. None of them told the media.”
 –Cyd Zeigler, Outsports

In today’s world, there is no player who doesn’t know someone (or isn’t related to someone) who is gay. Still, reaction from players and executives around the league is mixed.

Some say it’s long overdue and that if Sam does his job and performs on the field, his off-the-field life won’t matter to his teammates.

Others insist the media attention and potential locker room issues will cause his draft stock to fall.

Sports Illustrated asked NFL executives and coaches to share their thoughts on Michael Sam (anonymously). Most predicted his path to the NFL would be an uphill battle, even daunting.

“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”
NFL player personnel assistant to SI

But, here’s the thing. For anything to become acceptable in ten years or twenty years, someone has to take the first step. Today.

And Michael Sam just bravely took it. For himself. For past players. For current players. And for future players.

Whether he gets drafted into the NFL or whether he even plays a game, Michael Sam has already made a legacy for himself.

And it’s a legacy that transcends the locker room, the field, and the game.

Michael Sam changed the face of the NFL.

Before stepping foot on the field.

XO