You have to figure your day is going to go well when you come into work to find the office radio playing the theme from 'Shaft'.
In fact I'd say any day which begins with that probably will turn out pretty damned good. (sidenote: Dear John Singleton - how do you screw up a Shaft remake with Samuel FREAKING Jackson? Sincerely, everyone)
We're less than a week away from the NFL Draft and as explained the other day, I'm ready. The lack of a CBA has meant a lack of free agency signings which, in a domino effect, means more free time than usual to speculate on ever piece of Draft news no matter how trivial.
There's more smoke this year than I can ever recall in the past - some of it sublimely silly. (Andy Dalton's red hair anyone?)
So I think we're all more than ready to get the Draft going, maybe more than ever before.
One thing that is very interesting about this year is that the very lack of free agency could make the Draft even more intriguing. Teams couldn't patch line-ups and rosters the way they usually do.
So does a team who is looking for a quarterback (aka half the first round) who normally go after Bulger/McNabb/Kolb draft for other positions and pray they can make something happen after the fact or do they draft to fill that quarterback need?
It should be interesting and it's the one 'good' thing about this labor brouhaha.
Mockety Mock Mock Mock
I've had a few people ask me if I will be following up the CHTV Draft Guide Mock with another mock.
Indeed I will. I'm working on it as a video right now, but if all else fails, it will appear in written form early next week.
Now, a word about my mocks (and my opinion on mocks in general). I like mocking the Draft - the chess-game like strategy of what a team should do vs might do is fun and a great exercise.
It's also, ultimately, pretty fruitless. Some people beat their chest about how accurate they are and I'll admit, it can be impressive. But it's such a crap-shoot and the truth is that a lot of it can be luck.
To me, the insight as to WHY someone mocks a player in a position means more to me than them getting it dead-on accurate (although it's a plus I guess).
If someone's logic is sound as to why a position should be filled, I can forgive them picking the wrong tackle. If they get the logic behind why a DE will fit a scheme, I'm fine if they're wrong on a guy. It's better than an analyst who gets the right guy but whose logic is completely wrong.
Some mocks are about getting what the team will do correct and some are about what they should do.
I try and split the difference, though I usually lean towards what I think they should do (in my opinion of course) if I'm torn on a pick. Of course, sometimes I'm being a contrary bastard as well, but that's fine as well.
Also, I never do trades. It's IMPOSSIBLE to mock trades and nobody ever gets the value right, even though you can find the NFL value chart easily on the web. You can talk about them and speculate but to be honest, you can also roll dice and have as good a shot.
Anyway, here's a few Packers picks from around the interwebs. I'll probably do one more round-up in the middle of next week, just to give you an idea of what the lay of the land is.
By now you probably know I really like the guys over at NFLDraftscout/CBS and think they're really solid. This week their picks have shifted from defense to offense. Rang has gone the route I did in the first mock, offensive line - in this case OT Derek Sherrod. In fact, it's a pick that right now is the exact same one I have in my mock-in-progress.
Reuter also goes offense but a somewhat unexpected - though not insane - direction. Mikel LeShoure is a back who I've said can very easily fit into the Packers offense. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to plug him in as their first round pick but I don't think his logic is off base - I just think a guy like Sherrod (who is available in Chad's mock at that spot) is a better pick.(edited because I'm a moron who said reach when I meant it wasn't a reach... I need caffeine....)
Russ Lande is a guy I've gotten to know a bit over the last few years and he definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer. I know he does the work though, so his mocks always make me take a second look at the landscape.
Russ' current mock (up at Sporting News) definitely has some non-pack mentality picks (Fairley to Denver I vehemently disagree with) but there is a lot that matches up with what I'm hearing and thinking.
For the Pack, Lande chose Arizona OLB Brooks Reed. It's a little higher than I've seen Reed going in most Mocks, and personally I think while he would fit for the Packers, he's a bit of a reach here.
I wish the Sporting News mock had more detail as to why a player is where he is in it. I can recall it being more thorough last year, but maybe once it gets to be a full mock (Lande's goes a full 7 rounds), that's too much.
The final mock this week is at a site called Drafttek. Their process is an interesting - and different - one. Here's their explanation:
The DRAFTSIM computer model selects the best available player for each team based upon the input provided by the team analyst. After the initial player selection, the model is run again with the original selectee locked out. The model then identifies the 2nd best player fitting the teams needs. Repeating the process again, a 2nd alternate is determined.
So you get three picks in one, based on analysis from their writers and then run via simulation.
The recent mock has the Packers taking Pitt's OT Jason Pinkston. I haven't seen anyone who has Pinkston in the top 50 (Drafttek has him at 37) so as far as I'm concerned this is a reach and a pretty big one.
What this does allow me to do is remind you that it only takes one team to fall in love with a player and take him far earlier than any of us expect. He may bust out, but it doesn't mean it can't happen.
So expect the unexpected.
Q & A with Small School Prospect RB Chad Spann
Matt Waldman is a colleague of mine at Footballguys.com who often writes articles for the NY Times Fifth Down Blog. He also puts together one of the most thorough guides on offensive skill players I've ever seen, the Rookie Scouting Portfolio. It's one of the best $10 you'll ever spent whether you use it for Fantasy Football or not.
This past week, Matt interviewed a small school running back from Northern Illinois named Chad Spann. It's worth a read - Spann comes across as very sharp and I'm looking forward to a promised film breakdown series Matt is talking about doing with him.
Here are a few odds and ends of Draft news from around the web.
And that's it for this week. Have a great one and we'll see you next week with a mock and some last minute news.
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