2011 Mock NFL Draft/Royal Wedding Preview (or Please, Please, Please Don't Draft Ryan Mallett)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Almost certainly, you know one of the following two things.  Almost as certainly, at least one of them is entirely unimportant to you.  If you vibe both - you should be writing this piece instead of me.

1. This weekend is wall-to-wall coverage of the NFL Draft, perhaps my favorite annual event.  I've got my Kiper bluebook; I've got rankings from Mayock, McShay, Rang, and Lande.  My DVR is set for a total of 112 hours of coverage on ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU/NFL Net including pre-shows, recaps, and the actual event.  I can absolutely tell you the players I like outside of the top tier; hopefully, some of whom will wind up in San Francisco:

QB Andy Dalton
RB DeMarco Murray/Roy Helu
DT Stephen Paea
DE/OLB Cam Jordan/Jabaal Sheard/Justin Houston (can Houston or Sheard play in a 3-4?)
DB Jimmy Smith

2. And this weekend is wall-to-wall coverage of the Royal Wedding.  About which I know nothing.

But there's got to be a way to mash them up; so here's my round one mock, if also on the board were figures from the Royal Wedding.  I'm not predicting, I'm turning in my own cards for each team. Edit - for those of you so inclined, I've got Kiper's last mock, his draft day mock, and I'll be editing in those picks into the post.  I'm about to watch Mayock's mock from Wednesday night, I'll edit that in too. 

1. Carolina    Marcell Dareus   DT   Alabama
-The top player on Mayock's board; Carolina's top need.  They're supposed to go with Newton, and I'm hoping they do - as the draft starts, I am rooting like a crazy person for those two top QB to go off the board so I don't have to worry about taking them. (Newton, word is its the owner's call.  Good result for me)Mayock says Newton.  A consensus has formed.  They can have him.  Now someone needs to come take Gabbert away from my Niners.  Please. 

2. Denver  Kate Middleton

There is no way the Broncos turn down the celebripower of pairing Duchess Kate with Tim Tebow; the gossip alone whenever they're seen together would cause TMZ to open up a whole branch office outside Mile High.  They turn in the card before Goodell finishes announcing that they're on the clock.  (In the read world they've moved to a 4-3 and, assuming Newton goes one, take Dareus at 2.  If somehow Dareus goes 1, as I'd have Carolina do, Denver's looking to deal down with someone who wants to snake Von Miller from the Bills, as you don't see them taking Fairley this high.) Kate doesn't have Diana-upside, but she's a real high character kid; her position coaches rave about her dependability. (Miller, Peter King is saying it too, so obviously that's what Denver is saying as of draft day)Miller - this is a good result for me, as the Bills might go Peterson ahead of Miller, but apparently will go Dareus ahead of Peterson.

3. Buffalo  OLB   Von Miller   Texas A&M
-There's going to be some sentiment in the building for Prince William, he'd make it easier to court the royalists in the Toronto fan base, but Miller's the second rated player on almost everyone's board (mine included).  He fits Buffalo's need to the extent that, were they to have the top pick, he'd be consensus to go first overall. (Dareus, apparently he's top player on Buffalo's board, if Dareus is gone, there's a Peterson/Miller debate - if it falls this way they go Dareus)Dareus

4. Cincinnati  WR  AJ Green  Georgia
-The last thing Mike Brown wants is the hassle of a protracted royal holdout, and William would have more twitter followers than Ochocinco and TO combined.  The Bengals are moving to a west coast offense, neither of the two big QB at the top of the draft is a particularly good fit (if they go QB, I'd guess Gabbert) but they could use an X receiver, and that's Green (and not Julio Jones, note).(Green, and they go west coast QB with their second pick, Dalton/Ponder)Green.  Lot of Kiper/Mayock late consensus.

5. Arizona   QB  Blaine Gabbert  Missouri
-Prince William is still on the board and Kiper's hair is about to explode as he sits untaken in the draft room - but not unreasonable concern about blowback from the really rabid anti-immigrant locals causes the Cards to go native and address their biggest need.  Here's where the "I'm turning in the card" element of this breaks down; I wouldn't take a QB in the top 15; but with both highly touted guys still on the board in this exercise, Arizona can't pass up on one of them.  I guess I like Gabbert a little more than Newton. (Peterson.  Ah, hell.  Kiper's got this as a deal down, Cards like Gabbert but think they can bump back and get him, and teams like Houston want to jump ahead of my Niners to get Peterson.  Goddamn Arizona.  I've become a little married to Peterson.  I'd rather take Prince than Quinn if that's the choice on the board.)Peterson.  Goddamn.  I've had Niners taking Peterson for 3 months, and here we are losing him two spots ahead to a division rival.  Goddamn.   

6. Cleveland  Prince William

Holmgren's jumping up and down.  They've already written the headline in the Plain Dealer:


William's the type of solid locker room presence that any team could use.  More likely to take his talents to a Euclid Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast than to South Beach. (Jones, which makes sense.)Jones.  Dead agreement between Kiper/Mayock, if I enter a contest, I'm going this way. 

7. San Francisco  Patrick Peterson  CB  LSU
A year ago, Todd McShay's final mock had my Niners taking Jimmy Clausen.  Here's what I wrote at the time:

Please, please, please don't pick Jimmy Clausen.

I don't like Alex Smith - he's a backup.  So's David Carr. I think so is Jimmy Clausen - I think Clausen's a backup in waiting and I do not want him.  Two linemen and a corner.  Thank you.

Right now, Russ Lande's mock has us taking Ryan Mallett.  So, let me be clear.

Please, please, please don't pick Ryan Mallett.  

Or Blaine Gabbert.  Or Cam Newton, even though, if he were still on the board at #7, I can't say I wouldn't understand.  It's the first draft of the new regime; I very much want to believe in Jim Harbaugh and that we've turned a corner, and there aren't many outcomes this week that could lead to my disenchantment so early in his tenure.  Taking Ryan Mallett 7th overall would be such an outcome.  I like Andy Dalton in the second round if he's on the board, in the way I liked Colt McCoy last year, but not really enough to move up to get him, and the late chatter is that's what would be required.  This is the wrong verse to sing here, but if we went 1-15 and got Andrew Luck, I think he wins us a Super Bowl. 

My hope, during the entirety of the draft process, was the board would fall in a way that allows us to take Peterson, my top rated player; Kiper's top rated player; Rang's top rated player.  He's the corner we didn't get last year.  

If he's gone, that probably means one of those QB is still there - and then I'll be rooting hard for a trade down, as opposed to taking Quinn, Amukamara, or one of the quarterbacks.  My goal here is Peterson at 7, then whomever is available among Dalton/Sheard/Houston at pick 45, if I could be convinced that Sheard/Houston could play in our 3-4.  Houston's more likely.  Kiper's mock has all of them gone by then, hopefully one will slide through - if not, I'd argue for Paea ahead of Kaepernick, but don't hate the value of the QB there as opposed to my fear were we to trade down - that we're moving back for Locker.  (Gabbert.  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.  No.)Gabbert.  No.  No.  No.  No.  No. 

8. Tennessee  Vince You...I mean, Cam Newton  QB  Auburn
-They already have the marketing campaign; just cross out VY, write in Cam and they're ready to roll in Nashville.  More likely is Newton's off the board and they're taking his teammate Fairley. (Fairley)Fairley. 

9. Dallas  Prince Harry

Dallas has big needs for a pass rusher (and Robert Quinn's on the board, so is Bowers for that matter, and Jerry likes to roll the die) and a right tackle (and Castonzo's on the board, so is my guy from SC, Smith, for that matter, and Jerry likes to roll the die).  But he jumps all over Harry; he likes his military bonafides, the crazy swagger and the chance to be not just America's team but the UK's as well.  The international branding is way more than he can pass up and its an easy pick.  Plus, the youthful Nazi stuff won't play too badly in Big D.  He's the new face of the Cowboys. (Jordan - interesting, Kiper also suggests trade down, I would think they've got to get a tackle, my guy from USC seems like someone they'd like, maybe a deal down to still get him)Smith, which is who I think Dallas takes.

10. Washington  Nick Fairley  DT  Auburn
-The Skins could deal down and look for Locker or Mallett if they like him more; they could deal up to get one of the two top QB; they could stay here and take Castonzo - but if Fairley's on the board, that's hard value to walk away from. (Quinn - no quarterback for the Skins?  Do they like Gabbert?  Would they deal into my spot to get him, we come down here and take Prince?  In the event Peterson's gone, of course.)Amukamara - if the Skins get him and I get Gabbert I'm kicking my desk. 

11. Houston  Robert Quinn  DE  North Carolina
-The Texans are pretty married to a front 7 improvement, Quinn's the best player on the board (although I don't want him at #7 given his lack of college production) so they take him. (Aldon Smith.  I'm gonna guess Kiper's thinking this is who deals with Arizona to get Peterson.  This is too high for Smith.)Quinn.  No question, if the board falls like this it's Quinn. 

12. Minnesota   Prince Charles
-Both the top offensive linemen are available here, and now is when you're looking hard at Mallett and Locker, but the Vikes hear "old man with history of sex scandals" and think it's Favre coming out of retirement again.  Plus - it's a Prince in Minnesota, and I think there's some type of local ordinance that says they can't pass him up.  Game, blouses. (Locker - Kiper has the Vikes dealing down and getting him a little later.  That makes sense, I don't know who would move up to 12 - maybe only if Quinn or Prince, as is the case here, is still on the board.)Aldon Smith.  Still a little high for me.

13. Detroit  Anthony Castonzo  T  Boston College
Kiper's got Amakamara going here, and if Peterson's gone when my team comes around, I would not be surprised if we take him - but if the board falls like this, the top lineman is still there to protect Stafford and they don't turn it down. (Smith, as in my tackle.  He's jumped back over Castonzo on everyone's board in the past week, he's moved up a tick, the BC kid down a tick)Castonzo.  I agree, if Smith's gone, and I agree with Mayock, it's Castonzo. 

14. St Louis  Julio Jones WR  Alabama
I don't love Jones, he's a little slow for a number one receiver, but the Rams are desperate and in the middle of the first round he's an easy pick. (Liuget)Liuget.

15. Miami  Queen Elizabeth II
This is all but done; word is the Queen's picked out a nice retirement community in Boca Raton; her posse's been holed up in Century Village for weeks; there's dance lessons, an executive golf course, and a Peggy Lee tribute cabaret act scheduled for the draft party. (Pouncey)Pouncey.

16. Jacksonville  Da'Quan Bowers  DE  Clemson  
-They need a pass rusher with one leg.  There's one available. (Kerrigan - someone will take Bowers, but it will take some guts)Kerrigan

17. New England   Cam Jordan DE Cal
-They take the pass rusher with two legs; New England's good like that. (Wilkerson - Jordan's jumped too high to still be here, which I think is right, is this a good spot for Bowers?  Is NE going to move?)Jordan.  Does he go to Minnesota instead of Smith?

18. San Diego  Chelsy Davy

The Bolts are really drafting on potential here; Davy's Harry's longtime girlfriend now ex, but there are rumors that she, perhaps this very weekend, can maneuver her way back into his good graces - and then who knows, maybe San Diego's looking at the next royal bride.  This one's all about the advance scouts as the metrics say this is an overdraft. Definitely a boom-or-bust type. (Watt, who should go below Jordan)Watt

19. New York Giants  Mike Pouncey OL  Florida
-Maybe getting a bit of a bounce (Bouncey?) off his brother's name, and in a weekend where bloodlines are respected, that's a good enough reason for a Giant team in need of dependable interior offensive line play to make this move.  The debate will be between Pouncey and Ingram, whose dad helped the Giants win that Whitney Houston SB.  I'm going to say the bloodline debate cuts against the Heisman winner, since Senior's spent the past ten years in a jumpsuit.  It would be like William marrying Sarah Ferguson's niece. (Castonzo - if he's here, you'd think that's how it goes, but there's going to be some Ingram chants)Ingram.  I kind of agree, if Pouncey's gone, I think that's right. 

20. Tampa Bay  Prince Amakamara CB  Nebraska
-Will the Bucs get the best royal of all?  I don't love Prince for my Niners at 7; but in the extremely improbable event that he's still here at 20, he's not at 21; Tampa cut Talib for, I'm not sure, stabbing Brandon Marshall, I think - they get his replacement here.  Assuming Prince is gone, this might be where Jimmy Smith goes.  Perhaps Chelsy might start banging Amakamara in hopes of being named Duchess of  the Ybor Entertainment District. (Amukamara, even though I have him here, I can't believe he's still around for the Bucs at 20)Bowers.  If Jordan's gone, do the Patriots take Bowers and Smith goes here? 

21. Kansas City  Tyron Smith T USC
Smith's an injury risk, and that might knock him down this far - in a draft light on offensive linemen, the guy with the most athletic ability probably can't get past 21.(Carimi)Watkins

22. Indianapolis Corey Liuget DT  Illinois
If Ingram gets past both the Dolphins and Giants; there will be a lot of fan sentiment in Indianapolis to grab him; I'll say they get someone to clog the defensive line instead. (Solder)Solder

23. Philadelphia  Jimmy Smith  CB Colorado
I've got a bit of a crush on Smith; if Peterson is gone at 7; my hope is the Niners find a way to move down to the middle of the round and get Smith; I won't be bummed if we take Prince; I'll be a little irritated if it's Quinn; I'll be screaming if it's one of those two top quarterbacks.  And please, please, please don't take Ryan Mallett.(Smith)Carimi

24. New Orleans  Mark Ingram  RB  Alabama
If Ingram's gone, the Saints go elsewhere - but since Eddie Lee Ivory (I think) was their leading rusher last year, the value is just too much to pass up. (Bowers - does he get past the Patriots?)Taylor

25. Seattle Jake Locker QB Washington
This is probably a mistake.  The pressure on Locker would be superhigh if he stays in Seattle, and I'd assume Pete would rather have a more accurate quarterback.  They're also desperate for an offensive lineman.  But the story's too good to not root for, so let's write it down for the hell of it.  Seattle might be trying to go 2-14 to get Matt Barkley. (Dalton - this has to be a trade out, Pete's not taking Dalton at 25 and Seattle has a ton of needs, if the Bengals/Bills/and I'd guess, Niners are still QB hunting, this is a good spot to hop in for Dalton - who I really like, but I like him 15 picks from now)Austin, Mayock still has Locker on the board.

26. Baltimore  Nate Solder  T Colorado
Solder, Carimi, Sherrod are probably all going to go in the real first round; if Jimmy Smith is gone, whichever of these guys is still on the board goes to the Ravens.(Ayers)Smith.  I won't have him getting past the Eagles. 

27. Atlanta  Aldon Smith  DE  Missouri
Smith's probably off the board, and if both he and Jordan are gone, maybe the Falcons go a different way in this spot - but in this draft, he goes to Atlana.(Clayborn)Clayborn

28. New England  The Late Princess Diana
Having taken the defensive end with the first pick, the Patriots can afford to be a little indulgent with the second.  "It seems to me she lived her life like a candle in the wind," said head coach Bill Belichick.  "Plus, she's scheme diverse.  Got a nonstop motor.  Got a princess next door thing going for her. Not as outright pretty as Brady, but who could be?" (Ingram)Locker - Mayock's got a tradeout here to an unknown team.

29. Chicago  Gabe Carimi  T Wisconsin
-If any of the three aforementioned best tackles left on the board is still here - the Bears take him. (Sherrod)Baldwin.  In the first round? 

30. New York Jets  Pippa Middleton

Pippa's the flashy sister; Kate's more stable, a Marcell Dareus - a can't miss pick, maybe without a super high ceiling, but without any risk.  Pippa's more Nick Fairley, she enjoys hitting the town.  And New York is a town that can be hit.  Pippa's got huge upside; put her in Rex Ryan's scheme and she could be a havoc wreaking playmaker; HBO will not only put the Jets on Hard Knocks again; they'll also show up on Boardwalk Empire and Taxicab Confessions.  I'd bet they have to deal up about a half dozen spots to make sure they get her. Pippa's only flaw is she's on the wrong side of 20 to bang their quarterback.  (Taylor)Ayers.  I'm gonna say either Taylor or Austin is still around for the Jets. 

31. Pittsburgh  JJ Watt  DE  Wisconsin
'Cause he's the guy most victimized by my throwing in all the royals.  And if he were still available at 31 they'd have to take him.  It's been defensive guys who I've dropped as part of my bit here; this is not at all because I want them available to my Niners at 45.  Nope.  Not at all. (Williams)Williams

32. Green Bay  Muhammad Wilkerson DL Temple or Camilla Parker Bowles

They're the World Champs.  They do whatever the hell they want.  (Watkins)Dalton in a tradeout, which is how I'd guess it goes too. 

Enjoy the draft.  Long live the Queen.

Here's my entry into the Bud Light contest:

1. Newton, Cam
2. Miller, Von
3. Dareus, Marcell
4. Green, A.J.
5. Peterson, Patrick
6. Jones, Julio
7. Amukamara, Prince
8. Fairley, Nick
9. Smith, Tyron
10. Gabbert, Blaine
11. Quinn, Robert
12. Locker, Jake
13. Castonzo, Anthony
14. Liuget, Corey
15. Pouncey, Mike
16. Kerrigan, Ryan
17. Jordan, Cameron
18. Watt, J.J.
19. Ingram, Mark
20. Bowers, Da'Quan
21. Watkins, Danny
22. Solder, Nate
23. Smith, Jimmy
24. Smith, Aldon
25. Taylor, Phil
26. Austin, Marvin
27. Clayborn, Adrian
28. Dalton, Andy
29. Carimi, Gabe
30. Ayers, Akeem
31. Williams, Aaron
32. Ponder, Christian

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