#MockOne is a mock draft experience where fans play GM for their favorite NFL teams. The mock series started exclusively on Twitter, but now has a custom-designed website created by Brandon Nall and Brian Bullard: mockone.net. MockOne is now over, and MockTwo has started (with our own Jpon as Jaguars GM), but I thought I’d explain the logic behind each of my selections and the trades I made.
When reading this, please keep in mind this took place AS the Combine was going on. For the first three or four rounds, no players had run yet; all we had were measurements. Some of my picks might have been slightly different if I’d known what the players were going to accomplish at the Combine. Also please keep in mind I am far from a scouting professional; my opinions on players are mostly based on the evaluations of smart people I trust such as Eric Stoner, Josh Norris, and many, many others. I learned a lot about this year’s prospects from participating in MockOne, which is part of the fun!
1.02 – Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon – I tried REALLY hard to trade this pick, but didn’t get any bites. I had been chatting about a tentative deal with Philadelphia to move back two spots and pick up an extra 4th and 7th, but it turned out the Eagles’ GM had been changed without me knowing, so I was bugging the wrong person. I also talked to Tampa Bay about moving down, but he decided to stay put.
I was between Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo for this selection. Jordan was the pick because I believe when selecting second overall, you should be getting a player with the potential to be the best offensive or defensive player in the league if such a player exists. This isn’t a top-heavy draft, so the list of guys that fit that mold is extremely short, but I believe Jordan is one of the two or three guys on that list. He can rush the passer, set the edge against the run, drop in coverage from a linebacker spot, or even line up as a corner and check wide receivers and tight ends. In addition, he’s over 6-6 with long arms, and after gaining over 20 pounds before the Combine still ran an unofficial 4.53 40-yard dash. He’s a special, versatile talent, and I had to take him. After taking Jordan I was informed he would’ve gone 3 to Oakland, 4 to Philadelphia, and 5 to Detroit, so he obviously was not a reach.
2.01 – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia – I tried to trade this pick as well, again with no luck. Without being able to move, I was between Austin, D. J. Swearinger, John Jenkins, and Tyler Wilson. I did some research and decided I wasn’t really as high on Wilson as I thought I was. I also decided Jenkins was too unpredictable. With the decision down to Austin and Swearinger, I thought about David Caldwell’s needs-based drafting mantra and realized Swearinger plays a similar position to Dwight Lowery, but Austin is a completely unique player compared to what the Jaguars already have. Austin has the ability to return kicks in addition to being an explosive slot receiver with the ability to make plays in space or even out of the backfield. The Jaguars could use him like the Packers use Randall Cobb or the Vikings use Percy Harvin, though he’s not the exact same player. That’s two explosive players in two rounds, which is what I was going for.
TRADE DOWN FROM 3.02– This is the first trade I actually was able to execute. As this pick approached I was faced with the choice of taking the top player on my board, which was Tyler Wilson, or trading down for more picks. Since I had decided Wilson wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I figured seeing if I could move down made the most sense, and I had some good offers. The Browns were trying to hop Oakland for Wilson, but they weren’t willing to lose picks. The Texans, however, were willing to give me two extra picks, which sealed the deal. The entire trade was 3.02 for 3.20, 4.27, and 6.27. Movin’ on back! Houston used the pick I traded away on Matt Barkley, QB, USC, which I had zero problem with.
3.20 – Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State – The Jaguars are thin at tight end, and I thought Escobar was a steal this late. I’ve seen some people with him as a late first-rounder. Escobar is big and apparently plays fast, and he’s played both in-line and in the slot. I was between Escobar, Quanterus Smith, Terron Armstead, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson for this pick. I went with Escobar because I felt like there was a talent drop-off at tight end after Escobar, and that one of the others would make it to my next pick at 4.01. I was hoping it would be Quanterus Smith.
4.01 – Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut – Quanterus Smith and Armstead both went before this pick. In fact, Armstead went the pick before; otherwise he likely would’ve been the selection. Wreh-Wilson seemed like a Gus Bradley type of corner: big, fast, and with long arms. Hopefully he can play physical football.
TRADE UP FROM 4.27 – I had my eye on a certain quarterback as round 4 started, and as the round progressed I started to get more and more nervous my guy would be gone when pick 4.27 rolled around. I saw him as by far the best quarterback left on the board, and decided I had to move up if I wanted to secure my guy. I gave up pick 6.27 to move from 4.27 to 4.19 and selected…
4.19 – Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (OH) – I love Dysert’s potential, and was surprised he lasted this long. Hooray bad Senior Bowl? Dysert has the size you want in a quarterback and has also shown the ability to improvise outside the pocket, including the ability to throw on the run and across his body. The Miami offense took a step back last year due to a new scheme brought on by a subpar offensive line, but Dysert still has starter-caliber talent in my opinion. I thought this pick was a steal.
5.02 – Montori Hughes, DT, Tennessee-Martin – Hughes is gigantic, but he’s an athletic guy as well. I read an article on Field Gulls about Hughes and his potential fit on their defense, and it sold me. Hughes could potentially play any spot on the defensive line except LEO due to his outstanding blend of size and quickness. He had some off-field difficulties, but nothing that screams "character concerns" to me; most of it was academic issues. I was between Hughes, Malliciah Goodman, Zaviar Gooden, and Cornelius Washington for this pick, but after some deliberation I decided to stick with my initial reaction and grabbed Hughes.
TRADE DOWN FROM 6.01 – When the draft reached the sixth round, there was still a large group of players on my board I wanted. I still really liked DeVonte Holloman, Xavier Nixon, Denard Robinson, Bennie Logan, Christine Michael, Mike Gillislee, Gerald Hodges, and Dennis Johnson at this spot. Since I figured at least one of these guys should last until later in the 6th, I took the opportunity to move down and gain another 7th-round pick. Minnesota moved from 6.12 up to 6.01 to grab Ace Sanders while giving me pick 7.23 in the process. At 6.12, I grabbed one of the guys from my list:
6.12 – DeVonte Holloman, LB, South Carolina – Holloman was ranked in the second tier of Eric Stoner’s linebacker tiers ahead of popular names like Alec Ogletree, Manti Te’o, Sio Moore, Kevin Reddick, and Keith Pough. If he plays up to that level, Holloman is a starter in the sixth round. He’s played safety in his career, so he should be excellent in coverage, and he does a good job against the run as well. Logan, Michael, and Gillislee went between the pick I traded and the pick I received, but that still left three players from my list available. I thought one of them was worth a 2014 5th-rounder, so I went back on the trade trail.
FAILED TRADE UP TO THE 6TH ROUND – I attempted to send a 2014 5th-rounder to numerous teams for their 6th and 7th-rounders to no avail. Finally I took the 7th out of the asking price, but I still had no luck: teams wanted to pick the sleepers they’d been eyeing for rounds. The target: Denard Robinson. I figured Robinson was worth a 5th next year, especially since the Jaguars will have an extra 5th in 2014 from the Mike Thomas trade, but nobody was biting. I resigned myself to waiting and hoping he’d be available with my next pick at 7.02, but unfortunately the Ravens grabbed Robinson at 6.29.
7.02 – Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond – With two picks left in MockOne, I had a list of five players I wanted two of: Ty Powell, Cooper Taylor, Sanders Commings, Mike James, and Theo Riddick. It’s very difficult to try to figure out who will take a guy in the 7th round, so I was kind of flying blind. I decided against taking one of the running backs because I figured the depth at the position was good enough that I could wait and still get a good one at 7.23 if I wanted. That left Powell, Taylor, and Commings. I figured Taylor had the best chance of still being available at 7.23, but he was also the only one that played a position that hadn’t been filled. A 6-4 safety that can move isn’t easy to find, so I decided to pull the trigger on Taylor to the dismay of the Lions’ GM, who had been targeting him with the very next pick. Just as I expected, both Powell and Commings were gone before my next pick, so I was left with…
7.23 – Mike James, RB, Miami (FL) – Completing the Miami school pairing, James has the upside to be a contributor running the ball and should be familiar with OC Jedd Fisch’s offense. I chose James over Riddick due to the size factor and also due to Riddick’s underwhelming 40 time at his size.
So that’s it. I ended up with the following:
- Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
- Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State
- Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
- Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (OH)
- Montori Hughes, DT, Tennessee-Martin
- DeVonte Holloman, LB, South Carolina
- Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond
- Mike James, RB, Miami (FL)
I never look at a mock draft without going through it and seeing who I would’ve picked if I was conducting the mock myself. I figured it would be a good idea to go back through this mock and think about what I would’ve done differently looking at it from an outside perspective. Here’s what I would’ve changed:
- I should’ve kept pick 3.02 and taken Tyler Wilson. I let the desire to trade down overwhelm what should’ve been happiness at getting a guy at 3.02 that I thought about picking at 2.01. I wouldn’t have gained the extra picks, but I burned one of them to get Dysert anyway, so essentially I traded Tyler Wilson for Gavin Escobar and Zac Dysert. While that looks nice on paper, the right move at the time was probably to just take Wilson.
- Cornelius Washington didn’t blow up the Combine until after he was taken in MockOne. Looking back, I would’ve taken him over Montori Hughes at 5.02. I’ve seen a lot of people saying Washington’s best fit would be in a wide-9 scheme, and that’s essentially what the LEO end does. This would’ve been a huge steal. Congratulations to the Falcons for grabbing him after I passed.
- I should’ve tried harder to trade a 2014 5th-rounder for Denard Robinson. I really feel like Robinson has potential game-changing ability in space and possibly in the return game, and he seems open to trying any position the coaches want. I would’ve liked him best as a running back. At one point, though, I just gave up trying to trade and hoped he would fall, and that was a mistake.
- I should’ve taken Ty Powell at 7.02. I didn’t know much about Powell, but given what I learned about him at the Combine, he honestly should’ve gone MUCH earlier. Heck, he should’ve been a consideration at 4.01; 7.02 would’ve been a mega-steal. Nice work, Steelers.
Well, that’s my MockOne experience in a (rather large) nutshell. Let me know what you liked and disliked about my draft; I’d love your feedback. I’d still love this draft, but I do think I could’ve done a bit better.