Dan Kadar, over at SBNation's draft hub, held another community mock draft. Like all things that rely on the comments section to function, it was a huge headache. It was also a lot of fun. He invited SBNation community members for each team to draft for their respective organizations to see how it would play out. I drafted for the Vikings.
Just like a real draft, these live mocks don't let you cheat and require you not just to evaluate talent, but read other needs and predict where other players will go. You need to respond to changing conditions and not simply assume a player will fall where you expect them to just because of their generic stock.
With picks 23, 25, 52 and 83, the Vikings ended up with Desmond Trufant (CB, Washington), Alec Ogletree (MLB, Georgia), Quinton Patton (WR, Louisiana Tech) and Terrance Williams (WR, Baylor). I'll include the picks, as well as my thoughts at the time.
23. Desmond Trufant, CB Washington
Vikings need a cornerback, what with Antoine Winfield's departure and Cook's continuous absence from the field. It's rare to see a player equally capable of playing outside and inside, and Trufant will allow them to field a strong nickel package or base defense.
The Vikings have a greater need at MLB, WR and even NT, but the fact that Trufant is there makes the pick easy. Particularly because I am sure the Colts are more likely to want to pick a CB or WR than an ILB or NT, so they play the game a bit better with Trufant at 23 than at 25.
Trufant is scheme versatile and is perfect for their modified Tampa-2.
At the moment, I thought I really landed with that pick. Milliner and Rhodes were gone and I was confident that Trufant was not going to last past Cincinnati. They ended up picking DeAndre Hopkins which freed me up to take Trufant. Had Hopkins fallen that far, I would have considered him.
In retrospect, I regret picking Trufant because it came about as a fundamental misread of the cornerback market. With all of the CB moves in free agency, the cornerback draft stock changed significantly, and finding a good zone corner would have been easy later on. Instead, I banked on finding a nose tackle in the second round or even in the third. Not so, as nose tackles went fairly quickly.
On the other hand, this mock made no sense. The Packers, for example, picked two safeties and a middle linebacker, when they have needs in other areas. Oh, and the Bills picked Tavon Austin eighth overall. Still, there are surprises in every draft and that's what makes these fun.
25. Alec Ogletree, MLB Georgia
You've read my thoughts on Ogletree before, and I simply pasted them into the comment thread. With Arthur Brown gone and Te'o a lock for #32, I figured the MLB class might thin out earlier than I expected.
Ogletree is the most explosive linebacker in the class. There is no question that he has the combination of power and speed that make for effective linebackers, and it's not quite close. There are athletic linebackers like Khaseem Greene and Arthur Brown and strong linebackers like Nico Johnson and Kevin Minter, but Ogletree has an excellent combination of both.
He's very fluid, has the ability to play man-to-man in coverage and is extremely quick. With sideline-to-sideline speed and excellent pursuit, he's always around the ball. He also recognizes play-action well and has incredible length for a linebacker. Having added weight but maintaining speed, I only see two issues. The first is that he doesn't take on blockers extremely well. He knows how to avoid blocks, but gets stuck on without a great use of hands. He does show an ability to improve his technique-and has done so at Georgia.
Everyone knows that Ogletree has red flags, but he also has positive intangibles. On the field and in the film room, he's often been an example. He has a reportedly very strong work ethic and loves to watch tape, which shows up in his play. He motivates his teammates and handles most of the checks and audibles. Clear leadership capabilities and a good team leader.
Again, I misread the market and Jon Bostic didn't come out until the very last pick of the third round. Ogletree is one of the few players that I really think deserves traded draft capital, but with the way that the linebacker draft chips fell, I may have made a poor decision. Here, an NT would have been a wonderful pick. On the board were Kawann Short, Johnathan Hankins, Jonathan Jenkins, Jesse Williams, Sylvester Williams, and Brandon Williams (what a mouthful).
Given that Hankins went to the Eagles fairly early in the second round, his "fall" wasn't as far as I anticipated. When the Eagles picked Hankins, I was worried that I was mistaken about how the nose tackles would go, but I went ahead and gambled on the second-round pick, anyway.
Had we been allowed trades, I would have traded one of these picks down to the second round and avoided this issue entirely. In all likelihood, I would have selected Jenkins or Short with the newly acquired second-round pick and an inside linebacker with the other acquired pick.
52. Quinton Patton, WR Lousiana Tech
This pick seemed popular with the amateur draft enthusiasts I was picking with, but I read the market wrong once more.
Vikings need an NT and a WR, and I've decided to pick a WR that perfectly fits within the offense. Excellent hands, great route-running and a great catch radius.
Tempted to pick Sylvester Williams or Jon Jenkins, but they'll take their chances in the third round for an NT-there will still be talented ones who can start over Guion.
Patton is a very good receiver whose talents align perfectly with what the Vikings need in order to improve their passing game, and there were very few receivers left in that tier (Da'Rick Rogers and Terrance Williams, essentially), so I pounced. I figured if Jenkins and Williams were not picked yet, the nose tackle market had backed up so much that I'd be able to pick them or Brandon Williams in the third round. Turns out I was wrong, but I still ended up with one hell of a steal in the third round.
82. Terrance Williams, WR Baylor
I was shocked to see Williams here, and even saw two receivers that I had tiered below Williams go before him with Stedman Bailey and Markus Wheaton.
My plan was to go with an NT here, and I still have two in mind for the next pick, but with Swope and Williams still available here, it was impossible to avoid WR. The Vikes have a top pick in the fourth and should be fine at NT. Time to stock up on receivers.
I chose Williams over Swope (who I love more) because Williams has more experience going deep and runs a wider variety of routes. Patton was a possession receiver who plays the FL. Williams is the new SE.
With Brandon Williams gone, I was uninterested in what the defensive tackle market could bring me, although I was tempted by Bennie Logan sitting there. I could have planned for Kevin William's retirement this way. I still figured that the team would be improved in 2013 and 2014 more by this pick than by a defensive tackle by turning receiver into a position of strength. 2014 should see a roster of Greg Jennings, Quinton Patton, Terrance Williams, Jarius Wright, Greg Childs and at least one receiver from UDFA or currently on the roster who surprises. Perhaps Jerome Simpson's injury issues were really a big deal, he puts up a good year, and gets signed once more.
I like Jarius Wright, but if he is struggling to find field time because there is just too much talent ahead of him, that's a good thing. This also resolve the injury worries of Jennings, Simpson and Childs. I do not think the current WR corps is built for durability and depth is a way to resolve that.
While Swope has great 40-speed and plays with a ton of quickness on the field, he doesn't have the resume of "deep threat" that Williams does and doesn't have a lot of experience taking the top off of defenses, so Williams made a ton of sense to me here in that respect.
Knowing what I know now, I would have picked differently. Jordan Poyer fell all the way to 91 and Bostic fell all the way to 97. At least one nose tackle dives into the middle of the second round in every mock I've seen. Without trades, my changes to my draft would have been thus:
23. Keenan Allen, WR California
25. Alec Ogletree, MLB Georgia
52. Jonathan Jenkins, NT Georgia
83. Jordan Poyer, CB Oregon State
I could have then used pick 102 on a player like Terrance Williams, Ryan Swope or Sio Moore. Instead, I would end up grabbing Akeem Spence. With the 49ers, Texans, Browns, Colts and Redskins all potentially ready to pick a receiver, I don't mind my Terrance Williams pick given the other picks, but I do know that receivers could be pushed down a little bit if I'm grabbing one earlier. I don't think Williams or Swope would have lasted to 102, but Goodwin, Bailey, Stills and King almost certainly would have
Here are how the picks played out:
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
3. Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
5. Detroit Lions - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
6. Cleveland Browns - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
7. Arizona Cardinals - Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
8. Buffalo Bills - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
9. New York Jets - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
10. Tennessee Titans - Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
11. San Diego Chargers - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
12. Miami Dolphins - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
14. Carolina Panthers - Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
15. New Orleans Saints - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
16. St. Louis Rams - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
18. Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
19. New York Giants - Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
20. Chicago Bears - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
21. Cincinnati Bengals - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
22. St. Louis Rams - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
23. Minnesota Vikings - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
24. Indianapolis Colts - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
25. Minnesota Vikings - Alec Ogletree, MLB, Georgia
26. Green Bay Packers - Matt Elam, S, Packers
27. Houston Texans - Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
28. Denver Broncos - Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
29. New England Patriots - Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
30. Atlanta Falcons - Alex Okafor, OLB, Texas
31. San Francisco 49ers - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
32. Baltimore Ravens - Manti Te'o, MLB, Notre Dame
33. Jacksonville Jaguars - D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
34. San Francisco 49ers - Eric Reid, S, LSU
35. Philadelphia Eagles - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
36. Detroit Lions - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
37. Cincinnati Bengals - Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
38. Arizona Cardinals - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
39. New York Jets - Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
40. Tennessee Titans - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
41. Buffalo Bills - Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
42. Miami Dolphins - Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
44. Carolina Panthers - Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
45. San Diego Chargers - Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
46. St. Louis Rams - Robert Woods, WR, USC
47. Dallas Cowboys - Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
48. Pittsburgh Steelers - Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
49. New York Giants - Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
50. Chicago Bears - Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
51. Washington Redskins - DJ Swearinger, S, South Carolina
52. Minnesota Vikings - Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
53. Cincinnati Bengals - Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers
54. Miami Dolphins - Kyle Long, G/OT, Oregon
55. Green Bay Packers - Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
56. Seattle Seahawks - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
57. Houston Texans - Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
58. Denver Broncos - Jon Jenkins, DT, Georgia
59. New England Patriots - Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
60. Atlanta Falcons - Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss
61. San Francisco 49ers - David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
62. Baltimore Ravens - Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
63. Kansas City Chiefs - EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
64. Jacksonville Jaguars - Zac Dysert, QB, Miami OH
65. Detroit Lions - Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
66. Oakland Raiders - Mike Glennon - QB, NC State
67. Philadelphia Eagles - Barrett Jones, G/C, Alabama
68. Cleveland Browns - Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
69. Arizona Cardinals - Dallas Thomas, OG, Tennessee
70. Tennessee Titans - Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
71. Buffalo Bills - Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
72. New York Jets - Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
73. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
74. San Francisco - Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State
75. New Orleans Saints - Brandon Williams, NT Missouri Southern
76. San Diego Chargers - Justin Pugh, OG/T, Syracuse
77. St. Louis Rams - Baccari Rambo, S, Georgia
78. Miami Dolphins - Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
79. Philadelphia Steelers - Shawn Williams, S, Georgia
80. Dallas Cowboys - Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
81. New York Giants - Markus Wheaton, WR, Oklahoma State
82. Miami Dolphins - Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
83. Minnesota Vikings - Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
84. Cincinnati Bengals - Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
85. Washington Redskins - Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State
86. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
87. Seattle Seahawks - Alvin Bailey, OG, Arkansas
88. Green Bay Packers - TJ McDonald, S, USC
89. Houston Texans - Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse
90. Denver Broncos - David Quessenberry, G/T, San Jose State
91. New England Patriots - Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
92. Atlanta Falcons - Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
93. San Francisco 49ers - Maliciah Goodman, DE, Clemson
94. Baltimore Ravens - Duke Williams, S, Nevada
95. Houston Texans - Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut
96. Kansas City Chiefs - Travis Frederick, C/G, Wisconsin
97. Tennessee Titans - Jon Bostic, ILB, Florida
That said, I think I came away a bigger winner than loser. What do you think, and what changes would you have made?
I've also signed up with Turf Show Times' 7-round draft (with trades!) on April 23rd and 24th. Anyone who wants to join my war room should email me (my email is attached to my user info).