Mock drafts. They are now their own niche within the industry of covering football. But who to trust? How does one know who is the best mock drafter? How does one separate the wheat from the chaff of horrific mock draftery? Sure, we could objectively score mock drafts once the draft is concluded to determine the most accurate mocker. But in reality, that exercise goes against the true spirit--and indeed, profundity--of mock drafting: to give the hottest takes possible with reckless disregard for reality.
Even the most plugged in mock drafter knows but a mere sliver of a team's draft day strategy, and certainly has zero insight into the entire league. So they must fill the massive gaps of ignorance with takes that set them apart from the pack, or risk fading into a wasteland of obscurity and be forgotten. But their takes will be forgotten anyway, because no one holds them accountable and no one cares to remember what they said. Except us.
Behold, the 3rd annual Mock Draft Mock Draft.
Draft nerds (like me) take note: I’ve had more teams this year mention using "the mocks" at least as a piece of information than ever before— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 24, 2015
This year we announce two changes. First, there is a significant format change. In previous years, each mock drafter had seven rounds to draft their own team. Unfortunately this year that did not work out, so instead we present the MDMD as a one round draft in which as a collective we mock draft a mock drafter to an NFL team. Mock drafters make their mocks almost entirely based on team need, and so shall we.
Second, we welcome to the MDMD our resident scholar, Dr. Pizza. He doesn’t even read mock drafts, which is probably for the better. Let’s get to it.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A little over a year ago, the Bucs hired Lovie Smith to great fanfare. They rolled out their own in depth reporting on it, The First 100 Days, as if it was a Presidential term. They promptly went 2-14. The Bucs are a fraud of a team who need a mock drafter who fits their philosophy. Thankfully, they have one in their own backyard: NFLosophy.
Originally tweeting behind a secret identity, NFLosophy offered analysis that lead many to think he had front office experience with the Bucs and even more to think he knows what he is talking about. They were half right. He eventually revealed himself, confirming that he did work for the Bucs. For one season. As basically George Constanza.
No longer burdened by living behind an anonymous cloak, NFLosophy was free to explore the world of hot takes, and did so with results befitting a #1 pick.
The Patriots laid out the blueprint of how to play the Eagles. In response, Philly has to figure out how to be man coverage consistently.— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) August 20, 2014
Seriously, it feels like the media made the Chip/Mariota connection (which is easy to do) and ran with it. But I've seen nothing concrete.— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) March 3, 2015
I still believe Tyler Bray is the best QB from last year's class. Gets away with a lot of things because of his arm strength. Still a fan.— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) April 19, 2014
Wait, Kiper ranked Tajh Boyd behind Logan Thomas? I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) November 27, 2013
I can see why the Raiders like Carr over Manziel. I don't think I agree, but I understand why.— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) March 2, 2014
If he can't turn around the moribund Bucs, then no one can.
We have a trade to announce. The Tennessee Titans trade the #2 pick to Philadelphia for 20th overall, Jeff McLane and Eliot Shorr-Parks. The Titans asked for Jimmy Kempski but accepted Chip Kelly’s counter offer of a young promising mock drafter who probably won’t pan out and a guy who isn’t a culture fit.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (via Tennessee Titans)
The 2014 Eagles season was a disappointment, and that disappointment started with the off-season. First the team jettisoned DeSean Jackson like a Cylon, then they missed out on all their targets in the first round, who had little hope of ever falling to them anyway. In the draft they picked multiple players who couldn’t play, and the season eventually fell apart like the front office did.
So they desperately need a game changer. A guy who has more inside knowledge than all the talking heads combined. A guy who thinks he knows more than NFL GMs and isn't afraid to say it. A guy who has been doing mock drafts for years, and even though they are largely crap his next one has the league salivating with anticipation. A guy from Oregon.
The Eagles draft Chip Kelly.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are rebuilding from scratch to try to win a championship. They have their QB of the future and have surrounded him with young weapons to throw to. But they’re still not a Super Bowl contender. Everyone knows that the key to winning the Super Bowl is having a fullback.
@Nelson81 Nope....but every SB champ since 2007 has used a FB. It's called toughness. Something your @Eagles team knows nothing about.— Heath Evans (@HeathEvans44) March 23, 2015
Not any more John. Jaguars select Heath Evans.
4. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders need someone who can make takes everywhere, but also has the tough guy qualities that Jack Del Rio and his axe require.
Most people know about Colin Cowherd’s ridiculous John Wall statements but a couple recent statements are just as asinine. Like when he said he doesn’t watch wrestling because he "likes girl parts and stuff." Seems as if Colin likes this phrase and has used it multiple times.
I know what you’re thinking "Well at least he didn’t say something racist!" Well Cowherd has got you covered! Just a couple weeks ago he seeded states similar to a NCAA bracket, when his producer suggested Oregon was a 14-seed. Cowherd disagreed and when asked why his response was "How about wonderful people, mostly white, that drink lots of beer and wine. Don't screw with Oregon." Wait, I’m sorry what was that second item again?
5. Washington Redskins
The Redskins strive to take "talented" players, which, after a season or three, turn out to be absolutely abysmal also-rans who never play for another team again. While the Redskins have a new GM for the 2015 season, they are still owned by a miscreant manchild hell-bent on ruining the lives of entire geographic areas and segments of the North American population.
Naturally, the Redskins select Walter Football. Walter Football has a lot going for him (or it, if he actually exists), but none more than that GeoCities-era website. Daniel Snyder loves it too, barring his his virus scanner doesn’t think it’s unsafe. And he recycles his mock drafts like Snyder recycles stale airline peanuts and World Cup beer.
6. New York Jets
Jets usually go for the hyped defensive prospects only to spend another first round pick on another hyped defensive prospect and then another. Who's very defensive of their rankings and condescending? Uncle Chaps.
I deleted all my tweets from the last week. You’ll never see them again. I feel bad for you.— Wow Chaps Wow (@UncleChaps) April 25, 2015
7. Chicago Bears
This year the draft is in Chicago as the NFL takes a page from the NHL and MLS and takes it's draft on the road. In those drafts, hosting teams from time to time will make a big move, usually a trade, to put on a show for their fans in attendance. In the MDMD, the Bears don't need to make a trade to make a big move. There is a bonafide star who's
body hair can stand the rigors of playing in Chicago.
In today’s economy, people are usually paid a wage to perform a task. For some, failing at that task--even once--results in termination from said employment. Mel Kiper, Jr., has never--ever--succeeded at his job. He is less accurate than Bill Paxton’s character in Twister and yet somehow, someway, he maintains gainful employment with ESPN.
But what is arguably worse is the fact he is to blame for the entire mock draft cottage industry. Regrettably, and despite the fact that he fails at clip not seen since the Vietnam War, he has spawned a whole cadre of insufferable ingrates who take it upon themselves to mime his act and create garden-variety predictions of draft grades, draft positions, etc. Indeed, we owe everything to Mel Kiper, and because of that, his value is simply too high to pass up.
Which is, ironically, the opposite of every single pick he’s predicted since 3M created the carbon-fibre-based lifeform that currently sleeps upon his skull.
8. Atlanta Falcons
After years of crap drafting, for two different franchises no less, Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli are somehow still running the Falcons. Arthur Blank must have a soft spot for them, but he’s not alone: Peter King once raved that Dimitroff had Pro Football Talk on a huge monitor in his office. That’s the kind of mind that is running a 6-10 team in a pathetically weak division. And that’s the kind of mind that would take Mike Florio 8th overall.
Florio, as you all should be aware, runs NBC's blogging crown jewel--Pro Football Talk. While he does not oversee NBC's B Squad (HardBallTalk, ProHockeyTalk, ProBasketballTalk, some inexplicable Notre Dame Blog, et al.), it his by his own willpower NBC has risen to heights only rivaled by Bleacher Report. That, friendos, is talent and determination.
When he is not defending his credentials against the masses, Florio does his best to read an article submitted to him by some wage slave and then, in turn, creates the headline most divergent from the article's substance. It's a talent that simply cannot be taught, and was probably created in the bowels of hell.
Just watch him in action:
It would be perfect if the Eagles trade Chip Kelly to the 49ers.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 2, 2015
Jordan Matthews doesn't want to be Eagles No. 1 receiver http://t.co/5lu6Tiw7f2— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 3, 2015
Chip Kelly's moving lots of players, but Philly jersey sellers are losing their shirts http://t.co/tFj9yKI5ac— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 3, 2015
Chip Kelly apparently wants guys who went to Oregon -- or to the O.R.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 11, 2015
9. New York Giants
Tom Coughlin is as old school as it gets, and he needs an old school mock drafter in this last hurrah of a season he is about to enter.
@David_Dawood_ fact is they've gotten rid of your most productive players on offense. Djax, McCoy, Macklin. In return for the all ACL team— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) March 11, 2015
You’d think a man who is paid to know the NFL would know how to spell its players names, but maybe that’s just me. But what I really love about Mark Schlereth is how innovative he is. He even invented a new stat called #GuardWinz:
@mikec8812 Elway 0-3 w/o me in Super Bowls 2-0 with me! By the way also won one with Washington. So maybe do some research— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) March 11, 2015
10. St. Louis Rams
The Rams continue to mold a team in Jeff Fisher's bland, overrated image of mediocrity. The MDMD is no different. There is no mock drafter blander and as overrated a mediocrity as Peter King.
His takes on anything and everything -- from mock drafts to the passing of Robin Williams -- were so hot the Rams simply could not pass him up. He may be well respected among his peers and often thought of as an industry leader, but for those of you who know him best and read his slop often enough, you know why he's the biggest can't-miss prospect of this mock draft mock draft. Combining his propensity for taking beer selfies with his horribly ill-fitting hats, Peter will be a tremendous asset to the Rams and we're thrilled to have him!
11. Minnesota Vikings
Coaches love competition. Competition strives all of us to do better and to be our best. Heading into year two of the Mike Zimmer era, the Vikings are still very much a work in progress. To push them to the next level, they need someone who will bring competition and fire. A year ago, Mike Mayock couldn’t shut the hell up about how awful Bridgewater’s pro day was, and then he had to talk him up in the pre-season because he does color commentary for Vikings pre-season games.
12. Cleveland Browns
The Browns need a quarterback who can lead their franchise. They need a winner who can show them the way. They need a leader who isn’t afraid to occasionally say what needs to be said but mostly just says a bunch of self serving crap. They need Trent Dilfer.
Dilfer, the guy who works for the camp that told Mariota to move to WR, doesn't believe Mariota is a pro ready QB. Color me surprised.— Kevin (@theycallmeleehe) January 10, 2015
13. New Orleans Saints
The Saints traded their elite tight end and need to fill the void.
Pete Prisco: close enough.
14. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins can’t help themselves, constantly making splash after splash, no pun intended. The Mock Draft Mock Draft is no different. The team that inexplicably made Richie Incognito a team captain and signed walking fine machine Ndamukong Suh should have no problem fitting in Todd McShay, who like the Dolphins is overpriced and not well liked. McShay has really upped his game this year, grading other people’s mock drafts without the hindsight of the draft actually taking place.
In between pizza jokes, @McShay13 gives @MelKiperESPN a hard time about some of his ‘Grade: A’ mock draft picks. http://t.co/P4QqcdURbY— ESPN Insider (@ESPNInsider) April 16, 2015
15. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers need a company man. That's why they hired a man incapable of speaking to be their coach instead of keeping the guy who got them to the Super Bowl. So, they need someone from Bleacher Report. But not just anyone from B/R, Baalke needs a star and needs him to have clearly drank the kool aid rather than is just looking to make a few bucks. Since joining B/R, Mike Tainer has sunk from must read writer to a guy who retweets Matt Miller and Mike Freeman because he chooses too. But he's still got name recognition.
"Baalke does it again. Genius" - Matt
16. Houston Texans
The Texans could have had Teddy Bridgewater. They could have had Derek Carr. They could have had Blake Bortles. But they chose Tom Savage. Maybe they were swayed by Gil Brandt, who once wrote "Watching this game, the quarterback, Tom Savage, reminded me a lot of a player I had the privilege to scout and eventually draft back in the 1980s -- Troy Aikman."
Gil and I have somewhat of a unique connection. There was a time during my life when I myself was a journalist covering football, though at the collegiate level. And during that time, I was tasked with calling some national pundits to get their perception of some of the potential NFL prospects that were on the team I covered. And who did I just so happen to get in touch with? You guessed it – Gil Brandt. During our conversation – in which he told me a guy on the team I covered, who was selected in the 2nd round of the NFL draft, would likely go undrafted if not completely end his football career – he spoke with an elegance that rivaled a trailer park parking attendant and an articulation comparable to that of a seagull. Not only was he completely off in his assessment but he literally wasn’t even speaking coherently enough to warrant a summarization of his thoughts let alone a full quote.
We have another trade to announce, the San Diego Chargers have traded the 17th overall pick to Indianapolis for the 29th overall pick and Gregg Doyle.
17. Indianapolis Colts (via San Diego Chargers)
No GM in NFL casts a wider net to pluck talent than Ryan Grigson of the #Colts. And it's paid off more than once. That org is in good hands.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) February 7, 2014
And nobody knows as well as Grigson that the key to turning around the Colts is Bill Polian. He drafted them Peyton Manning and he got them Andrew Luck.
"Grigson does it again! Genius" - Matt
18. Kansas City Chiefs
Eagles fans know never to let Andy Reid run your draft. You’ll wind up with massive reaches and pass over star players. The Mock Draft Mock Draft team knows to let Andy Reid run the Chiefs MDMD.
The Chiefs select, from TSN's Justin Dunk, Canadian Football League mock drafter.
19. Cleveland Browns
The Browns need a quarterback who lead their franchise. Sure, they took Trent Dilfer seven picks ago, but they know as well as anyone that quarterbacks bust all the time. Mike Pettine needs another tough as nails quarterback after his last one spend too much time partying. He needs Chris Simms, whose guts can never be questioned on the football field, because they almost literally wound up there.
20. Tennessee Titans (via Philadelphia Eagles)
I feel like people forget the Titans exist. So in that regard, Don Banks is perfect here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have a history of taking troubled players and getting something out of them then discarding them like a rental car. Warren Sapp has a history of getting something out of people then discarding them like a rental car.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers in recent years keep drafting guys who can’t play. The Mock Draft Mock Draft should be no different. But they also like hardened football men, and so does the MDMD. Like a guy who was a scout for a year and then who’s only job prospects after that was part time weekend local sports talk radio co-host. That toughens a man, and probably explains why John Middlekauff looks 48 years old in his profile picture.
23. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions, like the city of Detroit, could cease to exist and not many people would notice. They’re just there, they are who your favorite team has to play one week and then you’re on to whatever is next in your life. You don’t get excited about it, unless they happen to play them on Thanksgiving, and then you’re annoyed they always host the game. Like traffic, they are something that exists and that we all just have to get through. Even the most memorable Lions game since forever had nothing to do with the Lions, they just happened to be there.
They’re like Michael Schottey. Not even the MDMD crew get excited by his mocks. He’s just there, like traffic and the Detroit Lions.
24. Arizona Cardinals
Bruce Arians hates those god damn college plays and needs a real son of a bitch football guy. One who is really good at whatever it is he’s doing, whether it be calling plays or belittling restaurant employees in a commercial. This guy, like Arians, was once a respected offensive mind but then lived off the reputation of his team’s defense, which he had little to do with while his offense struggled. This guy, like Arians, whose diaper gets filled with ease. This guy, like Arians, has no qualms about having crap quarterbacks like Brian Griese and Ryan Lindley throw over 40 passes in a game. This guy is Jon Gruden.
Now, I am of the opinion that leadership and experience – more than skill, ability, talent, or whatever other aspect you may feel makes a great team – is the No. 1 most important part of a championship team. With that said, I and Bruce Arians could not be happier to select Jon Gruden from ESPEN, The World Sports Leading Channel. The first thing Jon Boy does is his homework. Through his superbly produced QB Camp on ESPON, he interviews QBs and other prospects to find the real draft winners. He uses a proprietary question-asking method to get at what makes a draftee tick. Through questions like, "How does it feel to be a quarterback" and "What’s it like to play for a legendary coach," he finds those intangible elements that make up a Championship Caliber quarterback. When Jon gives his stamp of approval on a player, you know that guy’s got a Winning Mentality – and he doesn’t simply hand out that praise willy-nilly either, as only 85% of current NFLers have been referred to as "the best player in the game today." Jon from ESPIN a tough critic, but, I feel, one of the most fair, and that’s what makes him one of the hottest mock drafters available. I give myself two thumbs WAY up for this pick. Your move, boys.
25. Carolina Panthers
Music snobs are some of most annoying and most pretentious people on this planet. But I have a riddle for you. What is even worse than a music snob? Answer: A music snob with horrible football takes, Reuben Frank
winning RT @hasmith472 name one skill foles has that is great.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) March 2, 2015
He'll fit in great in Carolina.
Think he's an outstanding young defensive coach. He'll do well RT @PatiencePayz how do you feel about McDermott being a HC candidate?— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) January 12, 2015
26. Baltimore Ravens
You don’t get anywhere by not taking a few risks, like drafting a homeless guy or guys who failed drug tests in the first round. If you can get them in the right environment, with the right supporting cast, you can turn them into stars. But what if you can get a guy who’s already a star but has baggage? Turn him around and you’ll have a Hall of Famer. Because the Ravens have a white quarterback as the starter, Nolan Nawrocki won’t have to worry about how many kids Joe Flacco has or if he has a fake smile, because Joe Flacco is as boring as a silent auction.
"Ozzie does it again. Genius" - Matt
27. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys keep drafting offensive linemen in the draft, which helped get them over the hump of missing the playoffs. The MDMD should be no different. But they now they have another hump to get over, winning a Super Bowl with an aging offense and mediocre defense, and we have the solution.
What they’re missing is just a little bit of Grit and Toughness, those intangibles that may not show up on the score sheet or in the locker room or anywhere really, but are proof of a player’s willingness to play through injury, even if it hurts the team in the process. With that said, the Cowboys are proudly selecting with a man with a very visible injury both on his hand and likely in his head, NFL Man Brian Baldinger. With his forever-broken pinky finger appearing every time he’s on screen, Brian’s picks are usually rooted not in evidence, film, expertise or sourcing, but rather Heart and Wild Guesses and Random Chance. His willingness to go out on a limb with a pick even though it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and could potentially set a team back years is why I love Baldy here. Excited to see what he brings to the team!
28. Denver Broncos
Who doesn't love the 80s? Probably you kids who weren't even alive then. But Broncos GM John Elway was, he was a QB from the 80s. So was the Broncos coach, Gary Kubiak. And so was the Broncos pick in the MDMD, Ron Jaworski and his consistent takes.
If anyone doesn't know quarterbacks, it's Jaws.
Tape study complete for top 5 qbs: 1 Mariota 2 Winston 3 Grayson 4 Petty 5 Grayson— Ron Jaworski (@jawsespn) April 26, 2015
29. San Diego Chargers (via Indianapolis Colts)
The San Diego Chargers quarterback drives a minivan. They have a scrappy undersized (read: white) running back. They drafted a guy who made up a girlfriend to fit in. They once hired Norv Turner. They are the pinnacle of uncool. And they know it. The Chargers are looking to move to Los Angeles, as cool a city as it gets, or so they think. But they won't fit in. They need the cool kids of the NFL: Pro Football Focus. Unlike traditional hot take artists, PFF declares itself the cool kids table by completely ignoring the widely available All 22 film and instead grading off of hilariously inferior TV angles. PFF, they know more than the greatest coach of his generation. And now they've entered mock drafting:
Which players do we think your team SHOULD pick on Thursday? The PFF Mock Draft pic.twitter.com/4wHiEhiFtS— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 27, 2015
A nothing special mock draft aside from Chip Kelly drafting Dorial Green-Beckham, who hasn't played in a year and has character concerns. Cool!
30. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay is a village in Wisconsin, comprised largely of obese sausage enthusiasts and dairy farmers. As is Germanic tradition, the community owns everything--including their football team, the Packers. So who better for the Packers in a mock draft than a mock draft community--Draft Twitter.
Draft Twitter is a quintessential Green Bay pick. Of the millions of tweets regarding the Draft, maybe 10 are correct. But by golly, those 10 are pretty darned good. Ted Thompson crowd sources everything, which probably explains why Aaron Rodgers does more coaching than Mike McCarthy. That all being said, Draft Twitter is the pick and gee willikers is that a perfect fit.
31. New Orleans Saints
The Saints are at their best when they are not a likable team. In their greatest season they had bounties for headshots, employed a serial rapist and anal retentive Sean Payton would yell at guys for their cleat length. Sure, we didn't know those things until hindsight, but hindsight has no place in the MDMD. What does have a place is hot takes and pigheadedness, and Cian Fahey combines the worst of both.
Hey, people telling me the Cowboys have a worse defense than the Eagles, this isn't the offseason anymore. They're not close. DAL is better.— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) October 8, 2014
@Cianaf If only we had a way to adjust for that... http://t.co/ZEBhqSxE2w (h/t @Southern_Philly, who you blocked like a bitch)— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) October 8, 2014
32. New England Patriots
The Patriots won another Super Bowl, and along the way got into another accusation of cheating. Maybe they deflated footballs. Maybe they didn't. Maybe we'll never know. But we do know they illegally filmed teams. And because of that, they will forever be labeled as cheaters. So what better pick for the Pats than hot take expert Mike Freeman.
Supplemental Mock Draft Mock Draft
That' s right, we have a supplemental MDMD round. The St. Louis Rams select Brandon Gowton.
The moment you've all been waiting for: 2014 NFL Supplemental Mock Draft http://t.co/qyFC0Okpea— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) July 10, 2014