The wait for the NFL draft seems interminable. To fill the void we use nonsense and noise from anyone and everyone we can find. From professional analysts giving their takes to amateur analysts giving completely different takes; from national and local reporters repeating what lies agents and executives tell them to wannabe reporters telling lies about agents and executives telling them things; we latch onto their every word as if it means anything. We let these people, these mock drafters, create an illusion that they have the knowledge no one else does, that they have the insight to the unknown that no one else possesses and that they can see the future better than anyone. They can’t. Even the best that are actually in the business of drafting NFL players are fallible. It’s the nature of the beast. But those careers are made or broken by actual hard work and results or lack of results while the mock draft community continues on unscathed after hyping up soon-to-be CFL washouts.
They can not be held accountable because they have no accountability, but we can put them through the crucible of their very existence: a mock draft, of mock drafters. Behold the 2016 Mock Draft Mock Draft, the 4th annual installation of the reminder that nobody knows what they are talking about, especially these guys, but they do like to talk about it.
Editor’s note: We started this before the 1st and 2nd overall picks were traded and we're not retroactively making it reflect that. For questions, comments or complaints, email firstname.lastname@example.org
1 San Francisco 49ers (from Tennessee Titans)
Projected pick: Dan Fouts, University of Oregon
Twitter User @AllbrightNFL had this: "Hearing the number 1 pick is on the move, with the Cowboys trading up to the top pick"
Moments later, the commissioner: "There’s been a trade, The San Francisco 49ers are now picking first"
@AllbrightNFL: @someguy1911 Things change. My info was good. Sorry if you took it seriously. I was pretty clear.
In addition to the 7th pick, the 49ers send the rights to idly speculate if black quarterbacks are dumb, along with lunchpail metaphors, and the phrase "quicker than fast".
The San Francisco 49ers select… Walter Cherepinsky of walterfootball.com. He’s a perfect fit for The Chip Kelly Offense. He’s a machine, he churns out the same 4 mock drafts day in and day out, making him ideal for Chip’s low variation, high volume approach to the game we love. Walter’s proficiency in copying and pasting his own work will mesh well with Chip Kelly’s commitment to the inside zone run.
Ever since he was at Oregon, Chip Kelly has preached the virtues of interchangeability between players at the same position. He has not abandoned this philosophy since getting to the NFL, nor has Walter. Walter has refined this to an art, the art of not mentioning a player’s name, nor school in any of his blurbs outside the top 5 or so picks. This allows him to merely swap guys out without needing to write a whole new sentence, because "New Orleans could use a corner, and this is a good spot for them" can work with literally any prospect. Chip Kelly is uniquely able to appreciate such a dedicated approach to the bare minimum. We all saw it firsthand with "Nick Foles, Quarterback Keeper".
2 Cleveland Browns
Projected pick: Pro Football Focus
The last time the Browns made big changes and were going to start building a good team they hired an NFL Network analyst and former Eagles front office member to right the ship. This time around they're going to get both in one package with Daniel Jeremiah. This two for one package brings great value to the team, and everyone knows how much owner Jimmy Haslam loves to save!
Dan's drafts are largely cookie-cutter with a pick or two that makes absolutely no sense ensuring the Browns will continue to waiver between mediocre and just plain bad and there's something to be said for consistency in the NFL. Maybe Dan's the best pick here and maybe he's not, but a stray dog barked at Haslam outside of Starbucks this morning and it kind of sounded like Dan so that's the pick.
3 San Diego Chargers
Projected pick: One of Philip Rivers’ kids is probably old enough to do mock drafts
Big year for the Chargers. With the Rams coming back to LA and rumors swirling about who’s next to head to the City of Angels, the team’s ownership is just as antsy for a resolution as the fans are to start a revolution! Wow, what a line. Well done. Superbly said.
Anyway, as most of the fans of this piece of content can recall from last year, yours truly does not look at a single mock draft all year and doesn’t know half the pundits being drafted this evening. Simply don’t care. Not interested. Which makes me picking the Chargers an ideal fit. A team with no real direction for more than a decade now, it just makes sense for me to choose the newest addition to a team no one really cares about.
So, with the 3rd overall pick in the MDMD, the San Diego Chargers are proud to select Colin Cowherd! A mock drafter who brings all flash (get it, their logo is a lightning bolt!) and no substance is an exciting addition to an organization pretending that it’s trying to compete but really is just looking for a way out. Willing to say anything to get in the spotlight but never truly able to make an impact, Colin is a prototypical Charger and someone we feel San Diego can build around as it makes its way up north.
4 Dallas Cowboys
Projected pick: OJ Simpson
The Cowboys are always a hot topic of conversation around the NFL. They draw passionate fans from all over the Greater Dallas area and even out to the Dallas suburbs of Tampa Bay, New Orleans, and LA . Dallas fans are a unique breed. They are filled with endless optimism regardless of the team’s current and long-term salary cap situation, roster construction, and recent player performance. They are filled with team pride and still relish in the glory years of over 2 decades ago. Cowboys fans never get down on their team regardless of the scant number of playoff wins they’ve accrued over the past 20 years (2), lackluster record under Jason Garrett (43-43), or the number of collar bone injuries suffered in 2015 by Tony Romo behind That Line™ (2). Given the team’s poor 2015 season and failure thus far to substantially improve the roster going into 2016, Dallas desperately needs to bring in a fresh face who can help keep that enthusiasm up, get people excited about the 0 notable free agents they had the cap room to bring in, and talk about how many 2,000 yard seasons Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden will accrue this year.
For this reason, the Cowboys select ESPN talking head and noted Dallas fanboy Skip Bayless. Skip and the Cowboys have a lot in common. They are both wildly popular if almost universally hated. Despite their complete mediocrity, people can’t stop talking about them. In Skip, the Cowboys are getting a mock drafter who will unashamedly sing the praises of the Johnny Manziels and Greg Hardys of the world, laud the team’s "discipline" in free agency, whine about dirty plays like sacking Tony Romo, and assassinate the character of various DeMarco’s that leave the team rather than accept lowball contract offers--all while shoving his fingers in his ears and shouting "RINGZZZZ" at anyone who would criticize (in his words) "my Cowboys." Bayless fills all those needs and more and is a great first pick of what is sure to be many First Round Picks for Dallas in this year's draft.
5 Jacksonville Jaguars
Projected pick: Bob Vila
Like the saying goes "Rome wasn't built in a day" and neither are the Jacksonville Jaguars. One can not find a better building blueprint than the one Gus Bradley is crafting right now in Florida. With his gritty coaching style and his young offense, Jacksonville is looking to step out from being the joke of the NFL. What better way to rebrand yourself than by bringing in a true talent who knows all things brands. They need someone who's willing to get dirty and knows the industry inside and out. With the 5th pick the Jacksonville Jaguars select Darren Rovell.
Note to all hotels: Please don't buy this bath gel in mouthwash color. That did not taste good pic.twitter.com/zjzoumAg0E— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 30, 2013
6 Miami Dolphins (from Baltimore Ravens)
The Ravens have traded the 6th overall pick to the Dolphins for the 13th pick, a Richie Incognito bobblehead, Mike Tannenbaum's scouting notes from 2010 and a signed Pitbull album (the one with the song for Dr. Pepper on it).
Projected pick: Mike Florio
The Miami Dolphins under Stephen Ross's stewardship have consistently been two things: crap, and focused on hype and money rather than actually not being crap. When he bought the team Ross immediately brought in a bevy of C-list celebrities such as Emilio Estefan and Venus Williams to give him liquid assets and pages in People Magazine. He then tried to hire one of the biggest names in coaching in Jim Harbaugh while he already had a coach under contract, which is a slimeball move. When that failed, he moved to the tried and true way to stay crap: give out huge contracts. Ndamukong Suh's presence guarantees attention, his contract guarantees that the Dolphins will not be competitive. Ryan Tannehill was signed to a top 10 contract after getting everyone who ever coached him fired, and in Mike Sherman’s case he got him fired twice. His next victim is Adam Gase, the hottest coordinator of the offseason.
The Dolphins don't care if you're good. They just care if you're known. With that in mind, they make another splash and trade up after trading back to select the biggest celebrity in the mock draft community, Mel Kiper, Jr.. His love of hair products and fake tan will fit perfectly in South Beach, and the fact that he isn't very good at his job won't matter.
So Mel Kiper is unimpressed by CB Vernon Hargreaves but thinks the Dolphins should pick him @ No. 13? Did I miss something?— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) April 19, 2016
7 Tennessee Titans (from 49ers)
Projected pick: Ian Rapoport even though he’s basically already on their payroll
Jon Robinson is sweating as he ticked away all of his time in an attempt to trade back again. Clearly not prepared to make a pick at this time, but with no other ideas in mind, Robinson submits the first thing that comes to mind. The Titans select Albert Breer. It's a bit of a stunner pick, but one that the front office is willing to spend the next few months talking themselves into as the one they wanted all along.
8 Philadelphia Eagles
Projected pick: Ron Jaworski
After the failure of Football Guy™ Chip Kelly, Jeff Lurie needed to make the Eagles great again. Notorious Football Guy™ Hater Howie Roseman was re-hired to the Eagles GM role and is now looking to make his imprint on the team. It’s a well-known fact that Roseman has literally fired 10 well respected Football Guys™ in his time with the Eagles (there is no way to verify the accuracy of this claim but everybody who pays attention totally knows it’s true). Roseman is on a mission, replacing Chip Kelly with Doug Pederson (whom some have called Andy Reid’s protege) and getting rid of as many Kelly signings as possible, even trading Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to move up to the 8th pick.
With that 8th Pick of the MDMD, the Eagles select NBA Mock Drafter Chad Ford. Ford is a great fit, as he is definitely not a Football Guy™. Additionally, Chad has a reputation for revising his draft boards after the fact to make them look better, which is basically what the Eagles’ front office has been doing with with Howie Roseman’s drafts for years. With Chad Ford in the fold, this shared commitment to revisionist history may finally get the Eagles all (in the words of Andy Reid after his firing) pulling in the same direction and (in the words of Chip Kelly after his firing) on the same page.
9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected pick: NFLosophy
The Buccaneers play in a city time forgot, a city so bland and uninspiring that aside from a single Gentleman’s Club and a weirdly competitive hockey team, Tampa might as well be a rural farming commune. That makes Gil Brandt perfect for this team.
For starters, no one has the slightest idea who he actually is, other than a fleeting inkling that he’s some interdimensional time traveler. Moreover, he represents a tried and true method of good ole boy philosophical discourse, which should bode well in the state of Florida.
Why would Tampa possibly pass this up?:
NDSU players I'll be watching closely in todays CFB kickoff vs. Montana— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) August 29, 2015
> OT John Haeg (will be drafted)
> QB Carson Wentz (likely will be)
Told @SI_PeterKing Tannehill would have been 2013's top pick. Also think Barkley would have been in QB mix behind Luck in '12, maybe top 5— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 1, 2013
10 New York Giants
Projected pick: @LicensePlateGuy
The New York Giants of recent memory can be summed up in one phrase: "dancing on their opponent’s midfield logo pregame and then losing 27-0 on national TV." Therefore, they desperately need a mock drafter who fits that mold, someone with a strong trash talk game and apparently little to no working knowledge of football. Someone whose skin is nearly as flimsy as his takes. The Giants select Pete Prisco.
When talking about Rams QB situation, why do people forget about Mannion?— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) March 7, 2016
11 Chicago Bears
Projected pick: Mike Ditka
At pick number 11, the Chicago Bears take...Ike Taylor!
A reach to be sure, John Fox and Ryan Pace ignore everyone else's draft boards and grab their guy with the 11th pick in the draft. Taylor represents everything the Chicago Bears stand for: he's tough, he's hard-nosed, and even when he's completely wrong, he defends his position with an almost unnatural enthusiasm. Taylor also is a defensive player who played for a cold weather, rust belt city and won a championship, so it worse comes to worst, he could always fall back on being Mayor of Chicago.
In short, Taylor is young, with a whole career ahead of him, which has to appeal to a team in the middle of a rebuild like the Bears. And even better than that, the only risks Taylor takes are boring ones -- Fox and the Bears are going to ride this projector of RB, OL, and CB draft picks into the 3rd place finish on the other side of the rainbow.
12 New Orleans Saints
Projected pick: Rich Gosselin, who like Sean Payton is also living off his reputation from five years ago.
New Orleans. A town noted for celebration, jazz, suspect French food, and gluttony. In the storied history of this little port village, only one man has ruled with complete and utter tyrannical authority. That man? None other than pyramid-scheming Drew Brees.
See, Drew is getting old. He’s getting tired. And while he appreciates being the king of a few fishing wharfs and a deep fryer, the Saints will need to find his replacement. So where do you look? The Saints need someone capable of selling complete bullshit to strangers, may it be sugar pills, vitamin water, or newfangled uses for saran wrap. They need someone who appreciates the finer moments in life, but in a measured, "I’m humble but not nearly as humble as I probably should be" kind of way.
As such, the New Orleans Saints need Peter King.
Amongst modern day football journalists, Peter King has the absolute stranglehold on empty, agenda-driven shilling. The Rams need something? Here’s Peter to the rescue, writing a living memorial to Les Snead and Jeff Fisher, the latter of which is the worst head coach in the history of professional sporting events.
Speaking of books, Jeff Fisher told me he just read 'The Art of Racing in the Rain.' Loved it. Me too. Loved Enzo the narrating dog.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 20, 2012
What about Goodell? What happens when he’s in muddy water and the NFL needs to caress public opinion about Ray Rice? Peter’s your guy!
In other news, Ray Rice had better have one heck of an explanation for Atlantic City.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) February 20, 2014
RT @boondagger: People need you say something about this Ray Rice BS ... Complicated story. I would have given him 4 games. I understand 2.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) July 24, 2014
This makes Peter perfect for a town like New Orleans, a charming port city founded by a cadre of pirates and ruthless, plantation-ruling despots. He’s also consistent in his methods, which, like Brees’ repeatable accuracy and understandable incredulousness when it comes to snake oil, adds yet another bit of familiarity for the team:
Rams might have made a dumb deal. But how can you know till 2019?https://t.co/3fURLPhvd1— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) April 15, 2016
I said:— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) April 19, 2016
If Eagles draft well,
if they protect Bradford,
if he’s what he was drafted to be,
they could win 12.
Like it for Cleveland. Because even if RG3 stinks, they’ll be in fine position to take the best QB in 2017 draft. https://t.co/YxMnSyt0xx— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) April 20, 2016
Try washing that down with a crisp, refreshing Allagash White, NFC South’ers!
13 Baltimore Ravens
Projected pick: Who cares, it will be brilliant.
6’2", 232 lb. Ozzie Newsome comes up to the stage to a thunderous round of applause for the huge deal he made by trading down. This guy works the draft better than anybody in the league (please disregard 6’2", 214 lb. Breshad Perriman, 5’10", 208 lb. Matt Elam, 6’0", 241 lb. Arthur Brown, 6’2" 273 lb. Courtney Upshaw, 6’4" 370 lb. Terrence Cody, 6’5" 309 lb. Michael Oher, etc) and what do you know he's gotten another huge steal in taking 6’2", 198 lb. Mike Mayock.
It's simply amazing that a mock drafter of Mayock's caliber slid this far in the draft and Ozzie was smart enough to grab him, he's done it again! This is a great pick who could help elevate 6’6" 232 lb. Joe Flacco to a level where he's worth almost 1/3rd of his contract. Mike's ability to always sound half asleep and indifferent will fit in great with an organization who loves to ignore issues with its personnel.
14 Oakland Raiders
Projected pick: John Middlekauff
A team on the rise. For years the Oakland Raiders have been on the doorstep to becoming the next great team, just missing that critical piece to get them over the proverbial playoff hump. Now with rumors flying about their desire to ship off to Los Angeles too, are they actually trying to compete? Or are the Raiders just cracking wise, fooling us all into thinking they care but are nothing but a false façade who picks fights just to stay relevant?
So with next pick in the MDMD, the Oakland Raiders are proud to select Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice! Jimmy, a good friend of mine by the way, takes his picks seriously only to a point. While he recognizes that mock drafts are an essential part of being an NFL reporter, much like the Raiders, he does things only when he has to or when mandated by superiors. His apathetic picks are a signal that he wants to give off the impression of trying while not really trying too hard at all. His recent cereal and candy mock draft, while incredibly disturbing themselves, shows how little he cares about being accurate or truthful. Let’s consider the fact that he had Lucky Charms, a cereal that is 85% garbage cardboard, as the No. 2 overall pick, and included orange Tic-Tacs, hardly a candy to begin with, in the top 10.
So are the Raiders trying to show they care about winning with this pick or just doing the minimum work until they can move into a nice, cushy stadium in LA? Only time will tell.
15 Los Angeles Rams
Projected pick: Matt Millen
No one’s been around longer than Jeff Fisher. No one. He’s the NFLs version of Methuselahs uncle Randy. With the move to the big city, the Rams are making a big splash here. They considered trading up to the number 1 overall pick, but didn’t do it before we started writing this and we’re sure not going to start over our fake draft for no reason, leave us alone. Anyway, the Rams will be bringing in a rock star of the mock drafting business, so long as that rock star is Paul Anka, and selecting Bill Polian with this pick. I know, what a steal. The man who was instrumental in bringing Andrew Luck to Indianapolis. Jeff Fisher will be set to go 8-8 for years to come with Bill Polian as the new face of his storied, decrepit, weird, scary franchise, as it takes on the golden coast. Look out swimsuit season!
16 Detroit Lions
Projected pick: Matt Miller
After a two-day confusion over who was on the clock -- during which Martha Firestone Ford refused to accept that Mark Davis was real and not some burn-suit prank her damn son-in-law was trying to pull on her to see if she'd drop dead so he could have the team, the prick [feel free to bleep that] -- the Lions approach the podium to the relief of the entire, exhausted room.
And then they suck the air right out again by selecting Joe Banner (Phi, no Cle, no TWTR) with the 16th overall pick in the draft. Ford realized that her team was in danger of losing its identity, and frankly, the stone faced charm of Jim Caldwell just wasn't cutting it. So, in the tradition of Detroit owners everywhere, Ford called her GM and demanded he make a splash. And a splash he did make. Banner is dynamic both in his previous role as a GM, and now in his current role as an armchair GM. Do you need someone to rush to judgment on a recent signing? He can do it. Need someone to get to the line quick so that he can predict a move five beats before anyone else? Got that too. And a mean streak? I mean come on, it's Joe Banner.
Accuracy is a little wanting, of course, and when a guy changes teams as much as Joe has, you start to wonder. Still, opinionated, brash, and bold, Banner is going to give the Lions the identity they desire, like it or not.
17 Atlanta Falcons
Projected pick: Depends on which of the Falcons 45 GMs is allowed to make the pick.
The Atlanta Falcons are run by a variety of people having the same tasks and relatively equal levels of middling intelligence. In their quest to maximize the primes of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, they have essentially copied the Politburo's method of governance.
In order to further support that group mind think, the Atlanta Falcons need fresh blood. They need folks accustomed to rapid, knee-jerk reaction, little-to-no implementation of critical thinking skills, and the oft employment of mental gymnastics to get around Occam’s razor by any means necessary. Thus, there could be only one pick for them: #DraftTwitter.
What is #DraftTwitter? Well, remember back in high school when you bragged to a bunch of fellow classmates how you were going to go to Harvard or Yale, yet in reality, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh put you on their wait list and eventually "passed" on taking your parents’ hard earned tuition dollars? That is #DraftTwitter, except the Ivy League is a meaningful use of draft analysis (think: the NFL, AFL, CFL, or any FL aside from Miami) and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh is Bleacher Report.
18 Indianapolis Colts
Projected pick: Evan Silva
The Colts take great pride in our organization and the passion of the city is what will lead us to the promise land. Nothing can shake us and we must select someone who has a certain fiery appeal. A man amongst men, a man who has no boundaries and a man who knows what it takes to stand out as a man. The Colts select Clay Travis.
What do you get with a man like Clay Travis, well hell I'm not even sure where to begin. He won't be held down by what society tells him he should be and he has a stellar educational background with which he proudly boasts. He is the true hero we need when it comes to the PC Twitter bros. Never worried about damaging his integrity and getting into a feud with anyone. Clay Travis brings what it really means to be an Indianapolis kind of man.
19 Buffalo Bills
Projected pick: Dan Kadar
Hope can be a dangerous thing. For years, Doug Whaley has given Bills fans nothing but false hope. He hired Doug Marrone, then he hired Rex Ryan. Everyone knew that the 2013 draft was a wasteland for QBs, he took one in the 1st who was eventually replaced by a retired player. He keeps trading for Eagles RBs. He threw away a 1st to draft a WR who wasn't the best on the board. He traded for Matt Cassel then a few months later traded him for less than he gave up to get him. He signed Richie Incognito. He finally finds a starting QB and immediately started looking elsewhere. And the Bills gave Whaley an extension.
To take his hilariously inept evaluation skills to a new level, Whaley and the Bills are going to need help. They're going to need someone who really brings it. They're going to need Emory Hunt.
"Who the hell is Emory Hunt?" you might ask. To that I say be quiet and sit down, this isn't a dialogue it's a rhetorical performance. Emory Hunt runs FootballGameplan.com (which may or may not contain game plans) and calls himself "the Czar of the Playbook." He's a grinder, he's a tape guy, he's a junkie. He's a Football Guy™.
And like Whaley he has highly questionable evaluation skills. Here's his top 12 QBs this year: 1. Cardale Jones 2. Dalyn Williams 3. Trevone Boykin 4. Cody Kessler 5. Jared Goff 6. Jacoby Brissett 7. Vernon Adams 8. Dak Prescott 9. Connor Cook 10. Vad Lee 11. Kyle Washington 12. Carson Wentz.
Vad Lee. Some guy named Kyle Washington, who's apparently a basketball player for Cincinnati. Dalyn Williams, who he was impressed with in person against 1-9 Cornell. Maybe it's because I am partially deaf, but he keeps pronouncing "Harvard" like "Auburn" which makes me wonder if he even knows what he's looking at. Just like Doug Whaley.
Here's a different look @ the #Eagles/#Browns trade as I think Howie Roseman won't take a QB https://t.co/4tncDCJTjn pic.twitter.com/cmozoQ2pbW— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) April 21, 2016
20 New York Jets
Projected pick: Todd McShay
It's fun that there are traditions in football. The New York Jets have a storied tradition of making really stupid draft picks, and it's quite enjoyable. The Jets make their pick, the camera immediately goes to a bunch of drunk Jets fans who had to use PTO to be able to go to the draft back when it was on a Saturday, they boo it, most of the on-air talent goes "I don't believe this!" but one guy goes "this is actually good". There's Kyle Brady. There's Vernon Gholston. There's Kyle Brady. There's Kyle Wilson. There's Kyle Brady, Mike Nugent, Kyle Brady, Blair Thomas, Kyle Brady, Browning Nagle, Kyle Brady, Anthony Becht, Kyle Brady, Dee Milliner, and who can forget Kyle Brady. Why should the Mock Draft Mock Draft be any different.
The Jets only recourse to actually make a difference in this draft is to
draft Kyle Brady follow the lead of their most bitter rival, former Jets head coach Bill Belichick. They must cheat.
The Jets take Mike and Mike. Yes, they're technically two people and they can only take one, but Mike and Mike's symbiotic relationship means they are one. One really f'n annoying talk show duo who are constantly given assignments no one wants to see them in like being the announcers for a Monday Night Football game, covering the Spelling Bee even though Golic can't spell, a game show, and an interview of Roger Goodell that was basically a platform for the NFL's PR campaign to make you think they are doing anything about CTE. They're the perfect cornball fit for cornball Woody Johnson’s team.
"How does it feel to finally be a Jet?"
"I don't know let's get a player's perspective."
*punches self in face*
21 Washington Football Team
Projected pick: Donald Trump
The Washington team selects Nolan Nawrocki. It’s not hard to see why Nawrocki and the WFT are a perfect match. They share the same core values, some of which are listed below:
Realness: Nawrocki won’t stand for a player who "plays to the cameras" like Geno Smith or who has a "sense of entitlement" like Cam Newton (who has a kid). Robert Griffin III’s former teammate Chris Cooley said he could never sit down and have a beer with Griffin. These are the serious problems that arise when players aren’t real enough.
Attitude: Selfishness is a cancer to the team. Washington got so tired of RGIII (who has a kid) selfishly wanting to play all the time that they eventually had to demote him to practice squad safety. The outcome? Washington made the playoffs. Boom. Attitude matters.
Character: Nawrocki has often pointed out that doing bad things makes you a bad player. He dropped Cam Newton down his 2011 draft board because Newton cheated, lied, and stole in college. Can a person who does such terrible things be a good player? Absolutely not, as evidenced by Newton’s zero Super Bowls last year which completely validates Nawrocki’s criticisms.
Intangibles: Kirk Cousins doubters noted that he surpassed RGIII’s career interception total during the 2015 season, and did so in about half RGIII’s number of pass attempts. To the non-observant, this may be taken as evidence that Cousins is bad. But Jay Gruden stood by his man in this and many other situations, lauding his understanding of the offense and sometimes even blaming the wind for one of his QB’s bad performances. This only makes sense if you understand how important intangibles are, which they totally are super important.
Smiles: Nawrocki got ahead of this one when he criticized Geno Smith’s "fake smile" and he was clearly right. Geno has had a lackluster career and his smile is most likely a primary reason. I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington got tired of RGIII smiling all the time as well.
Mental toughness: Nawrocki routinely eviscerated players like Cam Newton and Geno Smith. But he spoke glowingly in his pre-draft assessments of seemingly inferior players like Blaine Gabbert and Matt Barkley. Similarly, Washington promoted less accomplished and skilled QBs Kirk Cousins and even Colt McCoy over RGIII. And it’s not hard to see why when you consider what Gabbert, Barkley, McCoy, and Cousins have in common in comparison to Smith, Newton and RGIII. I’m speaking of course of mental toughness. It’s what enabled Matt Barkley to keep going behind the leaky offensive line, as Nawrocki pointed out. Nawrocki also loved Gabbert’s "football intelligence and mental toughness." It is thanks in part to Kirk Cousins’ mental toughness that he was able to shake off the aforementioned game when it was "too windy" and go on to have approximately 5 good games in the 2015 season.
It’s the unified commitment to these principles that makes Washington’s selection of Nolan Nawrocki the possible steal of the MDMD.
-Mike S (who has a kid)
22 Houston Texans
Projected pick: Danny Kanell
Being a Texan is more than just wearing a symbol on your helmet. There's a certain pride and aggression that you must wear on your heart. JJ Watt is the embodiment of what being a Texan is all about and it's important we draft someone who can bring a similar type of edge. The Texans select Seth Joyner.
Seth Joyner hasn't smiled in over a decade and that's a type of dedication we're looking for in a Texan. A real fierce attitude that says "I'm a mean a son of a bitch so get out of my way". It's time to make being a Texan great again.
Looks like Houston has finally found themselves a QB #RyanMallet— Seth Joyner (@sethjoyner) November 16, 2014
23 Minnesota Vikings
Projected pick: Peter King’s waiter
The Minnesota Vikings, having coveted #DraftTwitter for the entire draft process, are now forced to scramble. How do the consensus champions of the last three drafts rebound from this disappointment? Why by taking the self-professed champion of mock drafters three years running as well: Ben Allbright.
Like the Vikings, Allbright doesn't rub everyone the right way, and like the Vikings, he couldn't care less. Purple Crush meets Perma Block, Allbright is yet another inspired pick by the Minnesota front office. When their sixth round scatback doesn't turn into the NFL career leader in return yards by week 15, will Allbright issue a retraction? No, like a winner, he will explain that things changed, shifted and that the scatback is still the league leader in a different universe along the same possibility plane as our own.
And for a team needing an attitude injection, Allbright will fit the bill. No longer will the Packers or Bears write headlines and steal stories from those proud Minnesotans. Not with Allbright on the case. Look to see Teddy Bridgewater take a huge next step with this guy on the team. Or I mean, if he doesn't we'll try to find out what changed.
24 Cincinnati Bengals
Projected pick: Robert Klemko
Everybody knows Mike Brown likes to keep things cheap when it comes to his scouting department. They have the smallest in the league and Brown serves as his own GM. Looking at the Bengals recent drafts, it seems like they keep things pretty cookie-cutter and take the players whose names we all know (no Googling for unknown linebackers in Cinci). It's as if Brown just grabs an NFL Draft magazine from the rack while he's in line at the grocery store and makes picks from there. For the MDMD, Mike Brown accidentally grabbed a TV Guide magazine and picked the first name he saw that he recognized. The Cincinnati Bengals select OJ Simpson.
"But Boss, this guy's in jail. He probably killed his ex-wife!"
"That's great, he probably already knows most of the defensive roster!"
The Juice can serve as mentor to guys like Pacman Jones and Vontaze Burfict, showing them how to get away with crimes (sometimes). Although he'll probably give the equipment staff fits on glove fitting day the guy we know and love from The Naked Gun can be the face of this franchise. His 'get things done' attitude is just what the Bengals need to compete in the tough AFC North.
25 Pittsburgh Steelers
Projected pick: Heath Evans
The Steelers have had a lot of misses with their 1st round picks recently but they hit a home run this time by drafting Andy Benoit. Benoit might not be a huge name yet but he's got all the tools to become a star in Pittsburgh. Benoit's awful opinion of women's sports is sure to be a hit with Big Ben and his ability to cover his ears and ignore reality should endear him to the Steelers’ fanbase.
I'd draft Russell Wilson's wife in first round. #LuckyMan.— Andy Benoit (@Andy_Benoit) April 28, 2012
26 Seattle Seahawks
Projected pick: Alex Jones
Is there any sorer winner than the Seattle Seahawks? I mean, this team is GOOD and yet they talk more shit than anyone in the league. I think Football Outsiders has a stat on this. Google it. Given this, the perfect fit is someone who is good at what they do, but so much of a jerk that no one cares. Naturally the pick here has to be Cian Fahey, the Grumpiest, most Irish guy to ever block me on twitter for agreeing with him. We tried to find someone who would be able to discuss conspiracies with Pete Carroll, and even considered Alex Marvez at this spot, since he’s a Juggalo and who knows what they believe, but Cian is the pick here. He should help solidify the back end of their mock drafting for years to come.
27 Green Bay Packers
Projected pick: Packers message board mock draft #178
The Pro Football Draft Writers Association is of one mind with the Green Bay Packers. Both are storied franchises. Both have lofty, lofty goals. Both are unbelievably classy.
The PFDWA does not accept membership applications, and inclusion in the Association can only be achieved through a comprehensive nomination and voting process. It is a true badge of honor for those writers who exhibit each of the PFDWA’s core principles.
And, most importantly, both make a lot of big overtures about what they're going to do in the offseason that they never follow through on.
So that's why Green Bay selects, even though they have published literally nothing of note, the Pro Football Draft Writers Association (PFDWA) at pick 27 of the 2016 MDMD. What kinds of players does the PFDWA like? Who can say? What is their ultimate goal as an organization? Outside of recognition by their peers on twitter, no one really knows. What is their goal every year? A Super Bowl. Or I mean a bowl of soup.
Either way, we know one thing that's going to be happening this offseason in Green Bay: lofty, lofty nothing.
28 Kansas City Chiefs
Projected pick: Louis Riddick
We all know Andy Reid likes a certain kind of player on his team. While he can accept a certain amount of skill and talent on his club, what he’s really looking for are the good people. Neighborhood, friendly, hometown people who will go out of their way to help someone in need. Like drafting an actual fireman instead of a football player in the first round, Andy clearly doesn’t care about meaningless intangibles like "ability" and "speed" and "agility." No, what Andy cares about are the quantifiable characteristics like being a "nice" person and having a "heart" and being a "swell family man."
So, with the 28th pick in the MDMD, the Kansas City Chiefs are proud to select someone who goes out of his way to help players in need without really bringing much of anything in terms of intellect -- Jay Glazer. Year after year, Jay has consistently brought nothing in terms of actual insight into drafting strategies or player projections, but is is always willing to help a player who needs to develop a new workout plan or something. He lets his heart guide him to the right choices, which are wrong. Always.
Excited to see what Jay can bring!
*New England Patriots - pick vacated
The lights go out.
The crowd hushes in anticipation. "Bounce" by Bon Jovi plays on the PA.
Chris Berman: "OH MAH GAWD THAT'S BILL BELICHICK'S MUSIC!!!" (Seriously the song was written about him.)
The hooded one approaches the stage, card in hand. John Harbaugh shits his pants and protests. Ryan Grigson searches frantically for Roger Goodell, who is bound and gagged in the basement of Aaron Hernandez's vacant home.
"The New England Patriots are on the clock" Belichick announces, with an enthusiasm usually reserved for doing roofing in August. Bill Simmons cries tears of joy. Dan Shaugnessy hacks up another column.
The team that won the Super Bowl by possibly cheating then lost the AFC Championship Game by playing it straight has but one need.
"The Patriots select Mike Freeman, University of Delaware."
29 Arizona Cardinals
Projected pick: Hines Ward
When it comes to the Arizona Cardinals, we know 2 things: 1) Larry Fitzgerald absolutely must have embarrassing photos of Peter King, and 2) Bruce Arians has the fullest diaper in the NFL and has since 1922. Hang on, I just got an envelope from FedEx saying that Bruce Arians has sent in tape of me typing this blurb on my couch in my underwear, claiming it’s unfair. With this in mind, we set out to find the media member with the fullest diaper, at least until Bruce Arians gets fired. Someone whose career highlights are scatological in nature. The perfect fit is none other than chili salesman Mark Schlereth whose career highlights include playing with John Elway and peeing his pants and tell everyone about it. Speaking of scatological, Schlereth will also bring his willingness to talk shit on anyone who he feels like, something that Arians loves. Combining this with his prodigious head and you have a real Arians Man, who is a welcome addition to the Reddest Team In The West.
30 Carolina Panthers
Projected pick: Some idiot from Bleacher Report
While we all expected the Panthers to select some idiot from Bleacher Report, they got themselves sterling value with Bucky Brooks, who is literally and metaphysically the alpha and the omega of Bleacher Report employment goals.
In addition to formerly being a scout for the Panthers, Bucky--the second most famous Bucky in current pop culture--brings a motherlode of analytical prowess to the Big Cats of the Raleigh-Durham Triangle:
1. For starters, Bucky understands value, especially when comparing present draft busts to future draft busts:
It's time to start paying attention to how well Blaine Gabbert is playing for @49ers . Much better option than anyone in 2016 QB class— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) December 6, 2015
2. Second, Bucky is able to quickly and assuredly identify different tiers of draft busts, which is an analytical nuance not often discussed at the pro level of draftery:
Wow! The blatant disrespect for Teddy Bridgewater's game stands out when I see him behind Locker & Gabbert. Really? https://t.co/nMVGnYbhjI— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) April 23, 2015
3. But above all else, Bucky maintains an ironclad ability to remain intellectually consistent throughout the "evolution" of his analysis, even if he’s a bit disillusioned:
Who is the top QB in the draft: Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton? Read about it in my latest article on #nfl.com http://t.co/Wh8FzhY via @nfl— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) March 17, 2011
ICYMI: Here's why the @Panthers were wise to bet on Cam Newton as a franchise QB: http://t.co/VsGM0Jw5fV pic.twitter.com/gpT5T4wz4Z— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) June 5, 2015
It looks like the Panthers found themselves yet another guy with All-Pro potential who Dan Snyder will poach for a billion dollars 6 years from now, and that guy is Bucky Brooks.
31 Denver Broncos
Projected pick: @trillballins
Well, we’ve reached the last pick in the draft. Often one of the most difficult picks to choose from as most of the top talent is off the board and we’re at the point where we just have to see what the team need is and try to find someone to plug it.
And since we’ve gotten down this far in the draft, a point where I don’t even know who’s even left anymore, l’m going to go with a guy who sounds familiar to me but for all the wrong reasons. That is why the Denver Broncos are proud to select Louis Riddick, the actor who portrayed Lieutenant Cedric Daniels on the hit HBO series The Wire and now ESPN NFL Analyst!
I know very little about Lou but what I can tell you is that he takes his mock drafts very seriously I assume. I mean he has to, right? To comment on the fact that the league has no self-awareness when you spend your entire day guessing at something that doesn’t matter? That’s some seriously high-level trolling.
Lack of self awareness in the league is amazing.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 18, 2016
Anyway, we’re proud to have Lance on board to help do whatever in the hell it is that he does all day.
Louis Riddick always sounds like he's about to punch someone in the face— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) April 21, 2016
Congratulations to all of our picks. May the takes be with you.
A grown man doing a mock draft is like a 6 year old girl playing teacher for her pretend class.— Adam Boise (@AdamatBPN) January 20, 2015