April 28 - Rough Draft
I don't watch a lot of college football. I can narrow my viewership of it this year down to a pair of
games- BC/somebody and the Texas/USC game. That was enough for me. Once the superstar
aspect is gone, it's a lot like watching a high school soccer game... not that many steps above "aren't
they cute?" on the food chain.
Therefore, I'm the perfect person to tell you how the NFL draft will go this weekend. I'm distanced
Mel Kiper Jr. does this exclusively- I've never seen him speak of sport in any other context than of the
NFL potential of a college kid. He no doubt does months of scouting, detailed analysis of each team,
background research about who some tailback was banging in high school... and he puts so much
thought into it, he out-thinks himself. While I can't say for sure how, his hairdo alone is proof.
I've played or coached basketball for most of my life. While I was never that good from the outside, I
saw a lot of people who were very good at it. One thing I noticed watching them... they never put a lot
of thought into shooting. Catch-and-shoot. Whenever I see someone in the NBA catch the ball and
pause before shooting- even if no one is within 20 feet of him- he misses.
The good ones just gun it when they get it. It's a combination of instinct and pure belief-in-self. That's
how I run my drafts, and see if I don't kick Don Banks' punk ass this weekend.
Now, Don and Mel could school me on these kids. I wouldn't know Haloti Ngata (pronounced "Ngata
") if I were sitting in his lap. I can't tell you what school Mario Williams went to without looking at my
notes. I'm pretty sure it's "Jay Cutler," but it might be "James." Doesn't matta.
I go by hype and team needs. Hype handles itself- a few weeks of mock drafts show me which
players are regarded highly by most writers. I watch and read enough NFL so that I generally have an
idea of where a team's great deficiency lies. I know who's getting old, who hasn't worked out, and who
is returning from injury. From there, it's Catch-And-Shoot.
Mel Kiper has no doubt thought about this for months, and he's probably changed his mind about
what Houston will do with the #1 overall pick dozens of times. I may have thought about it for 30
seconds before I kick off my Rough Draft, and I'll probably think less about each succeeding pick.
1) Houston: Reggie Bush, RB
When AOL sent me down to cover the All Star Game in 2004, I stayed with former
President Bush at the Hotel Derek. Seriously... that's what the man's tax returns
list as his primary residence. I never saw him, although he probably uses the side
door or something.
Houston has enough Bush. They should trade this pick to the Jets, who need
either Leinart or Bush like the spider needs the fly. The Jets' flexibility in this matter dictates what I see
happening with pick #2. Houston stands pat and takes the USC tailback.
2) New York: Matt Leinart, QB
Up until last year, the Lakers were the serious basketball team in LA. The Clippers were more of a
junior varsity. The Lakers had Nicholson in the stands, while the Clippers got Billy Crystal. This is
because the Lakers had Magic and Kareem and Shaq and Kobe for 25 years, while the Clippers
had... oh God help me, I don't know who.
The J-E-T-S no doubt are aware that New York has two teams. One of them has the Manning brother
who hasn't choked on a playoff game yet. The other one is offering either Chad Pennington or Patrick
Ramses every Sunday. One team looks like a sure bet to play in a Super Bowl soon, while the other
one is rebuilding like a 9th Ward resident.
There's no way New York can let both of the USC kids pass them by. Leinart comes cheaper. NY and
NO trade picks, and NY throws in some lesser round picks to sweeten the pot.
3) Tennessee: Vince Young, QB
Sure, he scrambles too much for the NFL. He did indeed get outscored by pasta on his intelligence
test. He also shredded USC in the biggest game of the year, and should have at least one of their
Heisman trophies. Remember that this kid's stock dropped AFTER they stopped playing the actual
games- up until then, he treated college football like the bear treats the rabbit.
Tenny needs a QB, as they seem to have pretty much given up on McNair. They're gonna suck for a
few years, so they might as well bring in a one man show who needs time to learn the pro game
anyhow. Huge upside, although he's a fast linebacker away from the injured list every time he springs
out of the pocket.
4) New Orleans: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT
They overpaid the badly-injured Brees when they could have chosen Young or Leinart. Bad move, in
my book. They have to protect Brees now, so they may as well take this huge guy... with a name so
goofy, you know he's been in like a million fistfights. Sort of sounds cajun, anyhow.
5) Green Bay: Mario Williams, DE
There'll be a lot of cheese-eating grins in Wisconsin when this killer end falls into ther laps. Maybe
the team won't start out 0 for Favre this year.
6) San Francisco: Vernon Davis, TE
This year's best tight end prospect in 10 years will probably alter a lot of point spreads on 49er losses
this season, singlehandedly turning 14 point lines into 13 point lines. It's funny that the Mafia have
people who think about this kind of stuff.
7) Oakland/LA Raiders: A.J. Hawk, LB
Sounds like a Raider, don't he?
8) Buffalo: Brodrick Bunkley, DT
Haloti Ngata looks too much like a buffalo for the team to actually drape the jersey on him. They'll go
with the slightly less fatter gentleman. Look for the FSU guy to ask someone where the wings on a
buffalo are by August if he doesn't hold out.
9) Detroit: Jay Cutler, QB
Ready the Millen Man March, because someone is looking to salvage his reputation with a QB who
never won ditka in college. If he takes another WR with this pick, look for his own staff to execute him
before the note gets to Tagliabue. It's such a bad pick, you know he's gonna make it.... it's like
watching a mongoloid play with the fuse box. Schadenfreude, kids... it becomes entertaining after you
start looking for it.
10) Arid-zona: Winston Justice, OT
Coach Green was up front about how he felt Larry Fitzgerald was a great kid, and he chose him. He
was raving about Justice the other day, and it's about time that a black man got some Justice.
11) St.Louis: Michael Huff, DB
I got yelled at in IM by someone about a month ago, over a disparaging remark I made about Mike
Martz that I can't remember making. He ended up hitting on me once he calmed down. I bet this kind
of stuff never happens to Dr. Z.
12) Cleveland: Kamerion Wimbley DE/LB
I just like sending FSU guys to teams who play outdoors in miserable climates. I bet God does, too.
13) Baltimore: Haloti Ngata, DT
Ray Lewis needs some big huge guy to hide behind and lay hits on runners.
This young man is Yokozuna-sized.
14) Philadelphia: Chad Jackson, WR
This kid outran a cheetah at the scouting combine, and the team needs a
good WR almost as badly as Donovan McNabb does.
15) Denver: Ernie Sims, LB
May as well send all 3 of them north...
16) Miami: Chad Greenway, LB
Taking a guy named "Chad" is among the best ways to ensure that you don't end up with a stoned
Nepalese mystic ruining your team twice in 3 years.
17) Minnesota: Jimmy Williams, DB
As long as he doesn't likeboats...
18) Dallas: Donte Whitner, DB
Tuna should trade up and get one of those QBs, but this kid fills a need.
19) San Diego: Santonio Holmes, WR
The GM just gambled his job on Phillip Rivers. Sandy will trade up if they have to, in order to provide
Phillatio with a weapon.
20) Kansas City: Johnathan Joseph, DB
Will spend August wondering to himself why Kansas City isn't in Kansas.
21) New England: Tye Hill, DB
Ty Law, Ty Pool, Tye Hill... it's ty chi out there, kids.
22) San Francisco: Manny Lawson, LB
If the draft fell into place differently, they'd have Super Mario and SuperManny.
23) Tampa Bay: Ashton Youboty DB
I love this kid's name.
24) Cincy: Jason Allen, DB
JA has a bum hip, but he's a top-flight talent.
25) NY Giants: Darnell Bing, DB
Could come in handy if they need to sign Reggie Bush someday.
26) Chicago: Antonio Cromartie, DB
Their recent DB signee just beat someone at a Denny's, so....
27) Carolina: DeAngelo Williams, RB
They need someone who isn't injured. If he turns out to be a player, all the
28) Jacksonville: Laurence Maroney, RB
Fred Taylor ain't gettin' no younger, and this kid has a chance to be special.
29) NY Jets: Nick Mangold, C
The Jets need to build a huge wall in front of Leinart.
30) Indianapolis: Lendale White, RB
The dropoff from Edge is HUGE. I can see them trading this pick to Houston for the suddenly
obsolete Domenick Davis.
31) Seattle: Max Jean Gilles, OG
They just got looted for their franchise guard, so they may as well take a 350 pound guy.
32) Pittsburgh: Demetrius Williams, WR
I never shut a mock draft down until someone named Demetrius is selected.