There’s an inherent risk with publishing mock drafts so close to the combine weekend that all NFL writers face: no sooner have you clicked “publish”, something is going to happen that will make the most recent mock obsolete within a matter of hours, and 2013 has been no different.
Whether it was the news that Star Lotulelei has a heart condition, whether it was Manti Te’o's better-than-expected presser, or whether it was Geno Smith’s car-crash mock interview with Steve Mariucci, big boards across the country are being ripped up and started again, and mine is no different.
So, here it is; the end of my second mock draft of the 2013 offseason. This is deeper than I’ve gone with pick analysis, but I’m generally happy with who’s ended up where (even with a few last-minute tweaks). I assume you’ve read the first three parts of this mock, but if not you can find them at:
Like in the first round, we start our second part with the Steelers:
Be honest, when you look at this year’s draft class, do you see a quarterback who you think is a safe bet to build your franchise and you’re happy starting in September? Well, there isn’t one, and draftniks are beginning to plant the seed in teams minds.
Now in reality there will likely be a flurry of trading back up into the bottom of the first round as GMs get twitchy about missing out on “their guy”, but I don’t have that luxury, and instead we see five QBs go in the next nine picks, to all of the usual suspects.
Yesterday evening saw some shuffling of the pack at the top of my 2013 pre-combine mock draft. WVU signal caller Geno Smith not only dropped out of #1, but out of the top half entirely, calling into question whether a QB will be taken in the first at all (trades notwithstanding).
The movement left not one, but two Texas A&M Aggies atop the pile from opposite sides of the ball, and only two Alabama players. Half of my top 16 came from SEC schools, which is insane when you begin to think about it.
But we must roll on to find the needs of the Steel City:
If, like the good and true NFL fans with a broadband connection that you are, you’ve been watching NFL Network recently, you’ll have noticed the annoying little animated players that keep popping up in the bottom left corner of the screen and realise that the Scouting Combine is this weekend.
With the combine, comes a raft of mock drafts and player analysis and, never one to miss a trick, I’m throwing my latest into the mix too. To keep these vaguely readable I’m splitting it into four parts: picks 1-16 now, 17-32 tomorrow morning, 33-47 tomorrow evening and the rest of the 2nd round on Saturday morning.
We start off with a change at both #1 and #2 that will please Aggies fans…
Another signing day has been and gone, and rather unsurprisingly the SEC ruled the roost again. Alabama did indeed claim the top recruiting class again (in terms of both numbers of 5* and 4* recruits) but it was the signings made be Ole Miss which turned the most heads. There was almost a momentum building in Oxford as the day went on, and the Rebels can be happy with their best recruiting day since Eli Manning came to town.
One comment I’ve hear a lot on signing day is “Why did player x decide to go to a smaller school when he had an offer from ‘Bama (or whoever)?” Apart from family history reasons – which is one of college football’s best features, incidentally – the answer can be fairly straightforward: playing time. Yes a freshman could go to a school that has a better chance of winning, but they’re not as likely to see the field in the first year (maybe even two).
With the NFL’s rule of needing to be three years removed from high school, and record numbers of underclassmen declaring, the class of 2013 is packed with kids who want to showcase themselves to the world as soon as possible, so that it’s worth it for them to declare for the 2016 NFL draft. A player that redshirts in 2013, and sees little time as a freshman in 2014 is unlikely to make big bucks on one full year’s play alone.
With the all-too-short playing season out of the way, now is the time NFL teams spend weeks working out which rookies they want for the 2013 season, putting them through a series of tests to separate the wheat from the chaff. But it’s not just the pro teams who are working hard on recruiting.
Colleges have been working hard on replacing those players leaving for the big time for months already, and those efforts come to a conclusion (of sorts) tomorrow with national signing day the first day that high school recruits can sign letters of intent and make their college selections official.
I woke up this morning to a world changed. A world where a quarterback like Joe Flacco, Joe Flacco, could become Super Bowl MVP. A world where the media accepted a player essentially saying that God hates the 49ers. A world – brace yourselves – where there will be no more competitive football played for the next seven months.
It’s hard to bear, isn’t it? The totally immersive nature of the American football season, with games Thursday to Monday every week (with college polling on Tuesdays), means that life from late August to February takes on a natural rhythm; a rhythm that feels as normal as other essential things like eating and breathing.
So, with Super Bowl Sunday, with all it’s hype, it’s excitement, comes crushing disappointment. There’s no more match previews to read, there was only one game this weekend so there’s no highlights to watch. How do you stop yourself going stir crazy in those long summer months of rained off barbecues and meaningless soccer?
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In the Bayou, this Sunday, two brothers will square off on opposite sides as Super Bowl head coaches for the first time… Oh, hang on, that’s not the big story is it? It’s all about two quarterbacks, one trying to prove he’s elite, one showing the option is a feasable offensive… Oh, wait. It’s all about Ray isn’t it?
Yes, this is the Super Bowl that the script writers decided that one over-arching storyline wasn’t going to be enough, and said “screw it, let’s throw them all in”. A matchup marked as one of destiny, with a sense of inevitability only usually reserved for Man United last minute winners in seven minutes of stoppage time.
As a Broncos fan, I’m finding it hard to decide who to root for come Super Sunday, so what I’m going to do is dissect the teams, and see where I end up:
Now that the Broncos’ season is over, and there’s only one NFL game left, attention turns to who’s going to be joining the big league when it all starts again come September through April’s draft.
Of course, if you’ve been following my college football blogs throughout the year, many of these names will be familiar to you, and I’ve been surprised how far down my own “big board” goes from watching a lot more college ball this year.
At this point I should stress that this is very much a “first draft” draft based on my impressions of teams’ needs and players’ abilities on my remembrance of them through the season…