|I can't tell you how much I loved using this picture. Until next year...|
As promised, here is the third and final part of the Boris Diaw Time mock draft. Again, this mock draft is a little different from the typical ones on ESPN. We aren't picking who will get drafted in a certain spot; we're picking who we would draft if we were in charge of that team. Prince and I alternate picks and there have been plenty of interesting ones thus far. Don't forget, we have no idea what we're talking about so don't get angry if you hate our picks.
If you missed the first ten picks, you can find them here:
#21 Kansas City Chiefs – DE/DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
Jon: This is a case of taking value over need. While Wilkerson won’t fill an immediate void, he’s too talented for a top personnel guy like Scott Pioli to pass up. Simply put, getting Wilkerson at #21 represents too great a value to pass up; need or no need. Even still, it’s not like Kansas City’s front line is loaded or anything. High draft selections on both Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson have brought mixed returns (aka they kinda suck). Wilkerson could play both DE and DT in KC’s 3-4 scheme and he’s sure to complement Tamba Hali’s outside pass rush well. In all honesty, I’ll be very surprised if KC doesn’t trade this pick; either to move up and get a guy like Julio Jones or to move down and get additional assets.
Prince: I only saw this guy very briefly on NFL network in one of his workouts and I wasn't that impressed, so I think this is a little high. I'm probably in the minority here, but I would take Marvin Austin or Phil Taylor over Wilkerson. If you're going straight value with no specific position why not pick up Anthony Castonzo? I guess I just don't see Wilkerson as being the next best guy on the board, so I would either go with a need or a different player.
Jon: You also liked Blaine Gabbert so that proves your intuition can’t be trusted. No, seriously, I considered all the players you mentioned, but I actually like Wilkerson. He’s ranked fairly highly on a lot of scouts big boards and he comes without the baggage of either Austin or Taylor. Castonzo was a close second, but their values are about even and Wilkerson is at least a bit more of a need considering the corpses of wasted draft picks they keep throwing out there every Sunday.
#22 Indianapolis Colts – DT Phil Taylor, Baylor
Prince: Being in a division featuring Arian Foster, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Chris Johnson means you need to be able to stop the run and Indianapolis has really struggled there. Phil Taylor is a huge DT, weighing 350+ pounds, who could really help their defensive line and run defense. He’ll also command double teams which should help their edge rushers get to the opposing quarterback. I really wanted to take Castonzo here, but I think Manning does a great job of getting rid of the ball without taking hits, and the Colts run defense is a really big concern.
Jon: Should I go ahead and make the joke about Indianapolis needing to use this pick on a doctor? No? Just let it go? OK, let’s move on.
I’m literally shocked you didn’t Castonzo…and I salute you! Everyone has the Colts going OL here, but I think the Colts’ needs can be summed up by the end of the AFC Wild Card game against the Jets. Simply put, the offense can still get the job done as well as any, but the defense can’t get stops. However, while I agree with your assessment of the Colts’ true needs, I’m not sure about Taylor’s fit in their scheme. They’ve typically preferred fast, athletic guys in their front four; something Taylor is definitely not. I might prefer the more athletic and versatile Cameron Heyward here, or even the high risk/high reward Marvin Austin…that is, of course, if I were going defensive line. At #22, CB Jimmy Smith represents a good value and a significant upgrade to a secondary in need of a playmaker. (Side note: On the off chance Nate from 18to88.com reads this, I hope I didn’t say anything too stupid or ignorant. Nate, please feel free to let me know if I have a dumb opinion. I’m sure I do!)
Prince: Taylor may not fit their scheme...but right now their scheme is to let teams run all over them. This is my pick, and I think they need a space eater on the inside of their line. Phil Taylor isn't much of a pass rusher, but he’ll be able to fill a big hole (and I mean BIG; he is over 350 pounds), and can specialize against the run, which is by far the worst part of their defense.
#23 Philadelphia Eagles – OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
Jon: Perhaps we’re dumb for not having him drafted sooner, but there’s no way I’m going to let him drop any further. You have to believe Philly would be absolutely thrilled to see Castonzo still on the board at #23! The Eagles allowed a near league high 49 sacks last year as opponents constantly found success when unleashing the hounds on Michael Vick. (Too soon? Still? Come on!) Castonzo represents an incredible value at this spot and would be an instant upgrade over the underperforming (and currently injured) Winston Justice. Yes, there are other holes Philly needs to address, but watching Vick have to constantly run for his life in last year’s playoffs is enough to convince me OL probably should be addressed early and often.
Prince: After reading all these picks, there are many reasons people could say we’re dumb...so just add Castonzo falling this far to the list. Compared to previous years, the quality of OT is significantly worse so I don't think many of these guys will go high in the 1st round, but Castonzo will help out a bad O-line in Philly. They have to be able to protect their QB this year, especially if they trade Kolb. I know that Kolb isn't that good, but at least they had someone who was familiar with the offense who could come in. Who knows what kind of production they’ll get from a third string guy?
Jon: Wait, you don’t like Mike Kafka? Here’s the real question, why do so many people love Kevin Kolb? Personally, I think he sucks…which leads me to believe either Cincinnati or Arizona is destined to give up a first and a third to get him. Of course, as you said, Kolb is Philly’s guy if they can’t figure out how to protect Vick. I don’t know how good Castonzo will be right away, but he has to better than what they already have…right?
#24 New Orleans Saints – DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
Prince: New Orleans loves to have guys who can get to the quarterback, and they add another here with Heyward. Many think Heyward would fit best in a 3-4 defense, but he’s big enough and has a high enough motor to fit fine in the Saints 4-3 defense. He has already been compared to Will Smith, who has been productive for the Saints, and I think Gregg Williams will easily make Heyward a threat coming off the edge.
Jon: No arguments from me here. I’ve been tempted several times to take Heyward much earlier because I think he’s extraordinarily underrated. I love his versatility and I love his motor. The upside probably isn’t there as much as it is with Watts/Jordan/Smith/etc. as he struggled a bit in the face of constant double teams last year, but he’s extremely disruptive when he’s not “The Man” and he’s facing single coverage. Actually, New Orleans’ pressure scheme would likely allow Heyward to see more than enough single coverage situations to thrive. Also, Heyward has shown the ability to occasionally drop back into coverage which would allow Gregg Williams to utilize him in zone blitz packages. This is actually a good pick Prince!
Prince: There you go with the word "actually" again. Any time I ever say something you agree with, you act like you’re really shocked because I've never been right before. Anyway, I think Heyward would be a great fit for their defense and apparently you do too, so I don't have anything else to add.
#25 Seattle Seahawks – QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Jon: Finally, another QB off the board! Prince, I’ll definitely be curious to see your reaction to this one. I’ve spent a lot of time railing on the QB crop in this draft, but I’ve consistently said Mallett is easily the best of the group. He obviously has some serious baggage attached, but you can’t teach an arm like this guy has and Seattle would be wise to snatch him up here. The Seahawks could easily go with Jimmy Smith, Akeem Ayers, or one of several offensive linemen here, and it would make sense for them to do so, but they will forever be stuck in mediocrity until they address the QB position. Again, it’s a bit of a risk to grab Mallett in the first round, but at the very tail end of it, the risk/reward is much more palatable. He definitely has talent and Seattle badly needs to take a chance on a potential franchise QB…unless of course you love Charlie Whitehurst and his trashy hair.
Prince: I really like Mallett too and if it weren't for his issues he could be a top ten pick, so I think this is good value. He has admitted to drug use, so it really depends on how the organization feels, but I would pick him late in the first round. He's got a cannon for an arm and I'm sure Mike Williams and Golden Tate would love to have him throwing the ball to them. Whitehurst is obviously not the future of this team, so if they can get Mallett late they should. I would also expect some other teams to try and trade up to the late first round and take a chance with him.
Jon: So, we’ve agreed on three straight picks and I’m starting to get bored. Couldn’t you have claimed you love Charlie Whitehurst and you see him as the next Joe Montana? No? OK, fine! Anyways, I have a slight man crush on Ryan Mallett so I really hope he gets an opportunity like he would get in Seattle. While #25 seems about right for him, I can definitely see a team giving up way too much value to take a shot on Mallett. This always seems to happen with QB’s in the first round…I’m talking about you Rick Spielman!
#26 Baltimore Ravens – CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
Prince: The Ravens pride themselves on defense and I think they will go that way in the first round. Jimmy Smith is a big physical corner who I think the Ravens would really like. He's 6'2" so he can matchup well against some of the bigger receivers in the league and could be a great shut down corner. He would probably go higher if it weren't for some off field issues earlier in his college career, so I think #26 is a good value for him as long as he stays out of trouble.
Jon: You’re right, I guess it would be a crappy pick if he got in trouble and ruined his career……..
Seriously, we have to stop with all this agreeing! Once again, this is a fantastic value at #26 and a perfect fit for Baltimore. While the Ravens still have a lot of strength in their front seven, the defensive backfield has slowly been depleted due to age and injury. Jimmy Smith has been favorably compared to former Ravens great Chris McAlister and that’s no small compliment. I would think his physical playing style would endear him well to Baltimore’s current players. Of course, I would also think it impossible for you to make two good picks in a row so who knows what reality is?
Prince: I actually thought there was no way you were going to agree with me on this. Not that it wasn't a good pick, but I just figured you needed to be able to argue with me about who I drafted. How about you go ahead and select Cam Newton for Atlanta so I can yell at you again?
#27 Atlanta Falcons – TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
Jon: I’m definitely going against the grain with my selection since literally everyone has Atlanta taking a pass rusher here. The thing is I’m not sure any of the remaining edge rushers represents a huge upgrade long term. This pick is more about maintaining the status quo than it is upgrading. Atlanta’s passing game depends heavily on the contributions of Tony Gonzalez, who’s been hinting at retirement lately. Taking into account his age and the lockout uncertainty, it seems a given Atlanta will need to replace Gonzalez sooner rather than later. Kyle Rudolph definitely has the same type of receiving skills and Atlanta’s offense shouldn’t miss a beat through the transition. Even if Gonzalez plays another year or two, Rudolph can be a factor out of two tight end sets and give Matt Ryan (the nickname Matty Ice is banned from BDT by the way) more options. Goodness knows Atlanta needs to diversify their passing game!
Prince: I really wasn't expecting you to take Rudolph here. I would say most people have Atlanta taking a pass rusher because they need one, but I guess you're right that there aren't many left. If I had the pick, I think I would have taken a LB over Rudolph. I really don't think I can say there will be a smooth transition when Rudolph takes over for one of the best TEs ever, but Gonzalez would be able to teach him alot. Also, Rudolph did miss a lot of time due to injury, so this might be a little high for him.
Jon: I’m not sure how much Notre Dame you watched the last few years, but I’ve watched an awful lot of their games and Rudolph is the real deal. I’m not trying to say he’s as good as Gonzalez in his prime, but that isn’t really relevant concerning my ‘smooth transition’ comment. Atlanta’s never had Gonzalez in his prime! He’s at the end! That having been said, the injury concern is very real. He has terrific size with room for more weight, so perhaps he’ll be a bit more durable in the future. Even still, I don’t think #27 is a reach at all for the best receiving TE in college football.
#28 New England Patriots – OLB Justin Houston, Georgia
Prince: After getting Pouncey to help out their offensive line, I think the Patriots go with a guy to help their defense. Justin Houston is a former DE who made the swich to 3-4 outside linebacker is mostly known as a pass rusher…a good one too, notching 10 sacks and 44 QB hurries last year. He's probably too small to play DE in the NFL, but he could fit into the Patriots 3-4 defense. Houston is still fairly new to the position, but he's an excellent pass rusher which I think the Patriots could use in their scheme.
Jon: Now I know you’re stealing picks from Mel Kiper! Houston is his pick here too! I’m just kidding…I love this pick for New England. Developing a better pass rush will do wonders for the Patriots’ defense and Houston is the best natural pass rusher left in the draft. As you said, he’s a bit raw, but he’s a perfect fit for Belichek’s system. Kiper feels like he could have been a top ten pick had he returned to Georgia so there could be an incredibly big reward for taking the risk here.
Side note: I don’t know why, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if New England took a chance on Marvin Austin with this pick. He’s an even bigger risk, but he could easily pay huge dividends if he can keep his nose clean. I’m not saying that it’s going to happen or that it should happen, but Belichek has taken chances on questionable guys in the past and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he did the same here.
Prince: So I guess you think I should take over for Mel Kiper when he is done. Honestly, I don't think this is that hard of a pick to make. New England could use a 3-4 outside linebacker who can get to the quarterback and that's exactly what Houston brings. Marvin Austin definitely could have gone here, but I think they need Houston more. Like you said, he’s raw but he does have a lot of talent.
#29 Chicago Bears – OT Nate Solder, Colorado
Jon: Making this selection was easier than knocking Jay Cutler out of a game. Of course, maybe Cutler wouldn’t get knocked out of games if they had more guys like Nate Solder. Look, you don’t want me to drag this “breakdown” out any more than I want to agree with anything Prince says, so let’s make this simple. Chicago’s offensive line sucks worse than anything that has ever sucked. Nate Solder is the best offensive lineman available and plays an important spot on the offensive line. Chicago takes Nate Solder. Jay Cutler still drinks himself into oblivion. End of story.
Prince: Solder is literally the only acceptable pick here. It's too bad because that means we have to agree again. Their offensive line was horrible and the Bears would love to see him fall to them. Landrum; looking at the last few picks, it seems like you love agreeing with me; you can't seem to stop!
Jon: It’s much more discouraging than you could ever imagine. Just when I thought I had a grip on football…then this happens. Maybe I should stick to basketball. Anyways, back to the draft! I’m not sure if Solder will be here at #29, but Chicago has to take an offensive lineman regardless. Danny Watkins, Derek Sherrod, or the fountain of youth for Olin Kreutz would all be excellent choices.
#30 New York Jets – DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina
Prince: The Jets cut Kris Jenkins after two season ending injuries, and also cut Jason Taylor the same day. A few days later, they cut another defensive lineman in Vernon Gholston, who actually sucked beyond belief after notching zero sacks in 45 games. Now, New York's defensive line literally has no one left, so Austin could fill a major hole for them. He definitely has first round talent and at one time was considered the top DT in his class. A variety of off field issues, including a season long suspension in 2010, caused him to drop down draft boards. This could be a really good value for the Jets and Austin might actually be able to play all over the line in their 3-4 defense.
Jon: It’s definitely a risk, but it seems like one worth taking if you’re New York. As you said, they badly need some defensive linemen and they very well might hit the jackpot if Austin can stop being an idiot. Of course, you and I both know Rex Ryan will actually draft a cheeseburger so there’s little point in us talking about this.
Prince: What are the chances Rex Ryan is shown welcoming their newest members to the team by using one hand to congratulate them while the other hand has some kind of food in it? I'm thinking 80%. (Jon: You’re way too low…)
#31 Pittsburgh Steelers – OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
Jon: Man, there’s so many ways to go with this pick. Pittsburgh could take the largest guy available to serve as an oversized baby sitter for Big Ben or they could just take Locker/Ponder/Newton to replace him when he inevitably finds himself in another public bathroom type of situation. I kid, I kid!
Pittsburgh’s offensive line has serious problems and Sherrod would definitely be an upgrade over ‘False Start’ Adams (that’s Flozell for all you non-Dallas fans). Sherrod has been lauded for his ability to block on the move; something that will be key in a Ben Roethlisberger offense. Then again, what’s the point of upgrading the line when Big Ben is just going to scramble around like a chicken with his head cut off, hold the ball for twenty seconds at a time, and take 194 sacks per year? Better go with the oversized baby sitter…
Prince: I can't believe you put Newton as an option there...they already have Dennis Dixon and Newton can't go in the first four rounds! I guess it doesn't matter who’s protecting Ben because no O-line is going to be able to hold their blocks for 10 seconds while he runs around. So I think you should have just gone with Stephen Paea from Oregon State. This guy is probably not that good at football, but he broke the combine record by benching 225 pounds 49 times. He can beat the crap out of Big Ben when he starts to get into any trouble.
Jon: Sorry, I wasn’t trying to say Newton should get picked here. I was going to use it to rip on the fact that people compare Newton to Roethlisberger…then I didn’t. It really does get hard when there’s so many ways to rip on a guy. By the way, I really like the suggestion of Paea! He’s exactly what I was thinking of! Seems we’ve gotten off track a bit…better wrap this up…
#32 Green Bay Packers – G Danny Watkins, Baylor
Prince: When this team is healthy it doesn't have many holes, so I think they can really go best player available here. I ended up picking Watkins because he’s high on some people's draft boards and Green Bay has to make sure they keep Aaron Rogers healthy. They need quality backups in case they suffer more injuries along the O-line. I can't see them suffering through the amount of injuries they had a year ago, but Watkins did play as a left tackle in college so he could be moved around the line if someone gets hurt. At 6'3" he's a little short to be a tackle, but a quality offensive lineman who can be plugged in at multiple positions is needed for this team.
Jon: I’ve agreed with your last four picks. What is happening here? Do we hang out too much? OK, hold on, let me take a second to come up with an alternate draft strategy here…OH! I GOT ONE! Green Bay trades this pick to Minnesota for this years second round pick and a future first round pick. With the 32nd selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select…(drum roll)…CAM NEWTON!!! There you go Prince…now you have your QB of the future! And as a bonus surprise, Brett Favre comes back for one more year to “mentor” Cam Newton! You gotta be excited about your 2011 Minnesota Vikings!
Prince: Sorry Landrum, no trading in this mock draft. I did have to fight the urge to screw over GB and take Cam Newton for them though.
Email me at: email@example.com
Follow me on Twitter at: @borisdiawtime
Follow Prince on Twitter at: @princelancer