Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NFL Mock Draft: Jon vs. Prince (Picks 11-20)

More bad picks, more bad discussion
As promised, here is the second 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 were plenty of interesting ones in the top ten. 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:
#11   Kansas City Chiefs – ILB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

Prince: I don’t think we’ve talked much about Kuechly, so I don’t know what you will think of this pick. I, personally, love him. Whether it’s instinct, or just the ability to read plays, Kuechly is always around the ball carrier. He’s either lead or finished 2nd in the nation in solo and total tackles in all 3 of his seasons at BC. He is a very sure tackler, and has the ability to bring down ball carriers in the open field. He also seems to be falling down some draft boards because he didn’t blitz very often and consequently didn’t end up with high sack totals. Honestly, I couldn’t care less. This guy AVERAGED 14 tackles per game in his 3 seasons!  That’s ridiculous! Kansas City already has Tamba Hali and 2nd year player Justin Houston at OLB, both great pass rushers, but they really need an ILB to help out their defense.

Jon:  Thus far, you’ve agreed with Mel Kiper on four of your six picks. The other two, you took just took a different player that plays the same position as the one Kiper took. Clearly, you have ESPN Insider access…

As for the Kuechly pick…I guess I don’t hate it. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kuechly, but I kinda feel like he’s a bit safe, if that makes sense. On the plus side, he’s a really good player that can step in right away and fill an obvious need. Kuechly and Derrick Johnson would be a great pairing on the inside. However, I think that A.) #11 is early for an ILB, especially one that isn’t going to make a lot of splash plays, B.) solid ILB’s are easily found, and C.) NT is a much bigger and more important need. Every good 3-4 defense MUST HAVE a dominant nose tackle. The Chiefs cannot reasonably expect their defense to take the next step, no matter who the LB’s are, until they can control the point of attack with a Vince Wilfork-type player. Dontari Poe, despite all his question marks, has the ability to be that player. I know it’s a bit aggressive to pass on a “sure thing” like Kuechly for an enigma like Poe, but you have to hit a homerun at some point if you’re going to win a Super Bowl. Plus, I’m not even sure Kuechly is the best ILB. I actually think Hightower is a better player.

Prince: I don’t know who Kiper took, but is it really a shock that I would have a similar draft with Luck, Kalil, and Claiborne being three really easy picks? It looks to me like what you are bringing up is a similar situation with Richardson. Solid players for RB and ILB can be found throughout the draft, but I think both Richardson and Kuechly are special, and should go in the top half of the first round. We agree that Poe is risky, so I have no problem going with Kuechly here. He can shut down a run game and disrupt short passes while the OLB’S get after the QB.

#12   Seattle Seahawks – G David DeCastro, Stanford

Jon: I know what you’re gonna say about this pick, and yes, #12 is high for a guard. But what are the alternatives here? Poe is more of a 3-4 player, and Seattle already has a good front line. Kuechly would probably be the ideal pick, but you just took him. And both Reiff and Jonathan Martin play more valuable positions, but Seattle has invested their last two first round picks on OT’s, which pretty much eliminates that as a possibility. That leaves me with DeCastro, which really isn’t a bad consolation prize at all. He’s one of my favorite players in the entire draft, and if I had to bet on one player to make an All-Pro team, it very well might be him. Seattle is in great position to contend next season, and DeCastro can step into their huge hole at LG and be the man from day one.

Prince: So, let me get this straight; #11 is too high for an ILB, and you don’t think Kuechly is even the best, but he would be the ideal pick at #12? If you want an ILB and you think Hightower is the best, then why not draft him? Also, how can you say #11 is too high for an ILB and then immediately draft a guard? I guess this is just a crazy draft.

Apparently, both of us are fine with taking players who are just good, not worrying about the position he plays, which can have mixed results. Unfortunately for Seattle, there just aren’t many offensive options available here. That having been said, I like DeCastro too. They are just one year removed from the playoffs, and with Flynn on board, they could easily get back there next season. I don’t think it’s a bad pick; it’s just weird to take a guard this high. By the way, after going through some of these picks, I’m starting to think this isn’t a very good draft.

Jon: Are you even reading my comments, or are you just skimming through? Because I know you, and that’s something you would do! I even preemptively called myself out for taking a guard so high, and you STILL went nuts! Again, I’m not real happy about this pick, but there are no alternatives. It was just a matter of getting someone I knew for sure could help Seattle win right now. Like you said, this draft isn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. Outside of the top five or six, there isn’t much to get excited about. The premium position guys are mostly projects and question marks (Coples, Poe, Janoris Jenkins, etc.), and the “good” players don’t play premium positions (Kuechly, DeCastro, Richardson). Just a tough draft to navigate.

#13   Arizona Cardinals – DT Dontari Poe, Memphis

Prince: I really struggled with this pick because the Cardinals need help on their offensive line. But is taking Reiff really going to make a bigger difference than landing Poe? The Cardinals re-signed Levi Brown, who would still play LT for them, so I feel like taking a RT this high would be kind of a waste. I think Poe is the better player, and passing on him could really come back to haunt them. Plus, he is perfect for their 3-4 defense. Poe has an elite combination of massive size and speed. I can’t understand how a guy weighing almost 350 lbs. can run a 40 yard dash in under 5 seconds. Let’s be honest, Arizona is not one offensive lineman away from being in the Super Bowl, so I’d rather fill in the rest of those holes later in the draft or through free agency and grab a guy now who could dominate on the defensive line. There are normally much better tackles in a draft, and I would have no problem waiting a year or two on drafting one, because most people aren’t sold on Reiff right now.

Jon: In my mind, this HAD TO BE the pick. No other viable option. Neither of us are really big fans of Reiff, and there are plenty of people who, unlike us, know what the heck they’re talking about that feel the same way. As I’ve said before, I just don’t think he’s going to end up at LT. So unless you can draft some sort of amnesty clause for Kevin Kolb’s massive contract, Poe is the right pick. Just can’t let a potentially dominant NT like him slide past you for a RT. Of course, the downside of drafting Poe in the first is that you have to draft a personal trainer in the second. And then another one in the third to replace the one Poe ate in between rounds.

Prince: I think that drafting Poe and then wasting their 2nd and 3rd round picks on personal trainers would still be better for the team than Reiff and two actual players. Poe obviously isn’t close to a sure thing, but guys with his abilities are extremely hard to find. It would be a mistake for Arizona to pass…plus it might actually help the team if their O-line isn’t as good. Increases the odds that Kolb gets hurt.

#14   Dallas Cowboys – S Mark Barron, Alabama

Jon: Well, here we are. Thanks to the magic of Jason Garrett and Tony Romo, I’m forced to pick for my team well before I should be forced to. And let me tell you, the pickings are slim here. Prince, you and I have talked about this pick on multiple occasions, so you’re probably wondering why I’ve reversed course all of a sudden. I’ll be honest; I want Janoris Jenkins. Badly. But recent reports of his continued indiscretions at North Alabama – which came AFTER getting kicked out of Florida – have finally scared me enough to back off him at #14. If he gets it together, he’s going to be the best corner to come out of this draft. Unfortunately, it seems more likely he’s the next Pacman Jones…and I’ve already done my time with Pacman. Believe me, I don’t want that again. It was one of the worst years of my life.

That leaves me with Barron. And please, don’t argue for anybody else unless they play in the secondary, because there are no words for how bad the Dallas secondary was last year.  Truly awful in every way imaginable, and Brandon Carr alone is not enough to fix it. Sensabaugh and Elam were completely terrible last year, and upgrading at least one of them is a must. While I have my concerns about Barron’s ability to cover, his production at Alabama certainly speaks volumes, and he’s an excellent value at #14.

Prince: I’m pretty sure almost everyone is taking Barron at #14 in their mock drafts because the Cowboys need a lot of help in their secondary. I know that even though Carr is good, Dallas wasn’t just one player away there, so I think this is the right pick. Honestly, I really can’t envision them grabbing anyone else. That’s really sad about Jenkins, though. Recently, I’ve heard that he should drop to the third round, but will probably go in the second because so many teams need CB’s. I’ve actually seen Jenkins going to the Vikings in the second round, but it’s really a complete guess about which team is willing to take on that risk. I bet Dallas could get Barron and Jenkins in the draft if they really wanted to.

Jon: That’s kinda what I’m thinking. You can’t blow the #14 overall pick on a hope and a prayer like Jenkins, but a second round pick would be a worthwhile investment. Truthfully, second rounders are far less successful than people realize, so taking a risk at that portion of the draft is actually a good strategy. Imagine, if everything went perfectly, and Dallas ended up with Barron and a focused Jenkins…that secondary would suddenly be one of the best young secondaries in football! What’s that? Nothing goes perfectly for the Cowboys? Oh yeah...so pretty much Mark Barron is the next Roy Williams and Janoris Jenkins is the next Pacman Jones. Great, let me just relive my nightmare all over again. Somebody kill me.

#15   Philadelphia Eagles – DT Michael Brockers, LSU

Prince: The “Dream Team” was disappointing, but really started to play well towards the end of the year. I don’t think that they will be bad next year, and should make the playoffs, but they have some holes to fill. After having one of the worst group of LB’s last year they traded for DeMeco Ryans, and I was hoping pair him with an OLB, which they still need, but I really didn’t find a good fit this high. If Kuechly were here for the Eagles I think they would love to have him, but if not, I bet they go with the next best DT, and Brockers has a lot of potential. He is very young, and very raw, but would be great for the Eagle’s line and could possibly move around between DT and DE. Normally, I’m more cautious about extremely raw talents, but after seeing Jason Pierre-Paul begin to dominate after I avoided wanting him for his inexperience I’m starting to think these guys can work out. This is definitely a risk, but Brockers is only 21 years old, and if he can learn quickly, he will be able to dominate for a long time.

Jon: Hey, while they’re at it, maybe the Eagles could trade a bunch of late round picks for Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, and Marcus Spears. Then they would have an entire defensive line consisting of overvalued, disappointing former first round picks out of LSU! And yeah, I know Brockers may be different than the others, but it’s amazing how a collegiate system can continually make average players seem like NFL studs. (Please see Florida QB’s and Penn St. RB’s, amongst others) Not only that, but Brockers is pretty pathetic at rushing the passer. It’s not an effort problem either; he just isn’t good at it. So basically you’re drafting Marcus Spears 15th overall, which I can tell you from experience is not a good idea. Besides, why would you waste this pick on Brockers when you can take Reiff or Jonathan Martin? The Eagles biggest issues stemmed from the offensive line, and that’s only going to get worse now that Jason Peters has ruptured his Achilles. C’mon, Prince, I thought better of you!

Prince: You’re right, just because some other guys failed means that Brockers will too. And between the time I picked Poe and Brockers, somehow Reiff became an amazing LT that will fix their O-line? Why would he have to be the pick here if almost everyone (both of us included, and discussed two picks ago) thinks Reiff will not be that good? That sounds like a great idea to me. There are 2nd round tackles who potentially could end up playing on the left side and would still be available for Philly. They can also still sign guys. For a team that ended up being ranked 4th on offense, I think it’s fine to go with a defensive player in the first round of a draft that is full of them in the top half, while waiting to draft a mediocre O-linemen.

#16   New York Jets – LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

Jon: I was going to pick a top end QB coach to help out Tebow, but I decided against it when Rex Ryan said I’d have to get one for Sanchez too, so as not to hurt his feelings. So I ended up picking between Upshaw and Reiff. While Reiff would be a good fit here, especially as a RT with the left handed Tebow at QB (I’m doing a bit of assuming), I’m putting a higher premium on the pass rusher. Not long ago, Upshaw looked like a lock for the top ten, but a rough combine sent him tumbling down the boards. Honestly, Prince, there’s a decent chance we look back in shame at having Upshaw all the way down at #16. After all, you know what those combine results mean…absolutely nothing. The guy posted 32.5 TFL’s and 16.5 sacks in his two seasons as a starter in the toughest conference in the nation, which tells me a lot more than a couple 40 times. Upshaw has experience as a hybrid LB, and his ability make plays in the backfield is exactly what the decaying Jets defense needs. Rex Ryan may be a clown who loves feet, but he definitely knows how to use these types of players.

Prince: I think Upshaw is really interesting in this draft, because many teams are trying to figure out what position he plays. I agree that he should be used as a LB, but he is a guy who could play DE in a 4-3 as well. Either way, I think he needs to go to a team that knows how to use him…so the Jets would be a great fit. He’s a big guy, and if he goes to a 3-4 that doesn’t require him to drop into coverage, then he should be really happy. For me, I really think his production will depend on what team he ends up on. I’m not questioning his talents at all; he’s a pass rusher, and that’s what he needs to do on every snap. If he can be given the role of someone like DeMarcus Ware, then he could be great. Hopefully, he ends up on a team that won’t waste him.

Jon: Pretty sure you repeated yourself about twelve times there, Cowherd. I guess you really want us to know that he needs to end up on the right team. Well then, moving right along. (Side note: I wouldn’t be unhappy if Dallas took him, as long as they let me personally cut Anthony Spencer. As in, I literally cut him. Because I hate him. OK, now we can move on.)

#17   Cincinnati Bengals – T Reilly Reiff, Iowa

Prince: The two needs I’m looking at for the Bengals right now are CB and G. Luckily for the Bengals, they have two of the next five picks, and if the draft would play out this way, I think they could address both of these positions. DeCastro would be the ideal player at this pick, but he’s gone. Fortunately for them, I think they could take Reiff and move fat Andre Smith inside to G. Basically; by getting Reiff, they could upgrade at 2 positions.

I ended up going O-line first because there are 2 CB’s (Kirkpatrick and Gilmore) who would both be good for the Bengals, and I doubt both of them will be taken in the next three picks. Actually, I guess I could argue Janoris Jenkins would fit in really well for the Bengals, since he wouldn’t be left out of the “how many nights have you spent in jail” conversations with his teammates. Also, with San Diego and Chicago having the next two picks, and both needing help on the offensive line, I can’t say that Reiff or Martin would still be available at #21.  

Jon: You know I’m not in love with Reiff, but this is a solid pick value-wise. Like you said, there’s going to be a CB on the board when they pick next, so there’s no real need to reach. Plus, the Bengals really do need help on the offensive line, and Reiff is probably the best offensive linemen left on the board. My only issue with your comments was the whole thing about moving fat Andre Smith to guard. What in the world would make you think Smith could play guard??? He’s never played the position in his life! And really, can you imagine him pulling?! No, no you can’t. Because he’s fat. Morbidly obese, and mostly useless. However, a bit of cursory research showed me that Reiff started seven times at LG while in college, and several teams have him graded as a guard on their draft board. You can thank me for that info later. Also, really good call on the Janoris Jenkins thing. God wants this to happen, I think.

Prince: It’s not like we’ve never seen teams move players from tackle to guard. If the Vikings take Kalil, the plan is to move Charlie Johnson from LT to LG. There are tackles in college that end up being guards in the pros. Andre Smith is still very fat, but he is now listed at 335 lbs., so I’m estimating that he lost about 100 lbs., which should help him out a little. Either way, I think there O-line would be better, which is something they really need since they have to play Pittsburg and Baltimore twice every year.

#18   San Diego Chargers – T Jonathan Martin, Stanford

Jon: This has got to be undoubtedly the toughest pick in the entire draft. The Chargers need help everywhere, but there isn’t any one prospect that stands out and gets you excited. And with both the offense and defense eroding fast, literally everyone is in play. Believe me, I went through my draft board about a million times, and still didn’t come up with anything. Finally, I decided to check out McShay’s mock draft. In it, he lists each team’s top needs, and three of the Chargers top five needs were center, guard, and right tackle. So yeah, I figured offensive line would be a good place to start. I actually like Martin more than Reiff, as I think he has a much higher upside and will definitely be able to play left tackle in the future. For now, Martin can provide a major upgrade at RT…and five games into the season, when Jared Gaither has suffered another season ending injury, he can go ahead and move to LT.

Prince: This is exactly why I went with Reiff the pick before; it looks like these 3 picks (Cin, SD, and Chi) could all be linemen. I’m not expecting both of these guys to drop this far, but maybe one of these teams would go after Cordy Glenn, who is ranked high than Martin on some boards. San Diego really needs one of these tackles to fall to them in the draft, and Martin actually looks like a possibility. It wasn’t long ago that Martin was considered to be a much higher pick, but teams are now questioning his strength after he only had 20 reps on the bench press. I still like him more than Glenn, and if teams are only worried about his strength, then it seems like they could easily get him stronger between the draft and the start of the season. I think that this had to be the pick for SD.

Jon: Maybe I don’t have a proper perspective about this sort of thing, but it seems like it would be much easier to put some muscle on a guy (Martin) than it would be to add athleticism to a guy (Reiff). Everybody raves about Martin’s intelligence, footwork, awareness, and technique; so I’m confused as to why his inability to push a bar straight in the air more than 20 times would cause him to drop ten or more spots in the draft. Again, he will get stronger. Whoever drafts him will put him in the weight room and he’ll look like a completely different person within a year. Once that happens, I imagine there will be a few teams wondering why they passed on a LT who clearly has the requisite quickness and footwork to bottle up elite pass rushers. Total steal if the Chargers actually pulled the trigger on him.

#19   Chicago Bears – DE Nick Perry, USC

Prince: These last two picks really hurt the Bears, and since I’m not going to take Cordy Glenn this high, I went with a pass rusher. Surprisingly, the Bears defense was in the lower half of the league in sacks last year, and they could really use a guy on the opposite side of Julius Peppers. They were hoping to sign Mario Williams in free agency, but I guess they will have to use Perry in that role instead. Perry was USC’s defensive lineman of the year, was All-Pac-12 first team, and led the Pac-12 in sacks last year, so I think he could bring an immediate impact wherever he is drafted. If the Bears are to keep up with the Lions and the Packers, they will need to get pressure on the QB, and if they can’t get help on their O-line at #19, then I would expect them to grab a pass rusher.

Jon: I am legitimately shocked you didn’t take Cordy Glenn. Not that this is a bad pick or anything; on the contrary, the Bears need to infuse talent on their defensive line and Perry could very well end up being the best pass rusher from this draft. Still, I’m surprised you passed on Glenn given their obvious protection issues. Of course, the Bears always have protection issues. We’ve reached a point where they should probably just use an entire draft on offensive linemen. As in, every single pick, all offensive linemen, and hope that someone sticks. Actually, I have a little strategy in Madden where I trade down a few times and accumulate as many late round picks as I can. I then use those picks to “mass draft” a position of need. For example, if I needed help at OT, I would draft six or seven of them late in the draft. Sheer odds say that one of those guys has to be worth keeping! Maybe the Bears should do this a couple times. Of course, I sincerely doubt anyone will even take their phone call, much less work a trade with them after last year’s debacle.

Question: Would you have taken Martin if he were still on the board?

Prince: Yes, I would have taken Martin if he were there. That was easily my first choice. Cordy Glenn could end up being a tackle, but he could just as easily end up at guard. He’s no DeCastro though, so I went for another need. Like you said, they always have protection issues, and have made it deep into the playoffs with them. There are still offensive linemen left in the draft, and I just couldn’t pass up this upgrade to their D-line.

#20   Tennessee Titans – CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama

Jon: Screw it, I’m taking Jenkins. You’ll probably disagree with the pick, and so will everybody else (including the Titans), but I don’t care. He’s A LOT more talented than either Gilmore or Kirkpatrick, two guys whom I think have serious bust potential. Of course, there’s some pretty real bust potential with Jenkins as well, but it certainly has nothing to do with his talent level. On talent alone, he’s arguably the best CB in this draft, even better than Claiborne, and at this point in the draft, with Tennessee needing a replacement for Cortland Finnegan, I simply can’t pass up on a premium player at a premium position. This is going to end up as either the best pick in the draft, or the worst pick. No in between. For a team stuck directly in the middle of the pack, that’s a risk worth taking.

Prince: Wow, I’m shocked. I really would like to see you as a GM one day. You would terrify all of your fans, but I think the other GM’s would be scared too. You would literally be putting your job on the line for a guy who doesn’t care about you at all. Sure, if he stays out of trouble, he would be the steal of the draft, but I also feel like you are hurting Jenkins by 1) making him a 1st round pick (which means he really hasn’t been hurt by his continually poor decisions), and 2) giving him tons of money and a longer guaranteed contract. I don’t see why getting to the NFL would suddenly force him to make better decisions. It actually seems like it will just make things worse. No one can argue with his talent, so I won’t go into that at all, but I think Jenkins needs to drop to the 2nd round. If he were there for the Titans’ next pick, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all.

Jon: You’re thinking way too hard about this. We’ve both acknowledged the huge risk factor involved with Jenkins, but to say a higher draft slot will somehow propagate his bad behavior has no basis in fact. What you’re speaking to is a motivation issue, when in fact it is Jenkins’ character that is in question. Whether he gets picked 20th overall or 120th overall, Jenkins character is the same, and his future successes or failures will come down to personal choice. Not only that, but why would you think the “punishment” of a lower draft slot would be effective when his previous punishment of getting kicked out of Florida clearly had no effect? The “he needs to drop to the 2nd round” thing sounds great in theory, but it has no practical application to someone with the obvious character flaws that Jenkins has.

I know this comment is already running long, but I feel this is an important point. By focusing on Jenkins’ character problems, and the inherent risks involved with him, you are ignoring one key thing; there is risk involved with ANY pick, especially this late in the first round. The risk may be different, and certainly less sinister, but it exists just as it does with Jenkins. Consider the list of previous #20 picks: Adrian Clayborn, Kareem McKenzie, Brandon Pettigrew, Aqib Talib, Aaron Ross, Tamba Hali, Marcus Spears, Kenechi Udeze, George Foster, Javon Walker, Adam Archuleta, Stocktar McDougle, Ebenezer Ekuban, Terry Fair, Dwayne Rudd, and Darryl Gardener. This is not an especially stellar group of players, to say the least, and the available crop of players left to me at this stage of the draft gives me a similarly underwhelmed feeling. Thus, my risk/reward analysis went something like this: the “bust” risk of both Kirkpatrick and Gilmore was not significantly lower than that of Jenkins, but the potential reward of Jenkins was significantly higher. I’ve always believed that GM’s need to swing for the fences every now and then, and this seems like the right opportunity to do so. If you miss, the opportunity cost is fairly minimal; maybe a nickel corner or a #2 guy at most. But if you hit, you could end up with one of the five best cover guys in the league. 


Prince and I are only a couple picks away from completing the entire mock draft, so look for the remainder of it to be released tomorrow morning. Also, we'll be tweeting our half-witted thoughts during the draft. You can follow me at @borisdiawtime and you can follow Prince at @princelancer.


  1. I am still seeing a lot of guys predict the 49ers take Janoris Jenkins... and believe me, it scares me, too. Of course, I admit it wouldn't be nearly as catastrophic for us right now if he were to flop - actually, nobody would even notice because we're just lucky to have 11 starters already set on D. But perhaps that's why many are thinking the 9ers would be willing to take the risk at #30, whereas many others would wait until the 2nd round. I still can't imagine him dropping into the 3rd, though... just too many bad secondaries out there starving for a threatening CB.

  2. Actually, I kinda like that pick for the 'Niners. As you said, the risk is minimal given the state of their defense. The upside, as we all know, is tremendous. If he gets it together, Rogers and his big cap hits becomes expendable, which gives them the flexibility to address any potential offensive needs.

  3. Exactly. Don't let Rogers think he's too important - in all honesty, he probably isn't. And I'm all in on Culliver as our #2 guy long-term. Very high on him.

    I also liked the mention of Cotrland Finnegan - I can't think of a more fitting replacement of Finnegan than Jenkins!! In more ways than one.

  4. It's meant to be! If only Pacman Jones can return!