NFL Mock Draft: Looking Back at the 2005 Alternate Universe

Mock drafts can be fun. They can be fun to read, to create, and they can actually be very useful. They can also be very fun to actually mock because mock drafts are so wildly inaccurate that you'll have an easier time creating a perfect NCAA tournament bracket than you will trying to properly predict more than half of the first round.

Trades happen. Surprises happen. And oftentimes the reporters will say that they are "hearing" something, but those voices in their heads are trying to throw them off. Trying to put up a smokescreen to keep other teams from taking the player they really want. The voices also keep telling Ed Werder to burn things and that he's a very pretty girl.

So how are they useful?

They do give those of us willing to put in the time an idea of who the top prospects are and give us somewhat of an idea of where they will probably be drafted. How do I know that Matt Kalil is one of the best left tackle prospects to come around in a long time? Well, it's not that I necessarily know that he WILL be an elite left tackle or that I've even scouted him myself, I just know from what I've read that he's regarded very highly and it would be shocking if he wasn't one of the top picks in the 2012 draft.

These things don't usually change dramatically at the top of the draft from now until April. Andre Smith was once an elite tackle prospect who did everything wrong from January to April and he was still drafted with the sixth overall pick. Barring anything shocking, Kalil will be a top 5 pick.

With that information we can start to get an idea of what to expect, but the mock drafts that you see (including if I do one, which I will want to do) will be wrong over... and over... and over again. It doesn't mean that they weren't useful, it just means that people can only make a best guess. The truth of what's going on in the war rooms is held only within the war rooms, making it slightly less secure than What Happens In Vegas.

What brought me to this article? What made me decide to take a look back at the 2005 NFL draft? The same thing that makes me lose sleep at night; the slippage of Aaron Rodgers to the Packers at pick 24. I've had three years of therapy and still I can't get past it or understand it. I hope I will soon, so we can finally address my mother issues, but Rodgers first. Rodgers first.

I was thinking about this draft and whether or not a team that was set at quarterback, a successful NFL team with a sure-thing at QB, would in fact take a QB in the first round if they felt he was too good to pass up. The last time I can remember that happening was... the Packers and Aaron Rodgers.

Some people had thought that Rodgers was going to be the #1 pick in the draft until Alex Smith became the hot rumor leading up to the day. Those rumors came true and Rodgers was available for the next 23 teams (plus any team that wanted to trade up) until the Packers were all like "WTF? R U Guys Kidding Me? This Kid Available? LOL!"

And then the other teams were like "LOL! he aint no good son! u already got Farve dummies!"

"It's FAVRE you jackass"

How many of those teams at the top of the draft that passed on Rodgers were set at quarterback? Laughably, none of them. I mean, is it so shocking that they had shit at QB when they were picking at the top of the draft? Some of them might have taken Smith, but none of them decided that Rodgers was the answer. Many of them are still picking at the top of the draft and don't have a quarterback.

When the Hawks fans say "We don't need an elite QB" or "We can get a QB late" or "JOSH PORTIS MVP!" I beg of you to look at something like this and review. Teams passed on Rodgers and are still paying for it. You can find a good QB late, but you're giving yourself a much better chance if you draft one early. I don't know that Ryan Tannehill or Landry Jones is worth a top 12 pick and I don't know how involved the Hawks will be in trade talks, but I do know that eventually they're going to have to find their own Aaron Rodgers.

But this isn't about Jones or Tannehill or what the Seahawks should do in the draft in regards to a quarterback. This isn't saying that if they miss taking a QB then they are surely missing the next Rodgers. This isn't about that. This is only about looking back at a mock draft and one of the most interesting "slides" in draft history and what might have been.

The following is a Mock Draft posted by Jarrett Bell on USATODAY on April 22nd, 2005. This is what he thought would happen (or his best guess, not saying that he's an idiot, only that EVERYONE is terribly wrong) and can you imagine what the NFL would be like if he was right?

Enjoy!

The pick and the italics are the words of Bell.

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1.San Francisco: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal. The talk has been all about Alex Smith being the choice. I say that's part of the attempt to trade the pick. They'll take the local kid.

What Really Happened: The Niners took Alex Smith, apparently it was not just a smokescreen to trade the pick. They did not feel as comfortable with Rodgers as they did with Smith. The 49ers took seven years to post a winning record with Smith, finally winning the division this season. For two years during that run, they were led in passing by Trent Dilfer and Shaun Hill until Smith finally established himself as an accurate and nearly-mistake-free quarterback. Still, this came after they used a pick on Colin Kaepernick and there is still some question if he can start in the NFL, being helped out tremendously by a top defense and Frank Gore.

In the Alternate Universe: The Niners take Aaron Rodgers and let him sit behind Tim Rattay. However, just like in real life, the Niners start 1-3 and bench Rattay and start Rodgers. In Smith's first career start, he threw four interceptions against the Colts. Rodgers only throws three picks plus a TD and the Niners only lose by 14 instead of 25. The Niners go 6-10 and win the division in 2007 behind Rodgers, who goes to his first Pro Bowl. Britney Spears is killed in a ski-mobile accident in 2009.

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2. Miami: Alex Smith, QB, Utah. Nick Saban knows how critical it is to have a plan at the game's most important position. So, for our first "run" of the draft it's only fitting that there's a run on quarterbacks. If the 49ers take Smith, then Braylon Edwards would be the choice.


What Really Happened: With Smith unavailable, the Dolphins took Ronnie Brown instead of Aaron Rodgers. Did they need a QB? No, they had a 34-year-old Gus Frerotte. Wait, I mean yes. Yes, of course they needed a f@#$ing quarterback. They had Gus Frerotte and Sage Rosenfels. What was wrong with the Dolphins? Nick Saban was in his first year as head coach and only lasted two total, forced to take a crappy job at Alabama. Cam Cameron led the team to a 1-15 record in 2007 and Tony Sparano took over which proved critical in the Ronnie-Brown-Wildcat Offense. However, they are STILL looking for a franchise QB and they passed over on Aaron Rodgers. This mock has them taking Alex Smith.

In the Alternate Universe: The Dolphins take Smith and sit him behind Frerotte, as was traditional at the time, and the Dolphins go 9-7 with Smith attempting just 17 passes. He starts every game of 2006 and the Dolphins go 8-8 (instead of 6-10 under Joey Harrington. Yeah, remember THAT?) and Nick Saban actually stays in Miami and the Crimson Tide hire Bobby Petrino away from Louisville, meaning that he never coaches the Falcons in 2007. The Dolphins 1-15 season never happens, instead going 6-10. The Crimson Tide never win a National Championship (and aren't in it this year) still trying to find footing under 2nd-year Head Coach Chris Petersen. The Wildcat offense NEVER HAPPENS at Miami or takes the NFL by storm while the Patriots actually make the playoffs under Matt Cassel and win the Super Bowl. They trade Tom Brady to Kansas City. Back to the Future is re-made in 2011 with Justin Bieber in the lead role. Earth weeps.

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3. Cleveland: Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan. Rated as the top prospect overall on some boards. If he's gone, then they can go trade down or go with one of the top QBs.

What Really Happened: This is what happened. Edwards had a couple of good seasons and was recently cut by the Niners. The Browns had a chance to draft Rodgers, but should they have? No, they made a better pick by taking Charlie Frye in the third round and starting Trent Dilfer. I mean to say, YES OF COURSE, WTF?! The Browns had one of the worst QB carousels in the NFL after Tim Couch finally flamed out and were coming off of the Jeff Garcia season. They've been trying to find a player like Rodgers ever since, going through Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, and Colt McCoy.

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4. Chicago: Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn. Jon Gruden says he has the best hands in the draft, but the Bucs won't get a chance at that because Da Bears take best back on the board. Maybe they'll surprise us with Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson.

What Really Happened: With Brown off the board, they selected another highly rated running back in Cedric Benson. While Brown and Cadillac Williams had some success with their original teams, Benson was a total bust for the Bears, not doing much in the NFL until he got to Cincinnati. Should they have taken Rodgers? No, they had drafted Rex Grossman in the first round two years earlier and he was well on his way to being a 6-time All Pro, already having led the Bears to a Super Bowl championship. Wait, none of that happened. YES THEY SHOULD HAVE YOU IDIOTS! Grossman failed in his first two seasons and could not secure a job. In 2004, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn, and Chad Hutchinson had combined for 13 starts, probably the only 13 starts of their careers. The Bears decided that fourth round pick Kyle Orton and Grossman would be enough. Eventually, the Bears traded for Jay Cutler and he's done okay.

In the Alternate Universe: The Bears draft Brown and they have a slightly better offense with a better compliment to Thomas Jones. They went 13-3 and made the Super Bowl in our universe, but in the alternate they win it and Peyton Manning is still the "Best QB without a Championship," which leads to personal journey in Egypt to "find himself." He hasn't been seen since July, 2010.

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5. Tampa Bay: Carnell Williams, RB, Auburn. It's a run on Auburn running backs. Gruden takes a big piece for his fix-it plan for the Bucs' offense.

What Really Happened: Another easy one here.. this is what happened. The Bucs passed on Rodgers and went with Chris Simms/Brian Griese and Tampa Bay is one of the best teams in the league today. Sar-cas-them.

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6. Tennessee: Mike Williams, WR, Southern Cal. Lot of rumbling about Antrel Rolle or Pac-Man Jones in this spot. But Norm Chow needs some help on the outside. No, he doesn't have great track speed. But neither did Jerry Rice.

What Really Happened: The Titans passed on Williams for a player with higher character: Adam Pac-Man Jones. Williams would spend some of his lazier days in Tennessee later on, but the Titans decided to go with defense instead of BMW. The Titans passed on Rodgers, but unlike the Packers, they decided not to find the future QB while they still had an NFL star; Steve McNair. Air McNair only played half-a-season in 2004 but the Titans felt comfortable with the 32-year-old. 2005 was his last year in Tennessee. If they took Rodgers, the Vince Young thing never happens.

In the Alternate Universe: Unmotivated to play for the helpless Lions, this version of Williams is determined to bring glory back to Tennessee and bring the Titans their first championship. He is often described by head coach Jeff Fisher as a "workout warrior" and is said to hate McDonalds. Williams develops into an athletic, above-average possession receiver that puts up three 1,000 yard seasons and one Pro Bowl. Tears for Fears sells the most albums in 2007.

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7. Minnesota (from Oakland): Cedric Benson, RB, Texas. Yes, they need a wideout. But Mike Tice wants to solidify his rushing game, too.

What Really Happened: The Vikings apparently agreed that they needed a wideout and reached on Troy Williamson with all of the running backs gone, skipping on Mike Williams. Williamson is the only player in the top 15 of the 2005 draft to not currently be on an active NFL roster. Should they have taken Rodgers? Well, in a perfect world they would have known that the still-young Daunte Culpepper would take a complete nose-dive after his 39 TD 2004 season. But they couldn't have predicted that. If the Vikings could predict stuff, then Sex Boat never happens.

In the Alternate Universe: The Vikings take Benson and never select Adrian Peterson, who instead goes to the Falcons in 2007, meaning Michael Turner goes to the Jets. Benson has a very successful career running behind the offensive line of Minnesota. However, he has an unsuccessful career as a rapper, topping at #198 with his collaboration with Alicia Keys in 2009. The career of Keys is deemed, "dead."

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8. Arizona: Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami. Dennis Green will pick up the phone and get the running back he needs from Buffalo, looking to deal Travis Henry.

What Really Happened: This. Rolle had moderate success in Arizona and is now a member of the Giants. Should they have taken Rodgers? Maybe, but they went with Kurt Warner instead and then tried to replace him with Matt Leinart the next year, which was an awesome idea. Coming out of the "JOSH MCCOWN ERA!" they could have drafted Rodgers, signed Warner as a mentor, and could have been successful. But Warner had success and led them to a Super Bowl.

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9. Washington: Adam Pac-Man Jones, CB, West Virginia. Joe Gibbs drafted another short cornerback in Darrell Green. That didn't turn out too bad. Now if he can just find an Art Monk clone. Derrick Johnson would be good in this spot, too.

What Really Happened: The Redskins did take a cornerback, but with Jones off the board they took Carlos Rogers instead. He had some success in Washington, but after recording eight interceptions in six seasons with the Skins, he had six interceptions with the 49ers and made his first Pro Bowl this season. The Skins could have taken Rodgers, and they probably should have, but they decided to wait and see what they could get later in the first round. They found Jason Campbell as their QBOTF, one pick after the Packers took Rodgers.

In the Alternate Universe: Mr. Jones goes to Washington. In Tennessee, his worst crimes happened in strip clubs. In Washington, he gets in a lot more trouble. I'm not going to get into specifics **cough**treason**cough** but let's just say it's not good.

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10. Detroit: Shawne Merriman, DE, Maryland. Lions in an enviable spot. They get their pick of the best front-seven players in the draft, which fits their needs.

What Really Happened: Worried that they hadn't drafted a WR in the first round in what seemed like weeks, the Lions took Mike Williams, who hadn't played football in a year. Williams started six games for Detroit over two years until he ate himself out of the league. Merriman recorded 39.5 sacks over his first three years, which the Lions really could have used, even if he has fallen off of the face of the earth ever since.

In the Alternate Universe: Worried that his team hadn't taken a WR in round 1, Matt Millen uses the rest of the picks on wideouts. Using only 5-wide sets, (because they carry 15 wide receivers) QB Joey Harrington passes for 6,000 yards and 62 interceptions. Still, the city is enamored with the spectacle and game tickets sell like wildfire, sparking the Detroit economy, and saving the city from the recession. Matt Millen is elected Mayor because of the excitement from the fans, but finally pushes the state of Michigan into a tailspin when he makes up his entire staff out of failed NFL wide receivers.

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11. Dallas: Demarcus Ware, LB, Troy State. The Tuna gets a pass-rusher to plug into new 3-4.

What Really Happened: Hey, this really happened too! It seems like this was the most obvious pick to everyone leading up to the draft. Bill Parcells wanted a pass rusher, he got one in Ware, and he's been a stud. Drew Bledsoe was good in 2005 and Tony Romo took over in 2006, but should they have drafted Rodgers? Ehh.. sure, I'm sure the fans want that NOW, but Romo has been fine.

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12. San Diego (from NY Giants): Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas. It's a run on defense. Chargers' 3-4 will find a home for the sideline-to-sideline tackler who might remind Marty Schottenheimer of the great Derrick Thomas. If DJ's gone, then they can go for Ware or Merriman.

What Really Happened: The Chargers acquired this pick from the Giants in the Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade and decided to use it on the juicy Shawne Merriman. Johnson has been very good in his career with KC, while Merriman went from the steal of this draft, to just a guy you expect to steal stuff from you. The Chargers had Rivers and Brees, so there was no consideration of taking Rodgers.

In the Alternate Universe: The Chargers take Johnson, who is less exciting to begin with than Merriman, but much more efficient and he seems to spark the team into trying to win before November. San Diego beats the Saints in a classic 2009 Super Bowl of Brees v Rivers. Kanye West stars in Breakin' 3: I Respeck You But...

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13. Houston: Alex Barron, OT, Florida State. David Carr appreciates the thought very much.

What Really Happened: The Texans said "F#CK YOU CARR! LOL! HELLA SACKS SON!" and traded down with the Saints, and New Orleans took an offensive tackle instead. But they took Jammal Brown, not Barron, who is considered one of the worst picks of this draft. He was the most penalized tackle in the game during his time with St. Louis, while Brown made two Pro Bowls and helped the Saints win the Super Bowl. The Texans had a terrible draft, but picked up a 3rd rounder for 2006 that turned into current starting right tackle Eric Winston.

In the Alternate Universe: The Texans still go 2-14 behind the terrible play of Barron and their future is unchanged but the Saints suffer slightly without tackle Jammal Brown, and that's why they lose the Super Bowl to the Chargers in 2009. The good news for New Orleans is that a butterfly in China never flaps its wings, and Katrina never happens.

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14. Carolina: Troy Williamson, WR, Carolina. This is where these mock drafts — and the real ones — get tricky. I say the Panthers go for stretching the field

(Yeah, okay Jarrett... this is where they get tricky.)

What Really Happened: Williamson was gone and the Panthers took S Thomas Davis and soon converted him to LB, where he had moderate success before constantly tearing his ACL. The Panthers went to the playoffs with Davis in 2005 and 2008 and they were happy in the Jake Delhomme era. What would they have done with Williamson?

In the Alternate Universe: Let's just say that I'm really enjoying this Steve Guttenberg career comeback!

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15. Kansas City: David Pollack, DE, Georgia. Dick Vermeil will love this guy's hustle and motor. Maybe they wind up putting him at linebacker.

What Really Happened: Since Derrick Johnson was available, the Chiefs didn't have to draft Pollack and put him at linebacker, they just drafted a really good linebacker. The sad story of Pollack is that he suffered a career-ending spine injury early in his second season. He recovered but not enough to play football.

In the Alternate Universe: Let's just stay positive and say, I hope he is healthy in the alternate universe.

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16. New Orleans: Thomas Davis, S, Georgia. Hey, it's a run on Bulldogs. Saints' D ranked 32nd in 2004. Help wanted.

What Really Happened: See pick 13. The Texans traded down here and picked DT Travis Johnson, a player who had issues staying healthy or effective and is currently a free agent. The Saints decided not to take Aaron Rodgers, you have to remember that they didn't have Drew Brees yet. They decided to go with Aaron Brooks instead, another former Packer turned good starter somewhere else. Still, the Saints would be kicking themselves over this if not for Brees.

In the Alternate Universe: It seems like the Saints are more affected in the alternate universe than anyone else. I imagine that New Orleans would be the setting for every episode of Sliders.

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17. Cincinnati: Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State. Run-stuffer needed. Johnson's the best run-stuffing D-tackle in the draft. If not, Bengals can go with a D-lineman. If not, then linebacker. Marvin Lewis has proven that he can do a lot with a few good defenders.

What Really Happened: The Bengals didn't get failure Johnson because he was gone, but instead got the unfortunate injury of Pollack. The Bengals had Carson Palmer and there was no concern of drafting Rodgers. The Bengals went 11-5 in 2005, but Betts was right, they sucked at stopping the run and they played really bad defense. They lost in the 2005 playoffs to the Steelers.

In the Alternate Universe: The Bengals take Johnson, who manages to stay healthy and effective with Cincinnati, giving them a top 10 run defense. They laugh at their playoff matchup with the Steelers, knocking Pitt out in the first round of the 2005 playoffs. Do. You. See. Where. I. Am. Going. With. This?

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18. Minnesota: Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin. Jammal Brown or Khalif Barnes would be good options here if the big edge rusher is gone.

What Really Happened: This is what happened. James was disappointing in his short career with the Vikings, suffering injuries and ineffectiveness. He seemed like a really good pass rusher at the time, but was just a failure in the NFL. (Sorry Erasmus.) He recently signed a contract though and will be playing defensive line in 2012... with the New Mexico Stars of the Indoor Football League.

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19. St. Louis: Khalif Barnes, T, Washington. They say he's nasty. If he threatens to go after Mike Martz like Kyle Turley did, they'll say he's nasty and crazy. Rams are willing to take that chance after allowing 50 sacks in '04.

What Really Happened: Right position, wrong player. The Rams took Barron and Barnes fell to the middle of the second round. Barnes isn't a great player, but he does start for the Raiders while Barron was a massive (literally?) bust. The Rams could have been bold and taken Rodgers to compete with Marc Bulger (I mean, Bulger was good but he wasn't THAT good.) but luckily for Seahawks fans, they did not. The Rams have been a draft powerhouse ever since. And by that I mean, they are always getting, like, the highest picks! I want some top 2 picks!

In the Alternate Universe: The Rams still suck, which makes my alternate universe all warm and fuzzy. Also, the Black Eyed Peas are only a one-hit-wonder in my alternate universe. There, now this alternate universe is near perfect!

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20. Dallas (from Buffalo): Marcus Spears, DE, LSU. Surprise, he's still available to become the Richard Seymour of Parcells' 3-4. Otherwise, Carlos Rogers would fit. The Boys really need to tighten up that coverage.

What Really Happened: This pick was as obvious as the Ware pick, and it happened. The real tragedy here is with the Buffalo Bills. They traded this pick in 2004 so they could draft J.P. Losman to be the QBOTF. If they had just been patient, they would have been in perfect position to select Rodgers. Then again.. Bills. They'd properly F it up.

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21. Jacksonville: Jammal Brown, T, OU. Jags' offense needs playmakers and protection.

What Really Happened: The first real pick that makes you go "huh?" is a clear example of when a team falls in love with the wrong guy for all the wrong reasons. The Jags took Matt Jones, QB/WR. They couldn't have taken Brown, who was gone, and they took Barnes in the next round but what could they have done instead? Well, they could have taken an actual wide receiver like Mark Clayton or Roddy White. Instead, they went with this combine winner/life loser.

In the Alternate Universe: Matt Jones goes undrafted and is arrested on federal drug charges in 2006 which scares Sam Hurd straight many years later.

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22. Baltimore: Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn. Ravens are tickled to depth to land a premier corner. They'll deal with the O-line and receiver later.

What Actually Happened: Rogers was long gone and the Ravens were so annoyed that Betts told them that they'd "deal with a receiver later" that they took WR Mark Clayton. He had a good sophomore season but hasn't done much since and last played with the Rams. The Ravens already had a young Kyle Boller, so they felt comfortable not taking Rodgers and the slide continued for him. I'm sure the Ravens would still take Clayton over Aaron Rodgers.

In the Alternate Universe: The Ravens take the Rogers without that annoying "d" in his name and he becomes just another guy on a top 10 defense, probably becoming even more overrated than he was in Washington. The Wire isn't just a critical hit, but is the most popular show on television and wins five Emmys in a row like it should have.

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23. Seattle: Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma. It's easy to get these Codys mixed up. Let's go with the 6-6 guy.

What Actually Happened: Well, here we are. What you've been waiting for. (What you might have skipped to.) Welcome to the Dan Cody universe! Isn't it awesome here?! The good news is that in this universe: free ice cream! The Hawks did not draft Cody as Betts suggest (he went to the Ravens 53rd overall, played in three career games) but instead traded down a few spots for a 1st (Chris Spencer) and a 5th (Ray Willis) which worked out fine as long as we weren't really going to draft Dan f-cking Cody. Yes, his middle name is "F-cking"

Now, the whole Aaron Rodgers thing. Seattle could have grabbed a guy like Rodgers to nurture behind Matt Hasselbeck and Rodgers didn't bitch when he was drafted to be nurtured behind Brett Favre. But Seattle went to the Super Bowl in 2005. Everything was all good. Yes, I have "What a Wonderful World" playing in my head right now, but that pick wasn't going to happen. It would have been cool if we took Roddy White, giving Seattle it's only real wide receiver threat in the latter half of the decade.

The Raiders traded up to take Fabian Washington, who is now out of the league.

In the Alternate Universe: The Dan Cody universe is like the alternate universe in one of the greatest Treehouse of Horror segments ever; Homer hears that there are no donuts, leaving before he finds out that it rains donuts but they just don't call them donuts. Yeah, we got Dan Cody, but Seattle still goes to the Super Bowl in 2005 and faces a team that's not the Steelers, since they were eliminated by the Bengals in the first round. Instead, they face the heavily favored Colts as Manning tries to win his first championship. The Hawks hold their ground and find themselves down two points with :03 left. Josh Brown kicks the game-winning 45-yard field goal and the Hawks are champions. In this universe, Brown is a hero, not a backstabbing douche. Yeah. Buddy.

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24. Green Bay: Shaun Cody, DT, Southern Cal. Best available D-lineman. OK, call it a run on Codys. Michigan G/C David Baas might be a surprise pick here.

What Really Happened: I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, they took Aaron Rodgers, QB, Cal. Shaun Cody was a 2nd round pick and not a future Pro Bowl QB.

In the Alternate Universe: The Packers actually panic every off-season that Favre hints at retirement, rather than secretly wish he'd just quit already. Concerned, they constantly text him after every season "Hey dude! What's Up?! Miss you buddy! LOL!" and then eventually "Thought you might want to see this! ::dick pic::" Just desperately doing anything to keep Favre. He finally retires after the 2010 season and the Packers can finally start the Brian Brohm era.

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25. Washington (from Denver): Jason Campbell, QB, Auburn. Hope they've got a backup plan. This guy might not last until the 25th pick. Virginia tight end Heath Miller is another option. We all know how much Joe Gibbs loves tight ends.

What Actually Happened: Backup plan not necessary. If Rodgers had slipped just one more spot, then the Skins might look very different right now. Washington traded their 3rd round pick plus a 2006 1st and 4th to get Jason Campbell. (That 4th turned into Brandon Marshall. The 3rd was Karl Paymah and the 1st was traded to the Niners who used it on Manny Lawson.)

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26. Oakland (from N.Y. Jets): Justin Miller, CB, Clemson. Nebraska's super-fast Fabian Washington is an option, too, but Miller played against better receivers in he SEC and can provide impact as a returner, too.

What Actually Happened: Seattle traded down and took Dan Cod- I mean Chris Spencer.

In the Alternate Universe: Just a reminder that the Hawks won Super Bowl XL.

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27. Atlanta: Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma. Falcons took a receiver late in Round 1 last year in Michael Jenkins (who caught 7 passes last year). Maybe they'll get better results from Clayton while hoping that Jenkins comes around eventually.

What Actually Happened: The Falcons did take a receiver in the first round in back-to-back drafts, but they decided to go with the far-less-accomplished Roddy Something. Clayton may have been more successful in Atlanta, White may have suffered in Baltimore. We'll never know.

In the Alternate Universe: Clayton is more successful in Atlanta, White doesn't even go to Baltimore. The Ghost Whisperer is the #1 show on network television, meaning that this universe isn't perfect.

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28. San Diego: Roddy White, WR, UAB. Chargers need fast playmakers on both sides of the ball.

What Actually Happened: White was gone to Atlanta and the Chargers took DT Luis Castillo, despite admitted steroid use (for the NFL Combine only, and he admitted it, and he apologized, and he doesn't seem like a bad guy) which clearly doesn't bother the Chargers anyway (Hi Shawne!)

In the Alternate Universe: The Chargers kill it in this mock draft, taking Derrick Johnson and Roddy White. Castillo hasn't had a bad career, but he's no Roddy and that's why the Chargers won the Super Bowl. Also, Home Alone 5? Actually, not too bad and Macauley Culkin pulled it off quite nicely.
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29. Indianapolis: Darryl Blackstock, LB, Virginia. Maybe Tony Dungy will find a Derrick Brooks-like centerpiece for the linebackers corps. Then again, he might opt for the up-front impact that D-tackle Mike Patterson would bring.

What Actually Happened: Blackstock wasn't taken until pick 95 and has been mostly a special-teamer, role-player in his career, never getting significant time and the Colts took Marlin Jackson. I guess, to Blackstock's benefit, he played in the NFL this year and Jackson is out of the league currently after a torn ACL.

In the Alternate Universe: Not that I have a problem with Manning, but sorry, no Super Bowl championship. On the bright side? I married my high school sweetheart, which is cool cause in my actual universe I didn't even have a high school sweetheart! And she's the best! Aww... this is sad now. No, it's cool, I visit the alternate universe from time to time.
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30. Pittsburgh: Marcus Johnson, T, Mississippi. There's a lot of hype about Matt Jones, the former Arkansas QB-turned TE/WR. I like that idea, too, and we know the Steelers have a history with Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El and Kordell Stewart. But Bill Cowher re-committed to smashmouth last season and got some great results — and he lost two starting O-linemen in free agency.

What Actually Happened: The Steelers did not draft Johnson, a player who is now out of the league, but did take Heath Miller, a very solid TE.

In the Alternate Universe: I repeat: NO. STEELERS. SUPER BOWL. Pittsburgh spirals into a steep decline and the Steelers re-locate to L.A. in 2012. Looking forward to the first season of the LA SteelersSuck's. Also looking forward to the 10th season of Arrested Development.
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31. Philadelphia: Antajj Hawthorne, DT, Wisconsin. Puffalumpable Andy Reid loves to eat and loves other big guys who like to eat. So he'll get busy in the trenches. Luis Castillo is another option. Matt Jones? Eagles have NFL-high 13 picks and can afford to gamble.

What Actually Happened: Right position, wrong player. The Eagles took Mike Patterson instead and Hawthorne went in the 6th round. Also, Betts makes fat jokes and calls Andy Reid Puffalumpable! LOL GOOD ONE JARRETT!

In the Alternate Universe: Four words: Dustin Diamond, Academy Award

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32. New England: Justin Tuck, DE, Notre Dame. They need to restock at linebacker (Tedy Bruschi uncertainty, age) and in the secondary. But this pass-rushing ace is the best guy left on my board. Besides, Belichick could probably put him at free safety if he needed to — or at least outside linebacker.

What Actually Happened: Well, this would have been another great pick for the Patriots. Instead, they took Logan Mankins, which is... another good pick for the Patriots. Tuck fell to the Giants in the third round and hey, helped the Giants win the Super Bowl over the Patriots. If they had just taken Tuck, then it's a no-doubter on the perfect season. Nice screw-up Belicheck! Man, you are such a screw up!

In the Alternate Universe: Didn't you just hear me? Belicheck isn't such a screw up and the Pats go undefeated with Justin Tuck. More importantly, hot girls are required to wear yoga pants at all times.



In conclusion:

Holy shit, you're still reading?! Or you skipped to this part? I hope you didn't have anything to do today. By the time you're done reading this article, the 2012 draft will have already happened. I hope we got RG3!

What's clear throughout this Mock Mock is that we can't predict a damn thing. I mean, if Andrew Luck doesn't go #1 then "Holy Shit, we CAN'T really predict ANYTHING!" because Luck should absolutely go #1, but Aaron Rodgers wasn't so clear cut. Some teams loved him, like the Packers, but not enough to make sure he didn't slip out of the top 5, or the top 10, or the top 20... Most of the teams that passed on him would like to have a do-over. So many of those teams at the top are the SAME teams we are talking about today that need a QB and haven't come even close to finding one since.

I've had fun creating and living in this alternate universe. The Super Bowl victory was sweet and the Steelers moving to L.A. was fun too, though I'm not sure why I hate them anymore. I feel apathetic towards them. They mean nothing in this universe.

Have fun with your 2012 mocks and use them as they should be used: as a barometer. As a way to get to know players besides Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. That's what they're good for. They're not good for much else, but just use them to do two things: Get to know the players and to mock six years later when you have six hours to kill on a day off or whatever.

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