One thing that always surprises me about mock drafts is that every so often they are a little inaccurate and can change slightly over time. Not much mind you, but a player we project as the 15th overall pick in 2014, might slip to say 16 or move up to 14. That's it. No more, no less.
Oh wait, fudge, I messed that up. I meant to say mock drafts are wildly inaccurate, something akin to your NCAA tournament bracket. We do the best with the information we are given, but inevitably we are going to be very wrong. A baseball hitter is so bad at hitting baseballs and getting on base that a good one screws up 60-70-percent of the time. So mock drafts that came out in February of this year have already had some dramatic changes in just two months time as the "experts" get more information and the prospects go through more drills.
When Mel Kiper came out with his first 2013 NFL mock draft (does anyone else find it kind of weird that the leading draft expert for the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports does a mock draft? I get why he does it, but it sort of feels like Oprah doing a news story on whistle tips that go 'woo woo!') at the end of January, he notably did not have any quarterbacks in the first round. Kiper didn't say that none would eventually be taken, but given the state of the NFL at the time before the quarterback carousel, and before the Scouting Combine, Pro Days, and other events, it wouldn't be wise to start projecting quarterbacks at that time.
Okay, then you're saying it's too early for a mock draft? Interesting.
Kiper came out with another mock draft for ESPN Insider this week and two months later, there has been some major moving and some heavy shaking.
Geno Smith has appeared from seemingly out of nowhere in Kiper's first mock, to the Eagles with the fourth overall pick. Still, Smith is the only quarterback that Kiper projects to go in the first. He has Matt Barkley going to the Jaguars with the first pick of the second round, and Ryan Nassib going to the Bills a few picks later. So while many mock drafts in December, January, February, and other months in which it is crazy early to be mocking picks, had players like Barkley, Nassib, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon, and EJ Manuel all going in the first round, Kiper did not. Touché Kiper, you nailed! As much as "not-picking-quarterbacks-in-the-first-round-of-a-mock-draft-in-January-even-though-Geno-Smith-certainly-will-and-also-others-might-totally-still-be-picked-in-the-first" could be considered nailing it, you did it.
Also, his opinion on the players and their "draft stock" has changed pretty wildly over the last two months. This is fair because so much has happened in two months, but it also underlies the fact that this is fair because so much happens in two to three months when we are talking about the NFL draft! So why did you get a mock draft from Kiper in January, just before the Super Bowl? Because ESPN said:
What do you want?!
When do you want it?!
And there you have it. That's how you get mock drafts that are as accurate as a NCAA bracket with complete chalk (picking the highest seeded team throughout) or as accurate as ABACADABA on your history exam. Which, if you ever have me for history, will totally be the answers.
In two months time, Kiper has opened up his mock draft to two rounds and here are the fun facts:
- Where they didn't have to Joeck for a new position: Luke Joeckel at 1, Barkevious Mingo at 9, and Sheldon Richardson at 14, are the only picks that remain the same.
- Geno evil: There are eleven newcomers into the first round, the highest of which is Geno Smith at 4th overall. Lane Johnson being the second-highest newcomer, at 11th overall. Six of the last seven picks of the first round are newcomers.
- No Jenk you: Kiper originally had the Seahawks taking John Jenkins at 25, but now that it's the Vikings pick, he has them taking Kevin Minter.
- Dear Johns: Good news, Jenkins has fallen 32 spots on Kiper's draft board and he actually has Seattle taking Johnathan Hankins over John Jenkins!
- Moore for less: The biggest faller for Kiper was Damontre Moore. After Kiper originally had him going to the Jaguars at second overall, he now has Jacksonville passing on him... twice. After doing 12 reps on the bench at the Scouting Combine with a 4.95 40-yard dash, nobody's stock could be down quite this much in the last two months. Kiper has him falling to 58th overall to the Broncos.
- Bjoern to be mild: Other big fallers include Bjoern Werner dropping 30 spots, Hankins falling 41 spots, Montee Ball falling 25 spots, Zach Ertz falling 13 spots, and Keenan Allen falling 13 spots as well. Sam Montgomery, Terrance Williams, and DeAndre Hopkins went from first round picks for Kiper in January to not being worth a first or a second in April.
- I shot the Sharrif to the top of the round: The biggest riser besides players that were never there before was Sharrif Floyd. From the 49ers at 31 (this was before the Conference Championship games) to the Raiders at third overall in his latest.
So what does this all mean for John Schneider, Pete Carroll, and the Seattle Seahawks? It means that when they make their picks later this month, they could be snagging players that not too long ago were considered to be first round talents. High first round talents. That is, if you believe Kiper and if you want to ignore a terrible showing at the combine.
Seattle appears to be a team without any significant needs going into next season other than depth and could be in a great position to choose the best player available in a draft that is deep and not top heavy. What is the actual dropoff from Dion Jordan to Damontre Moore to Bjoern Werner? Everybody would rather have Jordan at this moment, but let's also not forget that defensive end and defensive tackle appear to be two of the hardest positions in the draft to judge. Defensive ends taken in the first round in 2009: Tyson Jackson, Aaron Maybin, Robert Ayers, and Evander Hood. In 2008: Vernon Gholston, Derrick Harvey, and Lawrence Jackson. In 2010, Brandon Graham went ahead of Jason Pierre-Paul and many would have also rather had Derrick Morgan.
If the Seahawks decide to get a young pass-rusher, which they almost certainly would not do early on in the draft after adding Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to go along with Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons, they could seemingly not do that much worse than one taken in the top ten. What about a defensive tackle, a more likely scenario?
Hankins and Jenkins have notably fallen. Jesse Williams of Alabama and Kawann Short of Purdue have been seen as high as the mid-to-late first round and as low as where-the-Seahawks-draft. There is very little separation and wild variabilities when it comes to this years draft. As much as you saw Kiper and others lose their shit over Seattle taking Irvin in 2012, get ready for a lot of that head scratching this year because "I didn't have him anywhere near the first round!"
So what... that team did.
Don't be surprised when the Patriots draft Mathieu in the first round because they feel like it.
Don't dump in your pantaloons when Werner goes in the top 15 just because maybe some other teams decided his stock didn't drop at all.
Let's not pitch a fit when the Bills trade up to 21 to take Barkley because they felt like he is the same player he was when people liked him a lot more.
I'm just spitballin' here, not unlike what any mock draft is. Spit. Ballin'.
It is however good news that the draft and the prospect stock is so disagreeable. While many fans were wanting certain players for the Seahawks in the first back in January and February, trading for Percy Harvin doesn't necessarily preclude them from still drafting those same players. How available will Zach Ertz be? Datone Jones? The offensive line options after the top of the draft are deep and plentiful for Seattle to reinforce the right side with immediate talent: Menelik Watson, Justin Pugh, Kyle Long, Larry Warford, and Terron Armstead for starters. Wanted Alex Okafor back in the day? Maybe you can still have him.
We are now 20 days from day one of the NFL Draft, and three weeks from the day that we can start giving our shits, and a lot of things are going to change in that time. In fact, in some ways, more is going to change in the next three weeks than what has changed in the last three months.
And a lot has changed in the last three months.