ESPN's Mel Kiper, a draft analyst that has never been mocked, made fun of, or ridiculed for his mannerisms and mistakes ever, came out with a new "mock" of his own last week. For people that follow the NFL draft a lot and even make their own mocks, Kiper's edition is pretty much a new episode of Game of Thrones every time it's released.
Hate him or hate him, you're lying if you don't clamor for his mock drafts more than anyone else's. And even if you don't, I can promise you that the mock draft you do like the most was influenced by Kiper's. Once his is released, rumors and "oh wow, did not expect that!" flood the internet and so when Teddy Bridgewater falls out of the first round in Kiper's mock, he falls out of the first round in a lot of other mocks. Not based on any fact that we know of, but based on one man's fantasy world.
Again, Kiper is the George R.R. Martin of the NFL.
His latest mock draft is available for ESPN Insiders and I won't violate any rules and post his entire first 32 right here, but what I can tell you is that he has the Seahawks selecting Stephon Tuitt, a defensive end out of Notre Dame.
Analysis: Seattle lost a little depth on the defensive interior, and I like the idea of Tuitt landing here not just because I think Pete Carroll and staff can maximize what I consider a significant level of talent, but because this is a team that can maximize players that aren't exactly a round peg in the traditional round holes we associate with classic schemes. Tuitt's the kind of defensive lineman who could work inside, or be a big body at defensive end, drive a tackle backward with a bull rush or help to create a formidable run-stopping front that frees up the linebackers to make plays. Seattle tends to surprise me, but this pick makes sense.
At least Kiper admits that he's almost always horribly wrong about what the Seahawks will do and often, how their picks will turn out.
I don't like placing too heavy of an emphasis on "need" when it comes to mock drafts, especially when it comes to Seattle, but we also know that they probably won't draft a quarterback or certain other positions in the first round. So Bridgewater (Kiper has him going 33rd overall to Houston, with Jadeveon Clowney going first) probably isn't an option.
(One must also wonder how much of Kiper's mock draft is influenced by decisions he expects will happen later on, like that if he drops Bridgewater to 33 on purpose, the Texans will obviously be making the right decision to pass on a QB for Clowney. But if five quarterbacks go in the first round, it'll be less rosy for Houston.)
So what players would be available at 32 in Kiper's dream world and was Tuitt the right choice?
Kiper has a total of eight wide receivers going in the first round (I think someone told me in a recent article I wrote that a number like that was impossible(!)) so if you think a receiver is the right choice, then the Seahawks might want to trade up. With a likelihood of getting four
or five compensatory picks next year, trading up might not be that crazy.
Here are the most notable players that Kiper had Seattle passing on:
- Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA
- Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
- Joel Bitonio, G/T, Nevada
- Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
- Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
- Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Auburn
- Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi
- David Yankey, G, Stanford
Kiper has five more wide receivers going in the second round, including Adams, Moncrief, Bruce Ellington, Jarvis Landry, Josh Huff. He has the Seahawks taking tackle Ju'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee in the second round.
But rather than me telling you what I think again, let me leave the question up to you. Is Tuitt the right choice in this made up fantasy land known as Kiper's Landing?