The time has come for NFL Draft Headquarters to release our first Mock Draft of the year. We’ve given hints over the past two months as to who we think will go where, but now we’ve set it in stone. To access the Mock Draft, simply click on the tab above, labeled “HQ Mock Draft”.
We encourage you to contest each and every pick to the fullest of your ability; however, be warned that we will launch a full-out rebuttal that hasn’t been seen since the televised Obama-McCain debates.
We’ve thought out the selections thoroughly, but hey, if your football ingenuity sees a pick that makes more sense, post it as a comment with your reasoning. If we like your selection, you will be given credit in our revised version of the Mock Draft, set to drop in about two weeks.
Quite frankly, we believe we’re going 32 for 32 come draft day (A.k.a. batting a thousand).
I’ve heard speculation that this year’s draft class doesn’t have the upper first-round “feature back”, that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the drafts of recent years (ie. Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson). To this suggestion, I wondered how you could ignore six feet and one inch, 237 pounds, over 3000 career rushing yards, and 30 touchdowns. His name is Chris “Beanie” Wells, the junior running back of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
If you are one of his skeptics, I suggest you rewind the clocks of time to 2007, Wells’s sophomore year, to the specific date of the yearly showdown with the Michigan Wolverines. It was then that Wells managed to rush for 222 yards, adding a pair of touchdowns, and leading the Buckeyes to victory. It was a career defining performance for Wells, and gives a pretty convincing snapshot of how dominant he can be when healthy.
This game serves as a microcosm for Wells’s career, often acting as the very engine that drove Buckeyes’s offense, regardless of the inconsistent quarterback play that plagued them. Even with a true freshman at quarterback (Terrell Pryor), and missing three games due to injury, Wells was still able to break the 1000 yard mark this past year, rushing for more than 100 yards on all but two occasions.
The red flag commonly raised with Wells’s is his tendency to be injured. This past season he missed three games, but more notably disappeared in the second half of the 2009 Fiesta Bowl against Texas with an undisclosed injury.
My response to this is simple. A kid by the name of Adrian Peterson from Oklahoma had similar caution flags when entering the 2007 draft. He won the NFL’s rushing title this past season. And just for the record, in the Fiesta Bowl against Texas, Wells rushed for over 100 yards before leaving the game. In the first half.
It is not rocket science. Running Backs take an endless pounding game in and game out. Touching the ball anywhere from 20-40 times a game, they do not have the Quarterback’s luxury of throwing the ball away to avoid oncoming defenders. This transaltes into a very fragile playing career that typically does not span past the age of thirty.
It should come as no surprise then, that four, yes four, marquee underclassmen runners have already declared for this April’s NFL Draft. This list includes two sure-fire first rounders in Chris “Beanie” Wells (Ohio State), and Knowshon Moreno (Georgia), in addition to two more RB’s who could easily creep into the first round, LeSean McCoy (Pittsburgh) and Shonn Greene (Iowa). All four of these kids had tremendous production over the past year, and certainly have scouts salivating at the possibilities one would undoubtedly bring.
It goes without saying that the four underclassmen listed above severely overshadow the senior crop of running backs ready to join the professional ranks. What’s more is that the recent underclassmen rush to declare could potentially prevent a senior RB from being taken in the first round. Such is life.
The underclassmen are capitalizing on what has been widely publicized as a weak RB senior class, and the financial reward that comes with high draft status is theirs for the taking. All four of these kids are brilliant talents, naturally gifted and instinctive runners who have earned the right to leave college early and collect their grand pay-day.
Tonight, the Florida Gators will go head to head with the Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS National Championship game. Whether you like the college bowl format or not, this one should be a classic. The rich plot includes two Heisman trophy quarterbacks, two tremendously athletic defenses, and a head coach, Bob Stoops, who is looking to dominate a Gator defense that he helped patrol from 1996-1999.
What’s more than the game itself, when the victor has been decided, the long road to the 2009 NFL Draft will have officially begun. The senior class is a solid group of talent, but the notable underclassmen that have recently announced their ambition to join the NFL, has put the 2009 draft class over the top. The likes of Knowshon Moreno, Everette Brown, Chris Wells, and Andre Smith are just the beginning of a quickly growing talent pool.
Over the next 100-plus days, NFL Draft Headquarters will analyze the ongoing stories leading up to draft day, and will provide a unique perspective on these events. Stay tuned, because at around Midnight EST tonight, the journey will begin.