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).
This past weekend, the NFL’s 2009 rookie class descended upon Lukas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to participate in the annual NFL Combine. It is there that scouts, team officials and doctors are allowed to poke, prod and examine both the physical and mental capabilities of the future pieces of their franchise.
Each year, there is the proverbial “work-out warrior”, where one player puts up dazzling numbers in the various measurement drills. Warriors of years past include Vernon Gholston (New York Jets), Vernon Davis (San Fran 49ers), Broderick Bunkley (Philadelphia Eagles), and a whole host of others- each of whom got significant paychecks on draft day. This year’s version- Darrius Heyward-Bey, the junior Wide Receiver from the Maryland Terps.
Not only did Heyward-Bey run the second fastest 40-time this decade by a WR (4.3 seconds), but also, he stood out in his position drills, running fluidly and catching the ball well. This was a timely performance seeing that the consensus top wide receiver, Michael Crabtree, has had nothing but adversity consume his name this past weekend. Crabtree reportedly has a stress-fracture in his left foot, which follows the ankle problem that bothered him this past season.
Cue the truly money-making performance by Heyward-Bey, who was originally thought to be a top-25 pick, but now, likely won’t be available past pick number 15. Hopefully his performance translates into production- which is alarmingly rare, especially when one looks at the names of the past “workout warriors” above. However, there is no reason to believe that DHB won’t succeed in the NFL. His college production matches the dominance of his combine numbers, and he will likely excel at the next level.
In what has been an exciting set of developments, this year’s crop of underclassmen wide receivers have mimed their offensive counterparts in the backfield. It seems as though declaring for the draft as a young-gun is more “in vogue” this year than any in recent memory, as illustrated by the two most critical offensive skill positions.
The most notable wide receivers that have declared for the pros are: Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech), Jeremy Maclin (Missouri), Percy Harvin (Florida), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland) , Kenny Britt (Rutgers) and Hakeen Nicks (North Carolina). Crabtree is the most alluring prospect, often being cited as the number one talent in this year’s draft, regardless of position.
But beyond the Crabtree-mania, there exists a group of receivers that represent a complete 180 degree turn-around from the first-round drought that we witnessed last year at the WR position. Maclin has the potential to climb into the top-15, Harvin into the top-20, and each of the remaining prospects all have a realistic shot at being late first to early second-rounders (assuming they work-out well, and perform strongly at pro-days etc.)
So what are the consequences of this eminent double-cohort at the wide receiver position. It is frighteningly similar to the situation unfolding at the tailback position, where established seniors are being forced down the totem poll, by the more athletic, more skilled and more confident list of underclassmen. This is obviously bad news for the likes of Derrick Williams (Penn State), Louis Murphy (Florida), and all other senior wide receiver prospects. Not only was the glut at the position unexpected, but it will ultimately cost these college graduates millions of dollars on draft day.
So much for the cliche “stay in school”, these underclassmen have apparently been far more influenced by the Steve Miller Band… “take the money and run”.