Other Links: Mock Data - Diary Part II
The 2011 Athlon magazine mock draft was held in early April. It was a 20-round draft with 12 teams and an all-120 player pool. Starting lineup consists of 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 Flex, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D. You can view the full results here, or better yet, pick up a copy at your local newsstand.
I was lucky enough to represent from our site and some of my colleagues want to make it clear they had nothing to do with these picks.
Afterwards is always a time for reflection and evaluation. Did the draft go as expected? Who did I miss out on? Why the hell did I draft that guy? All those questions and more are answered in my draft diary below.
The Dreaded Draft Grade
No one likes opening their report card or heading into the boss' office for their yearly review. But it is a necessary evil, without one we don't know where our strengths and weaknesses rest. And no matter how awesome you think you've drafted, you will have weaknesses. Overall I'd give it my draft a C+. Not too shabby for an initial test run, but it could use some fine tuning. Feel free to give me your grades in the comments section below.
Note, I'm a high risk/reward drafter. I will swing for the fences hoping to connect on two or three big time performers that will carry the team. I'm also not afraid to reach on picks to make sure I get who I want. I don't mind the ridicule. However, if you plan on following some of these picks in your own draft you could be cursing me at the end of the year.
QB (Robinson, Ellis, Doege & Radcliff): I'm not in love with this grouping of QBs. It is a risky group, even for my liking. Overall the 2011 draft class looks like a deep group of quarterbacks and I could have drafted better. Grade: C
RB (Wilson, Rouse, Ballard, Sofele, Wesley, Shoemate & Huggins ): David Wilson is the guy I wanted regardless of draft position (except for Case Keenum of course). All three starting running backs are all in my top 20 and five backs are in my top 40. Not sure how I could have done any better than that. Of course, others may disagree with my rankings. Overall 2011 is not long on proven RBs; focus on getting your guys early. Grade: A-
WR (Edwards, Bright, Hunter, Apo & K. Moore): Only teams with either Justin Blackmon or Ryan Broyles are worthy of a high grade. A lot of risk in my picks. I like them, but I know others will disagree. Grade: C
TE (Sims): I like this pick a lot, but Dion Sims is a true sleeper so I have to be realistic with the grade. Grade: C-
K (Stevens): Yep, I nailed the kicker spot! Grade: A+
D (Virginia Tech & Ohio State): I was able to get my top-rated defense and the Buckeyes as a backup. I've never had a championship team without great defenses. Grade: A-
Draft Diary, Picks 1-10
1-8) David Wilson, RB1, Virginia Tech
I was delighted to see Wilson at the number eight spot. Virginia Tech's schedule is very favorable. All non-AQ teams in the non-conference and a manageable conference schedule. East Carolina might give the Hokies defense some fits, but Wilson could be leading the Heisman race after the game if the Pirates defense is anything like last year. In my opinion Wilson is the top running back for 2011, even ahead of LaMichael James.
Other Consideration: Bryant Moniz
Favorite Pick of the Round: Case Keenum of course
There has been a lot of talk this spring about Denard lining up under center and handing off to running backs. While the Wolverines are moving away from the zone read spread, I still see them in shotgun more than people think; that is if Brady Hoke wants to win some ball games this year. The injury factor is still a big concern. Besides the opener against UConn, did D-Rob make it through a complete game unscathed last fall? I still believe 1000 yards rushing is a strong possibility and fewer designed QB keepers should help alleviate the time he spends on the sidelines getting treatment. Still, loading up on capable backups later in the draft will be key.
Other Consideration: Doug Martin, Ray Graham
Favorite Pick of the Round: Doug Martin
I was really hoping Ray Graham would slide to me in round three. Heh, a man can dream, can't he? Based on the needs of the guys picking after me, WR was a heavy consideration. But I like my chances on sleepers later in the draft and I wanted a non-AQ back with high upside in the stable.
Other Considerations: A number of WRs, Kellen Moore, Zach Collaros
Favorite Pick of the Round: Ray Graham
The run of WRs was more vicious than I thought it was going to be, and I can't wait any longer. I think I've taken Edwards in three Athlon drafts, no reason to stop now. Edwards and Carrier have the best chance to lead the pass-happy Cougars in receiving. But like I've said countless times, just about anyone on the roster can lead the Cougs in receiving.
Other Consideration: Zach Collaros
Favorite Picks of the Round: Tavon Austin & Cody Wilson
Woah, seeing Cody Wilson go at the end of the fourth round spooked me a bit. Hurcomb is playing for keeps. Wilson and Bright were two receivers I had next on my list, but I thought I could wait to get one of them. With Wilson off the board, my margin for error just vanished. He's a super sleeper for sure, but has big time potential. I'd rather reach than not get a guy, so Bright it is. Getting D-Rob insurance is still in the back of my mind.
Other Considerations: Zach Collaros
Favorite Pick of the Round: Ladarius Green. Too high for a TE? Possibly, but if you like a guy you have to be willing to spend for him. In yet another weak TE class, Green could yield a nice return.
You can only leave Collaros on the board so long for others to take. Hindsight, I should have taken him last round. Oh well, time to move on. The RB pool is already looking shallow. Ellis scored three or more touchdowns in five of his last seven games in 2010. And he's throwing the ball about 40 times a game to boot. I have to admit, it is a bit scary taking a player you don't get to see very often, so this is another gamble at quarterback.
Other Consideration: Vick Ballard & Bernard Pierce
Favorite Picks of the Round: Adonis Thomas
7-8) Vick Ballard, RB3, Mississippi St.
I had to triple check the draft board to make sure I wasn't missing something. Ballard looks like a pretty solid RB3 at this point in the draft, especially considering just about everyone else is unproven.
Other Considerations: Tauren Poole & Virginia Tech D
Favorite Pick of the Round: Chris Owusu
8-5) Virginia Tech DEF
Eight is pretty high for a defense considering I still need another starting WR and a Flex. But again, look at their schedule. The Hokies are one of the few BCS teams that don't face another BCS foe in their non-conference schedule. Besides ECU, there is not a team I would be afraid to send the Hokies defense out against. Grabbing another RB for the flex spot was the only other consideration.
Other Consideration: Spencer Ware
Favorite Picks of the Round: Mohamed Sanu
9-8) Seth Doege, QB3, Texas Tech
I don't know if Doege is going to be able to continue the tradition of Texas Tech QBs or if Tommy Tuberville is going to pollute the fantasy waters. But a ninth round pick on a QB that has the potential to throw for 30 scores is too much to pass up.
Other Considerations: Spencer Ware
Favorite Pick of the Round: Geraldo Hiwat & Jake Heaps
This pick came after much deliberation and switching back and forth. Ware was initially my top choice, followed by Hunter. Erik Tjaden planted the seed of Isi Sofele to further muddy the waters. I was kind of hoping someone would pick two of these guys so I wouldn't have to make a decision. In the end Hunter kept creeping into the back of my mind.
Other Consideration: Spencer Ware & Isi Sofele
Favorite Picks of the Round: Still bullish on Dayne Crist, Nathan Scheelhaase also looks like a great value pick.
Other Links: Mock Data - Diary Part II