Every draftnik thinks they can do a better job of picking players than most real General Managers so I decided to put my expertise to the test. For the second year in a row I will be selecting prospects for my own hypothetical NFL team using the following guidelines:
• I will get one selection in the middle of every round of the draft. • In each round I can only select a prospect who actually went in that frame. • I can't take anyone who was selected before my mid-round slot. • I can't choose more than one prospect at each position. • I will also be allowed to sign one undrafted free agent. • I will not be selecting for any particular offensive or defensive scheme.
There is no point in doing this experiment without some accountability and I will always link to my past efforts on this page so everyone can judge for themselves how I'm doing. Here is my Class of '08, which I must say was terrific and will be awfully tough to beat.
So without further adieu here is my second annual "Dream Draft":
Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss 6-41/2 | 309 | 5.19
In my final rankings I had Michael Oher rated as the 10th best prospect in the entire draft, regardless of position, so I was extremely happy to land him late in round one. In fact, I had Oher graded ahead of Andre Smith, who went #6 overall. An outstanding athlete with prototypical size, Oher has everything you look for physically and concerns about his intangibles have been overblown. I was tempted by Ohio St. RB Chris "Beanie" Wells but in the end taking Oher here was a easy decision.
Actual: Round 1 - Baltimore Ravens (#23 Overall)
LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh 5-103/8 | 204 | 4.52
Let me preface this statement by saying that Knowshon Moreno is a heck of a player and will have a lot of success in the NFL. However, in terms of value I would much rather take LeSean McCoy late in the second round than Moreno in the top half of the first. A natural runner with great vision and instincts who can also catch the ball out of the backfield, all "Shady" did in his two years at Pitt was produce. Missouri S William Moore and Oklahoma OT Phil Loadholt also received serious consideration in this round.
Actual: Round 2 - Philadelphia Eagles (#53 Overall)
Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina 6-43/4 | 246 | 4.50
One could make the case that Jared Cook was the most physically talented tight end prospect in this draft so it was a surprise to see him fall as far as he did. A converted wide receiver, Cook offers little or nothing as a blocker but he is an amazing athlete with 4.50 speed and a 41-inch vertical who can be a dynamic playmaker in the passing game. Cook is still raw and a better athlete than football player at this point but his upside is unlimited and with proper development he has star potential down the road.
Actual: Round 3 - Tennessee Titans (#89 Overall)
Lawrence Sidbury, DE, Richmond 6-23/8 | 266 | 4.64
Despite his impressive four sack performance in the FCS National Championship game and strong showings at the East-West Shrine and Senior Bowl Lawrence Sidbury was a relative unknown until he ran the fastest defensive line forty at the Scouting Combine. Sidbury isn't an elite sack artist but he is a great athlete with extremely long arms, a non-stop motor and solid intangibles. Considering the value that is placed on pass rushers these days it was a bit shocking to see this potential second / third rounder slide.
Actual: Round 4 - Atlanta Falcons (#125 Overall)
Jamon Meredith, OG, South Carolina 6-45/8 | 304 | 5.03
On sheer talent alone Jamon Meredith was a legitimate second round value but concerns about his intangibles really hurt him on Draft Day. A fantastic athlete with extensive experience at both tackle and guard, Meredith needs to toughen up and show more of a killer instinct but he has all of the physical tools you look for. At this point it was worth taking a chance on a possible left tackle who should at least be a valuable backup at multiple positions. This one worries me but there weren't many good options.
Actual: Round 5 - Green Bay Packers (#162 Overall)
Coye Francies, CB, San Jose St. 6-03/8 | 185 | 4.56
This might be my favorite pick of the entire draft and I felt Coye Francies was a third round value. Francies didn't run real well in workouts, which really hurt his stock, but I fell in love with him at the Senior Bowl. A top-flight athlete with good height and long arms, Francies may not have elite timed speed but he is very smooth with fluid hips and quick feet. Also, despite his relatively wiry frame Francies isn't afraid to come up and be physical either. This kid will play in the NFL as long as he keeps his head on straight.
Actual: Round 6 - Cleveland Browns (#191 Overall)
Sammie Stroughter, WR, Oregon St. 5-93/8 | 189 | 4.53
I have been a big fan of Sammie Stroughter's for a couple of years now, dating back to when he was a prospect for the 2008 NFL Draft. Stroughter took a redshirt in 2007, which delayed his pro career a year, but he is still the same player that I've liked all along. The type who is more quick than fast, Stroughter has reliable hands, great vision and does all of the little things. Stroughter isn't starting material but he can excel as a backup wideout and return man. Liberty RB Rashad Jennings was a close runner-up.
Actual: Round 7 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#233 Overall)
Undrafted Free Agent
Dannell Ellerbe, ILB, Georgia 6-1 | 236 | 4.65
Heading into his senior season Dannell Ellerbe was viewed as a potential Day One pick but a knee injury and off-the-field issues contributed to him going undrafted. A physical and aggressive prospect with excellent speed and athleticism, Ellerbe has experience at all three linebacker positions and could fit in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Ellerbe needs to stay out of trouble but he has the talent to play at the next level and was worth taking a flyer on since there's little risk when it comes to rookie free agents.
Actual: Undrafted - Signed by the Baltimore Ravens
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