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 third 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 so everyone can judge for themselves how I'm doing. Here is my Class of '08 and Class of '09 which I must say were terrific and will be difficult to beat.
So without further adieu here is my third annual "Dream Draft":
Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma St. 6-2 | 225 | 4.52
I am elated to find what I believe to be a Top 5 overall talent still available in the second half of Round 1. Bryant slipped due to some relatively minor character concerns but at a certain point the potential rewards start to outweigh the risks. Bryant is one of the most dynamic prospects to come along at his position in years, earning rave reviews for his athleticism, size, hands, ball skills, body control and ability to create after the catch. Bryant is a stud who profiles as a true #1 wideout at the next level.
Actual: Round 1 - Dallas Cowboys (#24 Overall)
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame 6-25/8 | 222 | 4.75
In five years this choice will either make me look real good or real bad. I had Clausen rated as the top quarterback in this draft, ahead of #1 overall pick Sam Bradford, and as the 10th best player overall so based on my board this is outstanding value. A polished passer with adequate physical tools and extensive experience in a pro- style system, Clausen is only available due to questions about his intangibles. I'm betting that Clausen’s fall was the result of preconceived notations and biases, not facts.
Actual: Round 2 - Carolina Panthers (#48 Overall)
J.D. Walton, C, Baylor 6-25/8 | 300 | 5.15
This isn’t a flashy pick but J.D. Walton is the type of guy who can anchor an offensive line for a decade. Although not the most physically talented player in the world, Walton is tough, nasty and technically sound with a great passion and feel for the game. Also, I know for a fact that Walton can handle himself against elite talent because he faced both Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, the #1 and #3 overall picks, in the Big 12. Miami (FL) TE Jimmy Graham also received serious consideration in this round.
Were it not for a knee injury suffered at the Senior Bowl O’Brien Schofield would have come off the board at least a round or two earlier. After wreaking havoc as a pass rusher from the defensive end position in college, Schofield will have to make the transition to outside linebacker in the pros due to his lack of ideal size. Still, Schofield has the speed and athleticism to make that conversion with ease. Schofield may redshirt as a rookie while he recuperates but my patience could pay major dividends down the road.
There was a point in the process when I felt Reshad Jones was being overrated as a pro prospect, but that was when some were talking about him as a potential first or second round pick. However, it’s hard to argue with the value and upside that Jones offers in Round 5. With an impressive blend of size, speed, athleticism, physicality and playmaking ability, Jones can be effective against the run and in coverage. In short, Jones has all of the tools to be an impact player and just needs some additional polish.
Actual: Round 5 - Miami Dolphins (#163 Overall)
Trindon Holliday, RS, L.S.U. 5-51/4 | 166 | 4.34
In the three years that I have been doing the “Dream Draft” this is my least favorite pick. If Ole Miss DE Greg Hardy had been available that would’ve been a no-brainer but unfortunately he was already off the board and my options were limited. I reluctantly settled on Trindon Holliday, who is small but has rare speed and the potential to be an impact return man. Florida St. S Myron Rolle and U.A.B. QB/WR Joe Webb were considered but ruled out because I already addressed those positions in this class.
Actual: Round 6 - Houston Texans (#197 Overall)
Selvish Capers, OT, West Virginia 6-45/8 | 308 | 5.14
This was a pretty easy choice since I had Selvish Capers graded as a Top 100 value. A former tight end, Capers is a good athlete with nimble feet, a bit of an edge / nastiness as well as a lot of upside. With that said, Capers is far from a finished product and despite being a three-year starter for the Mountaineers he is still a better physical specimen than pure football player at this point. However, this late in the draft I felt comfortable taking a flyer on Capers as a talented developmental blocker and long - term project.
Actual: Round 7 - Washington Redskins (#231 Overall)
Undrafted Free Agent
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon 6-01/2 | 241 | 4.73
This is a classic Boom or Bust move. LeGarrette Blount is best-known for throwing that infamous punch but he is also a heck of a football player. In fact, Blount was easily the most impressive running back at this year’s Senior Bowl and probably would have been a mid-round pick if not for those off-the-field issues. It wouldn't be a shock if Blount flamed out quickly but if he can manage to keep his head on straight he has the talent to be a valuable short-yardage runner or maybe even compete for a starting job.
Actual: Undrafted - Signed by the Tennessee Titans
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