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Mock Drafting from the Top

When I started writing commentary for the recent mock draft I participated in, I got sidetracked into the rankings vs. projections discussion. And now, on to the mock draft commentary.

The format is the same as the previous mock draft. Twelve teams, the scoring is standard performance plus 1 point per reception. There are 16 rounds with a starting lineup of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 DEF. I managed to snag the 2nd overall pick. Check the draft report to review all of the picks.

1.02 - RB Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC - Pocket Hercules, come on down to kick off this mock draft for Team FF Today. Iím more than happy with either the #1 or #2 spot this year, as we see a drop-off after MJD and Adrian Peterson as the top tier RB this season. MJD is actually projected #1 for us in this scoring system thanks mainly to a projected 54 receptions versus only 19 for AP. The 54 may be slightly conservative, considering he earned 36 in just the final 8 games of 2008 and David Garrard lost every WR he had any rapport with.

2.11 - WR Marques Colston, NO - Back at the 2.07 I pre-selected Colston, Roddy White, Steve Smith, Anquan Boldin and Marion Barber. Thankfully Colston got here as he, White and Smith were the last of my tier 2 WR group. Colston missed 5 games last year but his 2nd half was spectacular, a 42-678-5 line in 8 games, and of course he benefits from working with the reigning top QB in fantasy football. Not a lot to worry about with Colston as my WR1.

Ronnie Brown

Ronnie Brown: Moving up draft boards with each passing day.

3.02 - RB Ronnie Brown, MIA - Ronnie Brown is certainly getting more love since we kicked off the start of fantasy football season in early June. That gets me worried when the value is lost on a player because everyone is hyping him up as a value play. But as an early 3rd round pick, and RB2, Iím still buying. Things are aligning nicely for Brown - youth/experience, length of time since injury, increased opportunity, system - and the talent is certainly there for a player who had nearly 1,000 combined yards through his first 7 games of 2007 prior to his ACL injury.

4.11 - TE Tony Gonzalez, ATL - Some really good fantasy players were drafted prior to this pick (Witten, Gates, Rodgers, Grant), but it still left me with a tough decision at this pick between a top QB like Phillip Rivers, an excellent WR2 such as Chad Ochocinco or Vincent Jackson or the last of the top tier TE. I went with the TE, which is a position you can really make a difference at in a PPR scoring league. It is going to be odd seeing Gonzo in a Falcons uniform, but Matt Ryan looks like the real deal and should learn quickly to use his new TE early and often so we still end up with a typical, Tony Gonzalez year.

5.02 - QB Donovan McNabb, PHI - I was really hoping for Rivers here, and in fact KFFL grabbed 2 of the guys I was considering at the last pick. If I had a re-do, I probably take Rivers at 4.11 and see if Gonzalez would slide into the 5th round. Still, that is not a knock on McNabb, who when healthy is a consistent top QB, especially with the Eagles propensity (or necessity) to throw the ball into the end zone rather than run it. The potential problem is the ďwhen healthyĒ caveat. McNabb didnít miss any games last year due to injury for the first time since 2004.

Vincent Jackson was also a strong consideration here to shore up the WR2 and wait at QB. It sure seems like fewer people are waiting on QB in recent years though, leaving a lot of dog QB candidates if you do decide to wait too long. Sometimes you go against the grain, and sometimes you have to go with the flow. Difference makers are what win championships, and getting that potential difference maker at QB is a more important piece in the championship puzzle than it once was. In this instance, I think it is best to go with the flow.

6.11 - WR Donnie Avery, STL - This is hang onto your hats time. Drafting Avery as a starter and WR2 makes me a little nervous, but we are certainly bullish on his potential for a breakout season in his second year. He ascends into the primary receiver role on the Rams with the departure of Torry Holt, and showed some excellent skills a year ago. The concern is just how poor the Rams are as a team overall, and whether Avery is ready to be a consistent threat against the oppositionís top defensive backs. Iíll be coming back to the WR well in fairly short order.

7.02 - WR Bernard Berrian, MIN - Following up the Avery pick, Berrian fits the bill as a good WR2/WR3 with nice potential to outperform his draft position. He hasnít topped 1,000 yards in his career, but considering the quarterbacks heís been working with, his stats look very good. Last year, he didnít catch a lot of passes but turned only 48 of them into 964 yards and 7 TD. That is a 20.1 yard per catch average. One has to wonder how much he could benefit if/when Brett Favre comes to town.

8.11 - RB LenDale White, TEN - Youíre right, he catches hardly any passes, but coming off a 15 TD season, now reportedly more fit and with an improved attitude towards his work, weíre looking at some good value here in the late 8th round. I like Chris Johnson well enough, but do I really see him taking on a lot more workload than he got last year? Not really, or heíll be bowing out of more games like the Divisional Playoff game against the Ravens. White is still integral to the Titans success.

9.02 - WR Kevin Walter, HOU - Since I grabbed Tony Gonzalez early Iím a little weaker at WR than other positions with Donnie Avery and Bernard Berrian manning the WR2 spot. It doesnít hurt to throw another name into that rotation, especially an established vet who has been a decent PPR contributor each of the past 2 seasons.

10.11 - QB David Garrard, JAC - Iím not overly excited picking Garrard, but he is a safe pick at this point, mitigating the risk of Donovan McNabb going down to injury. I do see a clear drop-off between him and the remaining QB available, while I can save my longer shot RB and WR depth picks for later in the draft.

Interesting to note I picked Garrard at 11.09 in the prior mock draft. He was the 18th QB selected in both drafts. I guess Iím in the camp that Garrard is underrated this year.

11.02 - WR Domenik Hixon, NYG - Similar to the Josh Morgan pick just before at 11.01, someone has to catch the ball some of the time on the Giants. The question here is, will it be Hixon generating the most fantasy points? For this season, I think so.

Hixon is another player I drafted in both mocks, although last time was somewhat earlier at 9.09. The FF Today projections definitely put Hixon in the sleeper category, and it would seem not many others share those thoughts, preferring to wait longer for Steve Smith or even rookie Hakeem Nicks.

12.11 - DEF Chicago Bears - This defense has an uncanny knack for turnovers and taking it to the house. This doesnít lead to the most consistent scoring around, but hey, it is fun to watch and Iím game to roll the dice those points show up on the weeks I need them.

13.02 - RB Ricky Williams, MIA - Some better WR prospects are on the board at this pick than RB prospects, but I have more need for RB depth. Ricky represents some cheap insurance on Ronnie Brown at this point.

14.11 - RB Glen Coffee, SF - Taking a stab here at a rookie who should be active and involved given the shallow RB depth chart in San Fran.

15.02 - K Mason Crosby, GB - The more I think about the Green Bay Packers, I think their offense is ready for really big things this year. Crosby is a very good kicker, playing in a good offense. Iíll take him now instead of waiting and grabbing a leftover with the next to last pick in the draft.

16.11 - TE Vernon Davis, SF - Mr. Next To Mr. Irrelevant for this draft, and new member of How the Mighty Have Fallen Club, Vernon Davis. Sure, heís fallen, but his NFL and FF claim to fame was all hype and no substance. Great athlete, but not and maybe never will be, a ďfootball playerĒ. At this point though Iíll take a longshot on him getting his act together in a new offense.