The buildup to the NFL Draft is always exciting for us football junkies. Personally, it's one of my favorite times of the football season (there is no off-season you know). Pouring over all the mock drafts (here's mine btw) that try and predict which direction the teams will go. Looking over all the prospect profiles, the combine numbers, the youtube videos. Comparing different scouts take on a particular player and the players draft grades on various sites. We all do that don't we?
Sometimes I'm left wondering how the hell do some of these guys, these so called "experts", get actual jobs? Seriously, some of the mock drafts are just so far out there it's beyond comical. I understand when some site no one has ever heard of drops some ridiculous picks, but when it's an established entity in the sporting media. When it's from a publication that's been covering sports since 1886. When it's from a brand name like the Sporting News... you expect better. So for this version of Mocking The Mocks, I'll focus on their 7 round mock draft.
I'll give them credit, this years overall mock draft looks better than last years version. Last year I mocked their mock, on their own site, through my blog as seen here; Worst mock ever?, so you can get an idea on the direction they had Chicago going last year. And here's a link to this years version so you can play along at home.
The Sporting News has some obvious mistakes as far as how their draft falls in regards to the Bears. Their mock has some solid picks, but in the context of their draft I'm not buying their selections.
In the third round they have the Bears taking Georgia DT, Geno Atkins. If the Bears take a defensive lineman with their first pick I'll provide the pitchforks and torches for our storm on Halas Hall. It's not that I don't like the player, he's getting as high as a 2nd round grade from some scouts, it's just that the Bears have more pressing needs. And take a look down their third round (click here to look), FS Morgan Burnett from Georgia Tech is still on the board and going 17 picks later to the Browns! If Burnett is available he better be the pick in the 3rd. Does the Sporting News prognosticators really think the Bears would take a DT over a FS, when the FS is Morgan Burnett?
In the fourth round they have the Bears going with OT Tony Washington of Abilene Christian. I like this pick and I could see the Bears taking him in the 4th as long as they've addressed their FS need in the 3rd. But look at some of the talent they have available after the Bears pick (you can do so by clicking here). Alabama guard Mike Johnson and Kansas safety Darell Stuckey would both be solid options depending on how the Bears draft in the 3rd. If it were me drafting, I think I go with Johnson over Washington as I feel guard is a bigger need.
In the fifth round they finally have Jerry Angelo picking a safety in Darian Stewart of South Carolina. A fine player, but he's projected as a strong safety. Do the Bears really need an in the box strong safety type? Who's making the picks over there at Sporting News? Do they understand the Bears roster as it stands right now? Strong safety; looking all right, but free safety; they needy. They have some other better options available in their mock (as seen here). I'm all for some secondary help, they have Alabama corner Javier Arenas going with the next pick and Oklahoma corner Dominique Franks going even further down the 5th round. Arenas I've seen with as high as a 3rd round grade and Franks as high as a 2nd. I'd take either over Stewart. And if a SS was really what I wanted I think I'd opt for Florida State and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle who they have going 13 picks later to the Packers.
Sixth round and now SN is thinking corner for the Bears with Rafael Priest of TCU. Here's a guy that couldn't run at his pro day due to a lingering foot injury. He had a nice senior season, but he isn't on a lot of teams radar. If corner was really a direction they think the Bears should go, did they not see the talent up in the 5th round? For my 6th round money I'm going in another direction (here's their 6th round). Centers John Estes of Hawaii and Ted Larson of North Carolina State both seem like better pro prospects that Priest. And would fill a need for interior line depth.
They go back to offensive tackle with Otis Hudson of Eastern Illinois in the seventh. Otis Hudson. Otis Hudson? Is that kid even gonna get drafted? And why does SN have the Bears taking two tackles when they need a G/C prospect? They have center Eric Olsen of Notre Dame going a few picks before Hudson. And look who's going right after Hudson (by clicking here), Pat Angerer the ILB of Iowa. I' d like that kind of value in the 7th. And later on, at pick 234 overall they have fast rising Akwasi Owusu-Ansah the CB/FS out of Indiana (PA) going to the Patriots. They even have higher regarded tackles going later on; Sam Young of Notre Dame (226) and Selvish Capers of West Virginia (246)
They have a few other head-scratchers on their mock draft so be sure to check it out top to bottom if you are a draftnik like myself. I can respect them making an educated guess that goes against the grain, like Nate Allen the South Florida FS going 1st round #24 to the Eagles, that one, I can see happening. But some of the others... what are they thinking? Do they rock a ping pong lottery machine at Sporting News? Are they just throwing darts for the late round picks? If that's the case hire me, I'm not that bad a dart thrower.