With the draft just days away now, almost all of the workouts, interviews, and grading are done. All that remains is the speculating, which happens to be something I do just as well as the next guy. You may recall my previous fanpost, “Jerry’s Draft Rules” (http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2011/3/7/2035524/jerrys-draft-rules). The project is to think like Jerry, to translate draft history and Jerry-speak into identifiable trends that will help me to predict the rationale behind what may transpire on draft day. Maybe Jerry does throw darts to make his picks—but let’s face it, he does at least know what he’s aiming at before he lets go.
Here’s a summary of the rules, with one major edit and one addition:
Rule #1: The First Pick is for Making Money.
Rule #2: Offensive Line is a Secondary Draft Priority.
Rule #3: Round 3 is for Proving You’re Smarter Than Everyone Else.
Rule #4 (revised): Like you, Jerry has his “pet cats,” but he gets to actually draft them. Every draftnik just likes some guys more than he likes others, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes just ‘cuz. Jerry does this too. From Dez to Felix to Stanback to Quincy Carter, sometimes Jerry just really likes a player and goes after him regardless of what the critics say or what the consensus draft board says about value. The plus side is that Jerry makes things happen, and he’s willing to trade down to get the guy he wants at good value just as much as trading up to get him. The downside is that other teams often figure out who Jerry is crushing on, giving them the upper hand in trades. We’ll never know whether Jerry goes unilateral or if his War Room agrees with his moves, but Jerry wears his heart on his sleeve and goes after what he wants.
Rule #5: Trading is Better Than Staying Put.
Rule #6: Rules Are For GMs With Lesser Instincts.
Rule #7 (new): Everybody Loves A Theme Party. You could give some of Jerry’s drafts nicknames: the Special Teams Draft of 2009, the Great CB Draft of 2000 (5 picks, 3 corners), the New DL Draft of 2005 (Spears, Canty, Ratliff), the Parcell’s Guy Draft of 2006 (Carpenter, Fasano, Green, and McQuistan—though I’m not blaming Jerry for that one!)… When Jerry identifies a position of need, he likes to go all out: 3 CBs in 2000, 3 DTs in 2001, 3 DEs in 2005, 4 LBs in 2009. Or at least backup his investment with a safety net: Marten/Free, Felix/Choice, Jenkins/Scandrick… Sometimes this has been a great way to remake a position in one fell swoop; at the least it’s been a solid insurance policy as the late rounders have outperformed their pedigreed brethren. It doesn’t happen every year, but don’t cross off a position just because Jerry’s already taken one or two of those.
Now, throw all possible draft scenarios into the Jerry’s Rules app, and press enter. The resulting mock draft:
#9 – Trade Down with Houston - #9 for #11, #105 (4th) and #138 (5th). Jerry’s targeting Tyron Smith, but since this is a direct violation of Rule 2, he has to get a little bit in return. The trade doesn’t get much, but now Jerry has some extra draft currency to play with—Rule 5!
#11 – Trade Down with StL - #11 and #138 for #14 and #78 (3rd) - Gosh, isn’t this fun! Jerry’s telling everyone in the war room that Tyron is still going to be there at #14. The Rams get Julio Jones, and now Jerry has 6 picks in the top 110.
#14 – J.J. Watt, DE - “Well who coulda seen that comin’?” says Jerry when the commish announces that Detroit has taken Tyron Smith at #13. Still, he can’t quite hide his grin while writing Watt’s name on the card for #14. Not even JG’s influence can overcome the combined power of Rules 1 and 2. Besides, Jerry has a plan that will make everyone happy in the end.
#37 – Trade Up with CLE - #40, #143(5th) and #176 (6th) for #37 – Brandon Harris, CB. Jerry pats himself on the back for successfully hiding his interest in Harris (Rule 4)after it leaked early at the Combine. When asked why he passed on OL prospects like Ijalana, Watkins, and Wisniewski, Jerry reasons that Harris was the #2 CB on their board, “in fact, we were considering taking him at #14.” Rules 1, 2, 4, and 5 are having a great draft so far. (Alternate pick: Mason Foster, ILB)
#62 – Trade Up with CHI - #62 for #71 and # 110 (4th) - James Carpenter, OT – The skeptics scratch their heads because conventional wisdom said that Carpenter would be available at #71 anyway…but Jerry was feeling the pressure to finally get an OT. Besides, he always gets a little crazy when a 3rd round pick is involved (Rule 3).
#78 (Rams) – Trade Down with PHI - #78 for #85, #149 and #227 – Jerry’s got a couple of OL in mind, and this way he can recoup a 5th round choice and still get one of those. Rule 5 rules.
#85 - DeMarcus Love, OT/OG – Contrary to popular draft-lore, Jerry doesn’t actually draft Arkansas players. But Rules 3 and 6 counteract that one. Plus, Rule 7 starts to make an appearance—surely one out of three potential OTs will be able to man that RT spot… (Alternate pick: Joseph Barksdale, OT)
Rounds 4 - 7: (I’m going to stop projecting trades at this point, but there’s little doubt that Jerry will move up and down a bit to get most of these guys.)
#105 (Hou) –Bilal Powell, RB – Sorry, MBIII, you’ve been upgraded by a new model. Jerry’s had pretty good success with playmakers in round 4, so it’s hard to fault him on this one.
#149 (Phi) –Willie Smith, OT (East Carolina) – And here’s that third OT. Or is there an OG or two among them? Conflicting reports abound, but either way, Rule 7 is satisfied. If Jerry hits on only two out of three, we’ll all be pretty pleased.
#220 – Nate Irving, ILB (NC State) – Honestly, I have no idea what’s happening this late in the draft…but I’m expecting a LB or WR with special teams ability
#227 (Phi) – Greg McElroy, QB – Stephen McGee is a little upset about having some competition, until he sees the nameplate on McElroy’s locker reads “Mini-Me Garrett” and realizes that Jerry actually drafted a future QB-coach…
#252 – Isa Abdul El-Quddus, SS (Fordham) – Here’s hoping that the Owusu-Ansah/El-Quddus duo is the future at S in Dallas.
For those of you too busy to read all that, here’s the short form:
#14 – J.J. Watt, DE
#37 –Brandon Harris, CB
#62 – James Carpenter, OT
#85 - DeMarcus Love, OT/OG
#105 –Bilal Powell, RB
#149 –Willie Smith, OT (East Carolina)
#220 – Nate Irving, ILB (NC State)
#227 – Greg McElroy, QB
#252 – Isa Abdul El-Quddus, SS (Fordham)
I’d say that this is a very plausible draft. My gut still says that Jerry's going to try to trade up as far as #6 to get Patrick Peterson, and that either he or Nick Fairley is going to be wearing a Cowboys jersey by the end of the day. But that depends on one of them sliding a bit, and that's difficult to predict and doesn’t make for a very fun mock draft exercise…
Overall, I’d give Jerry a disappointed B- for this draft. I like both Watt and Harris at the spots they’re picked, but they’re not worth delaying the OL makeover until rounds 3 and 4. I don’t like either Carpenter or Love, but I’m afraid that Jerry does… After round 3, I fully expect Jerry to pick a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of before.
What do you think?