Last week, our own KD Drummond reviewed some of the very early 2012 mock drafts that popped up right after the 2011 NFL draft.
A few carefully phrased Google searches later and I found this 2011 mock NFL draft from SI.com writer Andrew Perloff, which he had published just days after last year's draft, making it one of the earliest 2011 mock drafts I could find. Of course, Perloff didn't know which players would declare early for the draft and which teams would finish in which spot, but regardless, I thought it was worth going back and seeing what the mood was like back then.
The first thing that jumps out from that mock of course is that the Cowboys drafted 30th, but let's not go down that avenue today. Perloff had the Cowboys taking offensive tackle Nate Potter from Boise State. Potter decided to stay in school another year and early projections rate him as one of the top OTs for 2012. So while Perloff missed on the player and the spot, he at least got the position right, but it's a couple of other things about that particular mock draft and the names on it that stand out.
Perloff projected Ryan Mallett as the first pick to the Seahawks. Mallett of course fell all the way to the third round. And while he didn't have Cam Newton on his radar yet, he did correctly project Gabbert, Locker and Ponder as first round picks.
Perloff also had DeMarco Murray going 32nd to the Saints. The Saints of course lost to a 7-9 team in a wildcard game and came nowhere near a Super Bowl, but they did draft a running back with the 28th pick in Mark Ingram this year.
Obviously, Tyron Smith wasn't on many people's radar in April last year, so it's no surprise that he isn't included in this mock. But the ranking of offensive linemen in the mock is interesting regardless: Carimi is the top rated lineman at #8, followed by Castonzo at #14, OC Rodney Hudson at #18 (who eventually was picked by the Chiefs at #55) and Nate Potter at #30 to the Cowboys.
The mock also has Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel going in the first round to the Redskins. McDaniel of course went undrafted in the 2011 draft. This just goes to show the fickle nature of not only these mock drafts, but of early player evaluations in general. And also serves as a timely reminder that all those pet cats we had going into the draft two weeks ago were almost certainly not the pet cats we started the season with.