Now that we have closed the books on another NFL season, our minds and hearts turn to that most glorious of pursuits: the Mock Draft. Each year, the airwaves and interwebs are filled with promising (and often utterly unrealistic) projections from amateur pigskin pundits. There are unrealistic for several reasons: they tend to consign players to rounds in which they would never be available ("And with our second rounder, I'll take Robert Quinn"); they feature outlandish trades in which the trading partner is highly unlikely to want to move into that slot and/ or home team is the prohibitive winner; they don't take an overall personnel picture into account.
The best of these endeavors manage to avoid these mock drafting potholes. This week's edition of FPOTW recognizes some BTB readers who, on one or more levels, manage to conduct their mock drafts as NFL front offices must: by being flexible, having multiple contingency plans, and by understanding that the personnel game is a massive balancing act.
Our first honorable mention goes to a dude who has been blowing up the FanPostings with detailed player evaluations and numerous mock drafts for some time now. I'm talking about the prolific ChiaCrack; this week, he offers two mock drafts (version 2 can be found here). What I appreciate about Crack, in addition to his evident energy and enthusiasm, is his intellectual flexibility. In his first mock, he authors a trade with New England, and awards Gabe Carimi to Dallas at pick # 17, in the second, he tags UNC defensive end Robert Quinn at number nine. Crack's mocks go all seven rounds, and he does a good job of slotting guys in rounds where they might conceivably be taken. Check his stuff out!
Our next honoree, the estimable Kegbearer, travels a slightly different road. In the second installment of his "perception versus potential" series (part one is here), he does what an NFL front office must--play the contingency game. Keg asks which would be more beneficial for the Cowboys: to acquire a free agent offensive lineman and draft a first round D-lineman, or the other way around, with a FA defender and a first rounder for the OL? Looking at the available free agents on both sides of the line, he arrives at what I found to be a logical and inarguable conclusion. Wanna know which route makes more sense? Read the entire FanPost here. Good stuff, Keg. I'll be waiting breathlessly for parts three, four and beyond!
This brings me to this week's winner. Once again, I'm pleased to announce that FPOTW glory goes to a newbie, first-time poster Spaceball. As did Keg, Space looks good with his GM hat on, playing the contingency game. He offers up three potential three-round draft scenarios, which would net the Cowboys either Cameron Jordan, Gabe Carimi (after a trade down), or Tyron Smith in the first round. Of course, which one of these guys is chosen would affect the rest of Dallas' draft, and Space, like a good GM, proceeds accordingly. He assumes that Dallas needs to acquire an OL and a DL in the first three rounds. Thus, picking Jordan means Ben Ijalana would be a necessary second round target; if Carimi is the pick, then they'd need to find a DL in the subsequent rounds; Space gives them Penn State's Muhammad Wilkerson in the third.
Most impressively, he attaches multiple links and embeds highlight videos for each of the picks. This is terrific stuff; I suggest you check it out and that we adopt Space's work as a template for all draft posts. Congrats, Space, I'm sure Rick Moranis is very proud of you today, wherever he is.