The Madness: Reflections on TVG’s Round 1 Mock Draft

Norm: Well, the NFL Draft is officially over. Somehow, the NFL has figured out how to make this an exciting football weekend even though there isn’t any football. I had a great time following the picks, especially Minnesota’s. A large part of the appeal rested in comparing the real thing to all of the mock madness that preceded the event. 

Before the draft began, we took a few moments to put together a full round 1 mock draft. As we reflect back on our mock, what are your main takeaways? How did we do? 

Mimir: As you know, my greatest strength is my super-human humility, but there’s no other way around it: I think we did a great job. Even many of the picks that we missed on we had the right idea or suggested that what actually happened would be a possibility. I haven’t crunched the exact numbers, but our mock was more accurate than a lot of the big-names.

Our top-end picks look pretty good. Like almost every mock draft we hit on the first two picks, but even though I missed on Justin Fields to the 49ers at 3, we were bang-on that it wasn’t going to be Mac Jones, so my hat is safe. I also have to pat myself on the back for my pick of Ja’Marr Chase to the Bengals at 5.

How did you feel about our early picks? What was your biggest surprise early in the draft? It has to be Sewell dropping to the Lions, right?

Norm: The Chase pick at 5 was a good one; it’s one where I was back and forth the entire time leading up the draft, but I think I leaned toward Sewell the whole way. It’s thus mildly surprising to me that it was Chase, and probably good that you chose for CIN in our mock. 

Sewell dropping to seventh is indeed a surprise. What may be even more surprising is that the Detroit Knee Biters didn’t screw it up. I’m very surprised to say that I think Detroit had one of the best overall drafts. I’m not even mad about it since the Lions are so harmless. I’m basically just impressed and wishing them all the best. 

Otherwise, I’m surprised that Dallas made a sensible pick by taking Parsons, even doing so after squeezing value out of a trade down. It’s not often that I sit back and say, “Man, Jerry played that one perfectly.” The biggest surprise from there was Denver. How do you not go Fields at 9? It’s a baffling decision to my small football mind. 

Do you think Denver’s pick at #9 was a mistake? If so, is it the biggest of the opening round? If not Denver, then who made the biggest mess of their opening round?

Mimir: These “who messed up” questions are always such land mines because there’s no way to know how the careers of these players will turn out. I think the best way to look at it is in terms of value for the pick. I think Pat Surtain II is going to be a great player, but the Broncos feel like they’ve been a QB away since Manning retired. Don’t see how they don’t take Fields there. Mac Jones, who I think is a much worse prospect, was still on the board as well, so they could have had their pick of a QB prospect, but instead chose to go CB. Bizarre.

The biggest head scratchers for me were the Las Vegas Raiders and the Green Bay Peckers picks. I like Alex Leatherwood – and had him going to the Ravens at 31 in our mock – but even that was a bit of a reach. Most people had him as a second or third round prospect, and taking him at 17 is just a massive reach. Especially so considering how deep this draft was at OL.

But the Peckers pick, gosh, that’s a double head-scratcher. As every GB fan will eagerly yell at you in defense of the pick, it’s true that they needed to upgrade at CB. Kevin King getting constantly burned against the Chiefs made that perfectly clear (and put a smile on my face). But the pick of Eric Stokes is beyond surprising. Most mocks and pre-draft rankings had Stokes as the CB 10 or 11 in the draft, and I didn’t see a single prospect ranking with him ranked above a low second round grade. Some even had him as low as a third or fourth round pick. PFF had him as low as the 72nd best prospect in the draft. And yet the Peckers took him in the first. Gotta assume they’re just trying to piss Rodgers off at this point. This is another one where I may have gotten the name wrong in our mock draft, but we were bang-on on with the Peckers going defense and with our presumption that Rodgers would be pouting somewhere in his mansion.

Which of your mock draft picks were you happiest with? Any other picks in the first you just need to talk about?

Norm: I think the one I’m most proud about is Buffalo. I think it’s relatively easy to pick correctly toward the top since months of speculation and conjecture makes it easier to put together an educated guess, like with Pitts to Atlanta at fourth overall. The later you get into the draft, though, the more difficult it becomes. At 30th overall, any number of things could have happened to have ruined that projection. Alas, all the stars aligned, and Buffalo actually did snag Rousseau. 

On the other hand, the pick I’d most like to get back is probably Miami. I thought they’d go Owusu-Koramoah at 18, but the Notre Dame LB slid out of the opening round entirely (apparently due to concerns about his health). Instead, they snagged Jaelan Phillips, a player who has the capacity to become the best defender in this draft class. I was wrong in my thinking that Dallas would reach for Phillips. 

When you consider your moves, what’s the one you’re most proud of and the one you wish you could have back?

Mimir: I’m probably most proud of the Rashod Bateman to the Ravens at 27 pick. As you said for your Rousseau pick a lot has to go right to nail a pick that deep in the draft, but I also think the logic and thought process behind the pick was sound, so it wasn’t like I just threw a dart at the board.

One that I’d want back is the Jags pick. Not only did the Jags not take Barmore, but he completely slid out of the first round (though the Pats did trade up to grab him early in the second). I still think Barmore develops into a great player, but the Jags didn’t even look at addressing their D-line until the 4th round. It needs to be said that taking Travis Etienne in the first was a big miss for the Jags. James Robinson is coming off a fantastic season and there were way bigger holes to address on the roster than going for the luxury pick at a position of strength. I like Etienne a lot, but this one didn’t make any sense to me. I just was not able to get into the mind of Urban Meyer, which generally isn’t an issue, but it did cause me to whiff on this pick.

This was a lot of fun, by the way. Thanks for having me back at TVG and involving me in your stellar draft coverage. Any final thoughts on the first round of the draft or our mock?

Norm: I’m also surprised that the Jags went RB at 25th. I’m pulling for Lawrence to succeed, but I think things are going to be difficult in Jacksonville. Perhaps Tim Tebow will come out of retirement and steal away the starting QB job.

Otherwise, nothing else to add on my end. Thanks for coming back for these reflections, and nice work on those picks. Let’s collectively hope that all the purple picks work out well!