Draft Daily: Looking back on PFF’s Mock Week
After a week of PFF's analysts putting their best guesses for the draft out there, Senior Analyst Steve Palazzolo looks at the notable picks and surprises.
Draft Daily: Looking back on PFF’s Mock Week
The PFF Draft Daily will hit on a number of NFL Draft-related topics including recent news, scouting reports, PFF draft takes, and much more on a daily basis.
Mock Week review
Josh used his own personal board while adding the new twist of being a new general manager for each franchise, hopefully taking pre-existing biases out of the equation.
His love for two versatile defensive players shone through, as he slotted Temple edge rusher/linebacker Haason Reddick to the New York Jets at No. 6 while giving the Carolina Panthers one of his personal favorites, UConn safety Obi Melifonwu, at eighth. Both players were productive in college, but it’s their athleticism that stands out and could make them legitimate top-10 picks come draft night.
Perhaps most notable in this mock is seeing the first quarterback come off the board at No. 25 as the Houston Texans take North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky. The caveat that each general manager is working with a fresh start (in theory), makes this more believable, but the reality is that the signal-callers will likely be off the board much earlier as decision-makers will make a move to shore up the quarterback position.
One other notable pick is Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon going to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 28. At 6-foot-2-plus combined with a nation-high 14 pass breakups and an incredible workout at the NFL Combine, Witherspoon may come off the board earlier than many expect, even in a deep class of corners.
Gordon showed great restraint in not drafting Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez in his first-round mock, so perhaps Zane’s restraining order has been put to good use (note: to my knowledge, there is not really a restraining order on Gordon).
Two edge defenders come off the board, with Gordon trusting Tennessee DE Derek Barnett’s incredible three-year production enough to give him to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 2 overall. The first twist is at No. 4 as the Jacksonville Jaguars take a quarterback and it’s Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes. I’m all for bringing in competition for incumbent QB Blake Bortles and why not try to hit a home run with Mahomes, who has impressive arm talent but still has a lot of developing to do at the next level.
Contrast Gordon’s draft with Josh’s, and three quarterbacks go in the top 10. Mitchell Trubisky lands in Los Angeles as the Chargers’ quarterback of the future, and that backs up my thoughts that the teams with the class of 2004 quarterbacks — Chargers, Steelers, Giants — should all be in the market for their next quarterback very soon.
The Browns may not get their quarterback, but coming out of the draft with Myles Garrett and FS Malik Hooker is a huge boost for the defense. I also love that the Titans got two players who are currently ranked in the top seven on the PFF draft board in LB Reuben Foster and WR Corey Davis.
Mike took the easy way out. Fearful of criticism and the dreaded “worst mock ever” comment, he copped out and gave every team what they want: their dream scenario. The dream mock isn’t a bad idea as it lays out each team’s best-case scenario and it does involve plenty of thought. It also goes a long way toward protecting Mike’s ego, which we discuss on this week’s draft podcast.
As for the mock, the Jaguars’ pick at No. 4 is intriguing as they take the draft’s best corner in Marshon Lattimore to pair him with last year’s first-rounder Jalen Ramsey and free-agent signing A.J. Bouye. I love the concept as loading up on corners is a viable strategy in today’s NFL and it would bring such great versatility to the Jacksonville secondary.
The rest of the picks make a lot of sense, but among the few that stand out as excellent fits are LB Reuben Foster to the Saints, Cardinals, or Colts and Tennessee DE Derek Barnett to either the Ravens or the Bucs, which would be incredible value in the middle of the first round.
Jordan went for all pass-game impact in his mock and his first blockbuster is the selection of Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey at No. 2 to the 49ers. Finding the best fit for San Francisco is a challenge in every mock and Jordan’s reasoning that McCaffrey’s pass-game versatility is a game changer for a team lacking playmakers is a sound one.
Washington WR John Ross to the Titans at No. 5 adds a deep element for QB Marcus Mariota, though I love Western Michigan WR Corey Davis as the best fit for Mariota’s game. The Chargers get a quarterback in Jordan’s mock as well, this time it’s Mahomes as the heir apparent to QB Philip Rivers. It’s notable that Jordan matched Gordon’s mock with Garrett and Hooker going to Cleveland.
The Pac-12 focus late in the round is apparent as Witherspoon comes off the board to Seattle and teammate Chidobe Awuzie lands in Green Bay. It’s notable that LSU RB Leonard Fournette does not get selected in Jordan’ mock, and given his pass-game focus, it does make sense.
The latest draft podcast is up on the PFF Pro podcast account as Mike Renner and I dissect his first ever “mock” draft. We also feature a very special guest with our new scouting term of the week while diving into our usual topics, highlighting our risers and fallers, betting on the draft, and giving our listeners a great opportunity to win a free Draft Pass subscription.
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