Here, I am, once again. Inundating you with rookie mocks. Can’t deny, can’t pretend, IT”S ROOKIE MOCK SZN!
That’s right folks. As quickly as Aaron Donald rag-dolled Joe Burrow on the last play of the game, the offseason has arrived. We all handle this period of the offseason differently. Some over-obsess over trivial things like the hand size of a double-jointed quarterback. Others, like myself and those in this mock, invest their time into finding way too early mock drafts. As always, these things are subject to change. But this is a great snapshot of players values prior to the Combine seducing the masses into freak athletes.
I would quickly like to thank Ferris Ganzman, Cody Carpentier, Andrew Quinn, Frank Lakatos, Jay Peters, Jaylan Glenn, Ray Ray, THE Podfather, Stephen Murphy, Aaron Stewart, and Matt Desrosiers. Without their time and dedication, these mocks wouldn’t be a reality.
In a trend unlikely to change until after the NFL Draft, Breece Hall was the first player off the board.
Ferris: “Workhorse profile and produced every year at ISU. Checks every box you’re looking for in a RB prospect: size, vision, contact balance, receiving skills, athleticism. Has enough speed and burst that those concerns are far overstated. The only player I would take at the 1.01 ahead of him is if Malik Willis.”
Sure enough, up next was our own Cody, who took the first quarterback off the board. It’s safe to say Cody was impressed at Mobile, having this to say regarding this pick:
Cody: “The ‘MAN’ in Mobile at QB – he is the only one that elevated himself in all facets. We know Malik has the upside, but we wanted to see it against tougher opponents and we did!”
The next two picks in order were Treylon Burks and Kenny Pickett (we have the same hand size). When thinking about chalky picks, I feel the first four will predominately be made up of these players. The remaining blue chip prospects went in the next three picks; Isaiah Spiller, Garret Wilson and Kenneth Walker.
Spiller and Walker are slated to be the talk of the town for which one to rate above the other. Here is what Jay had to say:
Jay: “Spiller possesses the size and skillset to be a three-down back in the NFL. Projected to be a Day 2 pick, so he should have the opportunity to produce early on. In SF, it’s tough to fade QB here. But with the uncertainty around this year’s pool, Spiller is an easy choice.”
Conversely, here is my elevator pitch for Walker:
Britt: “After transferring from Wake Forrest, Kenneth Walker stepped up in a big way and was responsible for over one-third of the Spartans scrimmage yards. He will get knocked for his lack of pass-catching. But out of the 29 targets MSU sent to the RBs, he had 44-percent of them. I’m not confusing lack of use with lack of ability for Walker.”
Ray Ray went Matt Corral. The QB who likely raised his stock the most simply by not being present at the Senior Bowl. The last remaining blue chip, maybe more of a baby blue chip, was Drake London.
Podfather: “Want Carson Strong, but worried he did not show out at the Senior Bowl.”
David Bell and George Pickens rounded out the first tier of wide receivers. One of my favorite picks of the first round was the last one, when Matt D selected Sam Howell.
Matt: “Needs to clean up his mechanics, but 828 rushing yards in 2021 offers a potentially safer floor if he gets Round 1 draft capital. If landing spot is a great situation, discount Josh Allen is in his range of outcomes.”
RBs and WRs
The second round is when things become very exciting with this class. After a massive wide receiver run in the first run, only three went in the second. Jameson Williams was the clear consensus pick here.
Ferrris: “Injury knocks him back a few spots, but I expect him to be back some time during the season. And if we’re lucky, maybe before. Will still get drafted in the first round, so I am comfortable with him in this spot. Not a fan of Carson Strong or Desmond Ridder, so I am fine passing on both.”
Chris Olave and Jahan Dotson went a few picks later, but neither offer the upside Williams possesses. This round was dominated by running backs, seeing six taken. My three favorites taken in this round were the first three off the board.
Kyren Williams is a slightly underweight running back that is an elite pass blocker and has many exciting traits. Jerome Ford offers a different perspective; a thicker running back who excelled at Cincinnati while excelling as a runner and pass catcher. Tyler Allgeier, the GOOD linebacker converted into running back in this class (this is a slight to Abram Smith). Allgeier excelled with Zach Wilson at BYU, and then dominated the following season. Allegedly, he runs a 4.39 40-yard dash. Though at his size and production profile, I will be happy if he beats a 4.55 time.
QBs and TEs
My favorite pick this round is Tre McBride, the current top tight end out who dominated at Colorado State. There are many things to like about McBride, most of all his versatility to play inline and in the slot. A good week at the Combine will have him climbing draft boards quickly.
The last two remaining quarterbacks went in this round, both polar opposites with what they bring to the NFL field. Jaylan had this to say about Ridder:
Jaylan: “Obvious risk involved, but I like taking a shot on a second-round QB with good arm talent and mobility.”
Conversely, here is what Stephen had to say about Strong:
Stephen: “Not super mobile, but moves pretty well in the pocket and has a good arm. Will take the risk on a potential starting QB at this point.”
With Strong having a very poor Senior Bowl, he’ll likely be a faller throughout the remainder of this process.
The third round of this draft could very well have the title of “misfits and late bloomers.” Seven straight wide receivers went to start the round. Wan’Dale Robinson led the charge, but worries regarding his overall size may change that in the future. The true run started when Cody took Jalen Tolbert.
Cody: “Tolbert dominated from the moment he stepped on the field in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. Overpowering defenders, as he did all throughout 2020 and 2021.”
Tolbert may have played at a small school. But a 96th-percentile Dominator Rating and the hype from the Senior Bowl will elevate his ADP. Justyn Ross and Skyy Moore are the two wide receivers who are likely to elevate aside Tolbert as the process moves on.
Two of the three running backs taken this round created positive and good buzz during the Senior Bowl. I am a big fan of both. However, as made obvious by my pick, I can’t help myself around Tyler Badie.
Britt: “While he had a lackluster first three seasons, he had an incredible senior season and weighed in at 199-pounds at the Senior Bowl.”
We have now entered the twilight zone. Where the margin between sleeper and pipe dream become razor thin. Immediately, the pick taking me off-guard came from The Podfather. He selected Aqeel Glass, a QB who likely has fallen off of the radar due to injuries and the COVID year. Glass has the prototypical size and a mighty fine touchdown to interception ratio.
Sincere McCormick was the next name. An early declare from UTSA, or in Stephens words:
Stephen: “At this point of the draft, I am looking for guys that can pop. At 5-9 and 2o0-pounds, Sincere is a home-run hitter with excellent speed, vision, and acceleration.”‘
The two tight ends taken are in high contention for the highest upside late in the draft for the position. Jeremy Ruckert will be overlooked given his mediocre production profile. But what he offers at the position is refinement and consistency. Also, who can blame him for not showing out given that he played with such great receiving threats. Instead of giving a monologue about a fun prospect, I’ll pass the torch to the guy who actually went to Mobile.
Cody: “The Dawg, Greg Dulcich! When asked what part of his game translates best to the NFL, he said: ‘I’m just extremely dynamic.’ That’s all I needed to hear.”
Remember that margin between sleeper and pipe dream? This round is similar to those proclaiming they understand quantum physics. They’re out of their mind. However, there is always a shred of reality we grasp onto when making these selections. The running backs came out strong, as they should. And the first player selected is my preferred player from a ‘Dakota State’ football program. Pierre Strong has the works, early breakout, good production, size, and pass-catching acumen.
Ferris: “Really good north to south runner that in the right landing spot could become this year’s Elijah Mitchell.”
The next running back that slipped through the cracks is Tyler Goodson; a dynamic back who broke out his freshman year and capped off his collegiate career with a fantastic season.
To round the group up, Kaleb Eleby was the only quarterback taken in this round.
Cody: “The quietest quarterback in the class, was invited to the NFL Combine in February, unlike Aqeel Glass. Look for Eleby to be that guy that is drafted first on Day 3.”
In what was previously a sad memory, akin to the phoenix emerged Grant Calcaterra.
Britt: “If it weren’t for him having to medically retire for a few years due to head trauma, he would be in conversation for who the TE 1 is of this class with Tre McBride.”
There is a great thing about looking into a mock draft that started at the beginning of February. The variance of value from this time until last has been rather tumultuous. Especially given the new information revealed from the Senior Bowl. What is most important is what is upcoming in the next few weeks. While it is fun to lob joke grenades about the underwear Olympics, they do offer helpful insights into each rookie class. That is as long as we have players who are going to be present to take place in these events. While this event matters less for wide receivers (don’t let the workout warrior tilt you), it is important for the positions where athleticism can elevate an athlete to a new level; running back and tight end.
While you get consumed during the Combine frenzy remember plenty of wide receivers have succeeded without being insanely dynamic, not as many running backs or tight ends have.
Until next time, I bid you adieu.
Thank you for giving this your attention, it means a lot to us to take time out of your day and to spend it here with BreakoutFinder. You can follow me on Twitter @TheFFSandman.