Gandhi mock draft

Gandhi

Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Posts
1,784
Reaction score
2,292
Location
Denmark
I have been participating in a mock draft as the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals. The game finished recently (actually it has not finished yet. I just don’t have a pick in the seventh round) so it should reflect quite precisely on how I rank the prospects, and what I think the Cardinals should do.

I thought I would pass along how it went, and offer you my thoughts on each pick. If you don’t want to read it, or don’t want to spend the time to scroll down far enough, here are the end result:

1st round – defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

3rd round – quarterback Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

4th round – cornerback Eric Murray, Minnesota

5th round – inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia

5th round – cornerback Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central

6th round – center Marcus Henry, Boise State

Here is the entire draft: http://americanfootball.freeforums.org/gm-mock-ii-2016-drafttraden-t594.html

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st round – defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

I realize it is a controversial selection but please let me try to explain it.

First of all, I simply think that Nkemdiche is a fantastic talent. I think all the negativity about his play at Ole Miss is highly exaggerated, and I believe that anyone who are criticizing his production should look at his tape once again. Nkemdiche was facing double- and triple-teams on nearly every single play and he was still disruptive and effected the offensive game-plan more often than not. On the few occasion where he did not receive extra attention from the offensive line, he dominated to a degree that I have not seen in the NCAA since Ndamukong Suh was a senior at Nebraska. Yeah, he probably took some plays off but certainly not more than basically every stud player does.

Now, obviously he is a very risky selection because of his off the field stuff, and I am very aware that he might never be the difference maker that I envision. Having said that, I’m not so sure that he actually is a bad guy. I mean, he might be the perfect guy to make smokescreens about, since you can say basically anything and it will to at least some degree sounds plausible. A lot of people have major interests in Nkemdiche sliding from the top five, where his talent suggest he should be drafted, down to the later stage of round one. As far as I know, he has never tested positive for any drugs, he has never been charged with DUI, he has never been accused of accepting benefits from supporters of the Ole Miss University. Yes, he is way too often in the media for the wrong reason, but it seems to me that no-one can prove that he has done anything wrong.

By the way, I know about the picture of him using some drug-tool, and I know about him jumping from a hotel balcony, but to me those are just stupid things that kids do. No, he shouldn’t have done those things but it happened and no-one got hurt.

As it relates to the Cardinals, I would not be that worried if they did select Nkemdiche. They obviously have a very strong locker-room with leaders across the board, and not at least in the defensive line-group where guys such as Cory Redding, Corey Peters, Calais Campbell, Red Bryant and Frostee Rucker are most definitely up to the task of learning any rookie how to be a professional. On top of that they have Bruce Arians and Brentson Buckner who certainly won’t let a rookie – much less a first round choice – give anything less than his best. Oh, and Arizona is a long way from Mississippi so Nkemdiche won’t be around the same people that might have been a distraction to him.

On the field I think that Nkemdiche could be a monster on the defensive line. I believe that he could be a defensive end in their base-defense and then move to defensive tackle in the nickel-defense. I could even see him play some nose guard and outside linebacker at times. He is that good.

Like I wrote earlier, I realize that this pick might never pan out, but to me it’s definitely worth taking a shot to maybe get a difference maker that could be the difference of losing the NFC-finale to the Panthers or going all the way and win the Super Bowl. In fact, in the real draft I believe it could easily be necessary to trade up in front of the Seahawks if Keim and Arians want Nkemdiche. My reasoning being that the Seahawks seemingly don’t care at all about their offensive line – the last couple of years they have departed with their stud center Max Unger, their great offensive tackle Russell Okung and their starting offensive guards J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter, and they have replaced them with nobodies, including signing Bradley Sowell this offseason. Furthermore, neither do they seem to care if their first pick-rookies have any kind of character concern – in three of the last four drafts they have used their first selection on players with major problems outside the field, including two (Bruce Irvin and Frank Clark) whose character flaws make Nkemdiche look like a choirboy. Well, and they kind of need him after they lost Brandon Mebane in free agency.

Robert Nkemdiche might be the biggest boom-or-bust player in the entire draft (maybe other than Jaylon Smith), and I think it says a great deal about the state of the Cardinals that I would be ecstatic if they did use their first round-selection to acquire him. To me, it would be the draft-definition of “no risk it, no biscuit”.

3rd round – quarterback Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

Truth be told, it scared me to see Palmer’s meltdown in the championship game. Not so much because of the game itself – those things happen – but because it reminded me all too well of the times with Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley, John Skelton and the rest of all the bad quarterbacks who started for the Cardinals not that long ago. To me, the game served as sort of a wakeup call that we should be thrilled to have Palmer leading the way (regular season Palmer, that is), and how important it is to have his successor ready when he decides to retire. I believe that Matt Barkley could eventually be that guy, but that might be a longshot and I would definitely not put all my eggs in that basket.

I actually think Prescott’s value as a draft prospect is probably in the fourth round. I just really want him on my team, and I think that when you get that feeling toward a quarterback, you should not “play the draftgame” too much and risk losing out on the player. As a matter of fact, I did get an offer to trade back but if I took it I would pick nearly an entire round later, which I didn’t want. I can easily see that Prescott need a lot of work to play in the NFL, but I think it is truly remarkable and shows a lot of promise that he’s level of play now is lightyears ahead of what is was two years ago. He has improved so much that I believe it is worth using the resources on Prescott to see if he can become the franchise quarterback some years from now, and oh yeah, Bruce Arians and Tom Moore are not exactly the worst quarterback-coaches out there.

I ranked Prescott higher recently because of the things I just wrote, but now I have dropped him about two rounds because of the DUI. Drunk driving in itself is idiotic but when a draft prospect, let alone a quarterback, does it very close to the draft, well, I don’t have words for how stupid that is. I guess, though, that this time you can relate it to him being young and naïve, and that he is under heavy pressure. He better not do something like that as a professional.

4th round – cornerback Eric Murray, Minnesota

With the pick I was actually focused on drafting center Evan Boehm out of Missouri. He was on the board very close to my selection, and I just really like him. He might not be the greatest athlete in the world but he is as tough as they come, and I think he started at their offensive line as a freshman. On top of that, I believe he has been a team captain for years, and that he was one of the leaders and spokespersons in the media-turmoil first with the brave announcement from Michael Sam, and then last year during the huge racism-scandal. Anyway, unfortunately Boehm was picked just one spot ahead of me.

The primary reason that I wanted to pick a center with this selection was that I had four or five defensive backs rated about equally, so I thought that at least one of them would be available with my next pick. That plan was quickly changed, though. When Boehm was picked I try to move back a few spots but I guess that primarily due to the format of the game (people were simply not home by their computers) it was not possible.

I think that Eric Murray is the Cardinals-type of a defensive back. He is a very psychical cornerback who excels in press man coverage. He might not be the fastest, strongest, quickest or the one that jump highest but he does all of those things rather well, and though he’s not a ballhawk and probably won’t ever be a huge playmaker, he’s simply reliable and solid. While his physicality is his biggest strength, it might also become his biggest weakness since he could get a lot of penalties if he doesn’t learn to use his playing style correctly.

I believe that Murray would be in the rotation from day one, and that he could possibly turn into a really good #2 cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson, but if not, several scouts apparently believe he can be a safety in the NFL.

5th round – inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia

Well, let my just start by writing that I am not a big fan of Kevin Minter, and even though he will probably play a lot this season, his contract is up afterwards. Personally, I wouldn’t re-sign him.

Kwiatkoski is a former safety turned linebacker, and it really shows in his athleticism as he can drop back in coverage and run sideline-to-sideline with ease. He was a starter for three years at West Virginia, and each season he was moved to a new one of their three linebacker-position - but still he lead the team in tackles every year. He does have some physical limitations (mainly, he might not be powerful enough) that could be too much to overcome, but I do think he has a chance to stick around.

I have already stated that I think Minter could be upgraded, but I also think it could be interesting to move Bucannon back to safety since it is his natural position. Obviously, none of us know if he can do it but there is clearly a place for him with Rashad Johnson and potentially Powers leaving. I know that some inside journalists have made it out to be a fact that Arians wants to keep Bucannon at linebacker, but have you seen the interview where he talks about that very subject? He specifically says that “right now” they will leave Bucannon at linebacker, and that he will “probably” play there this season. Not only is that nowhere near a definitive statement but this is also the season for smokescreens and lies. Remember how Arians said they certainly would not draft a quarterback the day before they selected Logan Thomas?

I like Kwiatkoski but most likely he would need to make the team through playing special teams, and fortunately I believe he has the skillset to be very good at it.

5th round – cornerback Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central

You just know that Keim will love this guy, being from a small school, having bigtime potential, having a chip on his shoulder, and apparently showing a huge desire to be great via his work ethic and overall behavior.

I have never seen him play a game so I honestly have no idea how good he is. From what I have read, though, he is a physical and intelligent player who has dominated opponents at the lower level. On top of that he has actually set a new school record for career solo tackles, which I have never seen a cornerback do before although he actually did play safety for some years at the school. That flexibility should obvious benefit him as well. To me, the most important thing about Smith might be that he is a dangerous kick returner. I think that the Cardinals has to upgrade more or less everything about their special teams, and since David Johnson is needed on the offense, and Brittan Golden is a completely unknown to me in regards to special teams, I wanted to draft a guy who can play the role.

6th round – center, Marcus Henry, Boise State

I would have very much liked to select a center way before this spot, and I did target one in both the third and fourth round. In the end, though, it simply did not happen, and I was certainly not going to reach just to select a player at a specific position. I highly believe that will let you to draft Levi Brown, Cody Brown or even Jorrick Colvin (I do believe “needs” should be factored in to who is the “best player available”, but that is an entire different talk), and also, one could just look at how great players is drafted in round five, six and seven every year.

That wrote, I am happy that I got to pick Henry, and if I had known before that it is now a very real possibility that they will bring back Jerraud Powers, I would probably have selected Henry in the fifth round and hoped that Ryan Smith would be available in the sixth. I think that Henry it a good fit in Harold Goodwin’s unit and systems. He can definitely learn a lot technique-wise but he’s likely strong enough as it is, and to me it looks like he simply “gets it”. He understands combo-blocks, he is good at reading blitzes, and he is very aware of things around him. Also, people at Boise State seems to always talk about his football-IQ when describing him.

It might be a stretch to assume that a sixth round-choice can walk directly into the starting line-up, but none the less I would not bet against Henry doing it. I really like him.

So, that’s it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

3. quarterback Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

4. cornerback Eric Murray, Minnesota

5. inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia

5. cornerback Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central

6. center Marcus Henry, Boise State

I am satisfied with this draft. I believe it got the Cardinals a potential superstar at the defensive line, a future franchise quarterback and four players that could end up starting the first game of the season or in the future, or they might be really skilled special teams-players. I had planned to draft a center much earlier than I did but before the game started anyone could have predicted that it would not go down as I had imagined. I guess you could say that – in retrospect - I had my shot at a center in the first round, and when I decided not to draft one with that pick the writing was sort of on the wall that I wouldn’t get one before one of my last picks.

I always intended to spend the most picks on defensive players. I believe that the offense was very good last season, and though they were really bad in the NFC-finale, I think they will bounce back. The defense on the other hand could be upgraded, at least in my opinion. I think the defensive line is talented yet underachieving, while I believe that some people talked up the linebacker-corps way more than they deserved. The defensive back-group were good but still they were not without holes, and now they have lost some guys. Also, for what it’s worth four of the players (Prescott, Murray, Kwiatkoski, Henry) were team captains.

With this draft, and maybe a veteran pickup or two in free agency, I believe both the defense and offense can get past Carolina and Seattle, and possibly stay on that mountaintop for years.
 

Ohcrap75

Hall of Famer
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Posts
1,270
Reaction score
723
I love the Nkemdiche pick. I'm not as high on Dak as most, but a young QB to groom is a good idea. Nice work!
 

WildBB

Yogi n da Bear
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Posts
14,295
Reaction score
1,239
Location
The Sonoran Jungle - West
Scary back to back 1sts. In Humphries and Nkemdiche. Feast or famine with both. Don't see it happening even if available. Think they go a different direction.

Prescott is an intruiging 3rd Rd. pick. You don't like Hackenberg?

Why will Murray be around the end of the 4th?
 

Denny Green Fan

Registered
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Posts
1,901
Reaction score
94
I love the first two picks!! Prescott has been projected to go in round 2.

I dont worry about Daks character. He was praised down there by

community leaders. Robert could go to the Raiders or Bills as well. Rex

Ryan seems like the kind of guy who would think he could "fix" anybody

who has character/motor issues.
 

Cardiac

ASFN Icon
Joined
Jul 21, 2002
Posts
11,915
Reaction score
2,970
I always look forward to your draft posts Gandhi. I would prefer V. Butler or K Clark but if BASK drafts Nkemdiche then I will be hopeful that he is HB part deux.

I'm in the camp that doesn't want us to waste a draft pick on a QB like we did with Logan Thomas. I get the rationale and if BASK pull the trigger I'll hope it isn't Logan Thomas part deux.

Once again I really enjoy these posts and the way you explain the why's and rationale behind your picks.
 
OP
OP
Gandhi

Gandhi

Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Posts
1,784
Reaction score
2,292
Location
Denmark
Prescott is an intruiging 3rd Rd. pick. You don't like Hackenberg?

Well, I think Hackenberg is a very interesting prospect, and I do like him. It's just that I like Prescott better.

The thing that instantly pops into my head about Hackenberg - and which I think says a great deal about him though he obviously might have changed since - is that he kept his promise to the Penn State University. Remember, he verbally committed to them before the entire Jerry Sandusky-scandale but after it took place he could have simply walked away. He didn't, and to me, that shows great loyalty and integrity. I mean, that is not like many other situations where an athlete stands up to his own word since often those kind of commitments are about making the player look good, and often you can’t trust it anyway. Hackenberg and Penn State, though, was about a young man walking with his head held high into a situation where his new school had just been through a major sexual child abuse-scandal, and nearly the entire world population hated that place. O’Brien and Hackenberg voluntarily choose to be the public faces of one of the highest profile parts of that school. Talk about courage.

On the field, I think he lacks the pocket awareness to be a high draft pick. I believe that really high draft picks should start right away, and I also believe that any quarterback will fail in the NFL without knowing how to use the pocket properly. That wrote, I think he has the football-IQ, arm strength, mechanics, and is good enough in just about any other area that you could at least spend the time and energy to try to correct his flaws, and still feel good about using the resources.

I do not put any stock what so ever into the reports that he didn’t interview well with teams at the Combine. It has been noted that it was mainly because he blamed his coaches at Penn State for his rapid decline in play from his freshman-season to the last two years. First of all, it comes from unnamed sources, and in my opinion that drastically lowers the creditability (did it come from the general manager? From an area scout? From an intern?). Second, this is the time for smokescreens. Third, he would actually be right. Originally, he started at Penn State with Bill O’Brien as his head coach, and thus Hackenberg played in a pro style system in which he excelled, and I will admit that back then I thought he would end of as possibly the number one overall draft-selection. Then O’Brien left for the Houston Texans, and was replaced by James Franklin. Now, Franklin has done wonders to the university, and he is by all accounts a very skilled head coach, but he didn’t do Hackenberg any favors. For example, Franklin uses a lot more spread-concepts than O’Brien.

So yeah, I would be happy if they did choose Hackenberg, but to me, it probably should not be before the third round at the earliest, and not in front of Dak Prescott.

Why will Murray be around the end of the 4th?

Well, the easy answer is that no-one selected him prior to that. :) No, I think it was because of the things I wrote about the pick. Murray does not stand out in any way. He does not have any one skill that makes you go wow, and furthermore he did have a playing style in college that makes him prone to penalties in the NFL. If he can get that corrected, though, I think he can become a very solid player for years. One of those kinds that is so critical to a team’s success, and that coaches therefore love to have on the roster.
 
OP
OP
Gandhi

Gandhi

Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Posts
1,784
Reaction score
2,292
Location
Denmark
I always look forward to your draft posts Gandhi. I would prefer V. Butler or K Clark but if BASK drafts Nkemdiche then I will be hopeful that he is HB part deux.

Thank you so much, Cardiac. I am happy to do it. :) I am not that big a fan of Kenny Clark but I definitely get your fascination with Butler. I think he is one of those extremely rare players that can actually play nose guard in a 3-4-scheme, and still move well enough to do it while maintaining one gap-responsibilities on second and third down. You simply don’t see that very often.

Now, I believe that Nkemdiche can do the same from time to time – kind of like Calais Campbell has done it – and thus give the coaches more freedom to be creative with the player packages, but that’s not the same as saying that a true (so to speak) nose guard wouldn’t be able to potentially do wonders to the overall pass rush.

I'm in the camp that doesn't want us to waste a draft pick on a QB like we did with Logan Thomas. I get the rationale and if BASK pull the trigger I'll hope it isn't Logan Thomas part deux.

Oh, that’s me too! I just don’t think Prescott would be a wasted pick. :) I can easily see the same flaws with Prescott that anyone else can, but I simply think he has the basics to become very good. By that I mean his football-IQ, his pocket presence, his footwork, and not the least his scrambling ability which I think is very important to a quarterback in the NFL nowadays.
 

Garthshort

ASFN Addict
Joined
Aug 11, 2002
Posts
8,939
Reaction score
4,772
Location
Scarsdale, NY
Gandhi, seems that you covered all the bases/needs. I know your first pick is described as boom or bust. A lot of teams must be scared off by his off field concerns, for him to fall to #29. But I'll be happy if he does.
 

cardpa

Have a Nice Day!
Joined
Mar 14, 2003
Posts
7,294
Reaction score
3,931
Location
Monroe NC
Well, I think Hackenberg is a very interesting prospect, and I do like him. It's just that I like Prescott better.

The thing that instantly pops into my head about Hackenberg - and which I think says a great deal about him though he obviously might have changed since - is that he kept his promise to the Penn State University. Remember, he verbally committed to them before the entire Jerry Sandusky-scandale but after it took place he could have simply walked away. He didn't, and to me, that shows great loyalty and integrity. I mean, that is not like many other situations where an athlete stands up to his own word since often those kind of commitments are about making the player look good, and often you can’t trust it anyway. Hackenberg and Penn State, though, was about a young man walking with his head held high into a situation where his new school had just been through a major sexual child abuse-scandal, and nearly the entire world population hated that place. O’Brien and Hackenberg voluntarily choose to be the public faces of one of the highest profile parts of that school. Talk about courage.

On the field, I think he lacks the pocket awareness to be a high draft pick. I believe that really high draft picks should start right away, and I also believe that any quarterback will fail in the NFL without knowing how to use the pocket properly. That wrote, I think he has the football-IQ, arm strength, mechanics, and is good enough in just about any other area that you could at least spend the time and energy to try to correct his flaws, and still feel good about using the resources.

I do not put any stock what so ever into the reports that he didn’t interview well with teams at the Combine. It has been noted that it was mainly because he blamed his coaches at Penn State for his rapid decline in play from his freshman-season to the last two years. First of all, it comes from unnamed sources, and in my opinion that drastically lowers the creditability (did it come from the general manager? From an area scout? From an intern?). Second, this is the time for smokescreens. Third, he would actually be right. Originally, he started at Penn State with Bill O’Brien as his head coach, and thus Hackenberg played in a pro style system in which he excelled, and I will admit that back then I thought he would end of as possibly the number one overall draft-selection. Then O’Brien left for the Houston Texans, and was replaced by James Franklin. Now, Franklin has done wonders to the university, and he is by all accounts a very skilled head coach, but he didn’t do Hackenberg any favors. For example, Franklin uses a lot more spread-concepts than O’Brien.
So yeah, I would be happy if they did choose Hackenberg, but to me, it probably should not be before the third round at the earliest, and not in front of Dak Prescott.



Well, the easy answer is that no-one selected him prior to that. :) No, I think it was because of the things I wrote about the pick. Murray does not stand out in any way. He does not have any one skill that makes you go wow, and furthermore he did have a playing style in college that makes him prone to penalties in the NFL. If he can get that corrected, though, I think he can become a very solid player for years. One of those kinds that is so critical to a team’s success, and that coaches therefore love to have on the roster.

Franklin is a heck of a recruiter but is a lousy coach when it comes to the Xs and Os of the game and is a terrible game manager. He personally lost 2-3 games for PSU with terrible game and clock management. The one game that sticks out most is the Northwestern game. With 2:30 left and all of his timeouts left NW had the ball inside the PSU 40 and were down by 1 point. He let NW run down the clock to 16 seconds and then burned his 3 timeouts in a matter of 9 seconds. NW kicked the winning FG and he left his team with 6 seconds in the game. I watched this game on TV and was yelling at him to use TOs to no avail. Then I kept calling him a F***ing idiot.
 

cardpa

Have a Nice Day!
Joined
Mar 14, 2003
Posts
7,294
Reaction score
3,931
Location
Monroe NC
Well, I think Hackenberg is a very interesting prospect, and I do like him. It's just that I like Prescott better.

The thing that instantly pops into my head about Hackenberg - and which I think says a great deal about him though he obviously might have changed since - is that he kept his promise to the Penn State University. Remember, he verbally committed to them before the entire Jerry Sandusky-scandale but after it took place he could have simply walked away. He didn't, and to me, that shows great loyalty and integrity. I mean, that is not like many other situations where an athlete stands up to his own word since often those kind of commitments are about making the player look good, and often you can’t trust it anyway. Hackenberg and Penn State, though, was about a young man walking with his head held high into a situation where his new school had just been through a major sexual child abuse-scandal, and nearly the entire world population hated that place. O’Brien and Hackenberg voluntarily choose to be the public faces of one of the highest profile parts of that school. Talk about courage.

On the field, I think he lacks the pocket awareness to be a high draft pick. I believe that really high draft picks should start right away, and I also believe that any quarterback will fail in the NFL without knowing how to use the pocket properly. That wrote, I think he has the football-IQ, arm strength, mechanics, and is good enough in just about any other area that you could at least spend the time and energy to try to correct his flaws, and still feel good about using the resources.

I do not put any stock what so ever into the reports that he didn’t interview well with teams at the Combine. It has been noted that it was mainly because he blamed his coaches at Penn State for his rapid decline in play from his freshman-season to the last two years. First of all, it comes from unnamed sources, and in my opinion that drastically lowers the creditability (did it come from the general manager? From an area scout? From an intern?). Second, this is the time for smokescreens. Third, he would actually be right. Originally, he started at Penn State with Bill O’Brien as his head coach, and thus Hackenberg played in a pro style system in which he excelled, and I will admit that back then I thought he would end of as possibly the number one overall draft-selection. Then O’Brien left for the Houston Texans, and was replaced by James Franklin. Now, Franklin has done wonders to the university, and he is by all accounts a very skilled head coach, but he didn’t do Hackenberg any favors. For example, Franklin uses a lot more spread-concepts than O’Brien.

So yeah, I would be happy if they did choose Hackenberg, but to me, it probably should not be before the third round at the earliest, and not in front of Dak Prescott.



Well, the easy answer is that no-one selected him prior to that. :) No, I think it was because of the things I wrote about the pick. Murray does not stand out in any way. He does not have any one skill that makes you go wow, and furthermore he did have a playing style in college that makes him prone to penalties in the NFL. If he can get that corrected, though, I think he can become a very solid player for years. One of those kinds that is so critical to a team’s success, and that coaches therefore love to have on the roster.

Absolutely right Gandhi. Hackenberg is an enigma. He looked great under O'Brian and regressed under Franklin. What makes me wonder is since O'Brian now has the Denver kid (can't remember his name), is it an indictment of Hackenberg that O'Brian does not want him or is it a smoke screen that O'Brian would still like to have him in case the Denver kid doesn't work out. I wonder what Tom Moore can do with Hackenberg if he is available in the 4th or 5th round? Watching PSU games and Hackenberg for 3 years I have seen the 1st round Hackenberg and the 5th round Hackenberg in the same game more than once.
 

Mitch

Crawled Through 5 FB Fields
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Posts
13,405
Reaction score
2,982
Location
Wrentham, MA
I have been participating in a mock draft as the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals. The game finished recently (actually it has not finished yet. I just don’t have a pick in the seventh round) so it should reflect quite precisely on how I rank the prospects, and what I think the Cardinals should do.

I thought I would pass along how it went, and offer you my thoughts on each pick. If you don’t want to read it, or don’t want to spend the time to scroll down far enough, here are the end result:

1st round – defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

3rd round – quarterback Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

4th round – cornerback Eric Murray, Minnesota

5th round – inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia

5th round – cornerback Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central

6th round – center Marcus Henry, Boise State

Here is the entire draft: http://americanfootball.freeforums.org/gm-mock-ii-2016-drafttraden-t594.html

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1st round – defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

I realize it is a controversial selection but please let me try to explain it.

First of all, I simply think that Nkemdiche is a fantastic talent. I think all the negativity about his play at Ole Miss is highly exaggerated, and I believe that anyone who are criticizing his production should look at his tape once again. Nkemdiche was facing double- and triple-teams on nearly every single play and he was still disruptive and effected the offensive game-plan more often than not. On the few occasion where he did not receive extra attention from the offensive line, he dominated to a degree that I have not seen in the NCAA since Ndamukong Suh was a senior at Nebraska. Yeah, he probably took some plays off but certainly not more than basically every stud player does.

Now, obviously he is a very risky selection because of his off the field stuff, and I am very aware that he might never be the difference maker that I envision. Having said that, I’m not so sure that he actually is a bad guy. I mean, he might be the perfect guy to make smokescreens about, since you can say basically anything and it will to at least some degree sounds plausible. A lot of people have major interests in Nkemdiche sliding from the top five, where his talent suggest he should be drafted, down to the later stage of round one. As far as I know, he has never tested positive for any drugs, he has never been charged with DUI, he has never been accused of accepting benefits from supporters of the Ole Miss University. Yes, he is way too often in the media for the wrong reason, but it seems to me that no-one can prove that he has done anything wrong.

By the way, I know about the picture of him using some drug-tool, and I know about him jumping from a hotel balcony, but to me those are just stupid things that kids do. No, he shouldn’t have done those things but it happened and no-one got hurt.

As it relates to the Cardinals, I would not be that worried if they did select Nkemdiche. They obviously have a very strong locker-room with leaders across the board, and not at least in the defensive line-group where guys such as Cory Redding, Corey Peters, Calais Campbell, Red Bryant and Frostee Rucker are most definitely up to the task of learning any rookie how to be a professional. On top of that they have Bruce Arians and Brentson Buckner who certainly won’t let a rookie – much less a first round choice – give anything less than his best. Oh, and Arizona is a long way from Mississippi so Nkemdiche won’t be around the same people that might have been a distraction to him.

On the field I think that Nkemdiche could be a monster on the defensive line. I believe that he could be a defensive end in their base-defense and then move to defensive tackle in the nickel-defense. I could even see him play some nose guard and outside linebacker at times. He is that good.

Like I wrote earlier, I realize that this pick might never pan out, but to me it’s definitely worth taking a shot to maybe get a difference maker that could be the difference of losing the NFC-finale to the Panthers or going all the way and win the Super Bowl. In fact, in the real draft I believe it could easily be necessary to trade up in front of the Seahawks if Keim and Arians want Nkemdiche. My reasoning being that the Seahawks seemingly don’t care at all about their offensive line – the last couple of years they have departed with their stud center Max Unger, their great offensive tackle Russell Okung and their starting offensive guards J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter, and they have replaced them with nobodies, including signing Bradley Sowell this offseason. Furthermore, neither do they seem to care if their first pick-rookies have any kind of character concern – in three of the last four drafts they have used their first selection on players with major problems outside the field, including two (Bruce Irvin and Frank Clark) whose character flaws make Nkemdiche look like a choirboy. Well, and they kind of need him after they lost Brandon Mebane in free agency.

Robert Nkemdiche might be the biggest boom-or-bust player in the entire draft (maybe other than Jaylon Smith), and I think it says a great deal about the state of the Cardinals that I would be ecstatic if they did use their first round-selection to acquire him. To me, it would be the draft-definition of “no risk it, no biscuit”.

3rd round – quarterback Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

Truth be told, it scared me to see Palmer’s meltdown in the championship game. Not so much because of the game itself – those things happen – but because it reminded me all too well of the times with Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley, John Skelton and the rest of all the bad quarterbacks who started for the Cardinals not that long ago. To me, the game served as sort of a wakeup call that we should be thrilled to have Palmer leading the way (regular season Palmer, that is), and how important it is to have his successor ready when he decides to retire. I believe that Matt Barkley could eventually be that guy, but that might be a longshot and I would definitely not put all my eggs in that basket.

I actually think Prescott’s value as a draft prospect is probably in the fourth round. I just really want him on my team, and I think that when you get that feeling toward a quarterback, you should not “play the draftgame” too much and risk losing out on the player. As a matter of fact, I did get an offer to trade back but if I took it I would pick nearly an entire round later, which I didn’t want. I can easily see that Prescott need a lot of work to play in the NFL, but I think it is truly remarkable and shows a lot of promise that he’s level of play now is lightyears ahead of what is was two years ago. He has improved so much that I believe it is worth using the resources on Prescott to see if he can become the franchise quarterback some years from now, and oh yeah, Bruce Arians and Tom Moore are not exactly the worst quarterback-coaches out there.

I ranked Prescott higher recently because of the things I just wrote, but now I have dropped him about two rounds because of the DUI. Drunk driving in itself is idiotic but when a draft prospect, let alone a quarterback, does it very close to the draft, well, I don’t have words for how stupid that is. I guess, though, that this time you can relate it to him being young and naïve, and that he is under heavy pressure. He better not do something like that as a professional.

4th round – cornerback Eric Murray, Minnesota

With the pick I was actually focused on drafting center Evan Boehm out of Missouri. He was on the board very close to my selection, and I just really like him. He might not be the greatest athlete in the world but he is as tough as they come, and I think he started at their offensive line as a freshman. On top of that, I believe he has been a team captain for years, and that he was one of the leaders and spokespersons in the media-turmoil first with the brave announcement from Michael Sam, and then last year during the huge racism-scandal. Anyway, unfortunately Boehm was picked just one spot ahead of me.

The primary reason that I wanted to pick a center with this selection was that I had four or five defensive backs rated about equally, so I thought that at least one of them would be available with my next pick. That plan was quickly changed, though. When Boehm was picked I try to move back a few spots but I guess that primarily due to the format of the game (people were simply not home by their computers) it was not possible.

I think that Eric Murray is the Cardinals-type of a defensive back. He is a very psychical cornerback who excels in press man coverage. He might not be the fastest, strongest, quickest or the one that jump highest but he does all of those things rather well, and though he’s not a ballhawk and probably won’t ever be a huge playmaker, he’s simply reliable and solid. While his physicality is his biggest strength, it might also become his biggest weakness since he could get a lot of penalties if he doesn’t learn to use his playing style correctly.

I believe that Murray would be in the rotation from day one, and that he could possibly turn into a really good #2 cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson, but if not, several scouts apparently believe he can be a safety in the NFL.

5th round – inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia

Well, let my just start by writing that I am not a big fan of Kevin Minter, and even though he will probably play a lot this season, his contract is up afterwards. Personally, I wouldn’t re-sign him.

Kwiatkoski is a former safety turned linebacker, and it really shows in his athleticism as he can drop back in coverage and run sideline-to-sideline with ease. He was a starter for three years at West Virginia, and each season he was moved to a new one of their three linebacker-position - but still he lead the team in tackles every year. He does have some physical limitations (mainly, he might not be powerful enough) that could be too much to overcome, but I do think he has a chance to stick around.

I have already stated that I think Minter could be upgraded, but I also think it could be interesting to move Bucannon back to safety since it is his natural position. Obviously, none of us know if he can do it but there is clearly a place for him with Rashad Johnson and potentially Powers leaving. I know that some inside journalists have made it out to be a fact that Arians wants to keep Bucannon at linebacker, but have you seen the interview where he talks about that very subject? He specifically says that “right now” they will leave Bucannon at linebacker, and that he will “probably” play there this season. Not only is that nowhere near a definitive statement but this is also the season for smokescreens and lies. Remember how Arians said they certainly would not draft a quarterback the day before they selected Logan Thomas?

I like Kwiatkoski but most likely he would need to make the team through playing special teams, and fortunately I believe he has the skillset to be very good at it.

5th round – cornerback Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central

You just know that Keim will love this guy, being from a small school, having bigtime potential, having a chip on his shoulder, and apparently showing a huge desire to be great via his work ethic and overall behavior.

I have never seen him play a game so I honestly have no idea how good he is. From what I have read, though, he is a physical and intelligent player who has dominated opponents at the lower level. On top of that he has actually set a new school record for career solo tackles, which I have never seen a cornerback do before although he actually did play safety for some years at the school. That flexibility should obvious benefit him as well. To me, the most important thing about Smith might be that he is a dangerous kick returner. I think that the Cardinals has to upgrade more or less everything about their special teams, and since David Johnson is needed on the offense, and Brittan Golden is a completely unknown to me in regards to special teams, I wanted to draft a guy who can play the role.

6th round – center, Marcus Henry, Boise State

I would have very much liked to select a center way before this spot, and I did target one in both the third and fourth round. In the end, though, it simply did not happen, and I was certainly not going to reach just to select a player at a specific position. I highly believe that will let you to draft Levi Brown, Cody Brown or even Jorrick Colvin (I do believe “needs” should be factored in to who is the “best player available”, but that is an entire different talk), and also, one could just look at how great players is drafted in round five, six and seven every year.

That wrote, I am happy that I got to pick Henry, and if I had known before that it is now a very real possibility that they will bring back Jerraud Powers, I would probably have selected Henry in the fifth round and hoped that Ryan Smith would be available in the sixth. I think that Henry it a good fit in Harold Goodwin’s unit and systems. He can definitely learn a lot technique-wise but he’s likely strong enough as it is, and to me it looks like he simply “gets it”. He understands combo-blocks, he is good at reading blitzes, and he is very aware of things around him. Also, people at Boise State seems to always talk about his football-IQ when describing him.

It might be a stretch to assume that a sixth round-choice can walk directly into the starting line-up, but none the less I would not bet against Henry doing it. I really like him.

So, that’s it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

3. quarterback Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

4. cornerback Eric Murray, Minnesota

5. inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia

5. cornerback Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central

6. center Marcus Henry, Boise State

I am satisfied with this draft. I believe it got the Cardinals a potential superstar at the defensive line, a future franchise quarterback and four players that could end up starting the first game of the season or in the future, or they might be really skilled special teams-players. I had planned to draft a center much earlier than I did but before the game started anyone could have predicted that it would not go down as I had imagined. I guess you could say that – in retrospect - I had my shot at a center in the first round, and when I decided not to draft one with that pick the writing was sort of on the wall that I wouldn’t get one before one of my last picks.

I always intended to spend the most picks on defensive players. I believe that the offense was very good last season, and though they were really bad in the NFC-finale, I think they will bounce back. The defense on the other hand could be upgraded, at least in my opinion. I think the defensive line is talented yet underachieving, while I believe that some people talked up the linebacker-corps way more than they deserved. The defensive back-group were good but still they were not without holes, and now they have lost some guys. Also, for what it’s worth four of the players (Prescott, Murray, Kwiatkoski, Henry) were team captains.

With this draft, and maybe a veteran pickup or two in free agency, I believe both the defense and offense can get past Carolina and Seattle, and possibly stay on that mountaintop for years.

I would be very pleased with this draft. Nkemdi is just the kind of interior penetrator we need. Prescott---if he makes it that far, which I doubt, is, imo, the very best leader and competitor of the 2016 QB class. I also do no think Eric Murray will make to pick #128---thus, to be able to draft Prescott at #92 and still get a 3rd round quality CB in Murray, would be a coup.

I agree with taking an ILB in the 5th round---and there are a handful of players whom I think would be good picks at #167 (Nick Kwiatkoski, Scooby Wright, Antonio Morrison, Blake Martinez, Stephen Daniels, Nick Vigil, Jared Norris, Elandon Roberts). While I doubt SK would take another CB at the #170 spot, having already taken Murray, they are high on Ryan Smith and if he is still and the board, he could well be the BPA, and thus could be the choice. And C Marcus Henry is a very good sleeper pick at #205.

I applaud your efforts here Gandhi! Thanks for an excellent read.
 
Last edited:

oaken1

Stone Cold
Supporting Member
Banned from P+R
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Posts
15,889
Reaction score
11,918
Location
Modesto, California
I would be very pleased with this draft. Nkemdi is just the kind of interior penetrator we need. Prescott---if he makes it that far, which I doubt, is, imo, the very best leader and competitor of the 2016 QB class. I also do no think Eric Murray will make to pick #128---thus, to be able to draft Prescott at #92 and still get a 3rd round quality CB in Murray, would be a coup.

I agree with taking an ILB in the 5th round---and there are a handful of players whom I think would be good picks at #167 (Nick Kwiatkoski, Scooby Wright, Antonio Morrison, Blake Martinez, Stephen Daniels, Nick Vigil, Jared Norris, Elandon Roberts). While I doubt SK would take another CB at the #170 spot, having already taken Murray, they are high on Ryan Smith and if he is still and the board, he could well be the BPA, and thus could be the choice. And C Marcus Henry is a very good sleeper pick at #205.

I applaud your efforts here Bodha! Thanks for an excellent read.


Post was so damn long he forgot who had written it, lmao.
 

Mitch

Crawled Through 5 FB Fields
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Posts
13,405
Reaction score
2,982
Location
Wrentham, MA
Post was so damn long he forgot who had written it, lmao.

Thanks for helping me correct my post. Gandhi deserves all the praise here. Bodha is an excellent poster and draft-nik as well.
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
532,107
Posts
5,222,962
Members
6,266
Latest member
Psyclone
Top