I love the NFL draft. It’s a year-round discussion that is fluid for 11 months. Players rise. Players fall. Players drop completely off the board due to injuries or arrests. Team needs change. Here’s how much I love the draft – last May, a couple days after the 2012 draft, I had Tyler Bray of Tennessee as the No. 1 pick in 2013. Eleven months before the draft!
The Vols returned virtually their entire offense, including Bray’s top two receivers. He’s 6-foot-5 and has a cannon similar to Jay Cutler’s. Reporters warned me about Bray’s off-the-field issues, but I thought he’d put them behind him (maturation!), and after two impressive seasons, would make the “leap” as a junior.
[Previously: 2013 NFL Mock Draft.]
Of course, Bray got embroiled in (another) legal matter before the season even started, then arguably his best receiver (Da’Rick Rodgers) was kicked off the team in August, and despite impressive numbers (3,612 yards, 34 TDs), if you watched his game, he didn’t really improve. Sure, Bray could still wow at the combine this month, and then interview well (ha), but chances are, he’s not 1st or 2nd round material. A Ryan Mallet-like fall seems likely.
Anyway, this brings me to Russ Lande, a guy who does mock drafts for Sporting News. He’s been doing this for (at least) a few years, and as is the case with everyone who does mocks, Lande has his history of whoppers. Like having Dwight Jones going 8th to Miami in 2012; the receiver went undrafted. Or saying Russell Wilson would “likely” go undrafted because he was “at best” a backup QB in the NFL. Or saying Jonathan Crompton was “worthy of a 1st round pick.” Crompton was taken in the 5th round in 2010, hasn’t thrown an NFL pass, and wasn’t on a team’s roster last season.
This is not to slam Lande at all – if you do enough mock drafts, of course you’re going to misfire badly. Which brings us to Lande’s latest – his “Top 200 players.” At the top of the list? Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib. Did Nassib tear up the Big East in 2012? Sort of. He struggled on the road against Cincinnati and Rutgers. He’s technically sound, looks the part of a drop-back passer (a 6-foot-3 version of Flacco?), and he turns 23 in March. Pocket awareness? Ability to read a defense? Feel free to surf around YouTube and decide for yourself. You can start here with his game against USC:
I’ll reserve full opinion until after the combine, if I had a list of the Top 200 players, I don’t think Nassib would crack the Top 50.
In case you don’t feel like clicking Lande’s Top 200 link above, he has Jarvis Jones, the Von Miller-lite linebacker from Georgia, 45th. A few spots later – Texas A&M stud Damontre Moore at 51. LSU star pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo? Sixty-fifth.
[Previously: 2013 NFL Draft Order, Just the Non-Playoff Teams]
If you’ve seen my mock drafts and my breakdowns on this site, you know I very strongly disagree with those projections.