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Mocking Through it: A Quarantine Journey (With Mock Drafts!)

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Let’s get through quarantine together and sane, so if we have to mock draft a thousand times then we’ll do it.

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NFL: Super Bowl LIV-NFL Experience Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit every family differently. Some, like myself, were fortunate enough to be able to quarantine early and work from home. Others navigated a minefield of potential infection every time they left for work, watching the inevitable slowdown of industry and dreading when, not if, the layoffs would come. Others still continue to navigate that minefield, either working in the healthcare industry to help stem the spread of this terrible disease or in an essential field that is required to keep our society moving forward to prevent the slowed crawl from fully grinding to a full stop.

Whatever the situation, dealing with the isolation of social distancing is hard even for the most introverted of us. There are only so many books you can read, movies you can watch, shows and video games you can binge before the tedium starts setting in. While growing an awesome quarantine ‘stache is bound to have an excellent payoff, it’s hardly exciting from day to day. One of the best ways to beat this boredom for football fans has been using the many Mock Draft simulators to try to guess what their favorite teams will do. It gives us a chance to relax, take our minds off the world in general, and pretend that we’re the general manager tasked with fixing this mess.

To that end, I’ll be using SEVEN of my favorite mock draft sims to try to find the best results for the 2020 Detroit Lions. The rules will be simple. I’ll be attempting to maximize the number of needs that I fill in each draft while following a few basic guidelines.

  1. Trades will be used when available and will be as realistic as possible.
  2. Picks will be made based on the relative value of the simulator that was used. So no James Proche in the third just because I want him, he’s got to both be available and valued similar to each pick I take him in.
  3. I’m basing each pick on what I think the team could do in any given draft scenario. Not what I “Would do” or what I think “Will Happen”. Just for clarity.
  4. No James Proche. Getting my second mention of him in, I’m skipping out on Proche today. It’d get boring if he were in every one, and on that note...
  5. Trying to do something different in each. While third overall doesn’t offer much in terms of versatility, I’m trying to do something different overall in each mock draft.

So after you’ve checked these out, I’m asking you to spend some of your valuable quarantine with me and to try out some fun mock draft simulators to pass the time. You can skip rule four if you like, that one is pretty much exclusive to me.

Anyway, let’s dive right in. I’ll link to all of the Mock Draft Simulators here and provide screen grabs where available so you can see the whole thing.

The Draft Network | Pro Football Network | Pro Football Focus | Mock Draft Database | FanSpeak | Walk the Draft | First-Pick

The Draft Network

In my first mock, I was able to address the Lions needs at corner, edge, receiver, and interior defensive line in the first four lines. That’s two starters out of the gate with the next four picks finding some kind of rotational role in the offense in year one.
Okudah: Best man corner in the draft
Gross-Matos: A big, lengthy, explosive pass rusher.
Claypool: Superb Height/Weight/Speed, high upside WR/TE
Elliott: Analytically one of the best interior pass rushers in the draft
Benjamin: Not fast, but slipperiest RB in the draft
Taylor: Fast and explosive ILB
Driscoll: Incredible athlete, developmental OT/OG
Ksiezarczyk: Also a great athlete, developmental IOL
Luton: Pocket passer, live arm, low mobility

Pro Football Network

Traded down from third overall, gained sixth overall, 37th overall, 186th overall, and future seventh round.

Landed the top corner again, but this time with a trade down. That trade down let me address both ILB and IOL with the second-round picks and IDL with the third. This one lands three starters right out of the gate, possibly a fourth, while adding rotational players at WR, Jack, and guard. Also added needed depth at IOL, QB, and NT, while landing a punter to replace Sam Martin (Lions met with Braden Mann and showed a lot of interest).

Okudah: Repeat
Murray: Big, explosive linebacker for both even and odd front
Ruiz: Best IOL in the draft, played RG and OC at Michigan
Madubuike: Penetrating interior pass rusher
Edwards: Big and explosive outside receiver, successor to Marvin Jones
Greenard: Big and lengthy, not a great athlete, but scheme fit
Jackson: Developmental IOL option (could even challenge start at LG)
Mann: Best or second-best punter in the draft depending on who you ask
Huntley: Great athlete, great arm, very toolsy but needs refinement
Taumoepeau: Excellent H-back option who can line up inline or in the backfield
Roy: One of the best nose tackles in the draft, excellent run defender

Pro Football Focus

Traded third overall and 57th overall, received fifth, 18th, 69th overall, and 148th overall.

PFF’s trade system requires them to be approved, so value can vary. Seems fairly strict and believable but gives no indication if you’re making a good trade or not until after the fact, and you only get a couple tries so have to be smart with it. Landed Chase Young all the way at fifth overall this time somehow and was also able to add both Kristian Fulton and Justin Jefferson by pick 35. This led to the selection of Isaiah Wilson in the third, and screw it, let’s just fix the entire line at once and grab Cushenberry after that. Jalen Hurts fell all the way to the fourth (so did Jordan Love, but I didn’t realize that until after I took Hurts). All in all, this one landed five immediate starters, two running backs who’ll probably play early and often, and rotational guys everywhere.

Young: Best player in the draft
Fulton: Second best man corner in the draft
Jefferson: Best slot receiver in the draft
Wilson: Huge, athletic tackle, would flip in to guard or out if Vaitai doesn’t work
Cushenberry: Second or third-best IOL in the draft, may need time to heal
Hurts: Mobile QB with a decent arm, very system reliant
Gibson: RB/WR to make the offense more versatile
Hightower: Outside speedster, needs some route refinement
Roy: Repeat
Moss: Don’t think you’re getting his dad, but a good H-back option
Dillon: Huge, athletic, productive, and durable
Hand: Developmental, athletic cornerback

NFL Mock Draft Database

Traded third, 109th, 149th overall for seventh, 38th, 67th, 152nd, 167th, 185th Overall

Trades were easy to follow, though the later picks seemed one off for some reason. No worries. Weirder trade this time, but landed the best interior pass rusher in the class, a starter at both corner and IOL, and a few guys who can rotate in. Landing Hennessy likely nets another starter on the IOL, so we might fix the line here, too. Got some decent depth later, I think, but tended towards the uber athletic players here.|

Kinlaw: Elite penetrator inside, but injury concerns
Cushenberry: Repeat
Johnson: Good, but not great size and plus measurables, strong overall defender
Uche: Wild Senior Bowl performance, but usage at Michigan didn’t help him
Claypool: Repeat
Hennessy: Incredible athlete and either the second or third-best IOL in the class
Evans: Superb athletic specimen, home run hitter for a power scheme
Morgan: Big, good arm, not very mobile but fairly accurate
Runyan: Superb athlete and bloodlines, may need to move inside
Gipson: Great athlete, good size and length
Scott: Athletic, developmental corner

Fanspeak

No trades this time. Got a few starters, but options got limited really fast in this one. Tried not to reach for any players, but all of the best picks always seemed to happen right before I picked. Still got three starters at the beginning, with rotational players for the next few rounds. Had to break the normal LB mold for Weaver late, but after he over-performed at the NFL Combine I think the team will like him.

Okudah: Repeat
Blacklock: Internal rusher, questions about athletic ability but strong fundamentals
Cushenberry: Repeat
Fotu: One of the best nose tackles in the draft, huge and lengthy, powerful
Cephus: Speed concerns, but has a lot of fans in the draft community that think he’ll develop quickly
Weaver: Speed concerns on tape, but had a good enough Combine to put that to rest for the most part. Excellent fundamentals player, makes very few mistakes.
Robinson: Underrated power runner who can break away due to solid vision.
Reid: Athletic, developmental corner

Walk the Mock

Again landed some early starters and contributors, but felt my later picks outdid my early ones.
Okudah: Repeat
Gallimore: Quick interior rusher with a strong first step
Jackson: Well thought of interior lineman, not an elite talent but few wrinkles
Johnson: Tall and lengthy, questions about athleticism and route versatility
Moss: Health concerns, but Lions love him and he’s a perfect scheme fit for Bevell
Agim: Extremely athletic DL who can play multiple roles on the DL
McDonald: Mobile and athletic, but inaccurate and erratic, needs development
Highsmith: Promising speed rusher, could contribute early in Jack packages
Roy: Repeat

First-Pick

Traded third for ninth and 20th overall. Then traded 20th overall for 29th, 61st and 93rd overall.

Landed a trade down twice in this one after the picks looked slim at 20th overall. Netted starters at DT, CB, RG, ILB, Jack, and RB, even if I had to reach a bit for Donovan Peoples-Jones (not on this board, but I was keeping to my own rules here) at receiver. All in all, got good value for most of these players including the 2020 Name Bracket contender Thakarius “Bopete” Keyes.

Kinlaw: Repeat
Fulton: Repeat
Ruiz: Repeat
Harrison: Athletic inside/outside linebacker who can play in any front
Anae: Powerful, assignment sound run defender who’s production as a pass rusher are more effort driven. Easy scheme fit for Matt Patricia
Edwards-Helaire: Best pass catching option at RB in this class, but fits this scheme well as a rusher, too
Peoples-Jones: Super athletic, explosive outside receiver who never hit his potential in college
Hurts: Repeat
Pinter: Extremely athletic guard prospect (listed as T here), great developmental potential
Mann: Repeat
Keyes: Great size and developmental traits at corner

Summary

So what did you think? Did I do good? Can you do better? How big is your quarantine ‘stache, and what style? Hit up any of these seven mock sims and let me know your results. Let’s see what you can do, future Detroit Lions General Managers!

Poll

Which Mock was the best?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    1. TDN (Okudah, YGM, Claypool, etc)
    (216 votes)
  • 13%
    2. PFN (Okudah, Murray, Ruiz, etc.)
    (391 votes)
  • 49%
    3. PFF (Young, Fulton, Jefferson, etc.)
    (1394 votes)
  • 1%
    4. MDD (Kinlaw, Cushenberry, Johnson, etc.)
    (34 votes)
  • 2%
    5. FS (Okudah, Blacklock, Cushenberry, etc.)
    (64 votes)
  • 1%
    6. WTM (Okudah, Gallimore, Jackson, etc.)
    (35 votes)
  • 23%
    7. FP (Kinlaw, Fulton, Ruiz, etc.)
    (664 votes)
2798 votes total Vote Now