( . ) ( . ) and (_!_) said:
I used to really enjoy reading mock drafts. It's a good way to get to know players coming in the league and then when you are watching some pointless Thursday night game between Jacksonville and Cincinnati you can key in the guy you desperately wanted the Pats to draft and either feel validated or let down. But recently I have found myself less and less interested in the mock draft world. It's understandably hard to be an expert on 32 different teams, so mock drafters really take it as a talent hording exercise and not a team building exercise. Thus we get the annual, "Belichick has to get Brady some more weapons" comment in every mock draft. This isn't the Al Davis Raiders, you don't build a sustained winner by just collecting the seemingly most talented and talked about players.
I still do love the mock drafts, but they always had one big Achilles' heel -- the inability for any analyst to predict trades that instant render any entire draft meaningless. And this year in particular, where it currently seems most likely some team will trade into the 2-3-4-5 positions for the opportunity to select Mariota, knowing who's picking where and who'll be on the board is pretty much impossible.
Of course trying to game out who might be available come pick #1-32 is a lot less complicated. Off the mock drafts and Fanspeak runs I've seen to date, smells to me like best potential players available at 1-32 may include...
OL: Cann, Peat, Erving, Clemmings
DT: Phillips, Davis, Bennett, Anderson. Maybe Goldman but I doubt it.
RB: Possibly any of them. Gordon or Gurley.
DB: Possibly anyone except Waynes and Landon Collins. So Peters, Williams, Johnson, Darby, maybe Jalen Collins,
WR: Agholor, Lockett, Conceivably Strong, but probably not
OLB: Mauldin, maybe Harold? Some early mocks showed Dupree as a second-rounder, but I'd guess he's closer to top 10 of the first than top 10 of the second.
Of course I'm missing plenty...