Our First Complete Mock Draft

The NFL released the official list of compensatory picks Monday at the owner’s meetings, which means we have the complete and finalized order of picks for the 2014 NFL Draft (barring any further trades). We haven’t published anything in a little while, and while I don’t have a full and complete update of our big board to share with you, we’ve been working with enough new information that I feel comfortable at least attempting to complete a draft of 256 players. Will it work? Will I run out of information before getting to the end? Who knows?

I’m not putting trades in this mock; it’s complicated enough as it is. And it’s not a straight value draft; I’m going to try to place some team fittings or the ways I think they will draft, although I won’t reach for a specific position (maybe quarterback).

And now, for the draft-related content you’ve all been clamoring for, like the salivating dogs you are!

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Offseason GM: NFC West

Time to wrap up this mini-series. The initial thrill of free agency seems to have died down, with close to half the market being signed at this point, at least when considering the major free agents. Once the majority of the starting level players have been signed, I’ll do a piece on this years free agency, evaluating decisions league-wide.

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Offseason GM: AFC South

The initial rush of free agency is always exciting. We already have some surprise moves, such as the Bucs cutting Revis who instantly signed with the Patriots. It’s essentially a 1 year deal, and he will be back on the market next year, assuming the Pats don’t want to pay him $20M in 2015. Theres been a flurry of other moves, and many low key ones made by the Jaguars. Needle is a lifelong Jags fan, and seems to follow a path of optimism until being utterly flabbergasted by the moves his team makes. As a Jets fan myself, I feel his pain, and I’ll start with the Jags to show him that it’s not so bad.

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First thoughts on free agency

Jairus Byrd good! Chris Williams bad! Okay, now that we’ve gotten those two out of the way, let’s move on to the ugly. Just a quick thought about one team’s inexplicable move that I feel reveals a limit on their ceiling…

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Offseason GM: AFC North

Free agency is officially upon us! Rumors swirling non-stop! Not too much in the form of official signings just yet, as most action has been in the form of re-signings. That said, you can expect a flurry of transactions in the next few days, one of the most notable being the trading of Darrelle Revis. The Bucs are rumored to be set on cutting him if no trade is realized, as they would get back their very high 3rd rounder in exchange for their 4th. In such a deep draft, that’s a pretty big difference. Moving on to the AFC North now, we will start with a team that is rumored to be interested in Revis, the Browns.

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Updated Big Board, 3/11

With the new league year starting today, and NFL free agency underway at 4 PM Eastern, we decided… to publish an updated draft board instead.

We’ll run some reviews of free-agent transactions once they happen, as well as a mock draft once the first frenzy of free agency dies down. Until then, here’s our revised list, 179 players in all at present:

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Small school, Big Talent

There’s a lot of talent in small schools. I have seen a lot of good players there. The issue with them is the very small sample sizes publicly available, often one or two games only. Draft breakdown does a great job putting videos up and I think within a few weeks there’ll be many more available. In the meantime, there’s a bit of guess work involved.

Some of the best small-school players I’ve seen in this draft:

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Offseason GM: NFC North

This is one of my favorite divisions in the NFL, as very few others can boast so many storied rivalries. Three very good QB’s and a fourth team that stays competitive with the best RB in the league. The top three teams are very close together in talent level and make for exciting divisional match ups year in year out. Even if there are no juggernauts here, everyone of these teams can be exciting to watch.

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Vixticator’s Top 50 Big Board

Here’s my top 50 big board – I can do more but you see that requires double the writing – as of the moment. Not to be confused with the order I would draft these players; it isn’t strictly best player, either, but it’s fairly close to that. As in, most likely to be a star player.
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The first Zone Reads Big Board of the 2014 NFL Draft

OK. The combine’s over. New tapes are being released on prospects every day (and kudos to Draft Breakdown for their tremendous work on this). We’ve seen enough information on enough prospects that I feel comfortable releasing our first Official Big Board today.

Now, we still don’t have everyone covered. Far from it– we have 384 prospects in our database, and this board only includes 111. More to the point, it covers the 111 we feel most confident about evaluating as possible picks in the first four rounds. I compiled the list based off the evaluations of everyone on the Zone Reads team, both in film and measurables, and then added my own adjustments and observations.

We left off prospects we weren’t sure about, and we left off a few prospects who grade out to be picked very late or undrafted, simply for continuity’s sake with the board. Without further ado, take a look at our evaluations:

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Offseason GM: AFC West

What was once a boring division showcasing the talents of Tim Tebow, is now a cluster of very interesting teams. Everyone knew the Broncos would be an AFC powerhouse, but the Chiefs put together a very strong season in Andy Reids first year. Another first year head coach, Mike McCoy, made an impressive showing with a somewhat weak roster. The Raiders…well they provide color as always. Continue reading

Offseason GM: AFC East

Need to pick up the pace here as teams are already starting to make some moves; the Eagles have already resigned both of Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, franchise tags have been used on Greg Hardy and Jimmy Graham, and Jordan Gross has retired. In other news, the official cap ceiling has been released, and it’s all the way at $133M, much higher than the initially projected $120M.

Next up in the Offseason GM series will be the AFC East. The AFC may be a bit weaker than the NFC, but this division is likely to improve quite a bit the next few years. The entire division is in a very sound financial position, and stands to be pretty competitive in 2014.

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