With the seventh pick in the 2015 Arrowhead Pride mock draft, Chicago Bears GM PNWjim selects...
Back in 2002, my school was having one of those magazine fundraisers, and I somehow was able to convince my mother to get me a subscription to Sports Illustrated. This was a huge feat for me; we didn't have cable or even internet at the time, so my entire sports knowledge came filtered through the lens of local TV (I was once on the Marcus Allen show, be jealous), newspapers, and radio. This was my first glimpse of national media sports coverage (beyond nationally televised games). I was a freshman in high school and a giant sports nerd, and I was really getting into the NFL draft. Sports illustrated had a mock draft - I read all the player profiles, I really wanted Julius Peppers, Quintin Jammer, or Ryan Sims. My ass sat in front of the radio, listening to the draft (like a nerd), and I followed along with my sports illustrated then bam! Ryan Sims - that was one of my guys! A draft junkie was born that day.
Clearly the kid in that story was not very bright - he indeed led a very sheltered life. Thinking of this story reminded me of a couple things. First, that Sports Illustrated subscription was amazing. They send you the swimsuit edition to your house, I had no idea.
Moving on, the point of the story was that Ryan Sims really sucked. He was supposed to fill a need, and instead he busted, hard. It was a bad draft pick. And now, we can get into why my love affair with the mock draft has died down a bit. Not just because I'm burnt out over Geno Smith debates to this day (why the hell did I spend so much time of my life watching college tape of Geno Smith .... sigh) but also because they are all so stupid and wrong (H/T TRS). They just all seem like the exact same circulated narrative garbage. By that I mean, writers take a look at team needs, take a look at the same prospect rankings list that everyone else is using, and then take the highest ranked player from the biggest position of need, and call it a good pick. Naturally, at least one fan from every team then comments; letting the author know how dumb they are, and that there is no way their team would draft that position. Seems logical, but it makes all the damn mock drafts look alike every year, and every year they are all wrong and dumb.
To all the Geno fans, I am sorry. I actually genuinely feel he would have been a better draft pick for our team than Erik Fisher at this point. I would be super excited to see what he could do after 2 years behind Alex with Andy coaching him up. At the very least we could have probably flipped him for a draft pick. On the other hand, feel free to admit that he is a mentally-weak turnover-machine whenever you get a chance.
See, I'd like to think Best Player Available is more than just a line. I sincerely hope every NFL GM is in the draft room trying to pick the best prospect they possibly can. Sure position factors into it, for me mostly in the fact that some positions have more of an impact on the game, so prospects at that position come at a premium. I have decided that for this pick I will take on the role of the Bears GM and pick for myself, rather than trying to predict what I think the Bears will do. Because screw the Bears, nobody cares about the Bears. So I'll break it down by how I value each position with a top 10 list - because top 10 lists sell.
3. Edge Rusher (43DE/OLB)
4(tied). Interior DL (34DE/NT/DT
Some things to notice - I lost motivation to rank the positions in the middle there and just made them all tie. I also have OL pretty low, and all grouped together. It's just so hard for one OL to make an impact on a game. I mean, look at Rodney Hudson - he was great, but surrounded by hot garbage; the final product - crap. You need a cohesive group of solid guys, which is why I still feel teams should not be shy about going OL early and often. Also, I don't value kickers and punters (would you rather have an elite punter or elite place kicker - give me the punter). I mostly did that to separate them from the rest - never take a kicker in the first round, all other positions are free game.
Best case scenario is you land a game changer, superstar player. Now, I am willing to argue only a handful of position players have ever possessed the ability to impact a game the way a QB can. Deion Sanders and JJ Watt come to mind, but not much else. So obviously, every draft pick should start with the question, is there a QB worth taking? Here positional need factors in a little, there is little chance Johnny Manziel would have an impact sitting behind Andrew Luck (just an example, I know the Colts never passed on JFF), but if you're the Browns, well.
Here is the point where I was hoping that Marcus Mariota would be off the board, so I could explain why I wouldn't take any of the others here. I don't want to be misunderstood as simply saying "take the best QB available no matter what!" I am not in that camp at all. Alas, there the Heisman Trophy winner is, staring me in the face, daring me not to pick him. Do I think he is a perfect prospect? Not really. Do I think he could potentially be a great NFL QB?
So here I am, sprinting to the podium to pick someone to sit behind Jay Cutler for at least a year.
The Bears select, Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
This actually works out well need wise to, because now we (the Bears) can really hold Jay's feet to the fire. No more benching him in lieu of Jimmy Clausen, because nobody wins in that scenario, except the other team. Also, with Jay's dead money starting to dwindle, he is almost cut-able after this year, and definitely after the following year. Additionally, so long as he isn't terrible, he will have trade value. With base salaries of $12.5M and $13.5M (in 2017, 2018) and no dead money, he could be an attractive piece to a team trying to make a quick turnaround (I'm making an assumption that the Bears have to pick up the remaining roster bonus in a trade, please correct me if I am wrong). I mean, if I was taking over a 2-14 team with like 100 Pro Bowlers, I would give up two second round picks for him.
The Bears now have a QB to push out the potentially mentally shot incumbent. One who can make plays with his feet, take care of the ball, and make all the throws. The can give him a year or two to learn to run an NFL offense. Step three - Profit.
Mock draft order
7. Bears - QB Marcus Mariota