So it's Stafford--sealed, and soon-to-be delivered (no word on actual signing yet). The tears have been shed, the teeth have been gnashed . . . please folks, as a personal plea from me to all you fans out there--cheer for this kid. Support him, root for him, and wish him well. His fate is now synonymous with the Lions's.
Now, for something a little different. Tomorrow, I'm participating in a mock draft contest sponsored by a local radio station. The deal is that I'm to project the first 12 players selected in the draft--teams don't matter, just slots. Now, I have to get the picks right, so I'm not throwing any big curveballs to make a point or look clever. I'm tyring to prognosticate, not proselytize. To the picks:
1 (Lions) Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
2 (Rams) Jason Smith OT Baylor
3 (Chiefs) Tyson Jackson DE LSU
4 (Seahawks) Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
5 (Browns) Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
6 (Bengals) Eugene Monroe OT Virginia
7 (Raiders) Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri
8 (???) Mark Sanchez QB Southern California
9 (Packers) B.J. Raji DT Boston College
10 (49ers) Brian Orakpo DE Texas
11 (Bills) Andre Smith OT Alabama
12 (Broncos) Aaron Maybin LB Penn State
It's long been thought that Curry was going to be the #3, but everything that I've been reading that sounds smart says that Pioli won't invest that much in the linebackers; he put all his money and top picks up front (think Seymour, Warren, Wilfork, etc.). I've frequently heard that Jackson's a top ten, even top five guy that hasn't been getting the mocker love because 3-4 DE isn't a glamour position. Sanchez is a total wild card. I could buy him going at #2 if the tackle need wasn't so great. I could EASILY buy the Chiefs moving out of #3 so someone could come and get Sanchez in front of the 'Hawks, but who would move up that far? Peter King says the 'Hawks Sanchez mojo is a smokescreen, too, and that it's between Crabtree and Curry. I don't buy that the Seahawks let Peterson walk because of his contract--then make Curry one of the highest-paid linebackers in the game. So, I've got them taking Crabtree . . . The Browns flip over Curry at 1.5, and the Bengals are thrilled to see Monroe at 1.6. I have the Raiders taking the best speed WR on the board--which, by the way, is NOT Darius Heyward-Bey. Sanchez won't slide past eight, period. The Packers are thrilled to anchor their 3-4 with Raji at nine, the Niners are pumped to get Orakpo at ten, the Bills replace Peters without having to trade up, and the Broncos take the best available 3-4 defender.