Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington
[Ducks under the desk]
[Emerges from under desk]
Just kidding, guys. I took Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford.
Here's my quick write-up on taking Fleener at pick No. 34:
HEY! It’s a Colts draft party, and only prospects from Stanford are invited! At pick No. 34, the impulse for the Colts is to take a nose tackle, ANY nose tackle, because their new look 3-4 defense simply will not work without one. It is completely pointless to run 3-4 without a quality nose tackle, and while I had my sights on Brandon Thompson of Clemson, at the end of the day it comes down to value. A kid like Thompson is a nice player. He’ll give you 100%. He’ll play tough. He’ll be a good player in the middle of your defense. However, Fleener has the potential to be a dominant offensive player in the NFL. As the Patriots showed last year, utilizing the tight end in the modern NFL (where safeties can no longer use their helmets to spear receivers over the middle) can carve up just about anyone. The 6’6, 245 lbs Fleener ran a 4.45 second 40 at his Pro Day. A windy, outdoor Pro Day! His hands are football magnets. He can jump. He fights for yardage and drags defenders for first downs. Basically, Fleener has a chance to be a Pro Bowler while most NT prospects here are just solid. Thus, the move here is Fleener with, possibly, grabbing someone like Baylor’s Nicolas Jean-Bapiste in Round Three.
Head over to Mocking the draft to read Dan Kadar's critique of my selection.
I think you all could see that this was a pretty obvious pick. Yes, a nose tackle is vital. However, there's a reason the Colts are rebuilding: They lack talent everywhere. If you are going to draft Andrew Luck No. 1 overall, it stands to reason that you should give him someone to throw the ball to. While I love and respect Reggie Wayne, he's old and slow now. Fleener would give the Colts are younger version of Dallas Clark, just as Luck is supposedly a younger version of Peyton Manning.
Understand, there is absolutely no way Fleener is still there at No. 34. The reason he is there has to do with some of my writer colleagues making some WTF! picks. I don't see Fleener getting past Cleveland's second pick in the first round. If he does, the Rams will take him at No. 33. That's just my opinion.
So, there you go. My responsibilities for the 2012 NFL Writers Mock Draft are complete. This was my seventh mock with this crew, and Dan Kadar deserves a ton of praise for making this annual event fun. God knows it used to be a pain in the ass getting everyone on board with it. Now, it hums like a well-oiled machine.
When the second round is complete, I'll post the results, and we can have a little communal discussion over who the Colts third round pick would be with this mock went further.