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2009 NFL Draft First Round Mock Draft

Ask anybody who has the distinct pleasure of knowing me personally – my obsession with following the draft doesn’t end with baseball. So it only makes sense that I use this outlet to let some of my NFL Draft thoughts spill out of my brain. After the jump, check out a totally amateur hack job of what Saturday’s first round could maybe, possibly, kind of, sort of look like. The goal this year is to get at least 5 picks right, and, yes, I’m including getting the Stafford to Detroit pick in that five. Before my seemingly random NFL mock, a seemingly random quote about mocks in general. You see, recently I’ve been debating on ramping up the mock draft coverage done on this site – I enjoy doing them, people seem to be interested in them, and they can pack a good bit of information when done right. All of those are good things, but there are still drawbacks to mock drafts that I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on. Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders recently put into words something I’ve felt since starting this site up, but haven’t been able to accurately express…so I’ll steal his rant about the very nature of mock drafts:

This is insane! It’s all just idle speculation. I mean, we all know the top 20 to 30 prospects. Some teams have really obvious needs. But really, aren’t we just shuffling a deck over and over again here? Is there any accountability? Is a mock draft any more interesting or useful than, say, a player profile? Or a study to determine whether 40-times are really valuable for running backs?

Oh wait: Mock Drafts generate eyeballs. Casual fans click the link, read about their favorite team for 30 seconds, then move on. It’s a proven, easy-to-generate commodity in the marketplace. Heck, this isn’t even that much work, even if I am chained to the keyboard and producing them round-the-clock. And in two weeks, it will be over, and I will be writing about actual picks by actual teams that will affect the future of the entire league. Hooray! I have found my motivation.

I’ve gotten big traffic (well, not BIG big…big for me…I mean big is a relative term, right?) the past week and I owe it all to that updated mock draft from last Friday. The WordPress software allows me to see which pages are getting clicked on and, let me tell you, the gap in page views between mocks and non-mocks is laughable. I know page views isn’t a perfect way to evaluate who reads what, but the numbers are startling. For example, my first post, a quick summary of what this site is all about, has been viewed about 40 times; the second post, Mock Draft 1.0, has been viewed almost 4,000 times. Crazy, right?

I’m not complaining at all. I love doing mocks because a) they are fun, b) they are good conversation starters (I’ve learned a ton about the Astros since starting this site up), and c) they attract casual viewers who might not normally care about the Rule 4 First-Year Player Draft. I like providing the opportunity for someone out there who might only kind of sort of care about this stuff to suddenly become somebody who actually enjoys following amateur baseball and the baseball draft process. I actually want to start doing weekly updates as we get closer to the draft for those three reasons and I’m excited for the possibilities that some of the upcoming content will hopefully bring forth. Alright, enough of the meta stuff…2009 NFL Draft First Round Mock after the jump…

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First Five Picks Explained

Nothing else prepared for a Monday morning, so why not a teeny bit of explanation on the first five picks guessed at on the latest top ten mock?

1.1 Nationals/Strasburg

A gimme, right? The seven syllable line about the money (“Twenty mil sounds about right”) is about where I stand as far as where any potential Strasburg/Boras bonus demands will lead. He’ll smash the old draft signing bonus record, sure, but it will far way short of any of the big numbers being floated between now and the draft itself. In other words, twenty mil sounds about right…

1.2 Seattle/Ackley

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating – something good is brewing in Seattle and it begins with the huge emphasis the new regime has put on stockpiling quality defensive players. To project Ackley to Seattle is to give up the dream that he’ll ever be the centerfielder; having seen him play on multiple occasions, I’m pretty confident in claiming that, at best, he’d be nothing more than a league average defender if forced to play CF. If Seattle loves the bat as much as I do, they’d be wise to call him a LF/1B from the start and just let the man hit.

1.3 San Diego/Crow

No real indication about which way the Padres are leaning, but the front office did publicly comment on the dearth of pitching in the system as recently as a few months ago. I know that’s the not the best reason in the world to have them pass on Grant Green, a player who would fill a gigantic organizational need, but it’s all I’ve got right now. In my head, this pick came down to Crow or Tyler Matzek.

1.4 Pittsburgh/Green

Seriously, Green could be joining fellow up the middle talents like BJ Upton and Matt Wieters if anybody running this club had any common sense. Fans at PNC Park could be getting excited about adding another potential impact bat to a lineup that, in our bizarro world, would soon feature Upton/Wieters/Pedro Alvarez. I had an alternate haiku that managed to feature both Operation Shutdown (which is mentioned in Derek Bell’s wiki page, but really deserves a special entry) and Daniel Moskos, but decided to spare any Pirates fan and left it on the cutting room floor.

1.5 Baltimore/White

Who knows if Baltimore really believes that the best way to beat the big spenders and savvy front offices of the AL East is by getting as much young pitching as possible, but with Green off the board it is hard to see the O’s taking anybody but a pitcher this early. Matzek, Kyle Gibson, and Shelby Miller all make sense, but White’s blend of big game college experience and untapped potential will be enough for them to overlook his sometimes questionable mechanics.

Quick Friday Top Ten Mock

Bad Haikus...

1.1 Washington Nationals – Stephen Strasburg

High card in the deck
Twenty mil sounds about right
More hype than Barack

1.2 Seattle Mariners – Dustin Ackley

Z’s first draft as boss
Will defense dictate the pick?
No, instead Gwynn twin

1.3 San Diego Padres – Aaron Crow

Pads secret code
Yes, “the Crow flies at midnight”
Sorry, that was lame

1.4 Pittsburgh Pirates – Grant Green

Recent failures sting
Imagine this young core group
Green, Wieters, Upton…

1.5 Baltimore Orioles – Alex White

O’s new strategy
Slay East goliaths on mound
White needs his slingshot

1.6 San Francisco Giants – Donovan Tate

First prep player popped
Same tools as Carlos Beltran
Football? Zero chance

1.7 Atlanta Braves – Tyler Matzek

Home state player gone
Choice of prep port or starboard
Can’t beat the upside

1.8 Cincinnati Reds – Kyle Gibson

A perfect marriage
Groundballs and overworked arm
Fits ballpark, Dusty

1.9 Detroit Tigers – Shelby Miller

Grab righty and pray
System as down as GM
Cars and Dombrowski

1.10 Washington Nationals – James Paxton

Signability
Target rising college guy
Hey, I’d sign for slot!

2009 MLB Mock Draft 1.0

First, an apology. The Angels have picks 25 and 26 from the Mets and Yankees respectively, the Mariners have pick 28 from the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, and the Rockies have the Angels pick at 33, the last pick of the first round. This mock took a bit longer than anticipated to complete, so it still reads as if the original draft order stands. Subsequent versions will have the updated order and picks. Please accept my apology in the form of a 6,511 word mock draft written for an event four and a half months away. Full first round mock draft after the jump…

AP Photo

Photo Credit: AP Photo

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