2016 NFL 2-Round Mock Draft

On the eve of the eve of the draft, we release our consensus 2016 NFL Mock Draft. This did not come without turmoil or incendiary picks. The rules are simple. We each alternate making picks, selecting based upon what we would do as general manager in that situation. Thanks to Deflategate, we each have an equal number of selections this year. Miggy kicks it off with the first overall pick. Jack landed the Packers this year, in both the first and second rounds. I was originally indifferent to when I picked in the order but quickly regretted this after being saddled with the Bears, Vikings, AND Seahawks. No matter, I claimed Waukesha’s finest at 59 overall. Let’s get to it.

Round 1

 

  1. Los Angeles Rams (f/TEN) (Miggy) – Jared Goff, QB, California   

 

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (f/CLE) (Swit) – Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

 

  1. San Diego Chargers (Jack) – Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State

 

  1. Dallas Cowboys (Miggy) – Joey Bosa, DL, Ohio State

 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Swit) – Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

 

  1. Baltimore Ravens (Jack) – Laremy Tunsil, T, Ole Miss

 

  1. San Francisco 49ers (Miggy) – DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon

 

  1. Cleveland Browns (f/PHI via MIA) (Swit) – Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

 

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Jack) – Leonard Floyd, OLB/DE, Georgia

 

  1. New York Giants (Miggy) – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

 

  1. Chicago Bears (Swit) – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

 

  1. New Orleans Saints (Jack) – Jack Conklin, OL, Michigan State

 

  1. Miami Dolphins (f/PHI) (Miggy) – William Jackson III, CB, Houston

 

  1. Oakland Raiders (Swit) – Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

 

  1. Tennessee Titans (f/LA) (Jack) – Kendall Fuller, DB, Virginia Tech

 

  1. Detroit Lions (Miggy) – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

 

  1. Atlanta Falcons (Swit) – A’Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

 

  1. Indianapolis Colts (Jack) – Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern Kentucky

 

  1. Buffalo Bills (Miggy) – Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville

 

  1. New York Jets (Swit) – Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

 

  1. Washington Redskins (Jack) – Andrew Billings, DL, Baylor

 

  1. Houston Texans (Miggy) – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

 

  1. Minnesota Vikings (Swit) – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (Jack) – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Miggy) – Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

 

  1. Seattle Seahawks (Swit) – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

 

  1. Green Bay Packers (Jack) – Vernon Butler, DL, Louisiana Tech

 

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (Miggy)  Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama

 

  1. Arizona Cardinals (Swit) – Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise State

 

  1. Carolina Panthers (Jack) – Kevin Dodd, OLB/DE, Clemson

 

  1. Denver Broncos (Miggy) – Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State

 

Round 2

  1. Cleveland Browns (Swit) – Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State

 

  1. Tennessee Titans (Jack) – Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

 

  1. Dallas Cowboys (Miggy) – Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
  2. San Diego Chargers (Swit) –  Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Mississippi

 

  1. Baltimore Ravens (Jack) – Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

 

  1. San Francisco 49ers (Miggy) – Jason Spriggs, OL, Indiana

 

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (Swit) – Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama

 

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Jack) – Keanu Neal, S, Florida

 

  1. New York Giants (Miggy) – Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma

 

  1. Chicago Bears (Swit) – Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State

 

  1. Miami Dolphins (Jack) – Emmanuel Ogbah, DE/OLB, Oklahoma State

 

  1. Tennessee Titans (Miggy) – Germain Ifedi, OL, Texas A&M

 

  1. Oakland Raiders (Swit) – Darian Thompson, S, Boise State

 

  1. Tennessee Titans (Jack) – Jon Bullard, DL, Florida

 

  1. Detroit Lions (Miggy) – Artie Burns, CB, Miami (FL)

 

  1. New Orleans Saints (Swit) – Kenny Clark, DL, UCLA

 

  1. Indianapolis Colts (Jack) – Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor

 

  1. Buffalo Bills (Miggy) – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

 

  1. Atlanta Falcons (Swit) – Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

 

  1. New York Jets (Jack) – Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi State

 

  1. Houston Texans (Miggy) – Bronson  Kaufusi, DL/OLB, BYU

 

  1. Washington Redskins (Swit) – Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

 

  1. Minnesota Vikings (Jack) – Justin Simmons, S, Boston College

 

  1. Cincinnati Bengals (Miggy) – Adolphus Washington, DL, Ohio State

 

  1. Seattle Seahawks (Swit) – Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State

 

  1. Green Bay Packers (Jack) – Yannick Ngakoue, DE/OLB, Maryland

 

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Miggy) – Su’a Cravens, LB/S, USC

 

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (Swit) – Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin

 

  1. New England Patriots (Jack) – Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota

 

  1. New England Patriots (Miggy) – Shilique Calhoun, DE/OLB, Michigan State

 

  1. Carolina Panthers (Swit) – Taveze Calhoun, CB, Mississippi State

 

  1. Denver Broncos (Jack) – Le’Raven Clark, OL, Texas Tech
Advertisements

And We said: ‘Look at that f*cker Dance.’

“Sports is a metaphor for life. Everything is black and white on the surface. You win, you lose, you laugh, you cry, you cheer, you boo, and most of all, you care. Lurking underneath the surface, that’s where all the good stuff is – the memories, the connections, the love, the fans, the layers that make sports what they are.” – Billiam Simmons

This doesn’t seem so much like an epigraph as it does a kind of perfect encapsulation. But there’s more. In high school, I discovered a quote once delivered by Howard Cosell, a man who devoted his life to the elucidation of all of the idiosyncrasies of the sports world. “Sports is human life in microcosm.” A statement so grandiose it frankly seemed like intellectualized bullshit. Maybe it was because sports and human life seemed so difficult to capture. Or their essence at least. Sure it sounded remarkably profound, but what it did it actually mean? Was there actually any truth to it? Let’s just say, I called game.

Life seems to present itself as a ceaseless progression of events, of hours and days, of experiences. They all undoubtedly march toward something. No, the progression isn’t perfect, and nostalgia becomes so omnipresent that it doesn’t seem like progress at all. Memory colors the portrait in the process of painting itself. And yet it seems partly disingenuous to say that life is too complicated to figure out. Because most of the time, all it is are the banal platitudes of everyday existence. But they are only banal in the sense that they are ordinary. Not that they don’t matter. There’s actually a certain matter of factness to them. The characters largely stay the same; the world continues to reveal itself in largely the same way. But there’s still enlightenment to be found. And sports operate in a very similar fashion. One team wins. One team loses.  Games are played. Seasons begin and end. Players and teams write their own mythologies. Figures indelibly etched onto an actualized desire to never forget what to feel. Or how to feel. Sports is human life because it illustrates the narrative. I remember myself not as an eleven year old or as a twenty one year old because honestly the words of the story are just not that interesting. And coming from me, the assertion that the words don’t matter almost seems like some sort of sacrilegious middle finger to the voice that perpetually avows that it is only language that can articulate life. And yet I remember moments not most vividly by people or place, but rather by what game was playing on the television. I’m sitting in a chair in my uncle’s office, while the grown ups did what grown ups do. On a television that seemed anachronistically situated in a suburban living room during the Kennedy administration, Pat Garrity looked at the name on the front of his jersey. It said Magic. Three after three went in but the Buck didn’t stop there. I was seven. I’m sitting at a table with my parents in the musty basement of a restaurant I don’t even remember the name of, staring at a grainy television protruding from the corner of the wall. Swing and a miss after swing and a miss. Ben Sheets struck out eighteen Braves that day. I was ten. Maybe sports is not necessarily a microcosm of life, but instead is an amplification of life. “One shining moment, you knew you were alive.” Sure, this might seem like a Vandrossian ode to the shallow sentimentality of athletics, but in reality this is partly what sports do. They make you are aware that you’re alive. They awaken the inner recesses of marginalized emotion and do all they can to extract them. And I’m not talking about anger or frustration or anxiety or sadness or joy or optimism. Undeniably, these are all already present. No, what I’m talking about is passion, about a genuine investment of the soul in something outside of itself. I’m talking about honest to God caring; about undiluted emotion – as if all of life was hanging in the balance.

“It is foolish and childish on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team. What is left out of this calculation is the business of caring – caring deeply and passionately, really caring – which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naïveté – the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball – seems like a small price for such a gift.” – Roger Angell

It’s the naïveté. It’s the dance. My first one scampering through the house after the Josh McCown to Nate Poole miracle that sent that 2003 Packer team to the playoffs.  Dancing necessitates nuance though. And you never learn all of its subtleties. But you can learn some. Like that 2003 Packer team. “We want the ball, and we’re gonna score.” Soon gave way to “TOUCHDOWN! DAGGER! AL HARRIS!” Which soon gave way to Freddie Mitchell on 4th and goddamn 26. How do you choreograph that shit? How do you best capture the end of a twenty five year playoff drought with Bernie sliding on his ass, CC pounding the glove with complete game after complete game, and Braunie circling the bases for the fourth time that week? Or three years later when the journey was narrated by Tony Plush. Excuse me, Tony Gumble. We all threw up the T and went Beast Mode and tried to stay real real professional. What a brave heart. Or two years later when they were the best. For so long they were the best. Dream. It was okay. Wake me up when September ends. Really, please. I didn’t want to see what happened in September. So the Pack. Go Pack Go, am I right? Freddie Mitchell said stop dancing once. And Brett, oh Brett. If anyone ever embodied the soul of a team and of a fan base more than you, please let me know. Yet, on the precipice of glory, Corey Webster told us all to stop dancing. Three years later, the joy was incomprehensible. And ephemeral. 15-1, there were the Giants again. Kaep running wild, Wilson with a miracle. Then it was our turn for a miracle. Excuse me, two miracles. The prayer can be recited by any overly eager Catholic schoolboy. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” I mean the phenomenology of watching it happen twice was the kind of full blown religious experience that has you falling to your knees , dipping your whole fucking body in holy water and lifting your arms towards the heavens with nothing other than complete and utter shock. I mean if you had told me that Richard Rodgers and Jeff Janis would be transformed into messianic figures I would have asked you to look out the window and point out the pigs flying across the horizon. Everybody worships something. And in reality there is nothing that is too remarkable for faith to conceptualize. That’s why it’s called faith. It’s unwavering. Believing is not always seeing though. Green and gold every Sunday from September through January. Hell, probably just every Sunday in general. It’s more than an affiliation; it’s a full blown familial bond. There were a few other colors allowed. Red and white of course. On a scale from 38-1, Kentucky we’re sorry. Roses wilted year after year though. The magic could only last for so long. What about purple and green? Light it up, light it up. Big Dog, Ray, and Sam. They just didn’t have an answer.  Purple and green. Red and green. Green, cream and blue. A cosmetic image as transitory as the identity of the team it represented. An exercise in speed dating. Porter, Stotts, Krystkowiak, Skiles, Drew. More like a fucking exercise in futility. I mean look at our draft picks for god’s sake. The beacons of light. The saviors. Haislip, Ford, Bogut, Jianlian, Alexander, Jennings, Sanders. But the love is unconditional. The passion never wavers. It’s what makes you stand next to actualized futility for more than a decade and become overwhelmed with an entire emotional spectrum on a Dudley to Bayless buzzer beater. It’s what makes you drop everything and buy tickets to Game 6 of a series that is largely irrelevant and they have no business winning. But they might. You just never know. Until you start feeling like you might know. When a brighter future becomes less of a cliche and more of a wholehearted aphorism. When Giannis does things you have never seen a basketball player, let alone a human being do before. When Khris and Jabari make it seem like as long as you keep believing, the pinnacle can be reached. When they become emblematic of a franchise and a city on the brink of resurrection. When your investment no longer appears irrevocably Sisyphean, but screams instead that fulfillment is possible.

Sports aren’t their most profound when they embody life. No, sports are at their most profound when they transcend life. Transcendence is what keeps me coming back. When it becomes everything that life is not. When it surprises. When it inspires. When it captivates. Why is the triumph of the underdog so revered? Because it is never supposed to happen. In a black and white world, this authentic newness has no place. So every Vinatieri kick, every curse breaking 3-0 ALCS comeback, every “BYE GEORGE”, every Hayward half course off the glass and in…and out, every Tyree on the helmet to Burress in the end zone, every last glimmer that made College Gameday and a Rose Bowl and defied expectations coalesce , everything that makes us reconsider what is actually real. See sports don’t merely illustrate the narrative. Sports oftentimes ARE the narrative. They tell us things that everyday life never could. They show us a place we never thought we could go. A place we never want to leave. It really isn’t so black and white after all.

Villanova’s remarkable title run reiterates that statistics is king

 

Jenkins

Now there’s two.

Lorenzo Charles. Kris Jenkins. Just two of the 78 NCAA Division I National Championship Games have ended in game-winning buzzer beater fashion. Charles’ tip slam as time expired in 1983 capped one of the most improbable championship runs in basketball history. That run, however, was fueled by NC State’s ball-control offense, capitalizing on the lack of a shot clock, and Jim Valvano’s fouling tactics, combining to form a style that would be considered unbearable to watch by today’s standards. Monday night, on the other hand, provided the nation with quite possibly the very best of those 78 title games, a game that simply had everything. Kris Jenkins carving out a place in college basketball lore. A halftime buzzer beater. Turnaround fadeaways along the baseline were consistently buried. Phil Booth went bananas. A 28-26 score over the final 10 minutes of the game. Am I missing something? Oh yeah, Marcus Paige made this:

Paige

All of this exquisite shot-making took place in a stadium notorious for its negative impact on shooting. Simply put, Monday night was an unprecedented rollercoaster of emotions, whether you had a vested interest or not.

After the confetti fluttered and the dust settled, the Villanova Wildcats were hoisting their program’s second National Championship trophy, and the nation had seemed to forgive and forget their recent tournament transgressions. Winning a National Championship, of course, will unfailingly quell the wrath of the naysayers, but let’s take a trip down memory lane. Since reaching the Final Four in 2009, the Wildcats had repeatedly endured postseason struggle. As a 2-seed in 2010, Scottie Reynolds played his final college basketball game in the 2nd round as his team was toppled by 10-seeded St. Mary’s. A 2-seed again in 2014, Villanova was denied the second weekend by Shabazz Napier. A year later, they suffered the same fate, this time more unforgivingly as the top seed in the East Region. Resultantly, Villanova basketball had understandably developed a bad reputation among college basketball fans and became the butt of the joke somewhat. I am certainly not condoning losing in the 2nd round in three consecutive tournaments as a top two seed. Yet we should further delve into the context of the situation, particularly looking at the previous two seasons. Nova ran into a buzzsaw in 2014. They lost to UConn, the eventual national champions, and if you watched that game you’d understand that nothing could have been done about Shabazz Napier continuously sinking 25-footers as the shot clock expired. With just two losses on the season entering the 2015 Tournament, the Wildcats bowed out at the hands of NC State, a very talented team whose combination of size and ability to make difficult shots allowed the Wolfpack to match up with anyone in college basketball. Both of these losses I would consider respectable. However, as Villanova’s 2016 regular season unfolded in a similarly excellent fashion, the Wildcats were disregarded in any title contender conversation.

The pertinence of this Villanova situation to statistics does not involve a complex array of numbers, but rather an unpretentious answer. The phrase “they’re due” isn’t widely used for no reason. It makes sense. People believe in it. It’s the everyday actualization of the statistical principle that governs every aspect of the world, the Law of Large Numbers. The formal definition of the Law of Large Numbers is as follows: “a principle of probability and statistics which states that as a sample size grows, its mean will get closer and closer to the average of the whole population” (Investopedia). Essentially, the Law of Large Numbers states that everything will converge to its average, converge to the way it’s supposed to be. Sports can be the most tangible evidence of this, and Villanova is a case in point. While sports are governed by statistics, they can also defy statistics at the same time, such as an underdog’s star individual (Shabazz Napier), or a favorite’s inexperience or immaturity. Villanova, as a favorite and a program with strong values and upperclassmen-laden teams, did not portray this over the past three seasons, leading me to believe they were a team that was met with tough luck and plagued by single-elimination circumstance. They were simply too consistent and too good of a team to faceplant in the NCAA Tournament three consecutive seasons. They’re due.

The more important statistical development that allowed Villanova’s run to come to fruition, however, occurred within the 2016 season itself. The Wildcats’ first matchup with Oklahoma seemed to re-establish the college basketball universe’s general consensus on Nova. They couldn’t survive 14 Sooner threes, lost 78-55, and were dismissed as “same old Nova.” That said, how much do we read into an early December game played in Hawaii? The imperative stat of Villanova’s dismal night was their 3-point shooting, going 4-32 (12.5%) from beyond the arc. Miserable outside shooting was not an isolated incident for Villanova during the 2015-16 regular season, especially early. They unusually struggled as a collective unit to make outside jumpers and were below the national 3-point percentage average for a good portion of the regular season. The likes of Josh Hart, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Kris Jenkins toiled around 33% from distance during that period. Hart was a 47% three-point shooter in 2014-15, Arcidiacono 37%, with an improved percentage every year of his college career, and Jenkins 39% and one of the prettiest strokes in all of the land. Judging from these individuals and Villanova as a team over the previous two seasons, these were merely too good of shooters to maintain such a percentage through an entire season. In spite of this, though, Villanova continued to quietly win basketball games. Aided largely by their suffocating perimeter defense and an outrageous 2-point shooting percentage (went 28-32 from 2 in January against Creighton), Villanova suffered only two losses before the tide began to turn. With this defense as a constant, what was going to happen when they started to hit shots? Percentages were going to converge to the mean. Shots were going to fall at a high rate. The Law of Large Numbers said so.

No coach in the country spends more practice time on sound shooting mechanics than Jay Wright. In a loss at Virginia just two weeks following the Oklahoma disaster, Villanova scored 75 points on 60 possessions (1.25 PPP), a noteworthy performance masked by the result. In Big East play, the Wildcats showcased they were capable of explosive performances, burying 13 of 25 (52%) from deep on New Year’s Eve against Xavier and 16 of 29 (55.2%) on February 3rd against Creighton, progressing the percentages toward the mean. A general rule of thumbs in statistics is that a sample size of 30 necessary to generalize findings to the population. Therefore, it is no coincidence that this was the approximate number of games played when the true Villanova began to manifest itself. By the time the NCAA Tournament arrived, Villanova was a runaway train, steamrolling four of their six tourney opponents. We may never see a tournament shooting performance as dazzling as Nova’s. In six tournament games, the Wildcats shot 58.2% from the field and 50% from distance, topping out with a purely maddening 71% in the National Semifinal against, fittingly, Oklahoma. When it was all said and done, Villanova, a team whose 3-point percentage sat at about 33% for 15 or so games, finished the 2015-16 campaign at a more predictable 36.2%, good for 105th in Division I. The shooting arrived. The other qualities never left. The perfect storm culminated in reaching the pinnacle of college basketball.

Maybe the extended poor shooting stretch was a blessing in disguise. Villanova was overlooked, forgotten, and never considered. Most would’ve thought that a Villanova pick was extremely outside-the-box, but in reality it required merely simple reasoning and intuition. In a season marked by no defined best team, we should have seen this coming. Who had the fewest road losses in the country? Villanova. Who played 13 of their games as the #1 ranked team in KenPom, by far the most in the nation? Villanova. Who had the nature of statistics on their side? Villanova. Who won the National Championship? You bet.