Early in Senior Bowl week, I developed a pretty strong man-crush on a certain road-grading offensive guard from Idaho. But I was hardly the only one. Since then Mike Iupati has been generating tons of pre-draft hype, and is expected to rise well above the #33 overall pick, where I was hoping he would fall to the Rams and give us a "Monster Draft" of beastly linemen. Now, Iupati is being compared to last year's combine star Branden Albert, and the conventional wisdom is that there's no way he falls below Pittsburgh at the #18 spot. But the latest results from our FanBall mock draft blow that out of the water.
9th: Bills Herd selects OT - Bruce Campbell (Maryland) And then comes the knife to the heart, from FanBall's preeminent offensive line guru, Bryan Douglass of the Broncos Stable:
10th: With the Bears' original pick, Broncos Stable selects OG - Mike Iupati (Idaho) And this nugget of analysis makes clear why he's willing to buck conventional wisdom and take the guard so high:
Add the complete and total lack of depth at this position in the draft – scouts believe we will only see three or four guards selected from this crop of rookies, none approaching the value presented by Iupati – and it seems wise to make the leap in this direction.
My short take is, even if the Broncos don't make this move, it's highly likely that someone following this logic will -- the Steelers at #18, or Patriots at #22 -- before the Rams get to pick #33. My only hope now is that Iupati does something at the upcoming combine to scare some of these teams away. Run a slow 40, perhaps, or mention in passing a direct bloodline relation to Brian Bosworth. As Peter King writes, lots of screwy decisions are made during combine week based on things that have little to do with actual football ability.
Rounding out the rest of the picks so far...
13th: Niners Nuggets selects RB - CJ Spiller (Clemson) ... analysis to come
14th: With the Broncos' original pick, Flock of Seahawks selects OT - Anthony Davis (Rutgers)
One thing to note -- a certain highly-touted quarterback from Oklahoma falls way out of the top 10 in this scenario. And among the teams yet to draft in the 1st round, only the Minnesota Vikings at #30 have an acknowledged need at quarterback. Where will he land?