1. Orlando – Andrew Burton, QB, Alabama
If I was Orlando’s new owner, I’d strongly consider trading down here and stockpiling more picks. This is a deep draft in some areas. Barring that, I’d go with Burton as the pick. Robert Prado and Aaron Smith split QB duties for the Dragons last year, but neither one are the long-term answer and both are in the final year of their contracts. You could build this team around a 20-year-old QB with seemingly unlimited potential.
2. West Texas – James Hudson, DE, Iowa
The Wranglers’ defense was bad last season, there’s no doubt about that. Hudson has big-time talent and would immediately be a force to be reckoned with in the Gulf. Keep in mind this team has to face elite QB’s in Tom Prosser, Ryan Allen and John Wiese twice each a year. They have to be able to put consistent pressure on them.
3. New Jersey (via Zurich) – Cody Timmons, SS, South Carolina
Garrett’s gonna love this guy – 6′ 3″, 237 lbs., 96 SPD. You take a guy like this and just find a place to play him, worry about player skill, positional aptitude, etc. later. That kind of size with that kind of speed is rare.
4. Georgia – Eric Sparks, C, Oklahoma
I’m personally worried a lot less about playing guys out of position on the O-Line than anywhere else. That’s why I think Sparks will make an excellent Tackle, which the Gearheads need. The two guys they have there now have combined to start just 8 games in their careers, and they’re both lacking in the strength department. Georgia will benefit greatly from improving their blocking, particularly if my #2 mock pick comes true.
5. Colorado – Jay Thompson, OG, Texas
I don’t know what a “Yong Turk” is, but I don’t think it should be one of the Mustangs’ starting Guards. Colorado has a lot of talent, and Spakesy is a proven winner, so I don’t expect to see them drafting this high again next year. Rounding out their O-Line with an excellent blocker like Thompson should help them improve from back-to-back 4-win seasons.
6. London – Benjamin Connolly, CB, UConn
To put it mildly, this team needs a *lot* of help. They gave up a ton of sacks last season, but they also currently only have one CB and one WR on their roster. This draft is deep enough at O-Line and receiver to snag a capable one of each in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, so the smart move here would be to take the best CB in the class.
7. Costa Rica – Edward Stapleton, LB, Oregon
The Monkeys have a surprising amount of young talent, but there are a couple different ways they could go here. Their Guards are getting a little old, but as I mentioned before, this draft class is very deep with offensive linemen so that issue could be addressed later. Their future-HOF linebacker Dan Manson is 32, so it’s about time to look for his replacement. Stapleton is 6′ 2″, 251 lbs. with outstanding speed and great tackling ability.
8. Las Vegas – Eric Wilson, SS, Virginia Tech
They moved former 1st-rounder Edward Tanner back to LB, so that makes this an easy choice because they have no SS. Wilson is a prototypical keg of dynamite at 5′ 11″ with surprising strength – literally stronger than some of the O-Linemen in this class. OK, yes, he’s as dumb as a bag of hammers, but you don’t need him covering routes. His job is to hit hard, and he’s more than capable of doing that.
9. Washington – Daniel Farr, C, Charlotte
This is the same situation as Sparks, who I mocked at #4 – Farr has all of the tools to be a great Tackle, and it doesn’t concern me that he’s a “true” Center. The Birds’ three best Tackles are all on the wrong side of 30, so it’d be a good idea to get some youth on the end of the line. Oh, and maybe spend your 2nd-round pick on a running back (Rossi, Evans or Pettigrew). Juan Henry is long gone, and Tony Dwyer averaged 2.9 YPC last year…yeesh.
10. Philadelphia – Erik O’Donnell, DE, Nebraska
Harry Tatum is a great pass rusher, and probably has another year or two left in him to continue being a disruptive force on the D-Line, but they don’t currently have any viable options to line up on the other side. O’Donnell is a bit of a drop-off from James Hudson, who I mocked at #2, but he’s got the speed and strength to be Tatum’s bookend until it’s time for him to take over the #1 spot. I could also see them taking WR Ernest Lowe here, because it would be hard to pass up a player of that caliber. Lowe has Top 10 talent, but I just haven’t seen receiver as a glaring need for any of these teams.