The (un)Official Midseason PML Mock Draft (Picks 1-10)
In the Premier Madden League, it is never too early to look ahead to the draft. Whether a team is tanking (who would do such a thing), or just flat out struggling, the draft can be a light at the end of the tunnel. Rumor has it that the PML Rams head coach actually needed to see a sports psychologist, and has since declared his intention to “focus on year two”. The Rams have not had a great start this year, and they are playing youth over experience to finish this season.
The draft isn’t just for the bottom-feeders (sorry guys). It also is extremely important for the teams that finish at the bottom of the round. Some teams are out-performing their current talent level on their roster, so it is vital that they hit on their draft picks so that they can keep pace with those around them. The PML Draft is where teams can close the gap between their competitors. It is a time to be hopeful and to look ahead. But are teams getting ahead of themselves when they look too far ahead? There are currently 4 winless teams as of week 8. The race for the number one pick will be tight, but will it be worth it? Let’s stop talking about it and get into the mock draft:
With the 1st overall pick, the Green Bay Packers select:
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
We have seen the Packers head coach publicly voice his displeasure with Aaron Rodgers many times now. Though he is a Hall of Fame talent, this new coaching staff does not seem happy with his skillset or his play up to this point in the season. Lawrence is widely considered the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck came out of Stanford, so this is a great year for the Packers to need a new passer. Aaron Rodgers could mentor him for a season, or Rodgers could even be used as trade bait.
Yes, they drafted Jordan Love in the first round last year, but if you’re picking first overall you need to take the best player in the class. Without a doubt (to most) Lawrence is the best prospect in this class. Jordan Love would be an excellent backup, or the Packers could even explore trading him to another quarterback needy team and get a good return for him.
It is clear that this team has issues that go much further than the man who is throwing the ball. That is not to say the ship cannot get back on track, but things need to get sorted out. Perhaps all the Packers need is a change in leadership at QB to return to their winning ways. Their new coach was brought into PML for a reason, and Lawrence is the perfect quarterback to prove himself with.
With the 2nd overall pick, the Cincinnati Bengals select:
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
Despite their abysmal offensive line unit, the Bengals have actually been able to protect Joe Burrow fairly well, as he has only been sacked eight times by the mid-season mark. This doesn’t mean that they can’t improve their line, though. Sewell is a phenomenal blocker who can excel in both the running and passing game. A team picking this high is bound to have issues, and your offensive line can never be too good. The former Oregon Duck is the kind of player that can protect Burrow’s blindside for a decade.
The Bengals have shown that they want to run the ball and take deep shots. Sewell makes both of these much, much easier to do. He can set the edge on a stretch run, blow up a defender on a dive play, and completely remove a pass rusher from a passing play. It’s not a flashy pick, but it is probably the best one they could make. This team has shown promise and is very capable of scoring points quickly. This selection would help them build consistency and allow them to drive down the field rather than rely on big plays. The head coach in Cincinnati knows he has to do better, and this team has nowhere to go but up.
With the 3rd overall pick, the Kansas City Chiefs select:
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
This pick may be a bit of a reach, but the Chiefs have shown that they want to run their offense through the running back. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a phenomenal NFL player, but lacks the physical attributes to be great in the Premier Madden League. Through seven games, Edwards-Helaire has touched the ball an average of 20.7 times per game, and leads the team in receptions with 40. If the Chiefs can get a top flight running back to complement their passing game, they should (hopefully) get back to their winning ways.
This is a top team that has no excuse picking in the top 5, much less top 3, especially with Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs head coach is not bad, but needs to step up and Travis Etienne would help him do so. Etienne is an electric player with the ball in his hands, capable of making anyone miss. He can hit any hole, even one that isn’t there. His great ability rushing the ball combined with his ability as a solid receiver sets him up for success in an explosive Kansas City offense.
Etienne joins his college quarterback Trevor Lawrence as a top 3 pick and in the AFC.
(Also I just remembered that Etienne was in Kansas City in PML20… maybe it’s a sign?)
With the 4th overall pick, the Denver Broncos select:
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The Broncos should have a top defense as they did last cycle, but don’t so far. They have an elite pass rushing duo in Bradley Chubb and Von Miller with a very strong pair of safeties on the back end. Their situation at cornerback isn’t amazing, but isn’t terrible either. Plainly put, the Denver Broncos can’t afford to waste Von Miller’s career, and Patrick Surtain II is a cornerback that could potentially push them back towards the type of defense they were when they beat the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl.
Surtain is a big, physical cornerback who would fit extremely well in Denver. His strength in press coverage would allow him to erase a wide receiver and let Miller and Chubb get to the quarterback with ease. He is also a great athlete who is versatile enough to move around the field if needed. The Broncos have a great young offense, and need their defense to step up if they want to stop picking in the top 5. This team is capable of doing much better. Patrick Surtain won’t instantly make them a contender, but he should help them take a step in the right direction.
With the 5th overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars (via Los Angeles Rams) select:
Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
The Los Angeles Rams have had a terrible season, and Murphy’s Law is in full effect as their first-round pick belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags haven’t been great through 8 weeks, but have a young roster filled with talent. They have a great pair of young edge rushers and some strong talent in the secondary. However, they need to get stronger up the middle. They play in a division that loves to run the ball, and Wilson is a player who can counter that.
A dominant force in the middle of the defense, Marvin Wilson excels as both a pass rusher and a run stopper. The Jaguars have a pretty barren roster but have youth. Their offense has some young talent as well, but the former Seminole can help this youthful defensive line move towards dominance.
The Jaguars rank inside the top 20 of almost every defensive category, but why not seek to improve? This pick would help them move towards becoming a top 15 unit while building their offense up. This team has pieces, and they are in a great position with two first-round picks. Can they make these picks count and compete in the AFC South?
With the 6th overall pick, the Carolina Panthers select:
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Let’s be real. Tyree Jackson isn’t a long term answer at quarterback. The Panthers head coach has made it very clear that he loves Justin Fields and the stars have aligned as the former Buckeye and Bulldog passer has fallen easily into his lap. This is the kind of pick where the Panthers should be racing to the podium with the selection. Fields is a phenomenal player and would easily be the number one quarterback on the board in any other draft class. The Panthers are currently 5th in passing offense with 5 quarterbacks in the rotation, most of which would be better suited playing tight end (Tyree Jackson, Tommy Stevens). Imagine the damage they could do with a real QB under center.
With weapons like Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel, this is a great landing point for a rookie quarterback. This offense loves to run the ball, which will ease his transition into the NFL. All of the speed around him will make his life significantly easier and we could see this draft pick vault the Panthers into the NFC contender conversation. This offense is loaded with speed and talent, they just need someone to consistent get the ball to their weapons.
Justin Fields could not land in a better spot, and the Panthers could not ask for a better player to fall into their lap.
With the 7th overall pick, the Arizona Cardinals select:
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
The Cardinals don’t have a bad roster, but their defense could definitely use a little bit of help. This team has talent across the board, but also has holes all around too. They are in a position to draft the best player available, and I believe that guy is Micah Parsons (Ja’Marr Chase is in that conversation too). Parsons is a do it all linebacker who could play the Mike spot for this Arizona defense. With a skillset that lets him stop the run with force, he can also be moved all around the field and is even a tool when rushing the passer.
Arizona’s head coach has shown some flashes. They just need some consistency, which Parsons brings. You know you can count on him to make any tackle you need. Simply put, he is a playmaker. Paired up with Chandler Jones, Budda Baker, and Isaiah Simmons, this would create a freakishly athletic defense capable of hanging with the best, despite some holes on the defensive line. This team would have an abundance of resources and several guys who can do anything you ask of them. Arizona’s defense currently ranks 8th against the pass, and Parsons would not only improve that number, he would help the run defense reach that mark as well.
With the 8th overall pick, the New Orleans Saints select:
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
This pick was close between Chase and Trey Lance. The only problem is Chase is too good to pass up, especially at this point in the draft. Likely a top 3 talent, the former Tiger wideout falls all the way to 8 overall and finds a home in New Orleans. The Saints have had their struggles (#WhoIsCornell?), but Chase is an undeniable talent. With a wide receiver duo of Michael Thomas and Ja’Marr Chase, I’m not sure it matters who is throwing them the ball. These guys will make plays week in and week out, and it would be impossible to guard both. This offense would be borderline unstoppable with these weapons, and would just need a head coach capable of using them well. That could very well be their current coach, but things need to turn around quickly if he wants to keep his job.
Chase is a smooth route runner and he would get to stay home and play for his home team New Orleans Saints. This seems like it is the perfect story for a kid from Louisiana– go to LSU, win a national championship and the Biletnikoff Award, and follow it up by killing it for the Saints. This is a match made in heaven; the Saints need to just not mess this one up.
With the 9th overall pick, the New York Jets (via Seattle Seahawks) select:
Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
The Jets have a pretty rough roster, but have greatly out-performed their current talent level. Sitting at 6-1, New York gets a top ten pick from the struggling Seattle Seahawks, and have the opportunity to draft a player they wouldn’t otherwise have a chance at. Rousseau is simply a freak coming off the edge of the defense, and it is miraculous that he has fallen this far. He’s not in the same tier as Chase Young or Myles Garrett coming out of college, but he is still an extremely talented edge defender.
New York’s defense ranks inside the top 12 of every metric, and they do so without a true number one pass rusher. This pick would instantly give them a shot in the arm on defense and would allow them to be even more aggressive defensively. We know that their head coach is going to succeed no matter who is on the field, but this pick would be downright scary.
With the 10th overall pick, the Buffalo Bills select:
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Kyle Pitts is a freak, and he just fell all the way to 10th overall. He has scored 6 touchdowns through the first two games of his season, and is showing the world why he is one of the best tight end prospects we have seen. He has the quickness and ands of an elite wide receiver, all while being 6 foot 6 and 240 pounds. He would turn this Buffalo Bills offense into a monster alongside Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen. Pitts would help Allen get the most out of his cannon of an arm, as he can take the top off of the defense as well as win essentially any matchup you need him to. He is too strong for a cornerback or a safety and far too quick for a linebacker. A true matchup nightmare, this selection would instill fear in the AFC East (if the Bills coach can us him properly).
The Bills have a top 14 passing attack, but lack a strong tight end. Having such a dominating presence over the middle will open up the offense greatly. It will make running the ball easier, and he will open up passing lanes for Diggs and vice versa. This would be a great pick for the Bills, and I imagine Bills Mafia would be ecstatic if they can land Kyle Pitts.