The (un)Official Midseason PML Mock Draft (Picks 11-15)
The middle of the first round is the land of inbetweeners. Many of these teams will likely not finish picking in this range. Some will step up their play and find themselves picking at the end of the round, while others will self-destruct and earn their team a top ten pick. In “No Man’s Land”, it is a bit more difficult to draft. There aren’t as many easy slam dunk picks like there are in the top ten. Some teams may reach on a player because of their physical traits, while others will draft someone who isn’t an elite athlete but has elite skills. Without a doubt, there are great players left on the board. For some, this could be the year where they get just enough talent to go over the hump, while the less fortunate will almost certainly pick in this range year after year. It is only midseason and much will change by the time draft day rolls around, but let’s take a look at the middle of the round:
With the 11th overall pick, the San Francisco 49ers select:
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech
The 49ers seem to have found themselves in a bit of a “Superbowl Slump”, despite not actually winning the Superbowl last year. They have shown some promise, as they currently have the 4th ranked rushing offense. This offense has serious potential. The head coach simply needs to get out of his own head and play his game. With a strong offensive line, a great RB corps, solid receivers, and the best tight end in football, this offense is set even with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. Defensively, they have a strong front seven while the secondary leaves a bit to be desired. This defense has given up countless big plays, and are in desperate need of new life in their secondary. Richard Sherman is getting up there in age, though he is still good at what he does. The 49ers need to take advantage of his presence, and with this pick, they select a player with the potential to fit his mold.
As good of a press man coverage corner as you can find coming out of college, Caleb Farley is an athletic freak. Standing at six foot two, he has incredible speed and strength, with the ability to completely smother a receiver. Strong at the point of attack, he is not afraid to get in a receiver’s face and take them out of the play entirely. With his skill set, he is probably best suited to running a man coverage heavy scheme but has the traits to be successful in any defense, so long as the team invests in him. (Friendly reminder to the 49ers that every team is required to create at least four pieces of content every season).
Having Farley under Sherman’s wing would be great for the young player, considering he has a similar skillset to the veteran out of Stanford. For a year or two, this would be a very strong duo that would be hard to beat in the red zone. After a few years, Farley will be ready to assume the role of CB1 for San Francisco and will do a great job. We have seen this team allow deep passes galore, and this selection would help them move the needle as a passing defense. In a pass-heavy league, teams are beginning to rely more and more on their defensive backs. With a talented player like Farley covering receivers, players like Joey Bosa and Arik Armstead will be able to get to the quarterback with much more ease.
With the 12th overall pick, the New York Giants select:
Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama
The New York Giants have a pretty terrible roster, meaning they are in a position where they need to just pick the best player available. Their defense ranks in the bottom ten of every single category, and can really use help anywhere they can get it. They have a very good coach who is capable of turning things around in the Big Apple, but that is a tall task. Looking at their defense, they don’t really have anyone who sticks out- they have some solid pieces all over the field, but no showstoppers. This team is going to need to make some big trades and signings this offseason in order to compete. Their coach has not always participated in the offseason, but he has become a new man. The offseason is as important as ever, considering how quickly the skill gap is closing in this league. Every team needs to be on top of their game at all times, and the draft is no different.
Lacking a dynamic player on the defensive side of the ball, Moses is just that. Bringing skill as both an off-ball linebacker and a pass rusher, he can line up at any spot you need him to as a linebacker. An explosive athlete, the former Crimson Tide star is more than capable of giving this team the shot in the arm they need in order to step up their play. If the Giants can develop their young talent in the front seven, this could be a scary defense in a few years. Moses can do it all and would add a new degree of versatility for this defensive front. His skills against both the run and pass would prove to be extremely valuable in the heated race for the NFC East division title.
You can never have enough speed on the field, and Dylan Moses would add huge athleticism to the Mike linebacker position. Having a guy do it all from the middle of the field makes the entire defense function better. He may not be the next Lawrence Taylor, but I’m not sure if anyone ever will be. With Lorenzo Carter and Dexter Lawrence rushing the passer in front of him and Jabrill Peppers roaming the field behind him, this is a defense that has scary potential at all three levels. Versatility and athleticism does not always make a defense great, but it helps the cards fall into place much easier.
With the 13th overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars select:
Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama
The Jaguars have had some surprising success on offense, as they currently rank eighth in passing yards per game. However, their run game has been plain awful, averaging less than 85 yards per game. Their offensive line isn’t the worst in the league, but Leatherwood is a great player who would be an instant upgrade at either guard or tackle (maybe even center). They have a versatile and talented backfield with Laviska Shenault but have not been able to find much success with him on the ground. Because of their one dimensional offense, the team has struggled despite passing the ball very well. In his return to football, Colin Kaepernick has played very well.
Most coaches repeat the phrase, “the game is won and lost in the trenches,” very often, and they do so for a good reason. Not even the best quarterback or running back can do much of anything if they have defenders in their face every single play. If there’s one thing Alex Leatherwood won’t do, it’s let the opposing team get into the backfield. With great length at six foot six, he also has dominant strength capable of moving men off of the line of scrimmage. Simply put, this is a player that every team wants to run behind.
With one of the worst defenses in the league, the Jaguars need all the help they can get. Though there wasn’t a defensive player that warranted this pick, Leatherwood does help the defense. If the Jaguars can control the ball and avoid negative plays, they can milk the clock as much as they like, letting their defense stay on the sideline. I have no doubt that this defense will improve sooner rather than later, as they have some amazing athletes in CJ Henderson and Josh Allen. Development takes time, but this team has potential despite its record.
With the 14th overall pick, the Chicago Bears select:
If I’m the Bears’ General Manager, I’m running to the podium with this pick like I’m Usain Bolt. Waddle is one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in college football, and any team would be ecstatic to draft him, especially at this point in the first round. The Bears have had a great offensive attack, Ranking top five in total yardage and top ten against the run and pass, doing so without any real speed on offense. Imagine how explosive this team could be with Waddle on the field. Chicago has been able to utilize their weapons well, and Waddle is a player in the same vein as Tyreek Hill or Hollywood Brown. Their defense has been middle of the pack, but that would not matter if you can score touchdowns on every single possession with a weapon such as Jaylen Waddle.
Cordarrelle Patterson is the team’s leading rusher and has also hauled in 40 receptions. Waddle is capable of playing a similar role but is a legit WR1. With a game-breaking combo of speed and quickness, he is a serious threat to score a long touchdown every single time he touches the ball. Not only a dynamic weapon on offense, he also has elite kick and punt returning skills. A Swiss army knife in every sense of the word, this would be a home run pick for the Chicago Bears. We know what this coach is capable of, and this is the kind of pick that ensures this team will never pick inside the top 20 of the draft again. Though it’s unlikely a player of this caliber falls this far in the draft, this would be an exciting pick.
Mitch Trubisky isn’t exactly a top quarterback in PML, but given the right weapons, almost anyone can be successful. When a two-yard pass gets taken 70 yards for a touchdown, it doesn’t really matter who is throwing to him. Though it is likely time for Chicago to start looking for a long-term solution under center, there is no doubt that Waddle would be the best pick in this scenario. This also shows how dominant the Alabama Crimson Tide’s talent is, as the last three selections have all come from Tuscaloosa. Will the first-round draft talent help them win a National Championship in the PML NCAA simulation? This is also a good reminder for our newer users to check out how our Draft Development Tool works. Players enter the draft all set to normal development and have a variety of factors influence what their development trait is upon completion of the preseason.
With the 15th overall pick, the Philadelphia Eagles select:
Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Another shocking fall in the draft, the player who comes closest to Jaylen Waddle falls all the way to 15. With a similar skillset to Waddle, Rondale Moore could very well end up being the better player of the two. We’ve seen him dominate in his limited playing time, seeing him dominate Ohio State (and every other team they played) as a true freshman. The Eagles should also sprint to the podium with this pick. Trading away Marquise Goodwin only to draft an even better version of him would be a phenomenal pick. Moore likely has a faster top speed than Waddle, but there is no doubt these two will be compared for their entire careers (at least by me).
The Eagles have struggled a bit offensively, but have still found ways to pass the ball well. Rondale Moore is the type of player that can immediately step in and elevate an offense. Paired with Jalen Reagor, they would have one of the youngest, most explosive wide receiver duos in the league. Despite their struggles, the Eagles should be able to bounce back quickly, especially with a pick like this. When you have a weapon like Moore on the field, you won’t find yourself in a situation where your opponent goes for it on fourth down up 17. This team should be able to turn the ship back in the right direction but will have to do so through the draft considering their salary cap is all tied up for the next few years. The draft is going to be critical for Philadelphia, but players of this caliber falling into their lap makes life much easier. If Moore falls like this on draft night, I would not be surprised to see someone trade up and take him. Hopefully, his rating won’t be mysteriously dropped on draft day.
Durability is a major concern for the former Boilermaker, as he has sustained numerous in his high school and college career, which will likely lead to him falling in the draft. Some players have the talent that makes you overlook red flags, and Moore is without a doubt one of those players. Even if he is only 90% of his maximum potential, he is still a better playmaker than a large number of current players in the league. Sometimes you just have to take a chance on speed. Hopefully, this doesn’t turn into a Terry McLaurin situation like in the olden days of PML. The Eagles have a good coach who is capable of playing at a higher level than they currently are. Carson Wentz has a strong offensive line in front of him, so it is only a matter of time until this team starts firing on all cylinders.
(Be sure to stay tuned to our Browns user as well… rumor has it there could be some draft content done in video form)