Friday, July 20, 2007

Mock Draft, Pick #20

As noted in an earlier post, I'm part of a 2-round mock draft with 11 other football bloggers. With my first pick (#5) I selected Frank Gore. The rest of the picks from round 1 & 2 can be seen here.

Now my turn has arrived again and I must admit, I'm fairly pleased with my options. Part of me is very tempted to start the WR train but I'd rather go with another RB, someone who is bound to provide more consistency than even the best WR (agree? disagree?). But with the 20th pick there's no such thing as a sure bet - each of these guys has fallen to #20 for a reason. So I've whittled my options down to the following less-than-awesome-but-still-pretty-amazing guys: Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, and Cedric Benson.

Clinton Portis

  • In 8 games in 2006, he had 523 yards rushing, 170 receiving and 7 TDs
  • Previous to 2006, he was averaging 1,483 yards and 11 TDs a season
  • Nice receiver, peaking with 40 receptions in 2004
  • As TJI points out, having a work-in-progress QB like Jason Campbell could mean good things for an established runner like Portis
  • He's actually only 25 - surprising, right? I thought he had to be at least 27 or 28. Nope, a youthful 25.
  • Ahead of schedule with his injury recovery - he participated in light drills during minicamp
  • Ladell Betts - reupped with the Skins and looking like he could take a lot of runs from Portis (interesting note: Ladell is actually 2 years older than Portis)
  • History of injuries and lots of question marks on his current status
  • Performance drop-off from Denver to Washington (5.5 yard/carry avg with Broncos to 4.1 in 2006)
  • Strong finish to 2006 season - in last 5 games, he had 3 100+ yard games and 3 TDs in the last 4 games
  • New coach, Ken Whisenhunt, wants to find ways to employ the Edge a little more (see Willie Parker's running game as an example) - he anticipates the Edge having about 325 carries for the season
  • Arizona o-line is slowly maybe hopefully potentially is possibly getting a little better
  • His awesomeness in Indy
  • In 3 seasons, he has only missed one game
  • His poor performance for the majority of 2006
  • The fact that he's in Arizona; will anything good happen there, ever? There's so much talent there, how is the team still so shoddy?
  • He underwent minor knee surgery during the offseason - but really this could be good or bad; it reduced the swelling on his knee that bothered him in 2006...but then again, is knee surgery ever a good sign?
  • Coaching staff's desire to find a backup for the Edge, indicating some definite loss of touches/TDs
Cedric Benson
  • In last 7 games of 2006, he rushed for 432 yards and 3 TDs while still sharing the workload with Thomas Jones
  • The Bears love to run, particularly when the options are between Rex throwing or Cedric running
  • Strong numbers and durability in college: at Texas, "Benson carried the rock 1,112 times for 5,540 yards and 64 touchdowns"
  • The Bears would not have let Thomas Jones go if Cedric Benson wasn't capable of being their featured back
  • The Bears predilection for using multiple backs over the past several seasons (and have you guys seen Garrett Wolfe in action? Amazing. With a little time this guy is bound to be a big playmaker with the Bears)
  • Not much of a receiver, only caught 9 passes in his first 2 seasons
  • Lots of unknowns about his unknown skills, his endurance throughout the season, his ability to stay healthy - overall, he has just been untested thus far
  • Unfortunate Super Bowl performance with a fumble and injury on his only 2 carries
  • Holds the record for longest rookie holdout in franchise history - not the most likable guy on the team
So who do I pick? This has been a really hard choice - mostly between Clinton Portis and Cedric Benson. Either one is a pretty big gamble but I'm going with Cedric Benson [photo: Getty Images]. I'm basing this on the fact that Chicago is just a better team than the Redskins and the Bears are fortunate enough to play the Lions, the Vikings, and the Packers twice each - that just equals RB success. I anticipate some NFC North games where the Bears are up big and they finish the game by letting Benson run it out. The potential for Benson to have a steady season with double digit TDs is definitely there. This has been a tough call for me, but the consistent numbers that could come from Benson are enough to outweigh the risk involved with Clinton Portis.It has been a pleasure drafting with you all and I look forward to keeping up with your blogs. Good luck this season!


Unknown said...

That's a good pick. Somebody has to carry the load in 'Chi Town'.

Anonymous said...

Were I you, I would have done the same. It's too bad Ronnie wasn't still there for the taking :)

Great write up!

Unknown said...

I find Edge irresistable for some reason. Why is that? Of course I was just touting LaMont Jordan on my blog last week, so maybe something is wrong with me.