In a blur, the rush of free agency has passed and the draft is upon us. Some teams have gotten stronger, and some seem to have gotten weaker, and there are still moves to be made with the free agents that are left, but most are no longer impact moves. With that, have turned complete focus to the draft, and how the college kids can help their franchises.
For this mock draft though, let’s have a little fun and play a game of “what if?" What if, EVERY player, from EVERY team, in the complete history of the NFL was available to be drafted? What if a team that needing a running back could add Barry Sanders? What if a team in need of a quarterback could add Dan Marino? For the purposes of this draft, we will assume that all players are in their prime, so when drafting, we are getting them at the top of their game, and getting the best that they have to offer!
This mock draft was a blast to complete, and many of the picks were very hard to make. The ability to choose amongst the greatest of all time was no easy task. Picks were made, as much as possible, according to team needs in the upcoming 2015 draft. This draft was completed by Ryan Thyer @bignoahd05 and Matthew Cannata @PhinManiacs. Ryan made all the odd numbered picks and Matt made all the even numbered picks. We would love to hear your comments on our picks, and who you may have picked, and where we “went wrong.”
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joe Montana - QB
With the first pick the Bucs thought of going in so many different directions, but finally decided on QB as it is a GLARING need for them. The front office wavered back and forth between Montana and a couple other QBs, but finally decided on Montana (and who can blame them). With 40,551 career passing yards, 273 touchdowns, four Super Bowl MVP awards and four Super Bowl rings,, their offense has immediately become viable again with him throwing to Evans and Jackson.
2. Tennessee Titans: Dan Marino - QB
This one took the Titans front office a long time to wrap their heads around. There have been so many great quarterbacks throughout NFL history and when you talk about the greatest of all time, there is really no clear cut winner. However, when talking about the best pure passer in history? That's Marino. Breaking numerous records throughout his career, he played for 17 years and threw for 61,361 passing yards and a whopping 420 touchdowns. The Titans desperately need a quarterback and Marino will immediately take the team to the next level.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Barry Sanders - RB
They have a young QB that they like. How do you help take the pressure off of him and the pass game - you create a potent running game. There are SEVERAL good choices to go with here, but the Jags decided to go with Sanders. Sanders did great things on bad teams, and will immediately change all defensive schemes when teams play against the Jags. Throughout his 10-year career, he ran for 15,269 yards and rushed for 99 touchdowns. Coming out of the backfield, he caught 352 passes for 2,921 yards and 10 touchdowns.
4. Oakland Raiders: Jerry Rice – WR
The Raiders are in desperate need of adding weapons for young quarterback Derek Carr and Jerry Rice is the perfect fit for him. Arguably the best wide receiver in NFL history, Rice will bring stability to the offense and will be a powerful combination with Carr for years to come. Some may want a defensive pick here buy they have Khalil Mack to build around. They desperately need weapons on offense and adding Rice is a great start as he caught 1,549 passes for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns throughout his Hall of Fame career.
5. Washington Redskins: Lawrence Taylor - LB
The Skins need a pass rush, and is there a better way to not only add a pass rush, while simultaneously scaring every QB in the NFC East than to add Lawrence Taylor? Taylor immediately upgrades the defense, and gives the Skins a consistent pass rush that teams will have to plan for. Throughout his hall of fame career over the course of 13 seasons, he had 132.5 sacks and 9 interceptions. Tackle data is unavailable prior to 2001.
6. New York Jets: John Elway – QB
The New York Jets have two good receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Their offensive line isn’t terrible and they will have an elite defense. The only thing missing is a quarterback. John Elway threw for 51,475 career passing yards, 300 touchdowns and has two Super Bowl rings. He is one of the greatest when coming back from behind and is famously known for "The Drive." Elway will do great things in New York and that’s why Elway is the pick here.
7. Chicago Bears: Dick Butkus - LB
The Bears could use a lot, especially on defense (and at QB but that will be addressed later). They could use a DE or DT here, but decided that the best Bears defenses have always been anchored buy a dominant LB, and what a better way to go than to bring back one of the best ever. Butkus will anchor this defense and make plays all over the field. The LB unit in Chicago now has one of the best.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Junior Seau – LB
The Falcons need so much on defense so starting with the captain on that side of the ball isn’t a bad place to begin. Seau will immediately improve the linebacker corps and will help make those around him better. Seau started playing in 1990 but tackle data is unavailable prior to 2001. In the years where his tackles were recorded from 2001-2009, he racked up 378 of them. Over the entire course of his career, he had 56.5 sacks and 18 interceptions. There is still a lot of work to do though to improve their horrendous defensive display of 2014.
9. New York Giants: Anthony Munoz - T
The Giants have the offensive weapons in place to have a great offense, but help is needed on the offensive line. Munoz, who may be the greatest lineman in NFL history immediately gives them an overpowering presence on the line. The battle twice a year between Munoz and Lawrence Taylor will be great to watch.
10. St. Louis Rams: Andre Reed – WR
The Rams needs a ton of help on the offensive line but that can be addressed in the later rounds of the draft. Right now, who is the bona-fide receiver that newly acquired QB Nick Foles can throw to? There isn’t anyone that sticks out. That’s why we are going with Andre Reed here. Arguably, one of the best wide receivers of all time, he’ll instantly make this offense better as he caught 951 passes for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns.
11. Minnesota Vikings: Deion Sanders - CB
The Vikings pass defense needs help, and in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Calvin Johnson, and Alshon Jeffery you need a shut-down corner. “Neon Deion” gives the Vikings the ability to shut down half the field and immediately makes the pass defense better. In 14 seasons, he had 53 interceptions with 9 of them going back for a touchdown. More impressive though is the fact that he racked up 1,331 interception yards. The marketing department of the Vikings LOVES this pick!
12. Cleveland Browns: Johnny Unitas – QB
Unitas is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in history. Although he didn’t play in an era as many of the other guys selected before, many say that he would have been just as good. In 1959, he threw 32 touchdowns and led 34 fourth-quarter comebacks throughout his career – second best of all time. Over his 18-year career, he threw for 40,239 yards and 290 touchdowns.
13. New Orleans Saints: Randy Moss - WR
Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills are gone, and Marques Colston is no longer the same threat he used to be. If the Saints want to make one more run at it with Brees, they need weapons and Moss and Brees would be a great combo. Moss would take Graham's red zone looks, and give them a huge presence in the end zone. With Moss over the top and Cooks underneath this offense would be fast and fun to watch. Over his 14 year career, Moss had 982 receptions for 15,292 yards and 156 touchdowns.
14. Miami Dolphins: Jack Lambert – LB
There are a few different directions we can go here but who is going to be around the longest and make the biggest impact? That would be the middle linebacker position. Imagine Lambert with Ndamukong Suh in front of him and Cameron Wake on the edge? That would be unbelievable. He has the intelligence, intensity, speed, quickness, range and durability to bring this defense to the next level. A nine time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro eight times, he’s the best linebacker available on the board.
15. San Francisco 49ers: Joe Greene - DT
The Niner’s defense has seen an exodus this offseason, as they seem to be losing everyone. With one deft move of taking "Mean" Joe Greene they can start to right the ship on that defense. Greene may be the most dominant DL in the history of the NFL, and will help people forget the rest of the losses this off-season.
16. Houston Texans: Troy Aikman – QB
Another team that needs a quarterback, Aikman will have the chance to play in a dome once again and just a short while away from where he established his hall of fame career. Over 12 seasons, he threw for 32,942 yards and 165 touchdowns. The Texans need a lot more than this though on offense and will look to grab a wide receiver in round two.
17. San Diego Chargers: Deacon Jones - DE
Who better to get pressure on opposing QBs than the man who coined the term "sacks." Jones is one of the best ever at getting around the edge and getting after QBs. He would bring a much needed toughness to this defense, and overall, upgrade the defense with the pressure that he could apply on opposing offenses.
18. Kansas City Chiefs: Don Hutson – WR
This is just too much of a steal to pass up right now. Hutson fell because he was around in the 1940s and perhaps teams were afraid that his success then wouldn’t replicate to what the NFL is now. However, consider this fact -that he caught 74 passes for 1,211 yards and 17 touchdowns in only 11 games in 1942! It’s hard to argue against that kind of success! Keep in mind that this was roughly triple the output of Pop Ivy, who finished in second place. He can run posts, slants, comebacks and more, and is a nice fit for Andy Reid’s horizontal passing attack. While there is some risk here, I think it pays off.
19. Cleveland Browns: Ray Lewis - LB
How do you help your run game, and at the same time give a team in dire need of leadership someone that can lead a team on the field and in the locker room? Easy - you draft Ray Lewis. He can tackle, he can get sacks, he can get an interception when needed. He had 41.5 sacks over his 17-year career and racked up 1,336 tackles. Keep in mind that there is no tackle data for his first five seasons in the NFL so you can add close to 500 to that number! Lewis brings instant credibility to the middle of this defense, and with both Lewis and Unitas on the team, the Browns organization has leadership on and off the field that it has lacked for a VERY long time.
20. Philadelphia Eagles: Rod Woodson – CB
The Eagles are in dire need of secondary help and Woodson is arguably the best defensive back in NFL history. He could do everything – shut down a number one receiver in man, lurk around in zone coverage, and then when it was time to make the tackle, he would absolutely unload on the opposing player. It always seemed like Woodson was leading the team in tackles after each game. Throughout his career, which lasted 17 years, he accumulated 71 INTS, 1,483 interception yards, 32 fumble recoveries, 1,050 tackles and 17 total touchdowns.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Reggie White - DE
The Bengals were dead last in sacks in the NFL in 2014 with only 20, and second to last in forced fumbles with only 10. This 10 time First Team All Pro, will change that for this defense. White finished his career with 198 sacks, and 33 force fumbles. In 15 NFL seasons, he reached double digit sacks in 12 of them. Flacco, Roethlisberger, and Unitas are not fans of this pick!
22. Pittsburgh Steelers: Alan Page – DT
There’s been a run on defensive linemen over the past several picks and Reggie White was stolen from the Steelers’ grasp. Nonetheless, we are going with Alan Page here. Page fits the Steelers perfectly as his only mission on every snap was to destroy the ball carrier. As a DT, he had uncanny instincts and helped propel him to the next level. Page played for 15 years, played in 238 straight games, made 9 Pro Bowls, and was an anchor on the Minnesota Vikings defense during four Super Bowls.
23. Detroit Lions: Bob Lilly - DT
The run on defensive tackles continues, as Bob Lilly comes off the board. With Suh and Fairley both gone, Detroit has a glaring hole in the middle of their defensive line. The team will not miss a beat though with the addition of Bob Lilly. A regular recipient of double and triple teams, NFL Films called him the "unblockable, unstoppable force of The Doomsday Defense." Lilly will make the linebackers job easier in Detroit, and will help them continue to be one of the best teams in the NFL against the run.
24. Arizona Cardinals: Jack Ham – OLB
Bruce Arians is working on getting the offense back up to speed and the defense needs a lot of help, especially at the linebacker position. Jack Ham is the perfect fit for Arians. He was never out of position, maintained his discipline and tackled with textbook form. His greatest strength comes in pass coverage and over 12 years he brought in 32 interceptions.
25. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Ogden - OT
A WR to help Newton was considered here, but OL help was a bigger need, as the Panthers NEED to give Newton more time to throw. At 6'9 and 345 pounds, Ogden is one of the best OL in NFL history, and immediately helps not only Newton and the pass game, but also brings stability to the run game.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Ronnie Lott – DB
When you think of the Ravens, you think of defense so naturally, we are going with a defensive back here. That choice is none other than Ronnie Lott, who can play both the corner and safety position. The best story about Lott is when he had the tip of his pinky finger amputated so he could continue playing. He can rush the QB, stay back in coverage and lay the heaviest of hits on opposing players. Lott recorded 63 interceptions, 5 touchdowns and 17 fumble recoveries. Lott is a perfect for the Ravens.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Dick "Night Train" Lane - DB
In need of a defensive back, the Cowboys get one of the best ever in Lane. The six time All-Pro is one of the best DBs in NFL history and some might even argue the best ever. Lane finished his career with 68 career interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries, and took 6 of those turnovers to the end zone. Lane had at least three interceptions in all but four of his fourteen seasons in the NFL. A notoriously hard hitter, WRs in the NFC should on the look-out.
28. Denver Broncos: Bruce Matthews - OL
This one was tough. The Broncos have a great receiving corps and a great running back. Peyton Manning has maybe one more year. However, they lost some good offensive lineman in free agency and need to rebuild the line. That’s why we are going with Bruce Matthews here. Matthews can play at any position on the line but he was most dominant at guard and center. Matthews played for 19 years and was a regular at the Pro Bowl between 1988 and 2001.
29. Indianapolis Colts: Larry Allen - OL
The Colts thought about a safety or edge rusher here, but instead decided to go with protection of their most valuable asset, Andrew Luck. Able to play OT, but better at OG this Hall of Famer is one of the strongest men ever to play in the NFL. Allen will make Gore better immediately, and will help keep pressure off of Luck, which has been a huge issue the last couple of years in Indy.
30. Green Bay Packers: Mel Blount – CB
Blount is one of the most physical and destructive defensive backs in NFL history. He is best known for mauling receivers out of their breaks and using his physicality to his advantage to literally stop the receivers dead in their tracks while running routes. In his rookie year, Blount didn’t give up a touchdown. He would go on to win four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is a huge help to a thin Packers secondary.
31. New Orleans Saints: Chuck Bednarik - LB
If the Saints want some toughness on their defense and in their LB corps, then Bednarik will bring it. The last of the two-way players, Bednarik showed his toughness by playing on both the offensive line, but more famously as a linebacker as well. In 14 seasons, he was All Pro 10 times. One of the most devastating tacklers ever in the NFL, Bednarik will do it all for this Saints defense. Opposing running backs and quarterbacks will not enjoy playing the Saints with Bednarik roaming around and destroying ball carriers.
32. New England Patriots: Walter Payton – RB
The big elephant in the room is Tom Brady and his age. His skills are slowly declining and he needs a running back to lean on in the last few years of his career. Walton Payton will be that guy. He had 16,726 rushing yards, 110 touchdowns and a Super Bowl ring. He is tough and durable and only missed one game in 13 years. While he won’t provide speed, he will power through opposing defenses and throw to the ground anyone who tries to touch him.
33. Tennessee - Marshall Faulk - RB
34. Tampa Bay - John Hannah - OL
35. Oakland - Mike Haynes - DB
36. Jacksonville - Ken Houston - S
37. NY Jets - Derrick Thomas - LB
38. Washington - Steve Young - QB
39. Chicago - Merlin Olsen - DT
40. NY Giants - Paul Krause - S
41. St. Louis - Orlando Pace - OL
42. Atlanta - Mike Singletary - ILB
43. Cleveland - Chris Carter - WR
44. New Orleans - Andre Tippett – OLB
45. Minnesota - Jim Brown – RB (I am assuming Adrian Peterson will be traded)
46. San Francisco : Brian Urlacher - ILB
47. Miami - Dan Dierdorf - OL
48. San Diego - Eric Dickerson - RB
49. Kansas City - Jim Parker - OL
50. Buffalo - Warren Moon - QB
51. Houston - Michael Irvin - WR
52. Philadelphia - Marvin Harrison - WR
53. Cincinnati - Bruce Smith - DE
54. Detroit - Dick LeBeau - CB
55. Arizona - Derrick Brooks - LB
56. Pittsburgh - Lem Barney - CB
57. Carolina -Lance Alworth - WR
58. Baltimore - Raymond Berry - WR
59. Denver - Tony Gonzalez - TE
60. Dallas - Emmitt Smith - RB
61. Indianapolis - Ed Reed - S
62. Green Bay - Mike Ditka - TE
63. Seattle - Tim Brown - WR
64. New England - Steve Largent - WR
This mock draft was completed by Ryan Thyer and Matthew Cannata. Be sure to follow them on Twitter: @BigNoahD05 and @PhinManiacs
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