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We’ve done mock drafts, plenty of them, in fact. And with each one comes reader complaints:
This guy is too low!
The (choose literally any team here) aren’t taking him there!
This whole mock will be lining my birdcage in a week!
I’m also partial to the “They actually pay this guy?!” crowd.
This wouldn’t have been written without your contributions. Especially vociferous commenters in these prior mocks were fans of the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, we’ve found, although no franchise’s fans spared their angst. It’s nearly widespread dislike.
So we’ve heard you, even the non-bird owners. And that’s why we’re making our readers and followers the de facto general managers for this latest mock. We turned to Twitter to go pick by pick for the Round 1 selections to get a feel for how you armchair mock drafters might see things.
Each team, starting with the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 1 and closing with the Kansas City Chiefs at 32, received four options. (If the readers are the GMs, that makes us the college scouting director, as we provided the four players to vote on.)
Here are the results — and some of the complaints we’re still receiving. Can’t win in this mock-draft biz, apparently …
Fans’ pick: LSU QB Joe Burrow
Analysis: No shock here — and it wasn’t close. Burrow got 93 percent of the more than 2,000 votes.
And no real complaints! So far, the fans and Yahoo Sports are in lockstep. What a terrific start to this brilliant social experiment.
The only triggering comment was from this guy:
Thanks, we’ll pass, but you’re welcome to do the rest.
Fans’ pick: Ohio State EDGE Chase Young
Analysis: Our last mock had Tua Tagovailoa here, which Redskins fans hated. They could move down if a team wanted to move up for Tagovailoa. That was before Ron Rivera sent out strong signals that they were not taking a QB, as well as before some reports suggesting that Tagovailoa’s medical situation might not be ideal in this COVID-altered offseason.
Readers had a logical stance and they voiced it a second time, hammering Young with more than 80 percent of the votes. Democracy works, people.
Fans’ pick: Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah
Analysis: Three polls, three landslides. Okudah received more than 60 percent, Isaiah Simmons next at 20. Trades down weren’t allowed — too messy for this experiment — and most folks understood the limitations.
Are people getting … nicer?
Fans’ pick: Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
Analysis: We forgot to include Alabama’s Jedrick Wills. After a few good-natured jabs at our expense, we recovered and got on with the vote. And Wills finished a distant second to Simmons.
Proof that sometimes the minority vote is the loudest — and that’s OK!
Fans’ pick: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
Analysis: We strategically posted this one late Saturday night — voter suppression or fickle process? YOU DECIDE.
Dolphins fans who bit our heads off for mocking Justin Herbert for the umpteenth time this offseason got to dish out comeuppance: Tagovailoa won the vote going away.
The people have had their say and they can rock their “Tank for Tua” shirts for at least the next two weeks with pride. If Herbert ends up the pick, they won’t be happy about it. And we promise not to gloat.
Fans’ pick: Oregon QB Justin Herbert
Analysis: Voting was sparse, perhaps a direct reflection of the attendance trouble the team has had since bolting San Diego. But to the 278 individuals who voted for Herbert here, we thank you for your special contributions.
Fans’ pick: Auburn DT Derrick Brown
Analysis: Who knows what they’re going to do, especially in light of “trade down” being banned for this experiment.
Fans’ pick: Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs
Analysis: A fairly close and respectful battle. Wirfs edged out Jedrick Wills Jr., 47-34. Said @White11D, “Wills is the only worthy pick here.” Apparently, others disagree.
Fans’ pick: Alabama OT Jedrick Wills Jr.
Analysis: Same as with the Panthers at No. 7, we just threw four good prospects out there. The voters seemed to like that approach. Our closest vote to this point! Wills nipped Javon Kinlaw by a mere seven votes. That surely had to be a disappointment to @marshmelowbrown, who wrote: “Gotta be Kinlaw here boys” and we hope for his sake he never saw the final results.
10. Cleveland Browns
Fans’ pick: Georgia OT Andrew Thomas
Analysis: Browns fans by and large skipped out on the fun here, with this pick registering one of our lowest vote tallies. Well, you snooze, you lose. Thomas nosed out Mekhi Becton by THREE VOTES. (What would have happened in a tie? A runoff — glad you asked. Also glad it didn’t happen.)
A couple of fans argued for Becton, and a few media members at different publications jumped in to quash that idea. Maybe that was the difference. So now we have media friends jumping in to put out our fires. Greatest. Mock. Draft. Ever.
11. New York Jets
Fans’ pick: Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb
Analysis: Our first sign of real trouble. On the first poll, I forgot to add Lamb. It was past lunchtime, and I hadn’t eaten. Fans let us know. Oh, did they. Yahoo Sports regrets the error.
We shoved some leftovers in the compactor and started anew — and poll 2.0 had Lamb on top comfortably over Mekhi Becton. So the Lamb lies down on Broadway, and yes, I’ll be recycling this pun on our draft show if the Jets actually take him.
Fans’ pick: Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy
Analysis: I thought there would be more Henry Ruggs love from Raiders faithful. Jeudy ended up running away with it, and it’s understandable. If nothing else, this experiment give a small window into who the fans want — and by proxy, which picks would end up making the fan bases angry on April 23.
Fans’ pick: Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III
Analysis: Good engagement from the fans, and they seem to really like Ruggs. I offered up four players at four positions, and they went with the third wide receiver off the board. I even had a responder say, “You did the right thing Eric.”
The truth of the matter is that you, dear reader, made Ruggs happen. Give yourself a pat on the back. I just wrote the menu, and you ordered the dish.
Fans’ pick: Louisville OT Mekhi Becton
Analysis: The Bucs and Tom Brady got themselves a 369-pound teammate, but that was the footnote of this poll. Out of damned nowhere, a fight broke out in my mentions — between Buccaneers fans and Bengals fans!
Multiple fans jumped in on a strange debate about Joe Burrow or something or other, and it turned into a Battle Royale. Easily, without a doubt, the most unexpected development of this entire process.
Then when I tweeted about this odd tweetstorm, I had two Bengals fans yelling “FAKE NEWS” at me. The receipts are out there, and they’re bizarre.
If you dare to stick your toe in those strange waters, I believe this was the start of this thread.
It’s cool. They’re (mostly) fighting with each other. And it had nothing to do with me or my mock picks. That to me was a little sliver of nirvana.
15. Denver Broncos
Fans’ pick: South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw
Analysis: If there was an uproar over this vote, I missed it. It likely got lost awash the Burrow vs. Brady debate from the pick before. Seriously, that thing gummed up my mentions for a solid 18 hours.
A few folks asked for more linebackers here. Maybe they have a decent argument.
16. Atlanta Falcons
Fans’ pick: LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson
Analysis: Chaisson edged C.J. Henderson, which surprised me. But the Buc-Bengal thing was losing a bit of steam, so I was generally in a pleasant mood at that time.
Then, of course, @marshmelowbrown jumped back in with the second seven-round suggestion. Quit harshing my mellow, brown!
17. Dallas Cowboys
Fans’ pick: Florida CB C.J. Henderson
Analysis: Finally, a fan base bit on Henderson, whom we’d offered up for the last several votes. If there was an upset in these polls it was that some of the most active fan bases were shockingly dormant here — maybe Cowboys fans are just all polled out at this point. A scant 328 people voted, with 216 going for Henderson. The last first-round Henderson to land on the Cowboys — “Hollywood” — certainly was fun.
Fans’ pick: Houston OT Josh Jones
Analysis: This is roughly where a strange development started. Michigan center Cesar Ruiz — who finished third here behind Jones — started dotting a few polls around this point, and while few voted for him the first couple of times, the Ruiz Hive made sure to mention how good he was.
Are these all Michigan Men responding? Football junkies who just love interior offensive linemen? Russian bots?!
We hope to get to the bottom of this.
Fans’ pick: Alabama S Xavier McKinney
Analysis: Raiders fans are starting to think like Raiders GM Mike Mayock. They watched him for a decade worth of drafts; they know how he operates. Taking a versatile, high-character safety from the SEC shows they’ve been taking notes. Don’t think we didn’t notice. Strong work.
Fans’ pick: LSU CB Kristian Fulton
Analysis: No one really knows what the Jags will do, not even Jags fans. Maybe not even the Jags themselves. At this point people were just voting for players — or schools — they’ve heard of.
Fans’ pick: LSU WR Justin Jefferson
Analysis: Another tepid vote by a supposedly strong fan base. Sheesh. But they end up with the player whom hipster Eagles draftniks have been touting for weeks. The result worked, even if the process was questionable.
Maybe we should have offered up two receivers and two corners instead of three and one, respectively.
Fans’ pick: TCU CB Jeff Gladney
Analysis: Actually had a Vikings fan several picks earlier ask me to “wake [him] up” when Minnesota was on the board, which I found strangely … sweet. It’s the little things, guys!
And really, this vote surprised me. I thought fans might go receiver first, then cornerback, with another selection upcoming in a few picks. I’m actually learning a few things here about how fans view these picks, and that’s not at all meant facetiously.
Fans’ pick: Iowa DL A.J. Epenesa
Analysis: Say this for Patriots fans — they weren’t about to limp into this poll. The stakes are high in this post-Brady existence, and the poll lines were long in the Northeast, about triple the number of the Cowboys fans a few picks earlier.
The response was fascinating. I guess they see Epenesa as a “Belichick guy” despite the sub-par workouts. Jordan Love received some decent love, losing by only 21 votes.
As for the general reception, first I get this … aww:
Then I get this, LOL:
Let’s just say I’ve always been a big Goose guy, bud.
Fans’ pick: LSU LB Patrick Queen
Analysis: It has been almost a decade since the Saints last had a King (Mitch, a defensive tackle who played three games in 2011). Now they get a Queen.
And we suspect more than a few of those voting for him are also LSU fans. Even if they’re biased, they might not be wrong; this looks like a heck of a pick.
Fans’ pick: Baylor WR Denzel Mims
Analysis: Vikings fans paid attention earlier and remained engaged. Strong turnout for this pick, and they got a good receiver. Perhaps it was repayment for not torturing them earlier — no way I was going to include Alabama CB Trevon Diggs (Stefon’s brother) in the poll. I think they noticed.
Fans’ pick: Georgia RB D’Andre Swift
Analysis: There was a steady downtick in Miami fan engagement with each subsequent pick, and it’s understandable. Heck, three first-rounders is a lot. Maybe even GM Chris Grier gets tired of making Round 1 picks and trades out for this reason. (OK, maybe not.)
This vote shows how important it is to have your voice be heard … Swift edged out Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos by a single vote! We don’t know who the better pro will end up being, but “Swift” looks cleaner on the back of a custom jersey than “Gross-Matos” might. Can’t count that out as a potential factor in the tally.
27. Seattle Seahawks
Fans’ pick: Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos
Analysis: The Seahawks need a pass rusher, and they get one here. Pretty convincingly, too, with 53.1 percent of the vote, even if the total votes were low.
28. Baltimore Ravens
Fans’ pick: Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray
Analysis: Defense or help for Lamar Jackson? Murray ended up the winner, and many have said he just looks like a Ravens linebacker, so this made some sense.
29. Tennessee Titans
Fans’ pick: Georgia OT Isaiah Wilson
Analysis: Another thrillingly, breathtakingly close vote — Wilson by a mere two ballots over LB Zack Baun. Those who missed out, sorry. Dylan wasn’t the only one surprised here ...
Fans’ pick: Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk
Analysis: It was late, and people were getting salty. No shocker there.
Oh, and some folks don’t appreciate my Aiyuk/Ai-YAC pun.
Fans’ pick: Alabama CB Trevon Diggs
Analysis: We had to preemptively warn people (again) that “trade down” votes will be defenestrated summarily. For the most part, people listened. The vote went off smoothly, and no mock drafts were ruined in the process. Fine work all around. Diggs it is, and by a healthier margin than expected.
Fans’ pick: Clemson CB A.J. Terrell
Analysis: Perhaps it was out of FOMO or maybe by the power of Chiefs Kingdom or a strong retweet from our very own Terez Paylor. Whatever the cause, voters went nuts here with (we think) our third-highest vote tally. The Super Bowl afterglow is strong in K.C.
There was a lot of sentiment to “protect the franchise,” meaning they wanted Ruiz to be the pick as Patrick Mahomes’ new center. Those clarion calls went unheard as the people voted for a good corner.
And to the fine fan bases of the Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans — those franchises without a first-round pick — we’re sorry we couldn’t include you in this process. We promise to make amends with some sort of Twitter follow-through when we have time.
Perhaps we have yet to feel the real pre-draft wrath from those fans.
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