Joey, Joey, Joey
Imagine my surprise while watching Mike Mayock’s first and only mock draft the other night on NFL Network, especially when he arrived at pick No. 8.
Now I have the greatest respect for Mayock, whose evaluations of players are usually as close to dead-on as one can get.
So when he got to the Browns’ selection in the opening round of Thursday’s National Football League college draft and made his selection, it made me sit bolt upright and declare, “No way.”
He intoned a name I believed would never fall to Cleveland’s slot because I thought for certain he would have been taken much sooner. As high, in fact, as No. 4, where Dallas resides.
But Mayock gave the Cowboys Ohio State running back Zeke Elliott, who would have been a solid fit for Cleveland. He predicted the Jacksonville Jaguars would follow and take defensive back Jalen Ramsey, maybe the best athlete in the 2016 class.
Then he hurled a curveball at No. 6, suggesting the Baltimore Ravens, who could use a pass rusher, would trade down nine slots with the Tennessee Titans, who would then grab Laremy Tunsil, the best offensive lineman on the board.
At No. 7, he awarded defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to San Francisco. And that’s when I realized the young man I wanted the Browns to draft at No. 2, when they owned that slot before the big trade with Philadelphia, was still on the board.
While most everyone back then all but gave the Browns either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz to solve their long-standing quarterback problem, I was a lone voice in the wilderness urging Sashi Brown & Co. to seriously consider the name Mayock uttered at No. 8.
Yep, he gave the Browns Ohio State defensive lineman Joey Bosa. From Mayock’s lips to the NFL draft gods.
“Bosa will be an immediate impact player,” he wrote on nfl.com. “The Browns would be ecstatic to get Bosa, who many think is the most impactful defensive end in this draft.” If there is anything the Browns desperately need on defense, it’s impact.
Now selecting Bosa for the Browns might be wishful thinking on Mayock’s part. After all, he had to engineer a Baltimore-Tennessee trade to maneuver the Buckeye into position so the Browns could select him.
But this is mock fantasy we’re dealing with, not stark reality. Unfortunately, most draft experts do not grade out well when it comes to mocks, although it sure is fun leading up to the lottery. That, of course, is because they can’t crawl into the heads of the 32 men making command decisions.
And that is why mocks such as Mayock’s allows one to dream of scenarios that ultimately fail to materialize because, well, it’s unrealistic. Outside of the top two picks this year when Goff and Wentz are certain to be selected, it will be a crapshoot.
But for a little while, thanks to Mayock, it was great picturing Bosa wearing No. 97 in the Seal Brown and Orange.
Unless . . .