If you’ve read the first two parts of my 2014 NFL Draft Do-Over and have thought to yourself, “With all these references to string theory and parallel universes, Adam, is there any way you could write about your improved picks from three drafts ago in a nerdier way?”
Oh. Oh yeah.
In the second season episode of Star Trek the Original Series entitled, “Mirror, Mirror.,” a transporter malfunction sends Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, Communications officer Nyota Uhura, Chief Medical Officer Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy and Captain James Tiberius Kirk to a parallel universe where the United Federation of Planets has been replaced by the evil Terran Empire.
Needless to say, Kirk, Bones and the gang figure out their predicament from the beginning and work to get back to their original timeline and escape the madcap insanity that was the Mirror Universe. Sulu had a scar, for God’s sake! Spock, a goatee! Kirk, a serious girlfriend! It was madness.
Fun fact: The Mirror Universe with Goateed Spock and the Evil Terran Empire would show up again in the Star Trek mythos about 30 years later. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine set five episodes in that same Mirror Universe and Star Trek Enterprise had probably two of its best episodes showing how the Terran Empire got so far ahead of every other warp enabled civilization and took over the Alpha Quadrant of the Milky Way Galaxy (that’s where we live).
And this will blow your mind. The current Star Trek movies since the 2009 J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto all take place in yet another alternate universe.
Ladies, I am currently single.
Here’s a quick recap of how we got here: 1. Houston Texans – Aaron Donald, 2. St. Louis Rams – Jadeveon Clowney, 3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Khalil Mack, 4. Buffalo Bills – Derek Carr, 5. Oakland Raiders – Teddy Bridgewater, 6. Atlanta Falcons – Odell Beckham, Jr. 7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, 8. Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles, 9. Minnesota Vikings – Taylor Lewan, 10. Detroit Lions – Devonte Freeman, 11. Tennessee Titans – Zach Martin.
Let’s see who’s picking what!
12. New York Giants – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
Original pick: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
The Giants take a hit in the worst way, losing the NFL’s best wide receiver and one of its most marketable stars in Beckham Jr. It didn’t change the need for New York and Benjamin fits the bill over Sammy Watkins, Jarvis Landry and a few other legitimately fantastic receivers nabbed in this draft. He gives Eli Manning the big outside target he needs. Benjamin obviously doesn’t have the super human athleticism OBJ has, but he’s knows how to use his body, especially when he has his weight in the correct range. In his two healthy years, he’s caught a combined 1,949 yards worth of passes, has 263 catches and has scored 16 touchdowns.
13. Los Angeles Rams – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Original pick: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
The Rams absolutely stole Aaron Donald at this spot in 2014. But he’s off the board and long gone. Los Angeles (then St. Louis) got a nice selection at No. 2 in Clowney, but picking Jake Matthews here fixes the biggest problem in that original Rams draft; Greg Robinson. While Matthews has had his issues at left tackle, he’s an NFL starter and potential star. He’s just now entering his fourth season in what will likely be a 15-year-plus career. Only now, four seasons later, did the Rams actually fix their problem at left tackle by signing Andrew Whitworth. Matthews will only get better for the Falcons and has already been a key contributor in a Super Bowl run.
14. Chicago Bears – C.J. Mosley, MLB, Alabama
Original pick: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Fuller was not a bad pick here at all and actually came into the league on fire. He started every game he was healthy but two, but missed all last season with a knee injury. Fuller should be back to full strength this season, even though the Bears have signed plenty of insurance at his position. The reason I made the switch here is the Bears had quality corners in 2014. What the didn’t have was a legitimate middle linebacker. They had brought in D.J. Johnson from the Denver Broncos the year before to replace Brian Urlacher and the guy couldn’t stay healthy. It took another two years and a coaching chance for Chicago to field solid interior linebackers with free agents Danny Trevaithan and Jerrell Freeman. Mosley gives them a day one star and tackle machine from the minute he steps on the field. When the Ravens drafted him, they wanted a Ray Lewis replacement and while that might seem a lofty goal, Mosley might be on his way. He has 360 tackles, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 23 passes defended and six interceptions in his first three seasons.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama
Original pick: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Back when I ran this mock draft in 2014, I actually made this pick for the Steelers, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. They ignored me then and went with Shazier. Shazier has been a star for Pittsburgh when he’s on the field and is, legitimately, one of the fastest players in the NFL. But he also gets hurt a lot. Shazier has missed seven games over the last two seasons and only played in nine as a rookie. Clinton-Dix should have been their pick then because they were losing Troy Polamalu at the end of the 2014 season and that left a gaping hole at safety the team has yet to satisfactorily fill. Right now they’ll probably be starting Mike Mitchell, who they brought in as a free agent in 2014 and last year’s second round pick Sean Davis, who honestly could turn into a real star eventually. But Clinton-Dix has blown past all of them to become one of the best safeties in the game. In three years he has 284 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, 19 passes defended and eight interceptions. They should have listened to me.
To be continued in Part 4.
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