Mock my Mock: 1st edition

Composite photo by Jack Brame

Football season is finally upon us, so we know what that means. It's time to do some mock drafts to prepare us for the drafts that really matter, and can put cash in our pockets. I wrote this column last year and it seemed to get a lot of good feedback, so why mess with a good thing?

Here's how this works. Each week I will draft a different fantasy team and I will change my draft position to highlight the types of teams one can build depending on where they are drafting. For this week's exercise, I participated in a mock draft in which I drafted with the No. 1 overall pick. Next week I'll draft in the middle of the round, and finally I will do a draft picking at No. 11 or No. 12.

I always advise people to participate in as many mocks as they can before drafting, but not everyone has the time. If that's the case for you, I'll do all the leg work participating in dozens of mock drafts, and you can sit back and learn the positives and negatives of each draft slot. These are PPR drafts, by the way. Let's get started.

With my first pick I selected Saints RB Alvin Kamara. I considered Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey here, and I would be happy with any of these 3 players. I took Kamara because he's had more than one good season unlike Barkley, and he plays on an elite offense. With Ezekiel Elliott's holdout, I'm staying away from him for the time being.

With my second pick I knew I was going to get two picks in a row, so I opted for the best WR on the board in Mike Evans and decided to take one of the elite TEs. I wanted to see how my team would look if I invested early in a TE. The 3 elite TEs (Kelce, Kittle, Ertz) will all be drafted before the 3rd round is over, and I had to take Zach Ertz with the 1st pick of the 3rd round because there's no way he would be there the next time I picked. If I had passed on TE, I would have drafted Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, Damien Williams, or T.Y. Hilton. If Williams wasn't dealing with a hamstring injury, he would be hard to pass up. His upside is massive in the Kansas City offense.

As far as the Evans selection, I wanted to take the best WR on the board and my other options were TY Hilton, Amari Cooper, and Keenan Allen. I was tempted to take Cooper or Allen, but Evans had over 1500 yards last year and if he hits double digit TDs, I will be extremely happy with the pick. He had 8 last year and with Bruce Arians coming in, I like my chances. Arians loves to push the ball down field, and DeSean Jackson is no longer the deep threat after signing with the Eagles in the offseason.

With my fourth selection I didn't like the running backs left on the board, so I grabbed by second WR by drafting Kenny Golladay. He's a big talented dude that should put up good numbers as the Lions #1 WR with Golden Tate out of the picture. The RBs I passed on here where Kenyan Drake, Phillip Lindsay, and Tevin Coleman. Drake will likely be in a timeshare on maybe the worst offense in the league, and Lindsay has a new coaching staff that might use Royce Freeman more this year. Coleman I like, but not until the 6th round.

With my 5th pick I went WR again and landed Cooper Kupp. He'll be my flex and I'm totally cool with that. Goff looks for him in the red zone, and this offense should be dynamic again. I think he'll be okay coming off the ACL injury.

I had a long wait before my 6th pick came around and here's where I selected my #2 RB. I got Lamar Miller, and this was before the Duke Johnson trade. Miller doesn't have much upside, but he's the starter on an offense that I think will be pretty good this year. My next pick may be a bit of a reach, but I love his upside in an offense that wants to run the ball. Rashaad Penny was my selection with the 1st pick of the 7th round. I knew he wouldn't be there when I picked in the 8th round, so it was now or never. The Seahawks spent a 1st round pick on him last year, and I think he could take over the starting job at some point this season.

In the 8th round Corey Davis felt like a good gamble, let's hope he breaks out in his 3rd NFL season like many WRs do. I continued to add depth in the 9th round with Chargers RB Austin Eckler, who could be a huge value with Melvin Gordon holding out.

You can clearly tell that I was waiting as long as possible to address QB, and when you take a TE as early as I did, it's a good approach. With my next 2 picks I added more depth with veteran WR DeSean Jackson, who I'm told is showing great chemistry with Carson Wentz, and RB LeSean McCoy. I don't really like McCoy, but I'll take him all day in round 11. In rounds 12 and 13 I grabbed two QBs in Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady. I love Jackson's upside, and I have Brady if he falters.

Overall, I really like my team. I don't know if I'll continue to address TE so early, but I wanted to see how thin I would be at other positions if I drafted that way. I think I would like my team better with Keenan Allen or Amari Cooper as my #2 WR, but that's the price you pay when you take a TE early. Here's a look at my starters.

QB Lamar Jackson

WR Mike Evans

WR Kenny Galladay

RB Alvin Kamara

RB Lamar Miller

TE Zach Ertz

FLEX Cooper Kupp

My QBs aren't super sexy, but Lamar Jackson has a great chance to surprise this year with Greg Roman as the offensive coordinator. Roman was the OC in San Francisco when Kaepernick was the QB, so this guy knows how to work with a running QB. I don't love Brady this year because he doesn't have a lot of talent to work with, but in round 13 he's worth a shot.

This is my first edition of Mock my mock for 2019, and I'll be drafting at pick #6 for next week's exercise. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5. We're on every Sunday from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.




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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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