On another NFL board, jammer and I co-GM a yearly mock offseason for the Hawks with fans of other teams representing their squads. It is a fully interactive free for all of the entire NFL offseason: tags, RFA's, free agency, draft, etc, with a working (simplified) cap system. Always an interesting exercise.
Here's what we did this year . . . with a few explanations and caveats.
Free agents signed:
Clinton McDonald (RFA)
DT Henry Melton - was not franchised for this mock, so somewhat unrealistic, but it wouldn't end up mattering that much as you'll see later. He was our bell-cow free agent, the one we wanted above all else.
DE Williams Hayes - We wanted a rotational rush end to compliment Bryant on pass downs. Hayes is an extremely underrated free agent who is coming into his own.
WR Danario Alexander - Big, physical target who came on late in the year for San Diego. Alexander was not tendered as a RFA in this mock, so we got him without compensation.
OT Khalif Barnes - Versatile veteran swing tackle to take Omiyale's place. Familiar with the ZBS and Tom Cable.
OLB DeAndre Levy - Fast coverage and sideline to sideline WSLB to compete with Smith and ??? (see later)
TE Dustin Keller - Got Keller for relatively cheap after other TE's were bid up sky high. I think he's a great compliment to Miller as a seam stretching receiving threat with good after the catch ability.
Matt Flynn - Traded to KC . . . Flynn, our 4th and 6th for their 4th and 5th. Low compensation, but the best we could get to get his salary and distraction off the books. Got us high picks in the 4th and 5th rounds.
Paul McQuistan - Traded to the Raiders straight across for WR Darius Heyward-Bey . . . in hindsight I don't know that we'd make this trade, but at the time we wanted competition and Heyward-Bey's speed was something our team was lacking.
Golden Tate - Traded to Houston for 4th and 6th round picks. After upgrading the receiver corps we didn't see room for Tate, and in a contract year we wanted to get something for him.
QB Blaine Gabbert - this will be an unpopular one, but we traded a 5th round pick for a guy with starting experience and a raw skill set that fits what we want to do on offense. I still like Gabbert, and think with proper coaching and time to recover on the bench that he can be at least a quality backup and maybe more.
Obomanu and Farwell - Just not enough bang for the buck with these two guys, and the draft is a good place to find special teamers.
1.12 - DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri Traded up with our 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th to get our star DT. We'd acquired enough picks to give us the freedom to get the guy who I think is the best DT in this class. Makes Melton a little redundant, but I figure a good rotation at DT can't hurt, and Melton and Richardson together on passing downs would be unstoppable.
2.27 - WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee - Even though we felt we had good competition at WR with Aledxander and Heyward-Bey, we couldn't resist getting Hunter in the late 2nd. You guys know what I think of him.
4.2 (Chiefs) - OLB Zavier Gooden, Missouri - Having traded away our third to get Richardson, we were getting desperate watching linebackers come off the board in the 3rd round. Gooden was the last quality WSLB prospect left, so we were happy to get him in the early 4th
4.15 (NE) - OT David Quissenberry, San Jose St. - By the time free agency was over, OLINE was one of the few spots where quality depth was a concern. Quissenberry looked good at Senior Bowl practices and has good length and athletic ability to move around the line
5.1 (Chiefs) - DE John Simon, Ohio St. - Total luxury pick. at 4.2 and 4.15 we considered Simon, but just couldn't find a spot for him. But in the 5th round we felt like we could gamble on his potential to really push the roster. I'd still like to see him bulk up and play DT, but think he could play LEO or pass rush specialist at LDE.
7.8 (Buffalo - Jackson) - DT Abry Jones, Georgia - Like the 3rd round, not having a 6th was excruciating. We really wanted Sanders Commings to fall, but he didn't, so we added a guy who can push McDonald at NT behind Mebane.
7.14 - DE Armonty Bryant, East Central Oklahoma - A pure upside pick whoo can play LEO, 5 tech and possibly even inside. Big time character risk, but in the 7th round you can take those risks
7.25 - WR/TE Marcus Davis, V-Tech - Our thinking is to transition him to TE as a pass catching specialist. Big, athletic, but questionable hands and work ethic. Again, worth the risk in the 7th round
We've still got two comp picks left, where we're targeting CB Demetrius McCrary and FS Rontez Wilson.
Feel free to rip away and ask questions. We moved around a lot, but feel like we got guys we wanted and who fit the team, and didn't really feel like we were fighting the board at all.