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2011 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft: A Primer

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Be thankful that I don't work for the Buffalo Bills in a decision-making capacity.

The annual SB Nation NFL Writers' Mock Draft starts next week over at Mocking the Draft. Though I've only been with SB Nation for four years ("only" sounds ridiculous there), this year's event will actually be my fifth as the de facto Bills GM, as I made picks for the Bills in 2007 despite Buffalo Rumblings not existing at that point in time. (I'd link to where I was writing before joining SBN, but I just read back through some of my old work, and I'd rather keep young, naive, stupid writer Brian out of the public eye.)

With four mock drafts behind me and another quickly approaching, I felt it an appropriate time to re-examine my picks of yesteryear to determine how fit I am to be doing this moving forward. The answer: unfit, as you may have gleaned already. But I'm not going to fire myself, so you'll just have to treat me like Tom Donahoe as you watch these mythical, alternate-reality Bills stink just as badly as the real ones.

A look back at those four drafts (totaling nine picks) after the jump. You be the judge as to whether my horrific picks are worse than, or better than, the Bills' horrific picks.

In 2007, we went three rounds and allowed bloggers to make trades. As such, we got both an unrealistic amount of trade activity, and the negotiations behind the scenes were sufficiently lengthy that we banned trades in subsequent years simply to make the process smoother. I was one of the bloggers that made a move up, swapping a third-rounder to move up two spots in the first round. The Bills, too, made a trade up that year, but did it at the top of the second round, and traded the first of their two third-rounders in doing so, whereas I moved the second.

Rd. My Picks Bills Picks
1 LB Patrick Willis, Ole Miss RB Marshawn Lynch, California
2 RB Antonio Pittman, Ohio State LB Paul Posluszny, Penn State
3 LB Quincy Black, New Mexico QB Trent Edwards, Stanford

I actually feel pretty good about this draft when compared to what the Bills did. (I feel no pride, however, about that second-round pick.) Willis was well worth the choice that the Bills used on Edwards, and he'd be a centerpiece for Buffalo's defense today. Lynch is... well, you know the story. Same with Edwards. I clearly whiffed on Pittman, but in retrospect, the Black pick looks OK - he's had some productive years in Tampa Bay.

Nothing noteworthy behind-the-scenes this year. We've gone from three rounds down to two, and I've just got to make the picks.

Rd. My Picks Bills Picks
1 WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma CB Leodis McKelvin, Troy
2 TE Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M WR James Hardy, Indiana

The Bills get credit for picking their craptastic receiver an entire round after I did; Kelly may have had three times the number of catches Hardy did, but Hardy's two touchdowns and better round value are pretty convincing trump cards. McKelvin has been up-and-down through three years, while Bennett has shown flashes of brilliance on the field, and private body parts off of it.

This was the year of the Jason Peters trade. As fate would have it, I'd already made both of Buffalo's picks in the mock draft by the time the Bills got around to flipping Peters to Philadelphia for an extra first-round pick, plus other picks irrelevant to the mock. Add in a trade back into the end of round two, and the Bills ended up making double the number of picks I did. (Remember, I didn't have the trade option anymore.)

Rd. My Picks Bills Picks
1 DE Aaron Maybin, Penn State DE Aaron Maybin, Penn State
1 C Eric Wood, Louisville
2 C Max Unger, Oregon CB Jairus Byrd, Oregon
2 OT Andy Levitre, Oregon State

Oops. I'll admit that I was shocked (and kind of excited) when my mock pick, made about a month in advance of the actual event, appeared prophetic. Too bad my evaluation of Maybin wasn't - but it should be noted that both Brian Orakpo and Michael Oher were off the board when I picked. I also knew they'd want to upgrade their offensive line after trading Peters, and guessed correctly that they'd focus on the interior - but of course, I picked the crappy center, rather than the good one the Bills got. Plus-one, Buffalo - even if a good tackle left in the process.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect last year, mostly because the only insight we had into Buddy Nix at the time was what he'd "done" as an assistant executive in San Diego. Had I just listened to what he was saying pre-draft, I might have made more accurate predictions. Instead, I essentially played GM by myself.

Rd. My Picks Bills Picks
1 QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson
2 OLB Eric Norwood, South Carolina NT Torell Troup, Central Florida

As derided as Clausen has been since falling into the second round, I would argue that Spiller didn't have a much better rookie season. (Clausen scored more touchdowns, dammit.) Norwood slid even further, falling all the way to the fourth round, while Troup has yet to have a significant impact on Buffalo's defensive line. It's too early to call this one, and I don't think there's a clear leader at this point, either.

Thus concludes the most humiliating exercise of my blogging existence.

My pick for the 2011 SB Nation NFL Writers' Mock Draft is in, by the way. Handed in the proverbial card at the podium yesterday. Feel free to speculate who the newest member of the fake Bills is, and just how awful that pick may look years down the line.