True Draft Guru Says January-February Mock Is Best

April 23rd, 2021

“Jason, Larry taught his kid well.”

Fans love reading mock drafts. They can be entertaining, and nothing simultaneously builds draft excitement and knowledge better.

That’s why the NFL adores them.

The league employs loads of gurus to spit out mocks at and NFL Network to keep fans hyped in the offseason.

But the big problem with the mocks is that they’re not all well grounded in reality, especially as mid-April rolls around.

One of Joe’s favorite draft gurus is Lance Zierlein, son of longtime NFL assistant coach Larry Zierlein, who coached many years under Bucco Bruce Arians in Pittsburgh and Arizona.

The younger Zierlein personally breaks down film seemingly year-round and has been doing it for many years for; he used to prepare detailed league scouting reports on every player at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio this week, Zierlein made an interesting revelation, sharing that his first mock draft of a year, typically in January or February, is his “most honest and insightful work.” Zierlein explained that those mocks are 100 percent film study and knowledge of NFL teams’ philosophies with zero outside noise or influences. And history has shown him that’s best.

Zierlein admitted that chatter and buzz gets to seemingly every mock drafter and many don’t watch film on all the prospects. “Scouting with your ears,” he called it.

So with that in mind, Joe wondered where Zierlein pegged the Bucs in his first mock draft of 2021, published 2 1/2 months ago? He’s got the Bucs taking Miami Hurricanes edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, the 6-5, 265-pound athletic specimen.

A long-limbed edge rusher with exciting athletic talent and size, Phillips would help bolster a Bucs pass rush that could lose Shaq Barrett and Ndamukong Suh to free agency. Due to a lengthy injury history, his medical reports will garner plenty of attention.

Phillips has since exploded up the first-round ladder in mock drafts following his impressive Pro Day, but he does have a concussion history and nearly was out of football after being hit by a car while riding a scooter and needing multiple wrist surgeries.

Joe doubts Phillips will be in range for the Bucs at No. 32, but possibly he would be via an inexpensive trade up. Of course, Joe will never moan about drafting an edge rusher.


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14 Responses to “True Draft Guru Says January-February Mock Is Best”

  1. MadMax Says:

    I dont know…multiple wrist surgeries scares me a little. Gotta be able to grab guys and hold on to bring them down. And I unfortunately know too much about wrist injuries with my own history of them…never had a surgery though.

  2. Swampbuc Says:

    Edge guy with a serious, serious concussion history…………….

    First, the guy has a great story of perserverance. Gotta admire it. His character would be a glove tight fit on the Bucs. But that risk of a serious concussion that would be career ending, or worse for him……………….

  3. Robert Says:

    1st round picks should rarely be a risk, unless their name was Warren Sapp

  4. Mitch Says:

    I am too familiar with concussions and brain injuries. With his history he is one awkward hit from becoming Mitch Unrein or Aaron Sears.

    I can appreciate his story and perseverance to overcome injury, but brain injuries are too serious of a matter to overlook, in my opinion. He is off of my imaginary draft board.

  5. Medicated Pete Says:

    Long levers & big meat-hooks are a must. My edge rusher needs some grabbers on him

  6. SlyPirate Says:

    Luke Kuechley’s face haunts me every time I hear serious concussion.

    Phillips is chasing an NFL dream but putting his long-term health at risk. I believe the NFL should step in and disqualify college athletes with a history of concussions.

    For ethical reasons, I don’t want him on the Bucs.

  7. Bradinator Says:

    I agree with the point made about Jan/Feb mocks being the best. Way too much emphasis on Pro Days and, usually The Combine. The film tells you what they actually do, on the field, and not in a controlled environment wearing shorts.

  8. D-Rome Says:

    Fans love reading mock drafts. They can be entertaining, and nothing simultaneously builds draft excitement and knowledge better.

    I’m the exception. I think mock drafts are dumb and a waste of time. I’d venture to guess over 90% of the people out there aren’t close to their mock drafts. I have no reason to believe the Bucs won’t make the correct draft decisions this year.

  9. BA4President Says:

    I want to agree with the line of “never complaining about drafting an edge rusher”, but then you have guys like Da’Quan Bowers. I liked him a lot as a person, but…

    After being picked in the 2nd round, he only started in 10 games over 5 seasons. ACC Defensive player of the year, Bronko Nagurski winner (For you savages that don’t know, that’s essentially the defensive Heisman), and yet… 10 starts.

    Yes, there were medical concerns, but there are medical concerns for a ton of these guys.

    So in line with the American spirit, what do I blame?
    -That he was a Clemson product?
    -Mark Dominick?
    -The fact that he was an edge rusher in the first round?
    -Gerald McCoy? (added for the haters)

  10. Bruce Blahak Says:

    bust trap…

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Mock drafts are a very good way to learn about prospects…..whether they are picked by the Bucs or not.

  12. Buc50 Says:

    I like reading mocks but outside of the top 5 or 10, it’s trash.

  13. windbaggery Says:

    Isn’t Phillips the one with 3 concussions? Hell to the NO.

    Tryon from UW sounds good to me.

  14. PatsBucsfan4years Says:

    I have some great insights on this farticle but I don’t want to be banished to twatter moderation 🤔