Mock Draft time!

April 24, 2013

With the 2013 NFL draft looming large, the Colchester Gladiators hosted an event steeped in history, a gathering of minds that is the envy of the ages. Not since Plato guided Aristotle through the maze of philosophical thought, have intellects and opinions clashed in such epic fashion. This event, one which has a rich history of both genius and insanity, of inspiration and desecration, of lauding and blaspheming, and of tears and joy. An event, rivalled only by Moses being bestowed with the holy tablets containing the 10 commandments. It was the second annual Colchester Gladiators mock draft.

So, the gathering was impressive, not least because one person turned up at the agreed time – kudos to Nick Foxley for managing to read a clock. Eventually, the gathering became impressive, a collection of laptops, iPads, ring binders, note pads and backs of fag packets surrounded the kitchen table at Chez Burridge as the tension mounted. Looking around the room, the football intellect was startling, and that was just me. Burridge, Burrows, Clarke, Foxleys x 2, Crane, Moreton and Brunsden – experience went hand in hand with ineptitude at that table. We had been promised a special guest – who would it be? We look nervously at Tommy Clarke, expecting a big reveal. There was a vacant chair in the room, and the debate raged – would Dave Hogarth actually turn up? Would Curtis arrive uninvited? Was the chair already being occupied by the spirit of Manti Te’o’s girlfriend… Tommy rose, cleared his throat and commanded attention – a hushed atmosphere descended on the jovial gathering. The only sound was the rumble of anticipation, although this was later to be revealed as Brunny’s stomach. A grin came across Tommy’s face and he announced, “Welcome to the second annual mock draft, this year taking in 2 rounds of guesswork. I’d like to welcome tonight’s special guest…” cue dramatic pause. It went on for a while. A bit too long. There was yawning…

“Adam Burrows”

The deflation was felt across Essex, and the disgust was prevalent through the room. Burrows looked confused. Tommy felt the need to justify this – “the man who never turns up for training, but can find his way to a mock draft”. In fairness, he lives in Oxford. The trip to Colchester is a fair effort, and so it is special to see him, but he’d been allocated picks, we all knew he was coming. Not exactly earth shattering.

Talking of which, it wasn’t exactly earth shattering to see that the man who had been given the honour of the #1 overall pick had not turned up, so this privilege went to our de facto special guest.

Pick number one set the tone for the night in many ways. Firstly, the confusion, even at this stage, was impressive. I mean, it’s the first choice, nobody is off the board. He could literally choose himself and not be wrong… But after some consultation, offensive tackle Luke Joeckel went first overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. When quizzed on the logic, Burrows stumbled and referred to his iPad, reading word for word the player pen picture. He then qualified the statement with “of course, we’ll have to see what happens after camp…” That too was a recurring theme as the night wore on.

With the draft now underway a quick glimpse around the room revealed the devotion – Clarke was perusing a Domino’s menu, the Foxley twins were sat side by side in matching Redskins paraphernalia, already thinking ahead to the Washington pick at number 51. Crane was cracking his second beer of the night, only 5 minutes in, Moreton was doodling pictures of what Geno Smith might look like in an Eagles uniform, and Brunny was gazing wistfully at the sausage rolls he brought, wondering if it was too early to get stuck in.

So, things unfolded comfortably until we hit pick number 8. Dave Crane was the acting GM of the Buffalo Bills, and he had only a couple of minutes to consider his options. He smiled, and his body language screamed confidence. “I’ve given this plenty of thought” – he’s clearly very happy with his selection – “and i think there’s one player that fits this pick perfectly”. This sounds promising… “I’ve looked at game tape for this, and i’ve put in plenty of study” – finally someone speaking with authority! “I think the Bills need a quarterback”, erm, didn’t they just sign Kevin Kolb in free agency? Never mind, maybe he’s looking for competition for the spot. “And so with this pick i take…. E.J. Manuel.”

Wow, not something we expected, but certainly not completely out of the question. Some time passed, the draft moved on. Someone quizzes Crane – “why did you choose E. J. Manuel for the Bills? I’d have thought you’d go Ryan Nassib there. After all, Buffalo now have his former College head coach, and offensive coordinator”. Dave’s face falls… “Erm, that might have been who i meant…” Apparently preparation doesn’t necessary prevent failure.

At every possible moment, Tommy Clarke urges trades, he encourages teams to consider trading for picks to keep things interesting. Nobody really listens to him. When it gets around to pick number 9 with the New York Jets, Clarke unleashes his master plan! In a masterfully pre-arranged move, the Jets trade with the St. Louis Rams, exchanging the 9th and 16th picks, with the Rams also giving the Jets their second round pick at number 46. The Rams had two first round picks, so this wasn’t as crazy as it seemed. The Rams want to grab Tavon Austin, and the Jets just need picks – they are awful, so more high picks means more good players (N.B. This all took place prior to the Revis trade to Tampa Bay). There were no further trades….

The night continued with the usual “oohs” and “aahs”, followed by the odd “Great pick”, and littered with “well, let’s see what happens after camp”. The beer flowed, the pizza was abundant, the laughs were plenty and the football talk was highly entertaining.

Full draft is below:

1 Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT
2 Jacksonville Jaguars – Eric Fisher, OT
3 Oakland Raiders – Shariff Floyd, DT
4 Philadelphia Eagles – Dion Jordan, DE/OLB
5 Detroit Lions – Lane Johnson, OT
6 Cleveland Browns – Dee Milliner, CB
7 Arizona Cardinals – Geno Smith, QB
8 Buffalo Bills – E. J. Manuel, QB
9 St. Louis Rams (From NY Jets) – Tavon Austin, wR
10 Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack, OG
11 San Diego Chargers – Jarvis Jones, OLB
12 Miami Dolphins – Xavier Rhodes, CB
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DJ Hayden, CB
14 Carolina Panthers – Star Lotulelei, DT
15 New Orleans Saints – Barkevious Mingo, DE
16 NYJ (from St. Louis) – Ziggy Ansah, DE
17 Pittsburgh Steelers – Cordarelle Patterson, WR
18 Dallas Cowboys – Kenny Vaccaro, SS
19 New York Giants – Arthur Brown, ILB
20 Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree, ILB
21 Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Lacy, RB
22 St. Louis Rams – Jonathan Cooper, OG
23 Minnesota Vikings – Sheldon Richardson, DT
24 Indianapolis Colts – Bjoern Werner, DE
25 Minnesota Vikings – Keenan Allen, WR
26 Green Bay Packers – Tyler Eifert, TE
27 Houston Texans – Deandre Hopkins, WR
28 Denver Broncos – Tank Carradine, DT
29 New England Patriots – DJ Fluker, OT
30 Atlanta Falcons – Damontre Moore, DE
31 San Francisco 49ers – Jonathan Cyprien, SS
32 Baltimore Ravens – Manti T’eo, ILB

Round 2
1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Tyrann Mathieu, CB
2. San Francisco 49ers – Datone Jones, DE
3. Philadelphia Eagles – Matt Elam, S
4. Detroit Lions – Alex Okafor, DE
5. Cincinnati Bengals – Eric Reid, FS
6. Arizona Cardinals – Menelik Watson, OT
7. Cleveland Browns – Josh Gordon (2012 Supplementary draft choice)
8. New York Jets – Zach Ertz, TE
9. Tennessee Titans – Desmond Trufant, CB
10. Buffalo Bills – Justin Hunter, WR
11. Miami Dolphins – Teron Armstead, OT
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Pugh, OT
13. Carolina Panthers DJ Swearinger, S
14. New Orleans (forefeited)
15. San Diego Chargers – Kyle Long, OT
16. New York Jets (from St. Louis) – Matt Barkley, QB
17. Dallas Cowboys – Larry Warford, OG
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kevin Minter, ILB
19. New York Giants – Brandon Williams, DT
20. Chicago Bears – Barrett Jones, C/OG
21. Washington Redskins – Jonathan Banks, CB
22. Minnesota Vikings – Mike Glennon, QB
23. Cincinnati Bengals – Terrance Williams, WR
24. Miami Dolphins – Robert Woods, WR
25. Green Bay Packers – Jonathan Franklin, RB
26. Seattle Seahawks – Sylvester Williams, DT
27. Houston Texans – Jamar Taylor, CB
28. Denver Broncos – Jesse Williams, DT
29. New England Patriots – Margus Hunt, DE
30. Atlanta Falcons – Darius Slay, CB
31. San Francisco 49ers – Marcus Wheaton, WR
32. Baltimore Ravens – Quinton Patton, WR


Wembley & the Green Man

October 30, 2007

So, the weekend that British Football had been waiting for – Giants vs. Dolphins at Wembley, needless to say that for the Gladiators it got of to an inauspicious start…

As I sat in the kitchen, waiting for Mark to pick me up ready to head for the school, and the pre-arranged minibus, the clock ticked on… and on… and on… It was already 7.25, and we were due to meet at 7.30. I ring him… “I’m just having some breakfast, trying to work out what to wear” he says.

“Mark, we need to be there in 5 minutes”.

“Why? What time is it?”


“My clock says 6.25”.

“No, you’re wrong…”

Many expletives followed as he grabbed a coat and rushed out of the door. Turns out dear old Mark had turned his clock back 2 hours, rather than 1, and so was in fact more in tune with the people of the Azores, or of the Cape Verde Islands, than he was with us in jolly olde England.

So, we rush to the school, and to our surprise (well, not really, to be honest we expected some kind of cock up!) there was no minibus. Apparently whoever used it the day before hadn’t returned it. Needless to say, Chairman Dave was less than pleased. So, we crammed into cars, Simon Wilkinson played BA Baracus in the Gladiator van, hauling all the speakers and DJ equipment up to the Green Man. I stayed with Mark and was joined by Paul Brunsden and Steve Pinner. So, we venture down the A12 and on to Wembley.

At least 4, possibly 5 illegal U-turns and a dozen annoyed motorists later we locate the Green Man and park. I say park, what actually happened was that Mark moved his car onto the grass as instructed, got stuck, and in true Gladiator style uttered the immortal words, “Sod it, that’ll do”.

Now, at the Green Man there was work to do. We set up a large outdoor bar, a large stand for SPPSS, a kit supplier run by a very enthusiastic Aussie, all the DJ equipment, the bucking bull, the Gladiators stall, and watched some Germans unload box after box of stuff for their clothing stall. Germans, seem to get everywhere.

tailgate1.jpgAnyway, the party was a big success, and saw players from Sussex, Bedford, Farnham, Hull, Ipswich, Essex, Coventry, Edinburgh, Oxford, Kent, East Kent, Andover, Plymouth and an entire bus load from Shropshire, and that’s just the shirts I recognised! People ate, drank and were merry, (particularly so when the Kukri Allstarzz came on) and the event served as a fantastic warm up to the game itself.tailgate2.jpg

There were a couple of golden moments – Chairman Dave interviewed by Nuts TV, and now apparently we have pre-game entertainment at Broad Lane, including professional singers belting out the national anthem. Hmm… Also, credit to our very own Leo Beckford who took second place in the bull riding competition.

So, on to the game itself. Fairly wet and wild, loads of running, mainly because not a single New York receiver knew how to catch, and it turned into a good old fashioned game of muddy smashmouth football, loads of running between the tackles, and lots of hits going in. Ted Ginn Jr’s TD catch was a definite highlight though, especially as it happened right in front of us (I’m in the picture somewhere, so you can see how close our seats were!).tomincrowd1.jpg


So, all in all a good day, rounded off by Brunny and I having to push Mark’s car out of the mud to get it moving again!