Al Davis is gone, but his spirit still walks among us. And his ghost really likes to walk among the halls of Lucas Oil Stadium in late February during the annual NFL Scouting Combine, getting a look at the most athletic draft picks who would surely take his team to a Super Bowl if only his idiot son weren't screwing things up.
In honor of Al, we made a mock draft to match the year's best athletes with the proper teams, in the spirit of parity or something like that.
This one's for you, Al.
1. Houston Texans - Dri Archer, KR/WR, Kent State
I can't really imaging starting off a mock draft in Al Davis' honor without making Archer the first pick. His 40 time of 4.26 almost broke Chris Johnson's record, so obviously he's due for one really big season before limping off into the ephemeral. Oddly enough, the Texans do need a return man.
2. St. Louis Rams (via Washington) - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
When Jeff Fisher imagines the perfect NFL team, it's made up of cornerbacks, defensive linemen, a workhorse running back and a kicker who can boot it in from 60+ yards. Along those lines, it's impossible for the Rams to pass up another "freak" who will help his team win 10 games followed by an early playoff exit. He's never been so happy.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars - Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The same analytics department that's managed to figure out the most cost-effective way for trans-Atlantic travel has another theory it's working on: the 60-yard shuttle as a predictor of NFL success. Chad Henne never had it so good.
4. Cleveland Browns - Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
A bigger and badder version of Brian Hoyer and a "top performer" in every single combine drill? Eat your heart out Michael Lombardi; the Browns have arrived!
5. Oakland Raiders - John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State (Kansas)
After a spirited argument in the Raiders draft room, Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie compromise, filling a need and finding the fastest wide receiver available. They were also surprised to see John Brown from Kansas wasn't who they thought he was, which can happen when you don't look past a guy's 4.34 time in the 40.
6. Atlanta Falcons - Ryan Hewitt, RB/FB, Stanford
To hell with workout numbers, Mike Smith knows what he needs and that's a replacement for Jason Snelling. Hewitt can also do some lead blocking to help get the Falcons even closer to a Super Bowl, running mostly on Steven Jackson's fumes.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Robinson's raw as a pass blocker, but his 40 time and broad jump are not to be ignored. More importantly, his vaccinations are all up-to-date.
8. Minnesota Vikings - Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
This pick matches the one from Monday's mock draft, so obviously we're all fixated on Ealy's three-cone time, which led all defensive linemen at the combine.
9. Buffalo Bills - Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
Lyerla led all tight end with his vertical jump of 39 inches, a testament to the kind of athleticism he'd add to the Bills' offensive attack. Plus, four years in Buffalo will help keep him on the straight and narrow and away from Nolan Nawrocki's judgmental glares.
10. Detroit Lions - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Watkins did great in all the drills, but didn't actually lead any of them. That's a huge red flag for some, but Jim Caldwell's just happy to get a second receiver to go with Calvin Johnson. It's all part of his proven system of using supremely talented offensive players to convince the world of his head coaching bona fides.
11. Tennessee Titans - Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
The Titans need new defensive coordinator Ray Horton to do what he's always done and turn some relatively unknown linebacker into a decent pass rusher.
12. New York Giants - Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon
Mitchell killed it in all three shuttle events at the combine. After last season, the Giants aren't taking any risks, and since Mitchell killed it on ALL THREE shuttle events at the combine, he's a little more on the safe side than upside.
13. St. Louis Rams - Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
40 times usually aren't a huge deal for defensive tackles, but given Fisher's plan for a team consisting mostly of defensive linemen, it's important that guys be multi-faceted.
14. Chicago Bears - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Marc Trestman invented a formula that takes all of a player's combine results, adjusts for game tape and adds a pinch of whatever Malcolm Gladwell's latest theory said. This is the pick the computer spit out, proving science and computers are wonderful things in the right hands.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
He did well on every single drill in Indianapolis, and he looks like he could be the first Steelers offensive lineman to play a full 16-game season since the league went to a 16-game schedule ... or something like that. Plus, he and Ben Roethlisberger have a lot to talk about.
16. Dallas Cowboys - Trade pick for cash; give Randy Starks five-year, $76 million contract
17. Baltimore Ravens - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
No jokes here. Ozzie Newsome just makes another sensible draft pick. Evans, who did well at the combine, goes on to have a 1,000-yard season, reigniting the Joe Flacco-elite debate.
18. New York Jets - Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Johnny had one of the fastest 40 times among QBs at the combine. Rex Ryan is positive that he's finally got his guy to run the wildcat 24 times a game.
19. Miami Dolphins - Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Kouandjio had the worst combine performance of anyone in the most important event: medical evaluations. Stephen Ross told Joe Philbin that would probably translate to a high-character player, and after escaping that last mess, Philbin doesn't want to leave anything to chance.
20. Arizona Cardinals - Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College
So what if he's got the dreaded "tweener" label attached to him; he ran the fastest 40 of any linebacker at the combine.
21. Green Bay Packers - Lamin Barrow, OLB, LSU
Dom Capers watched the tape of LSU containing Johnny Football in the pocket last season. He's convinced that Barrow can FINALLY help his defense do the same with Colin Kaepernick. Forget Khalil Mack.
22. Philadelphia Eagles - Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Verrett did well at the combine, and makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, who seem to be doing everything right these days. This pick will be widely panned by analysts convinced that Varrett will never be able to master Chip Kelly's unworkable system, whatever that is.
23. Kansas City Chiefs - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
The bench press was Matthews' event in Indianapolis, but that's not what caught Andy Reid's eye. The Chiefs coach saw a tall receiver with good hands perfect for catching short passes, cutting down on Alex Smith's downfield throws and reducing the need to run the ball by 40 percent.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
The Bengals aren't ready to give up on Andy Dalton, but they sure are tired of losing in the Wild Card round every year. That's where AJ comes into the picture. He won the combine with his press conference, making it clear that all he does is win. If Dalton can't do it, this is a surefire way around that hurdle.
25. San Diego Chargers - Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA
Wait, this pick makes sense, and his only notable combine result was in the 20-yard shuttle. What gives? Hey, Tom Telesco and Mike McCoy are doing things differently in San Diego ... like taking all the fun and unpredictability Norv Turner and A.J. Smith brought to the team.
26. Cleveland Browns (via Indianapolis) - Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
Described as a "jack of all trades, master of none" in his official combine scouting report, he's perfect for whatever it is the Browns and Kyle Shanahan want to do.
27. New Orleans Saints - Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
Someone actually suggested this pick to Rob Ryan while splitting a case of MGD during a January getaway to the Florida Panhandle. "He just sounds like New Orleans, man." Leading all cornerbacks at the combine in the vertical jump makes it seem that much more prescient.
28. Carolina Panthers - Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi
Moncrief saw his draft stock take a giant "leap" after an impressive performance in both jumping events at the combine. With another weapon for Cam Newton, the Panthers could "vault" right into an NFC Championship.
29. New England Patriots - Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
There's nothing in the Patriot Way handbook about the bench press, but Hageman was one of the few players to put up more than 30 reps on the iron bar. You can safely wager that they'll trade this pick and still somehow wind up with exactly the defensive tackle they want in the third round or so.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina
You have to admit, 42 reps on the bench press is pretty impressive. But that's not what drew Trent Baalke to Bodine. He just wanted to mess with Jim Harbaugh.
31. Denver Broncos - Joel Bitonio, G, Nevada
Despite Bill Polian's unsolicited advice to draft nobody and just rely on Peyton Manning, the Broncos knew better. They were drawn to Bitonio because of his 32-inch vertical jump, which probably means something good about his NFL potential ... ah, who are we kidding, Polian's right.
32. Seattle Seahawks - Larry Webster, DE, Bloomsburg
Who is Larry Webster? We don't really know. He ran a Clowney-esque 4.58 in the 40 and got really far up the ruler on the vertical jump. Basically, that means Pete Carroll will turn him into an essential rotational player who regularly gets 10 sacks and probably wins a Super Bowl MVP award at some point, all before getting jettisoned when his rookie deal expires.