As surely all of you know, the first round of the NFL Draft is tonight. I know all of you are eagerly waiting my NFL Draft Preview, but with the Pats out of the first round, my motivation was lacking a little. You can go anywhere on the internet and get a good mock draft (just because: Official Brian’s Den Top Five Players I’d want five years from now 1. Myles Garrett 2. Jamal Adams 3. Jonathan Allen 4. Malik Hooker 5. Corey Davis). Besides, I’m not an NFL talent evaluator. I’m a Pokemon talent evaluator. And there’s only one place on the web where you can get PFL mock drafts, and it’s right here. My breakdown of the first draft class was such a hit, I decided to bring my (few) loyal readers something different to chew on during draft night. The PFL was lucky- the inaugural draft class is arguably the deepest and most talented. This draft class? Less so. There’s some elite talent at the top of the draft, but after the top five or so it’s a bit of a wasteland and the back end gets ugly. But, that’s the curse of being the Mel Kiper of Pokemon. Sometimes you get to watch hours of Mewtwo picking apart defenses, sometimes you have to watch hours of Delibird throwing picks left and right. But, just like I can’t choose who’s available, the teams can’t either, and let’s just say teams are going to be very willing to trade their picks this year. Teams that struggled last year will likely find no solace here, but fret not, because the third draft class is historic (just a reminder that I have Big Boards for all seven generations of Pokemon). Remember, there are 8 teams in the PFL, so this top 32 Big Board is for the first four rounds of the draft.
1. Tyranitar (DT/DE)
Absolute beast. Think Aaron Donald with a meaner disposition. His hands are lightning fast and strong as sledgehammers, and his legs never stop churning. He can line up anywhere on the defensive line in any system and thrive. Put him at nose tackle and he’ll singlehandedly shut down the opponent’s run game. Put him outside and he’ll lead the league in sacks. He’s got a bottomless bag of pass rush moves, but rarely needs to use them since he’s so much stronger than almost everyone he plays with. A cornerstone player and someone who can instantly elevate a defense to an elite level. Won’t play offense, but with more players entering the league, the need for two way players is lessening. A can’t miss prospect.
2. Scizor (WR/CB)
With the exception of Machoke, he’ll be the most talented receiver in the league from day one. He’s got the size, the speed, and the freak athleticism. He’s a faster Brandon Marshall, and he can dominate the red zone. It may be cheating a little, but those claws are perfectly designed to hold footballs and never let go. He rewrote the touchdown record books in college, and figures to do the same in the pros. He’s a passable corner who often relies on his own knowledge of the route tree to anticipate and jump routes, which can get him in trouble.
3. Wobbuffet (T)
The best pure pass protector ever evaluated, Wobbuffet is perfect for the modern, pass heavy game. Has tremendous balance and a low center of gravity, and his long arms allow him to shut down pass rushers from any angle. Able to counter finesse or bull rushing moves, Wobbuffet is almost impossible to beat. The equipment staff will thank you for drafting him, since the quarterback’s jersey will never be dirty. A reactionary, passive player, Wobbuffet will struggle to set the tone in the running game, making him truly useful to only pass-first offenses.
4. Heracross (RB/MLB)
Ask anyone who’s ever played with Heracross who their favorite teammate is, and they won’t hesitate to name him. He leaves absolutely everything out on the field, and he’s someone you want in you foxhole when facing adversity. He’s also very talented. There aren’t a lot of high end running backs, and, though he won’t be an all pro at the position or anything, he’ll take the ball and be effective. He’s got good vision, a nose for the end zone, and is a battering ram of a runner and lead blocker. His true calling, though, is as a sideline to sideline middle linebacker. He’s got great instincts and is a film rat, never leaving the practice facility until he’s poured over every second of available tape on the opposition. He’s a hard nosed tackler, and routinely separates the ball carrier from the pigskin. Decent in coverage, Heracross never leaves the field. Whether or not he’s the best player on the team, he’ll be a leader in the locker room and a high character player to build around.
5. Lugia (TE/S)
Lugia emerged as a combine superstar, and the hype train predictably brought him to the front of a weak draft class, despite a lack of production in college. Some blamed poor coaching or said it was a bad fit, but the truth is he just didn’t really care all that much. He sleepwalked though virtually every game, emerging from his slumber on rare occasions to make eye-popping plays. The physical tools are obviously there. One look at him could tell you that. He’s big, strong, and explosive. The only question is was he bored against lesser competition or does he really just not give a shit? If he applies himself in the pros, look out. His size and wingspan make him uncoverable in the red zone, and his soft hands never let a ball hit the ground. He’s surprisingly elusive in the open field for such a big guy, and has refined route running skills. He’s listed at tight end, but is really more of a receiver and is a lousy blocker. Even when coasting, he’s a good safety, capable of playing centerfield or coming down into the box. Has great ball skills and closing speed. Has a tendency to hunt for interceptions and big hits, leading him to get out of position. Again, I’d be cautious drafting him. With the right coach and teammates, he could be a star. With the wrong ones, you’ll never hear his name again.
6. Feraligatr (G/DT)
A throwback to the days when men were men and concussions didn’t exist, Feraligatr is a mean, nasty, mauling interior lineman who likes nothing more than locking horns with the man across from him. He’s extremely physical and can wear down lesser-willed opponents. He excels in the run game, and takes a ballcarrier’s approach to blocking. He’s always going downhill and looking for the next man to take out. His pass blocking is lacking, since, according to him, the passing game is for cowards and he refuses to work on it. He has a personal grudge against any quarterback not on his team (and even then, not always) and, on defense, works tirelessly to hit the QB every play. He’s an explosive interior pass rusher who will account for some big hits and holding calls. He’ll draw more than his fair share of personal fouls, but he sets a physical tone on both sides of the ball.
7. Typhlosion (TE/DE)
Most drafts often have many talented players with serious character concerns that cause them to plummet down the rankings. Fortunately for Typhlosion, the rest of this draft class’ ceiling is to be an average player, so he can’t fall too far. There’s no way around it- Typhlosion is going to be a huge headache. He was ejected two times a year on average in college. He’s had numerous run-ins with the law. He’s the definition of uncoachable, and often bullies smaller coaches and teammates. Still, he’s a really talented player. He’s never going to wow you with his numbers, but that’s because, somewhat against character, he loves doing the little things. He’s a great blocker. He’ll set the edge and take on double teams so his teammates can make the tackle easier. He’s on the kick return, punt, and field goal units. But that’s not to say he doesn’t have gamebreaking ability. He’s a skilled route runner and a bear to bring down. On defense, he could get ten sacks a season if he committed to it. But that’s not him. He’ll be a great teammate and a great player to add to any contending team, until he isn’t.
8. Entei (DE)
More than just a pure pass rusher, Entei can not only get after the quarterback but is stout against the run. He’s a leader on the field, and his teammates will often look up to him for his work ethic and production on the field. Durability can be a concern, as he missed parts of three seasons in college. His combine performance left plenty to be desired, as well, but his floor is still good enough to take this early.
9. Ampharos (T/DE)
This is where the lack of talent in this draft begins to show. Ampharos is a fine player, likely to have a long career. But in any other draft, he’s not a top ten pick. Technically, he’s very skilled. His hand placement and footwork are good enough to be put on training tapes for young players. He’s a smart player and reads the game very well. He’s just not physical enough to ever reach the mountaintop. He’s not a great athlete and can be exposed by some of the freaks that rush the passer in the PFL. He can be pushed around in the run game, and isn’t the most mentally tough player. Still, he could be a pro bowler in the right circumstances. More of a right tackle than a left tackle, he can still be a part of an elite offensive line, but he’ll need tough, grittier players around him. On defense, put him as a 3-4 defensive end or 4-3 d-tackle to take up space.
10. Delibird (QB)
Listen, it’s a quarterback’s league, and quarterbacks will always be valuable. Is Delibird the guy I’d want leading my offense? If I had a choice, no. But, just like the NFL, some PFL teams are destined to have shitty quarterback play for all eternity. And that’s what Delibird can provide. He’s got a solid arm and surprising mobility, but his decision making leaves plenty to be desired. If you roll with Delibird, you better have some fast, well-conditioned offensive linemen, because they’ll be running the other way a lot. It’s not all bad, though. He’s a good teammate and a good leader, and once he gets the hang of an offensive system, he can put up some big numbers. Just don’t expect to see his team in the Master Bowl.
11. Raikou (DE/OLB)
An explosive pass rusher. Raikou seemingly exists only to get after the quarterback, and does so with reckless abandon. Gets around the edge quick and has tireless pursuit. Very one dimensional, though, and could quickly become merely a situational player if he remains awful against the run.
12. Miltank (C/G/DT)
Miltank actually has good potential, but her conditioning is, to be honest, horrible. She’s an immovable object, both because of her strength and size, and because she’s so slow it looks like she’s not moving. Obviously better suited to nose tackle where there won’t be any pressure to rush the passer effectively. Good run blocker and impossible to get around in pass protection. She has a good mind for the game and is probably the best locker room presence in the draft, she just can’t go more than three plays in a row without needing a sub. If she ever figures out her conditioning she could be good for a long time.
13. Skarmory (S)
The easiest comparison for Skarmory would be Aerodactyl. An aggressive safety who feeds off contact and stuffing the run. Certainly has more emotional control, but also lacks the elite athleticism. Skarmory is slow for a safety, and may ultimately be forced into a hybrid safety/linebacker role. Doesn’t have great range in coverage, but does the job as the last line of defense with excellent tackling. Has good instincts and great durability, never missing a snap in college. He won’t be a star, but he’s a serviceable player at a premium position. Don’t expect anything out of him on offense.
14. Granbull (MLB/G)
One look at Granbull shows you exactly what you’re going to get. He’s a literal and figurative bulldog who will plug up the middle of the defense and shut down the run game. He’s a hard hitter who has never heard of CTE and will willingly throw his body around to make the stop. A student of the game, but lacks speed or elite athleticism, and can be exposed in coverage. Is a heady guard who makes up for lack of size with smarts and tenacity.
15. Ho-Oh (S/OLB)
After spending three years on a religious mission, he is by far the oldest player in the draft and has virtually no upside. He is what he is at this point, which is better than most of the prospects in this class. He’ll fit in nicely to the hybrid linebacker/safety role that’s so popular now, but can adequately play both strong safety and 4-3 outside linebacker. He doesn’t have great speed, but he’s stout, smart, and mentally tough. He’s a leader who can handle more than his fair share of adversity. Won’t be a star but will contribute right away.
16. Forretress (T)
You might be thinking this draft lacks offensive playmakers, and you’d be right. The dearth of skill position players is so pronounced that it’s propelled Forretress to the middle of the second round. Forretress is a divisive prospect, but he’s strong and impossible to get around on the outside. He’s slow as molasses and has all the game awareness as a bag of chips, and has trouble controlling his anger, to boot. Still, he has the tools to be a good offensive lineman.
17. Crobat (WR/CB)
This small-school speedster turned heads at the combine and has rocketed up the draft board. The only thing holding him back? He can’t catch. At all. He makes Ted Ginn look like Larry Fitzgerald. His straight line speed is unmatched in this class, but all that does nothing if he can’t catch the ball when it’s thrown his way. Until (and really, if) he figures that out, he may be better served for special teams. But, in a draft like this, you should only pass on this kind of talent for so long.
18. Houndoom (OLB/DE)
Houndoom has everything you want in an edge rusher: a quick first step, great pursuit ability, and a great motor. Wait, did I say he has everything? What I meant to say was he has everything except size, strength, and durability. He’s quicker than most offensive lineman, but he’s so undersized it almost doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t jump the snap perfectly and get around the edge right away, he’s better off on the bench. If anyone gets their hands on him, he’s completely out of the play. He doesn’t shed blocks well and can work himself into a frenzy when things don’t go his way. When he does jump the snap, though, it’s almost guaranteed to be a sack.
19. Stantler (DE)
A mirror image of Houndoom, Stantler has the size and strength but lacks the speed. Better suited as a 3-4 defensive end where he can engage blockers and stop the run as opposed to chase down QBs. Durability is a plus, as is his work ethic. Picking him won’t get the fans excited, but your linebackers will appreciate it.
20. Politoed (RB/WR/CB)
If you need a third down running back, Politoed is your man. His best attributes are his receiving ability out of the backfield and his blitz pickup. Won’t make people miss or run anyone over, but has a habit of getting just enough yards to keep the drive moving. He’s an unselfish player who realizes his limitations and embraces being a role player, something often found in water types. Ideally a slot corner so he can’t get beat deep as easily.
21. Ursaring (T/DE)
Here he is. The ultimate swing-or-miss prospect of this class. Kicked out of school for a number of issues (assault charges, multiple cheating allegations, drug abuse, DUIs, the list is never ending), he hasn’t played football in over a year. Only take him if you have a strong organizational infrastructure in place. He’s got all the talent in the world though. He’s got absurd strength and can totally dominate a game on either side of the ball. That’s at his best, though, and we haven’t seen him at that level in a while. If he still has it and feels like behaving, watch out. If he doesn’t, well, watch out. Every time he plays, he totally kills one team’s chances of winning. It’s just a matter of which one.
22. Quilava (RB/LB)
Would rank higher if fumbling wasn’t a serious issue. He’s a decent athlete who can make the occasional big play, but he puts the ball on the ground way too often. He’s a talented linebacker in coverage, especially in a cover 2 scheme, but can struggle fighting off blocks and tackling big backs. Has a fiery personality than can lead to penalties if no kept under control.
23. Sneasel (WR/KR)
A jitterbug in the slot, Sneasel will never be big enough to be a true number one receiver. Doesn’t have the best hands and can struggle in traffic, but can make people look foolish in the open field. Versatile offensively, he can lineup in the backfield and catch passes or take the occasional handoff. He’s a skilled and reliable kick returner who rarely makes mistakes. Will usually miss a few games a year, as his frail body won’t hold up against a full professional season.
24. Gligar (DB)
Gligar could be the prospect that comes back to haunt me. He’s got good ball skills, a good feel for the game, and good raw athleticism. He can play corner or safety, and has shown flashes of excelling at both. But when I watch him I just don’t see it. His technique breaks down too easily. He jumps routes too much. He’s undisciplined. He’s had some off the field issues. I just don’t trust him to maximize his talents. But at this stage in the draft, might as well take a flier on him.
25. Croconaw (FB/LB)
At this stage of the draft, the talent level is beginning to severely drop, so taking a versatile player becomes the smart move. Croconaw can play either inside or outside linebacker and is a skilled lead blocker. Fullback is his best position, but he considers himself a linebacker first. It’s an attitude you like to see, but the production he’ll provide is another matter.
26. Noctowl (OC)
I feel like people think I’m overstating how bad this class is, but a coach is on the Big Board. A coach! PFL is a little different than NFL-you can draft coaches if you so choose. Getting an offensive mind like Noctowl might be a smart move. He’s an innovative play caller, and is never afraid to be aggressive. Great talent developer, especially with quarterbacks and receivers. If you already have your quarterback, taking Noctowl, sucking next season, and taking one of the many elite playmakers in next year’s class is a good formula for long term success.
27. Donphan (DT/G/C)
I may be underrating Donphan, but personally, I’m not a fan. He’s too slow, too stiff, and too unhinged to ever become an all pro in my eyes. Being strong and aggressive aren’t the only things that make a good lineman, and Donphan’s technique is seriously lacking. He doesn’t work hard in practice and rarely studies film. In other words, there’s a reason he’s so low on my board.
28. Hitmontop (RB/QB/S/CB)
Like his cousins Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan, Hitmontop grew up playing quarterback. Once hitting the college ranks, though, he quickly learned his future didn’t lie under center. Size is a serious issue, and, offensively, it’s limited him to being a second- or third-string running back with the possibility of completing a trick play every now and then. He’s better as a defensive back, but size and a lack of top-end speed hurt him there, too. He’s unafraid to stick his nose in and make tackles, but he’ll be chasing a lot of receivers that beat him deep.
29. Aipom (QB/CB)
Imagine Colin Kaepernick, if Colin Kaepernick was a foot shorter and threw with his tail. Aipom is like if Darren Sproles played QB. He’s tiny and elusive, and just kind of flings the ball as hard as he can every play. Is he good? No. Is he exciting? Yes. Hey, backup quarterbacks have to come from somewhere.
30. Girafarig (T/DE)
I know no one wants to read this about draft prospects, but Girafarig is pretty much just a roster filler. He adds depth and can sometimes play at a relatively high level, but he just doesn’t have a ton of natural talent. He’s a good, unselfish teammate who can fill in nicely for injuries or when the better players need a breather. It’s not exciting, but it’s valuable.
31. Quagsire (TE/DT)
A common theme in this draft class, Quagsire is just too slow to ever make much of an impact. He’ll be a good blocking tight end or a rotational d tackle, but nothing more than that. He has soft hands, so fantasy owners may want to pay attention to him in the red zone.
32. Smeargle (QB)
It’s no secret that Smeargle would rather be pursuing a career in art rather than football, but when you’re one of the few Pokemon with thumbs, you have to at least be a backup QB. Ideally, he’ll never see a second of game time. But he’s a good luxury to have. His arm isn’t great and he’s immobile, to say the least. But he’s surprisingly accurate, and can easily turn and hand the ball off until the starter is ready to come back in.
Slowking, Murkrow, Furret
Sudowoodo, Togepi, Chikorita