Monday, February 18, 2013

Mock Draft #3 - Pre-Combine

Finally. It finally feels like draft time. The SuperBowl has come and gone. What a game it was. The first half and really into the second were forgettable. Some moments to remember though include the emergence of the former Blue Hen of Delaware, Joe Flacco. The SuperBowl MVP played at an incredibly high level throughout the playoffs and warrants a nice new contract from the Ravens. He has been to the playoffs for five straight years and has won nine games and a SuperBowl. He doesn't always have the flash and fire many like to see from QBs, but Mr. Flacco certainly gets it done. Second thing to remember from the first half and into the second was Jacoby Jones and the history he made. His receiving TD followed up by the second half opening kick back 108yds really gave the Ravens all the "power" they needed. Speaking of power, who will ever forget the 34 minute delay caused by the power outage. The twitterverse blew up on that and I loved it. After that was over, the 49ers came out seemingly "recharged" (so many puns to choose from) and made a game of it. I was so ready to trademark "LightGate" had they finished the comeback. I don't like the play calling at the end for the 49ers but you live and learn. Little brother Jim has a lot to learn about class and losing with dignity too. So with that, the 2012 NFL Season is over and we open the book on the 2013 Season.
Now the entire NFL world's focus will be on this week's Combine in Indianapolis. The top draft eligible prospects will be on hand and scouts will get a chance to see what these athletes can do wearing shorts. While I believe the Combine is necessary, in my opinion, it means close to nothing. A player can certainly improve their stock with a great performance but if I were a coach or GM, I would want to know how they perform on Sundays. Between the ears is where it all matters this week. Pro days and private or individual workouts are also on the way , but my draft fix is finally here and I love every minute of it. Until free agency hits, this is where the NFL focus is. 
Before I get into the mock, I wanted to share my opinion on the Ray Lewis deer antler controversy. First of all, deer antler? Really? Second, lets not be shocked that an NFL player might have taken an illegal substance. Have you seen some of them lately? Sure I understand that they hit the gym everyday, eat right, and have a team of training experts in their ear, but what really goes on behind closed doors? Now, I'm not accusing Lewis of taking? using? deer antler (still can't get over saying deer antler as an illegal drug) but what I am saying is I would not be surprised. I honestly believe the majority of NFL players are taking something illegal but either know how to get around it or are told to stop and if they get caught again, will be suspended (which they can appeal anyways and usually win. Imagine if real life worked like that.) So yeah, like I said, not accusing, just having an open mind that not every NFL superstar is clean.
This third mock draft will feature the start of the third round ending with the Buffalo Bills pick. I elected not to get into trades just yet because I want to see how free agency pans out. Oh, and as far as no QBs in round 1 in my last mock, that has changed. Kansas City, you are on the clock...(no, Leon Sandcastle is not my first pick)
1.) Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel OT/Texas A&M  Again, as of now before the combine, this pick does not change. This is really the first time in a awhile I can remember there not being a clear cut favorite to be picked first overall. A good showing in Indy could only help Joeckel solidify that status. But there is the prospect of Geno Smith or another QB showing well and earning that distinction as well.
2.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore DE/Texas A&M  It is a tight race between Moore and Werner I believe to be the second overall selection. In this heat, Moore takes it. Not saying Werner isn't worthy, but I watched some highlights and saw a little more power and explosion in Moore than in Werner. It really is like comparing whether or not a paper dollar is better than four quarters. Essentially the same player.

3.) Oakland Raiders: Dee Milliner CB/Alabama  The more I thought about it, the Raiders have a greater need in their secondary more than anywhere else. Milliner is not the best shut down guy out there, but he is certainly an upgrade than what the silver and black have now. They need to build this team up at every position possible so when Carson Palmer leaves, a young QB can fit in easily.

4.) Philadelphia Eagles: Geno Smith QB/West Virginia  Like I said in my intro, QBs are back in the first round. Why Geno here at number four to Philly? Chip Kelly. Looking back at his time at Oregon, every QB he had could run and pass on a frequent basis and at a high level. Smith is the only true dual threat QB in this class. Michael Vick could very well stay one more season to groom Smith, but this will be Kelly's guy for his offense.

5.) Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner DE/Florida State  This is where the German product lands in mock three. Again, scouts will learn a lot from the combine about both Werner and D. Moore but watching the film will be a more effective tool than anything else. Werner is no doubt a top five talent and will get drafted one way or another in the top five.

6.) Cleveland Browns: Star Lotulelei DT/Utah  The Browns still have a need, in my opinion, at every position. Including QB. But for now, I believe they stick with Weeden and address the defensive side of the ball. The big man from Utah did not get the National attention he warranted with his play this season. This team needs a plug in the middle. Now third year man Phil Taylor has not lived up to his first round pick status just yet.

7.) Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Wilson QB/Arkansas  I think this pick will influence what the Bills do at number eight. Wilson showed the most promise out of the six QBs at the Senior Bowl. He wasn't great by any stretch. He has a good arm and is mobile. The Cardinals need an upgrade over the revolving door of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.

Barkevious Mingo

8.) Buffalo Bills: Barkevious Mingo DE/OLB/LSU  The hybrid player fits into the hybrid defense new DC Mike Pettine will run. I know I was on a WR kick early on in this process but the more I thought about it, they have a much bigger need at LB. I debated Jarvis Jones for this spot but went back and read another article citing his back and neck problems. He ultimately could wind up like Da'Quan Bowers a couple years ago. As far as Mingo goes, he has the talent to be elite in the NFL. With proper coaching and fitting into the right scheme, I think he will be a major asset to the Bills defense. I think Wilson was their guy to target in round one.

9.) New York Jets: Eric Fisher OT/Central Michigan  Not the sexy pick for the Jets but they need some serious help on the O-Line. Sanchez was under constant pressure last season and the run game was virtually ineffective. Fisher is a true football player. Everything the Experts say football players need, he has. Size, toughness, a mean streak are all things Fisher has and could bring the ground and pound back to the Jets.

10.) Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack G/Alabama  The Titans were in the same boat as the Jets last season. They simply could not keep their QBs upright. CJ2K had a few good games (I feel like most of his yards came on the 83 yd TD run against the Bills) but not enough to call him elite. Anyone who watched the National Championship saw Warmack's big gut but more importantly his ability to man handle his opposition. This would be a great player Mike Munchak would love to coach being an O-Lineman himself.

11.) San Diego Chargers: Cordarrelle Patterson WR/Tennessee  Seemingly now the top wideout in the draft, Patterson has the skills necessary to be a dominant NFL receiver. His rare combination of talent makes him so desirable around the NFL. Very fast, big, and hands make him a strong candidate to be the first WR taken. Watch a team trade up for this player but for now, I can see him in the powder blues.

12.) Miami Dolphins: Jarvis Jones OLB/Georgia  Truly a top five talent slips out of the top ten due to injury concerns. I said it before that he may end up like Da'Quan Bowers but I don't see this player lasting past pick fifteen. He is just too talented and if the Dolphins have him land in their lap, I can see the time next to their name be gone in an instant. He would fit perfectly in the Dolphins defense.

13.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Desmond Trufant CB/Washington  Much like Jordan Poyer at the very end of the season, Trufant is soaring up draft boards. This weekend will be crucial for him if he wants to solidify himself as a first round pick. The is still no doubt in my mind the Bucs target a corner with their first selection, perhaps first two. Their secondary, to quote the infamous Bart Scott, "couldn't stop a nose bleed". And being in a division with Brees, Ryan, and Newton they need some serious help.

14.) Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins DT/Ohio State  Previously, this pick was Jesse Williams. Johnathan Hankins is the same size and quite honestly dominated for the Buckeye defense. Williams was never a Terrance Cody or Marcell Dareus. Hankins was on one of if not the best defense no one talked about at Ohio State. Had the Buckeyes not been banned from postseason play, I believe the are the defending National Champs heading into next season. Hankins can play.

15.) New Orleans Saints: Johnthan Banks CB/Mississippi State  The Saints put up historically bad numbers on defense last season. Sure, you can blame it on the fact that they didn't have their regular coaching staff but at the end of the day, I see a bad defense unit. They are old, slow and struggle making big plays when they needed them. Drew Brees was the reason they even had an outside chance at the postseason. Banks is a versatile CB that will bring and edge and speed to this unit.

16.) St. Louis Rams: D.J. Fluker OT/Alabama  A good weekend will make Fluker go from a tweener to a sure thing in the first round. He can go either in the first or fall to maybe the third. Out of all the dominant players on the Alabama offensive line, one could argue Fluker was the weakest link. He has talent but is subject to injury and makes lazy penalties at times. Regardless, the Rams are in some serious need along the O-Line.

17.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Ezekiel Ansah DE/BYU  The proud franchise that is the Pittsburgh Steelers need to regain their identity on defense. The absence of Troy Polamalu for most of the season didn't help but he should be back and healthy in 2013. Same goes for James Harrison. At his best, one of the most dominating players in the NFL. A young guy in the front seven is exactly what the doctor ordered for the "Stillers" with this pick. Ansah is a hot name and will be watched very closely this weekend.

18.) Dallas Cowboys: Alex Okafor DE/Texas  America's team? No, not anymore. The Cowboys have been a disgrace to America if they think they still have that title. Tony Romo is a serviceable QB. They still need to find his replacement in this draft. However, the major area of concern is on the defense. They need to compliment DeMarcus Ware and Okafor can be that guy. The Texas team takes the Texas kid.

19.) New York Giants: Sharrif Floyd DT/Florida  The Giants showed just how difficult it is to even make it back to the playoffs this past year. Certainly, the talent is in place. Just the mental aspect of the game eluded this team all season. They need high energy and high IQ players. Floyd is the answer. Never overly dominant at Florida, Floyd always seemed to be in the right spot at the right time. He will make a big play when the situation calls for it. I am awarding my first steal of the draft to the Giants with this pick.

20.) Chicago Bears: Jonathan Cooper G/North Carolina  Once again, the Bears are in a spot where they find themselves every year. They need to find offensive linemen who can, ya know, actually play. Cooper played at UNC which may cause some comcern but he is still a very solid player. He was part of those brief good years the Tar Heels had so he gets how to win. Jay Cutler is a good QB, his O-Line just needs to treat him like one.
21.) Minnesota Vikings: DeAndre Hopkins WR/Clemson  The Vikings need a compliment to Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson. Harvin does it all as a receiver and everyone knows how freakishly good AP is, but they still need some more help. CHristian Ponder was either really good or really bad last season and with more consistent play at the skill positions, this team could take the next step in the playoffs.

22.) Cincinnati Bengals: Dion Jordan DE/Oregon  The Bengals have one of the best defenses no one talks about in the NFL. You can never have enough pass rushers and that is Jordan's specialty. I have seen some mocks having Jordan in the top five but I haven't seen enough to put him there especially with the DE talent in this year's class. The Bengals could very well have the top defense for years to come in the NFL.

23.) St. Louis Rams (from WSH): Sheldon Richardson DT/Missouri  If the Rams get a player like Richardson to fall to them here at 23, it is a steal. Richardson is one of the classic high motor high intensity guys that teams love to have. However, he is a relatively unknown player and will see see his stock rise. I sense he may end up like Dontari Poe from last season. Early first round pick that really struggled because of the pressure of being an early first round pick. This spot is a better fit for Richardson.

24.) Indianapolis Colts: Manti Te'o LB/Notre Dame  Again, his fall from grace really has nothing to do with the girlfriend hoax but everything to do with his play and position premium. Unless you are getting a Patrick Willis or Luke Kuechly, drafting a middle linebacker early does not make sense. He also struggled mightily against better competition. He will need a good combine and pro day in order to put himself back in the top 20.

25.) Seattle Seahawks: Zach Ertz TE/Stanford  I still like this pick here for the Seahawks. This team really does not have many holes. Defensively, one of the best and the offense with Russell Wilson was tremendous. By adding an additional blocker and decent receiver at the TE position, the Seahawks could be a very dangerous team next season.

26.) Green Bay Packers: Xavier Rhodes CB/Florida State  It seems every year the Packers need secondary help and struggle to stay healthy. Rhodes is a fairly big CB and is a big hitter. Can improve his ball skills like every corner but still has the ability to make an impact right away. In order to get back to championship form, the Packers need to find a way to stay healthy can get contribution from all of their draft picks.

27.) Houston Texans: Jesse Williams DT/Alabama  Imagine JJ Watt playing next to a player with the power of Jesse Williams. Remember, JJ watt was the Defensive Player of the Year without him. This has potential to be a scary duo for years to come. While you could look receiver at this spot, I think the idea of getting a player like Williams to play next to JJ Watt is too good to pass up on.

28.) Denver Broncos: Jordan Poyer CB/Oregon State  Champ Bailey can't play forever. I know he is not really slowing down but at somepoint, the Broncos are going to need his replacement. Why not take advantage of him still being there to teach a young player so he can translate that to when he takes over. Not many players can be a Champ Bailey, but with proper teaching from Champ as well as coaches, Poyer has a chance fill that role.

29.) New England Patriots: Tavon Austin WR/West Virginia  I do not see any way Wes Welker resigns in New ENgland for what he will be asking for and what Belichick does with veteran players. SO with his departure comes Tavon Austin's arrival. He would be able to fill the void right away left by Welker. He certainly is not as talented yet but will get there eventually with Brady and company teaching him. The rich get richer.
30.) Atlanta Falcons: Datone Jones DE/UCLA  A hot name on the rise, Jones has ascended himself all the way into the first round in this mock. I think he will eventually climb higher after the combine and pro day but for now, I see him being the replacement for John Abraham. Sure, you can look at a TE for TOny Gonzalez but defensively this team struggled against the run. They need as many good players along the defensive line as possible.

31.) San Francisco 49ers: Kenny Vaccaro S/Texas  If the 49ers cannot resign Dashon Goldson to a long term deal, I believe they look to the draft to pick up a safety. And a good one at that. Vaccaro is really the only safety worth taking in the first round and I had him all the way in my top ten previously. This would be a steal and once again, the rich get richer.

32.) Baltimore Ravens: Alec Ogletree LB/Georgia  The Super Bowl champs find their replacement for Ray Lewis. He does not have the size of Ray Lewis but his intelligence and athleticism are comparable. In future mocks, I would not be surprised to see his name higher than it already is. He is a talented player and again the combine and his pro day will only help his stock.

Onto Round 2:

33.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Arthur Brown OLB/Kansas State

34.) Kansas City Chiefs: Matt Barkley QB/USC

35.) Philadelphia Eagles: Lane Johnson OT/Oklahoma

36.) Detroit Lions: Kennan Allen WR/California

37.) Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): Jamar Taylor CB/Boise State

38.) Arizona Cardinals: Barrett Jones C/Alabama

39.) New York Jets: Ryan Nassib QB/Syracuse

40.) Tennessee Titans: John Jenkins DT/Georgia

Aaron Dobson

41.) Buffalo Bills: Aaron Dobson WR/Marshall  Kind of a name out of nowhere but this guy can straight up play. He is 6'3" and can run and catch like the best of them. Not to mention he went to the same school that produced Randy Moss. I will be keeping a close eye on Dobson throughout the draft process but the more I watch the more I like. He would be a great fit for the Bills.

42.) Miami Dolphins: Robert Woods WR/USC

43.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Kevin Minter LB/LSU

44.) Carolina Panthers: David Amerson CB/North Carolina State

45.) San Diego Chargers: Matt Elam S/Florida

46.) St. Louis Rams: Travis Frederick C/Wisconsin

47.) Pittsburgh Steelers: Eddie Lacy RB/Alabama

48.) Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Eifert TE/Notre Dame

49.) New York Giants: Eric Reid S/LSU

50.) Chicago Bears: Khaseem Greene OLB/Rutgers

51.) Minnesota Vikings: Kawann Short DT/Purdue

52.) Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Ellington RB/Clemson

53.) Washington Redskins: Sam Montgomery DE/LSU

54.) Indianapolis Colts: Logan Ryan CB/Rutgers

55.) Seattle Seahawks: Larry Warford G/Kentucky

56.) Green Bay Packers: Landry Jones QB/Oklahoma

57.) Houston Texans: Terrance Williams WR/Baylor
58.) Denver Broncos: Malliciah Goodman DE/Clemson

59.) New England Patriots: Jonathan Cyprien S/FIU

60.) Atlanta Falcons: Vance McDonald TE/Rice

61.) San Francisco 49ers: Margus Hunt DE/SMU

62.) Baltimore Ravens: Phillip Thomas S/Fresno State

Round 3:

63.) Kansas City Chiefs: Sylvester Williams DT/North Carolina

64.) Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike Glennon QB/North Carolina State

65.) Detroit Lions: Darius Slay CB/Mississippi State

66.) Oakland Raiders: Chase Thomas OLB/Stanford

67.) Philadelphia Eagles: Robert Alford CB/SE Louisiana

68.) Cleveland Browns: Nico Johnson LB/Alabama

69.) Arizona Cardinals: Devin Taylor DE/South Carolina

70.) Tennessee Titans: Montee Ball RB/Wisconsin

Tyler Bray

71.) Buffalo Bills: Tyler Bray QB/Tennessee  The 6'5" former Volunteer can spin the ball very effectively. He is not the most athletic or most efficient passer but he makes big plays when he has to. Again, my position all along is that there has never been a QB I like the Bills taking in the first 2 rounds. The only one was really Tyler Wilson and I had him going one pick beofre the Bills in round one. Is Bray the answer? I don't know but they will never know unless they try.

Mock 3 complete. Look for the next one to appear around the third week in March once free agency has begun. Thanks for reading!

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