Tag Archives: nfl draft

NFL Mock Draft

R1 Pick 1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marcus Mariota-QB Oregon
The Bucs have a legit option at WR and now need someone to get Mike Evans the ball. Josh McCown is not the answer and we saw what Evans can do in the scramble drill at A & M. With Mariota’s ability to extend plays when he has to, Evans could flourish next year.  When your picking number one in the draft you have to take a QB if there is one that COULD be a franchise changer like Mariota.

R1 Pick 2 Tennessee Titans
Leonard Williams-DE/DT USC
This is a tricky spot here, I think Winston could be the pick but I’m not sure that the Titans are ready to give up on Mettenburger and he might stay in school. If one the two QB prospects don’t sell themselves as the answer they will go with a pass rusher. Williams is my top DE/DT and can play the run as well as the pass. He is also a tough gritty player who has shown he can play through pain and injuries. He translates well to a 4-3 DE and can slide into the middle for 4-3 teams with their speed packages.

R1 Pick 3 Jacksonville Jaguars
Randy Gregory-DE Nebraska
The Jags could maybe go with a guy like Cooper here to get a stud for Bortles, but it’s a little early and any of the OTs.  The Jags will continue to build on the defense and take an edge rusher that can get after the QB. In a division that only has one franchise QB, getting pressure can win you games. Gregory is the perfect fit for Gus Bradley’s defense as the LEO* position.
*LEO position splits speed rusher at the 5 or 7 technique, need speedy player for this i.e. Gregory, Mingo, Dion Jordan types

R1 Pick 4 Oakland Raiders
Amari Cooper-WR Alabama
The Raiders need help with interior pass rush badly, but they can’t take one this high it would be foolish from a value standpoint. David Carr has looked good this year, so getting him a weapon is their next biggest need. Amari Cooper is a stud, and a near can’t miss prospect from the WR position. They can address the pass rush with their next pick, this class is deep.

R1 Pick 5 Washington Redskins
Brandon Scherff-OT Iowa
The Redskins could go with Winston here if Jay Gruden gets his way, but I think RG3 will get one more year. They gave up so much to get him they almost have too. They need to protect RG3 to really see what he can do, Scherff is good in the run and passing game and can play Guard right now if they need him too.  He steamrolls people in the Run game and is an above average pass protector.  That’s what the Redskins need, give the ball to Alfred Morris and let RG3 benefit from some play-action passes.

R1 Pick 6 New York Jets
Jameis Winston-QB FSU
Geno Smith is not the answer at QB and if Marrone left Buffalo because they didn’t have a QB, he’s going to want one (I think he lands the coachig gig here). If one of the two top QBs is staring him in the face at 5 he’ll run to the podium.
Jameis no doubt can play the position on the field and has the killer instinct. Can he handle the distractions off the field of the NFL? That’s the real question, his INTs have been way up this year but I see that as him pressing. Winston to the big apple, there will be fireworks one way or another.  He has all the tools to be an NFL QB, but is he willing to put in the work to become great? That’s where the real questions lie, windows get smaller in the NFL so your reads have to be second nature and instinct.

R1 Pick 7 Chicago Bears
Shane Ray-DE/OLB Missouri
The Bears defense has more holes in it then your grandma’s pin cushion. They will take the BPA on defense for sure this year again. Ray can get after the passer and in a division with Rodgers, Stafford, and now Teddy B they will need to do that to win. He’s an ideal fit for a 4-3 DE and edge rusher.  He has violent hands and attempts to play the run. He is a special prospect, but he has some boom or bust potential.

R1 Pick 8 Atlanta Falcons
Vic Beasley-DE Clemson
The Atlanta pass rush is so bad they need all the help they can get. They couldn’t get to the QB at all this year, Beasley will help with that.
Beasley will need to add some weight to help in the run game he’s not that strong at the point of attack (POA). He can use his speed and be an edge rusher for them and as he adds weight he can turn into a 3 down player. His first step is great so he can turn the corner on the best of OT. He can play OLB or DE for the Falcons.

R1 Pick 9 New York Giants
La’el Collins-OT LSU
When Eli has time to throw he has shown he can win a Super Bowl. When he doesn’t have time he leads the league in INTs. The Giants need to go back to winning in the trenches.
Collins is my top run blocking prospect; he is a road grater. He has gotten much better in the passing game this year and could end up the best OT that comes out of this class. He can slide in to a Guard spot if Beatty and Pugh hold the tackle spots. Pugh has struggled at RT so whoever wins that spot the other can ply Guard until Beatty moves on. La’el Collins will need to work on staying back on his feet a bit, he can get on his toes and overextend at times.

R1 Pick 10 St. Louis Rams
Ronnie Stanley-OT Notre Dame
How many times did Rams QBs get hurt this year, for that matter how many injuries has Bradford had in his career? The Rams need to get better up front for whoever is the QB next year.  With both of the potential franchise QBs off the board they go with someone to protect the QB.
Stanley will shoot up board this year much like Zack Martin did last year. He is a smart player who uses his hands well to pass protect and is versatile to play multiple spots.

R1 Pick 11 Minnesota Vikings
Shaq Thompson-OLB Washington
If I know Mike Zimmer I know he’s going to follow the same strategy that they used with the Bengals to build that roster. Take BPA every time no matter what. My feeling is that he goes with Thomson because of that.
Thompson is a true 3 down LB that can cover, blitz and is a sure tackler. Zimmer will get the most out of him as well.

R1 Pick 12 Cleveland Browns
Devante Parker-WR Louisville
The Browns need a WR badly and after seeing how Josh Gordon has become friends with JFF who knows if he will be back next year either.
Parker is a special talent and has just begun his assent. He has good hands and great size and is one of the best at the stutter step toe drag. It’s a deceptive move that causes many missed tackles over the middle.  He also has great waste bend to allow him to locate the ball easily on downfield route, improving his catch radius.  Below is an example of the toe drag, notice the black pieces of turf that fly up.

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R1 Pick 13 New Orleans Saints
Trae Waynes-CB Michigan State
The Saints will likely make their first three picks on the defensive side of the field. They need pass rushers, but that group is deep, so they may wait for later value. They also need CBs badly, especially ones that can tackle and play the run. Waynes can do that and would be an instant starter for them. He’s very similar to Darquese Dennard that came out last year but he’s better at staying in the hip pocket “in phase” defending and less handsy/grabby. He will be a solid starter and will bring some toughness to that squad.

R1 Pick 14 Miami Dolphins
Kevin White-WR West Virginia
The Dolphins need to add some help and a red zone option for Tannehill. Mike Wallace has been a disappointment and quit on the team, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is cut.
Kevin White isn’t fastest guy in the world, but he is definitely fast enough to get behind defenders and let Tannehill sling it deep. He is a great red zone option and win a lot of 50/50 balls with his good combination of size and leaping ability.

R1 Pick 15 San Fransisco 49ers
Marcus Peters-CB Washington
The niners were an incredible disappointment this year, they need major help in the secondary and to replace some of the aging defensive front. Peters is the best CB in the class from a talent perspective, but his issues with the Washington coaching staff will have him slide a bit. There are lots of rumors on what did and did not happen and I’m sure teams will dig around and make their judgement. The niners are not too big on character concerns as you can see with their recent issues, so I think this could be a landing spot.

R1 Pick 16 Houston Texans
Landon Collins-S Alabama
The Texans could go CB or WR here but the best value is at Safety. They have Daniel Manning at safety and DJ Swearinger is cheap shot away from missing time every season.
Collins is good in coverage for a strong safety, that really will help them in the running game too. If his shoulder checks out and he doesn’t have major damage after the game vs OSU he’s a great value here. Teams will reall have trouble with this Houston defense with there strong pass rush and Collins protecting the middle.

R1 Pick 17 San Diego Chargers
TJ Clemmings-OT Pittsburgh
The Chargers really need help on he offensive line it’s the worst position group on the team according to PFF rankings. Both of their guards are horrid and they could use a Tackle as well. Good thing for them is that Clemmings can play both of those positions. He’s versatile and is great in the run game. The Chargers second round pick should be for a RB and they will need someone to pave the way for that back. With Clemmings clearing the way for a new running back this team will be much improved next year.

R1 Pick 18 Kansas City Chiefs
Erik Kendriks-ILB UCLA
The Chiefs can use some help in the middle of their defense. The need someone to help cover the middle with teams like San Diego and Denver that spread them out. Hendricks is not your conventual size for an ILB, but his speed, blitzing ability, tackling, and coverage ability will make him a force in the middle. If you want to see him fly all over the field watch his game vs. Virginia and your see why he will be a hug pick. There is not a WR that is a good value here so they will take the best ILB fit for them in the draft. McKinney is a great player but they need Kendricks speed to handle teams like Denver and San Diego.

R1 Pick 19 Cleveland Browns (via Buffalo)
Alvin “Bud” Dupree-DE/OLB Kentucky
The Browns couldn’t stop anyone on the ground this year and Mingo has been very inconsistent. Bud is the perfect fit for a 3-4 DE and will be able to play OLB too. He is going to crush the combine and race up boards as the draft approaches. I can see him creeping into the top 15. He’s very athletic and that will make him the perfect tweener in the NFL for a 3-4 team.

R1 Pick 20 Philadelphia Eagles
Ronald Darby-CB Florida State
The Eagles need help at secondary badly (see Brandon Fletcher vs Dez Bryant this year). The Eagles will see Dez and now OBJ twice a year now, they need someone to slow them down. Darby has had a really good year and is a physical corner that can play against bigger WR with his strength.

R1 Pick 21 Cincinnati Bengals
Dante Fowler Jr.-DE Florida
The Bengals have had zero pass rush this year and need to improve that area badly. Fowler is a stellar Edge rusher that fits the Bengals 4-3 system perfectly. He will come in and start opposite fellow Gator day 1 and begin to make the Bengals pass rush formidable again.  He will have to work on his play vs the Run but he can come in an be a pass rushing DE and also plat SLB.

R1 Pick 22 Pittsburgh Steelers
Alex Carter-CB Stanford
The Steelers need to add some youth to that secondary with guys like Ike Taylor aging and declining. Carter doesn’t have elite speed but the AFC North is more about how well you can play the run and hold your own at the LOS where he should be fine. None of the AFC North teams real spread it out use tons of speed so he will slide right in to the slot or outside for the Steelers.

R1 Pick 23 Detroit Lions
Malcolm Brown-DT Texas
The Lions won’t even try to retain Nick Fairley and Suh is also a free agent. That vaunted front 7 could have a huge hole up the middle and will need to fill it. Brown is a massive man that can not only get after the passer he can stop the run at 320lbs.  He will not be Suh right away but he definitely has big upside.  He was productive with only average players around him on the defensive line.

R1 Pick 24 Arizona Cardinals
Can Erving-OT/C Florida State
The Cardinals need to give Palmer as much time as possible until they find a long term answer. They also need an edge rusher but no value here and it’s a deep class so they can wait.  Cam was once regarded as one of the top OT prospect coming into this season.  His footwork is subpar so FSU moved him inside and it was a great move for him.  He is a powerful run blocker, he can push the pocket forward, and his footwork is not as crucial “in a phone booth.”  Since he is so versatile, the Cardinals could move him around if injuries strike, or as other players age and his footwork improves.

R1 Pick 25 Carolina Panthers
Ereck Flowers-OT Miami
The Pantheer are much better when they are able to run the ball. This allows Cam to use his big arm in the play action passing game.  Their running back situation is a mess, but lucky for them this class is loaded.  I see them taking a running back in round two like many other teams.  They also need an edge rusher, but there was not really good value here and it’s a deep class so they can wait.  Flowers is a big strong prospect that is elite in the run game now and will continue to improve in the passing game. He has experience at not LT and RT

R1 Pick 26 Baltimore Ravens
Jalen Collins-CB LSU
The Ravens have a major need at CB because Webb has not been able to stay healthy at all. The need someone reliable opposite Jimmy Smith. After how well all the LSU rookies did this year don’t be surprised if players get a boost this year. He is strong and physical so he will fit right in, in the AFC North.

R1 Pick 27 Indianapolis Colts
Eddie Goldman-DT Florida State
The Colts need to get some additional pass rush but there’s no value at that position right now due to the early run. Goldman can help with some interior pass rush and defend the run. Devin Funchess could be an option here but they have two good TEs and he is TE/WR hybrid so might not be what they want.  Goldman will have to work on his consistency at the NFL level because it looks as he can take plays off.  When he is playing well he is a force right in the QBs face.

R1 Pick 28 Dallas Cowboys
Eli Harold-DE/OLB Virginia
The Cowboys defense was surprisingly good this season but they still need to get some help on the edge. Harold is a great pass rusher that will need to work on his ability to get off blocks to help in the run game. For now he can be a strict pass rusher for the Cowboys.  He is very fast and turns the corner with the best of them.  He has a great swim move and waste bend to get under the pads of OT and through them.

R1 Pick 29 Green Bay Packers
Danny Shelton-NT Washington
Ok here’s two picks that they could make and it depends on if BJ Raji leaves. If he does I think this is the pick, since I think he leaves that’s why Shelton. If BJ stays I think they go with a bigger guy like Jordan Phillips to beef up the line. They may also consider an ILB here in Perryman or McKinney.
Shelton is a disruptive guy that’s a great fit for a 3-4 NT that can stuff the run and collapse the pocket.

R1 Pick 30 Denver Broncos
Devin Funchess-WR/TE Michigan
The Broncos have some big weapons that will be FA this offseason. I don’t think they will be able to keep both Demaryous and Julius, so how do you fix that…draft a guy like Funchess and get their replacement. Manning only has a few years left so they have to keep going all in for him with weapons.  Funchess has never had a good QB during his college career so he has some big upside with Manning.  Guarding Denver in the Red Zone will be very difficult with the likes of Thomas, Laitmer, and Funchess.

R1 Pick 31 New England Patriots
Jalen Strong-WR Arizona State
Tom Brady needs some options to throw too besides Gronk. The perfect option is a big physical receiver like Strong. Tom doesn’t have the cannon he used to but he can still get it down the field. The combo of Strong, Gronk, and Wright would be a nightmare in the red zone.  Edelman and Lafell have been ok this year, but having someone to force teams to not double team Gronk will only make him more deadly and protect him from some hits.

R1 Pick 32 Seattle Seahawks
Todd Gurley-RB Georgia
Lynch will be in the last year of his deal and approaching the edge of the cliff soon. They will have the luxury of being able to red shirt Gurley most of the season and use him just for KR to fill the hole Harvin left. Then hand him the keys at the end of the year, or in 2016 depending on Lynch’s performance and attitude.  Gurley has the ideal build for an every down NFL back, he has power, speed, patience, and he hits the hole hard.  Once he’s fully recovered from his ACL injury he will be a real threat.

Make sure you  to for constant updates on NFL Draft prospects and scouting reports.  I try to respond to all resonable questions about prospects and I always enjoy a good debate on prospects or Mock Drafts.  If you don’t have twitter, you should get it, or you can email me at nfldraftlab@gmail.com

I also would like to thank the following people for their incite to specific teams and their overall needs for this and future multi round mocks.  They are great Twitter Draft follows, as well.

Packers: Justin Musqueda 
Jaguars: Blake Grittles 
Titans: Paul Kuharsky 
Bears: Tyler Gross 
Chiefs: Sully 
Jets: Jeff LJ Lloyd 
Raiders: David 
Tampa Bay: Luke Easterling 
Cowboys: John Owning 
Vikings: Arif Hasan 
Steelers: Curt Popejoy 
Dolphins: Ian Wharton 
Cardinals: Shaun Church 

Victor Hampton can he shed his past for his Bengals future?

Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 197 lbs

Bench press reps: 20 (top marks for CB)

40 yard Dash: 4.51

Vertical leap: 33.5″

Initial Thoughts: Hampton is a talented player, but after watching the tape I can see why teams passed on him.  He had off the field issues and struggles to support the run.  When the ball is in the air he is one of the best players that I have watched at competing for the ball.  He can let his attitude effect his play.  He was benched before a game and then was not active in run support for most of the game.

He will need to work on his run support and man coverage.  In the slot he will mostly be in on passing plays, where he excels.  With the additions of Dennard and Westbrooks this year I only give Hampton a 5% chance to make the 53 man this year. I think the Bengals will want him to prove he can stay out of trouble for a year and stash him on the Practice Squad.

I give him a 100% chance to make the PS as long as he stays out of trouble. If he doesn’t clear waivers and a team scoops him up, it’s not really a loss since he was a UDFA.  He could take Terence Newman or Adam Jones’ role in 2015 if he is still with the Bengals.

Strengths:

  • Has great instincts and breaks on the ball well.
  • Is exceptional at tracking and contesting balls in the air.
  • Lives in the big moment and plays with swagger
  • Plays well in zone coverage and has good hands for deflecting passes and INTs.
  • Has lots of talent and physical ability.  Has experience in the slot and on the outside so he is versatile.
  • Has good quickness and fluidity of his hips; Had one of the fastest 3-cone times.

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks the size to effectively contribute in run support, and rarely finishes a tackle.
  • His aggressive approach to going to make tackles causes him to miss a lot of them and take bad angles.  He tries to push guys out of bounds or wait for help from his teammates.
  • Character concerns go all the way back to high school with him; he will need to keep himself out of trouble to have a shot.
  • The first sniff of a problem, and he will be sent packing instantly.
  • He is very chirpy on the field; will need to walk the line with this to avoid penalties.
  • Really needs to work on his man to man coverage, he lacks ideal top end speed.
  • His small stature makes if difficult for him to play bump and run coverage successfully, and can get caught up in blocks.

Key Plays vs Arkansas: (note: lost his starting job before this game)

1) Dances around the running back on the play, allows his teammate to make the hit and tackle (0:24)
2) Reads the QBs eyes and breaks on the pass for the INT.  Has a decent runback on after the catch as well. (0:33)
3) Working out of the slot he flies up to make the tackle and whiffs. (1:35)
4) Fails to breakdown on the play and the RB shakes him with a stutter step.  He flails at the RB to make the tackle and falls on his back unsuccessfully. (2:00)
5) He is responsible for holding the backside edge.  The runner cuts back he breaks down and just throws his pads at him and doesn’t wrap up (2:14)
6) He has a chance to stop a big play with an open field tackle, he dives at his feet and whiffs completely.  The runner gets an extra 25 yards.

2) Interception Play
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Key Plays vs Mississippi State:
1) He does a great job of sitting in his zone coverage and breaking up the throw as it arrives.  As a result his teammate is able to make an INT. (0:39)
2) The smoke screen is thrown to the WR inside of him.  He sheds the blocker and comes up to make the tackle, unfortunately he misses the tackle. (1:13)
3) He waits for the WR to make is move and makes a big hit on him over the middle. (1:53)
4) He is the deep shell in the zone coverage; he is on the seam route but sees the throw and breaks on the ball.  His quick hips allow him to make up ground and he deflects the pass before it can get to the intended WR. (2:00)
5) There is a miscommunication on the play he thinks he has the flat 1/3 but he is supposed to be deeper.  He realizes the hole in the coverage and makes an acrobatic pass breakup.  After the play he talks to his teammate and realizes it is his mistake.  He takes ownership with the coaches for the error. (3:51)
6) He works against the WR on the fade route to the corner.  He keeps within arms reach of the WR and tips the ball away. (5:45)
7) He is guarding the blocking WR on the screen play.  He sheds the block then strips the WR of the ball as he makes the tackle.  It shows his great awareness and instinct to go for the knockout blow.

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Final Thoughts:
If you just looked at the tape of Hampton, he would have been drafted.  It was his off the field antics that cost him hearing his name called.  Hampton got some bad advise from his agent.  He should have gone back to school for one more year.  That would have improved is stock in two ways.  He could have stayed out of trouble to build trust with teams, and added more quality game tape.

Regardless Hampton is in a good spot with the Bengals. He can get leadership from the likes of Newman, learn how to change his ways from Jones, and how he can dedicate to run support from Hall and Dennard. The problem with the Bengals is that they have five former 1st round picks in front of him.

If they only keep five CBs this year, which is very possibly, he has zero shot at the 53-man roster.  However, after 2015 one or more of those spots could open up.  If he is able to stay on the practice squad (PS) here, that might be the best thing for his NFL career.  He can practice and learn from some of the best at the position in the NFL.

My prediction: Hampton makes it to the final cutdown day and is offered a spot on the PS.  I’m not 100% convinced that he will clear waivers.  If he makes it to late September and has not gotten in trouble, a team with injuries at the position may claim him. 

James Wilder Jr. UDFA to Final 53?

James Wilder-RB (FSU)
Height: 6’3” Weight: 232 lbs
40 yard dash: 4.86 Vertical Leap: 32”

Initial Thoughts: He definitely has the talent to be on an NFL roster as the short yardage guy.  The problem is for him they have a vet in BJGE they can keep in that roll with added character and leadership, even if Hill would go down.  He has the look and the NFL bloodline with his dad being a former pro bowl RB with the Bucs.  I see him as an insurance policy in case they lose BGJE, Hill or both in training camp or the pre-season.  He will get his fair share of touches in the pre-season though. I assume the Bengals will have their mind made up on BGJE at that point and will be protecting Hill for the long haul by limiting his workload.  His combine measureables are not great, but are what were expected.  Chances to make the team barring no injuries in 2014 about 5%, chances for the practice squad are 100%; unless he gets arrested.  Even if they let BJGE go they will likely go with Burkhead and Peerman.  I think they see if he can keep his nose out of trouble while learning the offense in 2014.  He will be the short yardage backup to hill in 2015 and I give him a 75% of making the final 53 next year.

Strengths: He has the NFL back and looks the part. He has a strong build, and was used sparingly at FSU (only about 225 carries all time).  Possesses a great stiff arm and well balanced for a guy his size.  Stays behind his pads and absorbs contact well, does well at breaking tackles and getting YAC.  High upside possibility and low risk for the Bengals, could be a good battering ram in the future.  He does well at pushing the pile with his leg strength and drive.  With his body type and attributes he is a perfect between the trees type of runner, when he stays north/south he excels.  Averaged 7 YPC in 2013, but was stuck behind Freeman on the depth chart, who was drafted in the 4th round.

Weaknesses: Not very elusive, doesn’t really have the foot speed to string moves together.  This causes him to have to slow down to make his cuts, which allows him to get caught from behind at times.  Not a shake you guy has to use the stiff arm or absort the hit and keep his feet moving to break tackles.  Character concerns are obvious; he was arrested multiple times at FSU.  Lets his pad level get to high, running upright will cause him to get stood up in the NFL and increase his risk of injury when taking big shots to the midsection.  He has had durability issues and this is the main reason.  He didn’t get a pass thrown to him in the limited tape I had access too.  In his combine tape he chest catches almost all of the passes, when he has pads on this will certainly lead to drops.

Key plays vs Miami:
1) Sees opening in the B gap early on and disregards his lead blockers to the A and C gap shoots the gap.  The hole quickly closes in front of him since he has no blocker so eat up the LB approaching.  He lowers his pads and absorbs the contact, keeps his balance, and keep his feet churning for the TD. (0:18)
2) Good read of the play, correctly follows his blocker and has a huge opening.  Unfortunately he gets his foot tripped up by the LT and falls for a short gain.  (0:52)
3) Great sweep run, uses a stiff arm to stop the would be tackler.  He keeps his feet and dives for the pylon to get the TD. (1:15)
4) Winston fumbles the snap and he alertly notices this and runs back over to place a block for Winston and buy him some time.  (2:08)

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