I wrote a few weeks back the the Patriots would trade their 1st round pick to a team desperate to move back up into the round, supposedly to select a quarterback – the only problem being that as I constructed this initial mock draft for 2013, I put just one quarterback as being a first round pick (Geno Smith to Philadelphia at number 4 overall), which doesn’t bode well for my theory…
…however, I’m going to stick by that theory. But since the offseason evaluation process is still in it’s infancy and there is much to be determined in the coming weeks, I eshew the trade talk for now and found my beloved Patriots a cornerback that can’t miss.
Uh huh. Where have we heard that before?
The Patriots generally have not had the best of luck in selecting defensive backs in the draft – and to be honest, the one really special corner that they drafted was by dumb luck in having Alfonzo Dennard fall all the way off everyone’s draft board except theirs. And they do have an excellent free safety in former corner Devin McCourty whom they drafted, so perhaps I should backtrack?
Naw. Save the two I just mentioned, it’s been crappy.
However, in the past few years Bill Belichick has brought in names like Mayo, Jones, Spikes and Hightower through the draft and have built an imposing front seven, teaming with the likes of Wilfork and Ninkovich…
…and now, it’s the secondary’s turn. At least until we get past the combine and pro days and get some solid evaluations then , who knows? Keep an eye on names like Cyprien and Kahseem Greene as second round finds as well.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama (6’3″-320)
The final piece to the defensive line – low center of gravity conducive to holding up at the point of attack. Unreal strength, use of leverage and technique. Played defensive end in his junior year before sliding inside for his senior year, excellent quickness and real aggression and can double as a short yardage fullback, which he has done well with in the past.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (6’2″-325)
Should be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars with his light feet, but there would be a real fear among his dance partner that they’d get pancaked. Eliminates folks in the running game and has a devestating initial punch to counter bull rushers. Not a better interior lineman in the draft – not by a long shot.
19. New York Giants – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida (6’3″-305)
A prime candidate to replace recently released Chris Canty – Chiseled athlete and a run-stuffing presence in the middle. Flashes a terrific initial burst off the snap and acceleration to get past hand blocks, and has incredible hands which he loves to use fighting off linemen and swimming to the ball. He is raw, but has the potential to be a dominant tackle.
20. Chicago Bears – D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama (6’5″-355)
The Bears would have to decide where to use Fluker, whether at Right Tackle or Guard, but either way he is perfect for their power running game, and is a capable pass blocker though his forte is being an enormous road grader. A big, powerful man that could help protect Cutler, who tends to roll to his right when stepping out of the pocket.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia (5’9″-175)
Many needs on offense if the Bengals are ever going to get out of the first round of the playoffs. We could definitely see an Eddy Lacy taken here as well, but the feeling is that Andy Dalton needs a home run hitter opposite A.J. Green to really open up the offense, and Austin has home run hitter written all over him, whether in the slot or lined up wide or even out of the backfield.
Patriots outlook: If Austin lasted until the 29th pick, the Patriots would be tempted to pick up this jitterbug…doubt he’ll fall that far…Besides, redshirted speedster Jeff Demps is already on the roster and if used properly will provide the same style impact.
22. St. Louis Rams – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma (6’6″-300)
A nice combination of smooth lateral movement and a nasty disposition that will serve him well in the NFC West against some of the top defenses in the NFL. Long arms and sturdy legs and a strong upper body to hold pass rushers at bay. Started college career as a Tight End and has only played tackle for two years, so his upside is tremendous.
23. Minnesota Vikings - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (6’1″-200)
Skill set favors comparisons to Reggie Wayne, attacks the ball in the air and looks to create yards after the catch. Isn’t real tough and can be taken down easily – if the defenders can catch him. Very illusive after the catch as if he had a schematic for the defense…a legitimate threat for Christian to Ponder.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington (5’11″-190)
Bloodlines are NFL quality, but Desmond is his own man…equally effective in either man or zone coverages and loves him a little contact, particularly in run defense. Times his leaps well and fights for the ball and shows competitiveness. The Colts have other holes to fill, but won’t be able to resist adding this athlete in their secondary.
25. Seattle Seahawks – Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor (6’2″-200)
The Seahawks have it all and don’t have a true hole to fill anywhere…so, what to do? Simple, get Wilson a big wide out who wants the ball. Ask him, he’ll tell you. Not explosive speed, but adjusts route to flow underneath the ball and catch it in stride, and with a guy like Wilson who loves to air it out? Sounds like NFC favorites to me.
26. Green Bay Packers – Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia (6’3″-240)
Perhaps the most exciting linebacker prospect in the draft – but has some legitimate red flags as well. Makes plays all over the field, is quick around the edge and arrives at the quarterback and running back in a bad mood. He’s a former safety which speaks to his athleticism, and also tells a story of decent coverage skills. He’s not doing himself any favors, however, by getting nailed for DUI this past weekend. Add that to his suspension for violation of the school’s substance abuse policy and you wonder about his decision making abilities…Green Bay is a great organization to help him through his issues.
27. Houston Texans – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU (6’1″-245)
He’s a instinctive inside defender, very intelligent and his leadership value is through the roof and works best in a front seven that allows him to roam inside in space. Gives up his body but isn’t the biggest hitter. His value is in chasing down the play and moving laterally along the line of scrimmage which makes him perfect for Houston’s scheme. Is efficient in pass coverage and a good blitzer as well.
28. Denver Broncos - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State (6’3″-320)
The kind of player that causes a play to stop in it’s track, and what he can’t get to, he redirects just by presence. A big bully that truly doesn’t like his opponent. So why isn’t he the first player taken? A knee issue for one…and has a habit of making poor decisions on the field, leading to penalties and being occasionally out of position. Is durable nonetheless, but conditioning is a bit worrisome as he tends to wear down. When he’s on his game, he demands double and triple teams.
29. New England Patriots – Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State (6’1″-185)
Banks is likely to earn the nickname “Super Glue” from Patriots’ fans, because his greatest trait is to stick to his receiver like glue – he looks back and locates the ball and is fluid enough to pivot, turn his hips and attack the ball in the air in one motion. Is a tremendous ball hawk and loves the physical nature of run defense. This pick is in anticipation of the team losing Aqib Talib in free agency, but if Talib stays, the pick could go to Kahseem Green, a coverage linebacker out of Rutgers.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama (5’10″-220)
Michael Turner is wearing down, so why not bring in a clone to replace him? Not as fast as Turner, but has the leg drive, tenacity and violent finishing move that will served him well as a load-carrying feature back with the Falcons. They also have eyes on Tight End Zach Ertz out of Stanford as an option in the event Tony Gonzalez is gone.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia (6’4″-360)
Much has been made of the gaps that Baltimore was able to create in the interior of the 49ers defense in the Super Bowl, hence a man who is a virtual immovable object. Has explosiveness off the snap to push the line backwards and reestablish the line of scrimmage. Gets good leverage and has excellent strength and is versatile, playing nose tackle defensive tackle and defensive end at Georgia.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame (6’2″-255)
Football smart and as loyal as they come, Te’o possesses the same build as departed Ray Lewis, though no one can match Lewis’ intangibles. That being said, why not bring in a guy who has weathered his share of controversy, head held high? A good athlete who is instinctive and delivers a pop, is a good open field tackler and is usually in the right place at the right time. Remains to be seen if his man of integrity and team leader attributes translate to the pros, but he’s got big enough shoulders to carry the weight of filling some very heavy shoes.