Article by Ian Hughes
Now for the second half of my mock draft. And remember, this
isn’t how I think the draft will turn out. It’s who I would pick if I were the
GM for all 31 picks in this year’s 1st round.
Lions): Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
Detroit need to find an Interior Pass rusher. They haven’t
filled that slot since the loss of Suh. Nkemdiche could be that difference
maker in getting after the QB if he can find some consistency.
Falcons): Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
Atlanta need all the help they can find on Defence. They
have needs everywhere. The best guy left for them on the board would be the 3
down LB out of Ohio State. He is a bit undersized for a LB but he is a great
athlete that eats up the ground and cover in space.
Colts): Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
A No Brainer here. The Colts saw last season how bad it
could be if they don’t keep Andrew Luck upright. They have one of the best
young QB’s that the NFL has seen, they don’t want him to turn into David Carr.
Securing the line will make the whole Offence play better, letting them look to
fix the Defence in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
#19 (Buffalo Bills):
Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Rex Ryan is desperate to build this Defence in his image.
Reggie Ragland is the guy to do it. Old School Thumper that is going to provide
a lot of attitude plays. Lacks some coverage skills but provides edge rush
ability out of sub packages. A Prefect fit if ever I saw one.
#20 (New York
Jets): Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
This is where my draft board shows probably its biggest difference
to the rest of the football world. I have Connor Cook as the 3rd
best QB in the draft. And he just happens to be the best fit for the Jets. Will
control the football game, get the ball where it needs to be and won’t lose the
Jets many football games.
Redskins): Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
For all the problems Washington had on Defence last year,
they really need to start solidifying their OL. There main problem with their
Defence in up-front and they can fix that in round 2. They can’t wait till the
2nd round to pick up a Center as I expect the top 2 to be gone
before they get another look.
Texans): Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Texans need to start putting some points up on Offence, so
this Defence can go out and win playoff games. They went and got a QB in FA,
added some talent at RB. All they need is someone to complement Hopkins at the
#2 WR spot. Fuller should be that guy. Real fast, Home Run threat. Not going to
be a superstar, but will make the team better just by running Deep.
Vikings): Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
We are in the area of the 1st round where we will
start seeing the WR’s sneaking into the conversation. Minnesota probably have
one of the most rounded Rosters in the NFL. They just need to solidify their
position in the NFC North. Picking Docton should do that. With any rookie WR,
he will have a slow start, but come the end of the season he will be a solid
contributor. A pick for the future.
Bengals): LaQuon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Seen by some as the best WR in the draft. For me, his 40
time damaged his stock. Though that won’t make much difference to the Bengals
who are really looking for a complement to AJ Green. Treadwell will go over the
middle and get dirty. A great fit.
Steelers): William Jackson III
I think the only way the Steelers don’t take a Corner at #25
is if the scouts have fallen in love with one of the Top OGs in this year’s
Class. I have gone with the Corner, Jackson. The secondary in Pitt was just
awful. They need help their more than they do on the line. Jackson gets the nod
over Apple because of his aggressive nature when attacking the football. Will
suit the scheme nicely.
Seahawks): Cody Whitehair, OL, Kanas State
Seattle’s OL has disappeared over the last couple of years,
and with the loss of Lynch they will need to do a better job of creating
running lanes for human RBs. Cody Whitehair would be the best guy for them. Has
some value at all 5 positions, but is projected better at Guard. Will upgrade
the OL day 1.
#27 (Green Bay
Packers): A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
It pains me as a Bears fan to try and make the Packers a
better football team, but hey it’s only a mock. Green Bay need to get some
consistency out of their Defence. They have been a lot of moving parts, players
playing all different positions across the LB core. I feel they would be best
taking a DL man, and I still had Robinson on my board. Personally I feel he can
play a bit high at times, but at #27, I feel a bit happier taking the risk than
I would of at say #15.
#28 (Kansas City
Chiefs): Corey Colman, WR, Baylor
A Home Run threat on every touch, Colman is going to sneak
into the bottom of the 1st round. A nice competent to Maclin. Is a
bit small for a Wideout but if he produces, that conversation will stop
quickly. Some like him more than Treadwell and Fuller.
Cardinals): Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
All the Cardinals are missing is a Corner to play opposite
Patrick Peterson. I will not deny them the opportunity to find that person in
this draft. With only 2 Corners with a 1st round grade left on the
Board, I decided to go with Apple. Is Pro ready, but needs to take some chances
on balls thrown his way and step up his tackling.
Panthers): Sterling Shepard. WR, Oklahoma
The Carolina Panthers could have won the Super Bowl if they
did 2 things better. Block Von Miller or Catch the Football. There is not a
Tackle left on my board that can block Miller. But there is a WR sat on the
board for whom drops are collectors items. Yes, he is a small guy. He will have
to make his living in the slot, which will be no problem for him.
Broncos): Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
Denver have lost some guys from the trenches. This could be
dangerous for them. There were options on both lines but Jones stood out for
me. There was no OL player on my board that I trusted as a 1s round
talent. So DL led me to take the highest rated 3-4 guy on my board. Jones is a
big strong brute of a player. Has some pad level issues and his motor could do
with some work, but stepping into that defence with Bill Kollar and Wade
Phillips coaching. I see him exploding in the next 3 years.
OLB, Georgia: He just isn’t on my board, it happens every year. Some
teams will not have guys on their board, be it because of off the field issues
or Scheme fits etc. For me, it’s his size. Built like a WR trying to play OLB
in a 3-4 front. I just don’t see it going well. He might have some value as a
Pass Rush Specialist, but that doesn’t give me enough value in the 1st
DT, Louisville: I see him as 4-3 Nose more than anything else. Lack of
statue and arm length is a concern. I still think he could play very well in
the NFL, but I think there are better options out there for a large portion of
Shaq Lawson, DE,
Clemson: I have Lawson as a 4-3 DE that has limited Pass Rush value. I
just don’t see much of a market for him after the Raiders at #14, I just don’t
like him that high.
Paxton Lynch, QB,
Memphis: I will be very surprised if Lynch doesn’t get his name called
Thursday night. But this is my mock, not yours (best Deion Sanders impression).
I don’t think more than 4 QBs will go in the 1st round (at most) and
I have him as the 5th best in the draft. Simple as. If this mock was
2 rounds long, you’d probably see his name called. But he’s not a 1st
rounder for me.
Article by Ian Hughes
I have left doing a mock draft till late in the process this
year. The main reason being, the later you leave it, the better feel you have
for how it will all lay out. That being said, this is going to be my draft. If
I were the GM for each team picking in the 1st round. So I don’t
expect this list to line-up well with what will actually happen on the 28th.
Here are my 1st 15 picks.
#1 (LA Rams): Carson Wentz, QB, North
The Rams need a QB, they made to trade to go up and get the
best one in the Draft. To me, I like Wentz a bit better starting Week 1. He
ticks the boxes and has the bonus of fitting the Rams system that will revolve
around Todd Gurley for the next 6+ Years minimum.
Eagles): Jared Goff, QB, Cal
Another team that jumped to get a QB, and I won’t deny them
that. Goff is clearly in the conversation for top QB in the Draft, and I think
the Eagles would prefer him to slide as he could be the better fit in Doug
Peterson’s offence that we expect to look very similar to Andy Reid’s west
#3 (San Diego
Chargers): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
The Chargers end up with the hardest decision in the draft
in my opinion. Tunsil or Ramsey? Tunsil wins here for me, mainly because I feel
you can find a passable Safety to sure up a defence elsewhere. Finding a
starting Left Tackle can be an ongoing nightmare. I am taking the tackle and
keeping Rivers upright for as long as he wants to play in San Diego.
Cowboys): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Another tough one but for me it’s not so tough. I think we
all know what Dallas want to do on Offence, pound the rock. So for me, they
need to solidify the Defence. That eliminates the RB argument. It comes down to
where on the Defence you think they need the most help. I feel you can find a
quality DL player in the 2nd or 3rd, they are pretty set
at DB. Myles Jack can start Week 1 for Marinelli. Can Cover and Tackle, plays
the run well. Also a security blanket as Lee has had injury issues.
Jaguars): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Ramsey finally comes off my board. Personally I have him as
a Safety, but his length and athletic ability has put him at the top of the
Corner conversation. The Jags could do with an upgrade at either position. A FS
to partner Cyprien, or #1 Corner.
Ravens): DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon
The Ravens need help on both lines and Buckner is the
highest rated guy left on my board. Big, Physical DL man. Will play the DE
positon in the Ravens 3-4. Will dominate in the run and pass game, 3 down
player that will never have to leave the field for sub-packages.
#7 (San Francisco
49ers): Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
This roster is in desperate need of help at more positions
than a GM would probably like. I have gone for the Corner out of Florida.
Hargreaves has drawn comparisons to a Corner that played for the current DC in
Cleveland, in Joe Haden. Jim O’Neal has a background in the Defensive
backfield. This seems to me to be a great fit for the coaches and the team.
#8 (Cleveland Browns):
Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
Cleveland have dropped out of the big name picks after
trading out of the #2 pick. This is where the saying ‘taking the best guy on
the board’ starts to come into effect. Cleveland have a need at DL, outside
rusher and WR. None of those players provide value at the #8 slot. So Elliot
comes off the board to become a Bell Cow RB for a team that would previously
done OK with RB by committee.
#9 (Tampa Bay
Buccaneers): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
It’s all about the Offence in Tampa. They need to start
thinking about protecting their young QB. Stanley is my #2 OT in this draft.
More of a finesse guy but has the opportunity to be a starting LT for a long
time in the NFL.
#10 (New York
Giants): Jack Conkin, OT, Michigan State
This pick makes all sorts of sense. They need a Tackle.
Conkin can play either side of the line. Physical guy. You need to protect your
QB and block for your RB. The Giants aren’t far away from being a quality
Offence. There isn’t much value at taking anyone else.
Bears): Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
My Chicago Bears… I have done them over in my own mock
draft. They want an OT; I have already picked the top three. They want a Baller
at FS, they were never getting Ramsey. They want an every down 3-4 DE, I have
given Buckner to the Ravens. Time to take the best guy left. A lot of people
will still have Joey Bosa at the top of their board with the current picks. But
by now you’ll know I am not that hot on him. I am going safe with Jarran Reed.
The guy plays the run and plays it well. Not much of a Pass Rusher, but there
is plenty of that elsewhere on the Roster. (side note: I want the bears to
Trade down from the 11th pick to garner some extra selections this
year or next)
#12 (New Orleans
Saints): Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
Dodd is THE pick for the Saints. It needs to be Defence
here. Could be Corner or DL. I like the DE position over the Corner at #12. I
think Dodd is diverse enough to help the saints right away, with the football
IQ to learn and progress quickly into a full time 4-3 DE.
Dolphins): Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
I have 2 Tigers going back to back. The only real value to
be found at #13 for the ‘Phins is a Corner. I have Alexander over some of the
other because of his competitive nature and reactive. Just needs to play the
ball a bit more to be a good NFL Corner. That’s before he tidies up his
technique. Could be one of the best around in 4-5 years time.
Raiders): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio
I would eventually take Bosa here. Oakland have lost Aldon
Smith and gained Irvin, but I still thing the DL needs some work. Bosa will
take one of the full time DE spots for the Raiders. Then move inside to DT in
lighter sub-packages when they want Irvin and Mack rushing together.
Titans): Andrew Billings, NT, Baylor
Tennessee I think would love to add some more Offensive
pieces in the draft. Right now, there is no value for them at #15. So you look
at the Defence and you see a hole at the NT position. Andrew Billings would be
a great fit. Plays clean and is still raw. Physically dominant at the age of
21, I am scared to think what this guy could be with some quality coaching.
Article by Ian Hughes
We know who the superstars are in the upcoming draft. I have
covered those that I think will be busts and/or Overrated. Now it’s time to
start looking at those under the radar guys, those that are not being
considered as highly as some of their peers. So here are my guys that we should
be talking about more than we actually are by Position.
QB: Dak Prescott,
Was one of the hot QBs coming into the season, but poor play
around him has really hampered his Draft stock. He is a durable player that I
expect to surprise any team that picks him up in the 2nd or 3rd
rounds. To me, teams should really be looking at him at the bottom of the 1st.
Should be a better player than Paxton Lynch straight out the gate, and could
prove to be better in the long term as well. His slide could see him end up in
a better situation than some of the top picks that could help his chances.
Kenneth Dixon, RB Louisiana Tech
RB: Kenneth Dixon,
This guy has scored more times than any other Running Back
in NCAA Div. 1 history, yet here we are looking at a Mid-round pick. He can do
it all. He can run inside, outside, catch out of the backfield and protect your
QB. Yet scouts mark him down for being a physical runner. Workouts didn’t
really help him as he lacks ‘Home Run’ speed. I would be looking to take him in
the 2nd round, but there is a good chance he is still waiting for
him name to be called when they start the 3rd round.
Are you guys kidding me. This is one of the smoothest route
runners going. Forget his size or his speed. Has anyone watched the likes of
Julian Edelman play the slot position? Sterling Shepard is a STARTING SLOT in
year 2. And at the WR position, it’s the second year you’re looking at. The
position is not conducive with starting a lot as a rookie. He should be hearing
his name back end of the 1st to the top of the 2nd, but he could be
waiting a bit longer because of the search for that bigger, faster #1 WR.
I feel the TE position has been picked apart very well.
There isn’t a lot of talent there and the value and type of player depends a
lot from team to team.
Offensive Line: Nick
Martin, OG/C, Notre Dame
Has a second round grade but I think he should be going late
in the 1st round. The versatile Interior Lineman can fill a slot
straight away. It seems foolish to me to not pick him if there was a hole on my
line. Will help a team somewhere get their best combination on the field. There
hasn’t been much talk about the line position in general outside of Tunsil.
Kevin Dodd, DL Clemson
Kevin Dodd, Clemson
The Depth at this position is outrageous. The only real
stand out underrated guy in the group is Dodd. Yes, he is raw. Yes, there is
work to be done. But he was a real handful in every game I watched. Relentless
motor that will make DL coaches rave for him. He should be going in the 1st
round, maybe in place of his Clemson teammate, Lawson.
A Tackling Machine. This guy’s name is constantly coming up
when watching Temple, and even in the Senior Bowl. It’s the measurables that
are holding him back. Teams tend to fall in love with the stopwatch times and
the drills in shorts this time of year. But the moment you see this guy in pads
you know he can play. Shame he won’t get the draft slot he really deserves.
CB: Kendall Fuller,
Virginia Tech (Another Fuller)
Underrated because of his projected scheme at the next
level. Here is the best Tampa 2 corner in the draft. Physical player that wants
to be involved in the game any way he can. He wants to make every play he can,
leads him to be a bit of a gambler but hey, there have been a few gamblers in
the NFL that have done very well. Size isn’t great, but hey the kid plays. I
don’t think I have heard his name in draft conversations yet.
Neal, S, Florida
I have his as the second best Safety in the draft behind
Ramsey. But he still isn’t expected to be picked before the 2nd
round. You’d think with the increased use of Nickel packages, that this big
hitting safety with good instincts would be someone everyone hopes slides to
them after pick 15. It’s not like he’s immobile or a liability in coverage. Yet
there will be teams that turn him down twice, maybe 3 times if you listen to
some pundits. Outrageous.
Article by Ian Hughes
Every year we get those prospects that look great as a 1st
Round pick, but a few years later we look back and think about how wrong we got
it. Teams will always flirt with the line when it comes to ‘High Ceiling/Low
Everyone want to draft the next best thing, and that can
come with huge risks. J’Marcus Russel
being the most famous draft bust in recent memory. The jury is still out on the
likes of Jedeveon Clowney and Dion Jordan as they are still with
their original teams and can turn it around. For Johnny Manziel though, we can safely say he has fell into the bust
category for the Cleveland Browns.
So who out of this year’s group is most likely to become the
next big bust?
WR, Ole Miss
Of me, Treadwell could be one of those caution stories we
here for years to come about selecting a WR high in a poor receiving class.
This guy is getting a lot of the talk when it comes to the WR positon witch is
slowly inflating his stock, but I feel there is a big risk in taking him High
in the 1st (Which is where he is projected to go). WR’s always come
out of the blocks slow because of the mental aspect of the position going from
NCAA to NFL. All the route adjustments might be different, there will be a lot
more plays to learn, All the Corners will be better than most they faced before
etc., etc. But he worries me with his concentration, Speed and Release. Had
problems making some catches that required focus to pull in during his last
year. He is definitely not the fastest guy going, couple that with his problems
getting off the line against Press. He could have a real tough time against the
longer, more physical corners playing in the NFL. All that being said, there is
no reason why he couldn’t be a strong NFL WR. But the Risk is very high if he
can’t push his game to the next level.
Paxton Lynch, QB,
This guy could be one of the next quality QBs in the NFL.
Has everything you want physically from someone in the Position. Has the
height, frame and arm to be successful. However, he is extremely raw. Never
played under-center before. This guy could end his career in 4 years’ time
never having took a snap in a meaningful game. The Floor is so low it scares
me, but his ceiling is high enough for teams to float his name around as the 1st
Round winds down.
Miles Jack, LB,
I hate myself for including Jack in this little list. He is
such a great player. I would have said he was one of the surest picks in the
draft if it wasn’t for 1 thing. He can run, has great ball skills, scheme flexible,
a bit small but physical enough to deal with it. The screaming problem??? The
fact he is coming off a serious knee injury. Yes, the Medicals have come back
ok, but you never know with these things. I really hope he plays for a Decade
and lights the league on fire. But you never know how injures, especially knee
injuries, will effect a player. Physically and Mentally. He might look great
out on the field in shorts, but how is he going to do in pads with big NFL
linemen looking to knock his socks off?
Article by Ian Hughes
One of the most exciting/unpredictable things that can
happen during Draft season is the trade of Draft Picks. They become more and
more valuable as the weeks and days count down to the main event. It’s so hard
to judge who will move and where they want to move to. Draft Boards differ from
one team to the next.
One team might think their guy will fall to them at the
bottom of a round, where another team above them feel the need to jump to the
top of the round to get the same guy. I always like the philosophy of sticking
with your pick, or gain as many picks as possible. Trading up to jump a team
can guarantee getting your guy, but it can cost you a fortune in picks. Just
ask the Redskins, who gave up 3 years’ worth of drafts to jump and get RG3, and
look where he is now…
These are my teams that might consider actively changing
their Draft spot in the 1st round.
LA Rams, #15:
The LA Rams are the first of the QB needy teams that aren’t
in position to have a shot at the top 2 Passers on most Draft Boards. #15 isn’t
the worst spot to be coming from but I don’t see them getting all the way into
the Top 5. The target will be to get above the Eagles at #8, maybe even the
49ers at #7. This leave the Ravens as their only real trade partner. Ravens
might be willing, but they will take some persuading. You’ll need to get them
to turn down a possible starting OT or DE.
New York Jets,
This is a real interesting situation for the Jets. They are
right up against the Cap ceiling, to the extent that right now they would be
able to sign their Draft picks in their current slots. So they have a lot of
shuffling to do, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them slide out of #20 to
save some money. They are in the right position for the second tier QB market
but not really in position for a trade for that position. Where they do sit
nicely, is the Corner market. With Pittsburgh picking #25 and the likes of
Kansas City, Seattle and Carolina all projected to be in the Cornerback market.
Someone could make the jump to #20 to get ‘dibs’.
Green Bay Packers,
Here is a good one for you. Green Bay need help. They have
been carried by Aaron Rodgers recently without really protecting him. They
could do with both a young pass catcher and OL help. It might be hard to get
into the low teens to compete for with the Lions, ‘Phins and Raiders for one of
the promising Tackles. It would be more reasonable for them to get to the front
of the line for a Wide out. Buffalo could be a possible partner at #19 with
their expected pick being at a very deep position.
Chicago Bears, #11:
My Chicago Bears are currently picking at the #11 slot. They
have been very clever in Free Agency, something GM Ryan Pace has been very wary
of. He has gone out and made sure that he doesn’t have to draft a ‘NEED’ with
his top pick. This makes them a prime mover in the Trade market. The main
position needs are Defensive line and Safety. DL is very deep with no real big
talents expected to be on the board at #11. There is only one nailed on 1st
round Safety and he is going in the first five picks. So the Bears have 2
options open to them. Either Jump up into the expensive picks and go after the
likes of Ramsey and Buckner, or trade down and stash some picks to help the
re-building process that they are currently working through.
The Broncos currently have the last pick of the 1st
round. They have a very obvious need at the QB position after the loss of Brock
Osweiler to the Texans. #31 could be far too late for the QB they want. It’s
would take a real big jump for them to get safely back into the market but if
John Elway thinks there is a guy worth it, I can see him pulling the trigger on
a big trade. They are still in the Championship window and should be for the
next couple of years. They have all the pieces in all the right places, a young
QB with plenty of potential could see them in the hunt while the team is still
intact. Then carry them while they restock for another run.
The Big Trade I
would love to See but is compete madness???
The New York Jets to
send the 20th pick, 2017 1st
round pick, 51th pick, 2017 2rd round pick and the 83rd
pick to the San Diego Chargers
for the 3rd Pick and the
This would be pure madness but help both teams. The Jets are
right in the window to go to the Super Bowl. Yes, they are tight on the Cap,
but that is fixable by moving around money on some expensive contracts. Jumping
all the way to #3 would give them the best of all world. They could go DE and
Buckner making Wilkerson and his Tag money expendable. They could go Safety and
take Ramsey, filling an area of need in an otherwise solid secondary. They
could even go QB if they don’t get Fitzpatrick or another QB between now and
the draft. OT is even on the cards. San Diego want everything. So why wouldn’t
they want to amass 3 extra picks at the business end of a draft over the next 2
years? Maybe the value isn’t quite there with the picks I put up, but I don’t
think I am far off.
Article by Ian Hughes
Every years there is a risk of drafting a Bust. A player
that seems to be the next big thing, instant help, a future Hall of Famer or
something like that. Then they get to the NFL and they just don’t perform up to
that high expectation.
Here is my list of players that I think won’t meet the
expectations of scouts.
1. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Every year it seems like the next great pass rusher is
hitting the NFL. This year, people are looking at Joey Bosa to be that guy. He
has the frame. 6’6 and plenty of weight. But there are some little things on
tape that bother me. Firstly, he rarely lines up against the best OT’s in the
NCAA. And when he did play against them, he found himself blocked with relative
ease. Secondly, He is and effort player. He doesn’t always look exactly smooth
getting to the QB. Now I wouldn’t hold this against him, but for the fact he’s
motor isn’t always running. Those 2 things are enough for me to stay away from
this Top 5 ranked prospect.
2. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
There are Scouts out there that have Paxton Lynch as their 3rd
QB in this year’s draft. This wouldn’t normally bother me. On a Draft board.
There will be teams that will be high on this guy because of the potential. But
3rd? really. This guy could easily fail as an NFL QB. Footwork
issues, Coming out of an Air-Raid/QB friendly system, lacks ball location… the
list goes on. But all scouts see is what he could be. Not what he’ll likely be,
a Career back-up that could never quite make it stick as a starter.
3. Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
This is a feeling pick here at the 3 spot. Clemson were a
very good football team last season and I feel like Alexander was one of the
bigger winners when it comes to Draft rankings. He’s under sized, footwork is
ropey at times and his production was very, very low. Zero INT’s in the last 2
years. I like to see production from corners, its shows ball skills and ability
to be around the football. That and the fact he didn’t take part in the Combine
workouts leads me to question what I might be getting from a CB that is
expected to go before the later parts of the 1st round.
4. Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
So, I have seen Mock Drafts with Floyd being selected inside
the Top 20. I just don’t understand why. This guy is projected to be a 3-4 OLB
but is built like a WR. Very Slim, little play strength. Looks pretty useless
at setting edges and defending the run. When it comes to the Front 7, I put a
lot of value in how many downs they can be on the field for. Looking at Floyd,
I only see him as a Situational Pass Rusher. That limits his value in my eyes.
And I don’t think he’s a going to be a great one either, so for him to be as
high at #20 seems strange. Maybe teams see something else but he is a second
day guy to me.
5. Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (If he
is selected as a Corner)
I am putting Ramsey at 5 only if the team picking him thinks
he is a corner. As a Safety, he is one of the best guys in the draft and would
take him straight away if the fitted my organisation. But as a Corner, I think
Ramsey will be a big bust. Has the size scout are looking for now, and is a
great athlete. But he can be very stiff in close quarters action. Not very
consistent with run responsibilities. He just screams to me as a Tree Safety,
but with the value placed on a true shutdown corner, I won’t surprise me for a
team to take a shot at him there and for it to backfire awfully.
Article by Ian Hughes
There is only one group left to pick. The Specials. So let
not over think this one and get out of here with a decent unit.
been one of the best kickers in the NFL for what seems like a lifetime. Known
for kicks in clutch situations, why would you want anyone else as your kicker.
Now, I have been very clever. Because of how I have
structured my roster I have found myself with a spare space or 2. So I am going
to stash some extra Specialists. Zuerlein
will be my stashed kicker. Greg the Leg can help me in situations I think
Vinatieri’s leg its quite enough. That and Kick-offs. Plus did I mention
Lechler is another
one of those guys that have been around forever. Starting to diminish in the
production columns but you can’t put a price on experience at the punter
position. They tend to hold on FG and PATs. I would rather take an experience
guy that has enough leg, than a rookie that can kick out the stadium. That’s
Starter: Morgan Cox
Yes, Long Snapper is a position too. I don’t always pick
one, and I could have left it as Tyler Clutts who is down on my RB list has
Long Snapped in the NFL under emergency circumstances. But taking this
seriously, I decided to select one. This year was an easy selection, as Cox was a Pro Bowl selection that has
ended up without an extension.
Article by Ian Hughes
With Draft Boards starting to look like the finished
article. It’s time for teams to look at value. What are guy’s worth to the organisation?
One of the questions going round the scouting rooms is, ‘What can this guy give
us Week 1?’
Personally, I don’t like this question. I come from the
‘best guy available’ school of thought. I don’t care what he can give me straight,
what I want to know is who he can be going forward. With that being said, a lot
of teams go into the draft hamstrung by needs with little choice but to draft
players to fill them. So let’s get to it, the Top 5 Guys who you could see in a
starting line-up Week 1.
1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
This is a no brainer. The Running back position is one of
those positions where football instinct can get you a long way. If
Elliott can show a coaching staff he has it, he could leap frog any pencilled
in starter. The tape is great, the combine was good enough. He just needs to
show he can do it all at the NFL level and not become the Trent Richardson.
2. Jack Cronklin, OT, Michigan State
Cronklin has a great advantage in my eyes over the other top
tackles in this Draft. That some teams might project him as a Right Tackle
early in his career. This is what could make him one of the better rookie
starters next year. He should be too good for Right Tackle but if he ends up on
a Roster with an established Left Tackle, it would be very hard to keep him out
of the other Tackle spot.
3. Keanu Neal, Safety, Florida
Neal is one of the best Safeties in the draft. And his
number 1 advantage to beating out a veteran, Versatility. Can play Centre Field
as a Free Safety, best when playing the Down Safety in a Cover 3 style defence.
Has the coverage skills to match up in the slot or on TEs, and is the Hammer
not the Nail in the run game. With the Nickle Defence taking a bigger role in
the modern game, Neal looks to see plenty snaps weather he is named a starter
4. Nick Martin, OG/C, Notre Dame
Anyone starting to see the pattern here? Another versatile
guy on my list. Martin can play either Guard or Center. With Pre-Season being
what it is, and Martins ability to play anywhere in the middle of the line,
Martin could easily find himself starting in Week 1 either winning the job
outright or being the 5th guy that makes the best unit.
5. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
This might surprise some of you but if the draft goes Cook’s
way, he could find himself starting Week 1 for one of 3 teams. The guy knows
how to look after a game and keep his team in it by limiting the mistakes. By
no stretch is this a slam dunk, but I see him possibly being another Teddy
Bridgewater. The problem is, only 3 teams are really searching for a QB, out of
32. And there is every chance that another team takes him to stash away for a
Jeremy Tunsil, OT,
Best player in the draft in my opinion, but playing at that
Left Tackle spot can be very hard for a rookie and I don’t see him at the Right
tackle spot. It all about holding up for him in his rookie year.
Safety, Florida State
You’ll see I’ve listed him at Safety and not Corner. I think
that’s where the problem will lie for Ramsey in his rookie year. He could find
himself playing out of position and really struggling. If he does find his way
to Safety for a Week 1 start, he could open a few eyes. Lack of picks at the
NCAA level might be a sign of things to come…
Nose Tackle, Baylor
There aren’t too many true Nose Tackles knocking around.
Billings is one. A bit short, a bit raw and struggle a bit getting after the
passer. But if he ends up at the right team, he will turn heads in the middle
of a 3-4 DL.
Best Center in the Draft. Normally these guys don’t start
straight out the bat, but I see Kelly getting the nod over an average starter
in camp before a possible make or break Pre-season.
Article by Ian Hughes
With the Offence done and out of the way, it’s time to look
at the most important side of the ball (Defence wins championships).
My Defence: 4-3
Coordinator: Lovie Smith
As a Bears fan, would my DC be anyone else. Should still be
in a Job at Tampa, has been linked with the Illinois gig at the NCAA level. The
Tampa 2 Defence is my choice right now for 2 key reasons. 1, the best coach
available lives in that scheme. 2, It takes way the need to match up size-wise.
You can get away with lightly shorter DBs, slightly lighter DLmen, and smaller
LBs etc. Opens up the options from the available Free Agents.
There is plenty of Talent lying around on the D side of the
ball as always. Not any superstars, but enough pieces of the puzzle to go
around the 32 teams who want to fill gaps with Vets over Rookies. DL is the
spot with most potential to have a break-out player next year. Some good names
in that group. Though there aren’t many quality Safeties around this year.
Could get messy on the backend.
Starters: RE –
Chris Long + DT – Nick Fairley + DT – B.J. Raji + LE – Mario Williams
There are teams at the NFL level that might want the entire
starting that I have just names. Long
and Fairley were both part of the
terrifying line for the Rams. B.J. Raji had
been the anchor for the Packers DL at Nose, clogs gaps and can get a bit of a
pass rush going on a good day. Williams
has been a star where ever he’s been. Cap casualty going into FA, Can play 4-3
End or 3-4 OLB. The 4 together should complement each other nicely.
Pierre-Paul, DE + Charles Johnson, DE + Henry Melton, DT + Haloti Ngata, DT
DL depth is critical and if you’ve watched any football over
the last 4 years, you would be scared of any team that has these 4 players as
back-ups. JPP, was a monster for the
Giants. But some poor play by the entire unit and the firework incident have
led this player to hit FA. Could be inserted into this Starting line-up or, if
you’re like me and scared of the hand, could be used as a situational rusher. Johnson is second on the Panthers Sack
list. Last great panthers DE to hit FA was a certain Julius Peppers, and he is
still making plays. Might not want him in your starting 4, but you’ll feel safe
knowing that you have him on the bench if someone goes down. Melton was a superstar in Chicago (had
to be said). 1 ACL tear later and he is a dispensable member of the Dallas
Cowboys. Not a great sign for him, but if you think there is any of that player
that played for the Bears, you pick him up and rotate him into the line-up. Ngata was a beast, no ifs or buts about
it. Now age and injuries have caught up with the one of the best around. Can
still play, don’t get me wrong, but make many plays as a starter. I see him
best used as a rotation guy that might just blow a play-up every now and again.
Starters: Will -
Danny Trevathan + Middle – James Laurinaitis + Sam – Nigel Bradham
Easiest pick of the D group I think… Laurinnaitis is THE LEADER in this FA group. Might be losing a
step, but Urlacher and Vilma had success in this Defence in that position as
they got up in age. Clever players that will make sure the Defence is in the
right place at all times. Trevathan
and Bradham just scream 4-3 OLBs.
Cover plenty of ground, can cover in space as well as add to the rush. Bradham
gets the nod at Sam just, with Trevathan mopping up at Will.
Irvin, OLB + Zack Brown, MLB + Rolando McClain, OLB + Chad Greenway, OLB.
Irvin was a part
of the Seahawks Super Bowl team. Jack of all trades at LB. Will do jobs on ST
as well. Brown was a one-man
playmaking machine for the Titans at times. Trust issues have seen him hit the
open market. Can play ST witch is always a bonus from your Back-up Defensive
players. McClain is a run stuffing
machine at LB. Can have problems in coverage but why would I not carry him on
the roster just to knock some guys around in run situations. Greenway is probably the only LB I
wouldn’t ask to play some ST. The vet has earnt a nice quite retirement
somewhere, backing-up some youngsters, passing on knowledge etc. Could even see
the field if guys go down.
Jenkins + Adam Jones
Jenkins has been
one of the better guys in the Rams secondary. And he keeps on getting better
and better. Will be a #1 Corner for someone somewhere, but for this list, it’s
with me. Pacman is one of those guys
I love. At the Corner position you can be too good. Like Revis, just blanket
people, no-ones throws the ball your way. Jones is just good. Which means he
sees the ball. Bad you’d think, well actually no. See he has great ball skills.
Ball gets thrown his way and he want to pick it off. You have one of those guys
sat in the flats staring down a QB and you could be onto a winner. Also can
McKelvin + Jerraud Powers + Charles Tillman + Sherrick McManis
McKelvin was a
starter in Buffalo, an injury and good play from younger options led to him
being dispensable. Capable ST player, good returner. Powers had been on some great Defences over the last few years but
never seems to get raved about. One of those solid guys that just plays the
game. Tillman is the living legend
of Cover 2 Corners. Turnover machine, has cause too many fumbles. Getting up
there in age, but who would say no to having Tillman around as a security
blanket. McManis is a Special Teams
pick that can give you a little something on Defence when you’re in a bind.
Just to remind you, the last ‘ST player’ that played corner for the Bears that
was let go, went by the name of Corey Graham…
Weddle + Chris Conte
Weddle is the man
of the Safeties this year. All round quality player that can do whatever you
ask. Might be regressing with age but can still make All-Pro status. Conte is a pick from a bad bunch. Is
my, better the devil you know of the Defence. Plenty of plays along with plenty
of mistakes. Conte is hit or miss on any given day, that and the fact he might
not finish any given game. Made of glass.
Nelson + Rashard Johnson + Michael Griffin
Nelson will get
picked up by either the team that couldn’t afford Weedle, or lost the race for
him. Reliable high safety but not what I would call a standout guy. Johnson was the loser in the race to
start for the Cardinals. Has all the talent, but not quite the name or the tape
of the player ahead of him. Someone with pick him up and fall in love with his
versatility in camp. For me he’s the 3rd Safety in Big Nickle
packages. Will also make plays on ST. Griffin
is another one of my stashed veteran picks. The guy was considered past it
in Tennessee, but I think he still has a year left.
Article by Ian Hughes
With the Franchise
Tag deadline passing. We now know which players are likely to hit the open
market. This got me thinking about one of my yearly challenges. Can I put
together a quality NFL roster made up of players hitting Free Agency?
If you want to play along at home or send in your own
rosters, the Rules are pretty simple. No more than 53 Guys. Must have
sufficient depth to cover the starters, can’t just list 5 OL players and have a
ton of WR’s for example. Linked to that, players must be listed in the position
they have played NFL or a suitable alternative, no padding out positions with
players that have no right being there. And that’s about it. Let’s see what
sort of team I can scrape together this year.
My Offence – Pro Style,
21/12 Personnel, Zone Run
Coordinator: Mike Shanahan
I try and include coaches where I can as it ties the whole
thing together nicely and sticking with the same rules as the players makes it
difficult, there are very few good coaches out of work. So for the OC position
I will go to Mike Shanahan. Ran the Zone system with great effect during his
career. Has been out of the game a while but showed that he wants back into the
NFL circle by putting his name out there for HC jobs this season. I wouldn’t
have him as my HC but is more than welcome to run my Offence.
Just having a quick glance at the talent available. This is
not the year to be looking for a WR. Nothing much in the Draft and almost
nothing in FA. Alshon Jeffery would have been the superstar target, but the
Franchise Tag saved the Bear from losing their biggest weapon. There is depth
at the TE position with some big names hitting the open market, leading me to build
around that strength.
Once was seen as the Franchise QB for the Tampa Bay Bucs,
Freeman almost feel out of the NFL circle. Reasonably athletic QB with a live
arm would be my Starter. There isn’t much to choose from at the QB position
this year, so the proven starter is the safest bet.
Yates + Travaris Jackson
Yates and Jackson are 2 of the better back-ups in
the NFL. Yates played well for the Texans as an emergency starter a few years
back and Jackson was an average full-time starter in Minnesota. Both have
movement skills and enough arm work the ball around the field.
Could it be anyone else at Running back? Forte has been one
of the best at the position for the last 5 years. The best catching out of the
backfield. The only reasons he is out looking for are his age and the play of
the younger backs in Chicago.
Martin + Pierre Thomas + Tyler Clutts
Doug Martin was
going to be the next big thing at RB until a decline in touches stalled his
career. Had a resurgence last year but still had to fight of the rest of the
depth chart. Thomas is that 3rd
Down back teams crave to have, but don’t want to pay. Will find work but
probably won’t get paid. Tyler Clutts,
I LOVE THIS GUY! Chicago should never have let this guy go. Capable FB, stepped
in as an emergency Long Snapper, played on ST and has recently been used as a
Tailback by the Dallas Cowboys. This versatility will get him on a roster for
Davis + Dwayne Allen
Both of these guys are receiving options from the TE
position. And that’s key in a 2 TE offence. Davis has the speed to challenge
teams vertically, Allen can find space and is a decent blocker. Both together
will create mis-matches.
Cook + Ladarius Green
Jared Cook had a
big a problem while a member of the Rams, QB play. When Bradford was healthy,
Cook had a good time. Shame Bradford was rarely healthy, then he left. As for Green, he made the most of his time as
the only TE in SD while Gates was out. But that wasn’t enough to see him keep
he job full time.
White + Malcom Floyd
As of writing this, Roddy White had just become a Free
Agent. Which was great as I was really struggling to find 2 Starting receiver
in this year’s group. He might be getting up there in age, but he can still run
his routes and catch the football. Won’t be carrying a passing game at this
stage for his career, but you pair him with an explosive partner and you’ll get
fireworks. Malcom Floyd became a spare part at times in the Chargers offence.
Another guy that is getting up in age, but can still produce.
Colston + Rishard Mathews + Brandon Tate
recently cut by the Saints. Another guy that is being considered too old for
his big pay check. A Luxury pick by me really. Would never make a roster as a 3rd
receiver. But you put him on the field with 2 other ‘Starters’ and you start to
win the personnel battle. Mathews
had some big games for the Dolphins, but there problems protecting Tannehill
effected his production. Well, that and the play of their Star Wideout. Tate rounds out my receiving core
nicely. Has been a #2 in Cincy, more suited as a slot in my opinion. Can be
useful in the return game.
Starters: LT –
Donald Penn + LG – Evan Mathis + C – Alex Mack + RG – Mackenzie Bernardeau + RT
– Russel Okung
Offensive Line talent is hard to come by in Free Agency. You
can normally find just one guy at each position. Had that’s just what I have
managed to do. Penn at Left Tackle
is probably the easiest pick I had to make on Offence behind Forte at RB.
Played there for what seems like forever. 11 Years in the league, 9 as a
starter. He’ll play. Mathis was a
nice pick-up by the Broncos to protect Peyton Manning. Again an aging player, but
I am not building a franchise here, just a roster. Mack at Center is another obvious one. Might be the best Center in
football, could finally have found a way out of Cleveland to play for a
contender. Bernardeau was a major
factor in the Cowboys success running the football over the last couple of
years. Is due a nice payday, but weather he gets it is another matter. Okung will be the biggest winner of the
Free Agency sweep stakes. I don’t see him as a Left Tackle, but teams searching
at the position will spend good money to see if he can do it. I would rather
have him at Right Tackle.
Louis, Guard + J’Marcus Webb
Ok, so my Bears Fandom shows again. Both Louis and Webb played for the bears during a time when they were searching
for the right 5 guys on the O-Line. Sometimes it’s better the devil you know.
Louis was a competitive Guard that was best when working in space. Makes little
sense you say, a Guard plays in a phone booth. But this guy gets better as the
space opens up, loved to get out in front as a pulling blocker. As for Webb. A
solid Right Tackle that was forced to play out of position at Left Tackle. Just
a solid guy, that got the bad end of the stick.