1st Round - Assumption is Suh, McCoy, Berry, and the top two QB's are off the board. Here are my picks in order.
1st Round -
1. Rolando McClain ILB. This guy offers the best combination of tangibles and intangibles in the draft. He looks like the type of man-child that will impress at the combine and likely be off the board by the time we pick. His coaches rave about his defensive quarterbacking, blitzing, and tackling ability. My question is: Should we hold on to D.J. Williams if we get this pick? Does D.J. Williams to Cleveland for Shaun Rogers sound like a fair trade? Maybe they should both play side by side for at least a season to see how it goes.
2. Dan Williams NT. My broken-record mantra is that our run defense was 26th in the NFL. This guy, on paper anyway, can fix that overnight. I have watched him play only a few games this season so my opinion is even less educated than normal. The games that I saw him play, which was against excellent competition, he looked amazing. He was literally almost impossible to block even while being double teamed. Teams ran around him because they didn't want to run at him. In my opinion he is way better than Cody because he appears more athletic, quick, and has a higher motor. The fact that Williams was double-teamed quite often and Cody was not should say something. I have heard all the criticism that comes with Dan Williams regarding his conditioning and work ethic. To that, I simply ask you if someone who is 6'3" 330 lbs. is going to be a beacon of health and fitness! If the guy had an Andre Smith work ethic, I would be concerned, but I don't think he does.
3. Taylor Mays S. I laugh at people who say he sucks. Last year, this guy was the cat's meow and would have been a top 5 draft pick. Last year, virtually nobody found any flaws in his game. This year, all of a sudden, he sucks. Here is a reality check for you bandwagon mock draft groupies: Last year, Taylor Mays was the star on a defense that had Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, and Rey Maualuga. They have kind of turned into decent pros, don't you think? This year he played on a defense that gave up ass-loads of points. At some point, it is understandable if the guy got frustrated, lost discipline, and errored on the side of hitting people vs. sure tackles. Look at the player over his four-year career, not a supposedly lackluster senior year. The people who show this guy going in the late first round have no clue.
4. Joe Haden CB. I have a feeling this guy is going to run a sub 4.4 40 in the combine and therefore, right or wrong, be a top 10 pick. I have seen this guy play many games and am most impressed by his ability to shut down his side of the field and his willingness to stop the run. He is a legit cornerback stuck in a strong-safeties body. He has also shown the ability to be a really good blitzing DB, which apparently Mike Nolan and I like, but McD does not. Joking!
5. Carlos Dunlap DE. I know all the baggage that is attached to his name. If this guy is vetted and found to be not lacking in character or work ethic, he will be a top 15 pick. He has very unique skills and possibly top-5 talent. Remember, before this season started he was projected to be the number 1 pick overall. He is the closest thing to Richard Seymour since Richard Seymour.
6. Tim Tebow QB. This is a pick I could not make unless I had NFL-level evaluation skills. I would want to interview him and find out how well he knows the QB position, how well he reads defenses, and how quick he would project to learn a new and complex offense. That is the first part of my evaluation. The second part would be to see how much of a pure passer he is apart from the unique offense he is in. If this guy shows a good football IQ on the chalkboard and a pure passing ability on the field in workouts, I would be all over him. His leadership is off the charts. We would no longer have a 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 problem with his running ability. I doubt McD would go for this pick because McD appears to be a very conventional coach.
1. Maurkice Pouncey C - From what I have seen of him I love. He appears to be a verbal leader on the line. He and his brother have a definite nasty streak, as I have seen them inflict pain and talk trash on many occasions. I wonder about taking a junior center. Would he have an immediate impact or would he have to sit behind Weigmann for the year? This guy has good size, appears to be relatively athletic, and maybe next year we could sign his brother!
2. Jon Asamoah G - Admittedly, I have not seen him play any games. From all that I have read, he seems to be the guard that has the best combination of size and speed. He is certainly athletic enough to sneak into the first round but that is unlikely. He is supposed to be an excellent run blocker and very good pass blocker.
3. Ryan Mathews RB - Me being a Fresno State Alum lends itself to some bias here. I believe that this guy is the best overall running back in the draft. Sure, Spiller and Best are faster and more elusive, but Mathews, if he can stay healthy, will have the most productive career of them all. He is a warrior who can run you over or run around you.
4. Mike Johnson G - All Mike did was block for Mark Ingram the entire year and open up monster holes. He is an excellent run blocker who is only average at pass blocking. Several scouting reports I have seen project him more as a zone blocking type of guard, which is debatable. Watching how many times Alabama ran behind him this year was funny. This guy would probably start right away. Another factor to consider is that he went up against the best competition in the country.
5. Demaryius Thomas WR - Physically, this guy might be the closest thing to Brandon Marshall in the draft. He also averages a ton of yards per catch, which is odd for a WR who is 6'3" 230 lbs. For better or worse, if this guy runs a very good 40 time at the combine, he will be a hot commodity.
3rd Round -
1. Arthur Jones DT - This guy was a first-round hot commodity before he was injured. He is great against the run and an above average pass rusher. I have seen him play and was impressed with his motor, leadership, strength, and quickness. If he can stay healthy, this would be one of the best steals of the draft.
2. Anthony McCoy TE - After watching this guy play often at USC, I noticed that he had great hands. If he was not injured, he would be second round material. He reminds me of an Antonio Gates kind of player. His blocking ability is great and we all know that is what McD values most in his TE's. This guy is a load and can be mistaken for an offensive lineman.
3. Vladimir Ducasse OG - Vladimir did not start playing football until high school and I believe he is from Haiti. The guy is 6'5" 350 lbs and could possibly be the type of player that would not start immediately. Despite his size, he is athletic and appears to have some upside.
4. Toby Gerhart RB - This guy should have won the Heisman Trophy. He has two things going against him, first, he is white and will be undervalued because of that, second, his 40 time might not be amazing. I wonder how fast Brandon Jacobs or other big backs run a 40. Toby is a football player first and a workout warrior second. With that said, the guy is as strong as an ox and would be a great change of pace back for Moreno and Buck.
5. Sean Canfield QB - Living in Oregon I watched this guy every weekend. He completed almost 70% of his passes in a pro-style offense. He throws a beautiful ball, has a strong arm, but only average mobility. He is a classic pocket passer and someone who I could see fitting in with McD's system nicely.
4th Round -
1. Riley Cooper WR - I think Riley has tons of upside. With a fourth rounder you are generally picking someone who projects into a solid backup or someone who has talent but little experience. Riley has debated football and baseball but recently said he was going to do football full time. He is fast, athletic, strong, and made Tim Tebow look like Steve Young.
2. Micah Johnson ILB - Micah is a very strong player who lays the wood down. His supporting cast was poor this year and that made him look worse. He also suffered an injury that might limit him at the combine. Consequently, he is possibly a very undervalued prospect now. Micah has been mentioned as first-round potential before but that is out of the question now.
3. Vince Oghobaase DT - Vince is very talented but is possibly an underachiever. He is physically big and projects well as a 3-4 DE. Vince is the type of player who could turn a lot of heads at the combine and go earlier than the fourth. I have never seen him play and would welcome anyone's observations of him.
4. Ben Tate RB - I have not seen Ben play but on paper he really looks good. 5'11" 220 and can run a sub 4.5 40. He has had amazing games and his statistics are impressive. The knock on him is his inconsistency. For a fourth round selection, that might be a gamble worth taking.
5. Brandon James RB/WR - This guy will likely run a low 4.3 40 and was a stud in returning kicks for Florida. I see him as a dual threat player with prowess in running and catching. Teams would always have to know where he is and that is not a bad value for a 4th rounder. Kind of a tougher version of Johnny Knox, worse hands but better runner.
1. I obviously want nothing to do with a first round WR. If this were a different draft I might consider it but this draft is unique with early defensive talent, which coincides with our needs. Maybe a thought going through McD's mind is that the Patriots won all three Super Bowls BEFORE Randy Moss joined up.
2. Once again I ask if, after landing Rolando McClain, we would entertain the idea of trading D.J. Williams for Shaun Rogers. The idea is intriguing for me and I am not sold either way, I just want to be convinced one way or another.
3. The way I understand it is that free agency is going to be extremely limited this off season because of the CBA etc. If only unrestricted free agents don't have to be compensated with draft picks then why are so many people advocating the pick up of so many free agents? I have yet to see, and I have looked several times, a list of unrestricted free agents. Does anyone have one? You would think one of the side-effects of having a limited free agency market will be a plethora of trades, which is uncommon for the NFL.
4. I personally would be hesitant to use a first round pick, unless it is late first round, on an offensive guard or center. I think you can walk away with a top 3 guard even if you wait till the second round. Historically, that is the case.
5. For the record, I love Ryan Harris but I would not be shocked if we pick up a right tackle in the first round of the draft. Other people on MHR have mentioned it and I believe the idea is not too far-fetched. Picking at #11 or #10 would give us the top right tackle in the draft. Maybe this person would slide over to guard and Harris would start at right tackle or vice versa. In doing about ten minutes of research, I have found that many of the top guards in the NFL were drafted as tackles.
- Mock Draft With No Trades
1st - Rolando McLain LB
2nd - Jon Asamoah G
3rd - Arthur Jones DT
4th - Brandon James RB/WR/KR
5th - No Picks
6th - Chris Hall C (depth)
7th - Your guess is as good as mine
Mock Draft With Brandon Marshall Trade for 1st and 3rd and Scheffler/Hillis Trade For Third:
1st Broncos - Rolando McClain LB
1st (Through Trade) - Dan Williams NT
2nd - Maurkice Pouncey if available, if not Jon Asamoah
3rd - Toby Gerhart RB
3rd - Anthony McCoy TE
3rd - Vladimir Ducaase OG
4th - Brandon James RB/WR/KR
5th - None
6th - Chris Hall C
7th - Who knows???
What are your thoughts?