I do not want to bore you all with the same introduction over and over again. I do have a bit of a disclaimer though. This was probably my favorite mock to date, and it will be my last one pre-combine (surprise, surprise) which starts on Thursday. I cannot wait to get this whole process going, and along with the combine will come some free agent deals that will make this whole process a lot clearer.
This is also a mock draft that will include suggestion and analysis from some of MHR's own, so I applaud all of you who have gotten involved in the draft process. There really has been some great quality of content in regards to the draft from this site, and I'm very excited to present this to you.
Round 20 after the jump...
1. First Round, 10th overall: Bryan Bulaga, Offensive Lineman, Iowa (NFLDraftScout.com #12) -2 reach
Over the course of the 2009 campaign, it was evident that Bulaga is one of the premiere pass blocking tackles in the nation. One area where he really lacked was in his footwork, which indicates to me that he would be an ideal guard prospect for the next level with his size and athleticism. Bulaga dominated lesser opponents but like I said, his footwork caused him relative struggle against guys like Brandon Graham of Michigan.
Clearly his best area as an offensive lineman. When Iowa recruits linemen, they are looking for bruisers who can help them establish their bread and butter, which is in the running game. Bulaga seems like he could be an ideal fit in the power system we employ with his aggressive style and mean streak.
Very athletic prospect who entered college as a defensive lineman. Knows how to adapt to different defensive line looks because of his prior experience. His frame reminds me a lot of Jake Long, former number one overall pick of the Miami Dolphins. He is not to much blubber as he is pure bulk.
Unquestioned. Just ask the defensive lineman he dominated the last three years at Iowa. He gained at least 50 pounds in his time as a Hawkeye, and in looking at photos it doesn't appear as though much of the weight he put on is fat. Very powerful upper body, and when he drives a player backwards he is hard to stop.
This aspect is key. Bulaga played RT and LT at Iowa, but I believe he can kick inside and play guard at the next level. As I previously mentioned, he used to be a defensive tackle, so he has played on both sides of the line.
To my knowledge, Bulaga has never had any legal problems whatsoever. At the University of Iowa, I would be willing to say that offensive linemen get better coaching than any other school in the nation. Iowa consistently churns one NFL prospect after another in recent years, and Kirk Ferentz is a huge testament to that.
Bulaga will likely go into the draft as the second rated tackle prospect behind Russell Okung, but I like him in our system as a guard. We ought to also factor in the fact that Ryan Harriscould potentially miss time with his foot injury, so Bulaga can fill in at right tackle until Harris comes back. I think an offensive line of Ryan Clady, Bulaga, Seth Olsen, Chris Kuper, and Harris would be exactly what the doctor ordered for this team.
2. Second Round, 45th overall: Tim Tebow, Quarterback, Florida (NFLDraftScout.com #45) No reach
Many of you might ignore my analysis of this pick, jump to the comment section, and get on my case about drafting Tebow. I have been on and off about us getting him over the offseason, but I'd say I've always been leaning about 70 percent on.
I've always been on the Tebow bandwagon. At this point in the draft, the Broncos are looking at (according to NFLDS) guys like Tebow, Terrence Cody, Arrelious Benn, Dexter McCluster, and Vladimir Ducasse among others. Having gone after Bulaga in the first round, I think we give him a top flight quarterback to protect.
When I look at Tebow, I see an extremely hard worker. I see a future NFL Head Coach. The kid's intangibles are so far off the charts, they might have to invent a new word for the description. Heck, I would even name it after Tebow. The Tebow meter, perhaps.
Tebow's arm strength is not quite elite, but there is no question he can make every NFL throw. He puts good stink behind his passes, though at times his arm strength causes the ball to sail. At the Senior Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, I saw Tebow make every NFL throw from the 15 yard out route, the 15 yard curl, to hitting a receiver on the sideline off of his back foot.
Again, not exactly elite but Tebow's 67 percent career completion percentage is pretty darn good, considering the level of competition he played against in the SEC. Tebow's accuracy is not great on deep passes, but he is almost pin point in the short range, which is a huge factor for this offense which calls for a ton of short passes. Had an 8-1 TD to INT ratio at UF.
More rushing touchdowns than any other quarterback in NCAA history. Tebow has been called more of an H-back or tight end prospect at the next level, but that's a foolish concept. He has never caught passes or run routes, and he is set on being a quarterback. That being said, the fact that NFL Scouts have said he can play those positions is a true testament to his grit and toughness as a runner. Tebow is not fast by any means, but he has good escape ability, and is a nice short yardage runner. His athleticism could be used nicely in the Wild Horses formation.
Pro Style Experience
In short, this area is not great for Tebow. The option based offense run by Urban Meyer and Florida was tailor made to Tebow's high school skills, and quite frankly Meyer and Tebow waited to long to try and tweak his game. Still, their job as Gators was to win football games, and they did just that. Tebow doesn't have much background in a pro style offense at all, but when he played in the Senior Bowl he seemed to adapt to the new offense very nicely, and with a full season of preparation he should be able to start in an NFL offense in 2011.
Best in the draft by far. Tebow is an extremely hard worker. He motivates his teammates. He is a faith driven man who seems to be wise and mature beyond his years. Tebow is willing to adapt to any coaching style he may endure in the NFL, and likely will be a fan favorite. A very positive influence on and off the field, Tebow really knows how to get his teammates fired up.
Tebow's elongated throwing motion could cause him problems in the NFL, but he has apparently changed his throwing motion completely and is currently working on perfecting it. Tebow's problem was that he dropped the ball down by his thigh pad, which in the NFL would probably cause a bunch of sack-fumbles and tipped passes at the line of scrimmage. If Tebow can fix that element of his game, he will only be that much better.
This is another area of Tebow's game that needs to be addressed. Playing in an option offense doesn't help him so much with his footwork, so he will need to really focus on this area of his game as he transitions to the NFL.
Seems to have a good feel of where his receivers will be and when, but like any quarterback he could struggle to adapt to the speed of the game. Playing in the SEC helps that some, but Tebow is only human. In the option offense, he consistently had to make the right read on every play, and he mastered that craft.
All American student at the University of Florida. Tebow has a very bright mind and has the intelligence to learn any complex NFL playbook. He vows to have Peyton Manning like work ethic in the film room, so that is also a huge plus in favor of us drafting him.
Tebow might be a work in progress, but he's not any further away from succeeding in the NFL than any other quarterback in this draft. He is just as gifted as any athlete in this crop, and I believe he can help the Broncos immediately as a short yardage back, and in the future as a franchise quarterback.
3. Third Round, 80th overall: Amari Spievey, Cornerback, Iowa (NFLDraftScout.com #93) -13 reach
I have yet to put together an in-depth scouting report on Spievey, but I do know that he has shut down potential. I follow Iowa Hawkeye football very closely, and there was talk that if he had another year of primping for the league, he could be a lock for a first round pick.
Spievey literally shut down his side of the field when he was with the Hawkeyes, and he was one of the leaders of the nation's top takeaway defense. Norm Parker does an excellent job with defensive talent, and defensive backs in particular have been a specialty of the Hawkeyes in recent years.
This is a kid who gives the Broncos a future number one to go along with Alphonso Smith. His skillset reminds me a lot of Champ Bailey.
**Projected Trade: Tony Scheffler to Cincinnati for 3rd round pick (84th overall)**
4. Third Round, 84th overall: Alex Carrington, Defensive Lineman, Arkansas State (NFLDraftScout.com #99) -15 reach
Carrington seems like an ideal fit for this defense. I think our own Tim Lynch and Sharpe as a Tack scout him the best, so I'll reference their reports.
I'll be up-front: I want this guy to end up in Orange and Blue in the worst way. And if you were man-crushing on Tyson Jackson last year, you need to jump on the bandwagon. He had 41 tackles, 14.5 for a loss, and 9 sacks his senior season. Still, this was in the Sun Belt Conference -- not particularly known for its high level of competition. Before you are scared off, however, know that he dominated in the Senior Bowl vs. elite competition.
While his quickness is not ideal off the snap, his strength is very impressive and he absolutely does not give ground. He is a superb run-stuffer:
His best area. Has the length and strength to hold up at the point of attack. Locks-out with the tackle and has the lateral agility and balance to work his way toward the sideline, stringing out the sweep. Instinctive, physical run defender that rarely loses contain [NFLdraftscout.com]
This means that he is a best fit as a 5-tech LDG for the Broncos. He graduated with a 3.52 GPA in Psychology and plans to return to grad school after his football career and become a clinical psychologist, so you know he's intelligent. In case you needed more proof, he has logged significant time on special teams.
FINAL EVALUATION: 5 stars
I saved the best for last. If there is one guy I really want to see don the Orange and Blue in 2010, it would be Alex Carrington. Defensive End is the one position on our defense that I see as a major weakness. Most people think that defensive tackle is a weakness, but I must keep faith that McDaniels sees something special in Chris Baker.
Carrington has the size and versatility to play in our version of the 3-4 defense. He excelled in both the 4-3 and 3-4, so our team doesn't have to worry about his position when they switch up the formation as they frequently did during the 2009 season.
Currently, he grades out in the mid to late third round, but his stock is rising rapidly. Hopefully he is available when the Broncospick in the third and hopefully McDaniels spends about three seconds deciding to draft the kid.
CBS Sports' take:
Pass rush: Only marginal initial quickness off the snap and lacks the speed to consistently pressure the tackle's outside shoulder as an edge rusher. Good strength and arm length for the bull rush, but relies on this technique too often. Incorporates a rip or spin into his repertoire, on occasion, but rarely. Can get upfield quickly due to his long stride. Closes quickly when he has a free lane. Doesn't use his hands and size to his advantage as a pass rusher, only batting down two passes over the past two years.
To be honest, pass rushing is all fine and dandy, but we already have Elvis Dumervil. I am, and I hope McXanders is as well, not looking for a pass rushing defensive end, though it looks like he can make plays in the passing game. It isn't his specialty, but it is in his repertoire. That's all I can ask for, since it is the run defense that needs help.
Run defense: His best area. Has the length and strength to hold up at the point of attack. Locks-out with the tackle and has the lateral agility and balance to work his way toward the sideline, stringing out the sweep. Instinctive, physical run defender that rarely loses contain.
Anyone want to guess where the Broncos defense ranked against the run last year? I don't even want to look it up, because I know its really bad. This reason and this reason alone is why I want this guy on our team. Stopping the run is the single most important factor of a dominant defense. Our defense was great against the pass last year, but its easy to defend the pass when all you are doing is chasing running backs!
Explosion: Average quickness off the snap, rarely forcing the tackle onto his heels in pass protection. Flashes some pop with his initial punch to break free from the offensive tackle, but isn't consistent enough in this area.
This is an area that he can work on and with each snap he plays in the NFL he will get better at the point of attack.
Strength: Lacks the explosive strength to instantly disengage, but is "country strong" and thus can walk the pass blocker into the pocket on the bull rush, as well as hold up at the point of attack in the running game. Plays low to the ground despite his frame and flashes the ability to toss aside the blocker to make the play in the hole.
I like this quote here. Everything about Carrington screams, "blue collar". I like blue collar and I like "country strong". Our defense has been softever since Al Wilsonwent down. McXanders needs to change that culture and adding a guy like this will only help them change that culture a little bit faster.
Tackling: Good balance and strength to slide off blocks and latch onto runners as they go by for tackles near the line of scrimmage. Has a short burst to close when opportunities present themselves. Flashes some pop on arrival, but isn't an explosive hitter. Long arms are useful in tight quarters, as he's often able to trip up elusive runners even if he is forced to lunge at them due to moderate lateral agility and straight-line speed.
Again, I prefer sure tacklers to heavy hitters. A stop at the line of scrimmage is better than a massive hit that sends the ball carry three or four years down field. I like the way this kid moves on the line and though he had an up and down Senior Bowl, I also think college linemen get away with far too many holds.
5. Fourth Round: A.J. Edds, Linebacker, Iowa (NFLDraftScout.com #125) No reach
Okay, so this is my third Hawkeye. I have a hard time believing that any of these guys will be bad picks. I have been intrigued by Edds and have been looking for a spot to place him in a mock draft for a while. I could ramble on a scouting report of the guy and how he was probably one of Iowa's most consistent defenders the last two years, and how of any prospect on the front seven he has the best NFL body, but I'll give you a Scouting report of Edds by Edds courtesy of NEPatriotsdraft.com:
In Norm Parker's Iowa defense, you rarely leave the field in obvious passing situations where most teams would use a sub-package. How has that helped you in getting ready for covering RB's, TE's, and WR's in the NFL?
Just playing for Norm Parker has been a great experience. Coach Parker does a great job putting his players in position to make plays which usually translates to good defense. By staying on the field during passing situations I think it showed my ability to cover in the open field and take away routes that many TE's would be able to convert. By staying on the field I was also able to better understand the ways offenses try to manipulate linebackers and defensive backs with their route combinations. By understanding this it has helped to increase my overall football IQ, especially in the passing game.
You had a couple of stumbles during practice at the Senior Bowl, and some analysts questioned your ability to stay with TEs and WRs in coverage. What is your response to this? (Note: AJ backed up his claims with an INT during the game)
Anyone that questions my ability to cover TE's and RB's should look at my career at Iowa. I was routinely asked to play over slot receivers in space in our defensive scheme. I did a fairly good job with this and often took away the route that the QB was looking to hit. By being able to neutralize receivers in the slot, it has better helped me in my coverage of TE's and RB's. I would challenge anyone questioning my coverage ability to look at my career at Iowa and watch my responsibilites in the passing game.
Another quirk with the Hawkeye defense is that you rarely blitz, however, you seemed to get pressure when called upon. How confident do you feel in getting to the QB? What is your best rush move?
In our defenseive scheme the linebackers are rarely asked to apply pressure via blitz. Because of this I would acknowledge that rushing the passer is likely one of my biggest areas for improvement. That said, when asked to come on a blitz I did a pretty good job of hurrying the QB or coming up with the sack. Pass rushing is nothing more then desire and a player can excel in this area through determination and attitude.
How much more weight can you add to your frame without losing speed? I know Chris Doyle does an amazing job with the Iowa Strength and Conditioning program, does he have you at your peak?
I think I could effectively add another 9-12 lbs without losing a step. Simply because of the nature of my position at Iowa, I did not want to weigh too much that I would not be able to keep up with smaller, quicker receivers in space. Coach Doyle does a phenomenal job with our S&C at Iowa and he did a great job getting me to my optimal playing weight. I actually was as heavy as 251 in pre-season camp this past season (due to battling everyday with TE Tony Moeaki on the L.O.S.) but dropped a few pounds before the start of the season.
With the Patriots (Broncos) being a 3-4 team, what position(s) do you think you could play for us? Are you up to shedding guards all day inside or do you feel more comfortable on the edge?
In the Patriots (Broncos) 3-4 scheme I would envision myself more as an inside LB getting off blocks and getting to the ball. I likely do not have the frame to weight 270-285 and still be effective if asked to come off the edge. And as said above, rushing the passer is probably not one of my strong points at this point. Although not very often, I did play in the box occasionally at Iowa and it would not be completely new to me.
CBSSports.com also said that Edds has the potential to be a "Ben Leber" type of player. A guy who goes unnoticed and plays in the NFL for ten years because of his consistency and pass coverage skills.
6. Sixth Round: Jeron Mastrud, Tight End, Kansas State (NFLDraftScout.com #190) Reach
This is my first time including Mastrud in a mock draft, but I feel he fits a need of depth at the position with the impending trade of Tony Scheffler. Mastrud has some intriguing assets to him, including the fact that he recently won a sportsmanship award. He seems to be a man of high character. Though injuries have been a slight problem for him, he has every tool we should be looking for in a tight end prospect.
Here is a scouting report from CBSSports.com:
Release: Not a blazer off the line of scrimmage, but slips by linebackers and is sneaky-quick into his pattern. Will separate past linebackers once in the second level and get down the seam.
Hands: Catches ball away from his frame, even when he's facing the quarterback. Good concentration and isn't afraid of the big hit when catching between the linebackers. Gets most high throws, snatching them out of the air even when threatened by the safety. Inconsistent bringing in low throws, as he lacks great flexibility.
Route running: Best as a move-the-chains receiver but can occasionally make a longer play. Finds holes between linebackers on short patterns, presenting his numbers for the quarterback. Adequate foot quickness on out-routes, although he should sink his hips more going in. Will use a head and body fake to slip by second level and into the third. Boxes out linebackers using his tall frame.
After the catch: Secures the ball after the catch, with two hands if necessary. Leans forward and keeps his feet alive to run through tackles. Fights for the first down while keeping legs churning. Enough speed to make defenses pay for letting him loose through their zone. Some agility in the open field, but not much elusiveness.
Blocking: Looks tall and lean, but anchors well on the edge. Readjusts hands if losing his grip after initial contact. Drives into defensive ends on run plays, keeping his hands and feet moving to push him back. Used in motion to seal the edge and in the backfield as an extra pass protector. Fires off the snap to get angle to stop backside run support - although he lacks the strength to sustain against larger ends. Find a target on the second level and sustains in most cases. Struggles with great quickness one-on-one on the outside.
Intangibles: Plays a lot of snaps and gives good effort on every one. Second-team Academic All-American, KSU's Big 12/Chik-fil-a Fall Community of Champions representative, and nominated for AFCA Good Works Team in 2008.
7. Seventh Round: Trindon Holliday, Wide Receiver/Return Specialist, LSU (NFLDraftScout.com #309) No reach
Catch this guy if you can. Based on his size alone, there is a strong chance that Holliday will go undrafted. That will be a mistake for NFL franchises. The last thing this speedster needs is a chip on his shoulder. Tim recently suggested him on his sleeper list, and I love the line he said about how he might get blasted every once in a while, but when all that's in front of him is green grass, there is no player in the league who's going to catch this kid.
The Broncos need an explosive kick returner to allow Eddie Royalto focus strictly on being a top flight wide receiver. Not only can Holliday contribute as a return specialist, but he is also an intriguing gadget player on offense. I like his pro potential.
1. Bryan Bulaga, OL, Iowa
2. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
3. Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa
4. Alex Carrington, DE, Arkansas State
5. A.J. Edds, LB, Iowa
6. Jeron Mastrud, TE, Kansas State
7. Trindon Holliday, WR/RS, LSU
Like 2009, I think a lot of these picks will be developed for a year or more. I believe Bulaga will be an immediate impact in some capacity as a starter, but I don't see any of these other guys as impact starters from year one unless they have to be, which is totally fine.
Rookies don't necessarily have to put up amazing statistics their first year in the league, but I think you will see significant contributions from all or most of them.
For Tebow, I see a guy who can contribute in short yardage situations and in the Wild Horses for his first year while he develops behind a very smart, veteran quarterback in Kyle Orton.
With Spievey, I see a situational corner who can come in with certain packages. He will be an excellent gunner on special teams thanks to his superb tackling ability, and I think we will see enough from him in 2010 to be able to know that he has a bright future, much similar to David Bruton and Darcel McBath.
Carrington will probably be thrust into the lineup early and often, but probably not as a starter. He has the ability to hold a line, and his skills will be invaluable to us as depth initially, but I think he is an eventual starter for us.
Edds is one of the more intriguing prospects to me. We all talk about Rolando McClain and Micah Johnson as elite prospects for our particular defense, but take a look at Edds and you see a very, very solid prospect in a similar mold. He comes from great coaching, so I really like him at this point.
Mastrud gives us depth to replace Scheff, and he provides us with a guy who can eventually pair with Richard Quinn.
Holliday is an electrifying return man who fills an immediate need, and getting that in the seventh round is phenomenal value.