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Thread: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

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    Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Now that all of the underclassmen have declared, I thought it was time to put out another mock draft! Feel free to leave constructive comments and feedback.


    1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
    -The Chiefs are saying all the right things about going for the best player available here; if they really mean it, Joeckel could very well be the pick, especially if Branden Albert leaves in free agency.

    2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
    -Jacksonville finished dead last in the league with only 20 sacks on the season. Pass rush help will be a priority this offseason, and a talented prospect like Damontre Moore would make all the sense in the world here.

    3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
    -Tommy Kelly was pretty awful in 2012, and the Raiders are poised to lose both Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant to free agency, making defensive tackle a big priority for them.

    4. Philadelphia Eagles: Geno Smtih, QB, WVU
    -New head coach Chip Kelly is singing the praises of Nick Foles, but if he has his choice of quarterbacks in this draft class, I expect him to add a top one. Geno Smith combines athleticism with outstanding accuracy.

    5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
    -Cliff Avril did not play as if he wanted a big contract extension this year, and Kyle Vanden Bosch turned 34 years old in November. Even if Avril is retained, an heir to Vanden Bosch's spot would be a nice choice.

    6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
    -The hiring of head coach Rod Chudzinski signals a switch to the 3-4 defense for the Browns. As the Browns' best pass rusher is Jabaal Sheard, clearly Jones' talents would be an outstanding fit in Cleveland.

    7. Arizona Cardinals: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
    -The Cardinals desperately need OL help, but I'm not sure they see value at the position just yet. They could also use a cornerback to start opposite of Patrick Peterson, so Milliner could come off the board here.

    8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
    -It seems as if the Bills are finally acknowledging some buyer's remorse on the long term deal they gave Ryan Fitzpatrick. It's tough to say at this point how the QB rankings will shake out, but I expect Buffalo to heavily consider one here.

    9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, LB, LSU
    -The Jets are seeking pass rush help from the outside linebacker position, and Barkevious Mingo has just the kind of skill set to help them out. Blessed with great size and explosive speed as a rusher, he'd be a great fit in New York.

    10. Tennessee Titans: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
    -Steve Hutchinson was a disappointment this year and can't find a way to stay healthy. Meanwhile, the Titans' prospects at right guard aren't exactly exciting anyone. Alabama's Chance Warmack certainly would.

    11. San Diego Chargers: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
    -Michael Harris, who started 11 games for the Chargers at left tackle, finished dead last in Pro Football Focus' ranking of offensive tackles. Time for an upgrade. With Lewan and Matthews staying in school, Eric Fisher is poised to be the second OT to come off the board.

    12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
    -I'm not convinced Keenan Allen is the best WR prospect in this class, nor am I convinced any WR comes off the board this high. But if head coach Joe Philbin's time as Green Bay's offensive coordinator taught him anything, it should be the value of surrounding your quarterback with weapons.

    13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
    -Gosh, Tampa Bay's personnel at cornerback is awful. Eric Wright could be an offseason casualty and E.J. Biggers (!) is scheduled to hit free agency. Mississippi State's Jonathan Banks gives them an immediate starter at their weakest position.

    14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
    -The Panthers have nothing at defensive tackle. Dwan Edwards is their best interior lineman, and he ranked 70th in PFF's rankings at the position. Sheldon Richardson would give the Panthers a much needed disruptive force on the inside.

    15. New Orleans Saints: Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU
    -While Cameron Jordan had some nice moments for the Saints this year, Will Smith is likely gone unless he takes a major pay cut. Even if he does, the Saints need better production from the defensive end position.

    16. St. Louis Rams: Dion Jordan, LB, Oregon
    -The Rams would have loved an offensive lineman, but the value doesn't match up. Instead, they could take a freak of nature like Jordan to be a hybrid linebacker/pass rusher and strengthen an already improving defense.

    17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
    -Mike Wallace is set to hit free agency, which doesn't seem to bother the Steelers. But they'd be wise to restock at the position, and when it's all said and done, Patterson might be this class's top receiver with elite potential.

    18. Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
    -Safety has been a thorn in the side of the Cowboys for as long as I can remember doing mock drafts, so why not take a local prospect like Kenny Vaccaro here? He could fill in immediately for Barry Church.

    19. New York Giants: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
    -Te'o's troubles are going to cause some to question him in this draft, but barring additinoal damning revelations, I don't know that he'll fall too far. Middle linebacker needy teams like New York will have a hard time passing him up.

    20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
    -The Bears' offensive line continues to be an issue, and while some don't consider D.J. Fluker to be good value here, the absence of underclassmen tackles could help push Fluker up draft boards. He'd be an immediate starter at right tackle for Chicago.

    21. Cincinnati Bengals: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
    -The Bengals are scheduled to lose three defensive ends to free agency, including Michael Johnson, who racked up eight sacks and over thirty hurries. If they can't resign him, adding a replacement like Montgomery would be a solid move.

    22. St. Louis Rams (f/WAS): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
    -Having missed out on some earlier offensive lineman, the Rams could very well come back with their second pick and grab a guy like North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper, who would instantly improve Sam Bradford's pass protection.

    23. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
    -The Vikings miss the Williams combo on the inside of their defensive line. Now down to just Kevin, they need to find someone capable of standing toe to toe next to him. Ohio State's Jonathan Hankins could be that guy.

    24. Indianapolis Colts: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
    -Protecting Andrew Luck will be a priority for the Colts in 2013, and in order to do so, they need to find an upgrade over Winston Justice at right tackle. Lane Johnson out of Oklahoma is a candidate to fill that job.

    25. Seattle Seahawks: Josh Jenkins, DT, Georgia
    -With Alan Branch and Jason Jones scheduled to hit free agency, the Seahawks would be wise to restock the cabinets on their defensive line. Josh Jenkins has the kind of massive size that Seattle likes on their versatile front.

    26. Green Bay Packers: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
    -The Packers benched Jeff Saturday in December and will likely cut ties with him. While Evan Dietrich-Smith was a solid replacement, the Packers would be smart to secure a versatile inteior lineman like Jones to fill that role.

    27. Houston Texans: Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor
    -Andre Johnson had an outstanding season, but really, what else does Houston have at wide receiver? Terrence Williams is competing to be the top receiver in this class; if he's available here for Houston, they should pounce.

    28. Denver Broncos: Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
    -Defensive tackle remains an issue for Denver, where Justin Bannan could be considered their top player and three of their four top interior lineman are scheduled for free agency. Expect them to give a lot of consideration to drafting one here.

    29. Baltimore Ravens: Alex Ogletree, LB, Georgia
    -Ray Lewis is finally planning on retiring from football, and while Dannell Ellerbe is viewed as a possible successor to Lewis' middle linebacker spot, he's a free agent and may not return. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ravens jumped on a prospect like Ogletree if he's available here.

    30. San Francisco *****: Erid Reid, S, LSU
    -Dashon Goldson is one of the league's top safeties, but will the ***** be able to bring 2012's franchise player back? If they can't work out a deal with him and he hits the market, Eric Reid may make for a nice replacement.

    31. New England Patriots: Tavon Austin, WR, WVU
    -The Patriots love Wes Welker, but not enough to give him a long term deal. New England is great about cutting ties before their players really begin to decline, so it's possible they could look to the versatile Tavon Austin to fill Welker's shoes in the long term.

    32. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
    -Tony Gonzalez is 97% sure he's retiring after this season. I kid you not; that's the percentage. Finding a replacement for him in the Falcons offense should be a priority, so this could be where the first tight end comes off the board if one hasn't already.


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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Love a lot of the picks. The first 6 are terrific and I wouldn't change a thing. Love the Richardson to Panthers pick.

    I wouldn't mind Dion Jordan. Guy has a massive frame (Aldon Smith anyone?). He's not amazing at stacking up at the LOS, but his pursuit is LEGENDARY. His frame (6'7) is terrific, but he'll definitely need to add some weight. Imagine the thought of Jordan / Long / Hayes / Quinn pass rushing on 3rd and long? Jesus..

    I'd be dissapointed with Cooper though. To me he's a much better fit for a ZBS and doesn't really fit in great here. I'd rather add a weapon like Terrance Williams or DeAndre Hopkins, or even think about a Zach Ertz or Tyler Eifert.


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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Nick, you are one unorthodox son-of-a-motherless-goat. That's what I love about you.

    Jordan and Cooper?? The "weeping and gnashing of teeth" patrol will want to hang you in effigy, but those are fine picks. Jordan is just simply BPA at that point. I'm not sure where he fits exactly in this defense, but I'd be interested to watch it take shape. And while Warmack he's not, Cooper is an excellent (though undersized) option at Guard. I wouldn't be surprised to see him start at LG, then move to C after Wells is gone.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Great mock! I think you're spot on through the first 6 picks, for sure. You've also hit on a lot of guys I would have predicted to creep up as we get closer to draft day.

    Any more insight into the Jordan pick over Vaccaro?

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    The problem I see with taking an OLB like Jordan that high is that how do we keep him on the field? The Rams are in nickle about 50+% of the time and that means we are only playing with 2 linebackers.

    I don't see Fish taking either Laurinaitis or Dunbar off the field so that means that Jordan would be the odd man out. Maybe he could sub in as a designated pass rusher but I can't see using the 16th pick on a guy who may or may not have a defined position.

    Also, wouldn't Jordan be more of a fit for a 3 - 4 scheme? Is he experienced in the pass coverage responsibilities that a 4 -3 OLB must have?

    Lots to think about.....


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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Good job as always Nick! In regards to the Chiefs, if Branden Albert stays I can't see them picking anything other than a QB with the 1st pick. They need a QB something bad. Cassel and Quinn just aren't going to cut it for them.

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    The problem I see with taking an OLB like Jordan that high is that how do we keep him on the field? The Rams are in nickle about 50+% of the time and that means we are only playing with 2 linebackers.

    I don't see Fish taking either Laurinaitis or Dunbar off the field so that means that Jordan would be the odd man out. Maybe he could sub in as a designated pass rusher but I can't see using the 16th pick on a guy who may or may not have a defined position.

    Also, wouldn't Jordan be more of a fit for a 3 - 4 scheme? Is he experienced in the pass coverage responsibilities that a 4 -3 OLB must have?

    Lots to think about.....


    WHAT SAY YE?
    This is kind of the same exact argument that was used against the Giants drafting Mathias Kiwanuka. He was more of a tweener like Jordan is, and he has worked out pretty well. I think he would be our starting SAM, where he would be used to stuff the line and open it up for Laurinaitis to flow free to the ball carrier, and then would be used in the nickel and dime packages as a pash rusher as you mentioned.

    Where he would come in handy is that he could play in any package on the field, and as a backup for multiple positions. You always want your best 11 out on the field, but sometimes you can't have them due to injuries or package. This lets us have a potential top 11-12 player on the field one way or another. It's certainly higher than I want to address our SAM, but I could see it.

    As for Cooper, I'm against that pick. We need to address the line, absolutely. But unless we can get Warmack, I'd stay away from the interior and focus on the tackles. At the end of the day, however, I'll take whoever the best lineman is. In this scenario, I'd take Lane Johnson, Elam, or Eifert at 22, and look to grab a guard later on in the draft, where quality guards and centers can usually still be found.

    I'm happy that you didn't project a knee jerk WR like many others will.
    I believe!

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    I agree with RAMarkable just can't justify a first round pick on a part time player. If the draft went like this I would take Kenny Vaccaro at 16. As far as guard at 22, not sure I would do the either. I like Warmack at 16 because he is that special. I'd go Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor or Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame from whats still on the board.

    Shelley Smith and Chris Williams both rotated during the last two games at guard. In those games we did not give up a sack says something.

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    The problem I see with taking an OLB like Jordan that high is that how do we keep him on the field? The Rams are in nickle about 50+% of the time and that means we are only playing with 2 linebackers.

    I don't see Fish taking either Laurinaitis or Dunbar off the field so that means that Jordan would be the odd man out. Maybe he could sub in as a designated pass rusher but I can't see using the 16th pick on a guy who may or may not have a defined position.

    Also, wouldn't Jordan be more of a fit for a 3 - 4 scheme? Is he experienced in the pass coverage responsibilities that a 4 -3 OLB must have?

    Lots to think about.....


    WHAT SAY YE?
    We used William Hayes as part of a 3 end rush, I'm sure he could come off the edge in those situations, with Long or Quinn or even Hayes as a 4 end rush.

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    I'm pretty surprised by your pick of Jordan, given that you have typically supported the notion that certain players are 4-3 prospects, while others are 3-4. My understanding is that most view Jordan as a 3-4 OLB type.

    That said, I don't mind the pick. Certainly, Jordan has "playmaker" potential, and could create some real match-up headaches for opponents.

    As for Cooper, I'm all for that pick. He's as good an OL prospect as any player in this draft apart from Joekel and Warmack. I think he'd be a starter by the first preseason game, and for the next several years.

    Given your projections, I would rank the top 5 remaining prospects for the Rams in Round 2 as follows: (1) DeAndre Hopkins, (2) Matt Elam, (3) Zach Ertz, (4) Justin Hunter, (5) Xavier Rhodes.

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I'll try to respond to everyone's questions or comments.


    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Love a lot of the picks. The first 6 are terrific and I wouldn't change a thing. Love the Richardson to Panthers pick.

    I wouldn't mind Dion Jordan. Guy has a massive frame (Aldon Smith anyone?). He's not amazing at stacking up at the LOS, but his pursuit is LEGENDARY. His frame (6'7) is terrific, but he'll definitely need to add some weight. Imagine the thought of Jordan / Long / Hayes / Quinn pass rushing on 3rd and long? Jesus..

    I'd be dissapointed with Cooper though. To me he's a much better fit for a ZBS and doesn't really fit in great here. I'd rather add a weapon like Terrance Williams or DeAndre Hopkins, or even think about a Zach Ertz or Tyler Eifert.
    Thanks for the comments! I feel pretty good about this one, at least as good as you can feel about a mock in January before offseason events and free agency.

    Jordan really intrigues me because of his versatility. It's easy to pigeon hold him into a 3-4 OLB role, and while his pass rushing ability is great, this is a guy who also lined up in the slot to cover inside receivers. I really think Fisher could find a lot of great ways to use him, and he's so versatile that he wouldn't have to be pulled off the field very much.

    You could be right about Cooper, but I think he could fit either system. Kiper refers to him on his big board as a "complete guard," and I tend to agree. I'm very intrigued by his abilities in pass protection, and I think in an NFL strength program, he could get stronger and improve in the power run game. I think he's better value at that point than either of the receivers or tight ends, at this point.


    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Nick, you are one unorthodox son-of-a-motherless-goat. That's what I love about you.

    Jordan and Cooper?? The "weeping and gnashing of teeth" patrol will want to hang you in effigy, but those are fine picks. Jordan is just simply BPA at that point. I'm not sure where he fits exactly in this defense, but I'd be interested to watch it take shape. And while Warmack he's not, Cooper is an excellent (though undersized) option at Guard. I wouldn't be surprised to see him start at LG, then move to C after Wells is gone.
    It's not a projection that we've seen much of, but I wanted to do something that was realistic (IMO) for all teams, and the more I looked at team needs and thought about how I valued these players, the more I thought a team like Tennessee, with possibly a big need at OG, would snatch up Warmack. With both Fisher and Warmack off the board, it created an interesting opportunity to really look at some other needs for the Rams and choose among the best remaining players, which I suspect Fisher and Snead will do anyways.

    Jordan, IMO, becomes a jack of all trades on defense. If you're an opposing OC, you never know what he's going to do because he's shown the ability to do it all. He's a tool for any occasion, and I think this defensive staff could really find some interesting ways to use him. Some may not believe this, but I think @ 22, Cooper becomes one of the best values on the board, at least at this point in the process. Could change after workouts and whatnot, but it seemed like a good fit to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    Great mock! I think you're spot on through the first 6 picks, for sure. You've also hit on a lot of guys I would have predicted to creep up as we get closer to draft day.

    Any more insight into the Jordan pick over Vaccaro?
    Jordan is a better value than Vaccaro, IMO. I wouldn't be surprised if Jordan cracks the Top 10.


    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    The problem I see with taking an OLB like Jordan that high is that how do we keep him on the field? The Rams are in nickle about 50+% of the time and that means we are only playing with 2 linebackers.

    I don't see Fish taking either Laurinaitis or Dunbar off the field so that means that Jordan would be the odd man out. Maybe he could sub in as a designated pass rusher but I can't see using the 16th pick on a guy who may or may not have a defined position.

    Also, wouldn't Jordan be more of a fit for a 3 - 4 scheme? Is he experienced in the pass coverage responsibilities that a 4 -3 OLB must have?

    Lots to think about.....
    Yeah, I figured Jordan would cause some head scratching. But I don't think he's merely a 3-4 OLB. He's more versatile than that. We're talking about a guy who not only rushed the passer at Oregon, but who lined up with his hand off the dirt as a traditional linebacker as well as covered inside receivers in the slot! The key word is VERSATILE! Fisher's defense is aggressive enough where he can still make good use out of Jordan's pass rushing skills, but can also develop his other attributes to make him a very complete package at the position.

    And to me, if you draft a guy like Jordan, then Dunbar becomes your situational linebacker. Which makes some sense, because he was one of the worst 4-3 linebackers in the league according to PFF when ranked by coverage skills. Again, according to PFF, opposing players caught 84.1% of passes thrown at them when Dunbar was covering them, fifth worst in the league for 4-3 OLB among those who played at least 25% of their defense's snaps. The standard NFL QB rating when throwing into Dunbar's coverage area? 112, fourth worst in the league at his position. Dunbar is solid rushing the passer, but I bet you can get equal if not more pass rush production from Jordan combined with better efficiency in coverage.


    Quote Originally Posted by KCRamFan View Post
    Good job as always Nick! In regards to the Chiefs, if Branden Albert stays I can't see them picking anything other than a QB with the 1st pick. They need a QB something bad. Cassel and Quinn just aren't going to cut it for them.
    You're probably right, but we don't know yet if Albert stays. It's possible he's ready to test the market, and the Chiefs have a choice to make on the franchise tag between Albert and Bowe (or neither). A quarterback would be great, but if they end up having a massive hole at LT, the value (at this point in the process) supports that pick. It wouldn't surprise me at all, however, if by March, there's a QB who has risen to be in contention here. Seems like it happens every year, and it wasn't long ago that I was mocking Smith to the Chiefs.

    One thing that I would LOVE to see but probably will never happen is for the Chiefs to resign Albert but line him up at left guard, where Ryan Lilja is retiring and Jeff Allen is awful. Then draft Joeckel first overall, and you've suddenly got a stellar left side of the line. There are going to be quarterbacks available in the second round of this draft, unless there's a bigger run on them in the first than I anticipate right now, so they could come back and grab one there. But Albert wants to be paid like a blindside tackle, so you'd have to play him there for the cost probably. Just a thought.


    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    As for Cooper, I'm against that pick. We need to address the line, absolutely. But unless we can get Warmack, I'd stay away from the interior and focus on the tackles. At the end of the day, however, I'll take whoever the best lineman is. In this scenario, I'd take Lane Johnson, Elam, or Eifert at 22, and look to grab a guard later on in the draft, where quality guards and centers can usually still be found.

    I'm happy that you didn't project a knee jerk WR like many others will.
    To me, and I always preface these things by saying it's at this point in the time in the process because rankings and grades are fluid in the months leading up to the draft, but I rank Cooper higher than Lane Johnson, Matt Elam, or Tyler Eifert. Combine that with guard being such a big need, and the pick makes sense for me.

    Thanks for the additional explanation of how the Jordan pick could work, too! You made some awesome points.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    I agree with RAMarkable just can't justify a first round pick on a part time player. If the draft went like this I would take Kenny Vaccaro at 16. As far as guard at 22, not sure I would do the either. I like Warmack at 16 because he is that special. I'd go Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor or Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame from whats still on the board.

    Shelley Smith and Chris Williams both rotated during the last two games at guard. In those games we did not give up a sack says something.
    See my response to RAMarkable: if you draft Jordan @ 16, he's not a part time player. He's versatile enough to be used in multiple ways in multiple packages. Dunbar becomes the part time player, because despite all the good he did in 2012, coverage was not one of those things.

    Also, I love Warmack as a prospect too, but as you've argued for a while, we need to improve this line, and there's more than one guy who can do it. Shelley Smith and Chris Williams, who didn't even crack the PFF Top 100 offensive guards this season, are no reason to pass on the next best player after Warmack. And as someone who views Cooper as being better value (at this point in the process [not to sound repetitive]) than Williams or the tight ends, I don't see a reason to bypass him for them.

    For those who aren't sold on Cooper, here's a quote from NFLDC's Scott Wright for you to chew on. He projected Cooper to the Colts @ 24, ahead of both tight ends and Terrence Williams (who wasn't in his latest first round projection): "Cooper isnít going to physically manhandle opponents but he is super athletic with excellent mobility and carries a consensus first round grade which is not that far off from Alabamaís Chance Warmack."


    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    We used William Hayes as part of a 3 end rush, I'm sure he could come off the edge in those situations, with Long or Quinn or even Hayes as a 4 end rush.
    Very true. We need to consider the possibility that Hayes tests the market and gets signed to another team due to his production here. If that happens, the Rams will definitely need someone else to help supplement the pass rush. But again, Jordan can do more than that.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I'm pretty surprised by your pick of Jordan, given that you have typically supported the notion that certain players are 4-3 prospects, while others are 3-4. My understanding is that most view Jordan as a 3-4 OLB type.

    That said, I don't mind the pick. Certainly, Jordan has "playmaker" potential, and could create some real match-up headaches for opponents.

    As for Cooper, I'm all for that pick. He's as good an OL prospect as any player in this draft apart from Joekel and Warmack. I think he'd be a starter by the first preseason game, and for the next several years.

    Given your projections, I would rank the top 5 remaining prospects for the Rams in Round 2 as follows: (1) DeAndre Hopkins, (2) Matt Elam, (3) Zach Ertz, (4) Justin Hunter, (5) Xavier Rhodes.
    You're right, I generally do tend to view guys as either/or when it comes to scheme. But I feel about Jordan the same way you did about Jones for a while - he's versatile and athletic enough to work in either scheme. I'm intrigued at the different ways Fisher could use this guy, he's just so athletic. I believe he started his career at Oregon as a tight end.

    I think that's a pretty good list for the Rams' next targets in the second round. I did not save the list I had of remaining prospects, but I imagine Elam would be high on it, and there are still some solid receivers left on the board if we want to add another weapon for Sam. Some good offensive tackles would still be left if anyone is concerned about the right side, too.

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Great mock Nick. As always you are a solid wealth of knowledge for many of these prospects, hats off to you. I know far too little about Dion Jordan to make any valid comments, but when you use the phrase "value doesn't match-up here" for offensive lineman it gets me to think "trader Les" may be working the phones. I just sense that Les and Jeff would love to grab an extra pick in round 2 from a team that would love to get back into round 1 for another starter. I know this is hard to forecast particularly in January, but if the 2012 draft taught me anything, its to expect the unexpected from those guys.

    I would like to add another thought concerning AV's remaining prospects for round 2. What if we lose SJax in FA? Is Pead ready to move into prime time? Do we consider another RB like Lacy of Alabama or Bell of MSU? I mention this because it ties back to my point about a trade to add another pick in round 2. All very intriguing.

    Incidentally, as for Cooper at #22, I like it. Now don't kill me for this, but I did read earlier this week among the 5 players suggested the Rams to cut ties with Harvey Dahl was one of them, for cap reasons. As much as I like Dahl and think he's one of our o-line pillars, drafting a competent replacement at OG like Cooper reduces spending and lowers the age range on our line. Dahl will be 32 or already is so while that's not ancient, it gets up there and chances of injury are heightened. He's already coming off surgery if I'm not mistaken. Hey, the plot thickens. Great mock as I already said.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I'll try to respond to everyone's questions or comments.




    Thanks for the comments! I feel pretty good about this one, at least as good as you can feel about a mock in January before offseason events and free agency.

    Jordan really intrigues me because of his versatility. It's easy to pigeon hold him into a 3-4 OLB role, and while his pass rushing ability is great, this is a guy who also lined up in the slot to cover inside receivers. I really think Fisher could find a lot of great ways to use him, and he's so versatile that he wouldn't have to be pulled off the field very much.

    You could be right about Cooper, but I think he could fit either system. Kiper refers to him on his big board as a "complete guard," and I tend to agree. I'm very intrigued by his abilities in pass protection, and I think in an NFL strength program, he could get stronger and improve in the power run game. I think he's better value at that point than either of the receivers or tight ends, at this point.




    It's not a projection that we've seen much of, but I wanted to do something that was realistic (IMO) for all teams, and the more I looked at team needs and thought about how I valued these players, the more I thought a team like Tennessee, with possibly a big need at OG, would snatch up Warmack. With both Fisher and Warmack off the board, it created an interesting opportunity to really look at some other needs for the Rams and choose among the best remaining players, which I suspect Fisher and Snead will do anyways.

    Jordan, IMO, becomes a jack of all trades on defense. If you're an opposing OC, you never know what he's going to do because he's shown the ability to do it all. He's a tool for any occasion, and I think this defensive staff could really find some interesting ways to use him. Some may not believe this, but I think @ 22, Cooper becomes one of the best values on the board, at least at this point in the process. Could change after workouts and whatnot, but it seemed like a good fit to me.




    Jordan is a better value than Vaccaro, IMO. I wouldn't be surprised if Jordan cracks the Top 10.




    Yeah, I figured Jordan would cause some head scratching. But I don't think he's merely a 3-4 OLB. He's more versatile than that. We're talking about a guy who not only rushed the passer at Oregon, but who lined up with his hand off the dirt as a traditional linebacker as well as covered inside receivers in the slot! The key word is VERSATILE! Fisher's defense is aggressive enough where he can still make good use out of Jordan's pass rushing skills, but can also develop his other attributes to make him a very complete package at the position.

    And to me, if you draft a guy like Jordan, then Dunbar becomes your situational linebacker. Which makes some sense, because he was one of the worst 4-3 linebackers in the league according to PFF when ranked by coverage skills. Again, according to PFF, opposing players caught 84.1% of passes thrown at them when Dunbar was covering them, fifth worst in the league for 4-3 OLB among those who played at least 25% of their defense's snaps. The standard NFL QB rating when throwing into Dunbar's coverage area? 112, fourth worst in the league at his position. Dunbar is solid rushing the passer, but I bet you can get equal if not more pass rush production from Jordan combined with better efficiency in coverage.




    You're probably right, but we don't know yet if Albert stays. It's possible he's ready to test the market, and the Chiefs have a choice to make on the franchise tag between Albert and Bowe (or neither). A quarterback would be great, but if they end up having a massive hole at LT, the value (at this point in the process) supports that pick. It wouldn't surprise me at all, however, if by March, there's a QB who has risen to be in contention here. Seems like it happens every year, and it wasn't long ago that I was mocking Smith to the Chiefs.

    One thing that I would LOVE to see but probably will never happen is for the Chiefs to resign Albert but line him up at left guard, where Ryan Lilja is retiring and Jeff Allen is awful. Then draft Joeckel first overall, and you've suddenly got a stellar left side of the line. There are going to be quarterbacks available in the second round of this draft, unless there's a bigger run on them in the first than I anticipate right now, so they could come back and grab one there. But Albert wants to be paid like a blindside tackle, so you'd have to play him there for the cost probably. Just a thought.




    To me, and I always preface these things by saying it's at this point in the time in the process because rankings and grades are fluid in the months leading up to the draft, but I rank Cooper higher than Lane Johnson, Matt Elam, or Tyler Eifert. Combine that with guard being such a big need, and the pick makes sense for me.

    Thanks for the additional explanation of how the Jordan pick could work, too! You made some awesome points.




    See my response to RAMarkable: if you draft Jordan @ 16, he's not a part time player. He's versatile enough to be used in multiple ways in multiple packages. Dunbar becomes the part time player, because despite all the good he did in 2012, coverage was not one of those things.

    Also, I love Warmack as a prospect too, but as you've argued for a while, we need to improve this line, and there's more than one guy who can do it. Shelley Smith and Chris Williams, who didn't even crack the PFF Top 100 offensive guards this season, are no reason to pass on the next best player after Warmack. And as someone who views Cooper as being better value (at this point in the process [not to sound repetitive]) than Williams or the tight ends, I don't see a reason to bypass him for them.

    For those who aren't sold on Cooper, here's a quote from NFLDC's Scott Wright for you to chew on. He projected Cooper to the Colts @ 24, ahead of both tight ends and Terrence Williams (who wasn't in his latest first round projection): "Cooper isn’t going to physically manhandle opponents but he is super athletic with excellent mobility and carries a consensus first round grade which is not that far off from Alabama’s Chance Warmack."




    Very true. We need to consider the possibility that Hayes tests the market and gets signed to another team due to his production here. If that happens, the Rams will definitely need someone else to help supplement the pass rush. But again, Jordan can do more than that.




    You're right, I generally do tend to view guys as either/or when it comes to scheme. But I feel about Jordan the same way you did about Jones for a while - he's versatile and athletic enough to work in either scheme. I'm intrigued at the different ways Fisher could use this guy, he's just so athletic. I believe he started his career at Oregon as a tight end.

    I think that's a pretty good list for the Rams' next targets in the second round. I did not save the list I had of remaining prospects, but I imagine Elam would be high on it, and there are still some solid receivers left on the board if we want to add another weapon for Sam. Some good offensive tackles would still be left if anyone is concerned about the right side, too.
    I agree 100% on Jordan. If he's there and hes the BPA, take him! Same goes for anyone else (Werner, Jarvis if he dropped, or even Damontre Moore). The problem with Cooper to me is he partially reminds me of the horrific nightmares of Jacob Bell.

    I think Jordan will be out of reach come draft time, though. He's the type of player thats going to SKY ROCKET because of the combine. Guy is very fast and unbelievable athletic.

    BPA ALL THE WAY!


    THE DREAM TEAM

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Nick

    See my response to RAMarkable: if you draft Jordan @ 16, he's not a part time player. He's versatile enough to be used in multiple ways in multiple packages. Dunbar becomes the part time player, because despite all the good he did in 2012, coverage was not one of those things.

    Also, I love Warmack as a prospect too, but as you've argued for a while, we need to improve this line, and there's more than one guy who can do it. Shelley Smith and Chris Williams, who didn't even crack the PFF Top 100 offensive guards this season, are no reason to pass on the next best player after Warmack. And as someone who views Cooper as being better value (at this point in the process [not to sound repetitive]) than Williams or the tight ends, I don't see a reason to bypass him for them.

    For those who aren't sold on Cooper, here's a quote from NFLDC's Scott Wright for you to chew on. He projected Cooper to the Colts @ 24, ahead of both tight ends and Terrence Williams (who wasn't in his latest first round projection): "Cooper isn’t going to physically manhandle opponents but he is super athletic with excellent mobility and carries a consensus first round grade which is not that far off from Alabama’s Chance Warmack."
    I have not changed my opinion on fixing the O line it's a must. I see Chance Warmack in a class by himself to me he's a Steve Hutchinson type of prospect. I would spend a first on him, but I would find a guard later in the draft if he's off the board. I said in another thread that I started to see Warmack in mocks in the top ten and now you are validating that as well.

    The reason why I mentioned Shelley Smith and Chris Williams is Fisher did play them to get a good look at both, you don't rotate linemen during a game unless you want to get as much info on them as you can.

    I have LB as a need but last on my wish list. I don't think we should go LB until fourth round. With the first four picks, not in any order WR/TE, OT,OG,FS.

    I also think Jennings lands in Miami not sure if they would double dip if that happens. I'm surprised you have Allen so high, I liked him early. Not sure if he will be ready for the combine or not.

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    Re: Nick's Post-Underclassmen First Round Mock Draft

    Quote Originally Posted by mde8352gorams View Post
    Great mock Nick. As always you are a solid wealth of knowledge for many of these prospects, hats off to you. I know far too little about Dion Jordan to make any valid comments, but when you use the phrase "value doesn't match-up here" for offensive lineman it gets me to think "trader Les" may be working the phones. I just sense that Les and Jeff would love to grab an extra pick in round 2 from a team that would love to get back into round 1 for another starter. I know this is hard to forecast particularly in January, but if the 2012 draft taught me anything, its to expect the unexpected from those guys.

    I would like to add another thought concerning AV's remaining prospects for round 2. What if we lose SJax in FA? Is Pead ready to move into prime time? Do we consider another RB like Lacy of Alabama or Bell of MSU? I mention this because it ties back to my point about a trade to add another pick in round 2. All very intriguing.

    Incidentally, as for Cooper at #22, I like it. Now don't kill me for this, but I did read earlier this week among the 5 players suggested the Rams to cut ties with Harvey Dahl was one of them, for cap reasons. As much as I like Dahl and think he's one of our o-line pillars, drafting a competent replacement at OG like Cooper reduces spending and lowers the age range on our line. Dahl will be 32 or already is so while that's not ancient, it gets up there and chances of injury are heightened. He's already coming off surgery if I'm not mistaken. Hey, the plot thickens. Great mock as I already said.

    Go Rams!
    Trading down is certainly possible, but I typically don't try to project trades as part of my mocks. It throws a whole other wrench into the projection at which point anything is possible.

    My preference is that, if the Rams don't find a way to bring back SJ, they add another veteran running back to be part of the committee. I don't know if they'd look to use a high pick on one with Pead and Richardson in the mix. Maybe a Day Three pick if they haven't addressed it, I suppose.

    As for Dahl, he ranked as the 12th best RG in the league last year. He's signed for two more years at a moderate salary. I wouldn't cut him at this point. Maybe wait and see how he plays the next two years, and if there's a concern about him trending downwards, just let him walk.


    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    I agree 100% on Jordan. If he's there and hes the BPA, take him! Same goes for anyone else (Werner, Jarvis if he dropped, or even Damontre Moore). The problem with Cooper to me is he partially reminds me of the horrific nightmares of Jacob Bell.

    I think Jordan will be out of reach come draft time, though. He's the type of player thats going to SKY ROCKET because of the combine. Guy is very fast and unbelievable athletic.

    BPA ALL THE WAY!
    Yeah, I wouldn't be shocked if Jordan does skyrocket due to workouts. Guy is a heck of an athlete IMO.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rambos View Post
    I have not changed my opinion on fixing the O line it's a must. I see Chance Warmack in a class by himself to me he's a Steve Hutchinson type of prospect. I would spend a first on him, but I would find a guard later in the draft if he's off the board. I said in another thread that I started to see Warmack in mocks in the top ten and now you are validating that as well.

    The reason why I mentioned Shelley Smith and Chris Williams is Fisher did play them to get a good look at both, you don't rotate linemen during a game unless you want to get as much info on them as you can.

    I have LB as a need but last on my wish list. I don't think we should go LB until fourth round. With the first four picks, not in any order WR/TE, OT,OG,FS.

    I also think Jennings lands in Miami not sure if they would double dip if that happens. I'm surprised you have Allen so high, I liked him early. Not sure if he will be ready for the combine or not.
    I'm going to sum up your response in one sentence: "We can address that position later." The truth of the matter is you never know when you can address a position, because you don't know what's going to be available.

    If your argument is that the Rams can wait until the third or fourth round to find a guard, then I'd have to wonder if that player is that much of an improvement over Watkins to even be worth it. Smith and Williams shouldn't even be mentioned in the discussion at OG. We got a look at them, and they stunk, not to mention Williams is a free agent. If you want to hold off on addressing OLB until much later, that's fine; you just have to accept the fact that your nickel LB is probably going to be Dunbar, who was great in some areas but awful in coverage last year. None of these guys are so great that they can't be improved upon, if an upgrade is available.

    My approach is this - if you have a need at a position, and you are staring at an outstanding prospect at that position while you're on the clock, you make the selection, even if it isn't your biggest need, provided there isn't a better value at a bigger position of need on the board.

    That's probably a bit wordy and convoluted, so let me elaborate. You have to look at value and who is available. Safety is a bigger need on defense than LB, but the value on the board in this scenario is at LB so I think that should be the pick in this situation. OG might not be as big of a need as RT or WR, but the value on the board is at OG in this scenario, so I think that's the right pick.

    Factoring in trades may change that, and allow the Rams to move down and go after better value at those higher positions of need, but if they stay put, I think they have to stick with the value on the board, even if that prospect doesn't address their biggest need.

    Handcuffing yourself into saying "These are the positions we should address in these rounds" is a good way to get fired as a GM. You just can't do it. Maybe in the back of your mind, those are the positions you're looking for, but you have to be willing to deviate from that if the value and the available prospects aren't falling the way you'd prefer. If you want to look for, say, an OT/OG, FS, WR in the first three rounds, go for it. But if the value isn't there, you can't force it. That's a great way to ruin a team.

    I would rather this team take high value prospects at slightly lower positions of need than reach for lesser value prospects to try and fill bigger needs.

    As for Miami, I think Jennings there makes a lot of sense. But even if they add Jennings, they don't have much else, especially if Hartline leaves in free agency. I'd also point out that my description of Allen specifically said, "I'm not convinced Keenan Allen is the best WR prospect in this class, nor am I convinced any WR comes off the board this high."

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