Aaron Colvin vs. Eric Ward

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This matchup features two 2014 draft prospects in Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin and Texas Tech wide receiver Eric Ward.

The early part of the first quarter was relatively uneventful for both.  Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege (an undrafted free agent signing of the Falcons) never really looked the way of Ward early on.  The Sooners varied their pre-snap looks on Ward, with a mix of press and off coverage looks given to Doege.  Colvin did make a tackle at the line of scrimmage after sneaking down from the outside on a blitz and coming free.  With Colvin in off coverage, Texas Tech wants Ward on their offensive staple: the jailbreak screen.

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The play design is self-explanatory as drawn up.  Ward is taught to take one sharp step forward before turning back to the inside.  He bellies back towards the quarterback in order to generate forward momentum as he makes the catch.  The three interior lineman are taking their first steps backward to entice the interior pass rushers up the field and after the quarterback.  They then swim past the tackles and get downfield.  The green circle is where Doege wants to get the ball to Ward, where he can turn up field and follow a wall of blockers.

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In order to make this play before getting sealed by the left guard, Aaron Colvin must anticipate it pre-snap and recognize it as soon as Ward breaks back to the inside.  No defense goes into a game against Texas Tech without a clear plan for the jailbreak screen and intensive tape study on it.  Oklahoma found this out the hard way in 2011.  Ward is only one step out of his break in this shot, and Colvin has already planted and broke on the play.

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This play fails because of a terrific play made by the defensive end (since graduated R.J. Washington) to deflect the pass into the waiting hands of a teammate.  That’s not the point here though.  On this occasion, it’s a testament to Colvin’s understanding of the gameplan.  Texas Tech wants to nickel and dime you down the field with a quarterback who isn’t suited to consistently threaten over the top.  When Colvin is in off coverage, he must be on his toes to anticipate plays where Doege can get the ball out quickly to Ward.  He certainly did that on this occasion.  That blur you see heading into the midsection of Ward is Colvin breaking on the ball well before the left guard can reach him.

Colvin’s hit knocked Ward out of the game for multiple plays.  Colvin did give up a first down on a hook route to his replacement just a few plays later, though.  Late in the first quarter on a second down with three yards to gain, the Red Raiders attempt a slant to Ward.  Again, Colvin breaks on the ball quickly and a poor throw gives Ward no chance to make the play.

Early in the second quarter, Doege tests Colvin with a deep ball to Ward.  Colvin is in press man coverage and keeps Ward from gaining separation by using his hands.  Unfortunately, he keeps his hands on Ward too long and gets called for defensive pass interference.  The call was borderline at best as Ward has an outstretched hand on Colvin as well.  The take home point being the lack of top end speed in Ward to truly test Colvin on the nine route.  Knowing he can run with Ward should allow Colvin the confidence to continue to play an aggressive style.

On the next play, the Red Raiders target Ward again.  Doege mistimes his throw on a deep comeback route and frustration has clearly set in for Eric Ward.

Ward finally gets the better of Colvin in the middle of the second quarter on a simple crossing route.  Ward has a 23 pound advantage on Colvin and finally makes use of it, outmuscling him before his break and separating away from him to get into the middle of the defense.  Ward extends out to catch the ball well but doesn’t get much after the catch.

It’s at the end of the second quarter when Colvin makes a game-changing play.

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Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has a cornerback blitz called up for Colvin.  He’s going to inch his way to the inside pre-snap.

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Seth Doege has spotted it before the ball is snapped and anticipates the blitz the whole way.  He and Eric Ward are on the same page and revert to a hot route to take advantage of the blitzing Colvin.

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As Doege releases the ball, Colvin times his jump to get his hands into the passing lane.  He actually snags the ball right out of the air for an incredible interception.  It’s a tremendous showing of quick reactions and ball skills.  For Colvin to bring this ball down from such a short distance is quite remarkable.  He halts the Texas Tech drive and allows Oklahoma to tack on three points before the half by creating a turnover out of nothing.

With only seconds left in the half, Doege looks for a hopeful deep ball to Eric Ward.  Aaron Colvin keeps deep leverage on him the whole way and earns an offensive pass interference call by keeping his position over the top.

Early on in the third quarter, the Red Raiders look for Ward on a hook route to pick up the necessary five yards on third down.  Colvin shows off man before walking up tighter to Ward pre-snap.  He gets his hands into the frame of Ward right away and doesn’t allow him any separation the whole way.  Doege’s pass is nowhere near, and Colvin gets the best of Ward once more.  The Texas Tech offense’s inability to threaten Aaron Colvin over the top would come back to bite them again soon after.

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It’s important to know what Texas Tech is anticipating with this play call: man coverage.  They’ve seen it all game long, and Oklahoma has been highly effective with it.  When Seth Doege sees Aaron Colvin seven yards off pre-snap, he’s probably thinking he already has this pass completed.  Eric Ward should have all the space he needs on a square in to get an easy reception and pick up yards after the catch.  Notice the yard line Colvin is starting on, the 42.

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Now notice how far Colvin has dropped while reading the play, a yard at the most.  Doege and Ward’s inability to test Colvin over the top has him sitting on Ward’s routes and breaking sharply on the ball.  It doesn’t help that Doege is staring down his receiver the whole way.

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Doege’s inability to place this ball with a semblance of accuracy compounds the fact that Colvin is onto this route from the get-go.  As it arrives, Colvin disrupts the catch point and deflects the ball in the air.  It lands into the waiting hands of the safety, who brings it all the way back for six points.  What should have been a routine completion for the Red Raiders turned into a disaster that surely ended their hopes on the day.

Ward and Colvin had a quiet remainder of the game before Colvin was pulled with five minutes remaining.  In the end, Ward pulled down three balls for a total of 20 yards.  It was his least productive game of the season, which says a lot about the job Aaron Colvin did on him all game long.  I expected Eric Ward to be able to use his size and strength advantage to bully Colvin off the top of his routes and create enough separation to bring down numerous receptions.  For whatever reason, that wasn’t the case.  When Colvin got his hands into the frame of Ward he actually got the best of the receiver.  As I’ve already stated, it all came down to Colvin’s aggressiveness.  He was honed in on the gameplan and unthreatened by Ward’s ability to get beyond him.  This allowed him to play on his toes and anticipate the short passes the Red Raiders tried to complete in front of him.  Aaron Colvin made the biggest plays of the game for the Sooners defense and punished poor play from the Texas Tech offense on multiple occasions.  In the battle of Aaron Colvin vs. Eric Ward, the cornerback won decisively.

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: Draft Matchup: Aaron Colvin vs. Eric Ward

Senior Edge Rusher Preview

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KyleVanNoy

Kyle Van Noy closed out his junior season with a bang. Should we expect an encore?

Here are some of my initial thoughts on the pass rushers who will try to make their mark as seniors before they enter the draft in 2014.

Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

The way Jeremiah Attaochu’s statistical arc is headed, he’s in for a productive senior season.  His sack totals have risen from three as a true freshman to six as a sophomore and ten as a junior.  Attaochu utilizes an explosive first step to win as a speed rusher around the corner first and foremost.  He also excels stunting back to the inside and using his speed to catch slow-reacting interior pass blockers off guard.  His repertoire of pass rush moves is limited though.  He doesn’t convert speed to power the way a pass rusher who has space to work with should.  When he’s forced to go frame-to-frame with an offensive tackle, he gets locked up too easily.  Attaochu’s effectiveness against the run is surprisingly high when you consider his stature and lack of hand usage as a rusher.  He understands his responsibility against the run and is very consistent.  He sets the edge well and pinches down runs from the outside while keeping his outside shoulder free.  He also takes proper pursuit angles from the backside so not to overrun ball carriers.  Attaochu’s nose for the football and ability to get to the ball at a high rate can’t be understated.  He needs to become a more technical tackler when he gets there though.  He has a tendency to drop his head and lunge in an attempt to land a knockout blow.  In coverage, Attaochu is right at home.  He looks very comfortable dropping into shallow zones and locates receivers with his head on a swivel.  He’s even shown an ability to get his hands up to deflect passes on occasion.  When it comes to his senior season, the biggest step Attaochu needs to make is in his technical development as a rusher.  If able to develop a repertoire of pass rush moves that involve more effective use of his hands, he’ll be able to utilize his athletic ability on a more consistent basis while keeping pass blockers guessing.

Anthony Barr, UCLA

Barr really burst onto the scene as a junior with 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss.  The scary part is that it was his first season on the defensive side of the ball after making the transition from the running back position.  Barr had games where he completely took over with his ability to turn the corner.  His signature move is to engage the tackle first before darting to the outside and bending the edge.  He’s a flexible athlete who maintains his balance when running the circle in a way most pass rushers cannot.  He flashes a strong initial bullrush at times, but it’s mostly due to his impressive pad level and hand placement.  He doesn’t have a wide array of pass rush moves just yet, but showed a semi-effective spin move on occasion.  One of the most impressive things about Barr is his discipline.  He maintains gaps well against mobile quarterbacks and always picks up the ball with his eyes.  An improvement in his get-off at the snap could make a huge difference.  He will stutter step on occasion, which doesn’t allow him to utilize his explosiveness and all the ramifications that can have on an offensive tackle.  As a whole, Barr’s work against the run is really a mixed bag.  At times he keeps blockers off his frame with impressive hand usage and uses that space to pursue the ball.  Other times he can be overwhelmed at the point of attack and lose the edge.  He has an impressive motor when in pursuit though and is a high impact tackler when he arrives at the ball.  He’s no stranger to chasing down sweeps and tosses the other way with his speed and effort level.  Even though he’s on the leaner side at a listed 235 lb., he can hit well above his weight.  If he can diversify his skillset as a rusher and get stronger before his senior season, the sky is the limit.  I would also like to see him become a more attack-minded rusher instead of waiting for things to come to him.

Morgan Breslin, USC

After transferring in from a junior college, Morgan Breslin was a disruptive force for the USC defense as a junior.  He put up an impressive stat-line of 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss.  There’s no doubting his impact on the college level.  His game may not project to the NFL quite so well, though.  At a listed 6’2” and 250 lb., he’s not a physical specimen with the ideal length for a rusher.  He’s also not explosive enough, what I would call a “one-speed rusher”.  Breslin has success getting around the corner for the Trojans and can bend a bit to elude blockers.  His pass rush effectiveness is highest when he jolts blockers with his hands first though.  It allows him to combine moves, where that’s converting power to speed or spinning back to the inside.  One thing he has going for him is that he’s able to maintain consistently low pad level.  He must utilize his strength more often and continue to develop his hand usage.  Against the run, Breslin is somewhat of a liability.  He struggles to stack and shed at the point of attack, often being handled by bigger tight ends.  What’s more concerning is a lack of football IQ.  Breslin seems to have no anticipation for what a blocker wants to do to him and is too easily pinned or kicked out as a result.  Opponents often keyed on him in the running game, knowing he lacked the discipline to maintain the edge or his gap.  When set loose, he flashed ability to shoot gaps and be disruptive in the backfield though.  It will be interesting to see how Breslin fares in the new USC defense, where he will bump out to a rush linebacker spot.  Going solely off his physical measurements, he looks like a 3-4 OLB type.  I don’t believe that highlights his strengths though.  In fact, I believe it will expose his weaknesses.

Dee Ford, Auburn

Dee Ford appeared to be a player in for a big junior season in 2012 before injuries and inconsistent play set in after a productive first few games.  He finished the season with seven sacks in eight starts.  Ford’s hallmark is an explosive first step and enough speed to make slow-footed tackles pay as a pass rusher.  He’s frequently the first rusher off the ball, with an impressive get-off.  When he bumps out to a wide 9 technique or even farther out, he’s far more comfortable and effective than when asked to engage a tackle early and win with technical skills.  If space presents itself, Ford is quickly through it and into the quarterback’s comfort zone.  He becomes predictable at times for blockers though because he struggles to vary his moves.  He’s really not a developed hands-user as a rusher either, going purely off athleticism.  Ford’s game is also plagued by too much unnecessary movement.  He wastes too much time with choppy steps that don’t get him anywhere.  He’s just not smooth and his movement skills seem too forced.  Against the run, the outlook is even more dire.  He’s undersized (only listed at 238 lb.) and doesn’t have the raw strength or technique to make up for it.  When needing to stack at the point of attack, he too often gets completely washed out.  He also makes too few plays in pursuit for an undersized defensive end.  Above all though, he’s limited by a lack of read and react ability.  His diagnoses of the intentions of blockers and of the style of plays are consistently slow.  Dee Ford’s professional prospects seem best suited for a 3-4 scheme, similar to former teammate Corey Lemonier.  Ford needs to take a big step as a senior to prove he’s not a one-dimensional defender though.  He needs to develop a repertoire of pass rush moves and continuously get stronger at the point of attack against the run.

James Gayle, Virginia Tech

James Gayle appeared to be on the verge of a breakout junior season after recording seven sacks and 20 hurries as a sophomore.  His production took a step back with only five sacks, but it wasn’t all bad.  Gayle proved to be a more disciplined defender and refined his pass rushing technique as a junior.  The most impressive part of his game is the hand usage.  College rushers who use their hands the way Gayle uses his are uncommon.  Gayle’s hands are always active, and he’s able to fire them into first contact with offensive tackles as well.  He also flashes an ability to vary his moves in a way that keeps tackles guessing over the course of a game.  This is important for Gayle because of some of his limitations.  The biggest thing holding him back is a slow get-off.  He struggles to time up the snap and likes to chop his feet first.  This allows tackles to set up their feet well before first contact.  If unable to improve this part of his game, he needs to become a stronger rusher who can jolt blockers backwards on first contact and use power to set up his rushes.  He drastically improved that area of his game as a junior, which is promising.  He still needs to build on his frame and become a stronger defender though.  Against the run, he’s really a mixed bag.  He’s very aggressive and can be seen making a number of plays in the backfield by shooting gaps or pursuing from the backside.  When asked to stack at the point of attack, things go downhill.  He has a tendency to let his pads get too high and loses his base as a result.  He has the ability to shed blocks with his hands but often gets himself behind the eight ball in the leverage battle.  He’s certainly more comfortable playing from a wide technique where he can keep a shoulder free and set the edge.  Gayle still has steps to take in his game, because I would give it an incomplete grade right now.  He’s just not as explosive or athletic as he should be when you look at his measurables.  He’s shown development in the technical part of the game though, which is promising.

Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

After committing to the Longhorns as a highly decorated high school prospect, Jackson Jeffcoat has seemingly lived up to his hype.  He’s highly experienced, entering his senior season with 20 career starts.  His junior season was cut short due to a ruptured pectoral muscle, but he had recorded 12 sacks in the previous 13 games.  Nothing truly stands out about Jeffcoat as an NFL prospect though.  As a pass rusher, he lacks the athletic explosiveness to be an effective speed rusher around the corner or to even get blockers to overextend to the outside.  He’s productive almost solely on a high motor and an ability to create space for himself to chase the ball.  His hands are very active, and he keeps the hands of blockers off his frame effectively.  He has an instinctive ability to get his hands into the chest of blockers with regularity.  He rarely threatens pass blockers with quick, powerful moves on first contact though.  His rushes seem to be too time-consuming and reliant on coverage.  As a run defender, Jeffcoat lacks the size and strength to be a true force.  He does make up for that to a degree with a high football IQ and understanding of assignments.  He can set the edge and maintain gap discipline effectively.  There are too many occasions where he gets washed out of plays and cannot squeeze holes down though.  When playing in space, he has a tendency to get too high and struggles to redirect as a result.  He’s just not explosive enough as a mover to warrant a position that involves dropping into coverage on a consistent basis.  As far as his senior outlook, I’m looking for Jeffcoat to continue to build on his frame and embrace what he does well.  He’s listed at 245 lb. now, but I’d like him up above 265 lb. at the start of the season.   Jeffcoat has the tools in place to become a skillful power rusher, but doesn’t have the frame to do it yet.  I don’t think he has the athletic ability to be dynamic sack artist at the next level.

Kareem Martin, North Carolina

Kareem Martin appears to be the next in line of great defensive line prospects to come from North Carolina.  At 6’6” and 265 lb. he has the type of frame teams look for in a high potential defensive end.  The most notable aspect of his measurable is the length.  His length and strong hands allow him to control blockers at the point of attack and make first contact as a pass rusher.  Martin is still in the development stage as an edge rusher.  He struggles to time up the snap and is occasionally a half-step slow off the ball.  He’s not an explosive edge bender and can be a bit stiff trying to flatten out around the corner.  He does have immense potential as a power rusher and could terrorize offensive tackles if able to refine his technique and learn to string together moves.  He will let his pads get too high on occasion and lose leverage, diminishing his bullrush. He flashes a quick and effective rip move around the corner though, and has the heavy hands to create space for himself.  As a run stopper, he’s a game-changer.  He has a natural feel for stacking blocks at the point of attack while playing off blockers with his hands.  Martin is able to set the edge with ease by overpowering blockers and keeping his outside shoulder free.  Above all, he’s a handful for a single blocker.  He flashes the ability to hold two gaps or penetrate and disrupt backfields when asked to do either.  For all the praise, his game comes with some concerns.  He doesn’t make many plays in pursuit.  His motor warrants questioning, which is concerning when you consider his relatively low snap count compared with other top prospects.  For Martin, it’s all about learning the intricacies of the position and learning how to best make use of his size and strength.  His frame and natural ability alone are enough to catch the eye, but he must take the next step.

Trent Murphy, Stanford

Trent Murphy enters his third year as a starter in Stanford’s vaunted defense and will now become the primary pass rusher with the departure of Chase Thomas.  While he has been mildly productive in that aspect already, he’ll have more pressure on him to get pressure as a senior.  Murphy’s calling card is his physicality.  He has the ability to jolt blockers back with a strong initial punch.  When he finds a crease as a rusher, he has the upper body strength to play off the contact of blockers and get to the quarterback.  While he’s not an explosive athlete, he has a bit of burst to him when trying to run the circle.  Murphy is at his best when getting his hands into the chest of tackles and pressing the pocket with his eyes up.  He can become somewhat predictable as a rusher, so developing a wider repertoire of moves will be important.  Murphy is an instinctive defender who can get his hands to the ball, whether that’s at the line or dropping into coverage.  Against the run, Murphy shows his acumen for scheme by understanding gap control on the edge and diagnosing plays.  He’s certainly reliable, but not a game-changer in any way.  Though he sheds blocks at a decent rate, he’s relatively unproductive in pursuit.  His lack of athleticism limits his ability to chase down the ball and make plays.  Despite the strengths in his game, he too often will disappear for stretches of games.  I perceive a lack of upside with him as well.  He will likely be a fit for multiple schemes though, which is a big plus for a player who appears to be a rotational/depth defender in the NFL.

Prince Shembo, Notre Dame

An often overlooked cog in the talented front of the Notre Dame defense, Prince Shembo should continue his quiet production as a senior.  With 21 career starts to his name, a total of 14 career sacks and 19 tackles for loss is not too shabby.  Shembo is a 3-4 rush linebacker with a short and compact frame (listed at 6’2” 250 lb.).   He makes the most of his small frame by consistently keeping his pad level down and getting underneath the pads of blockers.  He flashed an effective spin move on occasion by getting into the frame of opponents first and spinning back into space.  His size can be a detriment though.  Shembo gets swallowed up by big tackles with length often.  His lack of exceptional athleticism to speed rush limits the things he can do to beat blockers when he’s outmatched on size.  Stunts and blitzes from space effectively freed up Shembo and allowed him to be disruptive more often.  As a run defender, he thrives.  He has very developed hand usage to keep from getting locked up by blockers.  His ability to set the edge and force ball carriers back to the inside is on another level.  He has instincts that allow him to play off blocks and pursue the ball at a high rate.  How often a front seven defender gets to the ball is a big sign of effectiveness against the run.  Shembo has a nose for the ball and makes a high number of tackles.  As a whole, I question how high his ceiling is considering a lack of size, length, and raw athleticism.  There’s no question that Shembo does all the little things well though.  He looks right at home as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but may also project to a more traditional linebacker role at the next level.

Chaz Sutton, South Carolina

Chaz Sutton enters the 2013 season as one of the most inexperienced of the top pass rushing prospects.  Though he logged solid minutes as a junior, he only has two starts to his name.  Any way you slice it, Sutton has much to prove as a senior.  The biggest question mark to his game isn’t the lack of experience but a lack of polish or football savvy.  He plays with a kind of undisciplined chaos that can wreak havoc at times and leave his opponents vulnerable at the same time.  Sutton has the height, weight, speed combination to catch the eye of scouts, without question.  He has an impressive burst to close and showed well splitting gaps and generating pressure from the interior.  Unfortunately, he’s far too reliant on athletic ability.  His hand usage is quite poor, lacking a strong initial punch or refined moves, all despite having significant upper body strength.  Sutton also has a recurring tendency to overrun plays, failing to break down in space.  Against the run he’s a blank slate.  He was exposed at the point of attack with poor pad level and hand usage on the interior.  He doesn’t have a great feel for gap assignments and is unreliable setting the edge.  The one thing he does well is pursuit.  He closes quickly from the backside and can chase down plays all over the field.  Sutton looked natural dropping into coverage, with quick feet and a smoothness going backward.  When he steps into a starter’s role in 2013, he needs to show development in the intricacies of the position.  Maybe having a more defined role in the defense will simplify the game for him and allow him to make the most of his natural athleticism.

Kyle Van Noy, BYU

Few college football players closed out their 2012-13 season the way Kyle Van Noy did as a junior.  There were rumblings about whether or not he should declare for the draft early, but he made the decision to come back and it’s the right decision for me.  Let’s start with what makes Van Noy a productive player for the BYU defense.  The first thing that stuck out to me is an explosive burst to close.  BYU likes to move Van Noy all around the defense, almost as a chess piece, which allows him to use that acceleration as a blitzer from a variety of positions.  He’s also a very instinctive defender.  His ability to diagnose what he sees and quickly react is top notch.  He has a knack for finding pass rushing lanes when none appear to exist.  He also gets to the ball at a high rate with an impactful motor.  As a rusher, he’s most effective when he’s pressing the corner to get tackles to overextend before shooting back to the inside.  He does his best work as a rusher on foot quickness, where he gets the best of blockers in space.  He likes to pair a significant sidestep with a swim move to leave tackles in his wake.  The problem is that he’s not a complete package pass rusher.  He lacks the size and strength to make an impact on initial contact with a strong punch.  He’s also not a technician with his hands, lacking a true repertoire of moves.  For these reasons, he needs space to work with and just isn’t a traditional edge rusher at this stage.  Against the run, some of these issues show up again.  He struggles to anchor at the point of attack, too often getting washed out of plays.  Even so, he’s very disciplined when it comes to holding the edge and uses his hands well to disengage.  He gets to the ball at a significant rate, doing impressive work in pursuit.  He uses his long speed to chase down ball carriers frequently and is a technical, wrapping tackler when he arrives at the ball.  Van Noy also shows well in coverage on occasion.  BYU likes to use him both in man coverage and zone coverage.  He uses his fluidity and long speed to run with tight ends in man coverage and footwork to drop into useful areas in zone coverage.  He struggles to find and play the ball in man coverage, but that’s to be expected.  The bottom line is that the foundation is certainly there for him in pass coverage when he moves to the NFL.  As a whole, Van Noy has to be on the radar for any and all 3-4 teams interested in a movable piece.  He made the right decision to return for his senior season though, because he needs to build on his lean frame and become a stronger, more complete pass rusher.

Others to watch:

Darryl Cato-Bishop, North Carolina State

Will Clarke, West Virginia

Ryne Giddins, South Florida

Khalil Mack, Buffalo

Cassius Marsh, UCLA

Chris Smith, Arkansas

Larry Webster, Bloomsburg

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft: 2014 NFL Draft Preview – Senior Edge Rushers

James Gayle vs. Menelik Watson

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The 2012 Virginia Tech and Florida State game featured a riveting matchup on the edge between 2013 draft prospect Menelik Watson and 2014 prospect James Gayle.

On the first Seminole drive, Watson is getting the better of Gayle.  Watson is clearly the more powerful of the two and is using that to his advantage as a run blocker.  On Gayle’s second pass rush attempt he tries to bullrush the stout Watson to no avail.  Gayle is using that to set up future moves though, which shows high level understanding for the intricacies of rushing the passer.

Gayle leaves Watson in his wake for the first time in the middle of the first quarter.

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The Seminoles have a play-action pass called.  The protection scheme calls for a step to the right first to sell the play action before popping up as pass blockers.  As you can see, Watson has Gayle to himself because the fullback, Lonnie Pryor, will come back across the formation to help block off the left side.

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Gayle takes a stutter step on the snap trying to diagnose the play and shoots the inside gap of Watson.  Watson has clearly overset to his outside and has failed to come to balance.  Gayle gets his hand to the outside of Watson’s shoulder and it’s all over for Watson.

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Gayle is able to blow right past Watson and forces E.J. Manuel to make a throw off his back foot.  Manuel wants the deep ball and severely underthrows it because of Gayle’s pressure.  Gayle beats Watson on this play because of his patience and ability to fire his hands to take advantage of Watson’s misstep.

Watson begins to settle in and is anticipating the every move of Gayle now.  Gayle’s issue is a lack of explosiveness.  He’s unable to get Watson off his balance point and overextended because he cannot explode off the snap to get around the corner.  When it’s James Gayle vs. Menelik Watson in a battle of strength on first contact, it’s no contest.  Watson gets help on a few occasions with chips on the edge, but for the most part is now handling Gayle completely.

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James Gayle gets a one on one matchup with Watson on this third and short play.  Neither O’Leary or Wilder will chip Gayle, which means he should be licking his chops.

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Gayle is trying to convert power to speed on this occasion.  He wants to knock Watson back onto his heels on initial contact before shooting to the outside and bending around the corner.  The problem is that Watson is just too strong for him and has a base too powerful to be compromised by Gayle, whose pad level is far too high.

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When Gayle redirects to the outside, Watson is able to quickly plant his inside foot and redirect outside to mirror him the whole way.  This play highlights a few of the shortcomings of James Gayle and how they affect him when going up against a strong, stout tackle like Menelik Watson.

Later in the fourth Gayle gets the best of Watson, or at least the best of a poor pass protection scheme.

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Florida State is running play action with Pryor coming back across the formation to help on the backside.  The guard to Menelik Watson’s left is pulling to the left, which means Watson must step down to protect his inside first (which he does).  Notice how there is no immediate blitzing threat pre-snap.  Bruce Taylor is lined up over the guard, but is flat-footed and not walked up to the line.

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This is where the protection fails for the Seminoles.  Watson should have his eyes on Taylor as soon as the ball is snapped.  If Taylor were to blitz the backside A gap, Watson would step down and pick him up.  That would leave James Gayle to Lonnie Pryor and an edge blitzer would come free.  Taylor chops his feet while reading the play though, he’s tracking the guard the whole way.  As soon as Watson sees that, he should be stepping back out towards Gayle.  On this occasion, the Hokies are blitzing their backside linebacker, which is what is going to wreak havoc on the FSU play design.

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Lonnie Pryor has the blitzer picked up the whole way.  The problem is that Watson and Pryor aren’t on the same page.  Watson is simply leaving Gayle the whole way, even though he has no threat to his inside.  Gayle puts a swim move on the one hand of Watson and his eyes light up.

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You can see in the first frame that Watson has no intention of blocking James Gayle.  Gayle is then free to chase E.J. Manuel off his spot and eventually to haul him down for the sack.  This enigmatic protection scheme of Florida State got them into trouble here.  On the surface, it simply appears to be a mental lapse from Watson.  Those who have dug deep into Menelik Watson videos or film know that is actually part of their scheme.  This play was actually designed for Pryor to pick up Gayle, who was going to come free the whole way.  This tells me that Menelik Watson may struggle with communication at the line or with complex protection schemes.  It seems more prudent for Watson to step down and fan back out to Gayle by design.  In that case, the center or guard can make a call pre-snap if a threat presents itself to Watson’s inside gap, in which he can step down when he gets the call.  In making their protection scheme too simplistic, they left Watson blocking nobody while Pryor was left with two rushers.  This example shows the lack of trust Jimbo Fisher had in Menelik Watson.  This simplistic approach shows up in countless other occasions as well.

Gayle flipped over to right defensive end on Florida State’s crucial final offensive drive to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, and his matchups with Watson came to an end.  Watson bested Gayle for most of the game.  The blips of Watson showed just how raw a tackle he is, which is expected of a first-year starter.  Watson won this battle overall because of his pure strength to control initial contact.  Gayle was completely held in check in their run play matchups.  Gayle was opportunistic in their pass play matchups, but was unable to keep Watson on his heels and guessing.  His inability to get off the snap with a quick first step kept Watson in his comfort zone and kept E.J. Manuel clean for the most part

Video courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com – James Gayle vs. Florida State

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: James Gayle vs. Menelik Watson

Senior QB Preview

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2014 NFL Draft Preview – Senior Quarterbacks

Cornell's Jeff Mathews is the most underrated of this group and just may be the most talented.

Cornell’s Jeff Mathews is the most underrated of this group and just may be the most talented.

Tajh Boyd, Clemson

After dismantling the LSU defense to cap his junior season, Boyd had praise heaped on him from draft analysts across the board.  He opted to return to Clemson for his senior year though, which was the right decision to make.  Boyd is a well-built, mobile quarterback who is effective throwing on the run.  He has terrific accuracy in the short to intermediate passing game, often placing the ball with precision.  He also flashes ability to change arm angles as situations demand it.  Boyd has plenty of arm strength when it comes to extending the field over the top or making throws off his back foot with velocity.  His natural ability as a dual-threat quarterback is intoxicating, but he’s still quite raw.  It’s easy to question how much of a product he is of Chad Morris’ offense at Clemson with weapons like DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.  Morris’ offense doesn’t ask Boyd to work through multiple reads often.  Instead, he’s usually given an either/or before pulling it to run.  Boyd also struggles to negotiate the pocket when pressured and will feel pressure that’s not there if it had been previously.  His decision making leaves much to be desired and it’s common for him to put balls up for grabs into traffic.  The biggest plight of Boyd’s game is inconsistency though.  He seems to be a different quarterback every week and needs to play at the high level he’s capable of more consistently.  Boyd makes eye-popping throws in most games, but needs to grow in his ability to read a defense and in his pocket presence.

Derek Carr, Fresno State

Carr showed promise as a sophomore but failed to progress at a quick enough rate as a junior.  He has all the arm strength you look for with the velocity to squeeze the ball into tight spaces.  Carr can also migrate from pressure while keeping his eyes up as a scrambles on occasion.  He also shows impressive loft and touch on bucket throws on the boundary and in the seam.  The negatives outweigh the positives though.  Carr struggled as a junior against tougher competition instead of rising to the occasion.  He has a tendency to panic under pressure and drop his eyes while in the pocket.  He’s also guilty of trying to do too much, either by forcing balls late into traffic or getting rid of the ball under pressure without regard for the situation.  Carr’s offensive line was by no means outstanding, but his propensity to try and escape the pocket laterally instead of stepping up made his job all the more difficult.  Finally, Carr struggles to come off his first read when it’s not open, which may be related to the way he handles pressure from the pass rush.  He must take some big steps as a senior and take command of the Fresno State offense in order to maximize his potential as a draft pick.

David Fales, San Jose State

Fales went from a relative unknown to a household name for anyone interested in the draft during his junior season.  He led San Jose State to their best season in ages.  Fales shows a strong command for the offense and plays with proper timing and anticipation.  He clearly operates a step ahead of defenses by diagnosing coverages and work through multiple reads to make use of it.  His footwork on drops needs work, but he’s a nimble mover and doesn’t get lazy with his feet while in the pocket.  He climbs the pocket well and can make plays after escaping.  He is guilty of holding on to the ball too long at times and doesn’t always handle interior push from pass rushers as well as he should.  Fales has sufficient accuracy in the short to intermediate passing game and can drop in balls on seam and corner routes with impressive touch.  The biggest concern with his skillset is arm strength.  The ball will float on him occasionally, which opens up his receivers to big hits.  He’s also very limited in his ability to beat defenses over the top.  On countless occasions as a junior, he gets a receiver who has multiple steps on the coverage and can’t extend the ball deep enough to make it count.  His deep accuracy is brutal as well.  When he tries to rifle balls into receivers in the short passing game, his accuracy wanes as well.  Fales does many things at a level much higher than we see from smaller school quarterbacks, but may have limited upside.

Jeff Mathews, Cornell

Mathews is certainly the most overlooked senior quarterback prospect at this point in the process.  He doesn’t garner the attention he deserves because he plays in the Ivy League against poor competition.  What stands out about him is that he truly dominates at the level he’s at, which is all you can ask.  Mathews has the size you look for at 6’4, 224 lb.  He has the arm talent to make some big-time throws all over the field.  He delivers the ball to the boundaries with impressive zip and stretches the field with an adequate deep ball.  He’s shown a tendency to leave his deep ball short on occasion, which could be a concern.  Even so, Mathews flashes the ability to deliver off his back foot in the face of pressure, which is vital for NFL quarterbacks.  He’s a more mobile quarterback than he looks as well.  He utilizes subtle movement in the pocket to elude the rush in tight spaces and can make accurate throws on the move after exiting the pocket.  What makes him effective when things break down is that his eyes stay up instead of dropping to the rush.  Mathews stands out because of what he has above the shoulders.  He can work through reads and multiple options quickly and finds the soft spots in the defense frequently.  Even though he runs a spread offense, he shows off an NFL skillset by attacking the middle of the field and intermediate areas with success.  The biggest concern with Mathews is a tendency to stare down his receivers.  Even though he gets away with it often in the Ivy League, it’s something that would be his passes intercepted at a much higher rate against higher quality defenses.  His level of competition will be a question mark no matter how well he shows as a senior, but Mathews has NFL tools and isn’t getting enough attention right now.

A.J. McCarron, Alabama

Opinions on A.J. McCarron vary across the board.  He’s put in terrific performances in some of Alabama’s biggest games, but usually leaves you wanting a bit more.  He also has the best talent around him of any quarterback in America.  McCarron can make big-time throws and shows the accuracy to place the ball on intermediate and deep throws.  The way he drops in balls to his receivers on corner routes is truly special.  He has some natural arm ability and showed he could make throws with compromised footwork on occasion.  He’s picked up some bad habits behind an elite offensive line though.  McCarron will hold the ball far too long and doesn’t anticipate receivers breaking open, partly because he’s always been able to get away with playing that way.  When pressure does come from pass rushers, he gets happy feet and drops his eyes immediately.  He also handles the ball poorly, often exposing it to pass rushers to knock loose.  McCarron has more than enough mobility to escape the pocket and pick up yards with his feet, but the way he negotiates the pocket leaves much to be desired.  Other concerns with McCarron include an elongated release where he pulls the ball back quite far and a lack of velocity on throws he needs to stick into tight windows.  His passes will float on occasion, but he’s gotten away with it to this point.  The overarching concern with McCarron is his inability to make big plays outside of the design of the play.  When he can sit in a clean pocket and wait for receivers to find holes, he’ll find them and be a very efficient quarterback.  When things break down and he’s forced off his spot, he’s an ineffective passer and is over reliant on picking up yardage with his feet.  McCarron looks like fool’s gold at this point as a draft prospect, but he has one season left to try and put it all together.

Zach Mettenberger, LSU

After a disappointing campaign as a junior first year starter, Zach Mettenberger has a long ways to go if he’s to be considered more than a project in the 2014 NFL Draft.  He’s a large, sturdy quarterback with a strong arm.  He delivers with adequate velocity in the short passing game and can fit the ball into tight windows because of it.  He also can stand in under pressure and deliver late while taking a big hit.  The things Mettenberger does consistently well don’t go much farther past those things.  His accuracy on the deep ball is almost non-existent and he struggles with trajectory and touch in the intermediate passing game.  Almost all the work he does in the LSU offense is outside the hashes with receivers in one on one situations.  He has a habit of tipping his throws with his eyes and threw some ugly interceptions as a junior because of it.  Mettenberger also has mechanical inconsistencies.  He does stride into his throws consistently which throws off his weight transfer.  He’s also prone to throwing a wobbly ball now and again.  On top of those concerns is his immobility.  He’s heavy-footed in the pocket and freezes up when the rush comes free.  You will never confuse Mettenberger for an improvisational quarterback.  He does his best work when he can sit in a clean pocket and pick out receivers in the short passing game.  He must showcase a wider array of skills as a passer as a senior.

Aaron Murray, Georgia

Entering his fourth season as the starter at Georgia, Aaron Murray will attract attention as a viable option for quarterback competition in the NFL.  What makes Murray successful is that he’s a smart quarterback.  He displays anticipation by releasing the ball at or before his receivers’ breaks.  He also picks up on subtle things in coverage like where the eyes of defenders are.  When a cornerback has his back to the ball in man coverage, Murray will throw back shoulder without reservation.  He has nimble feet in the pocket and can reset quickly.  He also has a crafty way of eluding the rush and escaping the grasp of defenders.  His pocket work does leave a bit to be desired though.  His lack of height is a limitation, but he also will drop his eyes to the rush and is overly reliant on his ability to pick up yards on the ground.  After leaving the pocket, he does have some ability to find receivers and get rid of the football.  Others aspects of his game are ultimately the biggest cause for concern though.  Murray’s accuracy on his deep ball is inconsistent at best and requires a clean pocket so he can step into his throws.  He’s limited by a lack of arm strength and a compact release.  When trying to make boundary throws, the ball will often float at the end.  His lack of velocity should scare talent evaluators.  Even with space to step into throws, the ball wobbles too often.  If forced to make throws off his back foot under pressure, Murray’s effectiveness can almost be completely negated.  So while Murray’s mind works on a different level than most college quarterbacks, his physical limitations are a hindrance to his prospects as an NFL prospect.

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

Thomas had undeniably one of the most disappointing 2012 seasons for college quarterbacks.  The hype and expectations for him may have been overboard to start with though.  Thomas’ success has always been predicated on his ability as a runner.  His periodic air assaults were the result of the respect defenses were forced to show him as a running threat.  Thomas has always shown the tools that make scouts drool.  He’s an enormous quarterback with foot quickness and top level strength.  He has a natural arm when it comes to rifling balls in at high velocity and extending the field with the deep ball.  Thomas often gets in trouble with his mechanics and has scattershot accuracy.  His stride and weight transfer is inconsistent and he leaves balls short or overthrows them because of it.  It’s little inconsistencies that pile up and plague him as a passer.  His biggest issue is the command of a complex passing game.  He’s never shown an ability to work through reads and shows poor pre-snap recognition.  He’s prone to throwing ugly interceptions because of a lack of anticipation.  Throws come out late as a result, and defenders are able to get a beat on the ball.  It also doesn’t help that he has a habit of telegraphing throws.  For all his problems, Thomas still shows flashes of brilliance.  On occasion, he makes bucket throws on the boundary or on crossing routes with impressive accuracy.  He’s also very calm in the face of pressure and stands tall in the pocket.  Even if he progresses more than I envision as a passer during his senior season, his value will be highest as a dual-threat quarterback in a scheme that plays to his abilities as a runner.  Few quarterbacks have the ability to convert short-yardage the way Logan Thomas does.  There are very few runs in which he’s no falling forward.  He’ll be a scheme-specific quarterback in the NFL, but still needs to make big leaps as a passer if he hopes to compete for a starting job.

Others to watch:

Keith Price, Washington

Stephen Morris, Miami

Bryn Renner, North Carolina

Tyler Russell, Mississippi State

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: 2014 NFL Draft Preview – Senior Quarterbacks

Mock Draft – 4/21/2013

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This mock draft was written before the announcement of the Darrelle Revis trade, so keep that into consideration.  Explanations stop at the conclusion of the fifth round, because explanations anywhere after are all going to be the same in effect: depth picks.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan.  The Chiefs’ need to protect the passer is undeniable this point.  They paid big money for Alex Smith.  It’s what he needs to succeed.  Branden Albert’s future is cloudy at best and he may just be traded away before draft day.  Eric Fisher makes sense because he is the best all-around offensive tackle in this draft, if not the best player.  He’s extremely athletic and a mauler all at the same time.  He truly does it all.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia.  The Jaguars are in the midst of a massive overhaul of personnel and philosophy.  Geno has the type A personality to provide leadership for an offense and team that definitely needs it.  He’s the clear-cut favorite to be the first quarterback selected and deservedly so.  New head coach Gus Bradley and new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch have no connections to Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne, so they’ll want to go their own direction.

3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah.   Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen inhibited a roster almost completely void of real talent a year ago.  They’re still trying to clean up the mess and still have holes across the board.  The Raiders are in a situation where they truly need to take the best player available and one who can provide an immediate impact.  Star Lotulelei is the perfect anchor for a defensive rebuild from the inside out.  He’s a scheme transcendent defensive tackle and an impact player.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M.  Jason Peters and Todd Herremans may be fine offensive tackles in their own rights, but Joeckel’s talent trumps both.  Chip Kelly having two bookend tackles who can free up the corner in the running game and allow space for his quarterback in the passing game is what keeps defensive coordinators up at night.  Because of his consistent technique and footwork, Joeckel’s floor is as high as any prospect in this draft.

5. Detroit Lions: Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU.  If Ansah falls past the fifth pick in this draft, I’ll be surprised.  The Lions got a first-hand look at his intoxicating athleticism and saw him thrive in the wide 9 technique come game time.  Ansah is very inexperienced, and lacks the technique required of high impact pass rushers.  He’s shown an ability to pick the game up quickly though, and the team that drafts him will bank on his ability to develop even further.  His kind of athleticism doesn’t come around that often.

*Trade* The Miami Dolphins receive pick #6 (1st).  The Cleveland Browns receive pick # 12 (1st), #54 (2nd), and #146 (5th).

6. Miami Dolphins (from CLE): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma.  After Jake Long walked in free agency, a big hole opened up at the blind side in Miami’s offense, one that Jonathan Martin cannot fill.  While not as developed as Joeckel or Fisher, Lane Johnson’s potential is just as high.  Johnson is blessed with impressive athleticism and natural strength.  He’s a converted tight end, who is still learning the technique of the tackle spot.  If he continues to develop on the track he is on now, the sky is the limit.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon.  Sam Acho has earned a starting role, but there is no impact outside linebacker on the roster outside of him.  Jordan is as dynamic as linebacker prospects come.  He lit up the combine, showcasing his size and athleticism.  While he may not be a 18 sack pass rusher right away, the versatility he could give the Cardinals defense would be invaluable.  Jordan can provide immediate impact in coverage while he builds on that frame to become a bigger, stronger rusher.

8. Buffalo Bills: Matt Barkley, QB, USC.  This would be the first big surprise pick of the draft.  Maybe it shouldn’t be though.  The demand for quarterbacks is at an all-time high and trumps the supply of those that are ready.  Debates on his value aside, Matt Barkley is a great fit for new head coach Doug Marrone’s rhythm passing game and steps into an offensive line that is strong enough to give him him clean pockets to work with.  There are a number of directions the Bills could go with this pick.

9.New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU.  If things fall this way for the Jets, this pick seems like a run to the podium type.  The Jets defense lacks the teeth of previous year, mostly due to an inability to get after the quarterback.  Mingo should be able to make the transition to a 3-4, where he can rush with more space to work with.  He has almost no experience in coverage, but his explosive athletic ability can be put to good use rushing the passer.  Coverage ability is gravy at this point.

10. Tennessee Titans: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama.  The Titans defense gave up the most points in the league last year, so the best defensive player on the board makes the most sense.  Dee Milliner can pair with Jason McCourty and drastically improve Tennessee’s pass defense.  Milliner is widely regarded as the draft’s best cornerback and for good reason.  With a combination of instincts, technique, athleticism, and ball skills, he really does it all in coverage.

11. San Diego Chargers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State.  With the big three offensive tackles off the board, the Chargers can turn to another area of need and fill it with Xavier Rhodes.  Rhodes fits the profile of the most sought after cornerbacks in today’s league.  He’s big, physical, and incredibly athletic.  He’s a great fit in John Pagano’s defense and can help shore up a pass defense that needs to get younger and lacks a shutdown corner on the boundary.

12. Cleveland Browns (from MIA): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia.  Things are looking up in Cleveland, but the passing game still has unanswered questions.  Tavon Austin could add a dimension to the Browns offense that it desperately needs.  The plan to make it happen is simple: get the ball in Austin’s hands in whatever way you can.  He has the instincts and vision of a running back combined with a quick cut ability to make defenders miss in space and an explosive burst to break free and go the distance on any snap.

13. Tampa Buccaneers: Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State.  Where the Bucs’ pass rush will come from remains a mystery at this point.  Adding a stud pass rusher like Carradine would go a long ways toward solving that mystery, while replacing the production Michael Bennett gave the defense.  If Carradine’s medical examinations come out with a positive prognosis, he deserves to be drafted higher than Bjoern Werner because he’s more impressive physically and is an even more menacing pass rusher.

14. Carolina Panthers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida.  The Panthers have been a revolving door at defensive tackle since Kris Jenkins left town.  Floyd is no Jenkins, but he has a knack for making plays in the backfield that is sure to catch the eye of any GM looking for production from the middle.  Though he needs technical refinement, he’s a great fit for Sean McDermott and Ron Rivera up front.  The Panthers could also consider Sheldon Richardson with this pick, who I think is a superior prospect.

15. New Orleans Saints: Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas.  As the Saints try to overhaul one of the worst defenses in recent memory, they can’t go wrong adding a swiss army knife on the back end like Kenny Vacarro.  He brings value as a corner that can walk up into the box and provide run support.  He can also man up with tight ends or play over the top as a bracket safety.  Getting younger at the strong safety spot is a big need for the Saints as Roman Harper sees his way out of the league.  Vacarro is the man for the job.

16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama.  The Rams’ need for an offensive guard is painfully obvious at this stage.  If the draft board hands Chance Warmack to Les Snead, he’ll giggle himself to sleep at night.  It’s not impossible though, considering the relative value of the position.  Warmack is an immediate contributor, with the ability to maul defenders as a run blocker.  Sliding him into the left tackle spot next to Jake Long will give Sam Bradford no excuses anymore.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia.  The Steelers’ defense is aging less like wine and more like milk these days.  Jarvis Jones can provide an infusion of youth into a pass rush that has come to a grinding halt.  Though Jones may not be the dynamic pass rusher his numbers suggest, they are tough to argue against.  He consistently produced at a high level in the country’s best conference, which will be enough to get a team looking a pass rusher to bite plenty early.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina.  If you’re going to give Tony Romo the contract that Jerry Jones did, you better start protecting him.  Jonathan Cooper might be as athletic an offensive guard as we have ever seen.  He also has the wherewithal to slide over to center if asked to.  He’s a stout pass blocker who can keep Romo’s pocket intact from the middle, while providing a dynamic blocking element in the running game.  His range to the sideline and downfield is unmatched.

19. New York Giants: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama.  Jerry Reese has never drafted an offensive lineman in the first round as general manager, but if there were one to make him pull the trigger it would be D.J. Fluker.  The time is right, as David Diehl is no longer starting quality.  Fluker has the length to make up for heavy feet as a pass protector and can be mauling force up front in the running game.  Andre Brown and David Wilson would certainly love to run through the holes Fluker can create.

20. Chicago Bears: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame.  A new general manager and a new head coach are in town.  Gone are the days of the scrub tight end.  By pairing Eifert with Martellus Bennett, Jay Cutler would have arguably the most dynamic group of receivers in the league.  Eifert provides another big redzone target but also has the ability to stretch the defense in the seam.  His ability to highpoint the football with his soft hands is something that you just cannot teach a tight end.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State.  The re-signing of Rey Maualuga shouldn’t be an indication of the Bengals’ draft plans, because he shouldn’t have a starting job.  Arthur Brown is the best non-pass rushing linebacker in the class, with the ability to play the Mike and Will linebacker spots in a 4-3.  He’s a superb athlete who sheds blocks and is a sure tackler when he gets to the ball.  He also plays faster than he times with a quick read and react and natural instincts for the position.

22. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International.   The Rams just missed out on Kenny Vacarro at pick 16, but Cyprien is one hell of a consolation prize.  Starting Darian Stewart and Rodney McLeod on your defenses back end in a division with Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick is the quickest way to the cellar.  Cyprien is a do-it-all safety with a nose for the football and the athleticism to close on it in the blink of an eye.  He can be a game changer for the Rams defense.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri.  The Vikings chopping a year off the contract of Kevin Williams has put the writing on the wall.  Rick Spielman wants to keep the youth movement going on the defensive side of the ball.  While Richardson wouldn’t slide into a starting spot at the three technique as a rookie, he would provide a dynamic pass rush specialist in passing situations and a strong rotational player.  He’s actually my number one overall player, so I think it would be a brilliant pick even if it didn’t pay dividends immediately.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Bjoern Werner, OLB, Florida State.  Bjoern Werner is a 4-3 left defensive end in my book, but says he’s gotten more interest at a linebacker position.  The Colts are a great landing place in that case, considering they haven’t found that dynamic pass rusher since their switch to a 3-4.  Werner likely will never be a coverage specialist, but rushing from a two point stance may allow him the space to convert speed to power while making use of that quick first step.

25. Minnesota Vikings: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame.  It’s no secret that the Vikings have invested a large amount of resources into Te’o in the pre-draft process.  It seems like too much time spent to simply be a smokescreen or sending out feelers.  With Jasper Brinkley walking in free agency, the Vikings have a huge hole at the Mike linebacker spot.  Te’o can step in and start on day one without having to be the quarterback of the defense.  That is Chad Greenway.  It’s tough to ask for a better landing spot than Minnesota for Te’o.

26. Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA.  This pick has almost become cliché at this point, but the fit is just too perfect.  Datone Jones is a movable chess piece with the versatility to line up anywhere across the defensive line.  Dom Capers’ dynamic front seven is the perfect landing spot for a player with the skillset of Jones.  He’s a freak athlete with size and power.  If his technique develops as a pass rusher to enhance his natural ability, he can get after quarterback from the inside as well as anyone.

27. Houston Texans: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee.  It’s put up or shut up time for Matt Schaub and the Texans offense.  Patterson would add a dimension to the passing game that currently doesn’t exist.  The pressure that Andre Johnson puts on defenses would give Patterson space to operate as a route runner.  He could provide an outlet for Schaub underneath.  Once he gets the ball in his hands, he has the explosive burst and quick cut ability to elude defenders and pick up big yardage.

28. Denver Broncos: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina.  Despite the signing of Terrance Knighton and re-singing of Kevin Vickerson, the Broncos are in need of true impact playmaker from the inside.  Sylvester Williams may be one of the most underrated prospects in this class.  He explodes off the ball and makes plays in the backfield on a consistent basis.  If he can be taught how to harness and make best use of his size and raw power, he can be a dominant force from the inside.

*Trade* The Arizona Cardinals receive pick #29 (1st). The New England Patriots receive picks #38 (2nd), #103 (4th), and a future 4th.

29. Arizona Cardinals: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State.  Menelik Watson fits what Bruce Arians is looking for in an offensive tackle.  He’s an impressive enough athlete with uncommon raw power.  Even though he may be a developmental offensive tackle as a whole, he has the drive block ability for a power running game on day one.  It’s a risky selection, but his upside is going to get a general manager to make a bold move in the first round.

30. Atlanta Falcons: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State.  With the departure of Brent Grimes and age creeping up on Asante Samuel, the Falcons have a need for an impact cornerback.  They’re in the right place in the draft to get one.  Taylor is a physical, scrappy cornerback with the anticipation and instincts for zone coverage.  He’s also plenty reliable as a tackler, where he plays much bigger than his size would lead to you to believe.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama.  This is what I would call the rich getting richer.  Jesse Williams is the perfect nose tackle for the 49ers front seven.  He can clog up space in the middle to keep their stud inside linebackers free, while providing enough athleticism and energy to make enough plays of his own.  The brute strength and consistent technique Williams has at the point of attack should be enough to ensure a first round pick.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Robert Woods, WR, USC.  Robert Woods has often been the forgotten man in such a talented wide receiver class, but I think he could have a chance to sneak into the first round.  While other receivers like Keenan Allen and DeAndre Hopkins may be turning teams off with off-field antics, Woods could find his way to go this high.  He’s also a great fit for Baltimore.  He’s the perfect yin to Torrey Smith’s yang.  He can consistently get open underneath with sharp route and provide a redzone target.

33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M.  The Jaguars’ lack of pass rushing production a year ago is well documented.  Moore was extremely productive for the Aggies over the course of two seasons.  He has positional versatility with experience in a 3-4 and 4-3 defense.  He could be the perfect fit for Gus Bradley’s LEO position, where he can stand up and use space to generate power as a rusher.  Moore’s motor is largely unmatched among pass rushing prospects.  Now it’s all about technical development.

34. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, S, LSU.  The 49ers’ need for a safety is pretty obvious at this point.  Going into the season with Donte Whitner and Craig Dahl at the backend is asking for trouble.  Eric Reid is a great fit in Vic Fangio’s defense.  He can patrol over the top and break on the football quickly.  He’s a strong tackler and a physical safety that can be relied upon.

35. Philadelphia Eagles: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State.  There isn’t a quarterback who truly fits Chip Kelly’s offense on the roster right now.  E.J. Manuel is the perfect fit and I believe the Eagles will do whatever they need to do in order to snag him.  He’s always a threat to run, which opens things up for Kelly’s offense and makes it tick.  If his mechanics can be cleaned up and accuracy improved at the same time, he could be the long-term answer.  Those are big if’s though.

36. Detroit Lions: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson.  Martin Mayhew has drafted a receiver in the second round each of the last two years.  While Ryan Broyles has shown some promise, Titus Young is long gone.  DeAndre Hopkins could fill out that corps of pass catchers with his ability to separate as a route runner and attack the football in the air.  How teams view the combine hotel room incident will be important for his draft position.

37. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida.  The Bengals can continue to infuse their defense with young talent and would be wise to upgrade at strong safety.  Mike Zimmer’s defense is a great landing spot for Elam.  He’s an aggressive safety with a penchant for the knockout blow.  He also provides solid run support.  If he can become a more disciplined player as a whole, he can be an immediate impact player.

38. New England Patriots (from ARI): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee.  Justin Hunter’s height and athletic ability will be enough to make someone pull the trigger early, maybe even in the first round.  After trading back to recoup some draft picks, the Patriots can add a receiver with the ability to take the top off the defense that they haven’t had since Randy Moss left town.

39. New York Jets: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse.  The days left for Mark Sanchez as the Jets’ starter are numbered and the offense needs a new direction completely.  Nassib is a decisive quarterback who can run a rhythmic passing game with pinpoint accuracy in the short and intermediate areas.  His footwork and trajectory of the deep ball need lots of work, but he’s not going to last long on day two.  That’s if he’s not a first round pick to start with.

40. Tennessee Titans: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky.  The Titan’s offensive philosophy is pretty clear: they want to pound the rock and use it to set up the pass.  Adding Andy Levitre in free agency was a big step and adding a bulldozer like Larry Warford is another.  Warford has surprising athleticism for a mammoth guard and can create movement up front and open holes for the running backs they’re so heavily invested in.

41. Buffalo Bills: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU.  Buddy Nix may go back to the well on another LSU linebacker.  Minter fits what new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine wants to do on defense.  He’s versatile enough to handle inside duties in 4-3 and 3-4 looks while providing value as a blitzer from the inside.  This pick will heavily depend on how the new staff views Kelvin Sheppard’s fit moving forward.

42. Miami Dolphins: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington.  The fall for Trufant ends here.  Sean Smith skipped town at the first sight of free agency and what’s left behind him can be upgraded.  Brent Grimes was brought in, but his long-term health is still a question mark.  Trufant can step right in and contribute immediately with his high competitiveness and ability to press receivers before utilizing his athleticism to run with them.

43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State.  The Bucs improved their secondary by pairing up Mark Barron with Dashon Goldson in free agency, but the cupboard at cornerback is bare.  Banks had a mildly disappointing senior season and has question marks about his athleticism.  Even so, he’s a great fit for the Buccaneers’ zone scheme, is a high character guy, and has terrific ball skills.

44. Carolina Panthers: Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State.  The Panthers were forced to cut Chris Gamble in the off-season to free up some cap space.  That leaves a pretty large hole in an already average secondary which faces Drew Brees and Matt Ryan in a fourth of their season.  Slay is a superb athlete with fluid hips to turn and run is one of the underrated cornerbacks of this class.

45. San Diego Chargers: Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff.  In order to slow the regression of Philip Rivers and then hopefully get him to trend in the right direction, the Chargers need to do a much better job of protecting him.  Terron Armstead is one of the most athletic tackles anyone has ever seen and a perfect fit for San Diego’s new zone blocking scheme.  In my personal opinion, his learning curve isn’t as steep as advertised.

46. St. Louis Rams: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia.  Jeff Fisher has proven to have no qualms about taking a prospect with character concerns.  Even though Ogletree is strictly a Will linebacker, which is JoLonn Dunbar’s spot, his dynamic athletic ability and penchant for the big play in coverage and pursuit is something the Rams defense desperately needs.  If he can keep his nose clean off the field and quickly develop his technique on it, he can be among the league’s best.

47. Dallas Cowboys: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU.  This feels like a Jerry Jones type pick to me.  Margus Hunt’s athleticism is off the charts.  He also projects as a moving piece player up front, the kind that a defensive coordinator like Monte Kiffin could make good use of.  Whether the Cowboys line up in an odd or even front, Hunt can play a role.  While there is inherent risk in drafting Hunt, the upside he has will see him come off the board much earlier than most expect.

48. Pittsburgh Steelers: Keenan Allen, WR, California.  The Steelers offense sputtered for most of the season last year and they need to get Ben Roethlisberger back on track.  The outlook for the wide receiver situation is cloudy at best.  Mike Wallace is no longer in town and Emmanuel Sanders will be in a contract year.  Keenan Allen can provide a security blanket and red zone target for Big Ben with his ability to elude press coverage and highpoint the football.

49. New York Giants: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas.  The Giants defense finished a putrid 31st in the league last season, due in large part to their inability to get after opposing quarterbacks.  While Alex Okafor isn’t a phenomenal athlete, he has some technician-like qualities as a rusher with undeniable production for the Longhorns.  He also can bring value as an interior pass rusher on third downs.

50. Chicago Bears: Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers.  The youth movement in the Bears linebacking corps has begun.  Signees James Anderson and D.J. Williams aren’t guaranteed to be long-term answers and adding depth in a must anyways.  Greene is on the small end of the linebacker spectrum, but it makes him a more dynamic Will linebacker.  He has a penchant for the big play and is smooth in coverage.  Consistency as a tackler and taking on blocks needs to be developed.

51. Washington Redskins: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston.  With the 31st ranked pass defense a year ago, it’s tough to argue against any pick the Redskins make that addresses the secondary.  D.J. Hayden is one of the most overlooked prospects in the class and has a miraculous story from his senior season.  He’s a fit for Redskins with the ability to play press or off and the athleticism to run with receivers.  When he can get physical with route runners, he’s a much more effective cornerback.

52. Minnesota Vikings: Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech.  Percy Harvin being shipped out of town opened up a void in a group of pass catchers that was already poor.  Greg Jennings was a terrific signing and a good fit.  Da’Rick Rogers is the receiver the Vikings are looking for to fill out the group.  He’s big, physical, and can muscle cornerbacks from the football.  What gets overlooked is his explosive athleticism.  He won’t be burning past cornerbacks for deep balls anytime soon, but his legs have some real pop in them.

53. Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina.  For better or worse, the Bengals offense is based around their ability to run the ball.  As steady As BenJarvus Green-Ellis may be, he’s not a threat to pick up big yardage with the ball in his hands.  Giovani Bernard has the vision and foot quickness to run from traditional sets as well as the pass catching ability to provide a target in the passing game.  He’s the perfect lightning to Green-Ellis’ (maybe not so heavy) thunder.

54. Cleveland Browns (from MIA): Corey Lemonier, OLB/DE, Auburn.  As the Browns transition to a 3-4 defensive scheme, the most crucial component will be their edge pass rushers.  They brought in free agent Joe Kruger, but you can truly never have enough.  Lemonier brings an explosive first step, a high motor, and an ability to speed rush around the corner that translate well to a two point stance.  He has experience in the 4-3, which means he brings value for even fronts as well.

55. Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama.  Ted Thompson is notoriously stubborn about bringing in top talent at the running back position.  He may finally pull the trigger on a running game investment though, and Eddie Lacy is the perfect fit.  His vision is relatively poor, but the Packers’ passing game spreads defenses wide enough it shouldn’t be a big issue.  This allows Lacy to get up to speed and through holes and utilize his power and nimble feet in space.

56. Seattle Seahawks: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State.  The Seahawks have been stockpiling talent on the defensive line, so why stop now?  Hankins is just too much value at the end of the second round to pass up and can combine with Brandon Mebane to be a disruptive duo up front.  Hankins’ athletic ability is ridiculous considering his size and weight.  He’s an underrated playmaker.  His play is plagued by motor and effort issues though.

57. Houston Texans: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas.  It’s time to start looking for an upgrade over Matt Schaub to ensure that this team hasn’t plateaued.  A late second round pick spent on a guy like Tyler Wilson is a bargain.  Wilson can wait in the wings and develop while Schaub is still taking snaps.  If given time, Wilson may be able to weed out some of the bad habits he picked up playing for an awful Arkansas team as a senior.

58. Denver Broncos: D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina.  The failures of the secondary were eventually the undoing of the Broncos in the post-season.  D.J. Swearinger can bring an aggressive and fearless force on the backend of that defense.  In order to maximize his effectiveness as a professional safety, Swearinger needs to find a balance in his aggression level that allows him to maintain proper discipline.  If that doesn’t happen, he’s going to be a magnet for penalties.

59. New England Patriots: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech.  Would the Patriots really spend both of their first two picks on wide receivers?  Looking at the wide receivers under contract, it’s something that should be considered.  Quinton Patton in the late second round is too much value to pass up on.  Patton is a pro-ready receiver in every sense of the term.  He’s a receiver who runs incredibly precise routes and the kind of receiver that Tom Brady could develop an instant rapport with.

60. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU.  The ability to consistently apply pressure on opposing QB’s has been something the Falcons defense hasn’t been able to do in recent seasons.  Osi Umenyoria is not a long-term answer and may not even be a short-term one.  Sam Montgomery is a physical overpowering defensive end made for the 4-3.  He combines just enough athleticism and motor to make him an impact defender.  If the Falcons can clean up his get off and slow things down for him, he may succeed.

61. San Francisco 49ers: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford.  Ertz is consistently mocked to the 49ers, but for good reason.  Stylistically, he’s the perfect replacement for the departed Delanie Walker.  Of course, head coach Jim Harbaugh coached him at the college level and is familiar with Ertz.  The 49ers offense can accentuate his strengths and won’t ask him to be a mauling blocker up front.

62. Baltimore Ravens: Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee.  The Ravens offensive line is in limbo and it remains to be seen what they may do to address it.  It all depends on how they view Kelechi Osemele and Michael Oher in terms of position.  Either way, Dallas Thomas showed his versatile by excelling at the guard spot as a senior, while he may be even better suited on the edge.  He has impressive feet and is a smart player who can contribute in some way.

63. Kansas City Chiefs: Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut.  Derrick Johnson isn’t getting any younger and has no viable running mate on the inside.  Sio Moore’s skills translate to multiple positions, which will allow the Chiefs to utilize him in more than one capacity.  He brings fluid footwork and hips in coverage.  He’s a proven pass rusher who can make an impact as a blitzer.  Moore is an aggressive linebacker with the ability to close on the ball quickly.

64. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Pugh, OG, Syracuse.  Outside of Eugene Monroe, every spot on the Jaguars’ offensive line could use an upgrade.  Pugh can slide to the inside and be a technical blocker with a strong upper body and the nimble feet to work laterally and leverage open holes as a run blocker.  Pugh has the versatile skillset to start at a number of offensive line positions as a rookie.

65. Detroit Lions: Kyle Long, OT/OG, Oregon.  The Lions offense is in flux at the moment and has hole everywhere.  While he may be more of a project than most want to admit, Kyle Long is going to be valued higher because of his natural athleticism and strength.  He could legitimately project to either guard spot or right tackle for the Lions, depending on how they view him as a prospect.

66. Oakland Raiders: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee.  Even though the Raiders acquired Matt Flynn, they’re still in need of competition at the quarterback spot.  Flynn would certainly get the starting nod on day one, but Bray is a high upside developmental quarterback with impressive tools.  He can use his time behind Flynn to develop his release, footwork, and decision making within the offense.

67. Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State.  After seeing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha out of town, the Eagles really haven’t brought in any long-term answers at the cornerback position.  Poyer has the potential to be a game-changing cover guy with a knack for getting his hands to the football and the natural instincts for zone coverage.

68. Cleveland Browns: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut.  The Browns will certainly be eyeing another cornerback to pair with Joe Haden at some point in the draft.  Wreh-Wilson has the quick feet and body flexibility to be a terrific man coverage cornerback.  It’s all going to be about technical development, as he wasn’t often asked to sit in a backpeddle for the Huskies.

69. Arizona Cardinals: Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (OH).  Nobody in that building can truly believe Carson Palmer is the answer for any longer than a year.  Bruce Arians surely wants to go out and find his own quarterback, one he can groom into his system.  I can’t think of a better fit than Zac Dysert.  He’s a big, mobile guy with impressive accuracy downfield.  With a year to wait in the wings and learn, he could become a special quarterback.

70. Tennessee Titans: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue.  The stockpiling of defensive tackle talent continues in Tennessee.  Short can provide a gap-shooting presence from the inside and won’t have any excuse for the motor issues he’s shown with the Titans’ ability to rotate up front.  If Short ever puts it all together he could be highly impactful defensive tackle.

71. Buffalo Bills: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State.  The Bills group of wide receivers is pretty mediocre and has no depth whatsoever.  Markus Wheaton is an absolute steal if he’s sitting on the board in the third round.  He has speed to burn and separates with ease out of his cuts.  The speed he plays the game at is uncommon and he has the kind of ability that keeps defensive coordinators up at night.

72. New York Jets: Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati.  Travis Kelce has the ability to replace Dustin Keller in the Jets’ offense and then some.  The only blip on Kelce is the mysterious year-long suspension, which means that whoever drafts him will need to do their homework.  Kelce is a powerful run blocker and is deceptively athletic as a pass catcher.  He can impact the game in a high number of ways.

73. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia.  Stedman Bailey is the perfect complement to Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson.  He has the versatility to work out of the slot or from the outside.  There’s not much Bailey doesn’t catch.  He’s a polished receiver in every aspect of his game and plays much bigger than he is.

74. San Francisco 49ers (from CAR): Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Mississippi.  The 49ers picked Cam Johnson in last year’s draft, but that hasn’t worked out so well after a single season.  It’s a luxury pick for sure, but San Francisco can draft Jamie Collins and develop him along while adding another supremely athletic pass rusher into the fold.

75. New Orleans Saints: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia.  With the switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme underway, the Saints need space eaters inside.  John Jenkins and Akiem Hicks can accomplish that.  Jenkins also has the light feet and athleticism to spotlight as a five technique as well.  Weight and concerns about his technique and lack of physicality may seem him fall this far in the draft.

76. San Diego Chargers: Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson.  Ryan Mathews has proven that he can’t stay healthy and Danny Woodhead is no more than a niche back.  Andre Ellington is a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme.  He also brings a ton of value as both a pass catcher and pass blocker, where he can take some of the pressure off the shoulders of Philip Rivers.

77. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M.  Though adding a wide receiver this early may be somewhat of a luxury, the connection between Swope, Ryan Tannehill, and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman may be all the difference.  Swope has the versatility to line up in the slot or outside and is as reliable as they come.  Combine that with an ability to run crisp routes and long speed and you’re looking at an underrated wide receiver.  If he can find that chemistry with Tannehill again, look out.

78. St. Louis Rams: Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State.  It seems both smart and realistic for the Rams to double up on safeties.  If they are to draft Jonathan Cyprien in the first, it would give them flexibility because of his versatility.  Phillip Thomas would bring a ballhawk safety into the mix.  He hauled in eight interceptions as a senior at Fresno State.  He’s very inconsistent as a whole though and has some effort question marks.

79. Pittsburgh Steelers: Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA.  The Steelers finished 26th in the league in rushing last season.  Having a one-dimensional offense really held them back.  Johnathan Franklin is a high IQ football player who has the natural instincts for the position.  He follows blocks as well as any back and brings enough value in passing situations to warrant a second day draft pick.

80. Dallas Cowboys: David Amerson, CB/S, North Carolina State.  Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr have things taken care of on the boundaries, but the outlook over the top is unclear.  David Amerson got scorched a number of times as a junior and needs a transition to safety, where he can break on the football and use his elite ball skills to bring down interceptions.

81. New York Giants: Jordan Reed, TE, Florida.  The Giants need to add more talent around Eli Manning in order to avoid wasting his best years.  Jordan Reed could potentially add an element to the Giants offense that hasn’t existed with Eli under center.  Reed is a joker tight end who can move all over the field and provides run after catch ability that most tight ends can only dream about.

82. Miami Dolphins: Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky.  Where Smith falls in this draft will be somewhat dependent on how teams view his surgically repaired ACL.  The impact he made on the field as a senior is undeniable, completely taking over multiple games, including one against Alabama.  He can provide another pass rushing threat to the Dolphins defense once he’s back to 100%.

83. Minnesota Vikings: Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State.  I don’t envision the release of Antoine Winfield will change the Vikings draft plans at cornerback drastically.  They needed one either way.  McFadden is a terrific fit in the cover 2.  He’s an instinctive zone cornerback who competitively plays the ball in the air and is a sufficient tackler.  He could be viewed as a slot specialist or fit for the boundary.

84. Cincinnati Bengals: Brian Winters, OG/OT, Kent State.  The Bengals could continue to load up their offensive line and further strengthen their running game selecting Winters.  He’s a strong and nasty run blocker who can create movement up front.  They could potentially view him as either an offensive guard or a right tackle.

85. Washington Redskins: Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia.  An upgrade at the free safety position could do a lot of good for a poor Redskins secondary.  Rambo could be that guy.  While not the most physical safety in the world, the thrives roaming over the top.  He’s able to anticipate throws and gets early breaks on the ball as a result.  He has the ball skills to be productive hauling in interceptions as well.

86. Indianapolis Colts: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama.  Neither Samson Satele nor Mike McGlynn instill confidence anyone.  Barrett Jones has the versatility to realistically play almost every position across the line. He could lead Pep Hamilton’s offense from the center spot because he’s a leader and is incredibly smart.  While he’s not a phenomenal athlete or a mauler up front, he can improve the Colts’ line.

87. Seattle Seahawks: David Bakhtiari, OT/OG, Colorado.  Outside of Max Unger and Russell Okung, the rest of the Seahawks offensive line could be improved upon.  Bakhtiari could fit at either right tackle or either guard spot.  He’s a quick-footed blocker who can sustain a block about as long as anyone.  He may be one of the most underrated prospects in the draft.

88. Green Bay Packers: Brian Schwenke, C, California.  Jeff Saturday was only a hold-over at the center position, and he couldn’t even last the whole season.  Brian Schwenke can come in and lock down the starting job.  He’s an extremely mobile center who does impressive work in space.  He fits what the Packers want to do offensively.

89. Houston Texans: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State.  The Texans have yet to bring in an anchor nose tackle since their switch to the 3-4 scheme.  Williams has the strength, size, and leverage to eat up blocks on the inside.  He may also have enough athleticism and motor to bring some value on passing downs.

90. Denver Broncos: John Simon, DE/OLB, Ohio State.  After the Elvis Dumervil mishap, the Broncos must bring in another pass rusher.  John Elway could view Simon as the type of rusher that can be groomed into that role.  Simon is a strong, relentless rusher with surprisingly quick and efficient moves.  He lacks ideal size and may be limited in the end by that.

91. New England Patriots: Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois.  Chandler Jones lived up to all the hype and then some as a rookie, but he’s really the Patriots’ only impact pass rusher.  Michael Buchanan had a disappointing senior season, but if he can get back to the level he played at as a sophomore he can contribute.  He stills needs to develop his frame and become a stronger player as a whole.

92. Atlanta Falcons: Vance McDonald, TE, Rice.  Tony Gonzalez is coming back for one more crack at the Lombardi, but it seems safe to say this is his last season.  Vance McDonald is a supremely athletic tight end who needs to develop his pass catching skills and learn blocking technique.  He can do that behind the hall of famer for a season before he’s expected to contribute.

93. San Francisco 49ers: Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana.  With the number of draft picks the 49ers have, they’ll surely be making some luxury picks.  Robert Alford has uncommon athleticism, but he’s plagued by technique issues.  He can contribute immediately as a punt returner for the 49ers while developing his game on the defensive side of the ball.

94. Baltimore Ravens (Compensatory): Kiko Alonso, ILB, Oregon.  Nobody is going to come in as a rookie and replace Ray Lewis.  Kiko Alonso isn’t that type of linebacker at all, but he can bring a physical and fearless linebacker into the fold.  Alonso thrives as a blitzer and in pass coverage.  He’s a fantastic athlete who flies to the football.  He’s certainly not a fit for everyone though.  His undisciplined style of play and off the field issues are a concern.

95. Houston Texans (Compensatory): Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford.  Pass rushers have been leaving in free agency in recent years, so the Texans need to restock that part of their defense.  Chase Thomas is a heavily experience and well-polished pass rusher who is suited for the 3-4 defense.  He brought consistent production at Stanford and even a fraction of that would be good news for the Texans.

96. Kansas City Chiefs (Compensatory): Josh Evans, S, Florida.  On a Florida defense full of talent, Josh Evans was the overlooked man.  He reads the intentions of quarterbacks well to break on the ball as a centerfield type safety.  He’s a good fit to pair with Eric Berry and shore up the backend of the Chiefs defense.

97. Tennessee Titans (Compensatory): Cornelius Washington, DE, Georgia.  Derrick Morgan is starting to come into his own as a pass rusher, but free agent addition Kamerion Wimbley was a disappointment.  Pass rush help is needed, and Washington is a great fit.  He can provide a pass rush specialist off the edge, utilizing a quick first step and ability to convert speed to power.

98. Jacksonville Jaguars: Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse.  Shamarko Thomas is the kind of player new head coach Gus Bradley should have his eye on.  Thomas is an aggressive and physical safety who is strong in run support and can run with tight ends in man coverage.  Height issues and concussion concerns will cause his to drop though.

99. Kansas City Chiefs: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State.  Tyson Jackson never lived up to his draft pick and he’ll hit free agency after this season.  Gholston is a perfect fit for the 3-4 defense where he can utilize his natural strength from the inside.  He should be able to press the pocket as a pass rusher and occupy blockers in the running game.

100. Oakland Raiders: Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State.  The Raiders haven’t had an impact pass-catching tight end in recent memory.  They’ve invested in Matt Flynn and need to put some weapons around him.  Escobar is an athletic tight end who can press the seam and highpoint the football.  He provides almost no value as a blocker and needs to get stronger and more physical though.

101. Philadelphia Eagles: Shawn Williams, S, Georgia.  Despite bringing in a haul of defensive backs in free agency, the Eagles need to keep bringing in young talent.  Shawn Williams is a proven leader from the backend of a defense and has the physicality and tackling ability teams look for in a strong safety.

102. Minnesota Vikings (from DET): Lavar Edwards, DE, LSU.  The Vikings’ three top pass rushers are all free agents in 2014, so adding Lavar Edwards is a way to keep an eye on the future and provide depth.  Edwards isn’t a dynamic edge rusher, but is a consistent player and can even slide inside to rush from the interior in pass rushing situations.

103. New England Patriots (from ARI): Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU.  If there’s any head coach who can keep Mathieu out of trouble and keep him motivated, it’s Bill Belichick.   Mathieu brings value as a slot cornerback and as a punt returner.  He has a knack for striping the football and making big plays.  He needs to improve his technique and will always be limited by a lack of ideal size.

104. Cleveland Browns: Duke Williams, S, Nevada.  T.J. Ward is the real deal for the Browns, but they could stand to upgrade the other safety spot or add depth at the very least.  Duke Williams is a heavy-hitting safety with great closing speed to break on the ball.  His off-the-field concerns will need to be checked out though.

105. Buffalo Bills: David Quessenberry, OT/OG, San Jose State.  If the Bills are to draft Matt Barkley, it will be very important to shore up the interior offensive line to keep pockets clean.  David Quessenberry is an extremely versatile blocker who may project best at offensive guard.  He’s a fundamentally sound blocker who may be able to step into a starting role as a rookie.

106. New York Jets: Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall.  Whoever quarterbacks the Jets in the coming years needs to have more weapons to work with.  It’s tough to pass on a guy as physically talented as Aaron Dobson at this point.  His senior season was a disappointment in terms of production and consistency, but his upside is as high as anyone’s.

107. Tennessee Titans: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma.  After the poor season Michael Griffin had a season ago, the Titans should consider bringing in a safety at some point in the draft.  Tony Jefferson does his best work breaking on the ball from the back end of the defense.  He’s still too inconsistent of a tackler to be a starter early on.

108. Carolina Panthers: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor.  Age is starting to catch up to Steve Smith and the Panthers could make good use of a field-stretching wide receiver.  Williams can get behind defenses on the nine route and produced at a high level at Baylor.  He needs to improve his route tree and pass catching technique for sustained success in the league though.

109. New Orleans Saints: Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State.  The Saints could use upgrades at both tackle spots and need depth at the very least.  Reid Fragel has only been playing tackle for a single season, but really took to the position well.  His upside is extremely high considering his impressive athleticism and nasty demeanor.

110. San Diego Chargers: Alvin Bailey, OG, Arkansas.  Louis Vasquez leaving in free agency was a blow to the Chargers offensive line, but the blow could be lessened with this pick.  Alvin Bailey is a fit for the zone blocking scheme and has the anchor ability to keep pockets clean for Philip Rivers.  If he’s able to improve his technique and hand usage, he could lock up a starting spot.

111. Miami Dolphins: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State.  Lamar Miller will be the feature back this season, but the Dolphins should cut their losses on Daniel Thomas.  Le’Veon Bell is a big back but has nimble feet and all the tools to help in the passing game from the backfield.  He’s a bit limited in the open field which could see him drop a bit in the draft.

112. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State.  The jury seems to still be out on Josh Freeman’s long-term success.  Even if the Buccaneers front office has bought in, he lacks a quality backup.  Mike Glennon has the arm to make NFL throws but is limited by a lack of mobility and struggles to handle pressure.  He’s best suited to spend his rookie season with a clipboard.

113. St. Louis Rams: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin.  The Rams could use a bell cow back to replace Steven Jackson.  Montee Ball is definitely experienced in that role and can step into it as a rookie.  He’s a natural back with plus vision, strength, and footwork.  His ceiling is lower than others due to due average athletic ability and a pitch count that is already high.

114. Dallas Cowboys: Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin.  The Cowboys can continue to overhaul their offensive line by pairing Travis Frederick with Cooper on the inside.  Frederick is a smart center who leverages out holes from the inside well.  You can count on Wisconsin offensive lineman to step into your starting lineup and contribute.

115. Pittsburgh Steelers: J.J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern.  Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark are starting to lose the battle against father time, but are the perfect safeties for a raw prospect like J.J. Wilcox to learn from.  Wilcox has only a single season of experience at the position, but has terrific athleticism.  He needs to learn how to read and react before he can bring something to a defense.

116. New York Giants: Jon Bostic, ILB, Florida.  The Giants brought in Dan Connor and if they view as the answer in the middle, Bostic’s skills translate to the weak side.  Bostic is sure to attract interest after he showed of his athleticism at the combine.  He doesn’t play that fast though and struggles to read his keys.  He’s a bit of a project player in my mind.

117. Chicago Bears: Bennie Logan, DT, LSU.  With Stephen Paea and Henry Melton on the roster, this is purely a depth move.  The Bears really don’t have much depth behind those two though.  Logan is a strong defensive tackle with a quick first step.  He’s the type of prospect the Bears could deepen their defensive line with.

118. Cincinnati Bengals: Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina.  Devin Taylor showed much better athleticism at the combine than on the field, but he could be drafted early on the third day because of it.  Mike Zimmer likes to rotate his pass rushers and the Bengals could eye Taylor.

119. Washington Redskins: Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina.  Brennan Williams has the physical skillset to be developed into the future right tackle for the Redskins offense.  I expect them to draft an eventual replacement for Tyler Polumbus, who is merely an average blocker.

120. Minnesota Vikings: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma.  It seems a certainty that the Vikings double up on wide receivers in the draft.  Kenny Stills would provide an athletic deep threat with the kind of body control to make tough catches downfield.

121. Indianapolis Colts: Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State.  Chris Harper is a fit for the Colts offense as a thick, physical receiver catches everything he gets his hands to.  He could help round out an underrated group of receivers.

122. Green Bay Packers: Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M.  Porter can add depth to the Packers’ group of outside linebackers.  He exceled in the 3-4 as a junior at Texas A&M before their switch to the 4-3 as a senior.  He brings value as both a pass rusher and in coverage.

123. Seattle Seahawks: Zaviar Gooden, OLB, Seahawks.  The Seahawks defense is very well-rounded but has a hole at the weak-side linebacker spot.  Gooden is an amazing athlete who can close on the football quickly and bring value in pass coverage.  His lack of physicality is a concern.

124. Houston Texans: Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State.  The Texans could opt to bring in a tight end to try and replace some of the production James Casey brought to the table.  Sims is a large tight end but he’s more athletic than one would assume.  He has very soft hands and is a sufficient run blocker.

125. Denver Broncos: Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State.  The depth across the board on the Broncos’ roster allows them to make a luxury pick or two.  Joseph Randle can bring a pass-catching threat out of the backfield.  He’s also a very reliable pass blocker, which could make him a Peyton Manning favorite.

126. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from NE): Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers.  The Buccaneers can continue their youth movement in the secondary with a player that Greg Schiano is familiar with.  Ryan is an instinctive zone cornerback who still needs to fill out his lean frame.

127. Atlanta Falcons: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina.  Bringing in Steve Jackson allows Lattimore to take a redshirt season in Atlanta in this situation.  Lattimore is a physical back who makes strong cuts and fights for extra yardage.  His long-term durability is obviously the biggest concern.

128. San Francisco 49ers: Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas.  With so many picks, the 49ers will have one eye on the future.  Goodwin is an Olympic sprinter whose speed does translate to the field.  He’s a very raw route runner though, which is something he may be able to develop while waiting in the wings.

129. Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Jenkins, OLB, Florida State.  Jenkins essentially missed his entire senior season with Florida State, but is a proven pass rushing commodity who translates the 3-4 scheme well.

130. Baltimore Ravens (Compensatory): Sanders Commings, CB, Georgia.  Commings is underrated cornerback with the size and strength to press and the athleticism and fluidity to turn and run in man coverage.

131. San Francisco 49ers (Compensatory): Malliciah Goodman, DE, Clemson.  The 49ers may look to add insurance at defensive end and Goodman fits the bill.  He’s a strong end who can provide a pass rush threat at the five technique.

132. Detroit Lions (Compensatory): Will Davis, CB, Utah State.  The Lions can deepen their stock of cornerbacks by adding one fit for the zone defense in Will Davis.  Davis needs to get stronger, but has proper technique for press coverage.

133. Atlanta Falcons (Compensatory): Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida.  Xavier Nixon makes sense as a developmental tackle for the Falcons.  Neither tackle on the roster instills much confidence as this point, and Nixon’s upside is quite high if he can put it all together.

134. Kansas City Chiefs: Tavarres King, WR, Georgia.  Jonathan Baldwin has been somewhat of a disappointment for the Chiefs and hasn’t been the deep threat they hoped for.  Tavarres King is an inconsistent receiver, but he’s proven his ability to take the top off of defenses.

135. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tharold Simon, CB, LSU.  Simon is the type of cornerback that Gus Bradley loves in his defensive system.  Simon has a big frame and can get physical with receivers at the line.  He needs development in the technical category though; he’s not a natural backpeddler.

136. Philadelphia Eagles: Montori Hughes, DT, Tennessee-Martin.  The Eagles brought in Isaac Sopoaga to play nose tackle, but he’s probably not the long-term answer.  Hughes is a high upside tackle who’s strong as an ox.  He impressed at the Senior Bowl, but has character issues that need to be looked into.

137. Detroit Lions: Trevardo Williams, DE, Connecticut.  The Lions will probably double on pass rushers in the draft and Trevardo Williams is a great fit for the wide 9.  He was extremely productive at Connecticut.  He’s undersized, but has an explosive first step and is a natural pass rusher.

138. Seattle Seahawks (from OAK): B.W. Webb, CB, William & Mary.  There isn’t much quality depth behind Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner.  Webb can provide that and also may have potential as a slot cornerback.  He’s an athletic cornerback with impressive ball skills who needs to improve technique and route awareness.

139. Cleveland Browns: Matt Scott, QB, Arizona.  Rob Chudzinski and Michael Lombardi have no allegiance to Brandon Weeden, so I’d be surprised if they don’t draft a quarterback.  Matt Scott is mobile and throws with great velocity, but needs to learn how to work through reads in a pro-style offense.

140. Arizona Cardinals: Hugh Thornton, OG, Illinois.  At the very least, the Cardinals need to add quality depth to their offensive line.  Thornton has experience as both guard and tackle and is noted as a hard worker off the field.  He’s a fantastic athlete but has some anchoring and leverage issues.

141. New York Jets: Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M.  The Jets were able to replace Shonn Greene with Mike Goodson, but should look to add another back.  Christine Michael has some character concerns, but few backs are as explosive.  He runs with a low center of gravity and has the necessary power.

142. Tennessee Titans: Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford.  The Titans should have their eyes on a blocking tight end to pair with Delanie Walker.  Toilolo comes from a ground and pound offense and is ready to contribute in the running game.  He also has the size and athleticism to develop further as a pass catcher.

143. Buffalo Bills: Lerentee McCray, OLB, Florida.  Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine wants to be multiple with his defensive schemes, which means he needs a variety of rushers.  Lerentee McCray is suited for rushing from a two point stance and is disruptive with a high motor and aggressive style of play.

144. New Orleans Saints: Kevin Reddick, ILB, North Carolina.  In Kevin Reddick, the Saints could get a very versatile linebacker who is instinctive in coverage and shows burst as a blitzer.  He was even productive as an edge rusher during his time at North Carolina.  A lack of physicality or shed ability is a concern.

145. San Diego Chargers: Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas.  Outside of Malcom Floyd, Philip Rivers doesn’t have any truly reliable receivers every down.  Cobi Hamilton was that for Tyler Wilson as a senior.  He does his best work underneath and has some run after the catch ability.  He needs to improve his pass catching technique though.

146. Cleveland Browns: Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado.  The Browns are likely to eye a tight end to pair with Jordan Cameron who can contribute as a run blocker.  A converted defensive end, Kasa is a strong blocker and even flashed some pass-catching ability for the Buffaloes.

147. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State.  Bringing in a quality tackle like Jordan Hill would deepen the Buccaneers defense in the trenches and aid their ability to create pressure from the inside.  Jordan Hill has shades of Geno Atkins type ability, but will likely fall due to size and lower body strength concerns.

148. Carolina Panthers: Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech.  Byron Bell hasn’t been the fix at the right tackle position and the Panthers would be smart to bring in competition.  Mills is a smart tackle with a strong upper body and consistent technique.  His success will be determined by the development of his footwork.

149. St. Louis Rams: Josh Boyce, WR, TCU.  Josh Boyce has the speed and body control to develop into a deep threat under Brian Schottenheimer.  Boyce also has the foot quickness to become a weapon in the slot.  His combine performance could realistically see him be drafted much higher than this.

150. Pittsburgh Steelers: Adrian Bushell, CB, Louisville.  The Steelers love to bring in middle to late round cornerbacks and develop them into future starters.  Bushell fits the mold.  He’s an aggressive and instinctive cornerback who fits various defensive schemes.  He just happens to be on the small side.

151. Dallas Cowboys: Akeem Spence, DT, Illinois.  The Cowboys defense needs to add depth in the trenches for their move to the 4-3.  Akeem Spence can bring a presence in the running game.  He has a strong anchor and can control gaps well.  He’s limited as a pass rusher and it may cause a fall in the draft.

152. New York Giants: DeVonte Holloman, OLB, South Carolina.  DeVonte Holloman can help overhaul the Giants’ group of linebackers.  He would be an absolute steal at this point too.  He’s your prototypical Sam linebacker who has value in coverage and can contribute in nickel packages as a result.

153. Chicago Bears: Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia.  The Bears will likely go into the season with Bushrod and Webb at the two tackle positions, but need to add depth and create competition.  Oday Aboushi could be groomed to be a future starter.  He does his best work in zone blocking situations, but is too soft and lacks sufficient strength right now.

154. Washington Redskins: Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida.  The Redskins are likely to eye a running back who can contribute in the passing game.  The caveat is that they will need to be able to pass block.  Mike Gillislee can do that.  He’s also shown flashes as a pass catcher and is an instinctive and smart runner.

155. Minnesota Vikings: Dwayne Gratz, CB, Connecticut.  If the Vikings wait until the third round for pick a CB, it’s likely they could double up.  Gratz is a great fit for the Cover 2.  He has the ability to walk up and press at the line and the ball skills to play it in the air.  He’s a bit stiff though and his playing speed isn’t anything special.

156. Cincinnati Bengals: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington.  It’s tough to argue against bringing in more competition to fill out a group of wide receivers.  Marvin Lewis won’t be swayed by Wilson’s off-field woes.  Wilson could potentially bring a quality downfield target with body control and coordination.  He needs to fill out his frame and get stronger first.

157. San Francisco 49ers (from IND): Chris Faulk, OT, LSU.  Joe Staley and Anthony Davis are bookends, but the depth behind them is non-existant.  Chris Faulk was regarded as an early round prospect before essentially missing his entire junior season to injury.  He’s a strong run blocker who lacks a killer instinct.

158. Seattle Seahawks: Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas.  The Seahawks offense is pretty well-rounded, except that their tight ends don’t really strike fear into anyone.  Chris Gragg can come in and compete because he’s a phenomenal athlete and brings some run after the catch ability to the table as a joker tight end.

159. Green Bay Packers: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin.  Wagner’s ability to play both tackle spots or kick inside to guard should endear him to the Packers who are always looking for offensive line depth.  Wagner is limited athletically, but is a polished blocker and is smart as well.

160. Houston Texans: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford.  Ben Tate is a free agent after the year and not likely to re-sign, so the Texans should look for a running back late.  Stepfan Taylor is an instinctive back with impressive vision and toughness.  He’s a fit for the zone blocking scheme because of the way he finds holes and has quick cut ability.

161. Denver Broncos: A.J. Klein, ILB, Iowa State.  The Broncos’ middle linebacker situation is murky at beast and needs depth at least.  A.J. Klein may not be a top-level athlete, but he’s a tough linebacker with consistent tackling technique and reads plays well.

162. Washington Redskins (from NE): Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama.  London Fletcher can’t play forever, so the Redskins should start grooming a replacement.  Johnson is a natural fit for the 3-4.  He’s a strong shedder of blocks and a tough in-the-box linebacker.

163. Atlanta Falcons: Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn State.  Gerald Hodges is the swiss army knife of linebackers.  Drafting him would improve the depth of any team’s linebacker group immediately.  He brings some value as a rusher, setting the edge against the run, and in pass coverage.

164. Cleveland Browns (from SF): Earl Watford, OG, James Madison.  The Browns should look to deepen their reserves at the guard position.  While Watford is a lean-framed guard who needs to get stronger, he’s quick footed and agile and makes up for it with a strong initial punch.

165. Baltimore Ravens: T.J. McDonald, S, USC.  The Ravens’ group of safeties is in flux so they should bring in as much competition as possible.  T.J. McDonald is a big and physical safety who does his best work up around the line of scrimmage.

166. Miami Dolphins (Compensatory): Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA.  Anthony Fasano jumped town and the Dolphins replaced him with Dustin Keller, but more competition could be a good thing.  Joseph Fauria is hindered by a lack of athleticism, but is a redzone target who highpoints the football well.

167. Green Bay Packers (Compensatory): Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech.  The Packers utilize as many wide receivers as any team in the league, so a constant influx of young talent is important.  Marcus Davis has all the tools athletically to be a big-time contributor, but runs poor routes and has questionable hands.

168. Baltimore Ravens (Compensatory): Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon.  A big receiver like Mellette may be on the cards for the Ravens in the later rounds.  He runs precise routes and has impressive body control, but he’s a bit of a one-speed receiver who lacks any explosiveness to him.

169. Jacksonville Jaguars: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas.

170. Kansas City Chiefs: J.C. Tretter, OG, Cornell.

171. Detroit Lions: Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee.

172. Oakland Raiders: Marc Anthony, CB, California.

173. San Francisco 49ers (from CLE): Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt.

174. Arizona Cardinals: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon.

175. Cleveland Browns: Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State.

176. Oakland Raiders (from ARI): Jeff Baca, OG, UCLA.

177. Buffalo Bills: Earl Wolff, S, North Carolina State.

178. New York Jets: Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois.

179. San Diego Chargers: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma.

180. San Francisco 49ers (from MIA): Uzoma Nwachukwu, WR, Texas A&M.

181. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State.

182. Carolina Panthers: Robert Lester, S, Alabama.

183. New Orleans Saints: Nickell Robey, CB, USC.

184. St. Louis Rams: Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida.

185. Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Magee, OLB, Arizona State.

186. Pittsburgh Steelers: Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn State.

187. New York Giants: Dennis Johnson, RB, Arkansas.

188. Chicago Bears: Khaled Holmes, C, USC.

189. Minnesota Vikings: Brad Wing, P, LSU.

190. Cincinnati Bengals: Everett Dawkins, DT, Florida State.

191. Washington Redskins: Keith Pough, OLB, Howard.

192. Indianapolis Colts: Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State.

193. Green Bay Packers: Steve Williams, CB, California.

194. Seattle Seahawks: Garrett Gilkey, OG, Chadron State.

195. Houston Texans: Etienne Sabino, ILB, Ohio State.

196. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from PHI): Steve Beauharnais, ILB, Rutgers.

197. Cincinnati Bengals: Lonnie Pryor, FB, Florida State.

198. Atlanta Falcons: Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech.

199. Baltimore Ravens (from SF): Joe Kruger, DE, Utah.

200. Baltimore Ravens: Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia.

201. Houston Texans (Compensatory): Vinston Painter, OT, Virginia Tech.

202. Tennessee Titans (Compensatory): David Bass, DE, Missouri Western State.

203. Baltimore Ravens (Compensatory): Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh.

204. Kansas City Chiefs (Compensatory): Tourek Williams, OLB, Florida International.

205. Oakland Raiders (Compensatory): Stansly Maponga, DE, TCU.

206. Pittsburgh Steelers (Compensatory): Manase Foketi, OT, West Texas A&M.

207. Kansas City Chiefs: Sean Renfree, QB, Duke.

208. Jacksonville Jaguars: Philip Lutzenkirchen, TE, Auburn.

209. Oakland Raiders: Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska.

210. Philadelphia Eagles: Mike Catapano, DE, Princton.

211. Detroit Lions: Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond.

212. Philadelphia Eagles (from CLE): Matt Furstenburg, TE, Maryland.

213. Minnesota Vikings (from ARI): Kerwynn Williams, RB, Utah State.

214. Minnesota Vikings (from SEA): Oscar Johnson, OG, Louisiana Tech.

215. New York Jets: Zeke Motta, S, Notre Dame.

216. Tennessee Titans: Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan.

217. Miami Dolphins: Josh Boyd, DT, Mississippi State.

218. Philadelphia Eagles (from TB): John Boyett, S, Oregon.

219. Arizona Cardinals (from OAK): Ace Sanders, WR, South Carolina.

220. Seattle Seahawks (from NO): Jamoris Slaughter, S, Notre Dame.

221. San Diego Chargers: Chris Jones, DE, Bowling Green.

222. St. Louis Rams: Emmett Cleary, OT, Boston College.

223. Pittsburgh Steelers: Quinton Dial, DE, Alabama.

224. Miami Dolphins: Dax Swanson, CB, Sam Houston State.

225. New York Giants: Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa.

226. New England Patriots (from TB): Cory Grissom, DT, South Florida.

227. Cleveland Browns (from SF): Quinn Sharp, P, Oklahoma State.

228. Washington Redskins: Ty Powell, OLB, Harding.

229. Minnesota Vikings: Jake Knott, OLB, Iowa State.

230. Indianapolis Colts: D.J. Harper, RB, Boise State.

231. Seattle Seahawks: Armonty Bryant, DE, East Central.

232. Green Bay Packers: Mark Harrison, WR, Rutgers.

233. Houston Texans: Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard.

234. Denver Broncos: Josh Johnson, CB, Purdue.

235. New England Patriots: Zach Boren, FB, Ohio State.

236. Atlanta Falcons: Nicholas Williams, DT, Samford.

237. San Francisco 49ers: Ryan Griffin, QB, Tulane.

238. Baltimore Ravens: Braxston Cave, C, Notre Dame.

239. Philadelphia Eagles (Compensatory): Jonathan Stewart, ILB, Texas A&M.

240. Cincinnati Bengals: P.J. Lonergan, C, LSU.

241. Seattle Seahawks (Compensatory): Jordan Rodgers, QB, Vanderbilt.

242. Seattle Seahawks (Compensatory): Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State.

243. Atlanta Falcons (Compensatory): Travis Johnson, DE, San Jose State.

244. Atlanta Falcons (Compensatory): Cody Davis, S, Texas Tech.

245. Detroit Lions (Compensatory): Vince Williams, ILB, Florida State.

246. San Francisco 49ers (Compensatory): Walter Stewart, OLB, Cincinnati.

247. Baltimore Ravens (Compensatory): Brad Sorenson, QB, Southern Utah.

248. Tennessee Titans (Compensatory): Bruce Taylor, ILB, Virginia Tech.

249. Atlanta Falcons (Compensatory): Michael Williams, TE, Alabama.

250. Miami Dolphins (Compensatory): Brandan Bishop, S, North Carolina State.

251. Cincinnati Bengals (Compensatory): Zach Sudfeld, TE, Nevada.

252. San Francisco 49ers (Compensatory): Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE, Notre Dame.

253. New York Giants (Compensatory): Connor Vernon, WR, Duke.

254. Indianapolis Colts: Travis Long, OLB, Washington State.

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: 7-Round Mock Draft: Darren Page

Mock Draft – 1/19/2013

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1/19/13

1.Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

The Chiefs are headed in a new direction under Andy Reid and John Dorsey.  Clearly, their biggest need is an answer at the quarterback position.  In my mind, Geno Smith has separated himself from the pack of quarterbacks and is the best one on the board.  If he proves himself to the Chiefs in interviews and workouts, then he has to be the pick.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State (Scouting Report)

I don’t believe the new regime has any plans to stick with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, but the value is poor with Geno off the board and this team is not in a position to reach for needs.  Bjoern Werner is one of the best players on the board and would help shore up one of the league’s worst pass rush defenses.  Werner and Jason Babin would give them quite a tandem on the edges.

3. Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah (Scouting Report)

The Raiders’ two best defensive tackles, Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant, are both unrestricted free agents.  Star Lotulelei was billed as one of the draft’s best prospects before the season started and didn’t disappoint.  The value more than matches the need here, giving the Raiders added punch from their interior defensive line.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Some have dubbed Luke Joeckel as one of the best offensive tackle prospects in years.  I won’t go that far, but is he is a step above the rest in this year’s class.  He’d also be a great fit in whatever direction Chip Kelly takes his offense.  He’ll be able to show off impressive athleticism and open field skills to go along with his developed pass blocking ability.

5. Detroit Lions – Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU (Scouting Report)

Ziggy Ansah is going to fly up draft boards during the pre-draft process, especially after he lights up the combine.  He’s a versatile defender with a lack of experience, but his potential is sky high.  The pass rush on the edge does not match the pass rush from the interior in Detroit.  Kyle Vanden Bosch should hang ‘em up and Cliff Avril’s future is uncertain.  If pass rush is what ails you, this is the right draft.

6. Cleveland Browns – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M (Scouting Report)

I expect that with Ray Horton comes a 3-4 defense similar to what he ran in Arizona.  The Browns current defensive personnel actually translate well, with one glaring hole: a pass-rushing outside linebacker.  Damontre Moore is the most pro-ready pass rusher in this class.  He can have a big impact from day one no matter what scheme the Browns opt for.

7. Arizona Cardinals – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

As bad as their offensive tackles were this past season, the quarterback position is still the biggest hole.  Kolb, Skelton, and Lindley have all gotten their shot and failed.  Don’t be surprised if Tyler Wilson shows up big at the Senior Bowl and proves himself worthy of a first round pick.  He’s a smart quarterback with tons of experience behind awful offensive lines.

8. Buffalo Bills – Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State

The run of quarterbacks continues.  Pandora’s box has been opened as far as quarterback’s value goes.  If you find the guy you like, you have to draft him early.  It’s been incredibly clear that you can’t win football games with Ryan Fitzpatrick ever since he got that contract extension.  Glennon provides a pocket passer with good accuracy and a strong arm.

9. New York Jets – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia (Scouting Report)

The Jets defense was one of the league’s best in Rex Ryan’s early years in New York.  Now it has turned into a 3-4 defense that lacks teeth, especially in the pass rush.  Bryan Thomas is an unrestricted free agent and Calvin Pace’s production has fallen off.  Jarvis Jones isn’t the prospect he’s cracked up to be in my opinion, but he will go this high and is a great fit in the 3-4.

10. Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (Scouting Report)

Tennessee’s offensive line needs all the help it can get at this point.  Steve Hutchinson doesn’t have much left in his tank and the offensive guard position other than him is bare.  Warmack is by far this draft’s best offensive lineman and will provide an immediate upgrade to the running game.  He’s a road grader up front and no slouch in pass protection either.

11. San Diego Chargers – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Jared Gaither and Jeromy Clarey just aren’t answers in San Diego and it showed in Philip Rivers’ play this past season.  Mike McCoy’s first step as head coach has to be finding help along the offensive line to keep his quarterback upright.  Fisher is a tall, athletic left tackle who is very skilled and would upgrade the pass protection from day one.

12. Miami Dolphins – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

Dee Milliner would get strong consideration here of course, but Sean Smith could be retained and the wide receiver position needs so much more help either way.  Keenan Allen has legitimate number one receiver potential.  If he wasn’t limited by poor quarterback play throughout his collegiate career he would be the clear-cut best receiver prospect in this draft.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Bucs fans rejoice.  While Ronde Barber’s career winds down from a safety spot, Aqib Talib is no longer in town and Eric Wright is less than dependable.  Milliner is a pro-ready boundary cornerback who has versatility in coverage schemes.  His ball skills are what set him apart though.  He picks it up early and plays it in the air as well as any defensive back prospect.

14. Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri (Scouting Report)

I actually prefer Jesse Williams to Sheldon Richardson.  I expect Richardson will blow teams away at the combine and go higher though.  He would provide Carolina with a playmaker on the interior defensive line that they haven’t dreamed of in some time.  The days of rotating in and out fourth round picks at defensive tackle should be over.

15. New Orleans Saints – Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU (Scouting Report)

Take your pick between Mingo and Dion Jordan here.  The Saints had one of the worst defenses in recent memory last season.  Cameron Jordan seems to have his spot locked down but Will Smith was awful.  Steve Spagnuolo knows how to make use of pass rushers, which is very telling about the current group.  Mingo is more suited for every down defensive end in the 4-3 than Dion Jordan is right away.

16. St. Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Offensive line couldn’t be a bigger need for the Rams, but Kenny Vaccaro is just too much talent to pass up.  Pro Football Focus listed St. Louis as the 25th rated defense in pass coverage.  Craig Dahl is a free agent and needed to be upgraded anyways.  Vaccaro can transition to a deep safety spot from his slot duties for the Longhorns.  He’s got a lot of talent in coverage, which is desperately needed in St. Louis.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon (Scouting Report)

Dion Jordan is a great value pick at 17 for a defense with a lot of aging pieces and many needs.  The Steelers’ pass rush was one of the league’s least productive last season.  That’s not something we see very often.  Jordan brings a ton of versatility to the table.  He’s very skilled in coverage and has impressive speed to win around the corner.  Dick LeBeau could have a lot of fun with a player like Jordan.

18. Dallas Cowboys – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

Despite all the attention that Chance Warmack gets, Jonathan Cooper is not that far behind him as a prospect.  The Cowboys’ need for interior offensive lineman is well documented.  It’s time to move on from Mackenzy Bernadeau.  Cooper is the perfect fit for the Cowboys.  He’s all parts agile, mobile, and versatile.  His athleticism is unmatched pound for pound.

19. New York Giants – Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame (Scouting Report)

The Giants need new offensive tackles if they plan on keeping Eli Manning alive.  The value just isn’t there at this pick.  Defensively, it’s time to move on from Chase Blackburn and bring stability to the middle linebacker spot that they haven’t seen since Antonio Pierce.  A team with great leadership including Tom Coughlin is a perfect place for the controversial linebacker to land.

20. Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia (Scouting Report)

Whatever the Bears end up doing with Brian Urlacher, help is needed in the linebacking corps.  The optimal plan might be to retain Urlacher on a short deal and allow Ogletree to play on the outside initially, which he is more suited for right now.  Ogletree is still learning the position after moving from safety.  He’s an incredible athlete with as much talent as any linebacker in this draft.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State (Scouting Report)

The run of linebackers continues.  Arthur Brown may be the most underrated of the bunch at this stage.  He’d allow Vontaze Burfict to move to the middle, where surely Maualuga will be allowed to walk.  Brown was a player that offenses had to scheme around at times.  You don’t say that about many linebackers.  He could be a rookie of the year candidate in his first season.

22. St. Louis Rams – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma (Scouting Report)

It’s time to put up or shut up for Sam Bradford.  That means it’s time for the Rams to keep him upright in order to get a good verdict.  Lane Johnson has experience at both right and left tackle, which gives Brian Schottenheimer options up front.  Johnson is a former defensive end who has all the athleticism needed to succeed as a pass blocker.  No more excuses, Bradford.

23. Minnesota Vikings – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (Scouting Report)

“Nuk” Hopkins has been gradually moving up draft boards for some time.  Don’t be surprised if he’s the second receiver drafted.  Percy Harvin’s future looks uncertain, but even with him the Vikings have a rag-tag group of wideouts.  Hopkins can be a high-reception receiver in the league.  His short-area quickness to get separation is second to none, which should make him a quarterback’s security blanket.

24. Indianapolis Colts – Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Improving the defensive line is probably the preferred option, but the value of Johnthan Banks at this point is too much to pass up.  Vontae Davis had a good season after being traded to Indy, but Jerraud Powers is a free agent and expendable anyways.  Banks is a blend of size and athleticism and is an instinctual cornerback.  He will be a work in progress in run support, but that’s secondary in this league.

25. Seattle Seahawks – D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama (Scouting Report)

It’s almost scary to think that there are ways that the Seahawks could make their running game even more dominant.  Breno Giacomini is nothing special at right tackle.  D.J. Fluker certainly could be.  He’s a bully in the running game and showed that against some of the country’s best defenders this season.  His range as a pass rusher can be developed with better technique.

26. Green Bay Packers – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

With very few free agents set to leave, the Packers have the freedom to go in many different directions.  Tyler Eifert would allow them to phase Jermichael Finley out of the fold  and bring in a more reliable option.  Eifert is a tall threat in the redzone who can pluck the ball with a big catching radius.  He could add an extra dimension to an already deadly Packers offense.

27. Houston Texans – Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama (Scouting Report)

Jesse Williams is a great value pick at this point.  Shaun Cody is a free agent and is far from expendable at the nose.  Jesse Williams has the ability to eat up blocks and free up linebackers to make plays.  His motor on the inside is as good as it gets, which only adds to the already formidable front of the Texans defense.  The rich get richer.

28. Denver Broncos – Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State (Scouting Report)

There’s no argument on what Denver’s biggest need is.  Their interior defensive line is merely average and both starters are unrestricted free agents.  Johnathan Hankins is one of the most overrated prospects in the class in my opinion, but he’s going to go early and there’s no denying he’s got some skills to work with.

29. Baltimore Ravens – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU (Scouting Report)

Nobody can replace Ray Lewis’ presence on the Ravens.  There is no denying that.  Dannell Ellerbe is a free agent as well, though I would expect him to re-sign in Baltimore.  Kevin Minter isn’t a big playmaker from the inside, but he gets to the football at a high rate and is a smart linebacker.  He’s an extremely productive tackler with great instincts and would fit well with the Ravens.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford

It’s not only about the Harbaugh connection with Ertz.  Delanie Walker is a free agent and after all the drops he’s had this season nobody would blame the 49ers for going a different direction.  Ertz can fill that role of receiving tight end as well as anyone.  He’s not far off from Tyler Eifert as a pass catcher and showed a penchant for making big plays in the passing game.

31. New England Patriots – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia (Scouting Report)

Welker out, Austin in.  Tavon Austin is one of the most explosive receivers in this draft from the slot.  He also provides value and experience making plays from the backfield.  He’s the kind of versatile playmaker that the Patriots love to see in their offenses.  His big-play ability as a punt and kick returner also cannot be discounted.  Rich get richer.

32. Atlanta Falcons – Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida ( Scouting Report)

Floyd would be a steal at this point in the draft in my opinion.  He’s not being talked about nearly enough at this point.  The Falcons need to add pass rushers, and Floyd is that from the interior.  To say the least, he’s a handful for interior lineman.  He utilizes great quickness and an effective bulrush to generate pressure from the inside.  Floyd is an upgrade over Peria Jerry.

33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

Ryan Nassib has drawn some comparisons to Jake Locker.  His accuracy is a bit more developed and he’s less of a runner, but it’s not that far off.  He’s been flying up draft boards lately.  Some even think he’s worthy of a high first round pick.  I think his upside is too low for that, but he looks ready to start day one.  I don’t think I need to address the Jaguars’ quarterback situation as is either.

34. Kansas City Chiefs – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee (Scouting Report)

After taking the college football world by storm as a JUCO transfer, Cordarrelle Patterson is now one of the best wide receiver prospects and rightfully so.  He’s incredibly dynamic after the catch and would go a long ways towards helping an awful Chiefs passing game along with Geno Smith.  Dwayne Bowe certainly looks to be on his way out as well.

35. Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Reid, S, LSU

The Eagles have yet to hire a defensive coordinator, which makes it tough to project a pick.  They can’t go wrong by aiming to help their secondary, which was absolutely dreadful last season.  Reid loves to fly forward and make hits in the box, but also is plenty rangy in coverage over the top.

36. Detroit Lions – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Chris Houston is a free agent.  Even if he’s retained, something needs to be done on the other side.  Xavier Rhodes is a terrific fit in Gunther Cunningham’s defense.  He’s a big corner who can bully wide receivers in press coverage and is right at home in zone coverage.

37. Cincinnati Bengals – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU (Scouting Report)

Most pundits consider Sam Montgomery a first round talent.  His raw skills may warrant that, but his technique is largely undeveloped which will limit his ability to make an immediate impact.  His combination of size, strength, and speed is more than impressive though.  The Bengals need a pass rushing complement to Geno Atkins.

38. Arizona Cardinals – Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia

Oday Aboushi can step into the RT spot from day one and provide an upgrade over Bobby Massie.  He also has ability to move to left tackle down the road if need be.  The Cardinals porous offensive line is well documented, and while Tyler Wilson is used to taking big hits, it’s not the best way to develop a young quarterback.

39. New York Jets – Matt Barkley, QB, USC

Out with one USC quarterback and in with the next seems like a Jets thing to do.  Barkley came into his senior season as one of the most hyped prospects and came out one of the most scrutinized.  His arm strength is a big question.  He’ll wow in his interviews though, and some team will probably trade back into the first to draft him.  I would just hope that it’s not your team that does it.

40. Tennessee Titans – Matt Elam, S, Florida

Even if the Titans decide not to cut Michael Griffin, they need all kinds of help at the safety position.  Matt Elam is a hard-hitting safety with tons of attitude, but has a transition to make from essentially a slot corner position at Florida.

41. Buffalo Bills – Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

Giving Mike Glennon some weapons is a must if they expect him to start on day one.  Stevie Johnson is a nice piece, but needs someone to complement him.  Williams has proven to be a threat over the top and would fit well with Glennon’s strengths.

42. Miami Dolphins – Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers

After trading away Vontae Davis and Sean Smith’s future left in the balance, the Dolphins will need to go in another direction at the cornerback positiong.  Logan Ryan isn’t a big cover guy, but he loves to get involved in the running game and is a smooth operator in coverage.

43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – John Jenkins, DT, Georgia (Scouting Report)

John Jenkins provides an immediate upgrade over Roy Miller on the inside, if Miller is even retained this off-season.  In my mind, Jenkins isn’t the first round prospect so many make him out to be.  The defensive tackle class is just too loaded for a guy like Jenkins whose motor can run a bit cold.

44. Carolina Panthers – Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma

Tony Jefferson is one of the most underrated prospects in a very good safety class this year.  For the Panthers, it’s time to see Haruki Nakamura back to the bench.  Jefferson is a physical safety who loves to come up and make plays from his deep position.  He’s a reliable tackler with big hit ability.

45. San Diego Chargers – Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State

San Diego has many decisions to make on guys with expiring contracts, and it’s tough to believe both Antoine Cason and the 35 year old Quentin Jammer will be back.  Poyer is a corner who loves to get physical and has shown off impressive ball skills for a defensive back, recording seven interceptions as a senior.

46. St. Louis Rams – Robert Woods, WR, USC (Scouting Report)

The Rams have allocated a high number of draft picks into wide receivers in recent years and it just hasn’t work out as well as they hoped.  Why stop now, right?  Robert Woods labored through a nagging ankle injury all year, but showed number one ability when healthy earlier in his career.

47. Dallas Cowboys – Alex Okafor, DE, Texas (Scouting Report)

As the Cowboys transition from the 3-4 to Monte Kiffin’s 4-3, the front four will be crucial.  Demarcus Ware will man and end spot for sure, but the other is up for grabs.  Alex Okafor isn’t a high potential pass rusher, but he’s pro-ready and has some technician qualities to him as a pass rusher.

48. Pittsburgh Steelers – Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee (Scouting Report)

Mike Wallace certainly seems to be on his way out in free agency, leaving a gaping hole in Ben Roethlisberger’s receiving corps.  Hunter is a similar player.  One who can win over the top with incredible athleticism but will have drop issues to go along with it.

49. New York Giants – Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee (Scouting Report)

David Diehl’s days are numbered as a starter, right?  Dallas Thomas is a versatile blocker who has experience at tackle and offensive guard.  He can plug and play at right tackle immediately.  His versatility should also appeal him to Jerry Reese.

50. Chicago Bears – Barrett Jones, C, Alabama (Scouting Report)

Barrett Jones played and is listed as a center, but he’s the most versatile offensive line prospect around.  He’s played center, guard, and tackle effectively on the Crimson Tide front during his career.  That versatility will endear him to the Bears because let’s face it, they have a ton of holes up front.

51. Washington Redskins – David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State

The Redskins need help across the board in the secondary, that much is certain.  David Amerson is a candidate for a move to safety, after a disappointing junior season.  He has a nose for the football, but it gets him into trouble at times on the boundary.  The Redskins can’t really go wrong drafting a defensive back.

52. Minnesota Vikings – Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina (Scouting Report)

It’s probably time to turn the page on Letroy Guion at the nose tackle position.  Sylvester Williams has some untapped potential on the interior defensive line.  He may not be ready to step into the nose tackle position on day one, but if taught how to properly use his size and strength, the sky is the limit.

53. Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Lacy, RB, North Carolina (Scouting Report)

The running back cupboard is bare in Cincinnati heading into next season, outside of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  Eddie Lacy put on a show in the national championship and solidified himself as the top running back prospect.  His tires don’t have a ton of wear on them, which means he should have a longer shelf-life as a workhorse back.

54. Miami Dolphins – Margus Hunt, DE, SMU (Scouting Report)

Margus Hunt is going to move his way up draft boards after people get a look at him in the Senior Bowl and the combine.  The Dolphins pass rush with Jared Odrick just doesn’t quite cut it.  Olivier Vernon was impressive, but he’s not a three down player.  Hunt has the kind of raw talent that usually warrants a first round pick.

55. Green Bay Packers – Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin

Travis Frederick is an absolute steal at this point in the draft.  Jeff Saturday lost his job before too long, and Even Dietrich-Smith is nothing to write home about.  Frederick also has experience at offensive guard, so has versatility on his side.  He’s a very smart player with sound technique.

56. Seattle Seahawks – Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State

Seattle’s group of wide receivers is certainly adequate, but it lacks a dynamic speed guy.  If there’s any receiver in this draft that times faster than Markus Wheaton, I’ll eat my hat.  That’s why he’ll move up draft boards after the combine and there’s no reason he shouldn’t.  He’s more than just a sprinter playing wide receiver.

57. Houston Texans – Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech

Matt Schaub simply needs more weapons, because he’s a quarterback who is reliant on his receivers.  Quinton Patton would be a terrific complement to Andre Johnson.  He’s a reliable hands receiver who does a great job separating down the field.

58. Denver Broncos – Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State (Scouting Report)

The Broncos pass rush is already solid, led by Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.  Adding a guy like Carradine only gives them more options and keeps more offenses guessing.  Carradine is coming back from an ACL injury late in the season, but is every bit a pro-ready pass rusher when healthy.

59. Baltimore Ravens – Kyle Long, OT, Oregon

Bryant McKinnie is nowhere near a long-term solution for the Ravens.  Kyle Long has bumped his way into the top rounds after a stellar senior season with the Ducks.  Long has a terrific football pedigree and has an impressive frame on which to build.  He’s a high upside offensive tackle.

60.San Francisco 49ers – Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State

It appears that Dashon Goldson is on his way out of town.  That leaves a hole in the defense that nobody else on the roster looks ready to fill.  Thomas has proven to be a turnover machine throughout his career with the Bulldogs and is a prospect who’s not getting nearly enough attention.

61. New England Patriots – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA (Scouting Report)

The Patriots pass rush still hasn’t been productive enough to protect an inconsistent secondary despite hitting on Chandler Jones.  Datone Jones is an impressive combination of size and strength and is versatile along the defensive line for Belichick’s hybrid looks.

62. Atlanta Falcons – Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina

Michael Turner’s effectiveness is going downhill fast.  Giovani Bernard would be a great fit for Dirk Koetter’s offensive scheme.  I don’t think he’s going to test out as people had hoped and could fall a bit.  Even so, he’s an elusive ballcarrier with good balance and ball skills out of the backfield.

Vikings Profile: Cordarrelle Patterson

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The Vikings have been in need of help at the wide receiver position ever since Sidney Rice skipped town for Seattle.  After shipping Percy Harvin off to the Pacific Northwest, the cupboard was essentially empty.  Greg Jennings was brought to town and Jerome Simpson was surprisingly brought back, but the group that is rounded out by the improving Jarius Wright still lacked a true dynamic talent.  That’s where Cordarrelle Patterson fits in.

Patterson is a raw wide receiver prospect with only a single season of experience at the division one level.  What he lacks in polish he more than makes up for in natural talent and a knack for making big plays.  Any time he touches the ball he has a chance to go the distance, and it’s not an exaggeration.  In order to get the most out of his potential, he must learn the intricacies of the wide receiver position and become a more well-rounded player.

He shows top-level receiver talent in flashes, which means there’s something to build on for wide receivers coach George Stewart and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.  If they’re able to bring out the best in Patterson and weed out his bad habits, he’s going to be a force for a long time.

Patterson4.1On this play Patterson is running a skinny post against a walked-up cornerback.  The safety appears to have his eyes in the backfield and does leave his cornerback isolated at the snap.

Patterson4.2The corner wants to body up Patterson at the line.  Patterson fires his feet and cuts while the cornerback is flat-footed.  He then fights off the hands of the cornerback as the frame shows.  He’s gained just enough space to allow his explosive lower body to go to work.

Patterson4.3This frame displays Patterson’s ability to put his foot in the ground and explode out of his cuts as a route runner.  He has the ability to separate out his cuts simply on foot quickness and explosion from a powerful lower half.

Patterson4.4Patterson then snags the pass out of the air at full extension.  Once the cornerback failed to get his hands on Patterson at the beginning of the play, it was over for him.  Few, if any, cornerbacks can keep up with Patterson in man coverage if unable to get physical with him.  That is of course assuming Patterson runs a clean route, which isn’t always the case unfortunately.

Patterson5.1Patterson is running a ten and out at the sticks on this play.  He’s gotten a clean release at the line and obviously has a cornerback in man coverage.  The corner is sitting on the out on whole way, but it shouldn’t matter to Patterson.  With his athletic ability, he should be able to run the corner off before planting on a dime at the top of the route and separating towards the sideline.

Patterson5.2This is where Patterson puts his inside foot in the dirt to redirect outside.  He hasn’t gotten the cornerback to overextend because he didn’t run an urgent enough route eat up the cushion.  Take note of where Patterson has broke to the outside on this route.

Patterson5.3Notice the way Patterson has drifted upfield and continues to into the next frame.

Patterson5.4Instead of driving away from cornerback perpendicular to the sideline and then coming back to meet the pass, he rounds off the cut with sloppy footwork and passively waits for the ball to come to him when the ball arrives late.  The cornerback can easily make a play on this ball and does.  Route running is a subtle thing, but is the difference between a one-dimensional return specialist and full-fledged number one receiver.  Patterson still needs to learn the trade.  It’s not like he spent four years for a BCS team and never improved it though, which is a plus.  Still, he needs to be willing to learn and have the ability to apply what he’s taught with consistency.

When he’s at the top of his game as pure receiver, Patterson is separating in tight spaces with his agility and sharp cuts before plucking the ball out of the air.  He has a natural ability to protect the ball from defensive backs with his large frame while extending for the ball. Here’s a perfect example of it against Vanderbilt.

Patterson2.1Patterson is running a skinny post and sets it up to the outside first before cutting back to the inside of the cornerback.

Patterson2.2Patterson struggles with physical cornerbacks and you can see why in this frame.  He’s allowed the hand of the cornerback into his chest and both of his feet are off the ground.  Patterson can use his hands to free himself, but he doesn’t do it consistently enough yet.

Patterson2.3

Even so, Patterson is able to play through the contact before snagging the pass.  The screenshots don’t tell the whole story here either.  He boxes out the cornerback for this ball because the ball comes a bit late from Tyler Bray.  He’s protecting the ball from the cornerback and using his hands to pluck it out of the air.  That is something he probably hasn’t been thoroughly taught to do, but instead does it instinctively.  Plays where he does this show up numerous times over this past season and made him relatively effective even when he struggled with press coverage.

Unfortunately (and there’s a theme going here), Patterson isn’t consistent about this.  At times he’ll let the ball into his body on short routes, which gives defensive backs an opportunity to get a hand to it.  He’s also prone to concentration lapses and dropping balls he shouldn’t (like this one against Georgia).

Patterson1.1Patterson is running a nine route against man coverage in this instance.  He puts his inside foot in the dirt and gains lateral separation from the cornerback right off the snap.

Patterson1.2Patterson has given himself space with a quick and explosive lateral step.  The cornerback is unable to get his hands to Patterson, who is able to use his top-end speed to separate down the field as a result.  There are many instances such as this, where Patterson eludes the contact of defenders on foot quickness alone.  If he’s able to learn how to use his hands and set up defensive backs with his feet to combat press coverage, he can eliminate that weakness in his game.

Patterson1.3The cornerback has no chance to make a play on this ball because he has no chance to stay with Patterson if unable to get into his body.  That’s not the main point of this play though.  Patterson is trying to haul in this ball with one hand only.  When you watch this play in real-time, you can see that Patterson could have gotten a second hand to the ball to secure it.

Patterson1.4Because he only has one hand to the ball, it slips out as he tries to bring it back toward his body and a big play is lost.  It’s inconsistencies in pass-catching technique and concentration that are holding back Patterson from being an elite receiver at the catch point.

Once the ball is firmly in Patterson’s grasp, he has a natural ability to elude defenders in a way that few others can.

Patterson3.1Patterson was and surely will be used in a non-traditional role.  Tennessee is running a reverse on this play, hoping to catch the Georgia defense overpursuing and get Patterson the ball with space to work with.

Patterson3.2The play has worked as it was intended and the backside contain (Cornelius Washington #83) is slow to react.  What makes this play as effective as it turns out to be though, is that Patterson is patient and waits for it to develop.  Tyler Bray actually throws a key cut block on this play.  Had Patterson run right up his heels, he wouldn’t have found the space to make this play happen.  Once Bray throws the key block though, Patterson plants and explodes forward through the hole that opens up.

Patterson3.3Once he’s into the middle of your defense, there’s no telling which way he might go.  He’s both unpredictable and instinctive.  Alec Ogletree comes flying in (far left side of the frame) to make the tackle, but Patterson anticipates it the whole way and causes the linebacker to whiff on the tackle.

Patterson3.4Patterson then starts to get lateral.  He’s read the overpursuit of the defense towards his initial direction.  He has a wall of blockers to run behind and picks out the pylon almost as quickly as he starts to reverse fields.  The difference-maker here is pure speed.  Without it, reversing fields is only going to cause yardage loss.  Patterson has the top-end speed to outrun one of the country’s fastest defenses around the corner and into the endzone for a touchdown.  Check this play out for yourself here.  Notice on the replay how Patterson sets up his blocks with patience before hitting the hole that opens up.  Then it’s all open field elusiveness and speed to finish the deal.  This is the reason the Vikings paid a hefty price to acquire Patterson’s services.

So where does he fit in the current Bill Musgrave offense?  Some have ventured a guess that Patterson may just fill the old Percy Harvin role.  While that could be the case, his usage should and surely will be slightly different.  They do play a somewhat similar style of game, but there are clear differences.  Percy Harvin is smaller, tougher to bring down, and can operate in some very tight spaces.  Patterson is more efficient in space.  While Patterson was used in Tennessee’s backfield down the stretch, I don’t think he has that kind of value for the Vikings like Harvin did.  I think it’s more likely (and probably smarter) to line Patterson up on the boundary more than Harvin was and often as the lone receiver.  It simplifies the game for him and gives him even more space to work with once he gets the ball in his hands.  I’m not just talking about quick screens either.  Curls, slants, outs, and other quick hitting routes can get Patterson into a one on one situation in space against a cornerback.  His ability to make the first man miss is phenomenal, better than Harvin’s maybe.  As far as downfield routes and a route tree goes, it will all come down to his development.  If he’s able to sell double moves, work a consistent route stem, and eat up cushions with urgency, the possibilities are endless.  Until he shows he can do that, he may be more of a situational player.  Either way, the Vikings paid a hefty price to get him so if there’s one thing we’re certain of, it’s that the ball will get into his hands early and often.

Thanks to the folks at draftbreakdown.com for the video that was used.  If you’d like to watch for yourself, check out these Cordarrelle Patterson videos: Florida, Missouri, Vanderbilt, & Georgia, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Troy.

 

 

 

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