NFL Mock Draft 2.0 – Rounds 2 & 3

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

51.) Bears: MLB Chris Borland, Wisconsin (5’11, 248) – The Bears have a storied tradition at middle linebacker and they have a chance to continue it if they draft Chris Borland. He would be a lock for the first round if he were a few inches taller, but he’s shorter than ideal for the position. His lack of height will hurt him covering taller tight ends, but that’s really his only flaw. Borland might have the best instincts I’ve ever seen at the college level. He ran a 4.7 40 at his pro day, so his speed is only average, but his elite instincts allow him to play a tenth or two faster on the field. If Borland can get there, he’s going to make the tackle. He’s a big hitter with 14 forced fumbles in his college career, has a knack for making big plays when needed, he is solid in zone coverage and more importantly he is leader on the field. Borland would bring toughness and grit to a defense that didn’t have either last season. Bear coaches are already discussing moving last year’s 2nd round pick Jon Bostic to OLB and DJ Williams is just a stop-gap solution. The Bears need an MLB and Borland is the best one to enter the league since Luke Kuechly.

52.) Cardinals: CB Bashuad Breeland, Clemson (5’11, 197) – Might have had a shot at the first round if he stayed at Clemson for another year of seasoning. Breeland has good size and speed, but only started for one season and is a bit raw. He did show pro-level athleticism and was a play-maker for Clemson (4 INTs, 10 pass breakups, 3rd team all-ACC). The talent is there to be developed and Breeland could become a lock-down corner in 2-3 years.

53.) Packers: OLB Trent Murphy, Stanford (6’5, 250) – There are rumors all over the place about the Packers targeting Murphy in round 2. It makes sense, the Packers need edge rushers and that’s what Murphy does best (15 sacks in 2013). He gets surprisingly low to the ground coming off the edge despite his height, has a myriad of sneaky pass rush moves, and is a max-effort type of player. Bear fans are going to hate him.

54.) Eagles: S Deone Bucannon., Washington St (6’1, 211): I’m a big fan and might have had him as the Bears 2nd round pick if they hadn’t signed SS Ryan Mundy in free agency. Bucannon has been shooting up draft boards since the Senior Bowl and for good reason. He’s one of the biggest hitters in college football and has excellent range in coverage. Bucannon misses his fair share of tackles since he is always going for the big hit, but that can be coached out and it’s really the only flaw in his game. Bucannon and free agent signing Malcolm Jenkins could give the Eagles a much better safety combo than the disastrous Nate Allen / Patrick Chung combo last season.

56.) 49ers: WR Davonte Adams, Fresno St (6’1, 212) – Re-signing Boldin solidified the Niners starting receivers, but they have no depth. Adams just knows how to get open. In two seasons at Fresno St, Adams caught a ridiculous 233 passes for 3,031 yards and 38 touchdowns. Those are Tecmo Bowl numbers, but somewhat inflated by the Fresno St’s spread offense and weak competition. Even taking those negative factors into account, it’s still pretty darn impressive. Adams has good size, reliable hands, and uses his body well to block out defenders. He runs well after the catch with the ability to make people miss and break tackles if they don’t. His straight-line speed was considered a flaw, but after a 4.56 40 at the combine it’s hard to find anything to complain about. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adams snuck into the first round.

57.) Chargers: CB Keith McGill, Utah (6’3, 211) – The tallest corner in this year’s draft, McGill helped his stock at the Senior Bowl and again at the combine. He showed surprising fluidity in drop-backs, better coverage ability than expected, and ran a 4.51 at the combine. McGill is an intriguing prospect, but not without warts. He missed as many games as he started in his two years at Utah and does not have good hands. I saw him drop one against ASU that hit him square in the numbers. McGill only had 1 pick in two years as a starter. In his defense, McGill did have a pick at the Senior Bowl so maybe there is hope for his hands after all. The Chargers signed 6-2 corner Derek Cox last off-season and he was a bust, so they try again with another tall corner in McGill.

58.) Saints: WR Jarvis Landry LSU (5’11, 205) – His 4.7 40-time was the biggest disappointment at the combine. On tape he looks like a 4.5 guy, maybe 4.6 at worst. He’s clearly not a burner, but he’s very strong, knows how to get open, and has great hands. He’s also a willing blocker in the run game and would give Brees a reliable option opposite Colston. Landry’s bad 40 time will drop him to late 2nd – early 3rd round range and whoever drafts him will get a steal. He reminds me of a mini Anquan Boldin.