NFL Mock Draft 2.0 – Rounds 4-7

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117.) Bears: S/CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech (6’0, 213) – Was a top 50 prospect before subsequent injuries to his ACL and ankle kept him on the sidelines for most of his senior year. Exum is a versatile defensive back; He played slot corner as a freshman, free safety as a sophomore, and was an outside corner as a junior. His junior year he had 5 interceptions, 16 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and was considered a better NFL prospect then CB Kyle Fuller who I have as a late first round pick. Exum is built like a safety and that might be the position that would have the most value for the Bears right now, but Exum has the athleticism to be a corner in the Bears zone scheme as well. Wherever he ends up, Exum can be a big-hitter in run support and an aggressive coverage guy with the size to match up with the divisions taller receivers. His recent injury problems are an obvious risk and he is rumored to have some “coachability” issues, but Exum has day 2 talent and would be a steal this late in the draft.

118.) Steelers: DE Brent Urban, Virginia Tech (6’7, 295) – Long armed end with good strength and decent quickness off the edge. His best position in the pros will be as a 3-4 DE and he would give the Steelers some young legs at the position and at worst a solid back-up.

119.) Cowboys: S Tre Boston, North Carolina (6’0, 204) – Safety is one of the Cowboys many defensive weak spots going into the 2014 season, but at least they have a decent strong safety in Barry Church. Free safety is a glaring hole right now and Boston would have a chance to contribute right away. Boston has great ball skills (9 INTs last two seasons) and improved every year at NC. If he continues to develop, Boston has the potential to be a starting NFL free safety.

120.) Cardinals: RB Terrance West, Towson (5’9, 225) – The Cardinals already signed Jonathon Dwyer to take over Rashad Mendenhall’s primary ball-carrier duties, but there is a reason Dwyer could never hold the job in Pittsburgh and that there was little interest in free agency expect from his former coach in Pittsburgh, Bruce Arians. Dwyer is great in short yardage but that’s about it. The Cardinals still need a guy who can not only handle 20+ carries a game, but keep defenses honest to open up the aerial game that Arians prefers. West is a relative unknown coming from Towson University, but was a stud coming out of high school and only ended up at Towson due to academic and off-field issues. He’s a powerful back with good vision and the burst to get to the second level. His 4.54 40-time proves he has the ability to break the occasional long one and I think he’s a dark-horse for rookie of the year if he winds up in the right situation (like AZ).

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121.) Packers: DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee (6’7, 352) – The Packers were easy to run against last year and they need some new blood on their D-line. As expected with his size, McCullers is a good run-stuffer who is tough to move off the LOS. He doesn’t offer much in terms of pass rush and has little lateral movement ability, but you can’t teach size and McCullers will improve a team’s run defense just by stepping on the field.

122.) Eagles: OLB Carl Bradford, Arizona St (6’1, 250) – The Eagles need some young pass rushers and that is Bradford’s specialty. He’s undersized, but has natural pass rush moves and plays the game with an edge that will fit right in on the Eagles aggressive front seven.

123.) Bengals: QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (6’6, 248) –  Has elite size and physical tools, but he’s a serious question mark above the shoulders. Thomas takes way to long to make decisions in the pocket, leading to too many sacks and forced passes. There are times when Thomas looks like a top 10 pick but they are too infrequent for me to think he can ever play that way consistently. He’s basically the opposite of Andy Dalton, which might be exactly what the Bengals are looking for after another early playoff exit.

124.) Chiefs: DE Ed Stinson, Alabama (6’3, 287) – Good size and athletic ability for a 3-4 DE but his production (41 tackles, 2.5 sacks) never matched up to his talent in college. Stinson could be a rotational DE who plays the run well on early downs and occasionally provides some pressure on the QB.

125.) Chargers: G Jon Halapio, Florida (6’3, 323) – He’s one of the strongest guard prospects in the draft, but doesn’t move very well. He’s great in a phone booth but struggles when asked to move much laterally. Halapio also has a lengthy injury history which could scare some teams off. If healthy, a big if, Halapio is one of the better run blocking guards in the draft; He moves DTs off the LOS with ease and shows enough bend and agility to be effective in pass pro. Could be a steal this late if he can stay on the field.

126.) Saints: T James Hurst, North Carolina (6’5, 296) – Hurst is recovering from a gruesome broken leg he suffered in the Belk Bowl and may not be at full strength in 2014. With the emergence of 3rd round pick Terron Armstead late last year and the re-signing of RT Zach Strief, the Saints don’t need Hurst to play right away, so they could give him plenty of time to heal and eventually have a swing tackle with upside to back up either tackle position.

127.) Browns: ILB Preston Brown, Louisville (6’1, 251) – The Browns signed Carlos Dansby to replace D’Qwell Jackson at one inside linebacker position but still need an upgrade over the other ILB, Craig Robertson, who shouldn’t be in anyone’s starting lineup. Brown is a physical ILB with good size and instincts. He’s a step slow, but his instincts allow him to play faster then he’s timed and he can really hit once he gets there.

128.) Panthers: WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (5’9, 197) – Will pair with 1st rounder Jordan Matthews to give Cam Newton two diverse weapons in the passing game. Ellington is a phenomenal athlete (he was South Carolina’s starting point guard as a freshman). He lacks height, but is thickly built and with a 39.5″ vertical can go up and get the ball. Ellington’s best trait is his quickness and should be a dangerous underneath receiver.

129.) 49ers: LB Christian Kirksey, Iowa (6’2, 233) – The Niners have so many picks this draft, that at this point they can just take the best player on the board and that’s Kirksey. He’s a well-rounded linebacker who showed better than expected pass rush and coverage skills at the Senior Bowl. He could move inside as insurance if Navarro Bowman isn’t healed next season but would be better off outside across from Aldon Smith.

130.) Patriots:  OLB/DE James Gayle, West Virginia (6’4, 259) – Max-effort pass rusher with a good first step and more power than you would expect for his size. Gayle has some natural pass rush ability but hasn’t shown as much against the run. Gayle had one of the top 3-cone times among the edge rushers which is a trait the Patriots value more than most teams.

131.) Broncos: DT Ego Ferguson, LSU (6’3, 315) – Ferguson is a great athlete and has tons of potential, but wasn’t as dominant as expected in college. He didn’t start until his junior year and while he excelled at stopping the run, Ferguson only had 1 sack in three years at LSU. He has good quickness and sheds blockers well, so it’s possible the pass rush will develop eventually. Good developmental prospect to bolster the Broncos interior defensive line.

132. ) Seahawks: DT Caruan Reid, Princeton (6’2, 302) – Reid is extremely quick for a 300 pounder with polished pass rush moves and the strength to hold the point against the run. The ivy-league competition was weak, but Reid put up 168 tackles, 41 TFLs, 20.5 sacks, and 7 blocked kicks (!) in his three years as a starter and was Princeton’s first two-time All-American. The lack of competition is a legit concern, but when you consider that he put up those numbers against double and sometimes triple teams, it’s pretty impressive. Reid also took a big step towards erasing those concerns at the Senior Bowl; Against future NFL players, Reid dominated 1-1 drills and made an impact in the game with two sacks on consecutive plays, beating two different guards (Cyril Richardson, Brandon Linder) with two different pass rush moves. Reid also impressed at the Senior Bowl weigh-in, weighing 301 with no visible fat on his frame. Reid has the quickness, strength, and closing speed to be a force against both the run and pass. He is probably pretty smart too (Princeton!). Reid would be a steal this late in the draft. The rich get richer.

Compensatory Picks

133.) Lions: OLB Adrian Hubbard, Alabama (6’6, 257) – Measured as the tallest and heaviest linebacker at the combine but still ran the 7th fastest 40-time (4.69) and had the 4th best vertical leap. Pretty impressive numbers for a guy his size and it also helped his draft stock considerably. Hubbard was considered primarily a 3-4 OLB pre-combine, but his surprising 40-time gives him more versatility and opens up the option of playing strong-side backer in a 4-3. The Lions got solid play out of the their middle (Tulluch) and weak side (Levy) linebackers,  but nothing from their strong side (Palmer/McIntosh) in 2013.

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134.) Ravens: WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers (6’6, 225) – Impressed at the combine with a better than expected 4.56 40-time and caught the ball well in the drills. He isn’t as physical as he should be, but Coleman is so much taller than DBs that he’s going to win his share of jump balls in the NFL. Coleman looked like a 1st rounder after his sophomore year (43, 718, 10) but had a disappointing junior season (34, 538, 4). He was hindered by a run first offense, so it’s hard to tell what Coleman could do in an NFL passing attack. There are plenty of question marks here, but 6’6 receivers with good hands and 4.5 speed don’t grow on trees. With deep threat Torrey Smith and diminutive Steve Smith (please don’t be mad at me) as their primary receivers, a towering possession receiver like Coleman is a great fit. 

135.) Texans: G Chris Watt, Notre Dame (6’3, 310) – Powerful run blocker who struggles in pass protection. Watt has good size and strength, but his footwork needs work and he has too many mental lapses that result in penalties. If his footwork and mental game can be fixed with coaching, then Watt’s dominant run blocking will be an asset on the Texans starting O-line.

136.) Lions: CB Phillip Gaines, Rice (6’0, 193) – Tall corner who helped his stock with a 4.38 40-time at the combine. Gaines has good height and ball skills (35 passes defended in two seasons) but needs to get stronger and improve his coverage technique. The Lions need depth in the secondary and a little extra height won’t hurt considering the size of the receivers in the NFC North.

137.) Jets: WR Paul Richardson, Colorado (6’0, 175) – Dangerous deep threat that should be able to run under some bombs from new QB Michael Vick. The Jets haven’t had a legitimate deep threat in years and the option should keep defenses a little more honest than they were last year.

138.) Ravens: RB Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona (5’10, 207) – His draft free-fall stops at the end of the 4th round. Carey had a chance to improve his draft stock at his pro day but was unable to run much faster than his 4.7 40-time at the combine. Carey was timed at 4.66 on his pro day which is still pretty slow for a back without great size. Carey still seems much faster to me on tape (4.5-4.6 range) and he did lead the nation in rushing last year (1,929 yards) so maybe he is one of those guys who runs better when someone is chasing him. Or maybe he was a just a product of Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense? Current RB Ray Rice has the worst season of his career in 2013 and with his pending legal troubles, the Ravens need some insurance at RB.

139.) Falcons: RB Charles Sims, West Virginia (6’0, 214) – Atlanta gets good value with Sims this late in the draft. Viewed as a 3rd down back coming into the Senior Bowl, Sims changed some minds with power running, smooth hands out of the backfield, and good enough pass protection. Sims drew comparisons to Matt Forte, Shane Vereen, and DeMarco Murray from various analysts. High praise. Sims could supplant the disappointing Stephen Jackson as the starter as soon as this season.

140.) Patriots: CB Deion Belue, Alabama  (5’11, 182) – Good all-around skill set. A little shorter than ideal and doesn’t have great hands, but shows very good footwork and is consistently in good position to make a play on the ball. Belue should be a solid back-up corner in 2014 with starter potential down the road.