NFL Mock Draft 3.0 – All 7 Rounds
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65.) Texans: T Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (6’6, 336) – Texans RT Derek Newton was one of the worst starting tackles in the league last season (-24.3, 56/60) and they at least need some competition at the position. Richardson is a massive tackle prospect with surprisingly light feet for his size. “Tiny” struggled in pass pro as a left tackle, but he could step in on the right side and become a run-blocking force quickly. With some technique improvement Richardson could eventually become an all-around stud at tackle.
66.) Redskins: LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin (5’11, 248) – The Redskins re-signed ILB Perry Riley and brought in ILB Darryl Sharpton from Houston, but they don’t have much depth and Sharpton would be better off as a backup. Borland 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 seen at the college level since Luke Kuechly. 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 is a leader on and off the field.
67.) Raiders: DT Domanique Easley, Florida (6’2, 288) – A first round talent who slips to the 3rd based on concerns over two ACL injuries in college, the second coming late last year. This could be a steal for the Raiders if Easley recovers well. He has elite quickness and explosion off the ball. Easley is undersized but strong enough to shed blocks and hold up vs the run. His comment that he would rather watch cartoons than a football game might hurt his stock a little, but he is too talented to drop much farther than this.
68.) Falcons: DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise St (6’3, 251) – With the Falcons switching to a 3-4 alignment, they need guys who can generate pressure off the edge. They got a good one in the 2nd round with Van Noy, but Lawrence is a nice complement on the other side at either OLB or DE. He’s a bit of a tweener, but has a good strength / speed combo and a variety of pass rushing moves. Lawrence could contribute as a pass rusher right away at either position.
69.) Jets: QB AJ McCarron, Alabama (6’3, 220) – The Jets brought in Michael Vick to be their QB in 2014 making it clear that Geno Smith isn’t the future, so the Jets need to start succession planning. McCarron doesn’t have flashy skills, but is a proven winner with only 4 losses in his college career. His arm strength looked just mediocre at the combine, but that isn’t what he relies on to succeed. McCarron is a solid decision maker, with adequate mobility, good size, and throws an accurate catchable ball.
70.) Jaguars: C Marcus Martin, USC (6’3, 220) – Martin declared early after only one year of starting and could probably use another year of seasoning. Regardless of his inexperience, Martin has more potential than any center in the draft. He plays with a mean streak and a low center of gravity that allows him to excel in run blocking and anchor well in pass protection. With Jags legend Brad Meester retiring, they need a replacement and Martin has potential to be very good in a year or two. You know a franchise sucks when a decent center is a one of their best players ever.
71.) Browns: G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi St (6’3, 336) – A massive interior lineman who is a mauler in the run game and has surprising agility for a man his size. Jackson needs some refinement in pass protection, but all the tools are there for him to be a pro bowl guard as long as he isn’t required to move much laterally.
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72.) Vikings: DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas (6’3. 247) – Jeffcoat fits the mold of recent Vikings DEs Jared Allen & Brian Robinson. He’s a little light, but has good quickness off the edge and displayed good pass rush moves in college. Jeffcoat struggles at time to shed blockers and will struggle against the run until he gets stronger. He is the son of former NFL player Jim Jeffcoat who had 103 career sacks and two super bowl rings with the Cowboys. Jeffcoat can slide right into their defensive end rotation and take over Emerson’s role as third down pass rusher.
73.) Bills: S Ed Reynolds, Stanford (6’1, 207) – The Bills dysfunctional relationship with free safety Jairus Byrd is over and they need a replacement. Reynolds isn’t the natural athlete that Byrd was, but he’s no slouch and smart in coverage with natural instincts, good ball skills and solid range. Reynolds showed a knack for making big plays, returning 3 of his 6 picks for TDs in 2012.
74.) Giants: OLB Christian Jones, Florida St (6’3, 240) – Great athlete with good size and speed. Jones has been moving up draft boards quickly and this may be too low of a spot for him. Either way, the Giants need OLBs and they get a good one here in Jones.
75.) Rams: WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson (6’4, 211) – The Rams get a legit deep threat to go with their eclectic collection of underneath receivers. Bryant was inconsistent in college, but has great size and deep speed. The 4.42 40 Bryant ran at the combine is pretty ridiculous for a guy that is 6’4 and probably locked up a draft spot no later than this one. Bryant made enough spectacular catches in college to get excited about his potential, but he also dropped plenty of easy ones and needs to get stronger to beat press coverage at the NFL level. It won’t happen right away, but Bryant could be special in a couple of years.
76.) Lions: DE Kareem Martin, North Carolina (6’6, 272) – He’s better against the run than the rushing the passer, but did flash some ability last year with 11 sacks after only 8 combined the two previous years. Martin doesn’t have natural pass rush moves, but he has prototypical size and uses a strong punch to keep blockers off him and diagnose plays. Martin was a team captain and his leadership skills get mentioned in every scouting report I’ve seen. With all the thugs on the Lions defensive, they could use a solid citizen who could bring a stabilizing presence to their overly emotional defensive line. North Carolina has churned out some quality DEs in the past (Robert Quinn, Julius Peppers, Quinton Coples) so maybe the Lions will get lucky with Martin in the 3rd.
77.) 49ers: OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech (6’3, 252) – With Aldon Smith’s future with the team in jeopardy due to numerous off-field mistakes, the Niners get a potential replacement in Attaochu. He showed plenty of potential as a pass rusher at the Senior Bowl and enough athleticism to play the 3-4 OLB position, but his ideal role would be the way the 49ers use Aldon Smith as a hybrid DE/OLB.. Attaochu has a very quick first step and the natural ability to get to the QB. He wasn’t able to run at the combine but ran an impressive 4.58 at his pro day. Attaochu has a chance to be special as a pass rusher and could go higher than this if a team thinks he has a quick learning curve at OLB.
78.) Cowboys: ILB Shane Skov, Stanford (6’2, 245) – One of my favorite players in the draft, Skov will be a quality replacement for Sean Lee who is moving to WLB. Skov will give the Cowboys a solid tackler and blitzer up the middle as well as some toughness and leadership which just wasn’t there last season after Lee got hurt.
79.) Ravens: T/G Brandon Thomas, Clemson (6’3, 317) – After taking a tackle in round 2 the Ravens don’t have a glaring need for another O-lineman, but they are rumored to be so high on Thomas that they considered him with their 1st round pick until he tore his ACL during a private workout. I don’t think they will pass on him if he is still available in the 3rd. It never hurts to have O-line depth and Thomas is versatile enough to play either tackle or guard. He’s smooth in pass pro with good technique, but could be more aggressive as a run blocker.
80.) Jets: T Seantrel Henderson, Miami (6’7, 331) – The Jets lost RT Austin Howard in free agency and Henderson has all the tools to be a beast. Of course he couldn’t do it consistently in college which is why a guy with his size and agility is still around at this point in the draft. Henderson has a ton of potential, but off-field issues and on field focus problems have kept him from reaching it so far. If he ever matures and focuses on football the sky is the limit and he’s worth a gamble in the 3rd round.
81.) Dolphins: CB Louchiez Purifoy, Florida (6’0, 190) – After losing starting corner Nolan Carroll in free agency, the Dolphins could use an upgrade across from Brent Grimes. They signed Cortland Finnegan but at this stage of his career, he is better suited as a backup. Purifoy has the athleticism to be great, but didn’t make as many plays as he should have with his skill set. He plays very physical and with so much swagger it’s like he’s already thinks he’s great even though he’s not there yet. He only had 2 interceptions in 3 years, so clearly ball skills aren’t a strength. Despite some flaws the potential is there for Purifoy to be a starting CB in the league. He needs some refinement, but Purifoy has more upside than most corners in the draft.
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82.) Bears: CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska (6’3, 218) – He’s 6’3, ran a 4.46 40 at his pro day and has a 41.5″ vertical leap. Measurements like those don’t come along very often at the corner position. It’s not like he is just a workout warrior either, Jean-Baptiste had 6 interceptions and 21 pass breakups in just 17 starts and was 2nd team all Big-Ten last season. Jean-Baptiste’s technique is raw, he has only played corner for two years after switching from wide receiver before his sophomore season at Nebraska. I was impressed with SJB’s instincts breaking on the ball at the Senior Bowl and he has excellent ball skills from his days as a wide out. He’s inconsistent against the run but has shown sings of being a big hitter (0:28, 0:51 & 1:52 on highlights below). After a year of coaching and learning from Charles Tillman, Jean-Baptiste could be ready to move into the starting lineup in 2015. SJB is a great fit for the Bears zone scheme and could end up being a lock-down corner who can match-up with the NFC North’s tall receivers. I could see the Bears going with a more polished corner like Jaylen Watkins or Rashaad Reynolds over SJB if they are looking for an immediate impact over long-term ceiling.
83.) Browns: CB Jaylen Watkins, Florida (5’11, 194) – The Browns could use an upgrade over Buster Skrine across from Joe Haden. Watkins played both corner and safety at Florida, showing good versatility and a team first attitude. He stood out at the Senior Bowl as one of the most polished corners there and had the best speed (4.41) / power (22 reps) combo of all the corners at the combine. Watkins has the potential to be a solid outside cover guy and didn’t miss many tackles in college.
84.) Cardinals: QB Tom Savage, Pittsburgh (6’4, 228) – With Carson Palmer in the final year of his contract and 34-years-old, it makes sense for the Cardinals to start looking for someone to take over in 2015. Cards HC Bruce Arians likes big, strong armed QBs and Savage fits that mold. He has good size and a cannon arm, but showed inconsistent accuracy at the college level, he’s not mobile and will already be 24 his rookie year. With a year or two of grooming, he has the potential to be a good NFL QB or at worst a serviceable back-up.
85.) Packers: TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame (6’6, 270) – With Finley all but gone and the athletically limited Andrew Quarles as their starting TE, the Packers should be looking for an upgrade in the draft. Niklas has only played the position for two years at the college level, but has shown flashes of massive potential. He’s already a great blocker, has shown soft hands, and can move pretty well for a big man. Niklas might need a year to two to learn the nuances of the position at the pro level but he could help right away in the run game and eventually be a weapon in the middle of the field for Rodgers.
86.) Eagles: WR Jarvis Landry LSU (5’11, 205) – The Eagles have two solid starters in Maclin and Cooper, but have very little depth after releasing DeSean Jackson. Landry’s 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 should be able to contribute as a 3rd WR right away. Landry reminds me of a mini Anquan Boldin and I think he is a steal this late in the draft.
87.) Chiefs: G Cyril Richardson, Baylor (6’5, 329) – Was exposed a bit at the Senior Bowl as a phone booth blocker only. He really struggled when asked to move laterally, but has the strength, size, and athleticism to eventually become a force inside. The Chiefs are hurting at guard after losing both Schwartz and Asamoah in free agency.
88.) Bengals: OLB Telvin Smith, Florida St (6’3, 218) – If he were 20 pounds heavier he might be a first round pick. Smith was one of the most impressive LBs I’ve watched in this class. He has elite speed and excellent instincts. In the Senior Bowl, Smith snuffed out 3 screen plays by himself. At FSU he was constantly around the ball and didn’t miss many tackles. Smith is solid in coverage and a violent blitzer. Teams are going to be wary of drafting a 218 pound linebacker and some will look to move him to safety. Wherever he ends up, Smith is a heck of a football player and will be an asset on special teams.
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89.) Chargers: WR Paul Richardson, Colorado (6’0, 175) – The Chargers had success drafting a receiver in the 3rd round last year, Keenan Allen, and try again since they don’t have any other reliable options at the position. Richardson is a dangerous deep threat that should be able to take the top off of defenses and open things up underneath for Allen. He isn’t strong enough to beat press coverage or be a move the chains type, but he recently ran a 4.33 40 so he can get deep in a hurry and he will be a nice complement to Allen and Antonio Gates.
90.) Colts: C Westin Richburg, Colorado (6’3, 298) – The Colts tried to find a center in free agency, but Phil Costa retired a few weeks ago before ever donning a Colts uniform. Richburg helped his stock with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and was one of the only O-lineman there who had any success against Aaron Donald. Richburg didn’t miss a game in college, showed good intelligence making the line calls the last two seasons for CSU, and performed well against an upgrade in competition at the Senior Bowl. He should be able to step in and compete for a starting job as a rookie.
91.) Saints: CB Philip Gaines, Rice (6’0, 193) – The Saints signed Champ Bailey to be their #2 corner in 2014, but he will be 36 by the time the season starts so it would be smart to draft a backup plan. Gaines is a tall corner who helped his stock with a 4.38 40-time at the combine. He has good height and ball skills (35 passes defended in two seasons) but needs to get stronger and improve his coverage technique. On tape Gaines gets burned too often and isn’t aggressive enough verse the run, but with some technique improvement he could be a starting caliber corner.
92.) Panthers: CB Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon St (5’10, 189) – The Panthers lost starting corner Captain Munnerlyn in the off-season and weren’t very deep at the position to begin with. Reynolds started 38 consecutive games, so durability isn’t an issue. He is a cover corner with good instincts who makes up for a lack of top-end speed with superb technique. Reynolds, a three-time state wrestling champ in high school, has good strength for a corner (20 reps), good agility (6.72 3-cone), sticky hands (6 INTs in 2013) and is a willing tackler. He lacks elite size or athleticism but he’s good enough to contribute right away and I think he will have a shot to start as a rookie. Reynolds is one of the most underrated corners in the draft and a steal this late.
93.) Patriots: S Dion Bailey, USC (6’0, 201) – Bailey switched between OLB and safety in college and played well at both. He is a sure tackler with great instincts and enough speed to be adequate in coverage. Bailey showed good hands in college with 11 career interceptions. He’s the type of versatile defender that Belichick likes and will be a standout on special teams until he finds a role on defense.
94.) 49ers: C Travis Swanson, Arkansas (6’5, 312) – Center is the only weak spot on an otherwise solid Niners offensive line. Swanson was the #1 rated center on most boards coming into draft season and has been dropping lately despite pretty solid performances at both the Senior Bowl and combine. He’s a little tall for the center position, but his game tape is solid while playing against the best CFB has to offer in the SEC.
95.) Broncos: MLB Yawin Samllwood, Connecticut (6’2, 246) – The Broncos have a hole at middle linebacker after losing Wesley Woodyard and Paris Lennon (maybe) to free agency. Smallwood disappointed at the combine, but claims he was hurt so that might have been the reason for his slow times (5.01 40-time). Smallwood certainly looks faster than that on tape. He showed good range, sound tackling technique and the knack for making big plays when needed. Granted, he didn’t play against the best competition at UConn, but his production was still impressive (118 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4 sacks in 2013).
96.) Vikings: G Dakota Dozier, Furman (6’4, 313) – The Vikings got a (-5.4) grade out of their starting left guard, Charlie Johnson, which was the only weak spot on an otherwise impressive offensive line. With a little seasoning, Dozier could take over that spot. He is an impressive athlete for his size and surprisingly light on his feet. Dozier dominated as a left tackle at Furman, but the obvious lack of competition is a concern as is no experience at the guard position. Dozier will need some coaching but his size and elite athleticism gives him more potential than almost any guard in the draft.
97.) Steelers: OLB/DE Chris Smith, Louisville (6’1, 266) – Smith helped his stock at the Senior Bowl showing great quickness off the edge, the power to bull rush, and a surprising mix of pass rush moves. His combine performance was solid as well with a 4.71 40-time and a 37″ vertical. Smith is a tweener; He lacks the ideal height for a 4-3 DE and ideal mobility for a 3-4 OLB. He does have unusually long arms which help negate his less than ideal size and elite acceleration which makes up for his slower than ideal change of direction ability. Smith is a good football player with a knack for getting to the QB and I think the Steelers will use him as a situational pass rusher while he learns the OLB position.
98.) Packers: QB Aaron Murray, Georgia (6’1, 207) – When Aaron Rodgers got hurt last year the Packers offense fell apart with three different backups under center. I think they realize they need some talent behind Rodgers and Murray should be an upgrade over re-signed backup Matt Flynn. If Murray was a few inches taller, I think he could be a late first / early second round pick. Murray’s game tape is as good or better than anyone in this class, but he’s barely 6’1 and has injury concerns. He has all the intangibles you look for in a QB, a strong arm, elite intelligence, and good athleticism. I am higher on Murray than most and think he could end up being a poor man’s Drew Brees.
99.) Ravens: OLB Marcus Smith, Louisville (6’3, 251) – Smith can get to the QB (14.5 sacks in 2013) and is a solid tackler against the run. He got by mostly on athleticism and his quick first step in college, I doubt that’s going to be enough in the pros and Smith will need to get stronger and develop some pass rush moves to be anything more than a 3rd down pass rush specialist. He will have some time to add strength and improve his rush technique as a backup to Elvis Dumervil.
100.) 49ers: S Craig Loston, LSU (6’1, 217) – Great athlete and big hitter, who is a little raw technique wise but has a ton of potential. Loston will be a force against the run from day 1 and would be a great fit next to free safety Eric Reid.