NFL Mock Draft 3.0 – All 7 Rounds
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101.) Texans: RB Bishop Sankey, Washington (5’9, 209) – You could make the argument that Sankey is the best running back in the draft and I would be hard-pressed to disagree. There are about five backs who could make that claim, so it really comes down to what specific traits a team is looking for. Sankey is definitely the most well-rounded back in the draft and he is a steal this late. The Texans lost Ben Tate in free agency and Arian Foster is always banged up, so the Texans need a guy who can handle every down duties if needed. Sankey is that guy. He ran faster than expected at the combine (4.49), has good strength (26 reps), is a smooth receiver out of the backfield, and is decent in pass pro. Sankey isn’t going to break a ton of long runs, but he’s solid in all aspects of the game and should be an above average NFL starter as soon as he’s given a chance.
102.) Redskins: CB/S Dontae Johnson, North Carolina St (6’2, 200) – The Redskins need a lot of help in their secondary considering all of their starters earned negative grades from PFF last season. Johnson is a tall, versatile defensive back who played safety, corner, and even linebacker in college. Johnson has the size that teams are looking for right now, and helped his cause with a better than expected 4.45 40-time at the combine. Johnson can play either corner or safety with good range in coverage and strong run support. I’m not sure what his best position will be at the next level, but he could provide depth at both safety and corner for the Redskins and push for a starting spot by next season.
103.) Falcons: TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia (6’5, 258) – It’s going to be impossible to replace Tony Gonzalez, but the Falcons have to start somewhere and local product Lynch is a solid option. He’s a polished blocker which will improve the Falcons anemic run game and Lynch showed better than expected athleticism at the Senior Bowl. He’s probably not much more than an underneath, safety-valve type receiver but those guys have value and he could be one of the better ones.
104.) Buccaneers: TE CJ Fiedorowicz, Iowa (6’5, 265) – Similar to Lynch above in that he’s never going to be a Jimmy Graham type tight-end, but he is a solid blocker, has reliable hands, and showed surprising short-area quickness at the combine. Fiedorowicz had the best 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle times of any tight end. In my opinion both Fiedorowicz and Lynch have Heath Miller ceilings, but Andrew Quarless floors which is a pretty good value in the 4th round.
105.) Jaguars: OT Matt Patchan, Boston College (6’6, 302) – Has the talent to be a 2nd round pick, but his medical history will drop him a few rounds lower than that. Patchan was hurt more often than he played in college, but it was mostly freak injuries like getting shot in a drive-by and getting hit by a car. It seems unlikely Patchan would get shot again, so the Jags could have a steal here in the 4th round because Patchan has NFL tackle skills. His combine numbers were excellent (4.97 40, 33.5 vertical) for a 300 pounder and the fact that he finally played a full season without injury in 2013 could sway teams to take Patchan a round or two earlier.
106.) 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 than he’s timed and he can really hit once he gets there.
107.) Raiders: RB Jeremy Hill, LSU (6’1, 233) – Hill was used in a platoon in his two years at LSU, so he has very little mileage on his legs. He was dominant in his limited carries averaging 6.9 ypc, which is ridiculous for a between the tackles back. Hill also scored 28 TDs in two seasons and excels in short yardage situations. Hill seemed to get better as last season wore on and he might just be scratching the surface of his potential. If Hill ends up on the Raiders as McFadden’s back-up he could be a fantasy monster once DMC suffers his annual injury. If the Bears are going to use a mid-round pick on a RB this year, I hope it’s Hill.
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108.) Vikings: DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina (6’4, 297) – With long-time DT Kevin Williams gone, the Vikes interior D-line will have a new look with 2nd year player Sharrif Floyd and free agency prize Linval Joseph taking over. There is a lot of potential there, but Floyd is untested and there isn’t much depth at the position. Quarles is a well-rounded prospect who holds the point well against the run and shows enough quickness to generate an interior pass rush (9.5 sacks last year). I don’t think he is quite as good as his stats show since he benefited from all the attention Clowney received, but Quarles is a good value pick this late. DTs that are good against the run and can get to the QB are hard to find .
109.) Bills: QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (6’6, 248) – The Bills aren’t going to give up on last year’s 1st round pick, E.J. Manuel, without giving him at least another year or two to prove himself. That should be plenty of time to groom a replacement if Manuel doesn’t pan out. Thomas 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 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. The physical tools are definitely there though and if he ever figures it out he could be a Pro Bowl caliber QB. I think he’s worth the gamble in the 4th round.
110.) Rams: QB David Fales, San Jose St (6’2, 212) – The Rams are saying all the right things about being committed to Sam Bradford, but the fact is that he hasn’t been able to stay healthy and hasn’t been anything special when on the field. It makes sense for the Rams to draft a contingency plan if Bradford doesn’t prove himself this year. Fales throws an accurate ball, has good pocket awareness, and all the intangibles you look for in a QB. What he doesn’t have is a big arm, but that didn’t stop him from being very productive in his two years at San Jose St (66 TDs). I think he can be a mid-tier starter in the league or at least an excellent backup QB.
111.) Lions: C Bryan Stork, Florida St (6’4, 315) – The Lions get an eventual replacement for 35-year-old Dominic Raiola who they re-signed to a one year deal this off-season. Stork is smart, with a quick burst off the line and great leadership skills. He needs to get stronger but with a year of strength training and learning from Raiola, Stork should be able to take over as the Lions starting center in 2015.
112.) Titans: T Billy Turner, North Dakota St (6’5, 315) – The Titans signed Michael Oher to play RT, but Oher’s play has degraded since a strong rookie campaign and the Titans should bring in someone to at least push Oher if not take his starting spot. Turner dominated for 4 years at ND St, but that is a long ways from the NFL. Even the Senior Bowl was a huge step up in competition for Turner, but he more than held his own. He had a little trouble with speed rushers, but was never overpowered. Turner’s best position at the next level is RT, but Turner might have enough potential to eventually move to the left side. Even if he can’t beat out Oher, he would be a valuable swing tackle and could fill in at guard if needed.
113.) Giants: RB Andre Williams, Boston College (5’11, 230) – The Giants signed Rashad Jennings to be their starter, they still have David Wilson under contract, and also re-signed Peyton Hillis, so they appear to be set at running back. I don’t think any of those guys are the long-term answer for the Giants and Andre Williams has the talent to be a workhorse back for the future. He only started for one year at BC, but put up ridiculous numbers (2,177 yards). Williams carried the ball a whopping 355 times, but still averaged over 6 yards a carry and found the end zone 18 times. Williams had a shoulder injury late in the season and had a myriad of minor injuries during his college career which could concern some teams. Williams is a bruiser with great balance and a surprising 2nd gear (4.56 40-time). He has the potential to be a tough workhorse back in the NFL but needs to check out medically . Williams didn’t catch any passes last year, so he will have to show some receiving ability at his pro day as well. There are a lot of unknowns with Williams, but 2000+ yards is a serious accomplishment.
114.) Jaguars: DT Will Sutton, Arizona St (6’0, 303) – The Jags need some pass rushers and Sutton was one of the best in 2012 racking up 13 sacks from the DT position. He only had 4 in 2013, but he has a quick burst off the line and should provide the Jags some pressure up the middle. It’s hard to know what teams think of Sutton. He looked like a first rounder as a junior (13 sacks) then gained a bunch of weight and became a run-stopper as a senior (Pac 12 co-defensive player of the year). He’s had success in both roles, but with his weight fluctuations I think teams will be wary of using a high pick on Sutton. If he can get near 290 pounds consistently, he could be a dynamic 3-technique tackle or 5-technique end. If he’s at 315+ he can move over to NT. He’s a bit of a risk with his fluctuating weight, but he has plenty of talent and there is a lot of upside for a 4th rounder.
115.) Jets: WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (5’9, 197) – The Jets brought in WR Eric Decker in the off-season, but they still need help at the receiver position. 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 and a good complement to tall receivers Decker, Hill, & Nelson.
116.) Dolphins: S Marqueston Huff, Wyoming (5’11, 196) – The Dolphins lost free safety Chris Clemons in free agency and replaced him with injury prone SS Louis Delmas. Both Delmas and last year’s starter at strong safety, Reshod Jones, have limited range in coverage so drafting a rangy safety prospect like Huff makes sense. He was a three year starter at safety before switching to CB his senior year. It’s unclear what his best pro position will be, but he has NFL speed and athleticism, so Huff will get a chance somewhere. He helped his stock at the combine with a 4.49 40-time and at the Senior Bowl showcasing sticky coverage ability and the wheels to turn and run with any receiver on either roster. Huff can hit and tackle a little too, racking up 127 total tackles as a senior at Wyoming. Interesting small school prospect who also returned kicks and could be a force on coverage teams right away.
117.) Bears: S/CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech (6’0, 213) – The Bears kept Chris Conte and signed M.D. Jennings but free safety is still a question mark. Bears GM Phil Emery said on Thursday that the Bears would look for players at other positions that could be moved to safety. I think the guy he had in mind was CB Antone Exum. He 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 on day 3.
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).
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: WR Jared Abbrederis (6’1, 195) – The Bengals lost their slot receiver Andrew Hawkins to the Browns in free agency and there isn’t much depth behind A.J. Green & Marvin Jones. Abbrederis could make the claim that he is the best route-runner in this draft and only Jordan Matthews would have a legitimate complaint. He could be a reliable number #3 WR with great hands and the aforementioned route running ability. He is quicker than he looks, will lay out for the tough catch, and just knows how to get open. Abbrederis is a clear upgrade over the Bengals current #4 receiver Dane Sanzenbacher.
124.) Chiefs: DE Will Clarke, West Virginia (6’6, 271) – The Chiefs could use some depth on thier defensive line and Clarke is a good value pick here. He has prototypical size, speed and strength, but just doesn’t do it for me on tape. He plays hard and could be a solid depth guy who will get some sacks with his athleticism, but I don’t see any pass rush moves or instincts to make him anything more than just a guy.
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: OLB Trevor Reilly, Utah (6’5, 245) – The Browns could use some depth behind Mingo and Kruger off the edge. Reilly is tough, versatile football player who might not have a defined position in the NFL but will be solid wherever he ends up. He’s old for a rookie (Mormon) but is a classic “sum is greater” type guy. Worst case, he will be a solid special teams contributor, but could surprise as a 3-4 OLB.
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128.) Panthers: WR Devin Street, Pittsburgh (6’3, 198) – Coming into draft week Jerricho Cothery and Jason Avant were atop the Panthers depth chart at wide receiver. That would be embarrassing for an expansion team. The Panthers picked up Brandon Cooks in round 1 and now add the much taller Street. He has good size, good hands, is a smooth route-runner and tough enough to absorb contact over the middle and make the catch. Street is a classic possession receiver and maybe more after running a surprising 4.48 at his pro day. Street had a productive career at Pitt (202 receptions) and is one of my favorite under the radar receivers in this year’s draft.
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 as Ahmad Brooks eventually replacement.
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.
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 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: DT Anthony Johnson, LSU (6’2, 308) – Starting DT Nick Fairley is a free agent after this year and might be looking for more cash than the Lions can afford, so they need a contingency plan in case they can’t afford to keep Fairley. I was disappointed with Johnson’s lack of athleticism at the combine. He finished near the bottom of the D-lineman group in most drills and just didn’t look like he cared all that much out there. On tape, he looks like an intriguing mix of power and quickness, and somebody might reach for him before this point of the draft despite his poor combine performance and mediocre production in college (3 sacks).
137.) Jets: G Trai Turner, LSU (6’3, 310) – The Jets starting RG Willie Colon is on his last leg so the Jets need to start succession planning. Turner is a raw guard prospect who should have stayed in school for one more season, but has an intriguing skill-set. Turner probably locked up a spot in the mid-rounds with the best 40-time of all the guards (4.93) at the combine. He was a road-grading run blocker at LSU, but his pass protection needs a lot of work. Turner is a bit of an unknown, but has a lot of potential and is a good fit in the Jets power blocking scheme.
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 EJ Gaines, Missouri (5’10, 190) – The Pats are in good shape at corner, but you can never have enough good cover guys. Gaines is a speedy coverage guy with good anticipation and ball skills. Unfortunately Gaines doesn’t have very good hands, with only 7 interceptions in three years as a starter. He tackles well though and is an all-around solid player. Gaines doesn’t have ideal height but plays bigger then 5’10 and usually did well against taller receivers; He shut down Texas A&M’s 6’6 WR Mike Evans (4 catches, 8 yards) in their match-up last November.