NFL Mock Draft – Round 2

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51.) Bears: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida St (6’2, 298): His failed drug test at the combine worries me a little, but I can’t say I was shocked. Jernigan’s talent was never in question. When he is motivated, like in the national championship game, he’s an unstoppable combination of power, quickness, and technique. He has all the tools to be a dominant force inside, but has only shown flashes of it in college. Will Jernigan start taking football seriously in the pros? Will he quit taking plays off? Quit smoking trees? Get in good enough shape to not need a breather in the 4th quarter? These are questions that make you want to pass on Jernigan, but if he answers yes to half of them, he could be in the Pro Bowl by 2015. Jernigan is a rare talent and if he dedicated himself to football the Bears would get a steal in the 2nd round and have a stud at the 3-technique in the middle of a suddenly dangerous D-line. He has the tools to be an all-pro DT if he can maintain a consistent effort level and I think he Jernigan is worth the gamble in the 2nd round.

52.) Cardinals: T Jake Mewhort, Ohio St (6’6, 309) – A strong, versatile O-lineman who played everywhere but center during his stint at OSU. He showed well at the Senior Bowl, solidifying his 2nd round grade. Mewhort’s upside is limited, but he should be an above average NFL lineman for years at either RT or G and it just so happens that the weakest spots on the Cards line are RG/RT. Regardless of who ends up where between Mewhort and Bobby Massey they should be able to improve the right side of the Cards line.

53.) Packers: OLB Trent Murphy, Stanford (6’5, 250) – The Packers upgraded their safety situation in round 1 and now they get a pass rushing OLB across from Clay Matthews. 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: WR Cody Latimer, Indiana (6’2, 215) – The Eagles surprised everyone bypassing both the wide receiver (Marquis Lee) and defensive back positions in round 1 and taking an OLB that I had graded as a borderline round 2 pick. The Eagles are extremely thin at WR behind Cooper and Maclin, so they get some depth here with significant upside. Latimer is a big, strong (23 bench reps) receiver who can get deep in a hurry (4.38 40-time) and go up and get the ball (39″ vertical). He was productive as a junior (72, 1096, 9) but would have benefited from another year in college to improve the finer points of his game. He has shown great hands at times but also drops some easy ones. Latimer’s route-running needs work as well, but he has tons of upside and should be a starter by 2015. .

55.) Bengals: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri (6’5, 275) – With no glaring needs on either side of the ball (depending on how you feel about Andy Dalton), the Bengals can take the best player on the board. Ealy happens to fill a need as well with last season’s starting DE Michael Johnson gone via free agency. I thought they would take Ealy in round 1, so this is a good value pick on day 2.

56.) 49ers: WR Davonte Adams, Fresno St (6’1, 212) – Re-signing Boldin solidified the Niners starting receivers, but they have no depth and they could lose both Crabtree and Boldin next year. Adams is similar to both in that he 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-time at the combine it’s hard to find anything to complain about.

57.) Chargers: DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame (6’3, 340) – The Chargers need an upgrade at NT and they potentially get one with Nix. He has the physical attributes to be great, but didn’t always play up to his potential in college. Nix was a beast as a sophomore but his productivity decreased his junior year. There was less talent around Nix last year, so he may have been the focus of more double teams and game-planning, but a guy with his rare physical gifts should dominate the college level. Nix’s season was cut short by a knee injury that required surgery, so that may be a concern for some teams and impact his draft position. Other concerns are his ability to keep his weight around 330 and his conditioning. When I watched Nix he would dominate for 3-4 plays in a row and then disappear for long stretches. If healthy and motivated Nix has the tools to be a pro-bowl DT. His floor is a 2-down run-stuffing DT  but his ceiling is an elite run-stopper that can generate pressure on passing downs due to his unusual quickness.

58.) Saints: CB Bashuad Breeland, Clemson (5’11, 197) – The Saints signed Champ Bailey to be thier #2 corner this year, but who knows how much he has left. It makes sense to hedge their bet by bringing in an athletic corner like Breeland. He might have had a shot at the first round in 2015 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. Breeland 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.