Zone Reads Writers Pre-Combine Mock Draft, 2/19
Last night, the Zone Reads team got together for a two-round mock draft where we rotated picks among us. Myself, Matt, vixticator, and tweedybirdd rotated selections, with one of our film scouts, Trey Hamel, filling in for some second-round selections as needed.
Each writer provided a brief analysis of his pick with the selection. Our draft boards don’t all agree, but I encouraged everyone to stick to their boards. Take it up with whoever made the pick if you don’t like it. The complete mock is after the jump.
- Houston Texans – Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville.
tweedybirdd: Bridgewater is the most pro-ready QB by a long shot. Despite his deep ball accuracy and lean frame, he is polished in most other aspects of his game. This is not something you see from a QB every year.
- St. Louis Rams (from Washington) – Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina.
Matt: Yes, the Rams don’t have a huge need at DE, but Clowney is too good to pass up at #2. He’s a game changer.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson.
vixticator: Best player available, he can learn under the tutelage of Justin Blackmon– or, more likely, “Let’s hope Watkins is Blackmon on the field without the off-field, shall we say, issues.”
- Cleveland Browns – Blake Bortles, QB, UCF.
Nath: They need a young quarterback– only Clowney or maybe Watkins would make me think twice about taking one– and I have Bortles slightly ahead of Manziel.
- Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo.
tweedybirdd: Closer to Von Miller than you would guess. He’s a special player, and I’m sure they can find a place for him, even if he’s not an ideal fit for their scheme. He can add some weight and play end or he can stick at 250 and play OLB.
- Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M.
Matt: The Falcons have a major need at tackle and Jake Matthews is outstanding. His pass protection is textbook, Matt Ryan will enjoy having him protecting his blind side for years to come. His pass protection gives him upside that the other left tackles do not have.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame.
vixticator: Can play four positions immediately; long term, takes over at left tackle from Donald Penn. Over Lewan because I find them close enough where Martin’s flexibility helps. Almost went quarterback here, but I would see what Mike Glennon can do with a full offseason, given what he showed last season.
- Minnesota Vikings – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M.
Nath: In reality I think the Vikings will fall just outside of the range of elite prospects and would do well to trade down (and take Derek Carr or another QB later). Here, Johnny Football is still on the board and Rick Spielman is looking for someone to high-five.
- Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina.
tweedybirdd: He’s an elite athlete who’s a great fit for a team without a go-to option. Once he learns to use his body more, he has a chance to be a matchup nightmare.
- Detroit Lions – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA.
Matt: This is a tough spot for the Lions; they don’t need help at OL and the guys available at their positions of need aren’t great value here. Barr has a high ceiling and most of his mistakes are very correctable. Barr would provide the Lions with a great speed rush, which is something they don’t always get.
- Tennessee Titans – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan.
vixticator: Need and value. That’s about it. Can step in and play either tackle position immediately. Stewart & Roos are both 31 years old and the Titans are working to get young on o-line.
- New York Giants – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M.
Nath: An unconventional pick here, but the Giants draft for value and he’s a cut above on my board. Hakeem Nicks won’t be back; this big target gives Eli someone who can still make the catch when he decides to start spraying.
- St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn.
tweedybirdd: He was clearly not trusted to pass protect on an island in college, but he oozes upside. He’s a mauling run blocker and may even be an elite guard at the next level (if he doesn’t pan out at tackle). The Rams will take all the OL help they can get.
- Chicago Bears – Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh.
Matt: The Bears need some serious help along the defensive line and Donald would provide just the stability they need. Donald is technically sound and reminds me a lot of a mini Star Lotulelei.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn.
vixticator: Lightning speed off the edge. Desperate need in Pittsburgh. Ford wants to be the next Lawrence Taylor; good luck! Oh, also Ford was completely unblockable the entire Senior Bowl week. Jarvis Jones is unexceptional.
- Dallas Cowboys – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota.
Nath: Dallas is thrilled to get Jason Hatcher’s replacement, fixing a mistake they made last year when they passed on Sharrif Floyd. With Rod Marinelli’s well-established ability to coach up defensive linemen, Hageman and his 6’6″ frame might be more valuable to Dallas than the smaller Donald.
- Baltimore Ravens – Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU.
tweedybirdd: Baltimore is starving for a receiver opposite Torrey Smith. Beckham has the speed, burst, and agility you look for. He can stand to improve his route-running, but he’s not as raw as some draftniks will have you believe. Most importantly, he has the ball skills and body control that elite receivers possess.
- New York Jets – Marqise Lee, WR, USC.
Matt: The Jets offense is brutal and Marqise Lee is a true playmaker. He has elite cutting ability which will help him create space at the NFL level. Doesn’t have great hands which drops him to this point, but he’s awesome when he has the ball.
- Miami Dolphins – Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville.
vixticator: Desperate need on the offensive line but there’s no value here. Ideally trade up to secure a tackle. Didn’t happen. Calvin Pryor is a top notch safety prospect, best player available, etc.
- Arizona Cardinals – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State.
Nath: Tough choice between a few prospects, but I think this franchise is thinking long-term. Carson Palmer can still play enough that Carr won’t be thrown into the fire right away, and Bruce Arians is looking for a quarterback with his kind of arm. If Arians can coach him into a quality QB, then this team can be right up there with Seattle and San Francisco.
- Green Bay Packers – C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama.
tweedybirdd: Brad Jones and AJ Hawk are very ordinary. Mosley is a solid athlete with great instincts. He’ll greatly improve a porous tackling Packers defense.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Jason Verrett, CB, TCU.
Matt: He doesn’t have ideal size, but he is excellent at everything else. Moves extremely fluidly, has a high football IQ and rarely loses his man in coverage. He’s the kind of corner that you can leave on an island and not worry about him too much. Great value here.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech.
vixticator: The Chiefs certainly are in no need of more pass rush, but Attaochu is too good to pass here. Rotating in rushers is always helpful anyways, and this pick gives them leverage down the line in any contract negotiations.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State.
Nath: Dre Kirkpatrick hasn’t been all that useful, so the secondary has been patched together with old guys after Leon Hall’s torn Achilles. Dennard gives them a real player with #1 potential at a position where the depth is not as solid as it first looks.
- San Diego Chargers – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State.
tweedybirdd: Gilbert has some technique issues, but he has great size and ball skills. He has a great understanding of routes and will be a welcome addition to an empty San Diego secondary.
- Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis) – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State.
Matt: Most of the best value here is at positions that Cleveland doesn’t need. Benjamin is solid value and he provides another good target for whoever the future Cleveland QB is. He is raw, but he is a big target that will take a lot of pressure off Josh Gordon.
- New Orleans Saints – Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri.
vixticator: Prototype frame, plays a good amount of end in 3-4 at Missouri and projects better as that in the pro game given he doesn’t have the top notch first step necessary for elite 4-3 end.
- Carolina Panthers – Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama.
Nath: Panthers rush to turn this card in. Jordan Gross may retire, and I think “Byron Bell” is an alias Panthers management made up to convince people there was in fact someone playing right tackle.
- New England Patriots – Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame.
tweedybirdd: Wilfork is coming off injury and is getting up there in age. Nix is very inconsistent and finds himself on the ground too much, but he flashes dominance. He occupied two or three blockers in college regularly, and I expect him to do the same in the NFL. Belichick should whip him into shape.
- San Francisco 49ers – Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State.
Matt: Justin Smith is getting old and who knows if Glenn Dorsey finally put it together, so the 49ers could use some youth along the defensive line. Jernigan is stout against the run and can play the 3-4 DE position (or nose tackle if he gains a lot of weight).
- Denver Broncos – Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State.
vixticator: Elite football player, sideline to sideline speed, best player on the BCS championship defense. Broncos can find a spot for him.
- Seattle Seahawks – David Yankey, OG/OT, Stanford.
Nath: The non-Russell Okung and Max Unger OL positions were one of the few weaknesses on Seattle’s roster, and Yankey is one of two or three players at the top of my board right now. Good value, excellent fit.
- Houston Texans – Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU.
Trey: Houston upgrades all parts of their defense with the well rounded Van Noy. He fits best at 3-4 OLB, as he seems most comfortable playing from a stand up position. Is solid in every aspect of defense and seems to possess no glaring weaknesses.
- Washington Potatoes – Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin.
Matt: Undersized which is a bit of a concern, but Borland is always in the correct position and pursues extremely well. He would be a calming force for the middle of the Washington defense, which desperately needs it.
- Cleveland Browns – Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State.
vixticator: Doesn’t matter what scheme Cleveland will be playing, Crichton can play end either way. Tends to disappear on tape for stretches followed by stretches where he looks like a first rounder. Early entry, young.
- Oakland Raiders – Ha’Sean “HaHa” Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama.
Nath: They need talent everywhere– there isn’t a position on the field they couldn’t stand to upgrade. Clinton-Dix is the highest-rated player on my board, so the rangy playmaker goes here.
- Atlanta Falcons – Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech.
Trey: Atlanta fills a perennial pro-bowler sized hole with an uncannily familiar type of player. There are questions on if Amaro can play in line and block, but the “matchup nightmare” receiving threat he adds could put such questions on the back burner.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke.
Matt: Yes, Duke has a legitimate NFL prospect. Cockrell is very fluid and I suspect will run very well at the combine. He can really make some plays and he will need to with quarterbacks avoiding Revis. Bucs really need help in the secondary outside of Revis and Cockrell should be able to contribute right away.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU.
vixticator: ACL tear likely keeps him out for 2014 but Mettenberger is otherwise a legitimate top 10 pick and the Jaguars are willing to play the long game. They can sign a veteran for one year and allow Mettenberger to learn before handing him the keys in 2015.
- Minnesota Vikings – Stephon Tuitt, DE/DT, Notre Dame.
Nath: He’s listed at DE, but he’s also 312 pounds, so he may be more suited to DT. Since Jared Allen and Kevin Williams are both free agents, replacing either one would be fine.
- Buffalo Bills – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia.
Trey: The Bills continue to improve EJ Manuel’s situation with additional protection. Moses can come right in and start at RT, bringing his well-rounded run blocking and pass protection ability to Buffalo’s O-line.
- Tennessee Titans – Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona.
tweedybirdd: With Chris Johnson on his way out of town, Shonn Greene doesn’t exactly strike fear into defenses. Carey has special feet. He makes sudden cuts and has enough speed and good enough burst. He runs hard and is built well.
- New York Giants – Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee.
vixticator: Big strong tackle with 49 career starts in the SEC. No problem coming in and immediately playing for an offensive line in desperate need of help.
- St. Louis Rams – Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU.
Nath: The Rams keep drafting receivers, and yet they constantly need help at the position. Perhaps drafting a strong, reliable receiver who performed against the best competition rather than toolsy projects and unique speedsters they don’t know how to use will improve their passing game.
- Detroit Lions – Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State.
Trey: Calvin Johnson needs help. He already has his own freakish ability, and a QB willing to force it to him even when he’s draped in coverage. The only other way now is with a reliable second WR/TE threat on the team. Robinson provides that and is an extremely young player to boot. The fit and value seems great with this pick.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech.
tweedybirdd: The Steelers need some help with their aging secondary. Fuller has nice size, ball skills, and breaks on the ball very well. He’s a fluid athlete but he’ll need to improve how quickly he flips his hips. He’s an aggressive player with all of the tools.
- Dallas Cowboys – DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State.
vixticator: Even having taken a DT in the first round, the Cowboys still need work on their defensive line (still do after this pick!). Back to back DT worked out for Carolina last year, why not for America’s team? Logic is strong here.
- Baltimore Ravens – Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee.
Nath: Not totally sold on his ability to play left tackle, but Baltimore could use help anywhere on the offensive line. If they re-sign Eugene Monroe but let Michael Oher walk– which is believed by some sources to be their intention– then Richardson will start at right tackle from day one.
- New York Jets – Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA.
Trey: (ed. note: Trey did not provide a writeup for this pick. We were going to fire him, but he showed up to the offices this afternoon with a writeup and pleaded with us to let him back on the team. He will be reinstated after the appropriate amount of hazing.)
The Jets o-line allowed too many sacks last year (47). Su’a-Filo provides an immediate upgrade to their interior line, and also brings along the experience and athleticism to play tackle in a pinch.
- Miami Dolphins – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St.
tweedybirdd: Miami is thin at WR behind Wallace and Hartline. Cooks fits perfectly in the slot for them. He’s a shifty athlete with great hands who was highly productive in college. Tannehill will warm up to him real quick.
- Chicago Bears – LaMarcus Joyner, CB/S, Florida State.
vixticator: Versatile defensive back in the Tyrann Mattieu mode minus the weed, at least as far as I know. I believe he can play cornerback, and I know he can play safety.
- Arizona Cardinals – Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt.
Nath: Not the biggest need, but the highest player on the board, and he’ll upgrade the passing attack, which is pretty shaky after Larry Fitzgerald (who’s entering his 11th season!) and Michael Floyd.
- Green Bay Packers – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington.
Trey: Green Bay finds a great fit and value in Jenkins. With Finley having suffered a catastrophic injury and out the door as a UFA, the time is right for a replacement. ASJ is a terrific blocking tight end and a large target in the receiving game. Jenkins will improve both parts of the Packers’ offense tremendously right out of the gate.
- Philadelphia Eagles – Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State.
tweedybirdd: With Trent Cole aging and Connor Barwin continuing to not get sacks, the Eagles will welcome this athletic pass rusher with a great get off.
- Cincinnati Bengals – Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State.
vixticator: Great size and power for the position, not technically perfect but if he were he wouldn’t be available here. If Jackson works out he can pair a powerful inside tandem with Zeitler.
- San Francisco 49ers (from Kansas City) – Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado.
Nath: Richardson might have a knock as being “too skinny,” but he’s a fast playmaker with good skills and technique.
- San Diego Chargers – Michael Sam, DE/OLB, Missouri.
Trey: The gay (non) issue will play itself out well before training camp, leaving only foolish teams ignoring Sam. He can provide the Chargers with a desperately needed threat off the edge, and despite being undersized, his weakness in the run game is vastly overstated.
- New Orleans Saints – Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson.
tweedybirdd: With Patrick Robinson disappointing and the death of Jabari Greer, Keenan Lewis is the Saints’ only starting caliber corner. Enter Breeland, who mirrors well, has great ball skills, good size, and can LEAP. His speed is a bit of question mark; he should run a ~4.5.
- Indianapolis Colts – Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor.
vixticator: Donald Brown is presumably lost to free agency, and everyone knows Trent Richardson has failed to meet expectations, to be kind. Seastrunk is the kind of home run threat the Colts were looking to get with Richardson.
- Carolina Panthers – Ed Reynolds, FS, Stanford.
Nath: Both of their starting safeties are free agents, and neither one was that good anyway. Reynolds gives them a player to clean up the havoc the front seven ideally will wreak.
- San Francisco 49ers – Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Florida.
Trey: Not only does Purifoy bring San Fran a young athletic force at corner, he also adds a blazing fast returning threat to the team. The Niners tried to experiment with Aosmugha last year and it failed. The only reason their pass defense wasn’t exposed overly often was their elite D-line & LB corps. That needs to change soon.
- New England Patriots – Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State.
tweedybirdd: Is he the most talented cornerback in the class? Perhaps, but he’s available here because he didn’t play like it this past year. He has world class speed and changes directions well, but was beat simply too much. If he can put it all together, he has elite potential.
- Denver Broncos – Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU.
vixticator: Young big man inside shows flashes of excellence. Just needs to develop them. Great size.
- Seattle Seahawks – Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska.
Nath: The Seahawks don’t have a third-round pick, and even if they did, this guy won’t be there anyway if he has a good combine. The kind of big (6’3″, 220) cornerback the Seahawks love, and two of their top four guys are hitting free agency.
We’ll have some more content coming soon as the combine gets underway.