Our very own football savant and offensive co-ordinator Dan Cameron is giving his thoughts and opinions on how the draft will play out for teams sitting at positions 11-20.
NEEDS: OLB / OL / CB
PICK: OLB LEONARD FLOYD
Chicago are raging. They were considering OL as a serious need but now the guy they would be happy to take has been pinched by the G-men. Some would say you could take Jack Conklin but its a bit high and Chicago have hosted private visits/workout with 4 Tackles and non of them are named Tunsil or Conklin. Its not unusual for teams to pick guys that don’t visit but its not the form.
Few things about the Bears as a whole. They are actually quite a bad team, worse than their 6-10 record. It was a hell of a job the discarded John Fox to get there. They won 1 game at home all season by 2 points and absent thumping the Rams by 24 points in Week 10. their other victory’s were all equally as meek with 1, 3, 4, 5pt wins.
They are obviously on the lookout for a project QB to bring in this year and look to take over from Interceptus Rex Jay Cutler. They have brought in 10 Quarterbacks to be put through their paces. Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook multiple times.
But at this stage of the draft edge rushers are starting to create a backlog and the Bears could use an upgrade. John Fox will look at his current crop and wish for more production in the vein of hhis former stud Von Miller.
Floyd has his criticisms, mainly that he is slightly lean and not built to stuff the run, but that’s more about his thin frame ‘6,6’ and 248lbs (I know I don’t get it either). This is the main knock but in comparison Aldon Smith was ‘6,4’ and 260lbs coming in and here’s the kicker for me, Smith ran 4,85 , Floyd at that size ran 4.6.
He’s a project and not a lock, but has flashed the ability to get of the edge and could be a steal at pick 11. The problem with potential as Bill Parcells used to say is that it just means you ain’t done nothing yet.
WILDCARD: ILB Reggie Ragland solidifying the middle instead of the edge.
NEEDS: OLB / DL / CB
PICK: DE SHAQ LAWSON – CLEMSON
The Saints D was so bad last year. Like Justin Bieber pre 2015 bad. They were Crocs and socks. Benelyn. Bad.
Rob Ryan though very likeable just could not find anyway with the crop of players he had to stop any offence moving the ball. It doesn’t help when your high profile Free Agent acquisition commits 24 penalties for 215yds (the most ever by a single player in a season) that was almost 20% of their total penalty yardage. From one player. That’s how bad.
They also couldn’t get to the Quarter back though. 1.9 sacks a game ranking 26th in the league. The top 2? Denver and Carolina with 3.5 and 3 sacks a game respectively, they played for it all, so that ‘ you need to get to the quarterback’ cliché does have some basis.
So for me the Saints will address defence in the first round and look to take a tall, vertical threat WR some point soon there after. The choice between CB or DE may well come down to how the team has drafted in the Sean Payton era (who by the way even though he has signed an extension will be the next coach traded for draft picks after this season. Its starting to get nasty between the team and Drew Brees and the ownership situation there in New Orleans will have Payton jump sooner rather than later).
The last Corner they took after wining the Super Bowl was Patrick Robinson, he bounced after his rookie deal ended to San Diego. The team rectified that by drafting Cam Jordon the following year whose level of production has rocketed.
Shaq Lawson has a few questions around him. Productive as he was in college he doesn’t test well. The saints will hope the fact he can play, you know, the game rather than some gym tests will be what they want. Stick him across from Jordan and then it doesn’t matter that you have no corners to cover Julio Jones twice a year.
WILDCARD: CB Eli Apple – Ohio State
NEEDS: CB / OT / OG
PICK: DB ELI APPLE – OHIO STATE
Chris Grier the Dolphins GM recently said he was ‘comfortable’ with the options the team has at RB. Everyone knows that’s GM speak for they are rubbish and I really wish I hadn’t moved from pick 8 to 13 for two Chip Kelly purge cast offs from Philly.
Comfortable or not that trade did help the Fish. As has been already said they cut ties with Brent Grimes and were missing an inside presence, they managed an upgrade on both counts by getting Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso.
But at what cost?
For moving only 6 spots and getting 2 starters it could be considered a good deal but it takes them most likely out the running for Zeke Elliot from Ohio State, a running back that may be Mark Ingram in disguise or may be Todd Gurley, both first round backs, very different results.
He may drop, he may not but in this mock he’s gone.
Defensively even thought the addition of Mario Williams makes their front 4 a scary proposition the back end needs some attention. Apple provides the height that is currently envied across the league and can play well in either zone or man schemes.
WILDCARD: DT A’Shawn Robinson Alabama
NEEDS: OT / CB / ILB
PICK: ILB REGGIE RAGLAND – ALABAMA
In Free Agency the Raider went out and signed a whole bunch of folk. Most importantly they addressed offensive line and the addressed cornerback. Poaching Sean Smith from in division from the Chiefs was a coup and giving Kelechi Osemele the contract he felt he ‘deserved’ means that for me there a glaring and obvious choice.
The big inside thumper from Alabama.
If you have a moment go look at the probable starting back 8 for Oakland. Seriously, I’ll wait. Its starting to look like a cross between Seattle in the glory (OK 4 years) ago and the Denver terrorists of the last 2 years in the linebacking core.
Its no coincidence. Jack Del Rio created the monster in Denver before leaving for the HC job in Oakland and made Ken Norton JR the legend and old USC pal the defensive co-ordinator was the LB coach in Seattle from 2010-2014. With the addition of Ragland to worry about the run and only the run they are going to be solid for years. Bruce Irvin, Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith (when he’s not suspended) and Malcolm Smith. Smith makes me hesitate, Norton Jnr brought him from Seattle and the former 7th round pick (242 overall…. there’s only 254 selections) racked up 122 tackles in his first full year as a starter. He may be good enough to keep them from thinking that Ragland is a piece they need.
WILDCARD: WR Laquan Treadwell – Ole Miss
NEEDS: OT / CB / S
PICK: DT A’SHAWN ROBINSON – ALABAMA
You drop all the way back to 15 and from the moment your there, news ‘leaks’ that you are looking to get back into the top 10. Either that’s severe buyers remorse or you have 10 guys you feel you would be happy taking and don’t care which, which ever one it is will help take you team forward.
It is not a sexy pick. Its certainly not a pick you would make in this years top 10. The thing is you put yourself here and so you have to deal with it.
At no point over the last 2 years have the Titans really addressed their defensive line. 3 picks over 3 years with one no longer with the team and the remaining 2 combining for 2.5 sacks this year.
A’shawn gets the nod ahead of his partner in crime at the Crimson Tide because of his upside and room for improvement.
I’ll be astonished if they stay at 15 though.
WILDCARD: Trade back up a few spots to take best Edge rusher available at that point for Dick LeBeau to wind up and let go.
NEEDS: OT / CB / ILB
PICK: OT JACK CONKLIN – MICHIGAN STATE
You cant replace Megatron. You just cant. So they wont.
New OC Jim Bob (no seriously) Cooter is about to get a first full year to run the offence his way. He came into the role after the firing of Joe Lombari by Jim (no Bob) Caldwell to save his skin during the 2015 season.
Geoff Swartz has been signed to upgrade the interior line and with Calvin Johnson no longer available to bail Stafford out I sense an upgrading of the Tackle spot through the draft. Jack Conklin is a Michigan kid who played for Michigan state and now begins his Pro career for Michigan’s pride.
He had zero scholarship offers coming out of High School but walked on at Sparty and earned a full ride by half way through his first year after being unbeatable by the Schools top recruits. He may well struggle with elite speed in the NFL but most Elite Tackles will always struggle. His slots in opposite Riley Reiff and allows the Lions to become a little more two dimensional.
All they need now is someone to run the football.
WILDCARD: Too high for a corner but DE Kevin Dodd could be an option
NEEDS: DE / S / TE
PICK: DE KEVIN DODD – CLEMSON
The Falcons went out and plugged some holes during the off-season.
Alex Mack, Adrian Clayborn, Sean Weatherspoon (again), Charles Godfrey and Courtney Upshaw. The Falcons Defence were rather disappointing with Dan Quinn brought in to add some of that Seattle boom. They’ve added proven players even if not spectacular and Adrian Clayborn is the least appealing of the bunch.
Kevin Dodd has seemingly been kept behind Shaw Lawsons shadow during the scouting process but he finished the College campaign with 5 sacks in 5 straight games and has the athleticism that NFL teams drool over and convince themselves that they can take that talent and put it through the roof.
He doesn’t have many starts under his belt but the Falcons depth chart currently has Tyson Jackson listed as the RE starter and he managed 0 sacks last year across from Rookie Vic Beasley (also from Clemson)
WILDCARD: DT Robert Nkemdiche – Ole Miss
PICK: OT TAYLOR DECKER – OHIO STATE
The frosty relationship between GM Ryan Grigson and HC Chuck Pagano is well known, The contract extension Pagano was given was more at the insistence of the owner than it was Grigson, hes probably still seething about it.
Bottom line, the Colts need to start doing something in a relatively weak division. I really wanted to go WR (even though the slightly dodgy pick of Phillip Dorset is still fresh) here but the O-line is just so bad that something has to be done. Taylor Decker, more solid than elite. He’s a bit light on the 220lbs reps with only 20 reps but tall, long and will step in at RT over ‘GodAwful’ Cherilus.
WILDCARD: OLB Darron Lee – Ohio State
NEEDS: OT / DL / WR
PICK: DT ROBERT NKEMDICHE
Big Sexy Rexy will love this. So much so that he will go get a snack. Low carb of course. Mario Williams was allowed to leave and with GM Doug Whaley fresh off a contract extension he may be willing to take a risk on a Top 5 athlete but with a few red flags.
That isnt the only knock on him though, for the athlete Nkemdiche is his production, albeit in the SEC will be a concern but the guy is a beast. Number 1 recruit in the nation when committing to Ole Miss he seems to like the lifestyle the game attracts and there are worries that a big paycheck is more important than becoming a professional athlete.
Whaley has been saying that the Bills will be taking a QB in this draft which considering the top 2 are gone and its extremely unlikely that they take Paxton Lynch they are saying they are open to dropping down to allow a Lynch Suitor to jump teams with similar goals.
WILDCARD: CB – MacKensie Alexander
NEEDS: OLB / OL / TE
PICK: LB DARRON LEE – OHIO STATE
The Jets improved markedly in 2015 under first year HC Todd Bowles. The defence improved under his guidance and their scary array of talent along the defensive line. Some quite solid pick ups in Free Ageny such as RB Matt Forter,, OG Ben Ijalana, LB Bruce Carter and trading for OT Ryan Clady from Denver have improved the roster as a whole.
One of the other main reasons for the Jets improvement was some steady ‘Fitzmagic’ QB play from Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s still out in the cold with the current options being Geno Smith and Bryce Petty. Brian Hoyer made a visit but after his time in Houston Im sure that just a scare tactic to get Fitzpatrick to lower his price.
The glaring need looking at the Depth Chart is OLD though. Current projected started are a nothing to shout about and with the front and back end sured up its time to address the middle.
Lee is the 4th Buckeye to come off the board and not suprising since a recent quote from a browns scout was that he’d get rid of their entire Defence and take Ohio States. He replaced former first rounder of the Steelers Ryan Shazier when he left Columbus and was the Sugar Bowl Defensive MVP when destroying Alabama.
Top performer in 4 out of 6 measurable in his category at the scouting combine there’s no doubting his athleticism and his sack and tackle for loss stats coming out are impressive. An immediate upgrade and a position of need, if he’s there then I cant see the Jets passing up the opportunity
WILDCARD: Trade down for team reaching for Paxton Lynch, Bills, Vikings and Redskins and Bengals are all teams that may look to do business.