Sunday, 30 December 2012

Mock Draft Mk. I



1st Overall Pick, KC Chiefs- Geno Smith, QB, WVU

6-3, 214. 4201 yards, 66.7% completion, 42 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in 2012.

Kansas haven’t won a game with a quarterback they’ve drafted themselves for 20 years. While Romeo Crenell is gone, Pioli could stay. If he does, it will be on the condition that he finds his quarterback, now. Geno Smith is the only player with the physical tools and college resume worthy of the no.1 pick. Kansas won’t feel as good about this pick as the Colts did about Luck, as Smith had some midseason struggles and comes with some mechanical issues, but the strength and intelligence is there. While some defences really troubled him, he showed good consistency in making decisions from the pocket, and flashed quality in making some tough plays under pressure. He’ll have the rare luxury of a talented supporting cast and sturdy offensive line in Kansas City, so he should be able to develop these abilities in relative comfort.

Other candidates: Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon. I just don’t think Kansas can get away from this pick without a long term answer to the QB question.

2nd Overall Pick, JAX Jaguars- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

6-4, 295. 75 tackles, 10.5 for a loss and 4 sacks in 2012.

Jacksonville spent years accumulating fatass linemen under Del Rio, so a supreme and versatile athlete like Richardson is desperately needed to enliven that front. With the addition of Jason Babin the Jaguars have some talent on the edge, and a guy like Richardson will be able to complement him on the inside. His speed and relentlessness are unreal, and he could become a JJ Watt type disruptor, who plays outside for two downs, but comes inside on passing situations. The more desperate need is at QB, but it looks like that’s a Tebow shaped gap in Jacksonville right now.

Other possibilities: Luke Joeckel, Star Lotulelei. Richardson might be my favourite player in the draft, but rumours are that Jacksonville will be choosing between Luke and Star as the best overall players on the board.
3rd Overall Pick, Oakland Raiders- Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU

6-4, 256. 18 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks in 2012.

The Raiders had to clean house for cap reasons during the offseason last year, leaving them with a horrible talent deficit on both sides of the ball. While they have a need at almost every position on the field, they’re hurting most at defensive end, and Werner fits the bill. He’s a complete player, who can make a real impact against the run and pass, and plays with both strength and speed on the outside rush. The Berliner will help Reggie Mackenzie further, by embodying the sort of discipline the Raiders need from their more wayward stars of the Al Davis generation.

Other possibilities: Matt Barkley, Manti Te’o. There are rumblings that the Raiders are moving on from Carson Palmer, and could then opt to keep Barkley in California. With McClain done in Oakland, they could also opt to bring stability and leadership to their defense in the form of Te’o.

4th Overall Pick- Philadelphia Eagles- Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M

6-6, 310.

Whoever arrives in Philadelphia to start the post Andy Reid era will have a long to do list, on which items 1 through 10 are “Develop Nick Foles”. The first step on this road is protecting him adequately- Demetress Bell has been a bust, and King Dunlap a disappointment. Though the Eagles will likely expect Jason Peters to be back, Joeckel provides insurance against him having further issues. If he does return at full strength, Foles will have the luxury of the best tackle pairing in the NFL, and a rounded player like Joeckel will help Lesean McCoy no small amount too.

Other possibilities: Dee Milliner, EJ Manuel. If Chip Kelly arrives in Philadelphia, there’s no way of knowing which way this pick will go. Manuel is the mobile QB who can thrive in Chip’s system over the more statue-like Foles, Milliner a long term replacement for the Eagles’ disappointing solutions at cornerback.

5th Overall Pick- Detroit Lions- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

6-1, 198. 18 pass breakups, 51 tackles, 4 for a loss and 1.5 sacks in 2012.

The Lions secondary has been too bad for too long, and the balance of their offense suffers enormously from having to try and compete in shootouts. With no complementary receiver worth taking here the Lions instead take a player who can finally lock up one of their corners. Though they shouldn’t expect him to be  a star right away, as corners rarely are, the talented Milliner’s experience of tough SEC competition and Nick Saban’s coaching should mean he’s better prepared for the NFL’s standards than most.

Other possibilities: Barrett Jones, Alec Ogletree. The Lions have a bunch of holes. The versatile Jones could upgrade their line at three positions, or Ogletree could solidify an inconsistent linebacking corps.

6th Overall Pick- Buffalo Bills- Matt Barkley, QB, USC

6-2, 230. 3273 Yards, 63.6% completion, 36 Touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2012.

 I think it’s a near certainty that the Bills will pick a Quarterback here, regardless of the GM. They’ve been telegraphing this for a while, and if they pick this high it’s unlikely anyone will trade above them in a weak QB class. Barkley has been falling on the basis of a disappointing season, but he’s decisive, and distributes the ball well. While this could change depending on who, if anyone, replaces Chan Gailey, he’d be a good fit for most systems based around CJ Spiller and Steve Johnson. His arm strength and height leave a little to be desired, but you know this is a guy who Ralph Wilson can get behind. He’ll be able to lean on CJ Spiller through his rough patches, and has a legitimate no.1 target in Stevie Johnson.

Other possibilities: Ryan Nassib, Keenan Allen. The tougher, more consistent Nassib could be preferred to Matt Barkley, or they could wait for their man until the next round and focus on acquiring a complementary weapon for Johnson here.

7th Overall Pick- Cleveland Browns- Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

6-4, 250. 20 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks in 2012.

The second player from an exceptional Tamu side off the board, Moore fills arguably Cleveland’s most pressing need. While Pat Shurmur is  gone, Dick Jauron may well stay either as defensive co-ordinator or as the new head coach, a reward for building a capable defense in difficult circumstances. Holmgren and Heckert have done a good job of building a talented young interior line, and they hit on Sheard, but they need a true star end to top it off. Moore provides exactly that- he’s quick and powerful, adept at setting the edge but also a dominant pass rusher. The most important tape which will see Moore vault into first round consideration is against Alabama, where he maintained his ability to make impact plays against an offensive line made up entirely of future NFL players.

Other possibilities: Mike Glennon, Tyler Eifert. The Browns have loved to trade down in the past, so these are options if the new front office continues where the old one left off. Brandon Weeden could be collateral damage of the Browns cleaning house, or alternatively they grab a playmaking tight end to act as his security blanket.

8th Overall Pick- Tennessee Titans- Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

6-3, 320.

Tennessee have decided to hang on to Chris Johnson for next year, so they need to find a way to make that rushing attack functional between the tackles. While Stewart and Roos are talented enough, their guards are getting consistently overwhelmed. Mike Munchak has previously disavowed picking interior linemen this high, but the experience of this season could have persuaded him to change his ways. Enter Chance Warmack, the most impressive piece on a stellar offensive line in Tuscaloosa. He’s almost unrealistically athletic, and has been blasting holes in competitive SEC defences for years. As good a shot as any interior lineman has had to go in the top ten for a long time.

Other possibilities: Ezekiel Ansah, Jonathan Cooper. If Munchak stays true to his word on the interior line, they could deepen their pass rush with the hyper athletic Ansah. If he doesn’t, Cooper is another impressive guard who could leapfrog even the exceptional Warmack.

9th Overall Pick- Arizona Cardinals- Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State

6-6, 232. 3648 yards, 57.7% completion, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2012.

Arizona are in a tough position. They have the resources to protect their quarterback- they have two talented rookies at tackle who should improve going into next year, and one more good player coming back from injury at that position. However, it’s increasingly clear that Kolb can’t stay healthy and neither of their other options should be allowed to start right now. The best players available don’t fill Arizona’s needs. They do need a QB. They’ve been known to prioritise arm strength- hence drafting the raw Lindley and Skelton, both of whom have big ticks in the arm strength section of their resum├ęs. Glennon’s arm is very impressive, but we’ll see if the Cardinals have learnt from their mistakes in developing it.

Other possibilities: Ryan Nassib, Jonathan Cooper. The Cardinals, having missed on one athletic QB with footwork issues, could opt for the better coached Nassib over Glennon. Alternatively, they could bolster their interior line with the road grading Cooper.

10th Overall Pick- San Diego- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

6-8, 309.

Step one on getting that previously explosive offense back on track is keeping Rivers healthy and upright. With Danario Alexander emerging and Vincent Brown returning, he’ll have people to throw to, but no time to do it if Mike Harris is still trying to protect his blindside. Lewan has experience, and all the athleticism on his enormous frame that you could look for in a top flight tackle. Investing resources in this will help get Rivers’ relationship with his new coach on the right track.

Other possibilities: Manti Te’o, Logan Ryan. Te’o could help soften the loss of leadership which will happen when Takeo Spikes finally retires, while the fast rising Ryan could also be needed to replace the production of aging Quentin Jammer.

11th Overall Pick- New York Jets- Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU

6-5, 260. 32 tackles, 12 for a loss and 7 sacks in 2012.

The Jets have a desperate need at the outside linebacker position. Aging Bryan Thomas insists he’s not retiring, Calvin Pace could be cut and re-signed, but in reality the Jets just badly need a premier player on the edge so they don’t have to blitz every down. Montgomery is exactly what they want- a varied, strong pass rusher who has the strength to set the edge, capable of running both through and around tackles. Rex loves long arms, so if he’s still helping make the decisions this could finally be their year to get a featured pass rusher to capitalise on the inside rush generated by young stars Wilkerson and Coples.

Other possibilities: Margus Hunt, Jonathan Cooper. I really can’t stress enough how much Rex loves long arms, and Hunt could be the best man available if the Jets continue to move towards a 4-3. Meanwhile, the Jets have pretty much no-one at guard who is guaranteed to return next year, so they could view Cooper as just the thing to enliven their pedestrian run game.

12th Overall Pick- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

6-4, 320. 42 tackles, 11 for a loss, and 5 sacks in 2012.

The Brian Price experiment collapsed in Tampa Bay, and they need a young playmaker to bolster their run defense. Lotulelei likely won’t fall this far because he’s so adept at clogging blockers and making plays, but, contrary to popular belief, he’s not quite Haloti Ngata. Nevertheless, if the Bucs see him on the board they’ll salivate at the defensive line they could have.

Other possibilities: Jarvis Jones, Jake Matthews. Schiano, a college coach, could be tempted by Jones’ college production to overlook his one dimensional game. Meanwhile, Matthews could be called upon to replace the inept Trueblood as he tries to resurrect Josh Freeman’s moribund career.

13th Overall Pick- Carolina Panthers- Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

6-3, 335. 55 tackles, 4 for a loss, and a sack in 2012.

All the indications are that the Carolina Panthers are going to shore up the interior of their defensive line with this pick, and Jonathan Hankins is exactly the kind of talented and versatile player the new GM will want to give that defense. He’s a rock in the middle of the unbeaten Ohio State unit, and he should be able to work into Carolina’s rotation immediately.

Other possibilities: Keenan Allen, Tavon Austin. While DT is the obvious need for Carolina, they should also look for Steve Smith’s successor if they’re keen to maintain Newton’s development. Allen is the more reliable option, whereas Austin is a multi-faceted weapon who could thrive if Chip Kelly comes to Carolina.

14th Overall Pick- Pittsurgh Steelers- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

6-1, 218. 100 tackles in 2012.

The Steelers haven’t had a pick this high in ages, so it’ll be interesting to see if that influences their strategy. Nevertheless, their only huge need is on the offensive line but they’ll be loath to go down that road here, having spent two high picks there this time last year. If they stick with their strategy of drafting for a year in the future, Vaccaro makes sense, with Troy Polomalu finally on the downslide and Ryan Mundy not representing a blue chip replacement.

Other possibilities: Giovani Bernard, Jonathan Cooper. I really don’t have much idea where the Steelers will go with this pick. They could bite the bullet and pick for value in Cooper, or otherwise look to galvanise their run game with a more electric back.

15th Overall Pick- Miami Dolphins- Keenan Allen, WR, California

6-3, 210. 61 catches for 737 yards and 6 Touchdowns in 2012.

The Dolphins might make a play for Greg Jennings, in which case this pick goes up in the air. However, as it stands the Dolphins need to concentrate all their resources on developing Ryan Tannehill. Hartline’s emergence has been a bonus, and Davone Bess is a good weapon from the slot, but both will be made more effective if defences have to contend with Allen. He’s a well rounded player, reliable and tough with a fantastic catching radius, who can get separation on a range of routes and also get yards after the catch. If he shows good speed at the combine he should be the first receiver off the board, and Miami could really use him.

Other possibilities: Jonathon Banks, Eric Fisher. With Vontae Davis gone, the Dolphins could do with adding Banks to their coverage unit. With Jake Long’s future also in question, they may opt to keep Martin on the right side and bring in Fisher.

16th Overall Pick- New Orleans Saints- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

6-5, 270. 57 tackles, 13 for a loss, 4.5 sacks and eight pass breakups in 2012.

The New Orleans Saints were overjoyed when a falling Cameron Jordan seemed to answer their glaring need for a pass rusher in 2010. However, while a stellar player in run defense, he has disappointed going after the quarterback and this remains the biggest issue with New Orleans defensively. Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah is the most intriguing athlete in the class, and has shown some skill in addition to his top tier blend of speed, strength and length. Since he’s not a career football player, originating as he does from track athletics in Ghana, he has a lot of potential to develop these talents. Steve Spagnuolo always benefited from the New York Giants’ commitment to drafting pass rushers, and he’ll bang the table for this one( if he’s still sat at it).

Other possibilities: Robert Woods, Jonathan Cooper. Brees could do with another big receiver on the outside, and Woods’ playmaking ability comes as a “welcome home” present to Sean Payton. Though he continues to slide in this mock, the Saints are another team that could consider the talented Cooper.

17th Overall Pick- St Louis Rams, Barrett Jones, C/G, Alabama

6-5, 310.

This needs little explanation. Sam Bradford desperately needs weapons if he’s not going down in flames, but this is more a question of developing raw talents like Quick and Givens than adding new players. However, an intelligent and versatile lineman like Jones would be a perfect fit to slide onto that line wherever they decide their biggest problems lie, and help clear running lanes for Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead.

Other possibilities: Jake Matthews, Sharrif Floyd. Matthews is another option to upgrade in the trenches, while Floyd could be a nice prospect to pair with Michael Brockers in the long term.

18th Overall Pick- Dallas Cowboys, Jesse Williams, DT/NT, Alabama

6-4, 320.

An immovable object in the centre of Nick Saban’s 3-4 defense, and a big part of the Crimson Tide’s excellent run defense, Williams is a nice consolation prize for Jerry Jones missing out on Barrett Jones. He’s a plug in and play player who’ll move around that line, but can finally give them good play at the Nose when Jay Ratliff isn’t on the field.

Other possibilities: Khaled Holmes, Eric Reid. Though neither of these players represents value, Jerry Jones could do something desperate to try and solve the problematic Center and Safety positions.

19th Overall Pick- New York Giants, Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame

6-2, 255. 103 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 7 interceptions in 2012.

Coming close to the Heisman, it’s little question that Te’o has the pedigree to perform in the NFL. However, the devalued nature of the position, and more prototypical frame of rival Alec Ogletree, mean that Te’o risks a fall on the first day of the draft. However, the Giants always seem to manage to pick up blue chip prospects way later than they have any right to. A mixture of journeymen and undrafted players have given Perry Fewell’s men some good play over the last few years, but Te’o will bring leadership to a defense that has looked a little rudderless this year. More importantly, he’ll crack down on big running plays and be a weapon in coverage.

Other possibilities: Jonathan Cooper, Jonathan Banks. The Giants lack of investment on the O-line 
caught up with them this year, while Corey Webster has regressed badly at corner.

20th Overall Pick- Chicago Bears, Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

6-3, 232. 98 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, 1 interception and a blocked kick in 9 games in 2012.

Few teams ask as much of their linebackers as Chicago, and it’s finally taking its toll on Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. Even if they last one more year, Ogletree finally presents an heir apparent who will provide depth as he learns. The country strong Ogletree as shown he can take on big linemen in the SEC, and will relish twice yearly duels with Adrian Peterson.

Other possibilities: Jake Matthews, Tyler Eifert. A consistent tackle or a playmaking tight end would both do Jay Cutler’s offense the world of good.

21st Overall Pick- Cincinnati Bengals, Tavon Austin, WR, WVU

5-9, 172. 110 catches for 1259 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He also has 61 rushes for 598 yards and 3 touchdowns, and two return touchdowns. He averages 230 all purpose yards a game.

Jay Gruden has done a great job of coaching up young receivers and getting production out of less heralded players in Cincinnati, but he could be on his way to greater things. His successor needs to load up the wide receiver position so that the Red Rifle doesn’t regress. Tavon Austin, a smaller wide receiver who does a brilliant job gaining separation and making plays in the open field, would provide a contrasting and complementary threat to AJ Green. The WR screens and end arounds that he specialises in could also take some pressure off the Bengals beleaguered running game.

Other possibilities: Marquess Wilson, Kyle van Noy. Wilson needs a team, usually the Bengals, who overlook character concerns in favour of talent. Kyle van Noy has had a great season at BYU and could add playmaking and depth in that linebacking group.

22nd Overall Pick- St Louis Rams(from Washington), Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon

6-5, 243. 44 tackles, 10.5 for a loss and 5 sacks in 2012.

Jeff Fisher never showed any aversion to stacking the D-Line in Tennessee, and continues that trend by bringing Dion Jordan off the board. Jordan has been a key and productive piece in the Ducks’ impressive defense, playing well against both run and pass. The depth provided in St Louis by Long and Quinn also means that they can have the patience to develop his raw athletic ability into more consistency as a pass rusher.

Other possibilities: Da’rick Rogers, Montee Ball. Jeff Fisher likes these talented, troubled guys, so Rogers fits the bill. Ball could be the next Steven Jackson.

23rd Overall Pick- Minnesota Vikings, Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

6-3, 205. 46 catches for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns, 25 rushes for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2012. Also a Kick return average of 28 yards and a touchdown. He also returned four punts, one for a touchdown.

Minnesota comes into the offseason with an enormous need at wideout, and will potentially exacerbate this by parting ways with the rebellious Percy Harvin. Minnesota have been bitten before on injury prone wide receivers with Sidney Rice, so they’ll steer clear of Justin Hunter and Robert Woods. Instead, they get a wide receiver who’s home run ability can help soften the potential impact of Harvin’s departure, but who’s speed and size display a serious potential to develop into a real no.1 target, in addition to his unreal special teams threat.

Other Possibilities: Sharrif Floyd, Quinton Patton. Floyd could add depth to the interior D-Line, while Patton is an alternative target for Christian Ponder.

24th Overall Pick- Indianapolis Colts, Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

6-5, 305.

The Colts need to start protecting Andrew Luck. He’s already playing at a very high level, and moves in the pocket brilliantly, but the constant pressure he’s under is affecting his accuracy and consistency. It’s rare that an elite tackle prospect plays on the right side, and it’s harder than commonly known to move from one side to the other. While many linemen this year will have to learn a new position, since many of the best prospects at RT or G play at LT in college, Matthews will be able to plug in at his old position at Indianapolis and become the next piece of that high functioning offense.

Other possibilities: Giovani Bernard, Robert Woods. Bernard could be the speed back to lead that offense, while Woods has drawn comparisons to Reggie Wayne.

25th Overall Pick- Baltimore Ravens, Khaseem Greene, ILB, Rutgers

6-1, 230. 125 tackles, 6 forced fumbles, 5.5 sacks and 2 interceptions in 2012.

The Ravens have to get ready for the post Ray Lewis era. He’s been a machine for too long, and press ganging guys like Daniel Ayanbadejo into action during his absence has had mixed results. Greene is a pure playmaker and consistent tackler at the heart of the Scarlet Knights’ defense, and can play on day one in the NFL.

Other possibilities: Kenny Stills, Philip Thomas. Stills reminds me of Anquan Boldin, and could step in to that role, while a player like the Fresno State safety Thomas is needed to replace the irreplaceable in Ed Reed.

26th Overall Pick- Seattle Seahawks, Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU

5-9, 180. Did not play in 2012 due to problems with addiction.

Every year the Seahawks pick way out of left field, so why the hell not. Seattle need a slot corner, and Mathieu has enormous added value on special teams. He’ll move around their hybrid scheme to generate maximum impact, and Pete Carroll will back himself to sort out Mathieu’s troubled personal life.

Other possibilities: DJ Fluker, Tyler Eifert. Fluker could replace the ineffectual Breno Giacomini, while the Seahawks multiple attempts to upgrade the TE position have drawn a blank so far, and Eifert could be the next in that line.

27th Overall Pick- San Francisco, Jonathon Banks, CB, Mississippi State

6-1, 185. Won the Jim Thorpe award as the nation’s best DB in 2012, to go with 4 interceptions and 59 tackles.

The 49ers like to draft for the future, and don’t have any especially pressing needs, so every pick is a luxury one. Here they bolster a corner group that has played well in recent years, but is helped enormously by a stellar pass rush and good safeties. They run a lot of man coverage, so netting a premier corner like Banks could take them to another, even scarier, level.

Other possibilities: Kawann Short, Zach Ertz. The 49ers need depth on the D-Line, exposed in the short absence of Justin Smith, which Short would bring. Otherwise, the rich get richer at tight end with the addition of a guy who played well for Harbaugh at Stanford.

28th Overall Pick- New England Patriots, Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

6-4, 200. 73 catches for 1083 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2012.

New England need a new wide receiver. Brandon Lloyd has done some good things, but hasn’t emerged as the deep threat they wanted, while Wes Welker may not be back. Julian Edelman should be able to take over for Welker in the slot, but won’t have nearly the same impact unless they cna muster up a complementary threat outside. Enter Hunter, who’s a top-10 talent with fantastic size and speed. He will likely fall on draft day due to the succession of injuries that have marred his college career, but Bill Belichick has a long history of gambling on injury prone players with great upside, like Jones, Gronkowski and Ras-i-Dowling.

Other possibilities: Giovani Bernard, Barkevious Mingo. Bernard could add even more quality to an already stacked backfield, while Mingo could be the long term answer opposite Chandler Jones.

29th Overall Pick- Green Bay Packers, Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

6-8, 305.

Green Bay have been struggling to protect Aaron Rodgers’ blindside since Chad Clifton was cut, and Derek Sherrod has had too many injury problems to be relied upon. Fisher is a massive prospect, but has shown surprising agility and movement skills for someone his size. Green Bay will be hoping he can step in right away and provide a bit more consistency for both the run and the pass.

Other possibilities: Philip Thomas, Jonathan Franklin. Green Bay never adequately replaced Nick Collins, and Thomas fits their opportunistic style. Franklin is the versatile and consistent running threat Aaron Rodgers has always needed alongside him in the backfield.

30th Overall Pick- Denver Broncos, Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

6-3, 303. 41 tackles, 11 for loss, 1 sack and a blocked kick in 2012.
Denver have a real need at defensive tackle. While Joe Mays and Von Miller both play the run well from the linebacker spot, their run stuffing as a unit has not quite recovered from the departure of Broderick Bunkley to New Orleans. Like last year’s second round pick Derek Wolfe, Floyd can play at different spots along the D-Line, but projects best as inside as a pure run stopper, with enough speed to generate a bit of pass rush down the line. Floyd’s bulk and instincts inside will add another valuable piece to the Superbowl contenders.

Other possibilities: Giovani Bernard, Stedman Bailey. John Fox loves his running backs, while Bailey would be a much more explosive slot weapon than Brandon Stokley.

31st Overall Pick- Houston Texans, Jonathon Cooper, G, North Carolina
The Texans didn’t really succeed in replacing Mike Brisiel, and it hurt Arian Foster and their run game down the stretch. Cooper has the mobility to fit Kubiak’s scheme, and the quality to upgrade even a stacked roster like the Texans, so his slide ends here.

Other possibilities: De’andre Hopkins, Corey Lemonier. Young players at both wideout and pass rusher haven’t emerged as expected in 2012, so Hopkins or Lemonier could be brought in to stiffen that competition.

32nd Overall Pick- Atlanta Falcons, Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
6-8, 280. 32 tackles, 8 sacks, One INT and three blocked kicks in 2012.
One thing that has passed under the radar in Atlanta this season is a gradual shift to running a true hybrid defense, with plenty of elements of a 3-4. Margus Hunt is the perfect addition to make this scheme tick, capable of rotating in at 4-3 end and moving inside for pass rush situations. He’s been phenomenally productive at SMU, though a little raw, he’s freakishly athletic, tipped by many to bloy away Dontari Poe’s numbers at the combine, with enormous arms that give him a valuable sideshow blocking kicks on special teams. Not that his tape will let him down, as some of his best performances this year came against quality offenses like Fresno State and Texas A&M. As Atlanta gears up to move on from the aging John Abraham, Hunt is a player who, though very different from Abraham, has the talent to nevertheless replace his production.

Other possibilities: Logan Ryan, Montee Ball. The Falcons did well in acquiring Asante Samuel, but he’s not young, so Ryan presents good value to deepen that unit. Michael Turner has declined a lot, while Quizz Rodgers has yet to show feature back quality, so Ball’s arrival helps to maintain the talent around Matt Ryan.

 This mock is a reflection of an odd balance of the players I personally like and those who are likely to go high. Some players, like Tyler Wilson, are excluded because I watched the tape yet. Others, such as Jarvis Jones, are excluded because I don't like them, even though they are unlikely, in reality, to escape the first round. I hope you found some of it interesting, and updates will be posted periodically through the process.

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