Culture of Hoops

NFL Mock Draft 3.0: The Rookie Combine Aftermath

The NFL Rookie Combine is over with and several people changed their values with impeccable workouts and stellar times. In the same breath some guys saw their draft stock plummet with below average workouts. While free-agent acquisitions are still to come there are much clearer views on where some people may end up heading in April.

Without further ado, we now present you with our NFL Mock Draft, version 3.0.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-14 (.486 strength of schedule) – I still don’t know if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers really and truly need a new quarterback, but they definitely have been put in a tough spot. There is now a consensus buzz about one quarterback in particular for them to pick, and if they don’t pick him there could be anarchy in the fan base of the Buccaneers.

Pick: Jameis Winston QB (Florida State) – OK, the workout wasn’t what you wanted to see, but the throwing was immaculate and his knowledge and test scores appear off the chart. The off-the-field issues are counterbalanced with the fact that he played in Florida. This is going to be a very interesting pick, assuming the Bucs don’t trade it.

2. Tennessee Titans: 2-14 (.506 strength of schedule) – There really isn’t anyone that is the clear cut best player in this draft, so it’s very plausible the Titans will also be looking to trade this pick. The team could use help virtually everywhere, but with the only team really able to move up to this spot being either the Cleveland Browns (who have two first round picks), or someone in the top five I can’t see the move getting done.

Pick: Leonard Williams DE/DT (USC) – Williams had a great workout, and team could use some help along the defensive line. The team could go wide receiver here, or offensive line, but I think getting pressure on the passer up the middle makes more sense.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-13 (.514 strength of schedule) – 2014 record: 3-13 (.514) The Jags would be more willing to trade this pick than I’m willing to eat hot wings, and I love wings. The problem again is that unless someone is in infatuated with a player still on the board then you’re saddled making a selection. The team needs help all-over, so really it’s about drafting the best guy left.

Pick: Vic Beasley OLB (Clemson) – I originally had Beasley going at the end of the first round. The knock on him was his size. He showed up to the combine with nearly 20 extra pounds. The worry was that this added weight would slow him down, but he ran faster than most of the running backs and many of the defensive backs. He is too freakish of an athlete and too good a player to pass on.

4. Oakland Raiders: 3-13 (.570 strength of schedule) – Jack Del Rio has since taking over the coaching duties in Oakland, and may be able to bring a few big name free agents with him from Denver. If the Raiders can land a big name free agent wide receiver that this pick changes, but for now…

Pick: Amari Cooper WR (Alabama) – Cooper was great in the first championship in NCAA history that was in a playoff format. His combine numbers were everything you’d want or need from a top 10 pick.

5. Washington Redskins: 4-12 (.496 strength of schedule) – This team needs a little bit of everything after selling their future to get Robert Griffin the third a few years ago. The team has confirmed he will be the starter going into this season, so maybe the team needs to protect their big money TTC.

Pick: Brandon Scherff OT (Iowa) – Scherff is still the best tackle in the draft. He showed excellent movement and strength in his final games against elite talent. His combine numbers confirmed everything that was seen by scouts on tape.

6. New York Jets: 4-12 (.543 strength of schedule) – The Jets are another team that really need several picks rather than just one good one. The team is likely to take the best player left on the board, and I see them getting back to their run-first roots and drafting some o-line help to aid in that.

Pick: La’el Collins OT (Florida State) – Collins might be better suited to play guard in the NFL, but the team may decide to move him around as he is a versatile athlete that gives the team some options in how to best utilize his strengths. Numbers from the combine show good strength, but less speed which may cement him as a guard at the next level.

7. Chicago Bears: 5-11 (.529 strength of schedule) – The new face of the Chicago Bears is John Fox. The old problem with the Bears is the defense, and in particular the secondary.

Pick: Landon Collins S (Alabama) – Detroit and Green Bay love to pass the ball. The league is going more pass oriented. A player with good range like Collins is the way to go. His combine numbers confirmed he is not only a NFL ready safety, but also a top 10 selection.

8. Atlanta Falcons: 6-10 (.482 strength of schedule) – Dan Quinn will want this team to be better on defense. The fans will want this team to be better on defense. Opponents would be pretty happy if the team never got better on defense.

Pick: Alvin Dupree DE (Kentucky) – Dupree is a good mix of size, speed and strength. He should be able to play every down from the start of the season and will add some pressure off the edge. His combine numbers were not eye-popping, but the combination of everything is what warrants him going this high.

9. New York Giants: 6-10 (.512 strength of schedule) – If you had to single out one area of need for the Giants it has to be the offensive line. Every other position of need from last season can be attributed to injuries forcing the team to go deep into their depth chart.

Pick: Cedric Ogbuehi OT (Texas A&M) – Ogbuehi started off his collegiate career as a guard and was shifted to the tackle position as a senior. Given how banged up the line has been his versatility and athleticism would make him tough to pass up on. His real strength is as a pass blocker, and it would be nice to see someone behind center for the Jets have more than two seconds to throw a pass.

10. St. Louis Rams: 6-10 (.531 strength of schedule) – I think the cat is out of the bag, Sam Bradford is not going to be the quarterback of the future in St. Louis, and if someone else wants to trade up to get the second-best quarterback in the draft (like, say the Philadelphia Eagles) I am sure Fisher is willing to listen.

Pick: Marcus Mariota QB (Oregon) – The knock in Mariota is that he didn’t play in a pro-style offense and really never got into the huddle. With his measurables at the combine being ridiculous, it’s hard to pass on a guy like this.

11. Minnesota Vikings: 7-9 (.475 strength of schedule) – The Vikings could break the mould here and pick up a running back, but I feel like there are better value picks at that position in the second and third round. The team needs a different offensive playmaker right here.

Pick: Dorial Green-Beckham WR (Oklahoma) – I am pretty sure there are two really good receivers in the league with last names of Green and Beckham, so can you combine them? Dorial is a massive body (6’ 5”) and would be a massive target. His numbers from the combine were more than you could hope for with this sort of body type.

12. Cleveland Browns: 7-9 (.479 strength of schedule) – The QB situation in Cleveland muddier than the underside of a Ford in Alabama after a good rain. With that said I think the team will roll the dice with whoever they have signed before the draft.

Pick: Randy Gregory DE (Nebraska) – Gregory showed enough speed to make him a switch to an OLB in the NFL at the combine. He may play as a DE on 3rd and long, but the team will be happy to have a player with his intelligence on the field.

13. New Orleans Saints: 7-9 (.486 strength of schedule) – The Saints defense was offensive this past season. They need help virtually everywhere, but the defensive line is as good a place to start as any.

Pick: Shane Ray DE (Missouri) – Ray is a pass rusher, and that is all there is to it. The Saints will decide if he can be an every-down player at either the DE or OLB position, or if he will have to be situation for a while. His combine numbers were solid, but his size still has him labeled as a “tweener” on most draft boards.

14. Miami Dolphins: 8-8 (.512 strength of schedule) – The Dolphins came a long way in 2014, but they will continue to make moves to improve. I see them going after a splashy offensive free agent, which means going defensive in the draft.

Pick: Benardrick McKinney ILB (Mississippi State) – Very athletic, and the combine numbers did confirm that. He’d be someone that the Dolphins would want to bring along a little bit slowly as he matures.

15. San Francisco 49ers: 8-8 (.527 strength of schedule) – Wide receivers are leaving the 49ers faster than fans are leaving the stadium. I’m not sure who will make this pick for the 49ers, but I can almost guarantee that it will be a wide receiver.

Pick: DeVante Parker WR (Louisville) – Parker is a big-bodied wide receiver and the 49ers will need that. His combine performance has him as one of the top receivers on most draft boards.

16. Houston Texans: 9-7 (.447 strength of schedule) Since the top two quarterbacks are gone who is left?

Pick: Sean Mannion QB (Oregon State) – Except for his height, Mannion is the prototypical QB. I actually like him more than Jameis Winston on a certain level, as he brings no character issues with him and is ready to take on a pocket passing game.

* A coin flip will determine picks No. 17 and 18.

*17t. Kansas City Chiefs: 9-7 (.512 strength of schedule) – The Chiefs need offensive help, and particularly a wide receiver. A receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs has not caught a touchdown since 2013. If that’s not a cry for help I don’t know what is.

Pick: Kevin White WR (West Virginia) – White has a large frame and that will help give Alex Smith some options in the red zone. Combine numbers were solid, and this is a position of need for the Chiefs.

*17t. San Diego Chargers: 9-7 (.512 strength of schedule) – This team appeared to be bipolar during the 2014 season. Destroying playoff teams and then being clobbered by the more remedial talents in the league. Some run stopping in the middle would be helpful.

Pick: Danny Shelton DT (Washington) – At 6’ 2”, 332 lbs he’s the definition of run stopping. He should command a secondary lineman to help in move him, and that will free up plays for the linebackers. The Combine numbers for his size were impressive. Comparisons to B.J. Raji should not be dismissed.

19. Buffalo Bills: 9-7 (.516 strength of schedule) – Pick traded to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are back and they really need some help for whoever is throwing the ball this year.

Pick: Jaelen Strong WR (Arizona State) – Josh Gordon is sitting out some time next season already, so wide receiver help is a requirement. Strong is a tall player with good size, and should add depth if nothing else. Solid combine numbers did nothing but help his stock.

20. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6 (.490 strength of schedule) – Positionally, Philly doesn’t really need anything, or anyone. The team wasn’t far off from making the playoffs, but there is a notion that the team would trade everything (even the kitchen sink) to move up and get Mariota. I don’t see that happening unless Mariota falls out of the top 15.

Pick: Shaq Thompson OLB (Washington) – Shaq is one of the highest rated linebackers in the draft. While slightly undersized he has top gear speed that fits the Chip Kelly style of fast attacking defenders. Solid combine numbers confirmed tape that every scout has looked at from day one.

Playoff Teams

21. Cincinnati Bengals: 10-5-1 (.498 strength of schedule) – By losing in the first round the team has moved up the draft board a few spots. The corner situation has been abating for some time in Cincy. Fortunately the top corner is still on the board.

Pick: Trae Waynes CB (Michigan State) – Waynes is a respectable 6’ 1”, which is what you need to help play against some of these larger receivers in the league. He is the consensus top corner in the draft as there are no character issue and he loves playing press.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5 (.451 strength of schedule) – The Steelers line is getting old fast, and it seems as though the team has a renewed interest in passing and offensive attacks. Enter a shiny new offensive linemen.

Pick: Andrus Peat OT (Stanford) – Peat is a mountain, almost exactly how you’d like to build an NFL tackle. His length is going to help him hold off pass rushers and his size will allow him to move people in the run game. He should be a gamer from week one. Combine numbers were a little under what you’d like to see, but his tape is perfect.

23. Detroit Lions: 11-5 (.471 strength of schedule) – Free agency could make a DT more pressing a need, but the secondary on this team really needs help. There are some better corners out there, but the character issues are not something this team can afford to deal with. Enter the safer pick.

Pick: Kevin Johnson CB (Wake Forest) – Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is the other corner everyone is talking about, but he’s on the smaller side. Kevin has the size and skills to play press coverage against larger receivers, and the Lions could use that. His combine speed wasn’t anything to write home about, but his ball skills are fantastic.

24. Arizona Cardinals: 11-5 (.523 strength of schedule) – The Cardinals need help keeping their quarterbacks healthy, but at this point in the draft I feel like they are picking the best player left as per their draft board, rather than looking at a position of need.

Pick: Eddie Goldman DT (Florida State) – The Cardinals will try to mimic the Seattle Seahawks, but bring more ferocity at you up the middle. I’d hate to play in the NFC West. Goldman had a really good combine for a big man, he would likely go higher if the emphasis on wide receivers isn’t what it is in today’s NFL.

25. Carolina Panthers: 7-8-1 (.490 strength of schedule) – They didn’t deserve to make the playoffs, or win a playoff game, and their punishment for that is the 25th pick for a team that needs a ton of help.

Pick: Shilique Calhoun DE (Michigan State) – Shilique is a really underrated player in my opinion, and should be expected on for a great deal of defensive production from either the linebacker or the DE spot, though I do see him as more of a backer.

26. Baltimore Ravens: 10-6 (.475 strength of schedule) – This team will be even better next year, and that is saying something after a rebound performance in 2014. They build through fundamental picks, and the offensive line is as fundamental as it gets.

Pick: T.J. Clemmings OT (Florida State)  – Clemmings is leaner than most tackles, and could use some beefing up. He’s too strong and too fast to not be a wonderful addition, particularly to teams that like to run screens. His combine numbers showed good skills and fluidity, you can always eat more cheeseburgers.

27. Dallas Cowboys: 12-4 (.445 strength of schedule) – There could be a lot of players leaving Dallas as the team did really well, and players will be looking to cash in on that.

Pick: Marcus Peters CB (Washington) – If this was just on skill Peters would be a top 20 or 15 pick. His off-the-field issues aren’t something that you’d like, but this late in the first Dallas can take a flyer if they see fit.

28. Denver Broncos: 12-4 (.521 strength of schedule) – This team could potentially use help all over (depending on how many guys jump ship via free agency). The team would be well served to go back to the fundamentals and draft along the line. The offensive line to be precise.

Pick: D.J. Humphries OT (Florida) – D.J. really handled elite pass rusher Shane Ray very well, and that coupled with solid combine numbers now have him as a top five tackle heading into the draft.

29. Indianapolis Colts: 11-5 (.479 strength of schedule) – This team needs defensive help the way I need fashion advice; badly.

Pick: Dante Fowler Jr. OLB (Florida) – Dante is a pass rusher with some heft to him. The team switches personnel enough that the fact that he doesn’t fit well into either the OLB or DE role doesn’t really matter. The team would want him to play as a DE more than they would need him as an OLB.

30. Green Bay Packers: 12-4 (.482 strength of schedule) – Speaking of a team that needs fashion advice, I mean defensive help. Actually they really need both, those throwback uniforms make me want to vomit. Actually vomit would be a better color scheme than navy blue and brown.

Pick: Michael Bennett DT (Ohio State) – Bennett is going to beat you off the snap with speed, not strength. He’d win most matchups on the interior so long as he’s not doubled. If he is doubled than other guys can make the play.

31. Seattle Seahawks: 12-4 (.525 strength of schedule) – The team is keeping most of their key guys on defense, so long as the Russell Wilson contract doesn’t cripple them, then the team will look to add some weapons for him to throw to. That just leaves the offensive line to work on.

Pick: Ronnie Stanley OT (Notre Dame) – Stanley is a junior, which is why he’s a bit of a project. His size, speed, and strength would have had him in the top 10 in next years’ draft, but he’s decided to get into the game early. There are still some technique concerns, but really you could play him at right tackle or sub him in for a year until you coach him up.

32. New England Patriots: 12-4 (.514 strength of schedule) – I really think this pick is going to be taken from the Patriots thanks to Deflategate. Until that happens…

Pick: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB (Oregon) – Ifo is one of those super speed guys. There is a real chance he could contribute on special teams if he can’t break in as a starter right away. He will start if the club doesn’t use their one year (super price) option to keep Darrelle Revis.

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