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What the NFL Draft Experts Predict in Their 2017 Mock Drafts

Former NFL GM and personnel executive Mike Lombardi, whose work experience ranges from working under Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis to being Cleveland Browns’ GM to an executive working with the Patriots’ Bill Belichick, said recently that everyone can produce a mock draft and how a guy in Des Moines, Iowa basement can produce one.

But, what do the “experts” have to say about the upcoming 2017 NFL draft? Who will go as the top pick in the first round? Who will hear their name on Day One? Let’s take a look at the consensus for the NFL draft from the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Mike Mayock and ESPN’s Mel Kiper.

(Note: If two experts pick the same player, and the other two pick two different players, I went with the player chosen by two experts. If there is no clear-cut player, it is “No consensus.”)

  1. Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, defensive end (Consensus pick by all four)
  2. San Francisco: Jamal Adams, safety
  3. Chicago: Marcus Lattimore, safety (consensus pick by all four)
  4. Jacksonville: Leonard Fournette, running back
  5. Tennessee: Soloman Thomas, defensive tackle
  6. New York Jets: OJ Howard, tight end
  7. Los Angeles Chargers: Malik Hooker, safety
  8. Carolina: Christian McCaffrey, running back/offensive weapon
  9. Cincinatti: Reuben Foster, linebacker
  10. Buffalo: No consensus
  11. New Orleans: No consensus
  12. Cleveland: Mitchell Trubisky, quarterback
  13. Arizona: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback
  14. Philadelphia: No consensus
  15. Indianapolis: No consensus
  16. Baltimore: No consensus
  17. Washington: No consensus
  18. Tennessee: No consensus
  19. Tampa Bay: Dalvin Cook, running back
  20. Denver: Ryan Ramcyzk, offensive tackle
  21. Detroit: Jarrad Davis, linebacker
  22. Miami: No consensus
  23. New York Giants: Garrett Bolles, offensive tackle
  24. Oakland: No consensus
  25. Houston: Cam Robinson, offensive tackle
  26. Seattle: No consensus
  27. Kansas City: No consensus
  28. Dallas: No consensus
  29. Green Bay: No consensus
  30. Pittsburgh: No consensus
  31. Atlanta: No consensus
  32. New Orleans: Adoree’ Jackson, wide receiver/special teams weapon

Here are the mock drafts from the experts:

Daniel Jeremiah Bucky Brooks Mel Kiper Mike Mayock
1. Myles Garrett Myles Garrett Myles Garrett Myles Garrett
2. Jamal Adams Jamal Adams Soloman Thomas Jamal Adams
3. Marcus Lattimore Marcus Lattimore Jamal Adams Marcus Lattimore
4. Leonard Fournette Leonard Fournette Jonathan Allen Leonard Fournette
5. Soloman Thomas Soloman Thomas Reuben Foster Mitchell Trubisky (to Tennessee in trade w/Cleveland)
6. OJ Howard Deshaun Watson OJ Howard OJ Howard
7. Malik Hooker Malik Hooker Mike Williams Soloman Thomas
8. Christian McCaffrey Jonathan Allen Christian McCaffrey Christian McCaffrey
9. Reuben Foster Reuben Foster Haason Reddick Jonathan Allen
10. Haason Reddick Mike Williams Jabrill Peppers Reuben Foster
11. Marlon Humphrey Derek Barnett Marcus Lattimore Charles Harris
12. Mitchell Trubisky OJ Howard Mitchell Trubisky John Ross (to Cleveland in trade w/Tennessee)
13. Patrick Mahomes Patrick Mahomes Corey Davis Marlon Humphrey
14. Derek Barnett Christian McCaffrey Gareon Conley Mike Williams
15. Charles Harris Takkarist McKinley Leonard Fournette Derek Barnett
16. Mike Williams Corey Davis Forrest Lamp Haason Reddick
17. Jonathan Allen Mitchell Trubisky Malik Hooker Takkarist McKinley
18. Corey Davis John Ross Marlon Humphrey Adoree’ Jackson
19. Dalvin Cook Dalvin Cook John Ross Malik Hooker
20. Ryan Ramcyzk Ryan Ramcyzk Ryan Ramcyzk Ryan Ramcyzk
21. Jarrad Davis Jarrad Davis Kevin King Corey Davis
22. Forrest Lamp Taco Charlton Jarrad Davis TJ Watt
23. David Njoku Garrett Bolles Charles Harris Garrett Bolles
24. Gareon Conley Haason Reddick Tre’Davious White Cam Robinson
25. Cam Robinson Cam Robinson Cam Robinson Deshaun Watson
26. Garrett Bolles Obi Melifonwu Garrett Bolles Forrest Lamp
27. Deshaun Watson Gareon Conley Zach Cunningham Dalvin Cook
28. Adoree’ Jackson Charles Harris Derek Barnett Tre’Davious White
29. TJ Watt Joe Mixon Takkarist McKinley Alvin Kamara
30. Evan Engram DeShone Kizer Zay Jones Jordan Willis
31. Kevin King Forrest Lamp Taco Charlton Jabrill Peppers
32. Takkarist McKinley Adoree’ Jackson Adoree’ Jackson Patrick Mahomes (to Arizona in trade w/New Orleans)
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NFL Draft 2016 Sleepers: Defense

Defensive End: Bronson Kaufusi (BYU), Yannick Ngakoue (Maryland)

Two sleepers? Yes. Why? Because defensive ends are a high premium for NFL teams after seeing the Denver Broncos dominate a great Carolina Panthers team at the line of scrimmage. Teams are looking for defensive ends to harass NFL quarterbacks.

kaufusi byu

Kaufusi is 6’6”, weighs 285 and will probably be drafted in the third to fourth round. Why? His stats aren’t too shabby: Bronson had 64 tackles, 20 of which were for a loss, 11 sacks, 1 interception and 3 forced fumbles. He has good size and speed and could be a valuable third-down pass-rush asset for NFL defenses. But, a big question mark is getting off blocks. (Disclaimer: I am a BYU graduate).

ngakoue.png

Ngakoue (pronounced En-Gah-kway) is a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end and played against Big Ten offensive line talent. He is 6’2” and weighs 252 pounds. He could go as high as the 2nd round, but I’d think he’d fall maybe to the 3rd round. He wreaked havoc last season, with 13.5 sacks, 38 total tackles (15 tackles for a loss), with 1 fumble and 1 pass break-up. He is long, he has speed, and he has the stats and tape to back it up. As WalterFootball pointed out, he owned Brandon Scherff, who was the 5th-overall pick for the Washington Redskins last year, when they faced each other in 2014. (Second disclaimer: I’m also a Maryland fan :D)

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 4.18.00 PM

Defensive Tackle: Jonathan Bullard, Florida

6’3”, 285 pounds.

Bullard was one of the best SEC run defenders in 2015, according to WalterFootball. One of my favorite NFL analysts, former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, is high on him and pointed out how Bullard dominated SEC offensive linemen. But, he is smaller than NFL teams would like, which is why he could end up going (at the latest) in the 2nd round. He had 17.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and 2 batted passes, with 66 total tackles. He needs to add weight, but his track record in the SEC speaks for itself.

cyrus jones bama.png

Cornerback: Cyrus Jones, Alabama

5’9”, 196 pounds. 4.49 40-time.

Jones is better known for his special teams plays and special package plays on defense, where he played in corner-heavy packages (nickel or dime). His speed is out of this world on the field and he showed up a lot in big games, for better and for worse. Height is a large concern because of bigger tight ends and wide receivers. He did have 2 interceptions last season as a senior, and 3 as a junior.

But, I believe could be a Devon Hester-type player, where his best talent is on special teams, then he learns the position as time goes on. Yes, wide receiver is slightly easier to learn, as it is more proactive than reactive, but if Jones is one of those solid Alabama Crimson Tide players that the school boasts about, he’ll learn and develop to be a solid nickel corner in a pass-happy NFL. Jones will probably go between the 4th to 6th round and will be a steal if he develops well.

blake martinez stanford.png

Linebacker: Blake Martinez, Stanford

6’0”, 233 pounds.

Stanford churns out NFL talent, maybe not top-end talent, but consistent talent. Martinez is one of those blue-collar linebacking types, like former Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy (who is transitioning from linebacker to defensive line this year for the Washington Redskins). Martinez was a tackle machine, with 141 total tackles, 6.5 for loss, 1 interception, 1.5 sacks, 6 pass break-ups. He is a steady Eddie, as the saying goes, and will get the job done.

Martinez is no Luke Kuechly, but is that stout, inside linebacker that will make the right plays. Also, Stanford coach David Shaw doesn’t coach idiots. Martinez is projected to go between the third and fifth round of the draft.

 

sean davis md.png

Safety: Sean Davis, Maryland

6’1”, 201 pounds, 4.46 40-time.

Davis shifted around in Maryland’s defense from corner to safety and at times, a small linebacker. He had 88 tackles last year on a so-so football team in a tough Big Ten division (facing the likes of Ohio State) and had 3 interceptions. Not an impressive resume, per se, but he is athletic, he can cover and stay in the box to guard against the run. Although, his versatility impresses NFL scouts.

Major concerns are whether he can keep up with top speed talent in the NFL and read the quarterback’s eyes correctly. Some scouting reports point out that he is often beat on double moves, and is inconsistent in covering receivers as he is more of a hard-hitting safety. A lot of scouts are hyping him up, but remember, his ceiling is maybe the 3rd round and floor is the 5th round.

 

 

NFL Draft 2016 Sleepers: Offense

Quarterback: Cody Kessler, USC

6’1”, 220 pounds.

A lot of people love Brandon Allen out of Arkansas, who is pro-ready and a gutsy QB from the SEC. But, Cody is a three-year starter out of the PAC12 and he works in a pro-style offense, albeit more of a West Coast offense (i.e. short passes and not too many deep balls). Per NFL.com, Kessler threw for 3,536 yards with a 66.8 completion percentage in 2015 and he is not turnover-prone (Cody threw 39 touchdowns, five interceptions in 2014; 29 TD, 7 INT in 2015). Not too many college QBs can put that on their resume.

However, he lacks deep ball arm strength and struggles throwing while moving out of the pocket. But, the kid can play, he played through a cloud of sanctions and won games. He’ll be a round 5 draft pick and will be a short project of 1-2 years, if not sooner.

jonathan williams arkansas.png

Running Back: Jonathan Williams, Arkansas

5’10”, 219 pounds, projected 40 time 4.58 (was injured, didn’t participate much at combines or pro day).

WalterFootball.com said the following about Williams, which has been echoed by the likes of draft gurus Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks (both former NFL scouts now working at NFL Network):

“As a runner, Williams has tremendous balance and an impressive ability to pick up yards after contact. He has a good body lean and runs with power. Sources from some teams are targeting Williams in the mid-rounds and think he could be a steal because of his injury. Williams also has drawn rave reviews off the field, and his teammates have gushed about him in team interviews.”

Williams would be the feature back at most schools, but he’s the backup for Arkansas. He still ran for 1,190 yards (5.6 average) and 12 touchdowns on only 211 carries in 2014 while Alex Collins was the lead back. Williams also had 11 receptions for 65 yards and two scores. He is a physical runner who could enter the NFL with fresh legs.”

Enough said; he’ll be a steal between rounds 3-5 at the draft.

michael thomas wr catch

Wide Receiver: Michael Thomas, Southern Miss (Southern Mississippi)

6’1”, 186 pounds, 4.54 40-time.

Thomas is a sleeper because he went to a non-Power 5 school, but he increased his production from 2014 to 2015 (from Pride of Detroit):

michael thomas wr southern miss stats.png

Plus, his yards-after-catch (known as YAC) is one of the best among a weak WR crop this draft year:

He has some issues catching the ball, but he’s athletic and can take the top off the defense and stretch the field vertically. He’ll be a round 5 or round 6 pick and could develop very well.

thomas duarte ucla

Tight End: Thomas Duarte

6’2”, 231 pounds, 4.72 40-time.

The Mexican-Japanese-American tight end out of UCLA impressed some scouts with not only his play on the field, but his heritage. He joked that he got the best food of both worlds in an interview with Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman. But, he is a pass-catching tight end that produced at the famous Mater Dei High School (which has produced the likes of Matt Leinart) and at UCLA. As a freshman, had 16 catches for 214 yards and 4 TDs, and then as a sophomore, caught 28 passes for 540 yards and 4 TDs. With Josh Rosen as his signal-caller, he caught 53 balls for 872 yards (a 16.5-yards-per-catch average) and 10 TDs.

Scouts have compared him to Jordan Reed. He can’t block, but he can get out in space, run routes and wreak havoc on opposing defenses. That’s not a bad comparison. He’ll be picked anywhere between the mid-to-low 3rd round to the 5th round and has to bulk up, learn how to block a little bit, and he’ll be a longtime NFL tight end.

le raven clark texas tech

image via screenshot from CFB Film Room on YouTube.

Offensive Line: Le-Raven Clark, Texas Tech, offensive tackle

6’5”, 316 pounds.

Not a deep offensive line class, outside of Tunsil and Conklin, but Clark is an athletic specimen on the field. Yes, he’ll be gone by the third round, which begs the question, is he really a sleeper? But, this is a thin offensive line class and he could become a future offensive line anchor sooner rather than later.

Consensus among scouts is that his technique is not perfect, but he does have quick feet. A big part of being a tackle is how he bends, and he is a good ‘bender’ to deal with the faster defensive ends who can get low to the ground. But, there are few mentions of how good his hands are at the point of attack, which worries me. You need good hands to keep up with all the moves by defensive linemen and linebackers these days. Ever see a JJ Watt spin move or a quick bend speed rush by Von Miller? Clark be mincemeat if he faces them without improving his hands. That aside, he’ll be a good pick with a lot of upside and potential.

Has BYU Peaked as an 8-Win Team?

A couple of thoughts after BYU’s humiliation at the hands of the Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan Wolverines…

But first, this Hail Mary play vs. Nebraska was amazing.

byu hail mary vs nebraska

3 consecutive 8-5 seasons: Is that good enough for BYU fans?

  • The last double-digit win season was 4 seasons ago in 2011 with 10 wins.
  • If BYU is to be considered a top team, it has to consistently win in the double digits and suffer maybe 2 losses maximum (see: Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon, Baylor, TCU, Michigan State).
  • Counterpoint: BYU sports is an extension of the academic mission of BYU, so it won’t receive the same amount as investment as say, Alabama football.
  • Many programs would do almost anything to reach 8 wins and be bowl-eligible every year AND have the independent schedule and contract with ESPN.

Independent schedule has tougher road games, easier home schedule

  • 2015 at Michigan: LOSS 31-0
  • 2015 at UCLA: LOSS 24-23
  • 2015 at Nebraska: WIN 33-28
  • 2014 at Wisconsin: LOSS 27-17
  • 2014 at Notre Dame: LOSS 23-17
  • 2014 at Texas: WIN 41-7
  • Home schedule was not challenging, featured the likes of Nevada, Savannah State, UNLV (2014) and Middle Tennessee State and Idaho State (2013).

Injuries have crippled and ended promising seasons

  • Taysom Hill’s injuries ended promising seasons and he was a dark horse Heisman candidate.
  • However, injuries don’t solely target BYU.
    • Example: University of Maryland’s 2012 season where 4 QBs went down with injuries and they started a backup LB as their QB in Shawn Petty. Cry me a river, BYU fans.

Robert Anae’s play-calling

  • Where do you start? Run instead of passing, passing instead of running the ball?
    • But I see some consistencies over the years at BYU and with their offensive line.
  • What do I see? Bad offensive line splits with huge gaps between offensive linemen. It helps with pass protection, but it inhibits the run game by requiring linemen to move more laterally. BYU’s offensive linemen aren’t exactly the fleetest of foot.
    • Also, lack of big, tall WRs and TEs who will go and “high point” the ball. Or, in other words, no receiver who will go up and get the 50-50 ball in the air. There isn’t another Cody Hoffman-type big guy who can consistently grab red zone TD passes thrown toward him.

Well, if you do push Bronco out at BYU (which is almost a 0% chance), who do you replace him with?

  • Beware of up-and-coming NFL coordinators like Gary Crowton (h/t Paul Sabin).
  • My choice? Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
    • Why? Everyone remembers that one play in the Super Bowl, but he’s made 2 Super Bowls and won one of them.
      • Pete Carroll backed Bevell up, said he wanted to preserve the clock as they were out of timeouts and shied away from a run call for that reason.
      • Malcolm Butler made a play of the year in jumping that pick route and timed it perfectly.
      • Also, Marshawn Lynch struggled on short-yardage situations in the red zone, although Sporting News still blasts Bevell’s play call.
    • He’s run an efficient, run-heavy offense in the NFL.
    • He’s developed Russell Wilson, a third-round QB draft pick and who was undersized, into a franchise QB. Wilson, by the way, just signed an offseason deal worth $87 million over 4 years.

Honor Code and Recruiting

  • Honor Code inhibits recruiting with abstinence from premarital sex and use of alcohol and drugs. This will continue to be BYU’s policy and it is non-negotiable.
  • Bronco relies a lot on JUCO transfers and it can be hard to develop JUCO talent at times.
  • The mission effect: Older athletes may have lost a step or two as conditioning is not a top priority for some missionaries.

Why not shift to the spread?

  • Even Nick Saban doesn’t like the spread as a defensive genius and it is hard to stop, as TCU, Baylor, and Texas Tech have shown with their prolific offenses.
    • Saban was quoted as saying, “is this what we want football to be?” by AL.com.
    • He hired offensive genius Lane Kiffin a year ago to open up the Alabama offense and put more spread-type plays into the playbook.
  • Baylor and other inferior teams succeed with short, quick passes, less hits on the QB and can beat teams with tempo. Lower-tiered teams like Bowling Green has successfully adopted the spread offense. BYU can succeed and go back to the offensive masterpieces of old and hide their inferior talent and lack of depth.

Any thoughts? Reactions?

What to Watch For: Five NCAA QB’s to Track in 2015

Sorry, been a long time since I’ve blogged. But, now that the desolate summer sports season has subsided, and football around the corner, let’s take a look at FIVE college quarterbacks to track this year.

ohio state qb

  1. JT Barrett/Cardale Jones, Ohio State

Right now, we’re not sure who will start at Ohio State when the season starts at Virginia Tech on September 7th. Ohio State has suspended several players, but losing top defensive end Joey Bosa to suspension could cost them their season opener.

Back to the QB’s: Urban Meyer is mum on who is leading the QB race, and analysts and scouts have been frank about who would win the job. Cardale Jones has a NFL-ready big arm with his deep ball, as his four-game stretch showed. But, JT Barrett has had more time learning the Meyer offense (he’s a sophomore) and is more mobile than Cardale. Here’s the stats for JT in his lone starting season:

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT
2014 203 314 2834 64.7 9.03 80 34 10

Here’s a highlight reel for JT:

Echoing back to Meyer’s previous star QB’s at Florida and Utah, Barrett is probably the likely choice because of his mobility. Alex Smith ran for 631 yards and 10 TDs while throwing for 2,952 yards and 32 TD’s (only 4 picks) before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers’ top pick and has had a steady career in the NFL. Chris Leak and Tim Tebow were mobile QB’s, although Tebow was more of a power runner and Leak the more elusive athlete who had touch on his throws. You’d think that Meyer’s past history with mobile QB’s would sway his opinion, but Cardale’s numbers in his short stint as the starter speak for themselves:

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT
2014 56 92 860 60.9 9.35 50 7 2

Can’t forget about the game tape/highlight reel:

Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel, in their podcast “The Audible” (which I highly recommend listening to), brought up how Cardale’s big personality is fun during the offseason, but what happens if he gets benched in favor of JT? That is something to watch for.

2. Malik Zaire, Notre Dame

Zaire’s rise up the depth chart validated the scouting rankings for him coming out of high school, and it pushed 2013 national championship game starter Everett Golston to transfer to Florida State. Feldman talked about how Golston was more reserved, but Zaire’s charisma and chatty nature wins over the Notre Dame locker room. It reminds me of Jameis Winston, legal issues aside, and how a charismatic and confident leader can carry a team that has injuries and flaws. Here’s what Zaire did last year, but mind you, it’s one blowout loss and the other is a blowout win in a bowl game:

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK
2014 21 35 266 60.0 7.60 49 1 0 1

The guy has great potential:

3. Jeff Rosen, UCLA

Rosen is another highly-touted recruit and became the starter this past week. But, he wasn’t a five-star recruit for nothing based on his passing numbers alone:

Year GP C Att Yds C% Avg Y/G C/G TD TD/G Int Lng QB Rate
Varsity Totals 43 525 840 8473 .625 16.1 197.0 12.2 90 2.1 20 95 122.0

He’s expected to produce a lot this year at UCLA, but he has to fill the shoes of Brett Hundley, who is sitting behind Aaron Rodgers in the NFL. Here’s a highlight reel from high school:

4. Jared Goff, Cal

Bleacher Report recently published an article asking whether Goff is the second coming of Aaron Rodgers, a Super Bowl-winning QB with the Green Bay Packers. Goff’s numbers were pretty good, but it is yet to be seen whether he can carry Cal to the top of the PAC-12. I doubt that because it is a deep conference with a lot of unknowns, such as Oregon’s QB situation, UCLA’s freshman QB taking the reins, and if Stanford will punish everyone with their bruising, ball-control style.

What does Goff have to offer? Check out some highlights from last season:

Here’s what Goff produced in his two years as a starter (an overall record of 6-18, but his first year in 2013 the team went 1-11):

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT RAW QBR ADJ QBR
2014 316 509 3973 62.1 7.81 92 35 7 26 147.6 71.5 76.3
2013 320 531 3508 60.3 6.61 89 18 10 32 123.2 48.0 55.8

He definitely picked up the pace last year, and NFL scouting guru Mel Kiper said he’s better than Hackenburg and other underclassmen QB’s who may declare for the NFL draft in 2016.

5. Taysom Hill, BYU

He is a dark horse for the Heisman trophy, according to some, but he is just as dangerous as Tim Tebow was at Florida. Before a season-ending and gruesome injury at Utah State, Hill wowed college football fans and scouts with his running style and numbers (although many project him as a running back-type player in the NFL if he chooses to play/is drafted:

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT RAW QBR ADJ QBR
2014 88 132 975 66.7 7.39 56 7 3 14 141.7 78.3 86.5
2013 236 438 2938 53.9 6.71 60 19 14 37 118.2 61.5 70.3
2012 42 71 425 59.2 5.99 28 4 2 6 122.4 70.6 76.4

I mean, he did run rampant in the 2013 game against Texas and even hurdled a defender on a touchdown run last year:

He’s coming back from tearing his knee, so no one is too sure if he’ll be the same. But, BYU’s independent schedule is intriguing and if they do well, it’ll be because of Taysom Hill. Everyone loves an underdog (see: Boise State).

Here are some other QB’s that will be fun to watch this season (in no particular order):

  • Cody Kessler, USC
  • Christian Hackenburg, Penn State
  • Greyson Lambert, Georgia
  • Whoever wins the Alabama starting job: ex-FSU QB Jake Coker, David Cornwell or Cooper Bateman
  • Brandon Harris, LSU
  • Vernon Adams, transfer to Oregon

First (and Last) 2015 NFL Mock Draft

Here it goes…

jameis winston fumble vs oregon

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jameis Winston. No doubt, NFL arm, has played in a pro-style offense and aside from his off-field issues, he’ll be the top pick in a quarterback-hungry league. The Bucs gambled on Luke McCown of all people last year and cut him in the offseason and it isn’t apparent that Mike Glennon is the QB of the franchise or future.

marcus mariota oregon

  1. Tennessee Titans

I don’t think coach Whisenhunt is sold on Marcus Mariota, and will trade this to the San Diego Chargers for Philip Rivers because Rivers does not want to move to Los Angeles if the Chargers move there in a couple years. Whisenhunt was the coach who briefly revived Rivers’ career after some down years in sunny San Diego.

The Chargers will then choose Mariota. Titans will pick at no.17.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars

They need help on defense, so they’ll pick Leonard Williams, a defensive tackle out of USC. I would prefer Amari Cooper or Kevin White, both elite wideouts, but the Jags are committed to a rebuilding process. Williams will be a great building block in Jacksonville.

  1. Oakland Raiders

Kevin White out of West Virginia. He’s big, he’s fast and in the mold of last year’s phenom rookie Kelvin Benjamin. He’ll get at least 6 touchdowns in the “get up and get it” mold. The Raiders need him to pair up with their up-and-coming QB Derek Carr.

  1. Washington Redskins

I say they’ll trade this pick away to the Cleveland Browns for a first rounder (the no. 12 overal pick this year), a second-rounder, a third-rounder and a fourth rounder (according to some reports, they refused to trade up higher by giving up 2 first-round picks). Cleveland will select Amari Cooper at wideout at this spot. Cleveland’s current WR lineup? They need Cooper, who is a polished route runner and can run NFL route trees.

If they keep it? Dante Fowler out of Florida, a big defensive end who will start opposite Ryan Kerrigan.

  1. New York Jets

They want to move down, and will. The New Orleans Saints need a lot of things, and they’ll move up to grab defensive tackle Danny Shelton out of Washington. Shelton is not as good as a space-eater as Leonard Williams, but he is still a big guy that will eat up space and put pressure on teams up the middle.

But, if the Redskins do trade out of the no.5 slot, and Dante Fowler is available, the Saints will take Fowler ahead of Shelton. The Jets will get their first round pick at 13th overall.

  1. Chicago Bears

They want a wideout to replace their aging core, even though I would prefer a defensive player (or all 11) in this draft. Wouldn’t be surprised if they reach and pick up Louisville wide receive Devante Parker. But, if Shelton is available, he’ll be gone at this spot.

  1. Atlanta Falcons

Offensive line is a huge gaping hole in their roster, so I expect Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff to get picked here. Rumor has it that he’s a better fit at guard, but you need good interior offensive linemen in this league.

  1. New York Giants

Victor Cruz got hurt last year and Eli Manning relied a lot on the pure athleticism of Odell Beckham, Jr. Although their defense needs help, I would have to guess that the Giants will pick a wideout here in a pass-happy league. I think the speedy Breshad Perriman out of Central Florida will go to the Big Apple.

  1. St. Louis Rams

They have their temporary QB of the future in former Eagles QB Nick Foles, so they’re going to look elsewhere. Why not at running back? Todd Gurley out of Georgia has been cleared to play by medical staff and he’s an absolute beast. Plus, rumors have been milling around that he’ll be picked at the 10 slot at the latest.

  1. Minnesota Vikings

They need to trade Adrian Peterson with his age and large salary this year (a $15 million cap number, huge for a running back nowadays). They’ll do that and get a first-rounder this year and two additional picks in the second and fourth round. The Vikings will keep this slot and will pick Michigan State corner Trae Waynes, an aggressive cornerback who will shore up their defense.

  1. Washington Redskins (by way of the Cleveland Browns)

Where do they need help the most? Everywhere. They weren’t a fan of Vic Beasley on the defensive line (too small for the new GM’s liking) so they’ll go offensive line here. Andrus Peat out of Stanford will play tackle opposite Trent Williams.

  1. New York Jets (by way of New Orleans Saints)

New head coach Todd Bowles loves defense and he’ll go this way here. His cornerbacks are okay, so he’ll go ahead and pick Alabama safety Landon Collins. Collins is the top safety in this draft, according to many experts, and will help bulk up the run defense while learning pass coverage on the fly.

  1. Miami Dolphins

Lots of needs, but I like Devante Parker here to shore up Miami’s offensive weapons, if the Bears don’t get him first. If he’s gone, the Dolphins will look to Vic Beasley, a good defensive end out of Clemson who got sacks like it was nothing in college.

  1. San Francisco 49ers

Defense. Defense. Defense. After Chris Borland and Patrick Willis retired this offseason, expect them to pick a corner to shore up their defense (too high of a pick to pick the linebackers this year) in Marcus Peters. Peters is a solid corner, but should learn quickly.

  1. Houston Texans

Let’s go offense here. With Perriman gone, they’ll pick USC’s Nelson Agholor, who was a late bloomer in the draft process. Quick and speedy returner will add another dynamic layer to their offense.

  1. Tennessee Titans (by way of the San Diego Chargers)

They’ll pick up a guard here to protect their new QB Philip Rivers in Miami’s Ereck Flowers.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs

Needing some depth at wide receiver, they’ll reach for Phillip Dorsett, a speedster wide receiver out of Miami. He’ll be their Dexter McCluster-type game-changing speed player.

  1. Cleveland Browns

They do have some decent running backs, but why not draft Melvin Gordon here? The Wisconsin player has great one-cut speed and should bring a dynamic offense to Cleveland (for once).

  1. Philadelphia Eagles

No Mariota trade here, but they’ll draft Bud Dupree to shore up that linebacking corps. He has a lot of potential, but little college production to show for it.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals

Malcolm Brown, a good defensive tackle out of Texas, will go play in Marvin Lewis’ defense.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Corner is a big need here, so expect Byron Jones out of Connecticut to go here.

  1. Detroit Lions

With Suh gone to Miami, they’re going to draft his replacement. Expect Eddie Goldman out of Florida State to head to the Motor City.

  1. Arizona Cardinals

DJ Humphries is a solid late-round offensive tackle prospect, plus they need help to protect the oft-injured QB Carson Palmer.

  1. Carolina Panthers

Offensive tackle is a glaring need, so Cedric Ogbuehi (don’t ask me to pronounce it) will be gone here.

  1. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens like troubled prospects, so they’ll pick Dorial Green-Beckham (who has had his share of problems) here to shore up their wideout corps after Torrey Smith left for the Bay Area during the offseason.

  1. Dallas Cowboys

They need cornerback help, so Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson will go here.

  1. Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning got roughed up, but they don’t need superb offensive linemen in the Mile High City. I expect them to draft stalwart tackle Jake Fisher.

  1. Indianapolis Colts

Defensive line help is a must here, after getting throttled by the Patriots 45-7 in the playoffs. Jordan Phillips out of Oklahoma will be headed to the Colts.

  1. Green Bay Packers

Denzel Perryman, inside linebacker out of Miami, will help the Packers interior defense.

  1. New Orleans Saints

Jaelen Strong, a nice wideout prospect out of Arizona State, will help Drew Brees try to improve on an awful last season.

  1. New England Patriots

The Patriots need corner help, but haven’t been great with drafting corners. If they do go defense, they’ll pick defensive tackle Arik Armstead to replace Vince Wilfork. If they go offense, expect them to pick a guard here in Laken Tomlinson out of Duke or a tackle in TJ Clemmings out of Pittsburgh

Notable missing picks: Shane Ray and Randy Gregory, both defensive end-type players who failed drug tests or have marijuana issues, will fall out of the first round. Ray was dumb, having been cited for marijuana possession this past Monday, the week of the draft!

Any thoughts about this mock draft?

4 Things that Defined Ohio State-Bama

All State Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Ohio State

Blake Sims’ INT in the red zone late in the second half

  • Sims had his tight end OPEN and yet he threw a flat pass (pictured above), which was easily picked off and killed a potential TD drive that could’ve turned into a razor-thin Bama lead.

Absence of the run game

  • With only TJ Yeldon to carry the ball consistently, with backup Henry not completely healthy, Kiffin stuck with the passing game and didn’t use a lot of time on the clock.
  • That hurt Bama’s defense, which was tired of having to chase Ohio State around the field.
  • This also let Ohio State dictate the pace of the game.

Bama’s BAD 3rd down conversion rate

  • Bama went 2-for-13 in the game, when Ohio State went 10-for-18!
  • You don’t win games with stats like those.

Cardale Jones’ precise TD throw to Devin Smith to the front corner of the end zone

  • He showed why he went to OSU and how good he really is.
  • Jones threw it to where his receiver Devin Smith could be the only one to get it. WOW!
  • Side note: I’m loving this potential QB controversy in the brewing with THREE starting quarterbacks for the Buckeyes!