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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)

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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?

I was Wrong: The Seahawks Haven’t Given Up this Season

After the Percy Harvin trade to the New York Jets, I said that this season and their Super Bowl hopes were done. I was wrong. Why?

russell wilson

In their six-game winning streak, the defense only gave up 39 points! That’s pretty dang good in my book, an average of 6.5 points per game scored by their opponents.

Their roster is getting healthy at the right time, with the timely return of Bobby Wagner jumpstarting their winning streak.

Also, their defense’s mojo has been discovered again with their ballhawk, hard-hitting defense led by the likes of Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

  • Their offense was timely and was cohesive, went back to the basics of the run game featuring Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch

Lynch has rushed for 1,306 yards on 280 carries for 13 rushing touchdowns, with a so-so 4.7 yard-per-carry average. But, his bruising style will get you the necessary yardage to keep drives alive. He’s rushed for over 100 yards six times this season, as well.

An interesting stat is how Lynch rushed most on first and second down, with 250 rushing attempts on those downs, combining for 10 of his 13 touchdowns.

  • Injuries to their division foes at key positions (i.e. QB)

Arizona Cardinals were rolling… until their QB Carson Palmer went down with an ACL tear and was out for the rest of the season. Drew Stanton was an adequate replacement, but when he got injured before the season’s end, the Cardinals had to turn to their third QB Ryan Lindley. Sorry, Ryan, but you don’t scare anyone.

The St. Louis Rams lost their starting QB earlier than that, in Sam Bradford, and have not been looking good since with career backup QB Shaun Hill or undrafted rookie Austin Davis.

Guess the Seahawks got lucky on that one, but injuries happen every season. Still, this turnaround shocked everyone, at least the commentators, and good for the Seahawks; way to go.

Top 5 QB’s in the 2015 #NFL Draft

oregon nike green white

1. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

He is very accurate in the spread system, can throw while on the run pretty accurately, and has a great knack for feeling holes in zone defenses. But, my major concern is his deep throw and accuracy. Still, he is very clutch and determined, and will not turn over the ball in his offensive system (he has a career TD-to-INT ratio of 103-to-13!). He should be the top pick in the NFL draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under coach Lovie Smith.

2. Jameis Winston, Florida State

Famous Jameis, Crab Legs Jameis, Publix, all that controversy is off the field. But, he has a live NFL arm, can fit passes in seams, throws the receiver open. Yet, he had turnover problems all year with an inexperienced receiving corps (aside from Rashad Greene and Nick O’Leary) and a bad offensive line. His crucial-yet-crazy fumble against Oregon in the national playoff semifinal game at the Rose Bowl was just bad luck, but he has thrown 18 picks this year to 25 touchdowns. Last season, when Florida State won the title with NFLers like Kelvin Benjamin, Jameis threw 40 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions! Crazy how NFL talent helps out.

He will be the second quarterback taken off the board in the draft, possibly in the top 10 since NFL teams need quarterbacks. He could go to the Redskins at number 5 overall, or even to the Titans at number 2.

3. Brett Hundley, UCLA

He was the next great quarterback off to the NFL, but he failed to impress. Happy feet (i.e. bad footwork) due to a bad offensive line, not trusting receivers to get open, taking unnecessary sacks…you name it, Hundley probably did it this year. But, he has a decent arm, good size (6-3, 227 pounds) and he really got better late in the season.

But, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks pointed out he finished the season strong.

Since a disappointing performance against Utah, the Bruins’ star quarterback has been arguably the best player in college football. He has completed 71.6 percent of his passes (151 of 211 attempts) for 1,563 yards with a 11:3 touchdown to interception ratio during the team’s last six games. Hundley has rushed for 444 yards and six touchdowns during that span while guiding the Bruins to a 5-1 mark.

Yet, there are scouts who say Hundley will be a “bust“:

“He’s going to be a bust,” the scout said. “He’s one of those guys who seems to lock in right away. His shortcoming is accuracy.”

I think he goes in the first round as a project, like a Johnny Manziel-waiting-in-the-wings type player (but without the drama).

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Baylor

4. Bryce Petty, Baylor

The pass-happy offense at Baylor definitely inflated his stats, but he could be a good backup in the NFL. I personally don’t see him as a NFL starter, unless he can be taught pocket presence and how to avoid the pass rush better. He is accurate in the Baylor’s coach Art Briles’ offensive system, but he is not very mobile. But, don’t count out Petty’s smarts and IQ since he didn’t have pure athleticism to rely on (unlike Robert Griffin III). Briles even called him this year’s Blake Bortles (the UCF QB who was Jacksonville’s top pick last year).

But, CBS Sports had the following to say about Petty’s downfield throws:

Petty tests a lot of vertical throws with a lot of bucket tosses, but he doesn’t throw for a high percentage downfield and often throws up passes that can be best categorized as 50-50 balls.

5. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State

With Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott officially out of the picture, returning to school for another year, Grayson shot up the draft boards. He had a great season under the tutelage of former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain (who left for Florida at season’s end) and put up great stats. He put up 32 touchdowns to 6 interceptions for the Mountain West’s surprising 2014 team in the Rams before their bowl game.

Early in the season, NFL.com reported that scouts were getting higher on Grayson:

Grayson is a good decision-maker and has really emerged now that Derek Carr and David Fales have left the conference…

Still, Grayson didn’t perform well in their bowl game against the Utah Utes, going 20-for-34 for 227 yards, no touchdowns and 1 interception. He was pressured all day, forced to rush passes and to scramble even when Utah did not blitz often. Reports indicate that he’ll go between the 3rd and 4th rounds and could be a steal.

If you want to see a good list of potential QB’s in the 2015 draft, check out CBS’s rankings HERE.

Hat tip: Bucky Brooks’ piece on NFL.com and Matt Miller’s on Bleacher Report.

My Really Bad #NFL Predictions for 2014!

It’s always humbling to look back at your predictions and just think, “What the heck was I thinking?!” But hey, that’s blogging and writing in general, so whatever. Let’s take a look at what I said at the start of this past NFL season.

aaron rodgers

NFC predictions:

  • NFC East: Philadelphia “Barnstorming Chip Kelly Offense” Eagles
  • NFC South: New Orleans “WHO DAT DREW BREES” Saints
  • NFC North: Green Bay “It’s Freaking Cold and We’ll Beat You Anyway” Packers
  • NFC West: Seattle “We Grab You and Will Get Flagged for It” Seahawks
  • Wild cards:
    • Washington “We Don’t Care About the Media-Created Nickname Controversy”
    • Atlanta “Matty Ice Means Only One Playoff Win” Falcons

AFC predictions:

  • AFC East: New England Patriots, or just the Bill Brady’s or Tom Belichicks
  • AFC South: J.J. Watts, Jadeveon Clowney and Houston Texans
  • AFC North: Cincinnati “We Have a Ginger as our QB” Bengals
  • AFC West: DenverLet’s Win Peyton Another Title” Broncos
  • Wild cards:
    • Kansas City “Our Coach Looks Like the Kool-Aid Guy” Chiefs
    • Indianapolis “Cue the LUCK-Y Headlines” Colts

Think those picks were bad? Check out my playoff bracket:

NFC Conference Championship: Eagles-Saints

AFC Conference Championship: Patriots-Broncos

Super Bowl match-up: Broncos-Eagles

Super Bowl Champion: Broncos

So here’s what I got right:

  1. The Packers won the NFC North (and Jordy Nelson made a case this season to have a statue at Lambeau Field, next to Aaron Rodgers)
  2. The Seattle won the NFC West
  3. The Patriots won the AFC East
  4. The Broncos the AFC West

What I got wrong? LOTS:

  • The Cowboys won the NFC East, not the Eagles
  • The Redskins and Falcons crashed in spectacular fashion and didn’t even make .500
  • Colts won the division and the Texans barely missed out
  • Cincinnati couldn’t beat Pittsburgh for the AFC North division title
  • The New Orleans Saints are doing their best “Aints” impression the last couple seasons
  • The Ravens squeaked into the playoffs and the Chiefs did not

russell wilson

VERDICT: THE NFL IS SO UNPREDICTABLE AND I LOVE IT!

*Editor’s note: I erroneously said the Chiefs made the playoffs, but the Ravens and Bengals did instead. Thanks to Garrett for pointing that out!