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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Month out mock draft

With the NFL draft now a month away - give or take a few days - here's how I see things breaking down at this point.

I'm sure things will change greatly over the next month, and I'm sure this mock won't make everyone happy. But it was something to do on a rainy night in the office.

I'll do at least one more mock as we slowly press towards the draft - which is ridiculously late this year.

1. Houston, Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida. Bill O’Brien got a first-hand look at Bortles last season when he went into State College and beat the Nittany Lions.

2. St. Louis (from Washington), Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn. The Rams need to see exactly what they have in QB Sam Bradford, but they can’t keep him healthy because the line is so bad.

3. Jacksonville, Jadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. Jacksonville has been trying to find pass rushers for the better part of the last 10 years.

4.  Cleveland, Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. The Browns didn’t go to Manziel’s pro day, then scheduled a private meeting with him. Sammy Watkins would make sense, too, but what good are wideouts if you don’t have someone to get them the ball?

5. Oakland, Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson. The Raiders just traded for Matt Schaub to take QB off the board. Now, they get Schaub a toy.

6. Atlanta, Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo. The Falcons would have liked to get Clowney to pump up their pass rush and could move up to get him. But they settle for Mack here, and that’s not a bad thing.

7.  Tampa Bay, Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. The Bucs need help all the way across the line and get it here.

8. Minnesota, Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville. The Christian Ponder experiment is over.

9. Buffalo, Taylor, Lewan, OT, Michigan. The Bills need a right tackle and Lewan looks more like a RT in the NFL than a LT to me.

10. Detroit, Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State. The Lions need help in the secondary. It will be tough to pass on the home state kid in Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State, but Gilbert’s speed and return ability make the difference.

11. Tennessee, Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State. After losing Pro Bowl corner Alterraun Verner in free agency, the Titans could use a replacement.

12. N.Y. Giants, Aaron Donald, DT. Pitt. Donald is the perfect fit for New York’s attacking front four.

13. St. Louis, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama. The Rams could go WR here but they can get one later. What they can't do is get the best safety available. And rumor has it they love Clinton-Dix.

14.   Chicago, Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State. Jernigan was dominating the national championship game until gassing out in the fourth quarter.

15.   Pittsburgh, Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M. With both top corners gone, the Steelers breath a sigh of relief that Evans isn't. If he and both top corners are gone, look for a trade back.

16.   Dallas, Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville. The Cowboys defense has been a mess on the back end for years.

17.   Baltimore, Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina. The Ravens could use defensive help, but Ebron is too good to pass up.

18.   N.Y. Jets, Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame. The Jets could use a playmaker on offense, but Martin’s a nice value pick for a team that needs guard help.

19.   Miami, Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama. The Dolphins would have preferred Martin, but settle for Kouandjio.

20.   Arizona, Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State. The Cardinals go for the value. And Carson Palmer is now 34 years old.

21.   Green Bay, Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA. The Packers could use help anywhere on their defensive front.

22.   Philadelphia, Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State. Shazier has outstanding speed, which will fit in well with what the Eagles are trying to build.

23.   Kansas City, Marquise Lee, WR, USC. The Chiefs struck out with Jonathan Baldwin a couple of years ago. But Lee is a more proven commodity.

24.   Cincinnati, Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri. Michael Sams got all the publicity, but Ealy’s the better pro prospect.

25.   San Diego, Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame. The Chargers need a run stuffer in the middle of their 3-4.

26.   Cleveland, Brandon Cooks, WR, Oregon State. The Browns got their QB early in the draft and now get the fastest player in this draft later.

27.   New Orleans, Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech. Here's a darkhorse pick for the Steelers if Gilbert and Dennard are gone.

28.   Carolina, Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State. The Panthers are basically starting over at wide receiver.

29.   New England, Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State. Crichton is the kind of disruptive athlete Belichick likes.

30.   San Francisco, Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU. The 49ers don’t have enough playmakers on offense.

31.   Denver, Dee Ford, DE/LB Auburn. An additional pass rusher for the Broncos.

32.   Seattle, Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame. The Seahawks suffered some defensive line losses and get a good value pick in Tuitt.


HACK said...

EVANS is the dream pick...I hope it falls just like this....if they trade back...picks plus Benjamin would be a nice PLAN B

Michael Frazer said...

Do you really think Mike Evans and Antonio Brown can coexist for more than a year or two?

Michael Frazer said...

To clarify, can Evans accept playing second-fiddle? Brown has been too good to demote unless Evans outperforms him by a wide margin.

adamg said...

Last time I looked, the Steelers needed a run stuffing NT in their 3-4, too. The lack of one was the main reason the defense was subpar last season.

There's no need to waste a 15 pick on a WR. Antonio Brown was a 6th rounder, Hines Ward a 3rd rounder, John Stallworth a 4th round choice.

Dale Lolley said...

Why wouldn't they co-exist? Ward and Burress "Co-existed" just fine.

Did Roddy White pout when the Falcons took Julio Jones?

It happens all the time.

Last time I checked, they play at least two receivers on the field 95 percent of the time. So I'm not sure where any "demotion" would come into play.

The nose tackle wasn't the biggest problem in the run defense last year adam. And a nose tackle in the first round? I just don't see the need to take a guy who's on the field for 15-20 snaps per game at best in the first round.

Get somebody who actually touches the ball and can score touchdowns.

Dale Lolley said...

By the way, adam. You named three receivers drafted in the late rounds over the span of 40 years who panned out. How many other guys were drafted in the late rounds during those 40 years didn't?

datruth4life said...

Dale, if Mike Evans is there at no. 15, K. Colbert and company should run to the podium. ILB C.J. Mosley couldn't cut it in your first round mock? You are a tough prognosticator, lol. Good mock.

What are the Steelers' thoughts on the ILB position opposite Timmons? A trade down and a selection of R. Shazier would look pretty good next to Timmons. Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

Mosley has some injury issues that could drop him. I see him going somewhere in the 20s, but in this one, he didn't.

They like Vince Williams and don't be surprised if Moats isn't worked in there as well at some point.

Dale Lolley said...

BTW, Shazier's history of hamstring issues scares me with him as well. He pulled up lame at his pro day.

For a guy whose game is built on his speed, that's not good.

Anonymous said...

The Steelers have won 5 of their 6 superbowls with a 1st round WR in the starting lineup. Some people say that they dont need to draft receivers high in the draft because they develop lower round receivers so well, but Superbowl history says that they do need a 1st round WR. Hines Ward was a special player and person, but the other lower round WR's didn't produce superbowls. Give me the impact WR in round 1 Evans or Benjamin!

Anonymous said...

any chance nix falls to the second round? would the steelers move up in the second to grab him if he did?

Brian C. Iddon said...

Great mock Dale, you certainly have done your homework! Any chance the Steelers would take Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA if he is available instead of Evans?

Mike Frazer said...

Dale, all good reasons. I just feel like there would eventually be a battle of egos, either between thetwo WRs or between one of them and the coaching staff. It's not to say Evans isn't worth the pick -- and if the draft fell this way, I don't know that I would take anyone else at 15. I'd love to see a trade down to regain the 3rd rounder.

adamg said...

Dale, how many of the Steeler 1st round WRs panned out? Burress? Out after his rookie contract. Holmes? Same thing despite his SB MVP award. Troy Edwards? Louis Lipps? Good, but never great. Charles Johnson?

How about 1st round NTs? Joel Steed and Hampton both played twenty years combined for the Steelers, made Pro Bowls and anchored some of the best defenses ever.

I'd rather have 15-20 run stuffing plays from a NT leading to 2nd/3rd and long and max blitz situations that get 3 and outs than a WR who might make 3-4 catches a game.

BTW, how many SBs has Calvin Johnson brought Det or White/Jones got for Atl or Green for Cincy?

Anonymous said...

Dale - u r dreaming. Evans will go top 10. If he and the 2 corners are gone will the Steelers draft Ebron? I think thats gonna be their best option

Anonymous said...

@ adamg, I know exactly where you are coming from with the nose tackle,we do need one, but Casey was a 1st rounder and Steed was a 3rd rounder. To pick a nose tackle in the 1st you have to be special and Nix is not special. Casey had over 300 total tackles, over 50 tackles for a loss, and around 10 career sacks during his time in college. He was much much more than a space eater in college. Nix I don't think has anywhere close to Casey's production in college. Now if Nix was available in the 2nd round, I would jump for joy.

NineFingers said...

Dale -

Doubt it would happen, but what do you think the Steelers would do if Evans AND one of the top 2 corners are still available? Would they take the WR or the CB?

datruth4life said...

Dale, didn't really know about Shazier's history of hamstring injuries. Some top projected player is going to fall and be staring the Steelers in the eyes at no. 15. Here's hoping K. Colbert sticks to his board and don't reach to try and fill a need. Steelers are in a good position to move back this year in the draft if they want.

Noel said...

I don't like Nix as the choice if they go d-line early but there are a couple of DEs that I think would help the D more than CBs. If everything works up front you can make late-round Corners look like first-rounders.

Dale Lolley said...

Barr would be a luxury item for the Steelersm in my opinion. He's talented for sure. And I had trouble dropping him that far. But he's still very raw, especially against the run. Outstanding pass rusher, though, so he could go earlier.

I think if both top CBs are there, they take one over the receivers and take a receiver in the second.

Slab said...

Would love to see Evans or one of the top corners fall to the Steelers. I think Evans could be a real difference maker. If they aren't there at pick 15, I could see Mosley if he checks out medically. CB and WR could be taken in the 2nd and 3rd. Mosley could be an everydown, young, fast player on the defense for years to come. All depends on what they think of Williams and Spence as long term fixes. If the Steelers aren't sold on Mosley due to health or perceived lack of need, I could see Ebron. They really don't have a TE after Heath that makes much of a difference. The offense seemed to really get better when Heath and Bell got back. Blount should be an improved Bell insurance, but no one is behind Heath.

steeler junky said...

Hey Dale,
Good mock, Only thing that sticks out to me is Chicago Bears pick. They just signed Jared Allen and they have no starting safety. They signed 4 back up FA type safeties so far this spring.
They could take a Safety in the 2nd. But might they also take one in the 1st

Dale Lolley said...

I like Jimmy Ward of N. Illinois in the second round to the Bears - if he lasts. Would be a good local fit for them as well.

Anonymous said...

I read that Mike Evans hired some rappers to be his agents. That doesn't seem like Dan Rooney's cup of tea, do you think it would make them take him off their board?

Randy Steele said...

Looks reasonable. Surprisingly so.

Dale Lolley said...

No, I don't think that will affect if they draft him or not. What makes them any worse than, say, Drew Rosenhous?

Patrick said...

this mock really shows how deep this draft is. And because of that maybe it isn't so crazy that Mike Evans falls to 15 much the same way DeCastro and Jones did.

The Quarterbacks could really determine whether a guy like Evans, Dennard or Gilbert is there at 15 or whether the steelers trade down.

If 3 QBs go in the top 14 picks, then one of those guys will be there. I highly doubt 3 QBs go that high, but lets say Manziel or Bortles falls to 15 (or a team falls in love with Bridgewater or Carr), maybe the Steelers have a chance to pull a trade down.

And before anyone says I am insane for thinking Manziel may last until 15 or a team falls in love with Bridgewater or Carr, take a look at the first round QBs over the last 5 years.

Excited to see what the Steelers do. Sucks its so far away this year.

marc said...

just remember trading down isn't automatic, someone has to trade up too. and, if this draft is actually as deep as everyone says it is, teams will be giving the steelers less than in the past to move up.

TarheelFlyer said...

I look at the draft like this:

4 QBs (Bortles, Carr, Bridgewater, Manziel)
3 OTs (Robinson, Matthews, Lewan)
2 WRs (Watkins and Evans)
2 CBs (Gilbert and Dennard)
3 Defensive Players (Clowney, Barr, Mack)

There will be some options for guys who don't fit into this mix as well.

HaHa Dix

Some of these guys just don't fit for us, but all it takes is a couple of guys getting overdrafted and we will once again be looking at one of our top targets.

Personally, I see us looking to potentially slide back a little if possible, but looking to get Fuller (CB) or Benjamin (WR).

Steve-O said...

Now that Mike Williams has been traded to the Bills I think your draft scenario is becoming much more feasible (assuming TB still drafts a tackle). Evans would be a fantastic addition and for one would be just fine with the next 3 picks going to the defense.

Patrick said...

The Williams trade basically takes Evans off the board at 15. TB will take him

Dale Lolley said...

We'll see about that Patrick. They got Williams in the fourth round.

This is a deep WR draft. If you feel like you need line help, you might jump on that early and grab a receiver later.

Steve said...

It's funny that even with the consensus being that this is a very deep wr class some are convinced that every team in the market for a receiver is going to say "we have to draft one in the first no matter what".

As far as Tampa, isn't Vincent Jackson the wr Evans has been compared to most? Iow, they wouldn't compliment each other well. Would make more sense for them to be targeting Watkins if they're planning on drafting a wr in the first.

Patrick said...

I don't think every team in the first that needs a WR is taking one. But I do think Watkins goes top 5, possibly top 3 and Evans might go top 10, and almost definitely top 14.

If 3 QBs go in the top 14 then maybe Evans is there. But I think Clowney will go No. 1 and Bortles or Mazniel somewhere in between. I really think Manziel or Bortles is going to fall and be there at 15 so maybe the Steelers can trade. I'd be pretty surprised if Bridgewater goes top 15.

So I think the top two WR's, who are both freaks, are going top 14. That is a far cry from every team in the first that needs a WR taking one.

Noel said...

Tampa Bay might also grab a QB and stock up on WRs later. They've hinted quite strongly in that direction.

Anonymous Brian said...

I find the schedule release more exciting than the draft.

I still think that picking names out of a hat - or something similar to the way Dwayne on What's Happenin' made football bets based on helmet color in one episode - would be about even as far as hits and misses on draft picks, in the long run. Maybe Cleveland should try this as an experiment, for three years.

I don't watch much college football, so my opinions are completely stolen from other people and two minutes of highlight reels.

But, last year, I really possibly somehow wanted Eifert, Arthur Brown, and / or Keenan Allen. (Did Brown play at all with the Ravens?)

(Incidentally, while I understand it to a degree, the hand-wringing about "value" drives me crazy. If the Chargers - or the Steelers - had drafted Allen last year in the second round when - oh my lordie lord! - they could have gotten him a whole round later, that this is somehow a mistake by this way of thinking, again, I get it, but I dunno...)

This year I like Ebron, Mosely, Telvin Smith, K. Fuller, and A. Robinson & J. Landry as WRs. In no particular order and I know you can't have them all, etc. This all by the one minute of highlights crossed with imagining them in Steelers uniforms method.

If I were a doctor and could check out Mosely injury-wise I would take him first.

Some think Ebron might be a bit of a project. But he is young. Jarvis Jones is possibly a project (as a pass rusher who can beat an NFL tackle straight up) but he's already on the old side of young. Supposedly could also argue against Ebron's blocking but, again, he's young, and if the blocking TEs such as Paulson are going to be de-cleated by Bengals CBs, what's the difference?

Also the talk (of various teams) "grabbing one of the top two corners," as if there's not much difference, is weird. I know nothing about either (apparently one is like Cromartie) but even knowing nothing I will bet my left front tire that one of them ends up being a good corner and one a Brice.

Also the Steelers do not seem to place much importance on CBs. I'm sure they'd like better ones, but all things being equal, can live with the solid tackler, etc. as long as 2008 James Harrison is around. So maybe different this year?

Schedule release in the next couple weeks, right?

It's lonely, I tell you, someone I share an office with is always talking about the draft - Pats fan! - and I just want to be able to figure out which games are night games, etc.

Anonymous said...

I see Chris Johnson was released by TN. If the Steelers are looking for a "scat back", he'd fit the description not to mention knowing Munchack from TN.

Noel said...

Excellent post, anonymous Brian. I agree with you wholeheartedly on the 'value' issue and share your scouting style, haha!

Dale Lolley said...

No to Chris Johnson. Couldn't afford him even if they wanted him.

Schedule comes out April 17.

And Paulson a blocking tight end? Not even on his best day. He was considered a receiving tight end who might turn into a blocker

Mizou said...

Anonymous Brian:

I feel similarly about the whole "value" concept with the draft. I mean, on one hand you have the Cowboys taking a 5th round Center in the 1st round. Okay, I understand, don't do that.

On the other hand, people were saying that 18 (I believe) was way too high to pick an interior lineman, especially a Center. Frankly, 4 years later, does anybody care that we picked Pouncey a few spots "too early"? Is it really so shameful that we, theoretically, could have traded back about 5 spots and gotten better "value" for him? Guy's a Pro Bowl Center for goodness sakes. I think the value worked out just fine with him.

Anonymous said...

You guys are killing me. Your observation that value is not known ahead of time is somewhat of a draft buzz kill. I also thought that 2 minute highlight reels and a draft magazine made me an expert. That being said I hope either Evans, Gilbert, or Dennard fall to 15.

kyle said...

Reasonable people don't care if you pick a guy 5 spots early or get a guy 5 spots late. Nobody can accurately predict draft value with that much precision because it's all based on assumptions.

That being said, if you completely cast aside the idea of value you end up being the Raiders. Do you want to be the Raiders? Do you want a kicker in the first round? How about a punter?

It's pretty simple. Don't skip a guy you really like just because you can't trade back 10 spots but don't take a guy you could possibly get a round later because you're paranoid either.

I also think none of this matters after the third round. Once you get past the first 100 players, value becomes even more subjective.

Noel said...

It's also better than talking about the salary cap for another month. I love the draft talk regardless of the value issue and will keep watching all those two minute videos because it's what I have time for but I do like Anonymous Brian's perspective once in a while.

Anonymous said...

In my experience all you can do is trust the people whose job it is to evaluate these players to have done their homework.

Even then, the NFL is such an elite league - equal parts physical and mental - it's still a crap-shoot.

Patrick said...

so I'm bored and playing around on's draft site to look at prospects.

Does anyone know anything about this guy, Daniel McCullers?

He is 6'7 and 352 lbs!? And apparently carries it well and is relatively lean?

I'd be tempted to draft that guy on size alone and hope Mitchell can make something special. Anybody watch him in college?

kyle said...


I've seen several fan mocks that have the Steelers picking up McCullers in the middle rounds.

My concerns with him would be he's too tall and plays too tall to be a NT but he's too heavy to be a 3/4 DE.

Like you said, his size alone makes him intriguing. I'll be curious if the Steelers bring him in for a visit. Since his current draft stock seems to be around the 4th I wouldn't lose any sleep if the Steelers pick him up then or maybe even in the 5th if he's still on the board.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't see McCullers as being a possibility for the Steelers. Too tall to play the nose. He might not have gotten pushed out of there in college, but pros will be able to handle him.

And he's not athletic enough to play end.