When it comes to mock drafts, it is important to distinguish between what I think WILL happen and what I believe SHOULD happen. Most write mock drafts based on their predictions of what will happen. A fun and creative exercise is to write what you think SHOULD happen. This mock draft will be a mix of football philosophy, positional value, my personal rankings, and the value above replacement by position to determine the correct selection.
- CLE- DeShone Kizer QB ND- Shocker. This will not happen, but it should. Kizer is this year’s QB1, and it really is not close. When you watch Kizer, you need to watch 2015, as 2016 had so many extenuating circumstances that affected his play (therefore, it is a lot tougher to evaluate him). The talent around him was atrocious and he appeared to be hurt during the second half of the season. The 2015 season showed what Kizer can do if given playable talent around him. Even in 2016, despite always playing from behind, he made a number of tight window throws and plays under pressure that made your jaw drop. His pocket movement skills and ability to process information quickly were on display, despite the tough year. Almost all of the issues I saw with him can be explained easily by the circumstances he played under, and this appears to be the Dan Marino 1983 syndrome all over again (look for what was wrong and not what was right, due to high expectations). He reminds me a lot of Donovan McNabb as a player, and while he probably will never be the best in the league, he is good enough to win a Super Bowl. Those players belong at the top of the draft.
- SF- Myles Garrett EDGE TAMU- Garrett is simply too talented at one of the pillar positions to think about anyone else. He immediately gives you someone to build your D around and sets up the Niners perfectly to be ready to go in 2019 after they get their QB next season.
- CHI- Solomon Thomas EDGE STAN- I don’t think Thomas is getting talked about enough. His problem will be that teams do not know where to fit him. Is he a 3-4 end that goes inside on passing downs or is he quick enough off the edge to play end in a 4-3? We have seen this before with a player who compares very favorably to Thomas: Justin Smith. Hand skills win at the next level, so with a guy with that skill, line him up wherever you want. He will produce at all positions because of those hand skills, as well as an array of pass rush moves. He is definitely not a one trick pony. I think he can play 4-3 end as his best position, but I think he will be excellent wherever he is lined up.
- JAX- Malik Hooker S OSU- In the NFL, guys who are awesome in the passing game go high, and if you are not, then you drop (See: Reggie Ragland, Jarran Reed in 2016. Easiest drop to call, ever.). While Hooker’s positional value is not great, it is growing in today’s defensive game. His instincts allow him to play any type of zone you need. At safety, I think a more important skill than pure athleticism is processing information, diagnosing, and quick reaction skills. Hooker excels in all three. Is he raw? Absolutely. Does he need to improve against the run in his angles and tackling? You bet. But he is awesome in the most important area of the field, the area that leads to the most winning: the pass. I can see him being awful for 1-2 years, and then being a perennial all-star for the rest of his career. He just needs time. If only Jacksonville had a QB, then they would be ready to roll (Blake Bortles should never start an NFL game ever again.).
- TEN- Corey Davis WR WMU- This seems like a match made in heaven. Mariota’s short to intermediate accuracy is excellent, and his ability allows players to make plays after the catch. What are Davis’s strengths? Route running and ability after the catch. They are desperate for a WR to let their franchise QB (one of the next great QB’s if Mike Mularkey gets out of the way) blossom. I could see two pass catchers being taken relatively early by Tennessee this year. Remember, they have pick 18, as well.
- NYJ- Marshon Lattimore CB OSU- The Jets are tanking. It looks fairly obvious. So what pick do you make that maximizes their chances of successfully doing that, while also adding talent to the team long-term? Take a position that sometimes has a harder time translating and also does not have an immediate in the win column. Cornerback fits the bill here. Lattimore gives them an immediate upgrade at corner to play along with Mo Claiborne, and they can still watch their offense (and QB) be an absolute train wreck in 2017 to get a top QB in the 2018 draft. For me, Lattimore is a top 3-5 player in this class. He’s an athletic freak that can be a potential lockdown guy at the next level. He is explosive and has fluid change of direction ability, can drive on the ball in a hurry. Do I worry about the hamstrings? Maybe a little, but with a healthy 2016 and no chronic history at the school, I am comfortable selecting him this high because of positional value and talent.
- LAC- Malik McDowell DT MSU- Many of you will be outraged at this selection. “McDowell ahead of Allen?!? Are you crazy?” To answer the second question, absolutely. But this is not why. There are a number of justifications for this. McDowell has more raw talent than Allen, especially when it comes to penetration and disruption. Does McDowell need to be motivated and focused to reach his maximum potential in the league? Absolutely. But his issue is not hard drug related or medical, and those are two much bigger red flags to me than motivation. McDowell absolutely DOMINATES when he plays hard. I am willing to bet on my team getting him to play hard compared to trying to bet on an Alabama defensive player staying healthy in the pros coming off of 2 shoulder surgeries in college. I’ll take talent every time.
- CAR- OJ Howard TE BAMA- If OJ Howard was just a wide receiver, I think I would put him as the #2 WR in this class. That is how freakishly athletic he is. He’s a matchup nightmare with speed against LB’s, athleticism and size against defensive backs, and elite ball skills. I’m not afraid to line him up in any position: out wide, in the slot, in line, or even in the backfield. My favorite ability of his is the “pluck it” mentality. His length is ideally suited for Cam Newton, who now can literally play basketball on grass with the size at his disposal. I need this team to transform into a passing offense, and I actually almost mocked John Ross here due to the need for a field stretcher. Howard is too good to pass up on.
Nice finish here from Alabama tight end OJ Howard pulling around on a Scarborough TD run. pic.twitter.com/9HtyG3mOWJ
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) March 23, 2017
- CIN- Haason Reddick LB TEMP- Yes, I have Reuben Foster behind Haason Reddick. Bold? Yes. Stupid? Maybe. It is not a knock on Foster; I absolutely love that player. The problem is I love Reddick too, and he does not go to Long Term Injury U. I would also say Reddick looks to be a better player in coverage, which adds to the tie breaker for me. Reddick shows elite change of direction and explosiveness. He actually started out as a defensive back, so I think he can be an awesome cover LB at the next level. He also has experience rushing the passer, which is a huge bonus. Cincinnati is a perfect fit for him, as he really needs to be in a 4-3 to thrive. I hate LB value high, unless they have legit cover ability. This year has 2 great prospects at the position, so there’s an exception this year. I think with time, Reddick can be a Lavonte David/Derrick Brooks type of player.
— Cover 1 (@Cover1Bills) March 31, 2017
- BUF- John Ross WR WASH- “So wait, you are really concerned about injuries for previous picks, yet mock a guy to the Bills with two major knee surgeries?” Yes. Here is why: they were not to the same knee. That is the biggest concern with major knee injuries. It would be a major red flag if his same knee was injured twice. Because there was one on each knee, I am not nearly as concerned as if it was two to one of the knees. You have to treat each individual body part as its own entity. You don’t get to add up the different injuries and say a player is going to have this problem long term. It’s not historically accurate. With his world class speed and under-appreciated football ability, Ross is my #2 WR ahead of Mike Williams. Sure, the speed is amazing and will get all the hype, but he is a very efficient red zone player. He also shows a unique ability to “get small” in areas to get through traffic on slants and inside breaking routes in limited space. He scores on fades, which is interesting for a guy his size. You cannot teach his god given gifts, but what he currently lacks in working back to the QB and running crisp routes in the shorter areas of the field can be taught. His ridiculous speed also opens up underneath routes for other players, dictates coverages, and makes it easier for him to run underneath routes as DBs open their hips too early. All of this is not even getting to the fact that you have a very good deep ball thrower at QB. Imagine Ross and Watkins on the same field. You can’t double team everyone . . .
— Cover 1 (@Cover1Bills) March 5, 2017
- NO- Mike Williams WR CLEM- Drew Brees thinks he can play seven more years. Well, if that’s the case, then we’d better give him some pass catchers to maximize his stretch run at a Super Bowl. Michael Thomas is a stud, but Willie Snead is just a guy and Coby Fleener is the most overpaid TE in football. Williams gives Brees that big red zone target he can rely on who plucks the ball out of the air as a hands catcher, something young WRs often can’t do, instead choosing to use their physical athleticism and let it get into their body. I do not think Williams will ever be great, but I think he will be really good. This is a perfect situation for him.
- CLE- Jonathan Allen DT BAMA- This was a hard pick to make, because I don’t think they pick at 12. I doubt they wind up making this selection, choosing instead to trade out of this pick. They will likely target a defensive back, trading up for one or trading down to accumulate picks. If they are forced to stay here, Allen is by far the best available player. The value outweighs the long term health risk. Always remember, Alabama players often have long term injury concerns in the pros. If he stays healthy, then the Browns’ lineup will include Allen, Garrett, Jamie Collins, and last year’s pick Emmanuel Ogbah; they have A LOT of talent on the front seven of this defense. Cleveland is stockpiling picks, so this is a chance they can absolutely afford to take for the payoff. I think Cleveland is going to be fine.
- ARI- Reuben Foster LB BAMA- Foster fits like a glove in Arizona. Not only do they currently lack a playmaker in the middle of that defense (Deone Buchanon is not good at the playing of the football), but they play a similar style as what he played in college. While Arizona lost Calais Campbell in the offseason, there is still plenty of talent on the defense led by Chandler Jones, Tyrann Matheiu, and Patrick Peterson. Adding a complete LB to start and be effective day 1 like Foster gives them just a brute of a unit. The only concern is the Alabama injury history, something Foster had a problem with early in his college career. If he is healthy long term, then he could be among the best LBs in the league.
- PHI- Gareon Conley CB OSU- Many will see this as a shock, but Conley is legit and should be a first round pick. The NFL today looks for length and speed, and he has plenty of each (ran a 4.44 40 yard dash at 6’0” and 33” arms). He is instinctive in coverage, has quick feet, and often is able to pin receivers to the sidelines. These are traits that translate very well today’s style of defense, and especially Jim Schwartz’s defense. He definitely needs to work on his coverage when in off the ball coverage, but if placed in a pressing style of defense that allows his length to be used heavily, he will thrive. Reminds me a lot of Josh Norman in style, and the profile is almost exactly the same (6’0”, 32 ¾” arm length, Conley is just a lot faster). This is a deep, deep sleeper for the Bills in round 1.
- IND- Cam Robinson OT BAMA- The Colts’ left side of their offensive line is set with 3 solid starters. The right side, on the other hand, is an absolute train wreck. Robinson offers an immediate major upgrade on the right side, where he best projects. Balance in pass protection and average feet force him to the right side. That said, he is a mover and very powerful in the run game, and he has a ton of experience against pro talent, having played in the SEC. I do not expect him to be a great talent on the next level, but I expect him to be a solid-to-good starter. This is exactly what the Colts are looking for right now, to protect the most important player on their team, Andrew Luck.
- BAL- Tim Williams EDGE BAMA- I almost put Pat Mahomes here, which would shock many, but it shouldn’t. Flacco has been awful for multiple seasons, and he is the primary reason they are stuck in the middle of the pack. I also would have put Charles Harris here, had the Ravens been a 4-3 base defense. Because they are a 3-4, Williams is the better fit, and he is also a very polarizing prospect. Some will tell you he is a limited player, that he is simply a pass rusher and other areas of the game will prevent him from being really good. I will tell you that pass rushing is literally the most important job his position has by a mile, and the fact that he is awesome at it means he can be excellent. He is working on his edge setting ability. The advancement in that area was notable this year over time, but I am not really concerned with that when I am looking for an EDGE player. I am looking for disrupters, people that can pressure the game’s most important player on a regular basis. Williams does this as well as anybody. Gimme.
- WAS- Pat Mahomes QB TTU- Not only is Kirk Cousins the league’s most overrated QB, but he’s also gone in 2018, barring an unforeseen change of events. Also, the most likely outcome for the team this season is once again in the middle (where mediocre QBs get you stuck real fast), since Cousins will be playing this season. So, the 2018 draft is not really a much better option. The Redskins need to prepare for Cousins’s departure, and they have an opportunity to take a player that looks to have a tremendous ceiling and groom him for a season. Mahomes reminds of Matthew Stafford with his playing style, and he could be very effective with the high level weaponry in the capitol IF he is reigned in. Obviously, you can never take the gun slinging mentality out of a player, but if you can get Mahomes to be more comfortable playing within the confines of an offense, and instead of relying on his playmaking, simply use it as a tool on certain occasions, then he can be fantastic. This is one of those situations where I will say I think coaching will matter here. Can you get Mahomes to play with structure in the pocket, be on time, and not go Jay Cutler on you? It is a very difficult question, but his talent and upside warrant a first round selection. If you are taking a QB, then go boom or bust always, because the middle is literally the worst place you can be in sports. Mahomes will take you either to the promise land, or to the top of the draft. Sounds like a risk worth taking.
- TEN- David Njoku TE MIA- Right now, two of my favorite teams’ moves to watch are Cleveland and the Tennessee. Cleveland isn’t afraid to be different like the rest of the football population, which is awesome and will probably work, since what they are doing makes sense, mathematically speaking. Tennessee is exciting because they already have their QB and a lot of talent on offense. An up and coming offensive line, a future star QB, a good running game, they simply lack talent on the outside to transform their team into a top notch offense. Remember, passing wins the most consistently. Does running help? Sure, but you HAVE TO THROW IT to get to where you want to go. By selecting Davis and Njoku, the Titans diversify and retool their offensive weaponry, and they set themselves up to be the next dominant offense for a decade. Grabbing two different types of complementary talents, this is the type of move that might get people scratching their heads and talking about “needs” on defense, but in the long run, this will work out best with positional value.This is too low for Njoku, but I simply couldn’t fit him in any higher. Njoku is another athletic freak tight end and a target for the Bills if they wind up trading down. Eric Ebron went 10 overall in a good 2014 draft. Both Howard and Njoku are better players than him. These two share elite athleticism and are matchup nightmares with size. He will not be a top notch run blocker with his lack of frame, but I am not drafting skill players to run block. Njoku immediately steps in as a playmaker who could be an All-Pro in 2-3 seasons. Don’t ever worry about drawing up a red zone play again. Ever. If the Bills trade down 8-10 spots and take Njoku, then I would be a happy man. Tennessee now has bookend tackles, a deep and talented RB core, a dynamite route running WR, Delanie Walker, and now an athletic freak at tight end. Oh, and a franchise QB. Jump on the Tennessee bandwagon before it’s too late.
- TB- Charles Harris EDGE MIZZ- You want Harris on your team. It is just that simple. He is a natural pass rusher and has a quick first step. I think he fits best as a 4-3 end more than a 3-4 OLB, but he probably can be functional as an OLB. This works best for Tampa Bay in their 4-3 base. Harris changes direction quickly and has more than one pass rush move. The Buccaneers are desperate for pass rushing, so pairing Harris with 2nd year pro Noah Spence and DT Gerald McCoy will hopefully provide a much improved 2017 pass rush.
- DEN- Ryan Ramczyk OT WIS- He won’t be great, but he has the look of a good-to-very good starting left tackle in the league. For a team desperate for o-line help, the Broncos will definitely take that at pick 20. An extremely safe prospect, Ramczyk comes from the Wisconsin system that is very well coached, and it shows up on tape. He plays with balance and technique in a conference with a lengthy list of future NFL pass rushers. Again, he won’t be great; he does not have the unique athletic abilities to really dominate at the next level. But he should more than hold his own against most defensive players.
- DET- Takkarist McKinley EDGE UCLA- Explosive athlete, McKinley is a projection. He needs to improve in the technical aspects of the game, including hand use, which is huge on the D-line. Luckily, the traits that he lacks are all coachable, and he has the look of relentless play on the field, so I would imagine he is a hard worker off of it. He’s definitely a projection, which drops him a bit in my picks, but a worthy gamble, nonetheless. That really is what you are looking for at the bottom of round 1, often times. Detroit has the QB, most likely, so they can take these gambles on potential that teams at the top and middle cannot afford to do as often. I’ll bet he gets drafted higher than I have him, too. In Detroit’s case, they get a chance to pair McKinley with a dominant Ezekiel Ansah, and perhaps to allow McKinley to develop with much less attention by opposing offenses on him.
- MIA- Jamal Adams S LSU- He is in charge and everyone knows it. What’s funny is I think he would be locked in as the Bills’ pick in a Rex Ryan defense. A natural leader, the defense never seems to be out of position or to misunderstand what they are doing with Adams in charge, and that is the most important aspect of Ryan’s defenses that he lacked in Buffalo. Adams is your prototypical strong safety, and that is exactly why he falls to 22, which will shock many. He gets downhill in a hurry, with impressive instincts and technique in the box, but struggles with anticipation and instincts in deep zone coverage. He does have the size to attempt to matchup against big slot receivers or tight ends, which is a plus. Hooker and Adams would be the perfect compliments to one another. He should be an excellent safety, but he drops because of positional value. Strong safety and guard are 2 of the least important positions on teams. Unless you can cover, you shouldn’t be taken early.
- NYG- Joe Mixon RB OKL- This will spark some controversy. Not only is Mixon in the first round, not only are Fournette and Dalvin Cook still on the board, but Mixon is also the first RB selected overall, at 23! It is simple: running backs do not provide value like they used to. Running back and LB are so much alike, in that only the elite prospects belong high in the draft. If you can find obvious warts, they are best valued at the bottom of round 1. I like the RBs in this class, but there are just too many other more valuable positions. I do think Mixon can be great. He is my RB1, and I am not worried about the off the field issues. From many accounts, he seems to have been a model soldier at Oklahoma after the incident. As a talent, he is a complete player. If I am drafting a first round RB, he’d better be a complete runner, and he’d better be able to play in the passing game. Mixon fulfills both requirements. His footwork is impressive, and I think there is too much of a concern about his vision being inadequate. He was allowed to be very patient in the conference he played in, but I think he can play and see faster, if forced to. He simply was not forced to, which does not mean he can’t. He’s a mismatch in the modern NFL, and he dominates in the pass game. Sign me up. Feel free to worry about off the field stuff; you will miss out. I will take the great–and complete–talent in a passing league.
- OAK- Marlon Humphrey CB BAMA- I am a little more down on Humphrey than a lot of others. He is exactly what you want your CB to look and time like in drills. On the field, I worry that his technique is so poor at times that he will continue trying to rely on his physical abilities, and it will be a crutch throughout his career. Guys who struggle with deep ball skills usually have that stay with them throughout their career, and he also allows receivers to separate too easily at times. I get nervous that his weaknesses will be exploited regularly and his instincts won’t overcome these deficiencies. I worry gifted route runners will can fool him. That said, he plays like Charles Tillman against the run, with his aggressiveness and natural playmaking ability. I think he is going to wind up best suited as a zone corner, which is not worth a top draft choice, compared to other players similarly rated at his position.
Humphrey has issues down the field but did a great job of competing. Right hand affected catch, good concentration by MW. pic.twitter.com/5vgoRl9Lxo
— Cover 1 (@Cover1Bills) March 29, 2017
- HOU- Chidobe Awuzie CB COL- Awuzie is a lot like Teez Tabor in that he is not a great corner against the run, but that is superseded by great coverage ability. The NFL is a passing league. If run support as a corner is your biggest issue, then I am a happy talent evaluator. Awuzie has the long term potential to be a #1 CB. He has change of direction skills, fluid hips, can cover in all defenses and at all cornerback positions, closing burst, confidence, and can even blitz. All of these things are fantastic and translatable skills that can be utilized heavily by a good coordinator. He should be on the rise.
- SEA- Forrest Lamp OG WKU- Seattle needs to finally stop ignoring their offensive line. It is time. In this case, Lamp is a top notch prospect and also fits a need. While the positional value isn’t strong, Seattle can afford to make picks like this because, ahem, they have the one prerequisite every team needs: a great QB. Not much to say about this pick.
— Coach Mike Sanford (@CoachSanfordWKU) March 21, 2017
- KC- Teez Tabor CB FLA- Alex Smith is, and has always been, the biggest problem on the Chiefs. Not a lack of pass catchers, not any other excuse people can come up with. Average QB play DOES NOT WIN SUPER BOWLS. This is a Super Bowl roster that is being held back. However, the bottom of the first round is not the place to select a QB, based on historical success studies. You will also see my thoughts on Watson and Trubisky later on in this mock draft. Round 2 has proven to be the 2nd best option, in terms of where to take a shot on a QB, and that is probably the route the Chiefs should go (because they’re stuck in the middle, the worst place you can be, period). Instead, the Chiefs will shore up their second CB spot next to Pro Bowler Marcus Peters. Tabor is free falling down people’s draft boards due to the “underwear Olympics,” as well as “narrative season,” as I call it. Narrative season is the NFL and media creation of reasons why a player will not be successful that really do not have any impact on performance. Getting into a scuffle with a teammate (I guess Cam Newton and Josh Norman have no chance at success now) and calling college football the “modern day slavery” have zero indication of future success. The 40 yard dash, while I recognize the correlation in predicting CB success in the NFL, is certainly not an exact science. This is a case where I think the player is a lot better than the 40 yard dash time says he is, and I honestly did not expect him to run much faster than what he ran. Speed is not the strength of his game. Instincts and quick feet and hips are. I will take those attributes over speed. Tabor belongs in the 1st round and would be a nice complement to Peters.
- DAL- Taco Charlton EDGE MICH- Dallas is desperate for an EDGE player that won’t get suspended. A high upside prospect with a ton of talent, this is another player I cannot seem to peg yet. Charlton dominated his senior year, but prior to that he was tough to watch. I love high upside players, so he is well worth the gamble. I do not know if he will ever be an elite edge rusher, though, with his “tweener” size. He does have some unique skills and moves he can utilize in the NFL, though, so again, it is tough to figure out. I like him, but I just do not love him.
- GB- Leonard Fournette RB LSU- Fournette is going to be such an interesting player to watch at the next level. I love what he does, and hate what he doesn’t do. What I mean by that is this: he struggles in the areas that are currently emphasized by the NFL. That is, he can play in the pass game, but is very awkward, and he does not have near the effectiveness out of shotgun that he does working under center. He is otherworldly at what he is good at: power, underrated vision, and a subtle quickness out of traditional formations. Basically, he is an old school, Adrian Peterson type of RB. Does that still translate in today’s game to success worthy of a top draft pick? Some will point to Ezekiel Elliott. They are just so different, as Elliott is a complete back and plays behind the best line in the game. I cannot take this style of player high in round 1, when it is proven that the game has changed so dramatically away from his style. He can be awesome if used correctly, though. In this case, the value for Green Bay might be too good to pass up and pair with the best QB in the game.
- PIT- Jabrill Peppers S MICH- Oh, Jabrill . . . there is no more polarizing prospect this year than Peppers. You almost always either love him or hate him, in part thanks to the unique way Michigan used him near the line of scrimmage. I HATE the argument about his return ability. If you are drafting a guy because he can return kicks, then you are drafting the wrong guy. This applies to skill players on offense for blocking and returning, and it applies here, as well. If you are drafting him, then you need to draft him because you think he can play well on defense. If you think he is going to be your high safety, then you will probably be disappointed. But I can see a creative coordinator playing him in a Micah Hyde type of role around the line of scrimmage and in the slot. I want to see him utilized as a blitzer and penetrator, something where he has natural instincts going toward the line of scrimmage. I just don’t think he is a traditional safety, so you need to be creative and patient with him. I won’t be the one to draft him, but a team like Pittsburgh is a potentially fun fit for him. Great story, so I definitely will be rooting for him.
- ATL- Garett Bolles OT UTAH- Twenty-five years old . . . I am not a fan of taking older players in the draft. If they are not rock solid and ready to go when they leave school, with the limited amount of time they have to progress, it often does not work out in the NFL. Bolles might be an exception, considering his high potential. He has the quickest movement and mirror skills in the draft. He’s a top notch pass protector who best profiles to a zone scheme, which is exactly what Atlanta runs. I am very concerned about him reaching his peak in 3 years, when he is 28 years old, and beginning his descent athletically. He will be tough to project. I do not feel good about this pick, but the high level athleticism makes him intriguing at the end of round 1.
- NO- Christian McCaffrey RB STAN- How is McCaffrey not getting more attention? He is lightning quick and incredibly elusive, along with tremendous pass catching ability. He’s a three down player. I cannot confirm this is a reason, but is his skin color a factor in his evaluation? Many believe he can only be a complementary back, but I just do not understand how. He plays so much like LeSean McCoy on tape. Creating yards is one of the most important attributes for a back, and he does that often by making defenders miss with vision and elusiveness. He won’t be a between the tackles runner, but in today’s league you don’t have to be extremely powerful to be successful. Again, if you can create yards and play on all three downs, then you will be fine. McCaffrey is a stud and a perfect fit for a Sean Payton offense.
— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) February 17, 2017
Notable absences: Deshaun Watson/Mitch Trubisky QBs CLEM/UNC- For me, both are round 2 prospects. Watson has a limited ceiling. In essence, he is a bigger Tyrod Taylor in style and limitation. Will he be a starter? Yes, somewhere he probably will be an average-to-above average starter. Will he be very good? I doubt it, as the areas he struggles are mostly un-correctable, fatal flaws (ball placement, field vision, etc.). It is a lot like Andy Dalton was in his draft. A starter and belongs in round 2, but I’ll let someone else take him and be mediocre. That is a recipe to get back to 8-8/9-7 and convince yourself “you can win with this guy” annually. Trubisky is different. He is such a projection that it is impossible for me to put him in the first round. Currently, he has played exclusively out of shotgun, with only 1 year of experience, and he did not win the battle for the starting QB job in 2015 at UNC. He is a primary read thrower in a system that helps open passing lanes for him a lot with RPO’s (run-pass options, soon to be a much bigger part of pro football). I’ll let someone else try to roll the dice and see if he pans out.
Dalvin Cook RB FSU- Running backs are still so overvalued somehow, but there are only rare instances in which they should go high. In this case, guys with Cook’s athletic profile just do not go in round 1. Ever. Can he still be successful? Sure, but at the end of round 1, there are a limited amount of teams that should take a back, and it is not worth it to take a guy with his profile at his position round 1. He would likely be a top pick in round 2.
Derek Barnett EDGE TEN- I just do not think Barnett will be an impact player at the next level. He does not have that explosiveness I want from an EDGE rusher, and instead he is a dominant run player. Playing the run well and not being a dominant pass rusher drops you pretty quickly, in my book. I don’t think he belongs in round 1. He definitely belongs in round 2 and is a value, but not in round 1.
This interception is brought to you by Derek Barnett pic.twitter.com/LM3faxKU2L
— Eliot Crist (@EliotCrist) March 31, 2017