To preface my list a bit, I crossed guys with character or durability concerns off my list even if they had great athletic ability and a perfect skillset for our scheme. If I was able to interview or medically examine these players to have a better understanding of the risk involved for each individual it might be different. But I have none of those advantages so I gave no benefit of the doubt. Be prepared to be mad when you don’t see C.J. Mosley on my board because he has already had three surgeries during his college career (elbow, hip and shoulder) even though he missed little time due to these injuries, long term durability is a huge question mark. That being said be excited. Onto the first round
I didn’t include players that I didn’t think would fall to us at 19. Obviously if Jake Matthews is there, we scoop him up.
Zack Martin, Notre Dame, OT
Pros: Engages quickly. Flexible and light on his feet. Good blocking posture, can shuffle, slide and mirror. Good hand placement. Seals running lanes. Can combo block and fit on linebackers. Athletic to pull and trap. Passes off stunts and is alert to blitzers. Started all 52 games of his career. Highly respected, hardworking leader who does all the right things. Two-time captain.
Cons: Lacks ideal length to stay outside in the pros, relatively small wingspan. Not a pure road grader who rolls off flat-backed and buries defenders. Could be stressed by bigger, more powerful defensive tackles. Can improve balance and sustain on the second level. Does not have experience at guard. Could stand to bulk up in preparation for a move inside.
Bottom Line: A true blue collar football guy athletic enough to fit into a zone blocking scheme. Experience at RT but may be better suited at guard. Either way he is projected as a very safe pick and surefire stud at either position.
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Pros: Very good instincts. Physical, lights-out hitter. Very aggressive running the alley and seeks to make his presence felt in the run game. Defensive tempo-setter. Good pre-snap recognition, makes adjustments. Explosive tackler. Can leverage the field off the hash and cover ground. Good zone recognition. Rangy enough to play center field. Carries a swagger and plays with confidence
Cons: Takes some bad angles and can be outflanked to the perimeter. Average production on the ball. Is not asked to play a lot of man coverage.
Bottom Line: A very talented safety drawing comparisons to Earl Thomas. Just as capable as stuffing the run as he is playing a deep zone, he’s not a consistent big-play maker but will consistently get the job done. Think a rich man’s Chris Clemons. Would be a very nice compliment to Reshad Jones in the backfield.
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Pros: Highly productive, disruptive playmaker vs. the run and pass. Shoots gaps and plays behind the line of scrimmage. Agile to slip blocks. Quick, strong hands to shed. Knifes gaps and flows very well laterally. Striking tackler -- uncoils on contact. Excellent speed and range -- opens up his stride in space and really covers ground. Bends naturally. Changes direction and accelerates with ease. Explosive first step as a pass rusher -- shows the ability to dip, bend and run the arc low to the ground. Ample athleticism and flexibility to mark backs and tight ends. Four-down utility. Arrow is pointing up.
Cons: Lacks ideal size and bulk. Still developing eyes and instincts -- will diagnose and trigger more quickly down the road. Gets caught in traffic or engulfed by larger blockers when he hesitates to step downhill. Prone to overaggressiveness -- occasionally overruns plays or loses cutback contain. Could stand to improve his eyes, awareness, anticipation and reactions as a zone defender. Took some time to acclimate before making an impact.
Bottom Line: Love this guy. Excels in coverage, run and pass rush. True four down potential with a high ceiling. Could immediately supplant Philip Wheeler as the starter and upgrade the linebacking corp.
Joel Bitonio, OL, Nevada
Pros: Plays with vinegar and seeks to bury defenders -- nasty finisher who runs his feet on contact. Extremely tough and durable. Highly versatile, can play any position on the line. Outstanding personal character and football character.
Cons: Needs to improve hand placement -- too grabby. Slips off blocks and could stand to play more under control. Operated heavily out of a 2-point stance and might need to get acclimated to playing with his hand in the dirt. Average knee bend in pass protection.
Bottom Line: Projects best to the inside in the pros. Displays the tenacity, leg drive and mean streak that is highly coveted by OL coaches which has driven up his draft status to a late first round or early second pick. I know he’s a bit of a reach here but if the first 3 guys are gone and trading back isn’t an option this is the pick. Or maybe Kelvin Benjamin.
Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State
Pros: Physical tackler. Highly athletic. Fast and rangy, flows laterally and chases sideline to sideline. Willing to take on lead blocks. Drops easily into zone and gets depth. Able to match with tight ends in coverage. Versatile, has played Will, Sam and defensive end. Uses his arms and hands to press, tug and rip free. Shows closing burst to the quarterback. Four-down utility and core special-teams potential. Tough, durable, three-year starter. Loves football and works at it.
Cons: Average instincts slow his play speed, still developing diagnostic skills. Hesitates to read and react. Can be more physical at the point of attack. Tends to slip or run around blocks. Needs to improve hand use. Does not jolt blockers and too often gets stuck. Short initial steps as a rush end. Could stand to improve pass-rush arsenal. Power element is missing. Average production.
Bottom Line: A passionate, athletic, versatile linebacker with a wide range of skills, 4 down utility, and special teams ability. Jones could provide immediate depth and push for starting time when his play recognition develops.
Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
Pros: Big target over the middle and in the red zone. Athletic with flexible hips and knees to run the full tight end route tree. Bursts into routes and stretches the seam. Good hands. Has playmaking ability. Lined up flexed and in-line. Good potential as a blocker. Bends his knees, shuffles and fans rushers wide. Works well in tandem and can combo block effectively. Takes care of his body and maintains low body fat.
Cons: Work in progress as an in-line blocker -- lacks ideal base strength, grip strength and overall body power. Bends at the waist and falls off some blocks. Route running needs refinement. Is still learning to use his frame advantageously -- inconsistent traffic player. Lacks elite top-end speed. Average elusiveness and creativity after the catch. Could stand to play with more physicality and become a better finisher.
Bottom Line: An intriguing combination of size, athleticism, receiving ability and blocking ability to develop into a bona fide, balanced, No. 1 tight end. Has played tight end for just two years and arrow is pointing up.
Xavier Su’a-Filo, G, UCLA
Pros: Quick out of his stance. Effective pass blocker. Generates movement in the run game. Can work his hips and maneuver to gain positioning. Good foot athlete. Can pull, trap, combo block and step to the second level. Durable three-year starter. Has played guard and tackle.
Cons: Lacks ideal length. Could stand to play with better pop and power in his hands. Bends at the waist, gets overextended and falls off blocks. Slow to shift his weight and adjust to stunts and quick inside moves. Needs to play with better awareness -- gets short-circuited by complicated defensive movement. Struggled mightily at left tackle.
Bottom Line: He fits better in a power offense but is athletic enough to fit into a zone blocking scheme. However, I worry about his awareness and football IQ and if he would be able to function effectively in a more complex scheme.
Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio St.
Pros: Engages with urgency. Reestablishes the line of scrimmage in the run game. Can drive block, widen the hole and seal lanes. Plays with a load in his hands to jar defenders. Locks on and controls. Good enough feet to slide and mirror. Alert to stunts and blitzes. Versatile. Has an ideal temperament for the trenches -- breathes fire. Smart, tough and competitive. Three-year starter. Is passionate about the game and works at his craft. Highly respected vocal leader and team captain.
Cons: Has a soft midsection. Stronger than he is explosive. Lacks ideal length and foot quickness for the left side (not a dancing bear). Vulnerable to strong bull rush when he gets tall and narrow-based. Occasionally gets top-heavy and slips off blocks. Average blocking range. Tight hips and ankles show when he pulls or climbs to the second level. Struggles to cut off fast-flowing linebackers. Lets his pads rise outside the phone booth.
Bottom Line: Has starter-caliber strength, athleticism and technique supplemented with desirable intangibles. I love this guy in the second round and think he would be an immediate starter for us on the right side.
Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida St
Pros: Strong for his size and clogs the middle. Has disruptive ability. Bends his knees and plays with leverage. Able to stack, locate and shed. Wraps and rips down ball carriers. Can slap, rip and swim to beat blockers and turns up the heat on passing downs. Good foot athlete for his size, changes direction well, gives effort in pursuit and ranges outside the box. Will be a 21-year-old rookie.
Cons: Has a fleshy midsection. Average get-off. Can be overpowered at the point or neutralized when bigger, longer blockers get into his frame. Limited two-gap ability. Average playing range. Could stand to improve his stamina. Was a rotational player prior to junior season and would tire and take himself out in critical situations.
Bottom Line: I like him but since he would be more of a NT in our scheme and Earl Mitchell is fairly young and talented, I would really only take him in the second if everyone else was off our board.
Other names to consider:
Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford; Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Pros: Well-built with a compact frame. Very good eyes and lateral agility in the hole, shimmies through small spaces and can create yardage where there is none. Squares his shoulders to the line and runs efficiently. Good lower-body strength, surprising power and superb balance. Tough and runs hard. Catches outside his frame and can make the difficult catch. Strong and nifty after the catch. Reliable in pass protection. Terrific competitor. Extremely durable and never missed a game. Works at his craft and is a student of the game
Cons: Lacks ideal size and power for a bellcow back and does not run heavily between the tackles. Does not possess home-run speed. Ran behind one of the most talented offensive lines in college football in an offense stacked with talent. Has been nagged by back injuries
Bottom Line: Reliable all around back with the skillset and intangibles to serve as a feature back and has even drawn comparisons to Frank Gore. I really like this guy and would even consider trading to the top of the third to get him
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Pros: Good length. Big zone target. Good form as a route runner. Sinks his hips and pops out of breaks. Concentrates, tracks and adjusts. Soft hands and sticky fingers. Has leaping ability to compete in the air. Opens up his stride in the clear and shows nice long speed. Good field awareness. Gives effort as a blocker. Competes and plays with intensity. Tough and intelligent. Lined up outside and inside and has punt-return experience. Team captain and four-year starter with record-setting production
Cons: Could stand to bulk up his frame. Adequate line release. Fairly linear. Not a quick-twitch athlete. Does not show elite explosion to separate vertically. Lets some throws into his body and is not immune to concentration drops. Limited creativity and elusiveness after the catch. Can be moody and has some diva in him.
Bottom Line: Very well developed receiver with sparkling intangibles and a good skillset and size to compete in the redzone. Could be taken as high as the second but I have at the third because the ‘has some diva in him’ doesn’t sound like the ideal Philbin guy.
Anthony Steen, G, Alabama
Pros: Reliable pass protector. A 500-pound bench-presser and it shows -- jars defenders with his punch. Efficient run blocker. Is quick to set and gain positioning. Works up to the second level quickly and is agile enough to wall off and seal linebackers and safeties. Hardworking and coachable. Tough competitor. Very durable.
Cons: Can do a better job sustaining at the second level. Not a consistent finisher. Tends to let defenders into his body and could stand to improve extension.
Bottom Line: A scrappy competitive guy who understands angles and is an efficient zone blocker. Would be great value for the Dolphins in the 3rd.
Chris Watt, G, Notre Dame
Pros: Engages quickly and runs his feet on contact. Effective with an angle and can swing his hips in the hole. Generates movement in the run game and works to finish blocks. Good bend and balance -- plays on his feet. Sound fundamentals in pass protection. Strong, active hands to punch and control defenders. Can shuffle and slide. Good mobility. Works well in tandem. Smart and alert. Praised for his toughness and blue-collar work ethic. Three-year starter.
Cons: Lacks ideal arm length and does not have large hands. Susceptible to bull rush when powerful tackles get into his frame. Average athlete. Inconsistent connecting with moving targets in space.
Bottom Line: Watt is viewed as a safe, low risk prospect who can fit into multiple schemes. Personally I like Anthony Steen better but I wouldn’t be at all disappointed with Watt.
Craig Loston, S, LSU
Pros: Good eyes and anticipation. Is aggressive playing the ball in front of him in zone coverage and buzzes quickly to the flat. Good route recognition. Can carry receivers deep and match up with tight ends in man coverage. Steps downhill and can secure open-field tackles. Is tough, sacrifices his body and will deliver some jarring hits. Helps line up the defense and make adjustments. Is noticeably the vocal leader of the secondary. Versatile with good interchangeability. Gunner and jammer on special teams. Has NFL pedigree. Smart, hardworking and accountable. Very good football intelligence.
Cons: Has short arms. Shows some hip tightness that restricts transitional quickness. Tends to rise in his pedal. Gives up separation in man coverage vs. receivers. Will seek the kill shot and can be overaggressive running the alley supporting the run. Can do a better job of driving through contact (not lunging and leaving his feet). Has a spotted injury history and has regularly missed time most years (though he is quick to rehabilitate).
Bottom Line: Skillset and intangibles are an absolute perfect fit for a Joe Philbin team and Kevin Coyle defense, I would have him in the second if it wasn’t for the durability concerns.
Other Names to Consider:
Andre Williams, RB, Boston College; John Urschel, G, Penn State
Cody Lattimer, WR, Indiana
Pros: Shows a jab step to get into routes cleanly and is equipped to combat the jam. Can use his frame and physicality to create separation on slants and post-up throws. Nice catch radius, extends to snag throws off his body. Soft, dependable hands. Nice strength after the catch. Good blocker. Improved steadily over three years as a starter.
Cons: Shows some lower-body stiffness in his route running. Average burst off the line. Not a quick-twitch athlete, could struggle to shake loose from more athletic corners. Lacks foot speed to separate vertically. Is straightlinish after the catch and will not make anyone miss. Marginal special-teams utility. Football was not his first love.
Bottom Line: A sure handed West Coast possession receiver with great size and hands as well as an impressive leap ability coming from his years a prep basketball standout. Would be ideal to compete for contested throws in the back of the endzone. I love this guy in the 4th and think we should seriously consider taking him if he’s there.
Mercel Jensen, TE, Fresno State
Pros: 6’6" makes him a big target. Smooth off the line for his size. Surprising speed to stretch the field. Can use physicality and his frame to outmuscle smaller DBs. Can adjust to throws and has good hands. Turns upfield with a head of steam. Gets after it in the run game -- engages with leverage and works to position, sustain and finish. Lines up in-line and flexed. Smart and coachable. Arrow pointing up.
Cons: Needs to get stronger, has untapped body power and potential as an in-line blocker. Shows some hip tightness in his route running. Relatively raw, still honing technique and developing positional instincts and nuances. At times looks like he’s thinking instead of reacting. Average production.
Bottom Line: A big bodied tight end with good speed and size who is equally effective at blocking as he is at receiving. Still very raw and not without flaws but his coachable character could easily compensate for that overtime. Could immediately dethrone Egnew as the 3 and even challenge Dion Sims for the backup role.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT, McGill
Pros: Outstanding upper-body strength and massive quads. Stout anchor in pass protection. Violent shock in his punch. Plays with a nasty temperament and seeks to bury defenders into the ground. Aggressive run blocker, runs his feet on contact and plays beyond the whistle. Is physically and mentally tough and will play through pain. Highly intelligent and football smart. Can take concepts from the board to the field.
Cons: Raw technician. Lunges overagressively and loses positioning. Can learn to play under more control and take better angles. Average recovery speed vs. inside counters. Lets defenders into his body and does not replace his hands, slow to reload after initial strike, though he was playing through a shoulder injury. Will need to adjust to playing a yard off the ball (Canadian rules) and getting into blocks more quickly.
Bottom Line: Ideal build, football smarts and temperament for the position and with some coaching and patience could even be a starter at LT. The only reason he’s in the 4th is due to his rawness coming from Canadian college football.
Telvin Smith, ILB, Florida State
Pros: Fiery on-field emotional leader. Beelines to the ball and brings energy to the defense. Very good eyes, anticipation and instincts, sniffs out screens, takes good cut-off angles and negotiates through traffic easily. Plays downhill and often arrives behind the line of scrimmage before ball carriers see him. Outstanding functional football-playing speed. Fluid mover. Reliable open-field tackler. Good coverage skill, shadows receivers and has a feel for zones. Very likeable, gregarious personality that can unite a locker room and command the LB group. Has learned what it means to work, and football comes easy to him.
Cons: Has been only a one-year full-time starter. Is not a strong, drive-through tackler. Average hand use and play strength. Could struggle matching up with bigger, more physical tight ends.
Bottom Line: I love this guy he has an ideal skillset and intangibles and could even push for starting time as a rookie. If I’m calling the shots on draft day, I’m taking him in round 4 and not looking back.
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Pros: Explosive athlete. Has loose hips and a fluid pedal. Superb two-year production on the ball. Natural interceptor, attacks the ball in the air like a receiver and tracks it very well. Plays big in critical situations. Very confident demeanor. Outstanding zone instincts, sees patterns developing and jumps routes. Solid tackler. Mature and accountable. Experienced, four-year starter. Demonstrated toughness to play hurt.
Cons: Average timed speed. Loses a half-step in transition and will struggle to carry NFL receivers vertically. Does not consistently play to his size as a run defender. Could stand to do a better job wrapping as a tackler and filling faster.
Cons: A big body corner with great instincts and anticipation with a willingness to play the run. Lacks man coverage skills and faced inferior competition at Lindenwood. Would be a developmental player but could factor in immediately as special teams while waiting for his chance as the nickelback.
Other Names to Consider:
Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh; Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State; Jordan Zumwalt, ILB, UCLA
Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
Pros: Good hands and concentration, extends outside his frame and makes the difficult catch. Fine route savvy. Understands how to get open. Good sideline awareness, dots the "i." Established rapport with the quarterback is noticeable, is the first receiver sought on broken plays, and keeps working to come free. Very solid personal and football character. Trustworthy, accountable and dependable.
Cons: Has short arms. Does not pop out of his breaks or create separation with burst and acceleration. Struggles some defeating the jam. Can show more urgency as a blocker in the run game. Breaks few tackles after the catch.
Bottom Line: Norwood is projected to go in the 6th or 7th rounds according to NFL.com, but I love his nature as the quarterback’s best friend. Combine that with his size, hands, sideline awareness and route savvy and you have the PERFECT red zone receiving threat. I’ll take him in the 5th.
Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbilt
Pros: Quick out of his stance. Natural bender with athletic, coordinated movement. Light on his feet and can work his hips. Keeps his hands inside and can pop and recoil. Shuffles, slides and mirrors. Gets to the second level with ease and can wheel around the edge as a puller. Durable, versatile 51-game starter, has experience playing all across the line. Highly respected, passionate, no-nonsense vocal leader and two-time team captain
Cons: Needs to bulk up and get functionally stronger. Light anchor, stressed by power rushers. Does not jolt defenders with his hands. Inconsistent connecting with moving targets and fitting on linebackers. Has had difficulty filling out his frame and maintaining weight.
Bottom Line: An athletic, smart, highly versatile, competitive right tackle who can pull and get to the second level. Would be a great fit in our zone scheme and his versatility makes him valuable insurance as a backup.
Lamarcus Joyner, CB, Florida State
Pros: Instinctive and anticipatory. Advanced understanding from the back end, makes subtle, pre-snap adjustments and diagnoses plays. Steps downhill quickly. Outstanding overall production in all facets. Good competitive playing speed. Very good football-playing demeanor, confident and opportunistic. Showed up in big games and made clutch plays. Times up the blitz very well and plays bigger than his size. Has contributed as a gunner and displayed good short-area burst in the return game. Exceptional work ethic and leadership traits. Respected, vocal team leader with an infectious attitude that can unite a locker room. Has been extremely durable, especially given his size and playing style.
Cons: Average athlete. Tight-hipped and rounds off breaks, not sudden. Lacks foot speed to carry receivers vertically from the slot. Can be out-quicked by shifty slot receivers. Marginal recovery speed and catch-up burst when he gets caught peeking. Struggles to match up with size and speed in man coverage. Makes mental mistakes too much in banjo coverage and struggles to sort out bunch sets. Does not have a body ideally built to withstand a 16-game season.
Bottom Line: A little bit of a tweener, I’m still a really big fan. He’s an instinctive playmaker adept at all phases of the game and is a ‘glue guy’ in the locker room. Would be perfect as our nickelback able to diagnosis before the snap, adjust, react and make the play.
Nat Berhe, S, San Diego State
Pros: Instinctive defender with a nose for the ball. Secondary leader. Reads and reacts quickly. Active and energetic, terrific pursuit effort. Motor runs hot. Good balance and body control. Smooth pedal. Good ball reactions. Disguises coverages. Sells blitzes and baits quarterbacks. Tough, confident and competitive. Aggressive tackler. Plays with abandon. Flashes explosive striking ability. Lives and breathes football. Experienced, four-year starter with desirable makeup. Very likeable personality.
Cons: Plays a bit out of control and will miss some tackles in the open-field. Takes some bad angles. Leaks yards when he comes in high and has to grab and drag instead of driving through the ball carrier. Average production on the ball. Limited special-teams experience.
Bottom Line: Lacks ideal track speed but has the play speed, instincts, motor and skillset to break into the lineup down the road or at the very least serve as quality depth and a core special teamer. Projects more as a SS freeing up Reshad Jones to be the centerfielding ballhawk.
Other Names to Consider:
Tenny Palepoi, DT, Utah; Ryan Carrethers, NT, Arkansas State; Ryan Groy, G, Wisconsin; Kendall James, CB, Maine
Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana
Pros: Triggers fast downhill vs. the run. Diagnoses quickly and is around the ball a lot. Outstanding motor, intensity and effort. Extremely competitive. Very tough. Outstanding weight-room work ethic. Elected team captain. Exceptional character. Has a special-teams temperament. Takes the game very seriously. Athleticism was on display at the combine -- paced linebackers with a 3.96-second short shuttle, recorded a 6.89-second 3-cone drill and vertical jumped 37 1/2 inches.
Cons: Gets stuck on blocks. Can do a better job using his hands. Plays a bit too out of control. Tightness shows up in space trying to secure open-field tackles. Wound tight in coverage and allows separation.
Bottom Line: Has the instincts, intangibles and athleticism to be special at the next level with the right coaching.
Andre Hal, Vanderbilt, CB
Pros: Has man-cover skills. Good balance and flexibility. Enough speed to run with receivers. Good zone awareness, read-and-react and plant-and-drive. Confident and competitive. Has kickoff-return experience. Solid intangibles.
Cons: Limited functional strength to pry himself off blocks. Could stand to refine his technique. Tends to clutch and grab when he's beat, which happens too frequently. Gets out of phase and does not demonstrate a feel for routes. Average leaping ability.
Bottom Line: Decent sized corner with athleticism and enough of a skillset to coach up. Definitely a developmental project. Could fit in as our 4 or 5 this year while making a living on special teams and then compete with Will Davis for the nickel next year. Either way we add depth and strengthen the unit.
Vinnie Sunseri, S, Alabama
Pros: Good size and big hands. Reads and reacts quickly. Assignment-sound and well-coached. Drops downhill to support the run and has experience in deep-zone coverage. Dependable wrap tackler. Good production. Vocal leader who commanded the secondary and made all the calls. Stood out on special teams as a younger player and has the makeup to be a special-teams captain in the pros.
Cons: Lacks elite top-end speed. Not a quick-twitch athlete. Late getting over the top. Has man-coverage limitations. Occasionally fails to break down or overruns ball carriers in space. Dull pop on contact, not an explosive, blow-up tackler. Started just 15 games.
Bottom Line: A+ football player, C athlete. Could provide depth, would be Chris Clemons type of guy, no mistakes, no big plays. But his special teams abilities are intriguing. I know it’s not exactly sexy, but if you could get Larry Izzo in the 6th round would you? Just saying. It’s not the first round, I wouldn’t Ted Ginn ya.
Isiah Lewis, S, Michigan State
Pros: Terrific motor, supports the run aggressively and gives consistent effort in pursuit. Plays bigger than his size and throws his weight around pounces on ball carriers. Good zone awareness. Makes plays on the ball and has good hands to make athletic interceptions. Physical and competitive. Made secondary calls and is football smart. Has special-teams experience. Tough, durable three-year starter.
Cons: Can be a tick late to diagnose and lacks burst to recover. Average explosiveness, speed and range. Has man-coverage limitations, struggles to keep up with speedy slot receivers. Can be overaggressive and arrive out of control. Misses tackles when he goes for the kill shot.
Bottom Line: While his athleticism isn’t horrible (he ran 4.60 40 and had a 36.5" vertical jump) and while he may be a tick late to diagnosis, that can easily be coached up allowing him to compete for a starting role in a year or so. I think he could be a nice late round get.
Jeff Matthews, QB, Cornell
Pros: Experienced, four-year starter. Very good arm strength. Good decision maker, works through progressions. Fine accuracy and placement. Highly intelligent, extremely determined, vocal team leader with a command of the offense. Is given a lot of pre-snap responsibility to read defenses and audible into the right play. Three-time team captain. Outstanding football intelligence. Fiery on-field temperament. Challenges his teammates. Good eyes, anticipation and awarenesss. Coach on the field. Is very tough and battles through injuries. Outstanding production.
Cons: Marginal athlete. Limited mobility to avoid the rush and buy time with his feet. Can do a better job sensing pressure. Relies too much on his arm. Accuracy diminishes on the move. Struggles to manipulate his arm and release the ball from multiple angles. Average setup and release quickness.
Bottom Line: Incredible awareness and intangibles combined with his accuracy and experience in a fairly advanced offense make him an almost perfect competitor for Matt Moore and easy replacement for Pat Devlin. He’s a classic pocket passer and probably needs to be kept clean to develop but his coach like temperament and rah rah attitude make him an excellent candidate for the backup job.
Other Names to Consider:
Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford; Richard Rogers, TE, California; Charles Leno Jr, OT Boise State
Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts
Pros: Outstanding size. Competitive run blocker. Tough. Functional pass protector. Lays out for the ball and will make difficult catches. Good career production. Smart. Solid special-teams temperament. Respected leader and two-time team captain. Four-year starter.
Cons: Average athletic ability. Not a quick or savvy route runner. Creates little separation. Takes what he is given after the catch. Inconsistent hands. Regularly matched up vs. lesser competition. Will be a 24-year-old rookie.
Bottom Line: We need a blocking tight end. There you go.
Boseko Lokombo, OLB, Oregon
Pros: Flexible athlete with fluid movement skills. Good closing speed. Is agile and athletic enough to match up with tight ends, backs and even some slot receivers. Can buzz the flat and deter throws with closing speed. Shows good zone awareness moving forward and will deliver some jarring hits to intimidate crossers. Solid press-cover skills. Times the blitz well. Has all the athletic tools to become a solid special-teams contributor.
Cons: Just a two-year starter and instincts are still developing. Lacks throwback linebacker toughness and functional playing strength. Can do a better job shedding blocks. Plays a bit recklessly and could do a better job wrapping up as a tackler. Was not an impactful special-teams performer.
Bottom Line: A solid athlete with a decent 4 down skillset who needs some time to develop his instincts and awareness but not a bad find in the last round.
Dexter Mcdougle, CB, Maryland
Pros: Excellent speed to keep pace vertically. Reads and reacts quickly. Mirrors off the line. Good balance, agility and change of direction. Zone aware. Plants and drives efficiently. Has short-area quickness and stop-and-start acceleration. Covers ground with the ball in the air and shows burst to close. Solid tackler. Fits in multiple schemes. Good teammate.
Cons: Short on length and strength to jam and re-route receivers. Occasionally gets caught trying to read the quarterback’s mail. Durability could be an issue.
Bottom Line: A good athlete with a skill set for man and zone and will fit into any scheme. Has some bad habits that some good coaching can fix. Solid 7th round developmental player.
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Pros: Fine touch and accuracy. Very good mobility and movement in the pocket. Tough and gritty competitor. Produced a rare 24-1 TD-INT ratio as a senior and cut down on mental mistakes that characterized his play earlier in his career. Workaholic, gym rat. Extremely determined. Vocal presence. Smart and instinctive. Plays through pain. Has a 27-5 career starting record, has rallied his team to victory off the bench and carries a calm, confident, poised field presence. Mentally and physically tough.
Cons: Is undersized and injury-prone with multiple foot and shoulder injuries. Played in a non-traditional, gimmicky offense featuring many simple reads and has a tendency to birddog his primary target. Operated heavily out of the shotgun, and mechanics will require seasoning. Average arm strength. Can be too jittery vs. pressure and quick to tuck and run. Was the only passer who could not bust past 50 miles per hour on the radar gun at the combine (very marginal ball speed).
Bottom Line: Not the best arm strength but his accuracy, intangibles and ability to come off the bench and win make him a very good option.
Daniel Sorensen FS
Pros: Technically proficient. Has enough toughness and will sacrifice his body. Dependable tackler. Enough range to make some plays on the ball and jump routes. Football is important to him and takes it very seriously. Makes the secondary calls and checks and understands coverages like a coach. Prepares like a pro. Tough, durable, solid producer. Reliable special teams contributor.
Cons: Has small hands. Is stiff in the hips and plays a bit flat-footed. Is challenged by elite speed and lacks ideal size to match up against tight ends. Is not a big hitter. Does not possess the top-end speed to range to the sideline and make plays on the ball, not a true center fielder. Average career production on the ball. Poor leaper. Will be a 24-year-old rookie.
Bottom Line: Durable, experienced overachiever with enough range to survive on the back end and enough toughness to drop into the box. Size, linear field speed and football smarts could enable him to make a living as a backup and special-teams contributor.
Other Names to Consider:
Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford; Ryan Jones, C, San Jose State; Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State
So now the big board is done we can move on to our mock draft.
Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame—Ideally Martin falls to us next weekend and we can add a tough competitive blue chip talent to the right side of the line. However there is a strong chance Martin is already gone in that case I believe we should take Calvin Pryor and add a playmaker to the secondary.
Jack Mewhort, G, Ohio State—We go offensive line again in the 2nd round much to the chagrin of Dolphins fans everywhere. I wouldn’t be opposed to Troy Niklas here but I don’t just want to fix the line I want to build a dominating line. Ideally Xavier Su’a-Filo or Joel Bitonio are available here but I don’t see that as happening as both those guys could be gone by the time the first round is over. So we take a real blue collar fire-breather in Jack Mewhort to play inside.
Craig Loston, S, LSU—Louis Delmas is a stop gap player meant to be around only this year, and that’s assuming he lasts the year. Loston provides us a beast and a leader in the secondary for the future. Another option here is running back Devonta Freeman, a player who has drawn a lot of favorable comparison to Frank Gore.
Telvin Smith, ILB, Florida State—The Dolphins address the linebacking corps by picking up a playmaking, instinctive linebacker with 4 down utility.
Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama—We add a 6’2" red zone threat with the skillset and attitude to be Tannehill’s best friend especially on broken plays.
Jeff Matthews, QB, Cornell—The Dolphins find a guy to develop behind Tannehill and be the backup next year when Moore leaves.
Dexter Mcdougle, CB, Maryland—We add depth to the secondary and a developmental project in the last round.
This is my first post ever and I hope y’all like it, leave feedback in the comments below!