Category Archives: Pigskin’s Team Mocks

RAIDERS 2017 Team Mock Draft

A RB named LYNCH is in the house and I am ready to do one last Mock for Alternative America’s Team. With a healthy DEREK CARR at the helm another good Draft from the McKenzie twins would almost certainly make this team a serious Super Bowl contender in 2017. So let’s help those guys do some talent adding to their roster.

Round1 Pick24 CURTIS SAMUEL/WR/RB/RS OHIO STATE 5’11/196. PPR#26
In loving memory of AL DAVIS the team selects a guy who ran a 4.31/40 at the Combine and can actually play big time football. He’s an explosive, multi-dimensional player who might have actually played some time at RB for them if LYNCH were not now there along with some other explosive young guys. But he can augment a WR group and spice up the return game for the Raiders. He caught 74 balls last season for the Buckeyes, which included 11 TD. Good thing in his favor is that he has not carried a heavy load for their offense over his college career, meaning he should be fresh for the NFL wars. His 9 1/2″ hands are enticing when compared to some small handed pass catchers. Her’s a very dangerous threat on counter plays and reverses. Mark him down as an instant impact addition.

Round2 Pick46 KEVIN KING/CB WASHINGTON 6’3/200. PPR#49
He’s available here in my rankings and they will grab him in a flash. Good cover corner who can run with just about anyone. Is adept at peaking at the last minute and using his 32″ arms to break up a catch. Not a real big Pick guy, he seems to prefer to make sure he breaks up the catch rather than gamble on an INT. Had 2 INT, but also 13 PBU in 2016. His 4.46/40 time is a bit deceiving. With his long frame it takes him a while to reach top speed. He should be an instant starter for his new team.

Round3 Pick88 TYUS BOWSER/OLB HOUSTON 6’3/247. PPR#89
Had BOWSER stayed healthy for the entire 2016 I doubt he would have been available in Round 3. He missed 5 games with a broken orbital bone around his eye. In 7 games he had 47T- 12TFL- 8.5S- 9QBH- 3PBU. Very good athlete who played some mean basketball in high school.Has long arms (33″) & big hands (10 3/8″). Looks to me like a potential starter at OLB for the Raiders. More than held his own during practices at the Senior Bowl. Look for him to get more and more playing time as his Rookie season progresses.

Round4 Pick129 EDDIE VANDERDOES/DT UCLA 6’3/305 PPR#126
This kid was all everything coming out of high school and started as a frosh for the Bruins. Missed most of 2015 season with a bad knee injury. Came back slowly in 2016, in part because he ballooned up to about 330 lbs. He plays low and just pushes blockers around. He also showed how heavy handed he is during bag work drills during Senior Bowl practices. His hands are weapons that he uses against blockers. His potential is high, but he will need motivational coaching. I think it is a real positive that he had his weight down to 305 lbs, for the Combine. Will tie up two blockers on most plays. This pick is based on potential upside more than recent productivity.

Round5 Pick168 FREDDIE STEVENSON/FB FLORIDA STATE 6’0/236. PPR#147
the Raiders are one of the few teams in the league that still consider the FB an integral part of their offense. But those guys are harder and harder to find nowadays. STEVENSON is more than just a blocker. He has above average hands and is a hard, straight-line runner. On the rare occasions when he got the ball in college he reminded me of former Seminole KARLOS WILLIAMS on the playing field. Luckily he does not seem to have WILLIAMS’ off-field issues. He would also make a very solid Special Teams player. He would make an interesting pick, with solid long range potential IMO.

Round6 Pick158 XAVIER WOODS/S LA TECH 5’11/200. PPR#216
This guy was a scouts’ favorite going into the Draft. Tough nosed kid who plays stronger and tougher than his size would indicate. A four year starter. His 2016 stats are very impressive: 89T- 6.5TFL- 6PBU- 5 INT. Loves to come up in run support and can cover most slot receivers. His 4.54/40 time is more than adequate for his probable role as a pro. Special Teams? You bet! Great value at this Pick.

Round7 Pick242 CAMERON TOM/OC SOUTHERN MISS 6’4/291. PPR#247
When you come from the WOLF/THOMPSON school of scouting & drafting like GM Reggie McKenzie does, you feel obligated to draft an OL prospect each year. But don’t for a minute think this is a throw away Pick. TOM may be one of the best pure athletes in the OL group for this Draft. Finished his career with 47 straight starts. Very fluid with great body flexibility. Is naturally strong, but they will try to add about 10-15 lbs. to his frame in the weight room. Has long, 33 5/8″ arms, and uses his hands well to leverage defenders. With more bulk and strength this guy could be an NFL starter someday. Reggie’s mentors would be especially proud of this pick.

A solid talent haul with one eye on today and the other on the future. This kind of solid, start rafting keeps your roster strong enough and deep enough to push toward the Super Bowl.

Pigskin

REDSKINS 2017 Team Mock Draft

This may be a very telling year for the ‘Skins in the Draft. With the team parting ways with Scott McCloughan the Draft process is pretty much back in the hands of Bruce Allen, son of the late/great Trader George. Some interesting personnel decisions have already been made this year, including the continued lack of financial commitment to QB/KIRK COUSINS. The team has a whopping 10 Picks and needs each and every one of them to supplement their dwindling roster numbers and talent base.

Round1 Pick17. HAASAN FREDDICK/ER/LB TEMPLE 6’2/237. PPR#17
The fastest rising player this off-season just happens to fill a big need on a struggling Defense. REDDICK was an edge-rusher of note entering the 2016 college season, but turned into much more with his move to LB. He can still pressure the QB, and even looked good in coverage at Senior Bowl week in Mobile. Had 22.5 TFL last season, including 10.5 Sacks. He also had 4 PBU & 1 Int to show how quickly he is catching on to coverage responsibilities. Should be an immediate starter for the team and an upgrade for the LB crew.

Round2 Pick49 TACO CHARLTON/DE MICHIGAN STATE6’6/277 PPR#47
A late bloomer at Michigan who really came to life under the HARBAUGH regime last season. Not an explosive edge-rusher but uses his length and strength to push thru blockers. Should have some serous upside and looks well suited to me for their 3-4 base scheme. 34 1/2″long arms play a big part in his success. He had 10 sacks as a senior. Most everyone I talk with expects bigger things ahead for him. Another guy who should earn a starting job as a Rookie.

Round3 Pick81 TAYLOR MOTON/OG/T WESTERN MICHIGAN 6’5/320. PPR#80
Mountain of a man, who looks best suited for an Interior OL spot. He’s really solid in pass-pro, and that’s at RT. He has big hands (10 3/4″) and long arms (34 1/8″). He should also have a chance to capture a starting role in their OL. He’s fairly athletic despite his jumbo size. At worst could act as a 3-4 position back-up as a Rookie if he can’t win a starters role.

Round4 Pick114 ArDARIUS STEWART/WR ALABAMA 5’11/205. PPR#115
Probably ‘Bama’s most reliable receiver last fall. Ran a somewhat disappointing 4.50/40 at the Combine. Had that been a 4.44 he might have been a Top 100 draftee. Pretty raw as a receiver in many ways, so patience will be key in his development as a pro. Could eventually be a No. 3 WR option, IMO. Upside is the key in his acquisition.

Round4 Pick123 JUSTIN EVANS/S TEXAS A&M 6’0/193. PPR#121
A very good value at this Pick. His biggest problem may be the fact that he tends to knock himself out of action with the ferocity of some of his hits. Wants to hit like he weighs 15 lbs. more than he actually does. Good all around athlete with an impressive resume’ at A&M. Kinda small/light for a SS in the NFL. In 2016 he had 87T-5TFL-8PBU- 4INT. He should make a nice Special Teamer as well. Must learn patience and anticipation to go with his aggressiveness.

Round5 Pick154 JALEN MYRICK/CB MINNESOTA 5’10/220. PPR#150
Myrick is the guy who surprised everyone with his blazing 4.28/40-time at the Combine.He had a solid week of work at the Shrine venue, with his aggressive nature and energy level. He was caught in a crowded CB situation with the Gophers but made the most of his senior season with 41T-12PBU- 1INT. May not be a ball hawk, per se, but has good cover skills, and ball awareness. He also likes to deliver a blow to receivers, or in run support. Should be a Special Teams ace and a good sub-package player right away. Might have a shot as a Nickel-Corner early in his career.

Round 6 Pick201 COLLIN BUCHANAN/T/G MIAMI(O) 6’5/316. PPR#200
He would be ranked even higher, after a solid career in the MAC, but he is likely to also be a better pro fit inside at OG versus his college position at OT. He has fairly short arms, at 32 3/8″, and his 5.30-40time is pretty indicative of his overall movement ability. But he’s a bruiser and a hard worker. In a short area he can handle his business against DL. He does have big hands (10 1/2″) and can lock onto DL in tight spaces. Is a natural knee bender in pass pro. Good value who may fight for a starting job in a couple of years.

Round6 Pick 209 WAYNE GALLMAN/RB CLEMSON 6’/215. PPR#203
Adding another bruising runner to their stable is a good idea. GALLMAN can do it all. He runs hard, catches well & is a solid blocker in pass-pro. He’s not a speedster, but his 4.59/40-time allows him some nice intermediate distance runs if the blocking opens up a good hole for him. Very solid value as a rotational RB in Round 6.

Round7 Pick220 GROVER STEWART/DT ALBANY STATE 64/347 PPR#220
Small-school player who indeed dominated his in his level of play. Was invited to play in the NFLPA Game and made his mark. he is naturally strong and can run a bit once he gets going. Perfect as an oversized Nose in a 3-4 scheme. For Round 7 he is worth a look because of his natural size and the fact that their DL group is rather thin right now.

Round7 Pick235 JAYON BROWN/LB UCLA 6’0/231. PPR#248
I must admit I am probably underrating him this late in the process. Had some big numbers at UCLA as a senior. He recorded 120T-7TFL-6PBU-3INT. His 4.71/40 would be OK for an ILB, but his weight indicates he’ll likely be asked to move outside. Then it doesn’t look so good. But he was so productive and is a nice athlete overall that you just can’t ignore him this late in the Draft. Could be a very pleasant surprise as your last Pick.

Looks like a very nice talent haul indeed. But I have chosen to ignore their QB position. I think they already have a better than average QB and should pay the man. But for some reason they don’t seem to value him enough to pay him Franchise QB money. So look for them to use a pick on a QB, who is not likely to surpass COUSINS in any respect.

Pigskin

COWBOYS 2017 Team Mock

There is a challenge ahead for the COWBOYS for 2017. They need to prove that the 2016 regular season was not a mirage, and the team is back on track to being a perennial participant in the Play-Offs. They have lots of work to do in the 2017 Draft so here is my attempt to help them out.

Round1 Pick28 JABRILL PEPPERS/SS MICHIGAN 5’11/213. PPR#28
Given that this pick and player rating match up I have a feeling that JERRY JONES the showman just won’t be able to resist the chance to add a big name star to his team. The toughest part of handling PEPPERS is likely to be finding a specific position for him to play. But in today’s “flex” NFL they just might use him in multiple roles not unlike HC JIM HARBAUGH did in college. It would be convenient if he developed into an instant star at a S slot where the team needs an upgrade after the loss of S/BARRY CHURCH. His 4.47/40 at the Combine is a solid statement of his speed. And take a look at his defensive stats alone from the 2016 season: 71T- 15TFL- 3.5S-7QBH- 1FF- 1INT. Some would tell you that he’s best as a return man which is highly desirable. Enjoy the pub fans and his versatility.

Round2Pick60 BUCKY HODGES/TE VIRGINIA TECH 6’6/257 PPR#63 JASON WITTEN is in a wind down mode, and the team gave up on GAVIN ESCOBAR as his eventual successor. Hodges is an overgrown WR who may have huge upside. And if he will absorb all that WITTEN can teach him he may be a star in the future. He’s not much of a blocker yet, but certainly has the size to handle that job. His 4.56/40 is pretty impressive at his size. So are his 10 1/8″ hands. He is a good hands catcher and can really stretch out that frame. Expect him to be an immediate hit as a Red Zone weapon. Of his 48 catches last season for the Hokies, 7 of them went for TD. I don’t see a replacement for WITTEN among the current TE listed on the Dallas roster. Let the development of HODGES begin.

Round3 Pick92 JERMAINE ELUEMUNOR/OG/T TEXAS A&M 6’4/333. PPR#93
These bull of a young man was one of the fastest risers as a pro prospect coming out of the 2016 college season. The COWBOYS spent a lot of time and effort rebuilding their OL earlier this decade. But they lost 2 starters this off-season in DOUG FREE (RETIRED) and RONALD LEARY (VFA). ELUEMUNOR looks best suited for OG with average arm length (33 1/4″) and height of just under 6’4. But it would be premature to state that they would not give him a shot at replacing FREE at RT. He’s very agile for his bulk, and is relatively inexperienced right now. He’s aggressive with a lot of upside. His family moved to the States in time for him to take up American Football in high school. Just might be too good to pass up at this Pick.

Round4 Pick133 ELIJAH LEE/OLB KANSAS STATE 6’3/229. PPR#129
I’m not sure why this excellent athlete and productive player has not gotten more luv on prospect lists. He was one of the few juniors to not be invited to the Combine, which made no sense at all to me. He started for two seasons and led the Wildcats in tackles both of those years. Has the athleticism and feet to drop nicely into pass coverage and could stand a bit more beef on his bones. But look at his on-field resume’ for the 2016 season: 110T- 6.5TFL- 5PBU- 2INT. He ran a 4.69/40 at his campus Pro Day. He looks to have starting potential to my eyes.

Round6 Pick211. CHAD WILLIAMS/WR GRABLING 6’0/207. PPR#216
I know we should be grabbing more defensive help but I just couldn’t pass on adding this guy to the Dallas WR group. He has a nice size/speed ratio to his game having posted a 4.43/40 at his pro Day workout. Another guy who strangely was passed over for the Combine. He looked really solid at the Senior Bowl venue with good route running, solid hands catching and an edge to his competitive attitude. He should make a very good Special Teams player while he works to see the grass from scrimmage.

Round7 Pick228 D.J. JONES/DT OLE MISS 6’1/320. PR#226
A very productive DL rotation guy, who was overshadowed by all those pass rushing Land Sharks on the Oxford campus. Is immovable against the run up the middle. Can also push the pocket a bit with his strength and bulk. His 5.03/40 was an eye opener at the Combine. If he can worked into better condition, without losing his brute strength he could be a key anchor in short yardage defensive fronts. Needs to be rested often right now, but will give you a very active 6-10 plays per possession for your opponent. Has quick feet and good balance in a short area of play.

Round7 Pick246 TREVOR KNIGHT/QB/? TEXAS A&M 61/219. PPRT#255
So your first thought is where’s the Defense? Do we really need another QB? I am not too excited that KELLEN MOORE is their back-up QB right now. And KNIGHT has been knocking out numbers that rock the boat. He was by far the most athletic athlete in the QB group at the Combine. His Wonderlic score was a 30, 3rd highest for QB prospects. He ran a 4.54/40 at the Combine. But because of his sturdy, athletic build he may also get a long look as a SS. He can likely play a “mean” Special Teams role or two. He is just too interesting and athletically gifted to ignore. I watched him run and work out in Orlando at the Coach TOM SHAW Performance Camp, without knowing exactly who he was, back in January. He was impressive, before he packed his bag to head over to the GRUDEN QB Camp for the afternoon session. Don’t sleep on this guy. This could be a steal pick, in more ways than one!

As often happens in the drafting process, quality at the Pick will often overrule picks for need. That is exactly what happened here, where my initial intent was nothing but Defense. Sorry ROD MARINELLI, DC, but I got you some help! Hopefully, your scouts have found more help to be signed in the URFA segment of the 2017 Draft process.

Pigskin

DA BEARS 2017 TEAM MOCK

Just in case someone out there missed it, this team is in total rebuild mode, no matter what DA Bears house mouthpieces tell you. Spin it anyway you want, but when a team just cuts loose players like CUTLER & JEFFERY & others, they are starting that roster over. So, let’s help give them some more new blood to hopefully finish off their foundation.

Round1 Pick3 JAMAL ADAMS/S LSU 6’0/214 PPR#3
Don’t tell me you can’t take a S this high. Remember we just agreed it’s start over time for this team. And ADAMS is a great starting point. He is so talented that it’s almost scary. He can run and he can hit. And he does it faster and harder than most others out there making their living in football. The son of a former first round draft pick (George/RB/Giants) he can be the guiding light of a newly restocked secondary as the coaches try to sift the pepper from the fly shit. His 4.44/40 speed is outstanding. So are his 33 3/8″ arms. Just look at his stats from his 2016 season: 76T-7.5TFL-1S-4 PBU-1 INT- 1FF. Draft him and let him play.

Round2 Pick36 EVAN ENGRAM/TE OLE MISS 6’3/235 PPR#44
The beauty of this pick is two-fold. It adds some depth, starting near the top, to the TE corps & provides another downfield threat for GLENNON to throw to. All because ENGRAM is the best of the move/hybrid TE class. He ran a 4.40/40 at the Combine and that is a legit speed for him. He’s not inline, but every team is finding someone like him to help spread the field and stretch the secondary. His 10″ hands & 33 1/2″ arm length create a large target area to throw at. He caught 65 balls for 926 yards & 8 TD last season for the Rebels. Even though he is a TE he effectively replaces ALSHON in their receiving corps.

Round3 Pick67 TANOH KPASSAGNON/DE VILLANOVA 6’7/289 PPR#73
Help yourself to a huge piece of clay to be molded into a Pro Bowl DL. He’s raw as hell but the upside is phenomenal. Try picturing 10 7/8″ hands & 34 7/8″ arms. Those are vines folks. And how about a Combine 40-time of 4.82. Fans in Japan would probably nickname him Godzilla, affectionately. He was a big star on the big stage that is the Senior Bowl. And as MIKE MAYOCK likes to say, ‘he doesn’t know what he’s doing yet’. He should blossom in a couple of seasons, which is when the roster should be coming together to contend for an NFC North title run.

Round4 Pick111 ELIJAH QUALLS/DT WASHINGTON 6’1/313 PPR#115
While we are fixing the DL a bit, let’s top off the job with one of the most physical and gifted big men in the game. QUALLS absolutely amazes at times with his combination of power and agility for his body type. He and EDDIE GOLDMAN should give the team a very solid NT tandem to rotate. QUALLS is very quick off the snap and is often able to shoot gaps to collapse the pocket. His 5.16/40 isn’t all that bad for his bulk and body size. He will chase the ball further than you might expect from a guy his size and shape.

Round4 Pick117 CHAD HANSEN/WR CAL 6’2/202 PPR#116
Don’t let his 4.53/40 time fool you. Once this long strider gets his momentum going and puts some moves on defenders he is often able to be wide open 15-20 yards downfield. He and ENGRAM should really buoy up the receiving corps. Last year at CAL he caught 92 balls for 1249 yards & 11 TD. And that was while missing the last 2 regular season games to injury. He has 10 1/8″ hands sprouting from his 32 1/8″ arms. His best is yet to come.

Round5 Pick147 ADAM BISNOWATY/OT PITT 6’6/305 PPR#146
Been looking for an OT to add to their OL group since Round 2. But rather than reach beyond value at the Pick I held out hope that we could find some quality later on. And here he is. Best aspect of his game is in the run game, which plays to DA BEARS running game as triggered by JORDAN HOWARD. He’ll be best served at RT. Pass pro is not his forte’ but his long arms (33 7’8″) and huge hands (11 1/4″) do help his cause in pushing pass rushers away from the pocket, thus buying some extra time for his QB. He’s a tough kid, who likes to mix it up. Defenders don’t look forward to battling him all day long. He has a chance to beat out BOBBY MASSIE for a starting job. More than held his own against top level competition every day in Mobile.

Round7 Pick221 AVERY GENNESEY/OT/G TEXAS A&M 6’4/318 PPR#215
Was projected as a top 10 OT prospect heading into the 2016 season. But he slipped back, primarily due to some poor fundamentals and less than nimble feet. But with some special coaching help he might be able to clean up some of those issues and eventually fight for a starting job, perhaps inside. But at the least he might offer a very good option as a 4-position backup on game days. 5.40/40 at the Combine confirmed his lack of quickness and foot speed. But his 9 1/2″ hands & 33 5/8″ arms are at least adequate for short term duty at OT if needed. Good value for Round 7. Seems to have some upside.

That’s all we can do for now BEARS fans. DA BEARS would now appear to be in a position to sort through some areas where they have volume but unproven quality, like in the DB group. If keepers can be established this year, then next year they should be able to target very specific need areas in VFA and the 2018 Draft. Patience along the Midway, while more Monsters are accumulated.

Pigskin

BROWNS Mock Draft 2017

This is ny BROWNS team mock which appeared online two weeks ago in the Orange & Brown Report. I have made no changes to what appeared at that website.

R1P1 MYLES GARRETT/ER TEXAS A&M 6’5/272 PPR#1

R1P12 MITCH TRUBISKY/QB UNC 6’2/222 PPR#10

R2P33 GAREON CONLEY/CB OHIO STATE 6’0/195 PPR#35

R2P52 DION DAWKINS/OG TEMPLE 6’4/315 PPR#50

R3P65 MARCUS MAYE/S FLORIDA 6’0/210 PPR#68

R4P108 PAT ELFLEIN/G/C OHIO STATE 6’3/303 PPR#111

R5P145 ELIJAH LEE/LB K-STATE 6’3/229 PPR#129

R5P175 JEREMIAH LEDBETTER/DE ARKANSAS 6’3/281 PPR#177

R5P181 HOWARD WILSON/CB HOUSTON 6’1/184 PPR#180

R5P185 MACK HOLLINS/WR/ST UNC 6’4/221 PPR#187

R6P188 COLE HIKUTINI/TE LOUISVILLE 6’4/247 PPR#201

This Mock and some other BROWNS related thoughts can be found at the Orange & Brown Report, which covers BROWNS activity in great depth.

Pigskin

VIKINGS 2017 Team Mock

Two years ago the VIKINGS roster had me thinking they were clearly gaining ground on the PACKERS in the NFC North. Coming off a mediocre 2016 season and losing some key pieces from that roster now has me thinking the team has some major holes to fill and needs an infusion of new young talent at multiple positions. And on top of all that, their Round 1 Pick is missing for the acquisition of SAM BRADFORD. Let’s proceed with my attempt to help them upgrade their talent base in the 2017 Draft.

Round2 Pick48 TIM WILLIAMS/OLB/ER ALABAMA 6’3/244 PPR#47
The solid career of CHAD GREENWAY is over and the roster is thin at the LB spots. So let’s grab a good college player, from a top collegiate program. And let’s take a guy who appears to have some serious upside to him. WILLIAMS is an unpolished player, but a very good athlete. MIKE ZIMMER & DC GEORGE EDWARDS should be able to develop this young man. I would envision a platoon situation where WILLIAMS & LAMUR split time depending upon which down/distance situation develops. WILLIAMS top skill was providing edge-rush for the Tide, but should be able to develop into even more if coached up.

Round3 Pick79 TAYLOR MOTON/OG/T WESTERN MICHIGAN 6’5/320. PPR#80
MOTON is a huge guy who may be best suited moving inside to OG as a solid partner for ALEX BOONE. MOTON was a 4-year starter for HC FLECK, who now resides across town, leading the Golden Gopher program. MOTON is massive with long arms (34 1/8″) and big hands (10 3/4″). But his feet may be too slow to man OT in the NFL. He is a mauler and that should play well inside at the pro level. I would look for him to move another ex-MAC player, Willie Beavers, out of his starting job at RG. Its another need Pick, but with good value at this spot. A potential plug and play starter. And he may be worth an initial look-see at OT when Training Camp opens if the need is greater there.

Round3 Pick86 JOSH MALONE/WR TENNESSEE 6’3/208 PPR#91
MALONE is a really good athlete, who had a breakout year in 2016 for the VOLS. He caught 50 balls, for 972 yards & 11 TD. He ran a fast 4.42/40 at the Combine but may play even faster than that in pads. He is always a threat to go long, which will help stretch the field in the secondary, opening up more routes for BRADFORD to survey. He has strong, good sized (9 3/4″) hands to win possession battles with smaller defenders. If he can adjust to the pro game quickly and a guy named TREADWELL can come on in his second year in the League, the VIKES could have a very deep, talented receiving corps.

Round4 Pick120 JUSTIN EVANS/S TEXAS A&M 6’0/193 PPR#121
HARRISON SMITH has become one of the top S in the NFL. But his partner in the deep secondary, Andrew Sandejo, is a hard working, over achieving player, who is often over matched trying to cover receivers deep. EVANS presents a potential upgrade over Sandejo. In fact EVANS biggest flaw may be that he hits so hard, and recklessly, that he knocks himself out at times. A bit more discipline and better judgment could open up a starting slot for EVANS, maybe even as a Rookie. In 2016 EVANS recorded 87 tackles, 8 PBU & 4 INT for the Aggies. He recorded a 4.57/40 at the Combine. Those numbers cry out that EVANS has starter potential.

Round4 Pick128 VINCENT TAYLOR/DT OKLAHOMA STATE 6’3/304 PPR#128
Some time ago the Vikes selected a DT from Okie State named KEVIN WILLIAMS who played at a Pro Bowl level for a decade or so in Purple & Gold. TAYLOR isn’t as big or as talented as that guy, but he made a lot of noise controlling the middle of the DL during his college career. He was a Team Captain for the Cowboys and in 2016 he recorded 51 tackles, which included 13 TFL. He ran a respectable 5.10/40 at the Combine and his hands measured 10 1/8″, while his arms were 34 3/4″ long. I doubt he’s stout enough to dominate at the pro level, but with questions about the return to health of SHARIF FLOYD from a knee injury TAYLOR may need to step up as a rotational player as a Rookie. And from my watching of him in action, I think he can get the job done as a pro.

Round5 Pick160 CORN ELDER/CB MIAMI(F) 510/179 PPR#154
ELDER may be a bit small and a tad slow (4.50/40) to be considered a potential starter at CB in the NFL, but the tough little guy, who recorded 76 tackles last season, to go along with 13 PBU & 1 INT, shows no fear on the football field. He should have no problem assuming a prominent role in several sub-packages for the Vikes and will gladly play on Special Teams units. What he lacks in size & speed, he more than makes up for in quickness and toughness, both mental & physical.

Round6 Pick199 WAYNE GALLMAN/RB CLEMSON 6’/215 PPR#203
GALLMAN shows no special skills that would make him a Top 100 draftee. But he can do a bit of everything which could make him a very nice fit with MURRAY & McKINNON. He is a violent, punishing runner who gives himself up for the team. He is also a solid receiving threat out of the backfield and is a good blocker in pass-pro. That last skill may be his ticket to some third down playing time. This represents a very good value at the Pick situation.

Round7 Pick232 RICKY SEALS-JONES/WR/TE TEXAS A&M 6’5/243 PPR#234
I present to you a guy who represents what a 7th Round Pick is designed to be in today’s NFL. A highly touted high school athlete who never really developed in his college career. For a guy of his size and talent to be ranked this low is a crime. If the Vikes coaches can wake up this sleeping giant he could be something special. Given his size and mediocre speed (4.69/40) he cries out to me to be a TE conversion project. The team is not deep at TE right now and it could allow them to work with him if he shows a good work ethic this summer. A combination of cracking the whip, with one coach to counsel him & encourage him, could spark some fire in him. Worth a flier in my opinion.

That’s what I think your team needs and should get VIKINGS faithful. Time to develop and play the youngsters in that beautiful new stadium folks.

Pigskin

BUCCANEERS 2017 Team Mock

Once the RAIDERS move to Vegas, Florida will lead the NFL with 3 franchises. But only one can currently be considered a Play-Off caliber club and that is the BUCS in Tampa Bay. QB JAMEIS WINSTON has quickly become the cornerstone of the franchise after the BUCS wisely chose him No. 1 overall two years ago. It is critical that the team add some serious young talent to add depth to their current roster. So let’s help them with their 7 Picks coming up next week.

Round1 Pick19 HAASON REDDICK/LB TEMPLE 6’2/237 PPR#22
I don’t think anyone has risen up draft boards faster/further than REDDICK in this post-season. He was arguably the top performer in Mobile during Senior Bowl week. And then he flashed a ton of athleticism at the Combine. And he should absolutely fit in with the young, athletic LB the BUCS currently have in DAVID & ALEXANDER. He should start right away, allowing others on the depth chart to specialize in Special Teams play. REDDICK ran a 4.52 at the Combine and may play even faster than that. In his first full season as a LB he had 22 1/2 TFL while also dropping into coverage to record 1 INT & 4 PBU. He should only get better with more playing time as a LB. Mark him down to make their LB group the best young unit in the NFL.

Round2 Pick50 JOSH JONES/S N.C.STATE 6’1/220 PPR#57
The team is not desperate in the deep secondary but with the loss of Brad McDougald they could use another full-time S. JONES really emerged in his Junior season at State and represents a very athletic upgrade. He’s an aggressive tackler, with 109 during the 2016 season. He can find and get to the ball, as evidenced by his 11 PBU & 3 INT last season. He ran a CB-like 4.41/40 at the Combine. His biggest challenge as a Rookie may be to curb his enthusiasm and not overreact to what he thinks he sees. But most of his flaws are coachable and correctable. His upside and athleticism could well make him an elite pro S.

Round3 Pick84 JOSH REYNOLDS/WR TEXAS A&M 6’3/195 PPR#88
REYNOLDS plays even longer than his 6’3 frame would indicate. He can outreach most defenders for high throws and has enough speed to outrun many defenders once he gets the ball in the open field. His 4.54/40 at the Combine was a disappointment, but I trust what I saw at the Senior Bowl. He gets open and can go the distance once the ball is his. He averaged 17 yards per catch in 2016 and scored 12 TD. When a team has their Franchise QB it is crucial to provide him with a steady stream of targets. REYNOLDS combined with VFA DeSEAN JACKSON should seriously upgrade the target selection on game day for Jameis.

Round4 Pick125 JAMAAL WILLIAMS/RB BYU 6’/211. PPR#127
The BYU grad topped off a solid college career by running for 1375 yards as a senior for an average of 5.9 ypc, while scoring 12 TD. He’s a slashing runner who can turn on the jets when he hits the open field. He can also run over smaller DB. He also provides a solid target as a receiver having caught 60 balls in his career at BYU. His weak spot is his pass-pro blocking. Unless he shows significant improvement in that part of his arsenal he won’t see the field much after 2nd down. He also will need to improve his ball security. But given the DOUG MARTIN uncertainty he should provide another viable option for the BUCS running attack.

Round5 Pick 162 CHARLES WALKER/DT OKLAHOMA 6’2/310 PPR#165
The BUCS need some extra beef and athleticism along their DL and WALKER could solve both of those issues. But he’s the guy who left the Oklahoma team to go to a performance camp in December. If that situation has been properly vetted he could be a steal for some team this late. He’s Top 100 talent, but still seems a bit too selfish and perhaps lazy. He will require extra attention from the coaching staff and an attitude adjustment, but the pro level talent is there. If you don’t see him drafted next week then know that he flunked his interviews badly.

Round6 Pick204 COLE HIKUTINI/TE LOUISVILLE 6’4/247 PPR#201
A JC Transfer who only started as a senior for Louisville. But he showed enough athleticism and receiving acumen to be invited to the Senior Bowl. A knee injury caused him to miss that venue, as well as receive a medical exemption at the Combine. But he accounted for 50 catches and 8 TD before his injury. He’s a long guy, who will work in the middle of the field when needed. He catches well, in part because of a 10″ hand spread. Wins a lot of jump balls. Needs to run tighter patterns and block better, but appears to have upside. Good value in Round 6.

Round7 Pick237 JAYON BROWN/LB UCLA 6’/231 PPR#248
Many folks have him rated a lot higher than I do, but I am concerned about his size. He played inside in college and he’s just not big enough for that at the pro level, IMO. But he did rack up 120 T, including 7 TFL, as well as dropping into coverage to produce 6 PBU and 3 INT in his senior season. Those are some very nice combo numbers. He ran a 4.71/40 at the Combine. He should be an immediate hit on Special Teams, while they try to slot him into their D. The BUCS like smaller, active LB do don’t count him out in the long run. Could be a big value Pick who pays a lot in a season or two, if he responds to coaching. Long term, sub-packages and Special Teams could make a solid pro career.

That runs us out of Picks BUCS fans. My only big regret is not finding an OT of value in the middle rounds to try to develop. The team may have to try to sign another VFA after the Draft to fill a depth need there, as well as sign an URFA OT or two as well. Many folks would agree with the teams ongoing slogan that “It’s a BUCS life!” with WINSTON at the helm.

Pigskin

SAINTS 2017 Mock Draft

Went on the air over in Louisiana with former NFL WR BILLY RYCKMAN for his Tuesday radio show. I walked through a potential SAINTS Draft with him. Here is that Draft.

Round1 Pick11 DEREK BARNETT/DE TENNESSEE 6’3/259 PPR#14
Kinda fun when a serious team need pretty much coincides with a player, or two, who happen to rank near a team’s Pick. BARNETT is the guy who broke REGGIE WHITE’s career sack record with 33. Even though it was a different time, and a different game it should be noted that they both did it in 3 seasons. BARNETT is a high rev motor guy, who plays full tilt. His energy can be contagious. My guess is he will be used at both OLB & DE as a pro. He can play the run despite being a bit light in the pants. He spends a lot of time in opposing backfields as evidenced by his 19 TFL in 2016. He would make a very nice bookend opposite CAM JORDAN.

Round1 Pick32 CAM ROBINSON/OT ALABAMA 6’6/322 PPR#28
Even though I have him ranked at 28, I am thinking there will be a run on QB in the second half of Round 1, which could allow CAM to drop into the SAINTS lap. He is a good OT with the physical tools to be great if properly motivated. CAM & ARMSTEAD would make a very athletic young OT tandem to protect DREW BREES in the latter stages of his career. CAM is even better as a run blocker, IMO. First true freshman ever to start at LT for SABAN. At worst they could hide him inside at OG, and he’d probably go to Pro Bowls as well.

Round2 Pick42 ZAY JONES/WR EAST CAROLINA 6’2/202 PPR#49
Nice player who caught 158 balls as a senior. Would help the team replace the traded Brandin Cooks. Is a tireless worker with a very high FBI. As he showed at the Senior Bowl venue he can win jump balls as well as beat some defenders deep. Very good runner once the ball is in his hands. Can gain extra yards on dump-down throws. Great gene pool with his dad being NFL LB ROBERT JONES and his uncle being QB/JEFF BLAKE. Drafting him should make BREES feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Not the same kind of receiver as COOKS, but could put up some impressive numbers in their offense.

Round3 Pick76 MARLON MACK/RB SOUTH FLORIDA 5’11/213 PPR#77
Nice sized runner who can run between the tackles, but also has enough speed (4.49/40) to get to the corner and turn it upfield. Is also a good receiver. As a junior, her rushed for over 1,000 yards at 6.8ypc., while scoring 15 TD. He also caught 28 passes last season. A very nice replacement for TIM HIGHTOWER who departed via VFA. The last 3 Picks would clearly let BREES know that the team is looking out for their leader at QB. Could make a very nice complimentary player to INGRAM.

Round3 Pick103 JOSHUA DOBBS/QB TENNESSEE 6’3/216 PPR#123
Even though the team just signed CHASE DANIEL as their back-up QB, he’s a career back-up and is now 30+ years old himself. DOBBS would be the their apparent, and likely get at least a couple of years to learn the pro QB slot working with BREES & HC PAYTON every day. A natural leader with a high FBI and some serious physical skills. He should be able to learn a lot from PAYTON relative to play calling and reading a defense over time. DOBBS clearly has aced the interview process and showed very well overall during Senior Bowl week back in January. Thus his stock is ascending as the Draft approaches.

Round6 Pick196 BRIAN ALLEN/CB UTAH 6’3/215 PPR#189
You just don’t find guys this big and athletic playing out on the Corner. In his first full season as a starter in 2016 ALLEN was credited with 4 INT & 10 PD. He also burned up the Combine with a 4.43/40. If the CB thing doesn’t work out he could surely be tried at S. Should also be a solid contributor on Special Teams. ALLEN is a prime example of how deep the 2017 Draft is. Talk about value at the Pick.

Round7 Pick229 RALPH GREEN/DT INDIANA 6’3/317 PPR#229
GREEN had to bide his time at IU, but really came on as a late bloomer, under the new coaching staff in 2016. He’s a long, good athlete who will slug it out every down. He can also shoot the gap to disrupt the pocket up the middle. A high effort player, as well as a cheerleader for his teammates. Some trash talk, but mostly support. His 34 1/2″ long arms allow him to move blockers around. A quick-twitch player, which often befuddles Interior OL at he snap of the ball. Could be quite effective in a rotation system, which the Saints now have enough young bodies to employ.

Mr. Ryckman was quite happy with most of these Picks, and I like the mix, if I do say so myself. Watch closely the Sunday of Draft weekend, because the SAINTS are another team that actually counts on URFA signings to contribute to their roster makeup on a yearly basis.

Pigskin

PACKERS Mock Draft 2017

While I was in Wisconsin last week I stopped by the Sports Den in Wausau to talk Draft with Downtown Ollie Burrows. Being in the land of Green & Gold I just had to do a Packers Mock with him on the air. Here are my selections.

Round1 Pick29 TRA’DAVIOUS WHITE/CB/RS LSU 5’11/191. PPR#29
Between injuries & VFA defections the PACKERS secondary is in need of help again. With the latest WATT brother already off the Board I see WHITE, a 4-year starter, as being a potential plug & play CB. In 2016 he had 2 INT & 14 PBU for the Tigers. He is also a very elusive Punt Returner. He should make a solid replacement fort MICAH HYDE, with even more upside than Micah had.Could win a starting job as a Rookie if the vets aren’t careful.

Round2 Pick61 DORIAN JOHNSON/OG PITT 6’5/300 PPR#66
The Pack has lost both of their starting OG in the past 12 months. Even though Thompson has traditionally not drafted Int OL in the Top 100 JOHNSON is worth the Pick. He is more athletic than your average OG and has OT size, including 10 7/8″ hand size & 35 1/4″ long arms. I especially like the fact that he stays off the ground most of the time. A 3-year starter in college. He looks like an instant pro starter to me if given the chance to compete.

Round3 Pick93 D’ONTA FOREMAN/RB TEXAS 6’0/233 PPR#87
Looks like a solid replacement for Eddie Lacy. Played at almost 250 lbs. as a Longhorn, but weighed 233 at the Combine & his Pro Day. Is a powerful runner with good balance and run after contact ability. Not a polished pass catcher yet, but that’s TY MONTGOMERY’s forte. Averaged 6.4yards/carry as a senior when he gained 2028 yards, behind a mediocre OL. Had a heavy workload last season, but lighter loads prior to 2016. With MONTGOMERY/MICHAEL/FOREMAN the Pack might be OK at the RB position in 2017.

Round4 Pick134 CARROLL PHILLIPS/DE/OLB ILLINOIS 6’3/252. PPR#131
Played DE primarily for the Illini, but showed potential at OLB during Senior Bowl week. The kind of athletic, long defender that DC DOM CAPERS likes to work with. IMO, could be a better pro fit for Capers than the departed Datone Jones. Is a harder worker than JONES! As a senior he had 56 tackles, 20 TFL, including 9 sacks. Gotta luv those 33 3/4″ long arms. He showed he could run with TE/RB in coverage in Mobile, but will need to improve his ability to find the ball in the air. I like his upside.

Round5 Pick172 CHARLES WALKER/DL OKLAHOMA 6’2/310 PPR#165
The only real questions about this player are about his head & heart, which are both important. He has a solid combination of size and strength including his 33 3/4″ long arms. Has the quickness of the snap to penetrate. Upset many observers by passing on rejoining the Sooners after getting concussion clearance late in their season. He chose instead to go to a Performance Camp to get ready for Combine. This Pick is conditional on his impressing during pre-Draft interviews. Is likely to require baby sitting, but if his head gets right he’s a 5th Round steal with 3rd Round talent. Take the risk Packers, you need more talent along the DL, and your locker room is solid.

Round5 Pick182 MARQUEL LEE/ILB WAKE FOREST 6’3/240. PPR#183
Nice looking athlete, with innate instincts to find and react to the ball. Has some coverage ability, but has the athleticism to improve there. IN 2016 he was the team’s leading tackler with 105, including 20 TFL. Very physical tackler, who uses his hands to shed blockers. Can play inside or outside which would give CAPERS some flexibility on where to use him. Also looks like a natural for Special Teams units, which is important for Day 3 Draftees.

Round6 Pick212 AVERY GENNESEY/OT/G TEXAS A&M 6’3/318 PPR#215
Going into his senior campaign AVERY was ranked as a Top 100 prospect. But under closer scrutiny he seemed a bit slow footed and often got tangled up trying to keep up with speed edge-rushers. At 6’3, he would be the shortest OT in the NFL. So he likely projects inside to OG, where he would rate quite highly as an athlete. Hard worker, with a PMA. Has nice long arms, 33 5’8″, which means he could make a solid game day active, able to play 3 or 4 spots as a backup. High upside for a pick this late.

Round7 Pick247 BRAD WATSON/DB WAKE FOREST 6’0/192. PPR#246
Another DEMON DEACON for the PACK. I really like his versatility and productivity. All he lacks is deep speed, which also reminds me of the departed HYDE. Can play multiple roles in sub-packages and is a willing tackler in run support. Should also fit nicely on Special Teams, all units. Has more intangibles, than numerical qualities. Will be tough to deny a roster spot to once Camp starts.

So there it is. A bit over everything, but special emphasis on OL & DB help. Just what the doctor ordered for Mr. Thompson. Their current roster lacks depth at a lot of positions. Don’t forget to watch closely for URFA signings on Day 4 of the Draft for this team. THOMPSON and his scouts usually find 4-5 developmental projects to sign each year.

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EAGLES Mock Draft 2017

More than a few folks believe a solid Draft could help put this team in a position to contend for an NFC East title run. I tend to agree. So here is my attempt to draft some very useful new blood.

Round1 Pick14 MARSHON LATTIMORE/CB OHIO STATE 6’0/193 PPR#15
Luckily, filling a big need happens to play into one of the positional strengths of this draft class. LATTIMORE is a very good athlete, with nice size and solid CB fundamentals. The only ? would be the brief resume’ he brings to the party. In his one season as a starter he had 4 INT and 9 PBU. Huge upside and should start right away.

Round2 Pick43 ZACH CUNNINGHAM/LB VANDERBILT 6’4/234 PPR#42
I see a long, lean athlete who does not shy away from contact. He had over 100 tackles each of the past two seasons. I don’t see any issues with him transitioning to OLB. Just give him plenty of pre-season playing time and good coaching. His length and ability to cover ground are exceptional. Could have a very high upside.

Round3 Pick99 JALEEL JOHNSON/DT IOWA 6’3/316 PPR#97
Right beside “hard worker” in the dictionary is a picture of Jaleel. Typical hard working Iowa player who has been coached to max out his potential by Hawkeyes staff. Has good strength and can hold the point of attack. Nice player to rotate with BEAU ALLEN as they replace BENNIE LOGAN.

Round4 Pick118 BRIAN HILL/RB WYOMING 6’1/219 PPR#113
A solid, though unspectacular runner. Never averaged below 5.0ypc in 3 years in college. Will have to work hard on his pass-pro technique for the NFL game. Should make a very valuable back-up option for the oft injured Ryan Mathews.

Round4 Pick139 AHKELLO WITHERSPOON/CB COLORADO 6’3/191 PPR#138
Long, lean cover Corner who really came on as a senior for the Buffalos. Led the nation in PBU. Might not be a starter, but should still see a lot of action in sub-packages, which consume a large percentage of playing time in the pass happy NFL.

Round5 Pick155 RYAN SWITZER/WR/RS NORTH CAROLINA 5’9/181 PPR#151
The team is rebuilding its receiving corps, and SWITZER could make a nice slot receiver candidate with his quickness and speed. Darren Sproles has indicated that this will be his last NFL season. SWITZER could be a replacement in waiting as the teams Return Specialist. Had almost 100 catches last season at UNC.

Round6 Pick194 KYLE KALIS/OG MICHIGAN 6’4/308 PPR#193
What this guy lacks in athleticism may be made up for in his passion for the game of football. He also has an above average FBI. May never start, but for injuries, but could likely handle multiple spots along the OL as a back-up. Tough, physical player, i.e. mauler. Has NFL genes in his family.

Round7 Pick230 XAVIER WOODS/S LOUISIANA TECH 5’11/200
A physical and reasonably athletic, if slightly undersized player. Had 14 INT in his college career, along with 277 tackles. Has the perfect temperament for Special Teams work. Will be a valuable bottom of the roster addition with versatility.

There you go for 2017 Eagles fans.

Pigskin

STEELERS Mock Draft 2017

The GBN Report gets a lot of traffic from STEELERS fans, so at the risk of upsetting too many of them, here is my Draft projection for their beloved team.

Round1 Pick30 OBI MELIFONWU/FS UCONN 6’4/224 PPR#38
A while back the STEELERS used their 1st Round Pick on an undersized, super active S, by the name of TROY. OBI is the polar opposite from a size standpoint, but he was incredibly athletic and productive as a collegian. He should make a great defensive weapon to scheme with for DC Keith Butler. Had 118 tackles, along with 4 INT last season for the Huskies.

Round2 Pick62 RYAN ANDERSON/ER/DE ALABAMA 6’2/253 PPR#62
The search is still on to find an adequate replacement for JAMES HARRISON. ANDERSON is an explosive edge-rusher and a very physical player in general. And a productive HARRISON is still around to mentor him and possibly rotate at the position. A productive player, with natural edge-rush tools. Reminds me of a young & healthy LAMARR WOODLEY.

Round3 Pick94 MONTRAVIOUS ADAMS/DL AUBURN 6’3/304. PPR#96
The D-Line in Pittsburgh is talented but not terribly deep right now. ADAMS will help fix that. He’s a good candidate to play as both an E & Nose, and allow for more DL rotation on game day. When he plays hard he can dominate a game. MIKE TOMLIN should be a big factor in helping to motivate ADAMS to play at a high energy level.

Round3 Pick105 MIKE ROBERTS/TE TOLEDO 6’4/270 PPR#105
The team likes Jesse James as their starting TE, but would like to get even more out of their TE slot. A Late bloomer, ROBERTS is a red zone threat with his length and sure hands. He will develop as a blocker. This Pick could secure their TE position for the foreseeable future.

Round4 Pick135 JEREMY McNICHOLS/RB BOISE STATE 5’9/214 PPR#133
The team needs some quality depth behind Le’Veon Bell. He’s a workhorse, but at his current workload rate he’ll he used up this decade. McNICHOLS is short but not small. He’s a tough., elusive runner, who can also catch the ball. He rushed for over 1300 yards last season, and also caught 37 balls, scoring 27 total TD. He should make a nice replacement for DeAngelo Williams, who is flat out old for an NFL RB.

Round5 Pick173 MARQUEZ WHITE/CB FLORIDA STATE 6’0/194. PPR#163
Underrated player, IMO, due to talent logjam in FSU secondary. But when he played he was quite effective. Very good size, with 32’+ arm length. Instinctive to the ball in the air. Caught some eyes at the Senior Bowl with his practice work. Sub-Package player right away, with chance to fight for starting job in a few years.

Round6 Pick213 JEROD EVANS/QB VIRGINIA TECH 6’3/232. PPR#228
Not NFL ready after only 1-year of D1 play, but upside could be quite high, while Big Ben finishes out his great career. His 63.5% completion rate last season was higher than KIZER, PETERMAN, KAAYA, WEBB & DOBBS. 29TD/8INT ratio is also impressive. He is also a natural athlete and good speed and can scramble and/or extend plays.

Round7 Pick248 SHAAN WASHINGTON/ILB TEXAS A&M 6’3/235 PPR#249
Very productive defender for the Aggies. Nice value at the Pick. He’s very active and finds the ball. Can drop into coverage a bit. Should shine on Special Teams units while developing into an NFL LB.

That’s it folks. I think these Picks represent a nice blend of football talent and pro potential, with every one of them helping fill needs on the team’s roster.

COLTS/JETS 2016 TEAM MOCKS

While the speculation and tension builds for the actual NFL Draft tonight, how about we engage your imagination with another daily double of Team Mock Drafts.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 6 Picks
The 2015 season is long forgotten, by most, and the organization is pressing forward with the same cast of characters running this Draft and a burning need to add some quality players to a talented but thin roster.

Round 1, Pick 18 NOAH SPENCE/ER/DE/E. KENTUCKY 6’3/251
DWIGHT FREENEY is gone and ROBERT MATHIS is going into his mid-thirties. The Defense badly needs a major blitzing force and SPENCE looks like he could fit that bill. His exact position title is still to be determined, but his role is clearly defined. SPENCE will be defined by what he does, which is get after the QB. PP#20

Round 2, Pick 48 GERMAIN IFEDI/T/G/TEXAS A&M 6’6/324
We all know a big priority is to better protect ANDREW LUCK before he’s so beaten up he retires at age 30. The downside with IFEDI is the possibility that he cannot adjust to NFL level speed at OT, and has to slide in and learn to play OG. Either way he will be force fed in an attempt to get the five best OL athletes on the field to help LUCK. His size is elite in every way so count on him helping right away. PP#58

Round 3, Pick 82 NICK VANNETT/TE/OHIO STATE 6’6/257
COBY FLEENER left for a bigger pay check in New orleans, leaving the COLTS thin at the TE slot. VANNETT doesn’t have big college numbers in part because the Buckeyes rotate talented TE and don’t target them a lot.But he’s a prototype for the inline TE slot. He proved at the Senior Bowl that he can get open and catch the ball, and verified his blocking ability. In the near future he could be considered an upgrade over FLEENER for he COLTS. PP#87

Round 4, PIck 116 JAYRON KEARSE/S/CLEMSON 6’4/216
The COLTS need depth and a talent upgrade at the S slots. KEARSE is an athletic upgrade, but will need to learn assignment discipline to play at he pro level. We will likely know by mid-season how well his adjustment to the NFL is going. He should make an excellent Special Teams player right away. PP#117

Round 5, Pick 155 JAY LEE/WR/BAYLOR 6’2/214
A long limbed guy who made his living running go routes in college. But he showed some all-around ability at the Senior Bowl leading his squad in catches on game day. He has a great chance to make the squad and see the field as a Rookie in a thin WR group. LUCK should love this fast, sure handed target. PP#159

Round 7, Pick 239 ANTWAUN WOODS/DT/SOUTHERN CAL 6’0/329
THe COLTS found a nice surprise last year in how well Rookie DAVID PARRY from Stanford filled their NT slot. But he’s undersized and needs some help. WOODS is a prototype NT with great bulk and strength, but limited range. PP#232
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NEW YROK JETS 6 Picks
The JETS are planning on nothing less than a Play-Off run this season, but have more than a few position issues to solve, especially at QB. But they enter this Draft trying to draft 6 players who will upgrade their overall roster. Don’t hold your breath for a QB selection in this Draft for them.

Round 1, Pick 20 SHAQ LAWSON/OLB/ER/CLEMSON 6’3/269
TODD BOWLES needs more young talent to pressure opponents passers. That is what LAWSON does best. He may be placed at OLB, but with his hand down much of the time. ALso expect BOWLES to move him around to confuse blocking assignments. No matter where he lines up the message will be, QB beware! It also should be noted that by shooting gaps he’s also a TFL machine versus the run. PP#24

Round 2, Pick 51 VONN BELL/S/OHIO STATE 5’11/200
The JETS aren’t desperate in their secondary, but they need some quality youth and extra guys to fill sub-package roles. BELL appears to have long range starting ability, so it’s likely a question of when he starts not if. Right now he’s very good in coverage, but lacks the heart of a lion as a tackler. THat will have to be developed, and he is well aware of it. PP#51

Round 3, Pick 83 LeRAVEN CLARK/OT/TEXAS TECH 6’5/316
NFL Scouts are in luv with this guy’s potential, but coaches wonder how long it will take him to adjust to the pro game coming from TECH. He played in a two-point stance almost his entire college career. But I felt he looked natural at the Senior Bowl adapting to a 3-point stance. He’s long and strong, and has good pass pro skills already. He’s a future starter at LT, but maybe not now. PP#84

Round 4, Pick 118 MARQUEZ NORTH/WR/TENNESSEE 6’3/213
Talk about a raw, but supremely talented guy this is it. NORTH looks to have the same kind of long range potential as BRANDON MARSHALL. The JETS will hope he’s a quick learner and MARSHALL will be willing to take him under his wing. The sky may be the limit for this guy who struggled with injuries and coaching changes. PP#113

Round 5, Pick 157 ISAAC SEUMALO/G/C/OREGON STATE 6’4/303
A big strong athlete who looks like a future Pro Bowler if his lower body injuries are behind him. He came back to have a very productive 2015 season for a bad team. He’s been an Academic All-American and a team captain. Playing inside his 33″ arms are quite a weapon. Starting potential, long term. PP#152

Round 7, Pick 241 JATAVIS BROWN/LB/S/AKRON 5’11/221
He will be an immediate star on Special Teams, but despite lacking ideal size he is also likely to see some time as a cover LB in sub-packages. He also looks like a nice blitz option for BOWLES defensive scheme. Was not at the Combine in INdy but blew up a Super Regional Combine with his speed and agility. Hits a ton. PP#245

Happy NFL Draft everyone.

Pigskin

DOLPHINS/BUCS 2016 Team Mocks

Overall the fan support these days for Florida’s pro football franchises is underwhelming. But then again it’s hard to blame fans for being generally disinterested when you realize how much losing goes on each year by their home teams. Let’s take a quick look this morning at 2 of the Florida franchises.

MIAMI DOLPHINS MOCK
It seems as though the team has gone through another revamp with new HC ADAM GASE and yet another roster purge. The team seems cursed with an owner who in his desire to make headlines doesn’t understand how to build a winning program. Here’s how I would draft if i had control over their 8 Picks.

Round 1, Pick 13 RONNIE STANLEY/OT/NOTRE DAME 6’6/312
Bringing in VFA to shore up their OL has not worked well in recent years. STANLEY is considered a sure thing with a nice combination of pass blocking skills and the size to dominate in the run game if he can develop a bit of a mean streak. Based on his college career this should be a safe pick with a chance to produce a starter right away. PP#13

Round 2, Pick 42 KENDALL FULLER/CB/VA TECH 5’11/187
Retooling their secondary seems like an annual effort. FULLER lost most of 2015 to injury, and if healthy this could be a real value pick. His brother KYLE has been a big hit with the BEARS and KENDALL is a superior athlete with good cover skills. PP#47

Round 3, Pick 73 NICK MARTIN/C/G/NOTRE DAME 6’4/299
Another Golden Domer who can start anywhere in the Interior OL. With recent injuries along the DOLPHINS OL he may get a real shot at winning a full time job right away. Not as athletic as his Pro Bowl brother ZACH in Dallas, but may have an even higher FBI. He’s a grinder who is a better player than an athlete. PP#72

Round 4, Pick 107 KEITH MARSHALL/RB/GEORGIA 5’11/219
Assuming he passed all his medicals at the Combine before he blazed a 4.31/40, he could be an instant fix for the loss of LAMAR MILLER. He’s a complete player with the speed to outrun even NFL defenses. Remember, he was ranked over TODD GURLEY, when they were frosh sensations together at UGA. PP#101

Round 5, Pick 147 KAVON FRAZIER/S/CENTRAL MICHIGAN 6’0/190
Another piece to rebuild the secondary, this time downfield. He’s a solid all-around player with cover skills and a nose for the ball. He’s also a willing tackler and might need to add 10 lbs or so to protect himself at the next level. Has starting potential long term. PP#149

Round 6, Pick 186 DADI NICHOLAS/ER/VIRGINIA TECH 6’3/235
Finding a permanent position for him may be difficult, but rushing the passer is his forte. He may be of help replacing OLIVIER VERNON in that regard. The local boy has been a sack machine for the Hokies and is the kind of guy blockers have to account for on every down. He’s a bit of a lean frame with little chance to bulk up. PP#183

Round 7, Pick 227 DANIEL BRAVERMAN/WR/WESTERN MICHIGAN 5’10/180
This little guy can flat out get open and catch the ball. Had over 100 catches last season. Reminds me a lot of COLE BEASLEY in Dallas. Might be a nice safety valve option in the DOLPHINS talented young receiver corps. PP#222

Round 7, Round 231 BEAU SANDLAND/TE/MONTANA STATE 6’5/253
Don’t let the Montana reference fool you. He started his career in Miami at the U. Still shows flashes of talent and potential. They may have to hide him on the Practice Squad for a season, but he has talent enough to become a second string TE IMO. PP#235

TAMPA BAY BUCS
Let’s move 200 miles up the highway and take a look at another team struggling to regain Play-off status. They got a big piece in that effort in JAMEIS WINSTON last year. Now it’s time to add pieces to the puzzle around WINSTON as he develops as a pro. Methinks the revised BUCS coaching staff will be more ready to plug and play younger guys as they develop.

Round 1, Pick 9 A’SHAWN ROBINSON/DT/ALABAMA 6’4/307
This young man looks even stouter than his size, and has been losing baby fat in the past year or two. He should make a nice compliment to GERALD McCOY/DT, one of the best BUCS and a solid team leader. He’ll rotate in their system, but should be a big help improving the D against the run. PP#9

Round 2, Pick 39 KARL JOSPEH/S/WEST VIRGINIA 5’10/205
Missed most of last season with injury, but is one of the best all-around S prospects around. In 4 games before his injury he had 5 INT last season. He’s from Orlando and will be a local fan favorite with a solid chance to gain a starting job by mid-season, if not sooner. PP#41

Round 3, Pick 74 LENTE’ CAROO/WR/RUTGERS 6’0/211
A team captain who fought injuries last season and still led his team in catches with 39 with a per catch average of over 20 yards. Had the lowest drop rate in the nation at 4%. The team needs another young WR since VINCENT JACKSON is nearing the end as a top flight catcher. Not a flat out speedster, but his 4.49/40 was in the top half of the Combine WR group this year. PP#78

Round 4, Pick 108 JERALD HAWKINS/OT/LSU 6’6/305
Nice, athletic OT who has a chance to replace a couple of long time career back-up talents at the RT spot. In fact, he could end up as being their starting LT in a couple of years. Needs to add some weight room strength and polish up on some blocking fundamentals, but this is a serious upgrade in talent for their depth chart. PP#107

Round 5, Pick 148 DOMINIQUE ALEXANDER/LB/OKLAHOMA 6’0/232
Not totally dissimilar to KWON from LSU, who they got last year. A very good athlete with lots of game time experience under his belt. Should upgrade Special Teams units and eventually find his way onto the field from scrimmage. PP#144

Round 6, Pick 183 GLENN GRONKOWSKI/FB/KANSAS STATE 6’2/239
Mini-Me Gronk, as I call him, can play multiple positions and boost Special Teams units right away. He would also represent an eventual replacement for JAVORSKIE LANE at FB. His versatility will be a big boost at the bottom end of their roster. PP#185

Round 7, Pick 197 ROMEO OKWARA/DE/NOTRE DAME 6’5/265
A talented athlete who has weight growth potential and some pass-rush skills. He could be a very interesting longer term option for the team. If he can add weight he might turn into a full-time player in a year or two. Long arms (34 1/8″) & large hands (10 1/8″) add to the long term excitement. Led Irish in sacks the past two seasons.

PIGSKIN

CARDINALS/RAMS 2016 MOCK DRAFTS

It’s time for a double header of Team Mocks as we are only days away from the 2016 NFL Draft. So let’s follow up the Sea Hawks with two teams from their Division who will be efforting to chase them all season: the resurgent CARDINALS franchise and the relocated wanna-be contender the L.A. RAMS.

CARDINALS
The CARDS have Super Bowl door pretty much since BRUCE ARians arrived from Indy. He and recently appointed GM STEVE KEIM have done a masterful job of flipping the roster and motivating the locker room in Glendale. The Draft is now their lifeblood and they will have to choose wisely with only 6 Picks this year.

Round 1, Pick 30 LEONARD FLOYD/ER/OLB/GEORGIA 6’6/244
The Thin Man looked like a new guy at the Combine, having packed on about 20 lbs. of muscle from his Bulldog days playing frame. Yet he posted a sizzling 4.62/40 in his new, more muscled frame. His arm length (33 1/4″) and hand size (10 1/8″) are considered to be major weapons in his edge-rushing ability. In 2015 he was credited with 10.5TFL and 4.5sacks. The expectation is that he will be even more productive as a pro. Just what the doctor ordered for the CARDS Defense. PP#31

Round 3, Pick 92 KEVIN HOGAN/QB/STANFORD 6’3/218
I would think this to be an ARIANS selection. They need a young QB to groom as a replacement for CARSON PALMER, in the not too distant future. At first blush I had them taking CARDALE JONES here, as a super project for QB Whisperer ARIANS. But HOGAN has been moving up the Draft Boards, and after the short lived LOGAN THOMAS experiment I’m not sure BRUCE wants to deal with the unknown again. HOGAN is a savvy QB from a pro system with a good arm and an even better head and temperament for the position. I expect this pick to work out nicely for the CARDS. PP#150

Round 4, Pick 128 ZACK SANCHEZ/CB/OKLAHOMA 5’11/185
He lacks the elite CB speed (4.55/40) which is the only reason he’s not a Top 100 Pick. But he is a pure ballhawk who has good recovery skills and a nose for the ball. He seems to read QB minds, not just their eyes. He had 7 INT in 2015 for the Sooners. I look for him to start in their Nickel spot and in sub-packages, but he’s likely to be a starter by mid-season. Good value Pick here on Saturday. PP#128

Round 5, Pick 167 KYLE MURPHY/OT/STANFORD 6’6/305
HOGAN’s LT on The Farm may not be flashy, but he is long and effective in both the run game and in pass-pro. His 5.25/40-time tells me he’s destined for RT as a pro. Was a team captain for the Cardinal. Uses his hands well in trying to compensate for average footwork and mobility. Not a special athlete, but a sound and dependable player. PP#164

Rund 6, Pick 170 DEVON CAJUSTE/WR/STANFORD 6’4/234
I didn’t realize until I looked back how heavily I had the team drafting players from Stanford. CAJUSTE almost has TE size, though he wants to remain a WR. Since the team doesn’t carry a FB, I can see CAJUSTE spending some time as an H-Back and in the slot. He has a rep as a very solid downfield blocker. He is a will good hands catcher presenting a large target area to his QB. PP#166

Round 7, Pick 205 MAX TUREK/OC/SOUTHERN CAL 6’5/298
If not for an injured knee as a senior TUERK clearly would have been ranked a lot higher than this. He’s versatile, but long term he could be their answer, and upgrade at OC, where they have shuffled in a lot of journeymen in recent seasons. Good value if truly healthy. PP#210

L.A. RAMS
This RAMS team has pretty much sacrificed their 2016 Draft to get themselves a Franchise QB. But because of Salary Cap vet cuts and VFA losses, they absolutely have to find some plug-in players with their Saturday work.

Round 1, Pick 1 JAROD GOFF/QB/CAL 6’4/215
This is probably the best QB choice for them since he’s a California kid and is likely to be ready sooner than WENTZ who is from a lower level of competition. He’ll gain a bit of weight and strength in heir Training Room. And the team will emphasize the running game to take the heat off of him. His biggest value as a Rookie is expected to be his ability to throw the deep ball to take the top off of defenses, and keep them honest up front. PP#8

Round 4, Pick 110 JUSTIN SIMMONS/FS/BOSTON COLLEGE 6’6/202
Really came on strong as a senior and improved his Draft status as the year went on. Blew up the Combine, ranking as the most athletic S there.His 4.56/40 is impressive and he plays that fast. He had 5INT as a senior, as well as 67 tackles. Has good field vision and high FBI. Will be a punishing tackler when he adds a few pounds of muscle to his frame. PP#109

Round 4, Pick 113 MARQUEZ NORTH/WR/TENNESSEE 6’3/223
Very athletic receiver, whose best football is clearly ahead of him. His 4.47/40 time is excellent for his size and build. Hands over 10″ and 33+” arms combined with his jumping ability make him an attractive candidate to win some jump balls on the sidelines and/or end zone. Will be a nice physical compliment to the RAMS small, quick receiver group. PP#113

Round 6, Pick 177 SCOOBY WRIGHT/ILB/ARIZONA 6’0/239
A college tackling machine is just what the doctor ordered to replace JAMES LAURINAITIS. WRIGHT has some teams spooked because of his pedestrian 40-clocking of 4.75. But the guy finds and gets to the ball. He’s an average athlete whose productivity far out distances his athleticism. Good pick for this team at this spot. PP#172

Round 7, Pick 190 STEVEN WEATHERLY/OLB/VANDERBILT 6’4/267
An interesting athlete who got overlooked on a poor collegiate football team. But take a look at his 4.56/40-time as well as his length (34 1/2″ arms/10 1/4″hands) and you can sense some serious potential in this guy. I think it’s an excellent projection pick in Round 7, and now RAMS coaches must define and refine his pro roles. PP#194

Good work securing some functional players who can contribute right away as the team returns home.

BRONCOS 2016 Team Mock

Here we go again with a look at what the defending Super Bowl champs might do. They have 10 Picks right now, which is a good thing because the team has lost a lot of the key players from that championship team. They are most unsettled at QB with the defection of MANNING & OSWEILER. Even though I see GM ELWAY taking a QB it may not be right away. They may be going after a repeat in 2016 by counting on a VFA like MARK SANCHEZ to lead them. That might seem risky, if not foolhardy to many, but JOHN ELWAY has been doing things his way as GM and overall they sure seem to be working out for him.

Round 1, Pick 31 KENNY SMITH/DL/UCLA 6’3/314
You wouldn’t think a college DT would be the first guy taken here, but WADE PHILLIPS, DC, was nigh on a miracle worker last season molding a Defense that carried the team to its championship. This former wrestler is a very good athlete and I could see him doing just fine at DE in their 3-4 front. He plays faster than his 5.08/40-time and is “strong like bull”. He would also look good in a 2-man front in passing down situations. 75 tackles and 6 sacks in 2015 is pretty impressive for a guy on the Nose most of the time. Also a team captain. POsted some very impressive numbers at the Combine. PP#36

Round 2, Pick 63 CHRIS HACKENBERG/QB/PENN STATE 6’4/223
One of the most perplexing prospects in this Draft. It will take a couple of seasons to refine his game, but their run first style of play should suit his talents and psyche nicely. KUBIAK & ELWAY will no doubt work on his gun-shy pocket presence, which is a mess after 100 sacks during his college career. The arm and FBI are there, but time is likely to be needed before he takes over any starting QB job. I like this gamble on upside. PP#63

Round 3, Pick 95 TYVIS POWELL/S/OHIO STATE 6’3/211
If you’ve been following my team mocks you know I have lots of teams after this guy. Take his size, his stats and his athleticism and you should understand why by now. He fills a team need for immediate depth help. Hey BRONCOS fans remember a guy named DENNIS SMITH? Nuff said. PP#95

Round 3, Pick 98 CHARONE PEAKE/WR/CLEMSON 6’2/209
PEAKE never flashed the huge numbers of guys like WAKINS & HOPKINS at Clemson, but he is a very athletic receiver with 4.42 speed. He’s a skilled “hands catcher” with 34″ arms to reach out and extend for the catch. He can catch in a crowd or turn the pattern up and get open deep. Has nice body control and ball skills. He might make a better pro than a collegian and eventually be he team’s No. 2 wideout. PP#95

Round 4, Pick 136 CALEB BENENOCH/OT/UCLA 6’6/311
A large, talented lump of clay with worlds of potential, not unlike a Rookie named CLADY some years ago. But he will take some time to mold into a starting RT most likely. His 34 1/8″ arms are highly coveted by OL coaches. He’s long but also presents a nice wide base. Has played some OG in a pinch while a BRUIN. Has solid potential and was a very impressive physical specimen at the Combine. Needs to improve his functional strength, especially hand punch. PP#132

Round 5, Pick 144 DOMINIQUE ALEXANDER/LB/OKLAHOMA 6’0/232
A highly productive college football player who reminds me a bit of KWON ALEXANDER coming out of LSU last year. I think his athleticism and feel for finding the ball will make up for a few size/speed limitations. Should be an instant star on Special Teams, but I don’t think it will take WADE a long time to find playing time for him from scrimmage. PP#144

Round 5, Pick 157 DANIEL LASCO/RB/CAL 6’0/209
A very solid all-around back whose biggest issue has been staying healthy. Has good hands and is an excellent blocker in pass pro. Those two things will help him see the field early. He has good burst when he sees a hole and was very productive at the Shrine venue in January. Should be a nice fit or a team that likes to run by committee. PP#165

Round 6, Pick 219 JASON FANAIKA/ER/LB/UTAH 6’2/271
I consider this to be a gift for WADE PHILLIPS for all his hard work in 2015. FANAIKA is an edge rusher, with good size when you consider he can drop into coverage. WADE should be able to find multiple roles for him and be able to move him all over the defensive formations. His 4.88/40-time should tell you he has a chance to fill multiple defensive roles. Showed flashes as a rusher at the Senior Bowl. PP#214

Round 7, Pick 228 EVAN BOEHM/OC/MISSOURI 6’2/302
A team captain who has also spent a season at OG early in his college career. He has physical limitations when you watch him out in the open field, but in that box in the center of the OL he is very effective. Has nice size hands (10 1/4″) and decent arm length inside (32 1/2″) to go with some functional strength. Was a wrestling champ and track & field guy back in HS. Needs some work on long snap accuracy, but really looks the part of a back-up Interior OL. PP#231

Round 7, Pick 235 BEAU SANDLAND/TE/MONTANA STATE 6’5/253
Let’s call him a late bloomer who has raised his stock to draftable as a senior. He went to the NFLPA Game and acquitted himself well. His 4.73/40-time is decent for a guy over 250 lbs. and he has large hands (10 1/8″) and good arm length (34 1/4″). He has a chance to contribute as a 3rd stringer, especially in the red zone, where he can catch and block well. PP#235

Round 7, Pick 253 TREVOR DAVIS/WR/RS/CAL 6’1/188
He is clearly a project but you cannot ignore a guy who runs a 4.40/40 and has 10″ hands, not to mention some scary ability as a Kick Returner. If he can add some muscle weight to his frame he could develop into a No. 3/4 WR with time. Special Teams will be his ticket initially of course. PP#256

Some nice variety and interesting skills sets for a team that needs more depth and a few developmental projects to work with. THis group gives them some help right away and maybe for the future.

PIGSKIN

LIONS 2016 Team Mock

The LIONS bounced back from a miserable start last year to finish up 7-9 with new leadership in several key positions including GM. But before the roster retooling process could even begin in February the team took a huge hit when future HOF WR CALVIN JOHNSON announced his retirement. It’s a huge blow to the team, especially MATT STAFFORD. Just when the team had solidified the receivers group with GOLDEN TATE, Megatron has left the building. So some serious WR selections should be a priority in this Draft, as well as some young, athletic additions to the secondary. Luckily, the team has 10 Picks in a deep Draft. Let’s help new GM BOB QUINN fill some needs.

Round 1, Pick 16 JACK CONKLIN/OT/MICHIGAN STATE 6’6/308
Let’s start with a local Michigander to help at their troublesome LT slot. The former walk-on loves to attack defenders in the run game, but he’s already pretty good in pass pro. He’s country strong, and pretty athletic. He might start at RT, but eventually I see him at LT with dependable RILEY REIFF sliding over to the RT position. IMO, CONKLIN is the best OT in this Draft once we get past a guy named TUNSIL. PP#15

Round 2, Pick 46 BRAXTON MILLER/WR/OHIO STATE 6’1/201
This would be a “gamble on greatness” from a player who two years ago was the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year as a QB. Because of a bad shoulder he switched to WR and has made good progress in the change. His upside would seem to be huge. A round later the LIONS would not even get a sniff of him. The pressure will be for BRAXTON to step up right away, and the pressure will be on the LIONS to show patience as he learns. A great athlete, with a high ceiling is worth this pick. PPP#45

Round 3, Pick 95 TYVIS POWELL/S/OHIO STATE 6’3/211
Another dip into the talent pool that is the Buckeyes, could land the team a long time starter with Pro Bowl potential. I like his overall play better than that of teammate VONN BELL. His 4.48/40 from the Combine is most impressive. He is a solid tackler (71T) as well as a nifty pass defender (3INT/3PBU). Every player faces a challenge in transitioning from college to pro, but POWELL has the tools to make that step and quickly. If he doesn’t start coming out of the pre-season I predict he will by October. PP#94

Round 4, Pick 111 WILLIE HENRY/DT/MICHIGAN 6’3/303
I like the idea of sticking close to home with all these Big Ten guys. They should have little trouble adapting to life in the Midwest as pros. HENRY is a tough, strong guy with some nice physICal traits like 33 3/8″ arms. I would expect him to have no problem earning playing time behind NGATA & WALKER. He pursues the ball well and can penetrate into the backfield with solid hand use (10 7/8″) and a quick first step. If the LIONS use multiple defensive schemes he would be a good fit inside or out. Solid player. PP#106

Round 5, Pick 151 KENTRELL BROTHERS/ILB/MISSOURI 6’0/245
BROTHERS may not be a Combine star, but perhaps more importantly he makes plays. How about 152 tackles (no misprint) in the tough SEC. His 4.87/40 at the Combine hurt his prospect ranking, but he clearly plays faster than that in pads. Father Time is catching up with MLB TULLOCH, and BROTHERS should be a guy able to step in when the time is right. He even earns praise as a Special Teamer who blocked 3 kicks last season. PP#153

ROUND 5, PICK 169 JEFF DRISKEL/QR/LOUISIANA TECH 6’4/234
Even though MATTHEW STAFFORD is still only 28-years old, but entering his 8th NFL season. He takes a beating, but keeps on ticking. But it might be time to pick up a young, developmental QB. DRISKEL, once the top QB recruit in HS Football, wilted under the bright lights in his home state of Florida. But he finished his college career with a flourish under the loving tutelage of SKIP HOLTZ. he has the size arm and athleticism to excel at the highest level. His 4.48/40 at the Combine gives you an idea how good of an athlete he is, at 234 lbs. He has 9 3/4″ hands, and got control of his fastball under HOLTZ throwing only 8 INT, compared to 27 TD. His picture is in the dictionary right beside the definition of “developmental QB”. PP#170

Round 6, Pick 191 KALAN REED/CB/SOUTHERN MISS 5’11/191
REED was almost invisible playing for a rebuilding program most of his career. But he started getting pub after the NFLAPA Game and his school’s Pro Day. He is decent sized with decent speed and seems to have a nose for the ball. At the worst REED starts his career in Detroit as a sub-package guy, but competing for a starting job may not be far off in his pro career. Solid pick here. PP#190

Round 6, Pick 202 KOLBY LISTENBEE/WR/TCU 6’0/197
A rocket in this year’s relatively pedestrian WR group, with a Combine time of 4.34 in the 40. He consistently took the top off of college secondaries and showed some nice running ability after the catch. His hands are fairly small, at 8 1/4″, which probably helps explain some drops. the former track All-America can go get it. It will be up to the LIONS coaching staff to help develop his skills. PP#201

Round 6, Pick 210 PEYTON BARBER/RB/AUBURN 5’10/228
JOIQUE BELL is gone and it leaves the running game with some exciting but lightweight guys (ABDULLAH/REDDICK) as their primary ball carriers. BARBER, who had 1000+ yard season last Fall in build very much like BELL. His forte is between the tackles power and that could be just what this roster needs. Nice try here in Round 6. PP#211

Round 7, Pick 236 TED KARRAS/OG/ILLINOIS 6’4/308
Let’s finish off their Draft effort with another Big Ten guy, and the grand nephew of former LIONS great ALEX KARRAS, of Paper Lion fame. He’s a big framed, tough guy whose grandpa also played in the NFL. KARRAS was at the Shrine venue and was a steady performer all week long. Let’s not call him a legacy pick, but another stout body in their OL group is not a bad thing at all. PP#234

THat’s it for the LIONS as they hope to stop the slide and get back into contention in a tough NFC North. This group should help the cause.

Pigskin

BILLS 2016 Team Mock

As opposed to 2015 Draft, the BILLS have a full compliment of 8 Picks for this year’s Draft. And it is very important that REX & WHALEY are on the same page and on their game. The BILLS have a solid scouting staff and it is time to use their info to upgrade this roster. A big hole just opened up at DE where REX sent SUPER MARIO packing for not wanting to play LB. Their LB group has slipped and requires serious new help. Their OL is big but not terribly athletic, and WHALEY says he wants a QB prospect somewhere in the process. So away we go.

Round 1, Pick 19 SHAQ LAWSON/DE/CLEMSON 6’3/269
Here is an elite pass-rusher who may be more amenable to standing up at times in their D for REX. LAWSON is a superb athlete and is pretty good at setting the edge, although his current weight may become an issue if asked to play that role constantly. He spent a lot of time in opponents backfields targeting both RB & QB. He’s a smaller version of QUINTON COPLES but a much more productive player out on the field. Immediate contributor on several levels for the RYAN boys. PP#19

Round 2, Pick 49 KAMALEI CORREA/OLB/BOISE STATE 6’3/243
Very similar to LAWSON in many ways, but much more likely to convert full time to standing up on the outside, even in their 4-3 base. CORREA has been winning over scouts with his FBI and nose for the ball. He’s a natural at finding the football and taking good lines of pursuit after it. His 4.71/40 is a bit disappointing, but he seems to play faster than that. He’s an explosive player who will find and chase the ball through the whistle. Seems like a RYAN kind of guy to me. PP#46

Round 3, Pick 80 LeRAVEN CLARK/OT/TEXAS TECH 6’5/316
The BILLS OT group is massive, but a bit lacking in athleticism. CLARK would change that in a hurry. He needs base technique work having very seldom taken a 3-point stance in the TECH Offense, but he showed at the Senior Bowl that transition may be pretty much seamless. In fact he got so low in his stance during drills that I worried he would tip over backward. No such issue. This is a true athlete and a massive man. His 36 1/4″ arms, combined with agile footwork make it almost impossible to beat him to the outside on a pass rush. He has future Pro Bowler written all over him. PP#84

Round 4, Pick 117 KENYON DRAKE/RB/ALABAMA 6’1/210
There aren’t too many RB to be found these days who display 4.38/40 speed and have his size. He played second fiddle to bruising DERRICK HENRY, but is a very versatile weapon for a pro offense. He can get to the edge as a runner, glide past LB and most S as a receiver, and is a first class Kick Returner. He has shown a tendency to get banged up and broken bones are a concern with him. But if used with a touch count in mind he should be able to break open a tight game with a big play or two. He would be a nice compliment to McCOY & WILLIAMS, who are more powerful and punishing. He could be the 95 mph fastball after three straight breaking balls, to defenders. PP#118

Round 4, Pick 139 DOMINIQUE ALEXANDER/ILB/OKLAHOMA 6’0/232
A high energy, active tackling machine who led the Sooners with 103 tackles in 2015. Doesn’t have the ideal size to play inside, but they said that about KWON ALEXANDER (NO RELATION) coming out of LSU last year. In the BILLS 4-3 scheme DAREUS & WILLIAMS would eat up a lot of blocks to allow him to flow to the ball. He does seem to have a knack for locating the football. Not a bad pick to replace early retiree TARPLEY. PP#144

Round 5, Pick 150 KEVIN HOGAN/QB/STANFORD 6’3/218
When I do my final rankings I doubt HOGAN would be available here. It seems like the recent film watching and interview process are elevating the Stanford QB. He has good size and has gotten better every season in college. His arm is slightly above average and he can move around enough to extend plays. Having played 4 years in a pro style offense will also play to his advantage. Shows good touch on his throws and scouts luv to see hands of over 10″, despite disclaimers that hand size doesn’t matter. Looked like an INT machine early in his career, but as a senior he threw for 27 TD and only 8 INT. Many say he’ll make a solid career back-up, but I think in the right system, with the right QB tutor he can fight for a starting job in a couple of years. I think GM WHALEY would be delighted to grab hold of HOGAN. PP#150

Round 6, Pick 192 MAX TUERK/OC/SOUTHERN CAL 6’5/298
Had he not missed the second half of the 2015 season with an ACL injury, chances are this versatile guy would have been a Top 100 prospect. Now his medical is more important than his tape. Is a flexible, knee bender who uses body flexibility and quickness to gain an edge on defenders. Has played just about everywhere along the OL and that may be his niche at least initially as a pro. If his knee is sound, and he can gain some weight and functional strength I’d look for him to fight for a starting job in a couple of years. And I’m not saying it will have to be at OC. PP#210

Round 7, Pick 218 VINCENT VALENTINE/DT/NEBRASKA 6’4/329
This big bodied kid came out early and it may have cost him. With his naturally big frame and bulk he might have gotten some real headlines back at Nebraska next year without MALIEK COLLINS playing alongside him. Has been slowed by arm & ankle injuries the past two seasons, but his best is still ahead of him when healthy. Needs to firm up his body a bit, but does show some natural strength. Is tough to move and will push the line-of-scrimmage. Given his lack of speed (5.19/40) he may get more interest from teams looking for someone to play the Nose for them but the RYAN boys will use him in multiple roles. Great value, with nice upside for Round 7. PP#217

The group above would plug some needs and offer a nice mix of ready to play guys along with potential upside guys. The BILLS roster took some hits this off-season and they need a Draft that plugs some holes and offers starting potential. This MOCK provides that IMO.

Pigskin

BENGALS 2016 Team Mock

Time flies when you’re having fun and here we are just 9 days away from the 2016 NFL Draft. I can think of no better way to kick off the last full week before the Draft than by going with the BENGALS, as one of the more conservative, straight-down-the-middle teams in the League. They are still the only NFL team holding the exact Draft Picks that they held coming out of the 2015 season. There are no lack of positions that need shoring up for this team, so here we go,

Round 1, Pick 24 JOSH DOCTSON/WR/TCU 6’2/202
The team lost SANU/JONES to VFA this off-season. That will give the team an excuse to upgrade the talent level around AJ GREEN. And DOCTSON should compliment GREEN very nicely. DOCTSON caught 79 balls for TCU last fall, even though he played in only 11 games because of a wrist injury. He got into the end zone 14 times, which is just what the BENGALS need to add. He has excellent hands and locates the ball very well in the air. Those two skills more than compensate for his lack of blazing speed, 4.46/40. Like GREEN he is almost a sure thing when battling to high point the ball against defenders. He should see the field early and often this season. PP#22

Round 2, Pick 55 VONN BELL/S/OHIO STATE 5’11/199
The team also lost a couple of S to VFA in the past two months. Though not a crunching tackler BELL may be an even better athlete and cover-guy than the departed REGGIE NELSON. He topped out in 2014 as a ball hawk with 6 INT for the Buckeyes. He fell to 2 last season, but his ball skills are top notch. BELL needs to add a few pounds of muscle for the NFL game long term, and clean up his sometimes sloppy tackling technique. He won’t be expected to win a starting job coming out of Training Camp but will certainly be inserted into sub-packages right away. PP#53

Round 3, Pick 87 LeRAVEN CLARK/OT/TEXAS TECH 6’5/316
Like they do with most OL expect CLARK to see limited action as a Rookie, barring emergency needs. But he has the athleticism, length and physicality to be a long term starter in the NFL. Once he adapts to using a 3-point stance he could dominate, and might man the LT spot. He was at the Senior Bowl and wowed with his athleticism and potential. His upside says starter, with very little cause for concern about his ability to fulfill that potential. PP#84

Round 4, Pick 122 CHARLES TAPPER/DE/OLB/OKLAHOMA 6’3/271
The former Sooner is an intriguing athlete with exciting upside. Mobile on his feet, with quick & strong hand usage, he makes plays. Played DE most of the time in college, but was shifted inside at times to generate rush pressure on throwing downs. Is a big time play maker and seems to have a high FBI. With 4.59/40 speed, he may also have the potential to stand up and drop into coverage. He might get a look there since the BENGALS LB corps has shown some vulnerability in recent seasons. Showed very well at the Senior Bowl venue as a versatile, impact player. PP#122

Round 5, Pick 161 ERIC STRIKER/LB/OKLAHOMA 5’11/227
A player who flies around the field making plays. Should excel immediately on Special Teams, while the coaches figure out how to use him from scrimmage. He’s not fast enough to play SS, but might be used in-the-box on early downs. Could he lose a few pounds and convert to SS? Perhaps. He should also have great value as a blitzer off the edge, where he plays even faster than his timed 40 of 4.71. For Round 5 he presents multiple potential options and brings a winning attitude to the locker room. Considered a character in the locker room, but in a positive team morale way. PP#155

Round 6, Pick 199 KOLBY LISTENBEE/WR/TCU 6’0/197
In a year where the WR group of prospects clearly lacks blazing speed, his 4.34/40 at the Combine really stands out. And he plays that fast folks. Watching film you see him running past DB on a regular basis. He has dependable hands and some of us feel he didn’t catch more than 30 balls as a senior because of missed time, and the inability of his QB to throw a deep accurate ball consistently. A track All-American (twice) he needs time to develop better route running habits, but you can’t teach speed, which he has plenty of. Nice value pick here to help restock depth in that receiving corps. PP# 201

Round 7, Pick 245 RASHARD ROBINSON/CB/LSU 6’1/171
This stick figure looked like the next great CB at LSU, but then some issues developed and he ended up out of he football program. After some initial talk of coming back to school he ended up declaring for the Draft. He has natural cover skills despite lacking elite speed for the Corner. This is a high risk, high reward kind of player who MARVIN LEWIS seldom shies away from. Boom or bust, but it’s Round 7. PP# 247

Looks to me like a typical BENGALS Draft that will look better than first blush in a couple of seasons, when it produces 3-4 starters and just about everyone makes the roster. That’s just how they roll around Draft time in Cincinnati.

PACKERS 2016 Team Mock

More so than almost any other team in the NFL, the DRAFT is the lifeblood of the PACKERS roster. TED THOMPSON is resolute in his philosophy of building his team in the annual Draft process. Currently armed with 9 Picks he is poised to put together a strong group of Rookies for his team’s 2016 Training Camp. So let’s see who I would take if I were in his position.

Round 1, Pick 27 VERNON BUTLER/DT/LOUISIANA TECH 6’4/323
This massive man would be just what the doctor ordered for a team that looks to be without several of last year’s DL group when the 2016 season opens. He’s stout, but has good mobility for his size. He is also long for his size with arms measuring 35″. A also think he would look good when the team drops into the 2-man DL formation that they use so much. Also watch for him to knock down a few passes with his penetration into the backfield. He was nigh-on unblockable at the Senior Bowl practices. I like his talent and versatility given the multiple defensive formations DOM CAPERS employs every game day. PP#26

Round 2, Pick 57 JOSHUA PERRY/ILB/OHIO STATE 6’4/254
The team tried to turn over it’s ILB group in 2015, with mixed results. The team has also acknowledged that getting CLAY MATTHEWS back to an OLB spot is critical, for multiple reasons. PERRY has been a standout performer on a talented BUCKEYES team. He has played both inside and out, and presents a very nice combination of size, strength and mobility. That playing versatility he showed in college will play well in the diverse CAPERS defensive schemes. His 4.68/40-time was the fastest among the ILB at the Combine.He recorded over 100 tackles in each of his final two seasons with the Buckeyes. PP# 59

Round 3, Pick XAVIEN HOWARD/CB/BAYLOR 6’0/201
This guy’s stock has been rising as personnel people look at more of his game tape. Despite some concerns about a mediocre 40-time in Indy, his game tape seems to indicate he can keep up with receivers downfield. His size is desirable for today’s NFL. He seems physical enough to also contribute on Special Teams. The PACK lost CASEY HAYWARD to VFA, so it is reasonable to assume that THOMPSON will be looking to supplement his secondary group despite having used his top two picks from last year for a rebuild. PP#85

Round 4, PIck 125 B.J. GODSON/ILB/CLEMSON 6’1/242
WHITEY begins his 4th Round gold rush with another Inside LB. But it’s not a reach to fill a need IMO. GOODSON exploded as a player in the Clemson run at a National Title in 2015. He was the leading tackler for a very talented Defense. Then he ran a very impressive 4.69/40 at the Combine. He is a much better athlete than many give him credit for, which he proved at Indy. Combine that with his productivity and he looks like a very solid prospect. He may only play from scrimmage on running downs, but he should also step in right away as a core Special Teams contributor. PP#125

Round 4, Pick 131 CALEB BENENOCH/OT/UCLA 6’6/311
Another early Draft entrant, who shows more potential than his decent production at UCLA would indicate. He is one of the select few OL who cracked the 5.0/40-time barrier at the Combine. His 34″+ arms will excite any OL Coach. General talk was that Caleb is an underachiever at UCLA, but he was good enough to start 35 games in 3 years for the Bruins. I will buy that he may not be ferocious as a player yet, but motivation is the issue not talent. The PACKS are thin along the OL, and actually getting old with both starting OG on the wrong side of 30. This player might start at RT after a one-year intro to the League. PP#132

Round 4, Pick 137 JOSH FERGUSON/RB/ILLINOIS 5’10/198
I think FERGUSON’s style of play fits very nicely into a PACKERS backfield with two bigger RB in LACY & STARKS. Quickness and elusiveness are his game. What makes him a solid compliment to the current RB on the roster is that he specializes in catching the ball and getting YAC. He registered 168 catches during his career at Illinois. He is a solid runner having averaged 5.1 ypc in 505 collegiate carries. He would bring talent and add depth to the PACKERS roster. also allowing RANDALL COBB to remain in the slot most of the time. He could represent the best pass catching RB RODGERS has ever worked with. PP#138

Round 5, Pick 163 JAY LEE/WR/BAYLOR 6’2/214
LEE has been an integral part of the BAYLOR aerial circus the past few seasons. His reputation, based on his role for the Bears, is that of a long guy with good speed who only runs fly patters. He dispelled that myth with a very solid week of work at the Senior Bowl. He ran all patterns and looked comfortable doing so. Was a leading receiver in the Senior Bowl game, catching the ball well in traffic. Has nice soft hands and should have a solid chance to compete for a roster spot with the PACK as they look to replace JAMES JONES. PP#159

Round 6, Pick 200 JOE THUNEY/OL/NC STATE 6’5/304
Versatility and athleticism are his two biggest attributes, though he’s a savvy vet as well. He looked pretty much like just another guy to me during Shrine Game week, but then posted some very nice numbers at the Combine. He ran a sun 5.00/40 as well as ding 28 reps in the bench press. His arms are a bit short so I would expect his primary pro position to be inside at OG. I suspect however that he might make a solid 5 position back-up as a pro. The combination of versatility and overall athleticism are what make him a solid pick here in the late rounds. PP#196

Round 7, Pick 248 CLAYTON FEJEDELEM/S/ILLINOIS 6’0/200
FEJEDELEM had a really strong senior season for the Illini. He also caught my eye with a really good week of practice and play at the Shrine Game venue. He is a real ball hawk and if he had better hands would be a high INT guy. But he finds the ball and makes plays from deep in the secondary. He has a solid build and does not shy away from contact. He’s gonna be OK in coverage unlike many of this years S prospects. Well worth a late pick when your team still has CHRIS BANJO hanging on because of his Special Teams play. I think FEJEDELEM can offer them more than that. PP#251

That’s it for the Green & Gold, although you can count on them to bring in another dozen, or so, URFA who fit their style of play and who will make final cuts difficult late in August. As is always the case this Draft is critical for TED THOMPSON as they all are. He always expects to hit on 10-12 Rookies for an annual dose of fresh talent. As a side note, in a year of a mediocre TE group, I felt that position could be ignored for now thanks the rare VFA signing by THOMPSON of JARED COOK. I know that position is of concern to many PACKERS fans, but it is almost impossible to fill every perceived need in one year in today’s NFL.

SAINTS 2016 Team Draft

It looked as though the SAINTS were finally committing to the Draft as the backbone of their roster building in 2015. It is going to be a bit tough to duplicate last year’s effort, and success, this time around however. The team is armed with only 6 Picks this year, as opposed to the 9 they held last April. Count on them really working the URFA route on Draft Sunday, but for today let’s look at what they might do with those 6 Picks.

Round 1, Pick 12 LAQUON TREADWELL/WR/OLE MISS 6’2/221
The SAINTS could well be the beneficiaries of TREADWELL not being able to turn in an impressive 40-time this off-season. And his availability would be a big break for a team that just parted ways with their top receiver of the last decade named COLSTON. TREADWELL is a sure handed, high jumping, difference making receiver who also does the little things for his team. He’s a willing blocker and a great locker room presence. DREW BREES would be delighted with this selection and so will SAINTS fans. PP#10

Round 2, Pick 47 JOSHUA GARNETT/OG/STANFORD 6’4/312
Consider this Pick as the replacement for another vet let go, JAHRI EVANS. GARNETT is clearly the best all-around Interior OL in this Draft to my eyes. He comes from the Stanford pro style offense and is proficient in both run and pass blocking. He’s clearly a stout guy who can move around a bit. Once again it’s a pick where BREES should text both PAYTON & LOOMIS with thanks for helping him out. Very good value for a need Pick. PP#48

Round 3, Pick 78 SHAWN OAKMAN/DE/BAYLOR 6’8/287
OAKMAN is a risk pick here with a lot of boom/bust potential. He’s still as much a basketballer as he is a football player, but his athleticism and wingspan is exciting. I think he hit a home run at the Combine, by coming in at a hefty 287 lbs. and still looking agile. A year ago he was considered a possible first rounder, but his senior season was just average for the BEARS. His wingspan, with 35 3/4″ long arms, is intimidating even by pro standards. For as weak as the SAINTS D has been recently this pick may be worth the gamble on greatness. His performance camp time should help him understand what he’s in for as a pro football player and jump start his transition from college to pro. PP#81

Round 4, PIck 112 JAYRON KEARSE/S/CLEMSON 6’4/216
To put it bluntly JARIUS BYRD has been a disappointment since coming to town, primarily because of injury, but he has also had difficulty fitting in on the SAINTS D. Even if BYRD finds his way this season the SAINTS could use a big athLetic S like KEARSE. JAYRON is likely not ready for a big role as a Rookie, due to his gambling, undisciplined style of play in college. But his upside is also high. He ranges far and wide and can deliver a blow on receivers. But despite his errors in judgement and form he has big play potential which cold result in the kind of turnovers the team was expecting from BYRD. PP#117

Round 5, Pick 152 D.J. READER/DT/CLEMSON 6’3/327
Some might say this is a bit of a reach, but I would counter by saying the SAINTS need a true wide body to anchor the middle of their DL. KEVIN WILLIAMS is getting up there in years and JOHN JENKINS has been an underachiever much of the time. READER had a very sold senior season and is just plain old-fashioned big and stout. He does not cover a lot of ground out there but he truly stuffs blockers and jams up the line-of-scrimmage. This might be a bit of a need reach, but in Round 5 you roll the dice and go for what you need. PP#162

Round 7, Pick 237 EVAN BOEHM/OC/MISSOURI 6’2/302
BOEHM is a reliable, stout Interior OL and was rated a lot higher than this last summer. His measurables kind of came up to bite him as teams dug deeper on him. His Combine arm measurement of only 31 5/8″ cost him, even though that is not a death sentence inside at OC. Working in his favor is the likelihood that he can play all 3 inside positions, having started at OG for Mizzou as a freshman. Guys of his ilk have earned jobs in the NFL with grit and determination. Mark him down as another one. Very productive college player, in a tough conference, make him worth the Pick this late. PP#231

This group of Draftees would fill some immediate needs, as well as offer potential contributors for the long haul. Add another dozen URFA to the mix and SAINTS Training Camp well could be very competitive come Summer.

PIGSKIN

VIKINGS Team Mock 2016

The VIKINGS are moving into their new hime this fall and look to be loading up for a serious Play-Off run if QB/BRIDGEWATER takes the next progression as a 3rd year NFL QB. Being indoors for 8 home games should be a help for him and his average arm strength. GM RICK SPIELMAN has brought in a group of VFA who should help, especially on the OL. The VIKES should be a position where they have no glaring needs to fill, so they can get good value at each Pick, which is a SPIELMAN trademark. A top end WR looks to be the biggest want, and I see them taking care of that right away.

Round 1, Pick 23 JOSH DOCTSON/WR/TCU 6’2/202
He is not a speed burner (4.50.40) but he plays faster than he times and has excellent hands and ball skills. He may turn out to be the receiver that PATTERSON has not been. The guy caught 79 balls in 2015 despite missing 3 games with a broken wrist. He finds the end zone as evidenced by his 14 TD in 2015. He does everything you can ask of a receiver, including being a decent blocker. I see him as a great compliment to last year’s Rookie standout STEFON DIGGS. Wonderful value for this team. PP#22

Round 2, Pick 54 VONN BELL/S/OHIO STATE 5’11/199
SPIELMAN fills another “soft spot” on his roster with a very athletic S to go with a bunch of big hitters who aren’t great cover guys over the deep middle of the field. I expect him to get playing time and perhaps take HARRISON SMITH’s FS spot, if SMITH can handle SS instead. It will be a lot to sort out, but there is little doubt that BELL is near the top of the 2016 S position group. He’ll need to toughen up a bit and be more enthusiastic against the run. PP#53

Round 3, Pick 86 NICK VANNETT/TE/OHIO STATE 6’6/257
His skill set is very similar to KYLE RUDOLH and may allow RHETT ELLISON to convert back to more of a FB/H-B role. He will also upgrade the blocking out of a 2-TE Jumbo Set in Red Zone/Goal line scenarios. He’s also athletic enough to sneak off the line-of-scrimmage and get open in the end zone. This is another example of a SPIELMAN pick not born out of necessity, but of unquestionable value. PP#87

Round 4, Pick 121 CHARLES TAPPER/DE/OKLAHOMA 6’3/271
A player with natural pass rush skills and enough athleticism to play multiple spots in the defensive front 7. His big hands (11 1/2″) and long arms (34 3/8″) allow him to play longer than his 6’3 height might indicate. He’s also athletic and fast enough (4.59/40) to spend some time playing upright on passing downs. This will be a fun guy for MIKE ZIMMER and his defensive staff to work with and plug into some creative defensive roles. PP#122

Round 5, Pick 160 CONNOR McGOVERN/OG/MISSOURI 6’4/306
Another very strong, versatile guy who might be able to back-up 3 or 4 OL positions until he gates a chance to win a starting job. Immediate help was added along the OL in VFA, and CONNOR will provide the staff with a chess piece to develop and groom for a spot to cll his own in a year or two. Another solid pick of a strong hard working, self made player at the collegiate level. PP#160

Round 6, Pick 180 JACOBY BRISSETT/QB/NC STATE 6’4/231
A player I’m not real high on, but who may have too much athleticism and potential to really last this long, because of QB supply and demand. If he makes the team it will surely be as 3rd string behind BRIDGEWATER & SHAUN HILL. But HILL is no spring chicken and a young, athletic guy like BRISSETT could make a strong back-up option when HILL retires. PP# 186

Round 7, Pick 240 TAVON YOUNG/CB/TEMPLE 5’9/183
Based on his college productivity and attitude he should have been gone long ago. But his lack of size and good, but not elite speed, make it very likely he will never start in the NFL on a regular basis. But he certainly seems good enough to play his way onto the roster filling sub-package roles, and playing a multitude of Special Teams roles. PP#236

Round 7, Pick 244 AARON GREEN/RB/TCU 5’11/205
GREEN came on strong as a senior at TCU rushing for over 1200 yards and 11 TD. He played at the Senior Bowl venue and impressed overall. His lack of an extra gear and modest size will limit him to part time, role playing as a pro, but if he can find a niche or two on Special Teams he could make the roster if they keep 5 RB/FB players. PP# 252

Value at the Pick is a byword when talking about the drafting style of RICK SPIELMAN. And he’s now been pulling the strings as VIKES GM for long enough that the team’s roster is a testament to his ability to identify and stockpile talent. The VIKES are legit, and a serious threat to the PACKERS NFC North dominance.

PIGSKIN

DA BEARS 2016 Team Mock

DA BEARS are trying to remake their roster on the fly under the leadership of GM RYAN PACE & HC JOHN FOX. Expect them to search for talent, high character & team needs in that order. But they cannot afford to be oblivious to the needs part of the equation since they fell to a 6-10 record last season. We’ll see how their loss (VFA) of RB/MATT FORTE plays out. They kept WR/ALSHON JEFFERY, despite speculation to the contrary, and expect last year’s 1st Round Pick KEVIN WHITE to be back from injury. With MARTELLUS BENNETT traded away, primarily for financial reasons, a new TE might be in their draft plans. The team has plenty of needs so drafting Best Available will be rationalized as a plausible explanation if they miss on any of their pressing needs. Having 9 total picks will come in handy.

Round 1, Pick 11 DARRON LEE/LB/OHIO STATE 6’1/232
Despite the need to identify exactly where LEE best fits (inside/outside) he is such an exceptional athlete that getting him into the lineup somewhere should not be of major concern. And he has excelled standing up as an actual LB in college. The team currently has too many converted DL masquerading as LB just because they can rush the passer. LEE should help provide them with more actual LB to man their recent conversion to a 3-4 scheme despite personnel fit deficiencies. Talented players, with overall LB skill sets like LEE would help shape this position group in 2016. PP#12

Round 2, Pick 41 KARL JOSEPH/S/WEST VIRGINIA 5’10/205
Despite protestations of not picking for need it would be quite hard look past one of the top two S prospects, who happens to be sitting out there right where you are picking. JOESPH played only about a month of the 2015 season, but has a thick resume’ of success starting 42 straight games until his injury. He led the nation with 5 INT thru 4 games before his ACL injury last year. This pick assumes that he has passed all the team’s medical exams, and I have accumulated no info to the contrary. He is likely to be a starter from game 1 of his pro career. PP#41

Round 3, Pick 72 NICK MARTIN/OG/C/NOTRE DAME 6’4/299
Younger brother of DALLAS ZACH MARTIN/OG, NICK is not as athletic as his brother but is a smart, savvy player, who will get a shot to win a job at either OG or OC. My guess is he will beat someone out by September and open the season as a starter in their OL. His versatility, will make him even more valuable as injuries cause the OL to be shuffled throughout the season. Most football fans in the city of Chicago have an affiliation with Golden Domer football players, so this pick is likely to create a positive PR ripple effect in the local media. It never hurts to have popular guys on the squad when rebuilding a roster! PP#72

Round 4, Pick 106 MALCOLM MITCHELL/WR/GEORGIA 6’0/198
This Pick might make JAY CUTLER feel a bit more wanted. MITCHELL’s talent exceeded his college productivity, but many think the lack of a first rate QB at UGA once AARON MURRAY graduated hindered MITCHELL more than an other receiver on their roster. His Combine numbers scream out of potential greatness. His 4.45/40 combined with a 36″vertical and 10’9″ broad jump indicate explosiveness to take the top off of NFL secondaries. His 10 1/2″ hands should also appeal to a cold weather team. He may not shine immediately, but expect him to push for the team’s 3rd wideout spot soon. PP#104

Round 4, Pick 127 TYLER HIGBEE/TE/WESTERN KENTUCKY 6’6/249
It is not a great year for TE prospects, but HIGBEE was climbing the rankings before a knee injury cost him the last month-plus of the 2015 season. He has shown good hands and run after catch ability for his size. He counted 66 career catches at WKU, with an incredible 13 of them going for TD. That stat clearly points to his Red Zone effectiveness. He isn’t going to make BEARS fans forget BENNETT, but he should improve the overall TE group currently on their roster. PP#126

Round 5, Pick 150 KEVIN HOGAN/QB/STANFORD 6’3/218
DA BEARS kind of flushed out their QB group this off-season dumping JIMMY CLAUSEN. I’m not sure DAVID FALES is a legit future starter so lucking into HOGAN being available here is a nice find for Chicago. HOGAN can lay claim to improving every season in college, as well as running a pro style offense under DAVID SHAW. He has nice size and an above average arm. He’s a smart guy who has clearly responded to coaching instruction over his career. Don’t expect HOGAN to come in and unseat either of the guys in front of him. But JOHN FOX likes to carry 3 QB and HOGAN can represent an overall upgrade to the group, with long range potential. PP#150

Round 6, Pick 185 MORGAN BURNS/CB/RS/KANSAS STATE 5’11/199
BURNS is a very good value in Round 6, because he certainly has a chance to provide depth in some secondary sub-packages and could have major impact on Special Teams. For some strange reason BURNS was not invited to the Combine so I cannot confirm an exact 40-time, but suffice it to say he mast be pretty fast to average 33.5 yards per kick-off return, including 4 for TD in 2015 alone. Don’t discount the fact that he was a team captain for K-State last year. Potentially, a steal this late in the Draft. PP#182

Round 6, Pick 206 TYLER JOHNSTONE/OT/OREGON 6’6/301
This is called rolling the dice for greatness if he has passed all his medical exams, after 2 torn ACL injuries during his college career. When healthy he’s a legit LT prospect in today’s NFL. When I saw him in action, seemingly healthy, he looked like a natural with length (34″ long arms) and good footwork. Prior to his second ACL injury i felt he was a Top 100 prospect. PP#205

Round 7. Pick 230 CASSANOVA McKINZY/LB/AUBURN 6’1/248
This is a fascinating Pick for Round 7. He was a multi-use guy in the Auburns D this past season. He’s a big thumper, but also shows some quickness as a potential pass-rusher. He’d likely play Inside in DA BEARS scheme, and if he can show enough thump and enthusiasm he might buy himself time on the roster with Special Teams work until the coaching staff determines his value from scrimmage. PP#233

The diversity and talent of this Draft group could provide the team with more core building blocks for their roster. I have little doubt that some of them would surprise as instant contributors. My only regret would be not finding value (at least in my rankings) in a full-sized DE candidate at any of their Picks.

PIGSKIN

WASHINGTON 2016 Team Draft

Year two of the SCOT McCLOUGHAN player acquisition process doesn’t have the Draft volume right now that SCOT prefers for his team. But he still has 3 weeks to wheel and deal to accumulate a double digit Draft class. Stay tuned. For now he has 8 Picks to work with and some of the team needs may surprise you a bit, post VFA. RB maybe high on their list with the departure of ALFRED MORRIS as a VFA. The secondary should also get an infusion of young talent at both CB & S. And they appear to be starting over at the NT spot. Overall look for McCLOUGHAN to supplement his roster at multiple spots for depth and developmental types.

Round 1, Pick 21 DERRICK HENRY/RB/ALABAMA 6’3/247
Don’t be shocked if this happens. Even though MATT JONES was a pleasant surprise as a Rookie he has a history of being banged up, going back to college. HENRY is the kind of big guy who the Hogs would have loved to block for back in the GIBBS era. This team still needs/wants a strong running attack to set up their passing game and control the clock. HENRY can be that guy IMO. He reminds me of a cross between EDDIE GEORGE & BRANDON JACOBS. Look for the team to also draft a couple of young OL to bolster their blocking and support the running attack. This Pick could be moving if PAXTON LYNCH lasts this long and a QB needy team wants to move up. PP#25

Round 2, Pick 53 VONN BELL/S/OHIO STATE 5’11/199
The team needs more talent at S and BELL is a very good cover option. He will need a little push from his coaches to be more willing in run support and open field tackling but talent is not the issue. The team added DAVID BRUTON/S in Free Agency, but so far in his pro career he’s been a Special Teams guy more than a starting S. BELL should be a significant upgrade for the S group and could earn a starting job right away. PP#53

Round 3, Pick 84 LeRAVEN CLARK/OT/TEXAS TECH 6’5/316
CLARK will need some time to adjust to the NFL game after blocking in the Tech run-and-gun style college offense. But there is no denying his overall athleticism and talent. He is fundamentally sound and has the athleticism and size to be an eventual Pro Bowler. His addition could keep the team from having to shuffle SCERFF between OG and OT in injury situations immediately. He could also push MORGAN MOSES for a starting job very soon. PP#84

Round 4, Pick 120 B.J. GOODSON/ILB/CLEMSON 6’1/242
GOODSON seemed buried a bit in the Clemson mother lode of talent until his senior season. Then he jumped up to lead the team in tackles, and really got everyone’s attention when he ran a 4.69/40 at the Combine. The REDSKINS are adequate at the ILB spots, but he could take them up a notch. Look for him to shine on Special Teams immediately, and perhaps push for a regular job in the second half of the 2016 season, when injuries start to mount. PP#125

Round 5, Pick 158 D.J. READER/DT/CLEMSON 6’3/327
Yes it’s a coincidence that two consecutive Clemson guys are on this list. But then again, you don’t win a national championship with mediocre talent. And with Pot Roast taking his act to New England, READER fills the bill as a space eating, hard to move wide body on the Nose. I expect him to step right in and at the very least share the starting NT job with some vet. Long term, he could be their top NT for the foreseeable future. I see this guy as being great value at the Pick. PP#162

Round 6, PIck 187 GLENN GRONKOWSKI/FB/KANSAS STATE 6’2/239
He’s not the bulldozing blocker that DARRELL YOUNG has been in old DC, but he can move defenders out to clear some running lanes. He will also be a better receiver than YOUNG and can run with the ball if needed. He will also star on Special Teams. I call him Mini-Me-Gronk and he finally provides the team with enough athleticism and toughness to move on from an aging YOUNG. PP#185

Round 7, Pick 232 RASHAWN SCOTT/WR/MIAMI 6’1/199
In today’s NFL there is always room for one more quality receiver on your roster. SCOTT emerged in his senior season to earn a draftable grade. I watched him closely at the Shrine venue and this guy brings some nice tools to the game. He plays under control and should only get better with time. He will have to develop his skills on Special Teams initially to earn a slot in a pretty talented WR group. But IMO he is a natural athlete and competes well. PP#239

Round 7, Pick 242 STEPHANE NEMBOT/OT/COLORADO 6’7/322
This incredibly long, athletic guy is very new to the game of football, but more than a few respected personnel people (MAYOCK for one) think he has exciting long range potential. His 34 5/8″ long arms look tantalizing to OL coaches, but he needs tons of work on blocking technique and foot movement. He’s a major project with very high upside, and that’s exactly what you are looking for in Round 7. He’s unlikely to ever be skilled enough to play LT as a pro, but by 2017 or 2018 I could see CLARK at LT & NEMBOT at RT as starters for this team.

McCloughan is a master at filling multiple needs with his Drafts, without reaching for players to actually fill perceived immediate needs. I think the group above would be reflective of that. But him being a film room hermit, ala TED THOMPSON, I can’t tell you I really have a feel for who he has been smitten by on their game tape.

PIGSKIN

STEELERS team Mock 2016

The STEELERS possess 7 Picks this Draft, with 2 coming in Round 7. As usual the team will show a net loss in VFA so there will be some holes to fill, not to mention the retirement of HEATH MILLER/TE. But surprisingly the team will not have to look to the Draft to replace MILLER because it signed LADARIUS GREEN in Free Agency to go along with vet MATT SPAETH & last year’s Rookie JESSE JAMES. For my money the team’s biggest need is adding talent to their secondary. They may also be looking to supplement their WR group with the suspension of MARTAVIS BRYANT.

Round 1, Pick 25 ELI APPLE/CB/OHIO STATE 6’1/199
APPLE erased any concerns about his speed, but after posting a 4.40/40-time at the Combine and secured himself a first round draft grade around the League. It might also be noted that under MIKE TOMLIN the team has brought a lot of former Buckeyes into the fold. APPLE has nice size and brings good coverage skills to the dance. TOMLIN likes to bring his youngsters along slowly, but it’s not inconceivable that APPLE. combined with last year’s 2nd Rounder SENQUEZ GOLSON/CB are the the future starting CB combo for this team. PP#27

Round 2, Pick 58 GERMAIN IFEDI/OT/TEXAS A&M 6’6/324
This big former Aggie could fight for the job of departed KELVIN BEACHUM,but he may also backup everywhere except OC until he matures as a pro. He has some sloppy habits, but his overall talent is undeniable. I’m not convinced his feet are quick enough for LT on a full-time basis, but some personnel folks felt he was a First Round candidate. Most seem to agree he will need work on his technique, and patience before he starts in the NFL, and the STEELERS are the kind of team to take that approach as needed. PP#58

Round 3, Pick 89 TYVIS POWELL/S/OHIO STATE 6’3/211
I don’t want to get carried away with the Ohio State theme, but after all there may be 12 Buckeyes in the Top 100 this Draft. THey are that talented and POWELL may be every bit as good (and bigger) than his more hyped teammate VONN BELL. POWELL wowed everyone by running a 4.46/40 at the Combine which was better than the majority of CB prospects. By mid-season he could be teamed with former Buckeye WILL ALLEN at a S slot. He and APPLE would seriously upgrade the athleticism of the STEELERS secondary. PP#94

Round 4, Pick 123 KENYON DRAKE/RB/ALABAMA 6’1/210
Injuries hit the STEELERS RB group hard last year. DRAKE would add some speed to the backfield as well as return skills on Special Teams. He has a smooth gliding running style and has shown good hands as a receiver. TOMLIN can groom him for a heavier load in 2017 when DEANGELO WILLIAMS is likely to be gone. This is a good value Pick for Saturday and his versatility will come in handy on their roster. PP#118

Round 6, Pick 220 VINCENT VALENTINE/DT/NEBRASKA 6’4/329
VALENTINE is a natural “big guy” who may be a better overall prospect than his more ballyhooed former teammate MALIEK COLLINS. He’s a bit tall for a typical NT but is an athletic big body. He ain’t no CASEY HAMPTON, but could make a very serviceable rotation partner for DANIEL McCULLERS on the Nose. Good value at this point in the Draft. He fills a need caused by the defection of STEVE McLENDON in VFA. PP#217

Round 7, Pick 229 DANIEL BRAVERMAN/WR/WESTERN MICHIGAN 5’10/180
The small, fast DRI ARCHER pick did not work out for the STEELERS, but this guy is a natural hands receiver, who can get separation through good route running and/or by knowing when/where to sit down in the empty spaces in a zone D. Many questioned his early Draft entry, but what was there left to prove in college after 108 receptions in 2015? He wasn’t going to grow another 3″ or shave his 40-time with another year in the MAC. He’s quick and elusive after the catch and looks like a natural slot candidate as a pro. He doesn’t replace BRYANT, but he surely can add to BIG BEN’s completion total. PP#222

Round 7, Pick 246 BRANDON ALLEN/QB/ARKANSAS 6’1/217
He probably does not answer the question as to who BIG BEN’s successor will be, but ALLEN has flashed some solid potential to the scouts as a potential NFL back-up QB type, ala CHASE DANIELS. He has a good arm and is quite mobile whether escaping the pocket or extending the play. He got better each year for the Razorbacks and impressed with a senior campaign that featured 30 TD passes against only 8 INT. He is short of stature but plays smart and hard. It might be time for the team to roll out a young, high energy option when BIG BEN gets nicked up again a couple of times during the 2016 season. Started 34 games in his college career. PP#240

Nothing gaudy here, but a group of players who can infuse this team with talent at positions of need and some youthful energy for a veteran roster. The functionality of these picks seems to fit the STEELERS mode of operation as an organization.

PIGSKIN

COWBOYS MOCK DRAFT 2016

Time to move on to one of the NFL’s marquee franchises. Even though I still think America’s Team resides in Wisconsin, maybe in today’s world the glitz & glamour of a team in Big D, with it’s snake oil salesman owner, does more accurately represent our changing society. Wait a minute, this is football talk, so let’s get back on track and mock the COWBOYS draft. You may be surprised by some of these Picks, but I am serious.

Round 1, Pick 4 MYLES JACK/LB/UCLA 6’1/245
Unlike JAYLEN SMITH, Jack is right on track with his knee injury recovery and I guarantee Cowboys medical staff have checked him out carefully. Even though RB/ELLIOTT is available I have JACK rated one slot higher and this team has serious need for elite talent at LB for their Defense. Their best LB is SEAN LEE, whose body has been ravaged in recent years, including multiple concussions. I have no doubt this guy can play either inside or out in their schemes, and will be a multiple time Pro Bowler. JACK has as much, or more, overall talent of any player in this years Draft. On my Board TUNSIL, RAMSEY & BOSA are not available to Dallas. PP#4

Round 2, Pick 34 KENNY CLARK/DT/UCLA 6’3/314
No pattern of Bruin players intended here, just a great value and a talented player where the team is average in talent. Combine CLARK with VFA THORNTON and ROD MARINELLI will think it’s Christmas in July when Training Camp opens this summer. He is a stout defender with more athleticism than you’d expect. He should jump into the DL rotation right away. He is strong enough to collapse the pocket from the inside, which most QBs hate with a passion. PP#36

Round 3, Pick 67 CHRISTIAN HACKENBERG/QB/PENN STATE 6’4/223
Drum roll please, as the team drafts its replacement for TONY ROMO, with a couple of years to groom him for the job, hopefully. HACKENBERG is a talented guy who was in a bad situation, in a rebuilding college program that changed coaching staffs after his first season there. I will venture an opinion that had BILL O’BRIEN stayed at Penn State with HACK, then we’d be looking at a First Rounder here. He will have plenty of QB groomers to work with him in Dallas, including HC JASON GARRETT, QBC WADE WILSON & OC SCOTT LINEHAN. This has the potential to be a steal of a first round talent in Round 3. That will make Owner JERRY JONES smile broadly as he brags about his next QB, starting April 29th. PP#65

Round 4, Pick 101 JALEN MILLS/DB/LSU 6’0/191
There are still questions as to whether his best fit will be as a CB or S, but there is little doubt he’s the next LSU-to-NFL DB. And this secondary can use young, inexpensive help at either position right now. He’s been starting, when healthy, for 4 years down on the Bayou. If he were 10 lbs heavier, or a tick faster he’d have been gone by Round 3. Even if he never earns a starting spot his versatility will be useful in the pass-happy NFL where teams constantly roll out defensive sub-packages with 5, 6 even 7 DB on the field at a time. PP#96

Round 4, Pick 135 JONATHAN WILLIAMS/RB/ARKANSAS 5’11/219
Heading into the 2015 season WILLIAMS was expected to be the bell cow for the Razorback running game. But an August foot injury put him down for the season. Word is a lot of NFL teams are checking his recovery carefully and will jump on him if the news is good. SOme personnel people like his potential even more than running mate ALEX COLLINS. With the signing of ALFRED MORRIS the Cowboys can afford to take their time with WILLIAMS, with an eye to him replacing another Razorback, DARREN McFADDEN, as MORRIS’ backfield mate in 2017 at the latest. Great value at this sot in the Draft. PP#131

Now we must jump all the way to Round 6 for the remainder of the Cowboys’ picks.

Round 6, Pick 189 DENVER KIRKLAND/OG/OT/ARKANSAS 6’5/335
This big man will probably have to move inside to OG if he’s ever to be a starter as a pro, but he certainly could be a valuable 3-4 position back-up at the very least. He has that road grader size that the Cowboys traditionally like, but isn’t a half bad athlete. He might lose 10 lbs. easily in an NFL training/weight room, which could help his mobility. I see him as a great value here as young depth on that excellent OL they have built in the last 4 years. PP#189

Round 6, Pick 212 BRIEAN BODDY-CALHOUN/CB/MINNESOTA 5’10/193
Showed himself in college to be a gambling, ball-hawking CB who has a real nose for the ball. He may not have the overall size or skills to be an NFL starter, but should be a very valuable asset as a sub-package Corner or slot coverage guy. His 4.47/40-time from the Combine confirms that he possesses the speed to compete as a pro in coverage. His tools, and his value here in Round 6, are another indicator of he good depth in this draft class. PP#212

Round 6, Pick 216 JASON FANAIKA/ER/DE/UTAH 6’2/271
A late-blooming, edge-rusher who saved his best for last in college. He may actually have the ability to drop a bit into coverage as an OLB, but his best value is clearly as an edge-rusher. He may have enough versatility, and energy, to be a Swiss Army Knife roster guy, able to fill multiple roles, especially on Special Teams units. DC ROD will find ways to use an athlete and high energy guy like FANAIKA.
PP#214

ROUND 6, Pick 217 DEREK WATT/FB/WISCONSIN 6’2/234
JJ’s little brother may be the ultimate Swiss Army Knife player as he clearly demonstrated at the Shrine venue in January. He may even be able to serve as a back-up long snapper. The COWBOYS usually have a FB on the roster for red zone/goal line work, and WATT would be a cheaper role player than TYLER CLUTTS, not to mention more versatile. He’s one of those perfect guys to fill about 4 roles at the bottom of an NFL roster. And hey, his presence might help the JONES BOYS lure JJ WATT to Big D for his next contract. Blood is usually thicker than water.

This Draft Class doesn’t fix everything, and may lack glamour overall, but Personnel Director Stephen Jones has shown the wisdom to value football ability over glitz and glamour, as he takes over more personnel responsibility from dad. These picks would help the team today, and even more so a couple of years down the road.

Pigskin