So here's my first ever Fan Post. I'm hopping on the mock draft bandwagon. I used the Walter Football board just to shake it up as I assumed most were using the FanSpeak board.
Round 1: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Dennard is a physical, press happy CB, known for being a smart, instinctive player and a leader on a damn good Michigan State defense. While he lacks the freak size that many teams seem to be looking for suddenly, I think he would be a great complement to Jimmy on the outside, with Webb in the slot. Picture a secondary that includes, Dennard, Smith, Webb, and Elam. Sounds like a dream come true. Plus, if the fire that Jimmy showed after Ihedigbo let AJ Green catch that miracle TD is an indicator of things to come, we could have a pair of fiery, physical leaders in our secondary. No one would be complaining about our defense lacking swagger anymore.
I could have picked Zach Martin, but remembered that Kubiak has often succeeded with RTs drafted long after round 1, and decided against it. I didn't go receiver (the highest ranked was Odell Beckham Jr.) because I was confident in the depth of the receiver class.
Round 2: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
I had intended to go offense round 2 after using my first pick on defense, but Shazier was just too tempting to pass up. He's an electrifying athlete with great production over his college career. Absurd speed, great coverage ability, has pass rush potential. A true 3-down linebacker, he would never have to come off the field. Some would argue that we don't have a spot for him on this team between Suggs, Doom and Upshaw, but I think we'd find a way to get him on the field. A close second was Jace Amaro, but Shazier is one of my favorite prospects, and getting him in round 2 would be fantastic.
Round 3: Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
The Ravens finally draft a player from LSU. While I passed over his more athletic teammate, Odell Beckham, in the 1st, I thought the value was right for Landry here in the 3rd. He doesn't have prototypical size and speed, but runs nice routes and has incredible hands. His hands may in fact be the best in the draft. Learning from another undersized WR, Steve Smith, will be good for him. Also, if you check out his highlights, he's got some nice special teams hits on there, and we all know the way into Harb's heart is special teams. I chose Landry over several RB prospects, including his teammate Jeremy Hill and Auburn's Tre Mason, in part because WR has a much higher premium, and in part because he's just one of my favorite receivers in the class.
Round 3 (Comp): Terrance West, RB, Towson
Some would call picking the hometown hero from a small school in the 3rd a bit of a reach, but it's hard to argue with production. In 3 seasons, West churned out over 5,000 yards from scrimmage and 86 TDs on his way to being one of the most productive collegiate athletes of all time. He's impressed in workouts and at the combine and seems to be climbing draft boards quickly. A physical runner with deceptive speed, he was hard to pass up here. Long term durability may be a concern here, with over 400 carries in 2013.
Round 4 (Comp): C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Huge (6'5", 265 lbs at the combine) and tough, Fiedorowicz will make a fine blocking TE and red zone target. We have only 2 TEs under contract, 3 if you want to count Matt Furstenburg, and none of them fill me with confidence as blockers. Fiedorowicz brings some blocking ability, and would complement our receiving TEs nicely. That said, he is no slouch in the receiving game and has surprising ability to catch the ball. Combined with Marlon Brown, there would be a lot of size to play around with inside the 20s.
Round 4 (Comp): Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama
Finally, after 5 grueling picks, the press finally gets to crow "I KNEW Ozzie was gonna pick a "Bama guy!!!" Stinson projects as a run-stuffing 5 technique end, well suited for our 3-4 scheme. Doesn't have great athleticism, but possesses nice size and arm length. He plays the run well with power but offers little as a pass rusher. Flashbacks to Terrence Cody? Don't worry. He's known as an intelligent player and hard worker with a competitive streak. He'd be good depth and a nice rotational player.
I struggled with this pick a little. Dri Archer tempted me, but it seemed a bit too soon to go back to RB. Jimmy Garoppolo was an interesting option as a backup QB, but I thought round 4 was a little high for a backup to a guy as durable as Flacco (knock on wood). I was tempted by Arizona State's Will Sutton, but just couldn't see how he fit into a 3-4 scheme. In the end, a 4 year starter for a dominant defense seemed like the best option.
Round 5 (Comp): De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Thomas is listed as an RB, but is a far more versatile player than that label suggests. He can carry the ball, catch passes out of the backfield, play slot receiver, and contribute on special teams as a return man. He didn't time as well as expected in the 40 yard dash (4.50 seconds) but his game speed is much faster than that. His stock as a versatile, speedy weapon seems to be falling for no other reason than Dri Archer is rising in the same area. A weapon like this would give us even more flexibility in how to attack defenses.
Round 6: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Think Kapron Lewis-Moore 2.0. Sometimes mentioned as a 2nd round prospect before tearing his ACL, he drops this far because he won't step on the field for the entirety of 2014. He will need time to recover, but if he can become even a semblance of his former self and be a serviceable depth corner this will be a nice pick. If he can make a full recovery and regain the skills he showed for his collegiate career, he'll be a huge steal. Another point of note is that he has experience playing safety (his sophomore year), so if he's lost too much athleticism a return to safety might be possible.
There were a few directions I considered going here. 2 DEs I like, Oregon's Taylor Hart and Stanford's Ben Gardner, were available. Colvin's teammate Jalen Saunders was someone I looked at. I seriously considered Pittsburgh's Devin Street, especially given his connection to new WRs coach Bobby Engram. In the end, I decided that none of these guys had the same long term potential as Colvin.
Here's a link to the draft if you want to see it:
You might question why a few needs were not addressed, notably FS and RT. My answer would be that the draft just didn't fall that way. I didn't feel like reaching for a player that I didn't feel was worth it just to fill a position of need, and the Draft Gods just conspired against me filling every need.
Hate my draft strategy? Think I took the wrong players? Think my evaluation of them is crap? Feel free to voice any criticisms. I welcome debate and discussion!