Hello, I'm 3k. I am a draft addiction enabler. Itchy? Let me help.
NOTE: Mocking the Draft's top 75 board is here. It does not include RS sophs.
1.) Jacksonville Jaguars - Andrew Luck: QB, Stanford (MTD rank: NR)
Just for the record, I don't think Luck will declare after this, his redshirt freshman, season. Stanford is quickly improving under Jim Harbaugh; the Cardinal went 3-1 against ranked opponents last season and nearly won their bowl game against Oklahoma. After hovering at the back of the polls or just outside them for much of the year, Stanford enjoyed their first winning season in eight years thanks largely to Luck and now-Viking Toby Gerhart. And excuse the pun, but get ready for a flood of not funny brothers of this one, but he's got the happy-go-lucky atttude that endears fan bases to franchise QBs (think what Sam Bradford has and Jimmy Clausen doesn't). Enough about the prospect.
Jacksonville still needs a quarterback because they decided taking Tyson Alualu at #10 made more sense to the franchise than making Tebow a Jag. Of course, ESPN shat itself, passed out and shat itself again when they realized the Jaguars will play Denver, Tebow's new team, in week 1 of the 2010 season, threatening to relegate the Favre story to just 82.8% of all football coverage. Even with David Garrard signed through the 2013 season, Jacksonville is either going to move to Los Angeles and need to create a fan base or stay in Jacksonville and recreate their fan base (no slight to the people at Big Cat Country, but the numbers don't lie). The reality is that teams that need a quarterback take one at the top of drafts. Detroit did it. We did it. And if Jacksonville is #1 next year, they'll do it. Good luck. (Sorry, but I have to get these out of my system now.)
MTD focus: Analyze Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck
Sixty-three more picks (and less puns, if you're Luck-y -- sorry!) sure to be completely wrong after the jump.
2.) Buffalo Bills - Jake Locker: QB, Washington (MTD rank: 5)
I gave the Bills a 'C' in my NFL-wide grades, and one of the reasons why obviously was because they opted to go into 2010 . Todd McShay had them going in a similar route taking Luck with the 1st pick overall in his mock (ESPN insider subscription only...I know, I know). Going into 2010, the Bills depth chart at QB right now is Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm and Levi Brown, or some combination thereof. As Brian inferred over at Buffalo Rumblings recently, this is a QB-driven league, and Buffalo is well behind the curve in that department. The Bills have to get a franchise signal-caller sooner rather than later to right the ship. CJ Spiller and a pair of D-linemen are pieces nice additions, but not franchise additions.
I think we all know Jake Locker pretty well by now. He was being thrown around here at TST as a possible pick in this year's draft before he opted to head back to Washington and fine tune his game. It was a very interesting call given what Sam Bradford's return meant (BTW, I've already prayed for every single player to avoid injury for the entire college season. It'll work...). In any case, he's got a great skill set - great arm, solid build, above average decision making, slightly above average accuracy (all IMO). If I have any concern about Locker this season, it's what I am calling from on out the Snead effect (read this for explanation). Washington's not very good. At all. Despite having a great QB. Sentence fragment. They went 5-7 last year and, yes, 0-12 in Locker's injury-shortened sophomore campaign (BTW, because this is sure to come up, Locker's a great athlete who was a legit baseball player as well - I only mention this because when he injured his thumb, there was some noise that Locker might play safety until his thumb was strong enough to throw with again. Crazy.). Locker's on-field production will rely heavily on his trio of young receivers: Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar and James Johnson.
3.) New England Patriots (via Oakland) - A.J. Green: WR, Georgia (MTD rank: 1)
In case you forgot, New England gets Oakland's 1st rounder in the '11 draft. Envy. As for this pick, WR will be a blatant need going into their draft, with Randy Moss set to be a free agent after this season. Does anybody expect him to be a Patriot in 2011? Me neither. Taylor Price was a nice 3rd round draft pick, but he's a measurements-first draft pick.
Green is the en vogue pick right now, but there's going to be some competition among the top tier of WRs: Green, Julio Jones (Alabama), Jonathan Baldwin (Pittsburgh) and Michael Floyd (Notre Dame). Out of the second tier, I see four WRs at this point who could jump up and join that tier: Terrance Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Armon Binns (Cincinnati) and Niles Paul (Nebraska) (for two other names, check out MTD's top 75 prospects). I can see Green emerging as the strongest prospect out of the group - he's got virtually everything you want in a WR prospect, save for a bit more strength/size to allow him to be more physical. Green struggled to find consistency at the end of last year with some nagging injuries - given how thick the top tier of WRs is, a good start to his 2010 season will be important, because out of Green, Jones, Baldwin and Floyd, at least one of them is going to go wild early on. Looking at Georgia's schedule, I wouldn't be surprised if it's Green.
4.) Cleveland Browns - Julio Jones: WR, Alabama (MTD rank: 4)
Anyone who's actually listened to me on TSR or read some of my mid-season college stuff knows I've been high on Jones since day 1 (or at least since December of 2008 - ignore the other dumbness...). Despite a lack of end product, I'm still as high on him now as I ever was. I wouldn't mind seeing him bulk up a bit more, but his measurables are still elite. With teams set to key on Heisman-winner Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama) and the Tide's ridiculous running game, Jones should have the stage set up for some huge performances.
From the Browns' side of things, WR wasn't addressed in the 2010 draft until the 6th round, leaving Josh Cribbs, Chansi Stuckey, and 2009 2nd rounders Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie as the options for Jake Delhomme and/or Colt McCoy. If the Browns have any interest in seeing McCoy succeed, they'll need to add someone here. Jones is as good as they come out of college.
5.) St. Louis Rams - Adrian Clayborn: DE, Iowa (MTD rank: 9)
Shocked? Don't be. With their first and second round picks in the last two drafts, Devaney & Spagnuolo found their QB, bookend tackles and MLB of the future. Getting a DE to pair with Chris Long makes sense. Clayborn makes even more sense as that end.
MTD recently ran a piece that picked Clayborn as the best prospect in the Big 10 for the 2011 draft. Sure, Sayre notes that Clayborn's a picture perfect 3-4 end, so why would I mock him to play in a 4-3? Because he's a phenomenal LE prospect for a 4-3 as well. He's got great size and leverage that he's used without much assistance at Iowa, something Spagnuolo has proven he's keen on both with the Giants and (apparently) now in St. Louis. He's a full-motor player, like Chris Long, like James Laurinaitis, unlike ex-Ram Richie Incognito and unlike ex-Ram Alex Barron. He's got a bevy of pass rush moves that saw him rack up 8.5 sacks in his final 7 games last season. And he's got the athleticism and speed to contribute in special teams as well (video). He does have a notable red flag that, obviously, will come up in the draft process and warrants more details. In January of 2009, Clayborn walked up to a cab and punched the driver in the face through the window. The end. Details to follow, oh, let's say February 2011. In case that throws you off the Clayborn bus, consider this: ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, who covers the Big Ten, ranked him the 3rd best player in the conference after the season behind Brandon Graham (#13 overall pick in the 2010 Draft), Jared Odrick (#28 overall), and just ahead of Bryan Bulaga (#23 overall). He's one of many D-linemen to keep an eye on this year.
6.) Carolina Panthers - Marvin Austin: DT, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 14)
I've got Austin coming out of the best defense the Tar Heels have ever had - they could supply five first rounders this year. Let's start from the Panthers perspective. The Panthers took DE Everette Brown in 2009, and he produced along the lines of a second round DE. Without Julius Peppers and his 10.5 sacks from last year gone to Chicago, Brown's got his work cut out for him. And yes, the Panthers could go after a DE here, but Charles Johnson produced in limited time as well. The biggest issue here is their interior D-line; Carolina just isn't getting much there. It's a large reason why Carolina gave up nearly 125 rushing yards per game despite boasting a plus LB corps. An athletic tackle who can disrupt the run and add something to the pass rush would be a huge add - cue Austin.
I've been tracking Austin from his days in high school when Scouts ranked him as the top DT in the 2007 class (Insider). Since then, he's shown a ridiculous skill set to match an agility you rarely find in a 6'3", 300 lb. frame. His issue has been consistency. Granted, it hasn't been an effort issue, but more of a mental issue in terms of assignments. Against Virginia Tech last year, I remember watching him on two consecutive plays overplaying the ball, allowing Ryan Williams (RB, Va. Tech) to cut back nice runs (more to come on him later...). In any case, Austin is a high-ceiling talent that, with an improved 2010, will be a top10 pick.
7.) Seattle Seahawks - Robert Quinn: DE, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 3)
Quinn has sniffed the top of many a big board this preseason, including holding the #3 spot on MTD's top 75, for good reason. Just barely 20 years old, Quinn notched 11 sacks last year, though he was sackless in 7 games. Really, that's all he has left to prove is consistency. He has everything else you look for in a top DE. Production is a byproduct of a combination of tangible and intangible factors - the tangibles are there, and I have no reason to think the intangibles aren't. He's going to be another key member of UNC's defense this year.
As for the Petehawks, despite receiving many an accolade for their draft class, their only D-line addition was DE E.J. Wilson. He could be a decent run-stopping end, but he won't help a pass rush that lost their sack leader, Patrick Kerney, to retirement. Kerney, who again led the Seahawks in the category, finished with just 5 sacks...the same number as Chris Long. Unless they get a much better season out of DE Lawrence Jackson (who accumulated just 1/2 of a sack in Seattle's final 11 games), they're going to need to add talent here.
Mocking the Draft focus: Get to know North Carolina's Robert Quinn
8.) Kansas City Chiefs - Patrick Peterson: CB, LSU (MTD rank: 2)
Kansas City improved their secondary in the 2010 draft, adding S Eric Berry and CB Javier Arenas who will likely be their starting nickel back soon if not by week 1. Still, for a team that allowed nearly as many passing yards as the Rams, the question becomes whether it's an issue of pass rush pressure or coverage. Sure, the easy answer is both. If that's the case, the only pass rush OLB candidate here is Von Miller (DE/OLB, Texas A&M). While Miller's a solid prospect, Peterson's arguably elite right now.
Over at Walter Football, Matt McGuire has him ranked atop his overall big board, and it's hard to disagree. I penciled him in as an elite NFL prospect in week 1 against Jake Locker's Huskies, and he didn't disappoint throughout the season. He's got size (6'1"ish, 200+ lbs.), strength, quickness, agility and solid top speed. If I had to choose between Peterson and this year's top CB, Joe Haden, I take Peterson in a second.
9.) Chicago Bears - Anthony Castonzo: OT, Boston College (MTD rank: 20)
Let's make this part simple. The Bears tried to play a 33-year-old Orlando Pace. The Bears did not draft a LT of the future (and to be fair, they didn't have much chance since their first pick wasn't until the mid-3rd). I don't see how they avoid taking an LT here. The question is who, and right now, it's a good question.
There's a nice crop of tackles at the top of most boards, but sifting through them is tough. Right now, my top tier consists of Castonzo and Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin), trailed just slightly by Joe Barksdale (OT, LSU) and Nate Potter (OT, Boise St.). Castonzo has the complete package, but he's coming off of a broken foot and he's got the touch of death... a Rhodes scholarship! AAaaah, traitor! The Atlantic Division of the ACC doesn't have the talent on the D-line that the Coastal does, but Castonzo will have his hands full on Oct. 30th against Clemson trying to handle DE Da'Quan Bowers. Mark it on your schedule nanow now.
10.) Detroit Lions - Gabe Carimi: OT, Wisconsin (MTD rank: 30)
Jeff Backus will turn 33 this season and will be a free agent in 2012. Taking a franchise LT here minimizes the talent drop-off, but gives them another young lineman to go along with Gosder Cherilus and recently-signed Rob Sims. And yes, the Lions did take Jason Fox, but he fits as a 3rd OT in case of injury for the near future. As for Carimi, many have listed him at the top of their OT boards so far. He's got all the tools and the size, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's the first tackle taken next year.
11.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Prince Amukamara: CB, Nebraska (MTD rank: 10)
12.) Tennessee Titans - Sam Acho: DE, Texas (MTD rank: NR)
If there's one end who I think could break out in 2010 it's UT's Acho (Sam, not Emmanuel). He finished the season well and looked solid in the championship against Alabama. With Sergio Kindle gone, Acho is going to get a lot of focus up front. Keep an eye on him.
13.) Cincinnati Bengals - Jurrell Casey: DT, USC (MTD rank: 34)
14.) Washington Redskins - Michael Floyd: WR, Notre Dame (MTD rank: 22)
15.) Miami Dolphins - Von Miller: DE/OLB, Texas A&M (MTD rank: 50)
16.) New York Giants - Quan Sturdivant: MLB, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 37)
17.) Houston Texans - DeAndre McDaniel: SS, Clemson (MTD rank: 21)
18.) Arizona Cardinals - Nick Foles: QB, Arizona (MTD rank: NR)
Here's the ballsy pick. People who have been following my QB notes know I like Foles. A lot. And there's plenty of ammuntion not to. He struggled big time down the stretch last year including a miserable performance in the Holiday Bowl against a Suh-led Nebraska team. He had shoulder surgery in high school. He transferred from Michigan St. to Arizona. There will be a lot of questions for him to answer in the pre-draft period (although I don't think his mother was a prostitute). I'm eager to hear them, because I really think Foles is a 1st round QB.
19.) Denver Broncos - Cameron Heyward: DT/DE, Ohio St. (MTD rank: 15)
20.) Philadelphia Eagles - Chris Galippo: MLB, USC (MTD rank: 19)
21.) San Francisco 49ers - Ryan Mallett: QB, Arkansas (MTD rank: 23)
As for QBs, Mallett's hard to gauge. Like Foles, he was initially went to a Michigan school (Mallett to the Wolverines, Foles to the Spartans) before transferring south. My concern with Mallett is his accuracy. I think the power of his arm has allowed him to rely on his strength rather than his touch, and that's not a factor for success at the NFL level. Still, he's got plenty of time to work on that this year; if nothing else, he makes the Razorbacks watchable.
22.) Green Bay Packers - Jonathan Baldwin: WR, Pitt (MTD rank: 13)
23.) Pittsburgh Steelers - Allen Bailey: DT/DE, Miami (MTD rank: 7)
24.) Patriots - Greg Romeus: DE, Pitt (MTD rank: 18)
Romeus is a hell of a 4-3 DE prospect. His frame is NFL ready. His moves are NFL caliber. His quickness? Well that's what keeps him from being a top 10 pick. How valuable is a DE that has everything but a lightning-quick first step? We'll see in about 10 1/2 months. Romeus is pretty much a round 1 lock.
25.) Atlanta Falcons - Jarvis Jenkins: DT, Clemson (MTD rank: 47)
26.) New York Jets - Jared Crick: DT, Nebraska (MTD rank: 12)
27.) Dallas Cowboys - Joseph Barksdale: OT, LSU (MTD rank: 67)
28.) San Diego Chargers - Rodney Hudson: G, Florida St. (MTD rank: 29)
29.) Indianapolis Colts - Bruce Carter: OLB, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 11)
30.) New Orleans Saints - Evan Royster: RB, Penn St. (MTD rank: NR)
The first RB off the board at #30... and it's not Mark Ingram? Not even close. I've got Evan Royster as the top RB in the class pretty much by himself. For me to bring him up higher than this, he's got to play better in the big games. Last year, against Ohio St., Iowa and LSU (in the Capital One Bowl), Royster ran 47 times for just 170 yards (56.66 per game, 3.62 per rush). In his other 10 games, he rushed 158 times for 999 yards (99.9 yards per game, 6.32 per rush). Beating up on lesser talent looks great in the game log, but he's got to do better against NFL talent (despite an offensive line that was often overmatched against some powerful Big 10 D-lines).
31.) Baltimore Ravens - Ras-I Dowling: CB, Virginia (MTD rank: 8)
32.) Minnesota Vikings - Travis Lewis: OLB, Oklahoma (MTD rank: 6)
(33) 1.) Jaguars - Aaron Williams: CB, Texas (MTD rank: 28)
(34) 2.) Bills - Marcel Dareus: DT/DE, Alabama (MTD rank: 33)
(35) 3.) Oakland Raiders - Deunta Williams: FS, N. Carolina (MTD rank: 31)
(36) 4.) Browns - Stephen Paea: DT, Oregon St. (MTD rank: 59)
(37) 5.) Rams - Akeem Ayers: OLB, UCLA (MTD rank: 46)
Spagnuolo doesn't seem too keen on addressing the LB corps through the draft, but Ayers would be hard to pass up. He'll be 21 years old at the time of the 2011 draft, and if he builds on his finish of the 2010 season, I don't think we'll be able to get past the combination of his youth, talent and size (6'4", ~250 lbs.). He had at least 2 TFL in each of his last four games, including a stellar bowl game performance where he finished with 9 total tackles, a pass deflection and an interception he returned for a TD. UCLA's not quite back in the Pac, but Ayers has been impressive and should be a star for the Bruins this year.
(38) 6.) Patriots (via Carolina) - Daniel Thomas: RB, Kansas St. (MTD rank: 56)
(39) 7.) Seahawks - Da'Quan Bowers: DE, Clemson (MTD rank: 16)
(40) 8.) Chiefs - Greg Jones: MLB, Michigan St. (MTD rank: 39)
(41) 9.) Bears - Leonard Hankerson: WR, Miami (MTD rank: 57)
(42) 10.) Lions - Mark Barron: SS, Alabama (MTD rank: 25)
(43) 11.) Buccaneers - Jason Pinkston: OT, Pitt (MTD rank: NR)
(44) 12.) Titans - Mike Pouncey: G/C, Florida (MTD rank: 61)
(45) 13.) Bengals - Will Hill: FS, Florida (MTD rank: 27)
(46) 14.) Redskins - Mark Ingram: RB, Alabama (MTD rank: 36)
This isn't a knock on Ingram - it's just the reality of the NFL not needing RBs. Fifteen years ago, Ingram would have been an automatic first rounder, but a power runner who relies on lanes to be effective (Jonathan Dwyer?) just isn't that valuable anymore.
(47) 15.) Broncos (via Miami) - Rahim Moore: FS, UCLA (MTD rank: 32)
(48) 16.) Giants - Jacquizz Rodgers: RB, Oregon St. (MTD rank: 45)
(49) 17.) Texans - Nate Potter: OT, Boise St. (MTD rank: NR)
(50) 18.) Cardinals - Colin McCarthy: OLB, Miami (MTD rank: 66)
(51) 19.) Broncos - Luke Stocker: TE, Tennessee (MTD rank: 52)
(52) 20.) Eagles - Javes Lewis: CB, Oregon (MTD rank: NR)
(53) 21.) 49ers - Don'ta Hightower: MLB, Alabama (MTD rank: NR)
(54) 22.) Packers - Ryan Williams: RB, Va. Tech (MTD rank: NR)
(55) 23.) Steelers - Christian Ponder: QB, Florida St. (MTD rank: 48)
(56) 24.) Patriots - Stanley Havili: FB, USC (MTD rank: 51)
The best FB in college football. BTW, he caught three TD passes, each >25 yds, in USC's spring game. Tarded.
(57) 25.) Falcons - Terrance Toliver: WR, LSU (MTD rank: 41)
(58) 26.) Jets - Weslye Saunders: TE, S. Carolina (MTD rank: 40)
(59) 27.) Cowboys - Case Keenum: QB, Houston (MTD rank: 65)
(60) 28.) Chargers - Josh Bynes: MLB, Auburn (MTD rank: 54)
(61) 29.) Colts - Kris O'Dowd: C, USC (MTD rank: 44)
(62) 30.) Saints - Mark Herzlich: OLB, Boston College (MTD rank: NR)
Best story in college football this year? Yes. I hope he puts in a top season - nobody in college football deserves it more.
(63) 31.) Ravens - Justin Boren: G, Ohio St. (MTD rank: 42)
(64) 32.) Vikings - Derek Wolfe: DT, Cincinnati (MTD rank: NR)