I have seen many mock drafts on TST (and elsewhere) in the past two months. I have been studying all of them and appreciate the time and effort put into them. Every time I look at one I think about what Jeff Fisher and Les Snead will actually do in this upcoming draft. I looked at last years draft (and prior year Fisher and Snead drafts) for clues as to who they might pick in the upcoming draft.
Listed below are things that I noticed:
1/ They are quite adept at using many different draft philosophies in the same draft. Last year they traded down three different times, doubled down on the RB, CB and WR positions and employed a strategy of taking the BPA that filled a need while taking into account positional values.
2/ They are not averse to taking risks. The Janoris Jenkins pick would be the prime example of their willingness to take risks.
3/ They have complete trust in their abilities to evaluate talent, wherever they may find it. Hence why they can confidently draft players from small schools: Brian Quick, Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Richardson.
4/ They look for players with high upsides/ceilings. Players like Michael Brockers and Brian Quick, who may be a little raw and/or not quite prepared for the NFL yet, but who have the potential to achieve and perform at a much higher level than their draft positions would indicate.
5/ 12 of the 35 picks made in the first two rounds by Fisher in his career have been defensive linemen. This does not suggest a proclivity for drafting DL. It is interesting insomuch as Fisher has always made known how he feels about the importance of having a strong defensive line
My mock draft is an attempt to incorporate some of the above-mentioned characteristics of a Fisher/Snead draft.
My Mock Draft
1A - Eric Fisher - OT - Central Michigan
1B - Cordarrelle Patterson - WR - Tennessee
2A - Alec Ogletree - ILB/OLB - Georgia
3A - D.J. Swearinger - FS - South Carolina
4A - Ryan Otten - TE - San Jose State
5A - Brandon Williams - DT - Missouri Southern State
6A - Blaize Foltz - OG - TCU
7A - Knile Davis - RB - Arkansas
Observations About My Picks
Eric Fisher- Small school prospect with enormous ceiling/upside. Could become the best tackle from this draft in time. Versatile, athletic, quick feet, balanced. He needs to fill out his 6'8" - 305 frame with 15-20 pounds of muscle. His instincts and technique have improved every year and should continue to do so. Will likely begin as a RT and move to the LT position as he becomes more experienced.
Cordarrelle Patterson - I think of a bigger version of Tavon Austin when I think of Patterson. Patterson is rawer and has a less refined skill set at this point, with only one year at the FBS level. However, his ceiling is much higher than Austin's. He has the prototypical size, speed and height for the position. His skills at rushing, receiving and as a kick returner make him an extremely versatile playmaker. Has the potential to become the best wide receiver in this draft class.
Alec Ogletree - Drops to the second round because of character concerns (suspended for the first four games of this past season). Athletic, sideline-to-sideline playmaker. Quick, fast and a big hitter/tackler. Has the frame to put on an additional 15 pounds and become an ideal SLB.
D.J. Swearinger - Tough, physical defender. A great tackler who is dependable in coverage. An underrated prospect in a draft class that is deep at the safety position.
Ryan Otten - Big (6'6" 245), athletic downfield threat with great hands. A sleeper pick from a smaller school. A dangerous red-zone target. Averaged 15.8 YPC this past season, first in the nation among tight ends.
Brandon Williams - A gigantic defensive lineman who played for a Division Two school throughout his career. Recently named conference defensive player of the year. Adept at both pass rushing and stopping the run, he is versatile and can play many positions across the line. Dominated at his level but did not play against elite competition. Post season evaluations will be important in determining where he gets drafted.
Blaize Foltz - Had a nagging ankle injury for most of his senior season but played better later in the year. A big, strong player (6'4" 310) who has bench pressed 580 pounds and squatted 800 pounds. A good drive blocker who needs to be coached up in pass protection and in blocking technique. Could surprise at the next level.
Knile Davis - Ankle injuries have derailed a once-promising career. Two years ago he tore through the SEC for 1300 plus yards and 14 touchdowns. He missed the 2011 season because of injury and struggled to return to form last season. Very talented but durability issues are a huge concern. Worth taking a chance on this late in the draft.
The purpose of posting this mock draft is to stir debate about the draft strategies employed by Jeff Fisher and Les Snead. The better we understand those strategies, the closer we will be able to predict who they might draft in April.
For the record, I hope they trade down the 22 pick in the first round (we can't address all of our needs unless they do this) and draft a guard earlier than what is suggested in this mock. I also love the idea of getting Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz if either falls to us in the second round.
The composition of this draft intrigues me. It is deeper than it is top-heavy with talent/elite players. It also happens to be deep at most of the positions that the Rams have a big need. Trading down looks more and more appealing as time passes. More picks across the draft, especially in the hands of Fisher and Snead, equals more chances to find successful players at good value.
Aside from my own research, I use as many sources as possible to help me in creating a mock draft. Everyone here is very helpful, particularly 3K, dbcouver, LA Champ and ValdezY. Other sources I use regularly are the National Football Post, Walter Football, CBS NFL Draft Scout and our own SB Nation Mocking The Draft.