I have a horrible tendency of trading picks to maximize value across the board, which is a lot of fun but become more tedious and impractical as the trades pile up. I also, usually refer to walterfootball's most recent mock draft and abide very tightly to where his players are projected to go. I am handling this draft more loosely, though I do not think any of the picks are way off base, as many of them fall within a reasonable distance of where the player is picked in walterfootball's mock. I will only cover the first three rounds and then I will list some of the prospects I would like to have if there were a way (the Clowney pick is traded for a number of other picks) Anyway, off we go.
1.2) Jadeveon Clowney- I realize many of you prefer to trade out and add a safety, but I have never had better proof of the power of a premium DE than the impact Quinn had on Brees throughout last weeks game. Brees was constantly rushing throws and worrying about Quinn as he came inches away from latching on to Brees a number of times. The impact Quinn had, and the impact I would argue Clowney can have, is greater than any impact even a great safety could have against a team with an elite QB (which is the type of teams we aim to face in the playoffs). Any of you I have been arguing with regarding this pick lately knew this was going to happen. If you are new to my thoughts on this draft I will try to explain as succinctly as possible. I feel that the opportunity to take a player of Clowney's potential with this pick is too good to pass up. His issues have been well documented, though it is easy to argue that his heart is already in the NFL and he has simply been interested in protecting his health for the future. Obviously this is speculative, but my point is that any comments regarding Clowney's character at this point are speculative. What is known is that he is an incredibly large, incredibly athletic, incredibly productive (until this year) player that we would be lucky to have fall in to our laps if we were so blessed with a couple more Redskins losses and a Houston QB selection. If we could trade Long for first, maybe second round pick (as I have mentioned before) we could start Clowney from the get go. If, however, we don't like the offers we get for Long, Fisher would be stuck figuring out a way to use Quinn, Long, Clowney, Hayes, Brockers, etc together (a true nightmare scenario for him).
1.14) CJ Mosley- I think Mosley may fall a bit further than some expect, but my next pick may be selected a bit earlier than I want him to, so I compensated with this pick. I think Mosley may be one of the best players at his position in the draft. He is a LB that is capable of making every play, who also possesses incredible athleticism. He appears to be the leader of Alabama's defense for the second year running, and every bit I have seen of him has been impressive. I realize I have been campaigning hard for Clowney, but I truly feel I would be more disappointed watching Mosley selected by another team than seeing the same happen to Clowney. Mosley would serve as an able replacement for Dunbar, forming an athletic tandem of OLB's with Ogletree. I can also see Mosley eventually taking over the Mike if Laurinaitis were to lose a step and maybe Ray Ray could eventually take over the other OLB spot. At this point is is hard to see such a switch taking place, but the intrigue with a linebacking group of Ogletree, Mosley, Armstrong is... well... intriguing.
2.46) Austin Sefarian-Jenkins- It is clear that the Rams offense requires a large amount of improvement in order to reach the level of consistency and productivity that we would like to see. There are a few reasons why I feel that adding ASJ would help to address this issue. The Rams have several young WR's that are still very young and could potentially become the playmakers we need on the outside in Quick, Givens, Austin, Bailey. Maybe they are not the answer, but the truth of the matter is that it is far too early to tell with any of them and blocking their path to playing time with another young receiver would feel like paddling upstream. Another factor is that, while I am not his largest supporter to put it kindly, it seems that B-Schott could be back for another season for the Rams. What has been made evident to me is that Schottenheimer is a decent coordinator with a few tricks up his sleeves when serving up a large dose of Stacy with many formations featuring several TE's. I do like the productivity that the combination of Kendricks and Harkey has returned in a few games this year and I also realize that it is unlikely the Rams would part ways with Cook in the second year of his bloated contract, but I also believe that ASJ is an extremely gifted TE that would give Schott a weapon that he could truly take advantage of. I also like this selection because I feel that attaining a weapon of ASJ's abilities in the second round greatly outweighs the advantage of taking a upper echelon WR (Watkins, Benjamin, Evans) in the early-mid first. ASJ may have the potential to outproduce all of them with a selection a round later (allowing for my Mosley selection).
3.80) Bradley Roby- Roby, similarly to Clowney, would likely have been an early first round selection if he had entered the NFL draft last year (though I realize Clowney was not eligible). He has taken a dramatic step down this year, though his athleticism and ability still appear to be in tact. I am unsure whether Roby would truly be available at this point, though he has had off field issues (which wouldn't scare off Snisher in the least) and his on the field play this year may scare off some GM's. I truly believe he has the potential to become a ballhawking corner with playmaking ability (interceptions, FF, blocked punts) that is ordinarily not available, even in the 2nd round.
Secondary Players I would like to have if possible-
David Yankey- I feel that Yankey is a similar player to Saffold and seeing what Saffold is doing at RG has really opened my eyes. Imagining picking and plugging Yankey in at LG is something that I would be quite happy with. My issues with Yankey is that he will likely go in the second round, possibly third, and I would prefer to use our early picks on the playmakers listed above, saving guard for later in the draft. An alternative would be to draft Spencer Long late in the draft, and building him up next year as the Rams did with B.Jones this year, hoping for him to take over at RG in 2015. I prefer the idea of taking Long as he is talented in his own right and would not require a premium pick.
Lamarcus Joyner- The safety I would prefer if we were to select one. Joyner is a bonafide playmaker, his only downside being his size, as he is slightly less than 5'9" I believe. His limited size will almost certainly make him available later in the second day, though a player with his ability and production in a 6'0 frame would likely be a top 10 pick. I think he is perfectly capable of performing in a Honey Badger-esque role, though he falls into this category because I would prefer to use our premium picks on the players listed above. I would like to see McLeod given one more year in order to see if he can make a progression from year 1-2 as the starter. I think McLeod has some potential.
Xavier Sua-Filo- Another talented guard, though I find Yankey to be a better fit from my limited observations of the two.
Spencer Long- Mentioned above
Ryan Shazier- In the nightmare scenario where we don't end up with Mosley I would be satisfied with Shazier, who I feel is nearly a clone of Ogletree.
Rashede Hageman- A super athletic DT, Hageman would be a perfect fit in Langford's spot beside Brockers. The downside to Hageman is that I imagine he will be selected in the top 10 following a ridiculous combine and he is older than Brockers (just as much an acknowledgement of just how young Brockers is as it is a statement about Hageman). If we were to trade out of the Clowney pick or, God forbid, Washington were to win a game, Hageman may make for a nice selection to complete our front four.
Well that's it. Quick and dirty. Any comments/suggestions are welcome. I honestly feel that adding Clowney, Mosley, and Roby to our defense would turn that unit into one of the best for the next 5-10 years, while adding ASJ would provide another weapon that Schotty could (hopefully) take advantage of. Thanks.