FanPost

The McDillaz Mock

Welcome to my first TST mock draft! With about a week until the draft, I’m officially tapping out. I just don’t know if I can watch any more prospects. So, I’m compiling all the knowledge that I’ve got in my head into this 7 round mock draft and leaving y’all to watch all the grainy D-II games you can stomach until May 8th.

A little bit about my own philosophy about drafting that you should keep in mind while reading this: I like athletic players with upside. You’ll see this in my picks. Additionally, you’ll see that I covet depth, I try to use the draft to plug holes where I see them, and don’t mind moving around the board to do so. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks.

A condensed version is included at the very bottom for those of you who don't feel like reading all of this.

DAY 1: ROUND 1

TRADE 1.2 to CLEVELAND for 1.4 and 3.71

Did I ruffle your feathers with this trade? My bad. I think that there are 4 teams with legit intentions of moving up in the draft if they feel like it: Jacksonville, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Minnesota. Ultimately, they’ll either need to get a quarterback (JAX, CLE, MIN) or a pass rusher (ATL). However, I really don’t think that any of them are going to be willing to give up that much. At most, you might be able to get a second rounder out of someone, but I think that it’s more likely that they won’t dangle more than a third rounder in front of you.

You can throw the trade value chart at me all you want, but I don’t think that most of the QB’s in this draft are that highly valued, and I think that most teams won’t be willing to give up a bunch of picks just so they can make sure that they get the QB they like the most. Of those four, I think that Cleveland is the most likely to move up. They already have a pretty decent defense, they have a good line anchored by All-Pro studs Joe Thomas and Alex Mack, and they have a true game-changing weapon in Josh Gordon. Most importantly, though, the Rob Chudzinski-Mike Lombardi situation showed that Jimmy Haslem has given Mike Pettine and his staff one mandate: "Just win, baby." The easiest way to do that in the NFL is to get yourself a real quarterback, and I doubt they see Brian Hoyer as the long term answer. Here, I have them throwing the Rams the 71st overall pick to make sure that they get their guy, and I don’t have any doubt that the Rams would take that deal, since the guy that they really want (in my own head, that is) has about a .1% chance of getting drafted by the Jaguars.

1.4 - Greg Robinson - T/G - Auburn

I get that he’s raw. I get that Rams fans are nervous that they’ll have to watch Jason Smith 2.0 bust out of the league again. I get that you can’t immediately play him at left tackle, and that taking a guard this high is tough. I get all that. But I also get that you just can’t find people as big as him that can move as fast as him. And I also get that you can’t just find people on the street that can do this:

Robinson-blocking_medium

via blogs.atlantafalcons.com

And this:

Robinsongif_medium

via thesportsquotient.com

Besides, the Rams have one of the top O-line coaches in the league, who’s been able to make viable players out of castoffs for his entire career. Why not give him the biggest block of marble that he’s ever had, sit back, and watch him create David? Robinson is a freakishly young, athletic giant that loves football, who’s only going to get better. If he reaches his potential, we won’t be comparing him to Joe Thomas or Joe Staley. We’ll be comparing him to Larry Allen and Jon Ogden. I’ll bet on that upside.

OTHERS CONSIDERED:

--Jadeveon Clowney--

Honestly, the reason that I didn’t pick Clowney here is that I think he goes number 1 overall. If he’s still there at 2, I have no doubt that Fisher punches Les Snead in the face so that he can’t make any calls before screaming at his rep at the draft that they’re taking him.

I know that there are two big concerns about Clowney here: attitude and/or positional logjam. Honestly, I don’t think that either of these are really that big of a deal. I know that a lot of people are going to question his work ethic and "diva" status, but to me he just seems like a big kid. Put him in a small market where he won’t be the face of the franchise, where he’ll have to earn his snaps from established veterans, and where his head coach has a history of getting his players to play hard, and I have zero doubt that he’ll reach his enormous potential.

As for getting him enough snaps, I don’t think that will be much of a problem either. The way I see it, you could easily get him about 30 snaps a game at DE (Quinn and Long have to sit sometime), another 10 at DT in passing situations, and 10 or so at SOLB in obvious running situations. 50 snaps a game isn’t bad for a rookie lineman, eh?

--Sammy Watkins--

Dammit, Jake Long. Sammy Watkins would probably be my preference if there were more stability on the line. I’m really high on him, and I think that he’ll eventually turn out to be one of the ten or fifteen best receivers in the league. However, I don’t think that it’s going happen immediately. Transitioning from the kind of offense that Watkins was in during college to a pro-style offense is incredibly hard, even for very talented players (see Austin, Tavon). Plus, I really think that his growth would be stunted if he were on the Rams. They already have a bunch of talented, inexperienced wide receivers. Throwing another one into the pot just doesn’t seem like the best possible use of resources in this situation.

--Khalil Mack--

My introduction to Mack came during the Ohio State game. You could just see that he was on another level. In other words, I would love to have Mack on this team. I don’t even think that it would create positional problems. He’s more than agile enough to be an asset in coverage (coverage of tight ends was an area that killed the Rams last year). Plus, Mack would provide insane versatility for Gregg Williams. A lot of the front seven has experience running the 3-4, but the Rams have been missing someone else that could play the 3-4 OLB role (I have no doubt that Quinn is athletic enough to do it). Mack wouldn’t even have to come off the field in nickel situations, as he could line up at DE while Long kicks over to tackle.

Ultimately, though, I couldn’t pull the trigger. I don’t believe any player entering the NFL has reached their ceiling, but I don’t think that Mack has the potential to be the best player on an elite defense. He’s a step below someone like Clowney athletically, and I think he’ll end up as a poor man’s Von Miller. At number 2 (or even 4) overall in a draft this good, I need to find someone else.

--Jake Matthews--

Originally, I was really against the idea of Greg Robinson, mostly because of the existence of Jake Matthews. You can just tell by the way that he plays that he’s been brought up to be a football player. He is just so smooth in everything that he does, and you can tell that he doesn’t mind smashing people either. He’s more than athletic enough to play as a pro, and while his arms aren’t super long, well, neither are Joe Staley’s. I have no doubt that he’ll end up being a really good left tackle.

I just think that Greg Robinson is going to be better.

--Any QB at all--

Yeah, not touching that one.

TRADE 1.13 to DALLAS for 1.16 and 3.78

If the Rams are going to move this pick down, and I think that they will, this seems like the most likely trade to me. Dallas is in desperate need of some new defensive linemen, and Jerry Jones has shown a proclivity to move all over the board in order to get his player, for better or for worse. Plus, with Rod Marinelli there to help his new toy along, he’ll be confident that he won’t have to relive the Morris Claiborne Experience®. To get the lineman he wants, though, he’ll probably need to move up past Chicago, who need just as much help on the line as the Cowboys do (hey there, Benny Cunningham!). Another third rounder should be enough to get it done.

1.16 - Ryan Shazier - OLB - Ohio State

I love what Shazier brings. I think that he’s a cross between Ogletree (athleticism, rawness, hitting ability, rawness again) and Lavonte David (pass rushing, Buckeye-ness). I know that the Rams have recently played a ton of nickel, but why wouldn’t they? With apologies to Jo Lonn Dunbar, Will Witherspoon, and Jabara Williams, they haven’t had enough outside linebacker talent since Jeff Fisher arrived to make playing the base 4-3 even 70% of the time worthwhile. Now they do.

Of course, there are some worries about him being too small. But he didn’t look to have lost any of his outrageous athletic ability after moving up from 230 to 240. With Shazier and Ogletree flying all over the field, the Rams would now have one of the most fearsome and athletic front sevens in the entire NFL.

As for why I "reached" for him, I really don’t think it’s much of a reach at all. There are a lot of teams in the low 20’s that could really use a linebacker like Shazier. Getting him a whole five spots before the next team that would take him doesn’t really worry me that much.

OTHERS CONSIDERED:

--HaHa Clinton-Dix--

The "safe pick" is also a guy that I really want to like. Every single time I watch him play, he just seems to cover a lot of ground. However, something bothered me whenever I watched him. Ultimately, I realized that no matter how fast he looked, he always seemed to get to the play just a beat late. If he’s late to the ball in college, I don’t see it working out for him better in the pros.

--Aaron Donald--

Not being able to pick up Donald in my own mock hurt me. BADLY. I honestly think that he could be Geno Atkins 2.0. I also don’t think that I’m the only one that sees this, and I believe that he’ll go before 13 on May 8. Plus, if you were to throw him into a DT rotation as deep as the Rams’, I think that he’d really struggle to get the playing time that you’d like to see out of the 13th pick.

--Justin Gilbert--

Gilbert is really the only cornerback that I could see them taking at this point, and I wouldn’t be unhappy if they ended up with him. As you can probably tell already, I really like elite athletes. Gilbert is unquestionably one of those. However, I think that the chance that he’s the second coming of Tye Hill is too high. Couple that with the impressive corner depth in this draft, and I have to pass on him.

--Marqise Lee--

By far my favorite player in college football in 2012, Lee has not slipped down my board much at all, even with his semi-disastrous 2013. He looked like he could be a speedier Isaac Bruce for most of his sophomore season, and completely stole Robert Woods’ thunder at the same time. Plus, he’s a hypercompetitive weirdo, which I love. Still, I didn’t take him for the same reason that I didn’t take Watkins.

DAY 2: ROUNDS 2&3

2.44 - Terrence Brooks - FS - Florida State

With the 44th overall pick, the Rams select their free safety of the future in Terrence Brooks. I’m not going to lie, I really like watching this guy play football. He reminds me a lot of Earl Thomas, which is a good thing. There aren’t too many guys out there that can play as fast and as instinctively as him. Plus, he does the same thing that Ogletree does, where every now and then he’ll look about four times faster than everyone else on the field and just blow a play up before anyone can figure out what happened.

To be honest, I was hoping that I’d be able to take him in the third in my little fantasy, but there seem to be a number of people just as high on him as I am, so I took him here.

OTHERS CONSIDERED:

--Jimmy Ward--

Ward really seems like he could be a nice player, and I wouldn’t be mad at all if he were the pick. I just happen to like Brooks a little more.

--Gabe Jackson--

Jackson could probably start at guard competently from Day 1. However, I just think that a safety that I really like is a better pick than a guard I’m cool with, especially when that guard doesn’t really offer much versatility.

--Deone Bucannon--

I might as well get this out of the way early, since I’ll probably be hearing about it in the comments section. I like Bucannon as a strong safety with some nice ball skills. I just don’t think he has the range and agility necessary to play free safety at the next level, or even play in a hybrid safety role.

--Dominique Easley--

Here’s one more guy that I’m going to really enjoy watching, at least until he gets injured again. Like Aaron Donald, he’s a very, very good undersized rush tackle. Unlike Donald, he’s torn both of his ACL’s. Sorry buddy, I just can’t draft you here.

3.71 - Anthony Johnson - DT - LSU (from CLE)

With the signing of Alex Carrington, getting another rotational DT gets pushed down the list of "needs." However, I think the value is right at 71. Carrington is on a one-year "prove it" deal and will probably be gone to a new city on a bigger, multiyear contract by the time the draft rolls around next year. Picking up a guy here who could step in as the third DT next year seems prudent. As for the actual draftee, Johnson looked like he could be a first-rounder a year ago, but he never quite got there on the field. I think that he’ll benefit from both NFL coaching and reuniting with his former college teammate, Michael Brockers. The combination of size and speed that had scouts buzzing about him is still there. It just needs some molding.

3.75 - David Yankey - G - Stanford

The Rams grab more O-Line talent with the selection of David Yankey. There were a lot of people buzzing about a tweet sent out by Daniel Jeremiah that said Yankey was a Day 3 talent according to NFL people. I’m here to tell you that if David Yankey is your starting guard in Week 1, you will probably have some problems. The guy just isn’t strong enough to play in the NFL yet. He seems to get pushed around a lot by DT’s, although some of it could just be bad technique, as he seems to stand up pretty quickly.

HOWEVER, I care way more about an O-Lineman being able to actually move than how much time he needs in the weight room. And Yankey is very, very agile for a 315 pound man. He probably projects as a left guard in the league, and since the Rams just locked up their RG of the future in Rodger Saffold, it seems like a good idea to invest in a guy to line up opposite of him. If it is true that other people really don’t like him that much, I’ll scoop him up in the middle of the third and laugh all the way to the bank.

3.78 - Aaron Murray - QB - Georgia (from DAL)

In case you were wondering, this trade back was definitely worth it. I think Murray is a great pick here for a couple of reasons. First, he played in a pro-style offense under Mark Richt. Second, he seems like a great guy to have in the locker room. As someone who’s going to be holding a clipboard for awhile, this is pretty important. Third, like Bradford, he’s coming off of his own ACL tear. While this might be a cause for concern for some people, not only was this the ONLY injury he ever had in college, it means that there will be much less pressure on him as a rookie, since Shaun Hill seems like he’ll be more than capable of manning the no. 2 spot, at least for a while. Fourth, I think that he has the drive and ability to become a pretty decent QB in the NFL. In the third round, I’d say that’s pretty good.

At this point, you should probably go outside. It’s the end of Day 2. You’ve been grinding tape for weeks now. Read a book, go for a run, or just grill yourself a burger and have a beer. Enjoy the beautiful spring weather. You’ve earned it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You good? Me too. Let’s get back to it. Also, remember how I said that Day 2 was over? I lied.

TRADE 4.110, 5.153, and 6.188 to New Orleans for 3.95

Sorry everyone. Day 3 is gonna be pretty boring for Rams fans. But hey, look at all the prospects I picked up on Day 2! You can spend the first part of the day catching up on all of their highlights, then you can watch more film on that 6’8" 180 pound middle linebacker from Southeast Alaskan State you want in the 7th (I know, he’s gonna be a stud, I’m not sure why we’re the only ones who can see it).

Why on Earth would the Saints do this? After all, they’re in "win now mode," and need to add some impact players, right? Well, yes and no. In terms of starters, they’re most likely looking for just a couple more pieces, and probably don’t see a late Round 3 pick as someone who can put them over the edge. Additionally, the Saints are a very top-heavy team. With Jairus Byrd’s new deal, the contract that they’re probably going to give Jimmy Graham, and the 7 year, $23 million contract they gave their punter (?????), they’re going to need as much young, cheap depth as they can get. Extra picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds would do the job nicely.

As for the Rams, there are two reasons that I believe this makes sense. The first is that a roster can only hold 53 players. Even last year, they had to make some tough cuts (RIP Gerald Rivers). With all the extra picks I got in the third, it’s going to be hard for the Rams to fit all those late round guys onto the roster. Getting rid of some of those picks in exchange for a higher quality prospect wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Reason number 2? This guy:

3.95 - EJ Gaines - CB - Missouri

The Rams complete their defense with my favorite later-round cornerback, EJ Gaines. While he’s a little undersized, he’s a pretty good athlete who definitely knows how to ball. An All-SEC corner, Gaines was able to shut down Mike Evans while matched up 1-on-1 with him pretty much the entire game in 2013, where he only allowed Evans to haul in 4 catches for 8 total yards. However, this selection isn’t just about one game. Gaines has been a consistent performer throughout his time in college who has always played much bigger than he actually is. In other words, I think that he’s the CB remix of Stedman Bailey (you might even note the similarity in draft position).

DAY 3: ROUNDS 4-7

6.214 - Henry Josey - RB - Missouri

Hey, look at this! We’re on a run of Mizzou players (yes, I grew up a Mizzou fan, in case you were wondering). However, I didn’t just make this pick because I love Josey’s story, which you should definitely check out if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I made it because even though the Rams have Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson on the roster, they could really use a smaller, speedier back. Even while splitting carries in his comeback season, Josey was very productive last year (1,166 yards, 6.7 YPC, 16 TD’s), and while he was rarely used as a pass-catching weapon out of the backfield, he showed off pretty good hands and smooth routes at the combine (I know, I know, the combine doesn’t mean anything, but he looked a lot better at it than Tre Mason and Andre Williams, two backs who didn’t have to catch the ball much in college either).

7.226 - L’Damian Washington - WR - Missouri

SUCK IT HATERS. MIZ! ZOU! YOU BETTER BELIEVE I’M DRAFTING JUSTIN BRITT NEXT!

In all seriousness, though, Washington would be great value here in Round 7. I know that he’s skinny and raw and has relatively small hands, but at 6’4" he runs like a gazelle and can make some catches that a lot of NFL WR’s wouldn’t have a chance of getting. Additionally, he seems like a great teammate who won’t mind putting in the work to become better.

7.241 - Ty Zimmerman - S - Kansas State (from IND)

I don’t know that much about Zimmerman. He doesn’t seem that big or fast, but my friend that goes to K-State really likes him and called him "instinctive," so I’m gonna put him in here as a favor to him. Feel free to roast me on my lack of knowledge about late round DB’s below.

7.249 - AC Leonard - TE - Tennessee State

He’s a big guy that runs really fast and got kicked out of Florida before enrolling at Tennessee State. Could be a nice special teams player for awhile with room to grow, provided he can keep his hands off of his girlfriend this time.

7.250 - Alex Bullard - G - Tennessee

Bullard is a project for Boudreau that could use some time on the practice squad. I said before that I like my linemen to have quick feet, and Bullard flashed that some while in college. While he probably benefitted from playing on that massive Tennessee line, he could someday find a spot as interior depth in the future.

That’s it! For those of you who read all 4,000 words, congrats. For those of you who didn’t and don't want to, here’s a recap of my picks, sans explanations:

TRADE 1.2 for 1.4 and 3.71

1.4 - Greg Robinson - OL - Auburn

TRADE 1.13 for 1.16 and 3.78

1.16 - Ryan Shazier - OLB - Ohio State

2.44 - Terrence Brooks - FS - Florida State

3.71 - Anthony Johnson - DT - LSU

3.75 - David Yankey - OL - Stanford

3.78 - Aaron Murray - QB - Georgia

TRADE 4.110, 5.153, and 6.188 for 3.95

3.95 - EJ Gaines - CB - Missouri

6.214 - Henry Josey - RB - Missouri

7.226 - L’Damian Washington - WR - Missouri

7.241 - Ty Zimmerman - S - Kansas State

7.249 - AC Leonard - TE - Tennessee State

7.250 - Alex Bullard - OL - Tennessee

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