A few days ago I posted my first ever mock draft, utilizing absolutely no trades. While I liked the end result well enough, we’re in a position where we have several options for trades. We could trade down for some extra picks, or trade up at some point, because we have 3 picks between the end of the 4th and beginning of the 5th round (meaning 1 of them is expendable). So, utilizing the handy-dandy draft day trade chart (which may be worthless when you consider what the Redskins recently traded to the Rams to move up all of 4 spots), here is my second mock with a couple trade projections thrown in. Again, I used CBS Player Rankings and Mike Mayock's Positional Rankings as a guide. Check it out after the jump.
Round 1, Pick #3: TRADED to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their #5, #68 and 2013 2nd rounder. Tampa Bay drafts Trent Richardson, RB Alabama
They have spent a fortune in free agency picking up the likes of Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Eric Wright among others, and I have a hunch they want to continue to surround Josh Freeman with talented pieces. If they aren’t afraid to spend big in FA, then they won’t be afraid to make a bold move to jump up and get “their guy.” Trent Richardson is regarded by some as the best pure football player available in the draft, and is right in the conversation for best non-QB at the very least. I don’t think Tampa Bay is sold on LaGarrette Blount (they shouldn’t be IMO, he’s nowhere near being a complete back), and if Blount’s sudden change of heart on the prospect of the Bucs drafting Richardson is any indication, my guess is that Richardson is high on Tampa Bay’s wish list. But, they may have to jump over Cleveland to ensure that will happen, because apparently Cleveland has it narrowed to Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon with the #4 overall pick.
Round 1, Pick #5 (via Tampa Bay): Matt Kalil, LT USC
I know, I know, I went with Kalil in the other mock, but if Tampa jumps up for Richardson, then I gotta think that Cleveland goes with Blackmon. There’s no way Cleveland drafts Kalil, although I suppose they could trade down, and then some other team would draft Kalil. But, they already have another 1st rounder anyway, so I think they stay put, and that leaves Kalil still on the board at #5. Kalil is the consensus #3 best player available in the draft, and he fills a significant need for our team. It’s an easy decision.
Round 2, Pick #35: Reuben Randle, WR LSU
Technically, CBS has Randle ranked #33, so I’m fudging a little with this pick. Mayock has Randle ranked as his #5 WR too (after Blackmon, Floyd, Wright and Hill). Randle is a younger player that still needs to develop and may not be ready for full-time action his rookie year. But, he’s a tall, fast, athletic receiver that possesses good hands. He could develop into a bona-fide #1 receiver in the NFL, which is exactly what we are looking for. I’ve now spent the first two picks helping out Christian Ponder, which means it’s time to address the defense with the next few picks.
TRADE ALERT: Philadelphia trades their Round 2, Pick #51 to us. We give them our extra 3rd round pick from Tampa Bay (#68) our 5th rounder (#138) and 7th rounder (#210) to trade up to this pick. That may not quite be enough (based on the trade chart), but we’ll roll with it for now. Philadelphia has two 2nd round picks, and this is the lower of the two. They may be looking to trade it to acquire more picks. We may have to give our 3rd, 4th and 7th, or 3rd, 5th and 6th instead of 3rd, 5th and 7th.
Round 2, Pick #51 (via Philadelphia): Brandon Thompson, DT Clemson
I considered trading up for CB Trumain Johnson here as well as S George Illonka, but Thompson had the higher grade of the three and would be an instant upgrade for us over Guion and Evans. At 6’3” 313 lbs, he’s a big run-stuffer that commands double-teams, although his weakness is in the pass rush ability. But on our D-line, a big run-stuffing NT is exactly what we need. According to CBS, Thompson is right there at #51 and Mayock has him graded as a low-end “immediate starter.” Improving the D-Line will take pressure off the back 7, and moving up to get him is a sneaky pick.
Round 3, #66: Ronnell Lewis, OLB Oklahoma
I considered going with LB Sean Spence, CB Jamel Flemming or S George Illonka here, but Spence is undersized, Flemming struggles in zone coverage and Illonka had a much lower grade than Ronnell Lewis. Again, I’m fudging a bit here as CBS has him ranked 65th overall, but if available Lewis would make for a good 4-3 OLB as he plays the run very well. Some think he has the size to play in a 3-4 as a down LB/DE clocking in at 6’1” 263 lbs, but Mayock has him rated as the 6th best LB in the draft with a high “eventual starter” grade. This may seem like too high of a pick to spend on a LB who likely wouldn’t be starting this year, but most other positions would have been a reach. Lewis is a young, raw prospect with a lot of upside.
Round 4, #98: Chase Minnifield, CB Virginia
Like in my earlier mock, I went CB in the 4th. Minnifield is a highly touted prospect that dealt with a knee injury at the end of the 2011 season and didn’t work-out at the combine, and was slowed at his Pro Day. Never-the-less he comes from a football family (his father was a Pro-Bowl corner in the 80s) and is one of Mayock’s highest rated prospects still around in CBS’s rankings at #99. He could stand to bulk up a bit, at only 183 lbs, but he has great awareness, can play man and zone, and is good in run support. He’s a guy that can come in and learn from Winfield, and IMO, this year he could transition his way into the starting rotation and start opposite Cook next year, or at the very least would compete well with Chris Carr and Zack Bowman.
Round 4, #128: Antonio Allen, S South Carolina
Allen did not play a true safety position in college, but he has good size (6’1” 210 lbs) and plays the run very well as a sure tackler. He slides to us here because of his lack of experience, and still needs to develop his back-pedal. But he can match-up well against larger WR and TE and has plenty of athletic upside. He would easily compete in training camp for a starting spot against the likes of Jamarca Sanford and Mistral Raymond.
Round 4, #134: Joe Adams, WR Arkansas
I picked Joe Adams here, again, but I still think this is where we can get him. Like I said before, he is a small, but explosive playmaker who had a good Senior Bowl. He’s a natural fit for the slot, but also possesses return abilities. Adams jumped out at me on the rankings list (CBS had him at #142), and Mayock has him graded much higher than any of the other positions I was scouting (O-Line depth and D-Line depth). Even though we picked up Randle in the 2nd, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Spielman and company grab several WR in this draft.
Round 6, Pick #175: Dan Herron, RB Ohio State
Herron was a productive and powerful back at Ohio State, earning the nickname “Boom.” Mayock and CBS completely disagree on his abilities however, with Mayock saying: “He is secure with the football and a good receiving option out of the backfield. Boom is tough and will stick his face in front of rushing linebackers. Herron can neutralize blitzes but can get overpowered by men simply bigger than him.” While CBS says of Herron: “Inconsistent hands. Offers little in pass protection and poor technique cut blocking, fails to do more than slow down blitzers by laying down in front of them.” So, either he’s cut-out to be 3rd down back that can catch passes out of the backfield and pass-block, or he’s not. But I think it’s worth it to take a 6th round flier on the guy and see if “Boom” can also be productive at the next level (Ted would love this pick I’m sure).
Round 7, #223: Andrew Datko, OT Florida State
Datko was Ponder’s blind side protector back in 2010, but only played 4 games in 2011 due to persistent shoulder problems. He’s worth taking a chance on here as he is excellent in run support, and has great size at 6’6” 315 lbs. He’s dealt with multiple injuries to his shoulder, but if he can stay healthy he could develop into a regular contributor along the O-Line. CBS has him ranked 224 overall, but Mayock gives him a solid “draftable” grade.