the excitement of FA has died down a bit, and now that we have clear heads and a #1 WR, it's time to step back from the ledge and fill the necessary holes. somewhat defense heavy -- here we go!!
Rd 1 -- LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State: first things first, because i already know some of you are thinking it -- he isn't small. with how much steam Minter is getting around here, Brown is the same height, has bigger hands/arms and is only 5lbs shy. and i've mentioned it before, but people thought Bobby Wagner was small last year, and he finished top 10 in tackles and held down the Seattle defense as a rookie at MLB. so "undersized"...?? don't count your chickens.
a few of us on the DN have been pushing this train for a while, and it won't stop -- he absolutely crushed his pro day, benching 21 reps and running a 4.6 forty. he's great against the run and has the coverage ability and athleticism required to play effectively in our defense, something which we've been lacking for many years.
this also isn't "too soon" to draft him -- there is a big drop-off in MLB talent, and there are a lot of LB-needy teams behind us in the 1st, so there will be a run on the top talent. it's actually entirely possible Brown won't be here when we pick (the Bengals might draft him for the weakside, and the Steelers have reportedly met with him).
long story short (too late), Frazier mentioned the possibility of drafting someone to fill in the middle, and Brown is a high-character guy with the leadership qualities to lead our defense into the future. just an educated guess, but i don't think the Ogletrees and Te'os of the world have everything that Brown embodies.
Rd 1 -- DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina: double-dose of defense in the 1st (i'll get to WR in a minute, so don't piss your pants). Sly is a versatile player who can play either DT position, but most likely would be groomed to supplant K-Will as the 3-tech once his time in the game is done. however, we could mix in a little Williams Wall action with Sly rotating at the nose on a regular basis, where his strength and athleticism for his size can still shine. quite importantly (to me, anyway) -- he has an active motor, which can't necessarily be said about other DTs who will be available at the end of Rd 1. with his work ethic and talent, he could be a star in the making.
Rd 2 -- WR Aaron Dobson, Marshall: it probably won't make people happy that i bypassed WR in the 1st, and i'm apparently making a perceived 'reach' here as most people have Dobson going in the 3rd. addressing the first concern, i absolutely wouldn't feel bad about Allen or Hopkins in the 1st -- i simply think there is better value for WR here in the 2nd, and after landing Jennings i feel much more comfortable about waiting on a wide out. as for the second concern, hogwash to that -- Dobson is absolutely a viable option at #52. i've been saying for a while we need a WR with reliable hands. you've seen Dobson's circus catches, and having a little Cris Carter-esque catching ability in purple again would be awfully nice. he quieted concerns about having strider's speed (ran a 4.4 at his pro day) and i think he's a future X in the making. and again, while it's not necessary to draft choir boys, Dobson is another high-character guy (sensing a theme, here??). Dobson is a fantastic prospect, although i will admit if Patton fell this far, he'd be too good to pass up.
Rd 3 -- CB Leon McFadden, San Diego State: been following McFadden since the last few games of the college season. i'm still really hoping we can bring Winfield back (and it sounds like both sides are open to the option, now), but whether he's back in purple or not, we need a nickel CB with the tenacity that Winfield brought to the game (something that Jefferson just doesn't bring to the table). McFadden has good zone awareness and his size might scare some teams away -- but i believe he's a perfect fit for our defense and an excellent transition piece from Winfield.
(if you've been paying attention, the last three picks were coincidentally my 'Bargain Bin' Cyan group from my Monopoly Mock. how 'bout them apples??)
Rd 4 -- RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina: ...because, why not?? Lattimore is projected to go in the middle rounds, and we have the luxury of a couple extra picks, so drafting who probably would have been a Rd 1 talent here in the 4th is fantastic value. he isn't expected to contribute his rookie season anyway coming off his knee injury, so this puts us in a great position to use Toby for the final year of his rookie contract (assuming we don't trade him) and slot Lattimore in for the backup RB role in 2014 when he's fully recovered. no pressure situation for everyone involved, and this could end up being a helluva steal.
Rd 4 -- WR Chris Harper, Kansas State: Harper is surprisingly fast for his size (6'1, 229lbs, ran his forty in the 4.5 range), and very strong -- which shows on tape, as it did at the Combine (20 reps). seems to be a willing blocker, which we value in our WRs, though i'm sure his technique could be refined a bit. and hey, with Spielman's propensity to draft teammates, another K-State body certainly won't hurt in this scenario. certainly appears to be a better prospect than S. Burton (with all due respect to him), and worth developing.
Rd 5 -- LB Jake Knott, Iowa State: a lot of people like AJ Klein out of the ISU boys, but personally i think Knott has a higher ceiling. his shoulder injury is the only thing holding him back, and while he won't crack the LB starting lineup for some time, he'll be a valuable ST contributor and quality backup. thinking down the road, Knott could be slotted in on the weakside, and with Brown and Knott alongside Greenway toward the end of his career, that's a formidable LB crew.
Rd 6 -- NT TJ Barnes, Georgia Tech: here's a big boy for ya -- 6'6", 369lbs. weight might be a concern, but i read he wants to play around 350 (he's already lost a bit of weight, so it seems he's putting forth the effort). if he can develop, he'll be a helluva run-plugger -- and with his height, we'll see even more tip passes at the LOS. great developmental project here.
Rd 7 -- OG Earl Watford, James Madison: i continue to see Watford projected in the late rounds or even going UFA, which is surprising to me. i think he has a mid-rd ceiling and if he's available this late, he'd be terrific value at a position that should be set up for the future. i don't think we'll keep CJohnson beyond this season, and while i'd like to see Demarcus Love tried out at OG, we should get a couple more bodies in the stable to develop.
Rd 7 -- CB Michael Carter, Minnesota: i made it a point to watch Carter during his senior year, and he didn't disappoint. he turned his act around and played great ball, even picking off two passes late in the Meineke Bowl. similar to Knott, i think he can contribute right away on ST, and be developed as a dime back (maybe with room to improve). Vikings scouts were also at plenty of Gopher games all year, so there's that, as well.
Rd 7 -- S Dexter McCoil, Tulsa: big body safety (6'4", 220lbs) -- we have depth at the position, but McCoil is an interesting prospect with his size and athleticism. he's surprisingly good against the run, which you might not expect when looking at him, and great range in coverage. just needs to be coached up.
1 -- A. Brown (LB)
1 -- S. Williams (DT)
2 -- A. Dobson (WR)
3 -- L. McFadden (CB)
4 -- M. Lattimore (RB)
4 -- C. Harper (WR)
5 -- J. Knott (LB)
6 -- T. Barnes (NT)
7 -- E. Watford (OG)
7 -- M. Carter (CB)
7 -- D. McCoil (S)
any thoughts you have, feel free to share!!