Last week, I mocked an offseason that was a pretty rough draft of the kind of things the Vikings can do. There were a lot of positive responses as well as criticism, and we may as well see what it looks like if we can incorporate as many suggestions and changes as possible into a new offseason.
Cleaning Up Your Room
Most of the time, it becomes close to impossible—no one is impressed with depth guys, a few don't want to extend players in order to soften the cap hit, but people still want to sign big free agents. A lot of years, fans also want to take hits in dead cap space and sign a free agent to replace them, but luckily that isn't an issue as much this year... except the dude who wanted to cut Brian Robison and only save about $2 million.
Anyway, without tallying the score or anything, I took a survey of the comments to see which moves were or were not more popular. The most difficult to resolve issue was Matt Kalil. I don't think anyone is happy with keeping him at $11 million (except Krauser, who views it as a short-term cost for long-term freedom) but not everyone is on board with reducing his hit by extending him.
There are definitely people who want to keep him at a lower hit, but don't want to extend him. I see that as possible but unlikely, because the Vikings' only leverage is to cut him against the $11 million he'll make this year, and he'd prefer that so he can seek long-term security with a team that would give him a couple of years.
For the most part, I'll do the easiest thing, which is to cut him.
We'll extend Harrison Smith like before, but a few told me he would get more than $9 million. I'll split the difference between the feedback I got and my figure, and say he'll sign for $10 million—especially now that his Pro Bowl incentive has kicked in.
Oh, and we traded Adrian Peterson again. Most people didn't seem that upset by it.
Here's the roster now:
There are some clear problem areas. Brandon Watts, Austin Shepherd, Blake Renaud, Jeremiah Sirles, Charles Johnson and possibly both Jeff Locke and Antone Exum are probably not fit to start where they are slated to start, and certainly are not fit to do so without tight competition.
We're also noticing depth problems not just at those positions, but running back and tight end as well. Personally, I want to add a quarterback, five running backs, one fullback, four wide receivers, three tight ends, three tackles, two guards, a center, two defensive ends, three defensive tackles, four linebackers, four cornerbacks, four safeties and a punter (all of you were right about my oversight there).
So, let's re-sign some players.
Your 2016 Homecoming Kings
I've decided not to re-sign Audie Cole (who will likely get some pretty good offers anyway) in order to take a chance on a young linebacker either in the draft or free agency. Same with Zach Line, who has improved—but not to the degree I'd be comfortable with.
Oh, and Josh Robinson, who many of you don't like (because you're wrong), is gone.
That means we get Chad Greenway (who many said would re-sign for $2 million, so that's what we'll do), Terence Newman (at safety), Mike Harris, Rhett Ellison, Adam Thielen, Marcus Sherels, Matt Asiata, Kenrick Ellis and Justin Trattou back.
After applying the Top 51 rule, granting an exemption for the retiring Austin Wentworth, assigning a rookie pool of $7 million and creating a buffer of $3.5 million, we have $30.3 million. Roster:
Excellent; that's looking better. We still need starters or competition for starters at SS, WLB, WR, LT and FB while looking for additional depth at CB, LB, S, WR, OL and HB.
For now, let's look at young players. The UFAs below the age of 26 include Josh Robinson (not re-signed), Jayron Hosley, Bryce Brown, Reuben Randle, Brock Osweiler, Robert Golden, Lamar Miller, Olivier Vernon and Ronnie Hillman.
As much as I'd love Vernon, he would crowd the DE position while costing too much money. Let's grab Robert Golden, who has shown great talent in his snaps for the Steelers (one of the only ones in that secondary who has), Rueben Randle for depth and Bryce Brown (just like last time). Hosley, though uncommonly both young and experienced, doesn't have a great deal of potential nor has he shown good performance.
Receivers who produce like Randle did are surprisingly expensive, with the closest analogues being 31-year-old James Jones and 29-year-old Brandon LaFell—and they received three-year deals, averaging $3M to $3.33M. In all honesty, my guess is that he'll be cheaper but in the interest of not cheating, he's three million dollars.
Robert Golden won't likely cost much given that he's only had three starts and is more of a special teams maven, but his quality of play (and his youth) are worth it. My guess is that he'd be under a million, maybe $900,000.
Randle, though disappointing to dynasty owners, still offers value as a big-bodied player who can produce in the red zone and generate reasonable yards through the air; he averaged 780 yards in the last three years and converted 20 percent of his red zone targets into touchdowns (of current Vikings, only Rudolph converted at a higher rate).
I still love signing tight end James Hanna and cornerback Sterling Moore. We'll be doing that again at the same price as before ($585,000 and $900,000).
Everyone liked the Iloka signing, but many were convinced he was signed for too little. If that's the case, we'll bump him up to $5M.
I think it's worth getting another halfback to compete for the third spot (as well as Asiata and a draft pick). Last time I grabbed Jarryd Hayne, but this time we'll get Robert Turbin. All of the issues listed in the prior piece still exist, but it's good to have a person who can bring force to bear at the point of attack. After being shuttled around to three different teams, I expect him to sign for the minimum.
We re-signed Kenrick Ellis, but one defensive tackle I've had my eye on is Tyrunn Walker, who the Lions only signed for one year. He's been very good in his limited opportunities and just as the Vikings staff discovered and enabled Tom Johnson, I believe they can do the same with Walker for the minimum.
There are a lot of issues at linebacker. A lot of you didn't want to spend a high draft pick on a person who would be designated as a base down linebacker (or would relegate Eric Kendricks to that role). How about we have a mid-round pick and a flex RB to compete with Chad for the WLB spot on base downs.
For this, we'll sign young Bills linebacker Nigel Bradham, who has played in both 4-3 and 3-4 systems, and as Sam, Will and Mike linebacker. A lot of folks wanted a "Brandon Spikes"-type linebacker as a run stopper who would come cheaply without having to pay for coverage ability. Usually, WLBs will have that coverage ability while the two-down MLB will go off the field on nickel downs.
While Bradham will likely come that cheaply, he's not too bad in coverage—though the Bills took him off on nickel downs for a reason. Still, when tasked with coverage responsibility, he did well. He can set the edge, take on blockers or fly through traffic to get to the ballcarrier. He should be able to take advantage of the favorable blocking math created by the other linebackers and defensive linemen.
Instead of paying Audie Cole to stay as depth, we'll pay Bradham in the neighborhood of $3.5M a year to compete for a starting job, with escalators for snaps. It's pricy for someone who may not start, but given that he'll compete with a mid-round pick for the job, he's the odds-on favorite.
For some reason, people are equally convinced that Alshon Jeffery won't be retained in Chicago but that Cordy Glenn won't stay in Buffalo. For now, let's say that's the case. We're getting Cordy Glenn!
I expect him to be quite expensive, around the top of the market—which is just above $10M. Let's be conservative and say it's $10.5M.
One of the biggest complaints my offseason had was a lack of attention to the offensive line, with no solution in mind for the right tackle or left guard spot. I'll hold fast on the left guard spot. The Vikings showed faith in Loadholt for three years and he paid off. They also showed faith in Matt Kalil for three years after his rookie year before we cut him. Norv showed significant faith in Mike Harris, who possibly played right tackle worse than T.J. Clemmings did when he started for San Diego as a rookie.
Brandon Fusco has played at a higher level than any of those three players ever did.
I'm honestly not sure what to do at right tackle. T.J. Clemmings, in my opinion, is the right tackle of the future. Many people are convinced that the right tackle of the present, Phil Loadholt, cannot play. While the odds of recovery from an Achilles injury are significantly higher, I think, than a lot of people say (cursory research of mine would put it above 75 percent, but that is a very rough figure—with Jason Peters and Terrell Suggs as the recent landmark case).
There are some that claim he is injury prone after long years of health because a pectoral tear was followed by an unrelated injury, the Achilles tear.
I strongly disagree with this move, but the demands of immediacy and change in the comments section means I will cut Phil Loadholt despite his reasonable contract. Because I think Clemmings is the tackle of the future, I will shy away from the obvious high-value tackles, like Mitchell Schwartz or Kelvin Beachum and opt for 28-year-old Joe Barksdale for short-term relief while Clemmings grows and competes with another young tackle we'll find later in the draft.
I've long liked Barksdale and despite the overall performance of the San Diego line, I think he had another good year. He logged a $2.1 million cap hit for the Chargers after increasing his value in St. Louis. I believe he's increased his value once more, so a short-term contract for $3 million makes sense.
I now need one quarterback, two halfbacks, one fullback, two receivers, one tight end, two tackles, one guard, one center, one defensive end, one defensive tackle, two linebackers, two cornerbacks, one safety and one punter. That's 19 players, which we can hit in the draft and UDFA. Roster:
We ended up with $12.3M of cap space.
Pouring Your Draft
To save the complications, the same trades in the previous draft apply here. We have picks 23, 59, 65, 86, 96, 129, 139, 148, 162, 208 and 212.
The mock draft I used to figure out if someone is available is here at Drafttek.
If you think I'm drafting someone who should not be available, complain to them, not me.
At pick 23, we're drafting Josh Doctson, wide receiver from TCU. CBS' scouting report:
STRENGTHS: Could run clinics on how to find, track and judge the football in the air, boxing out and using timing to come down with the catch. He will out-jump defenders and uses his large catching radius and reliable ballskills to come down with grabs most other college wideouts can't finish.
WEAKNESSES: Tall and lanky, lacking an ideal build for the position to overwhelm defensive backs.
IN OUR VIEW: Doctson isn't the fastest and his lack of muscle will be a turn off for some teams, but with added bulk, he could be this year's Jordan Matthews.
That's a bit weak on why he's so good (and it was written in May), so here's an updated scouting report that explains why exactly he's a perfect fit for what the Vikings need:
Doctson is the kind of receiver who excels at contested catches to the point where the endless stream of highlight reel grabs can easily make you forget about the aspects of the position he hasn't mastered yet. While understandable, Doctson's all-around game hasn't reached the jaw-dropping status of many of his receptions at TCU.
By far Doctson's biggest strength is his ability to play big at catch points and reel in tough grabs outside his frame. He's got exceptional body control to go with his insane vertical hops, which allows him to consistently play above the rim against even larger defensive backs. I love his "my-ball" mentality, even on contested slant routes and patterns over the middle. Great focus, catch radius, and hand strength to make high degree of difficulty plays for his quarterback.
Where Doctson struggles is in the separation aspect of the position. Some of it is a lack of natural ability, as the TCU receiver doesn't possess elite explosiveness off the line of scrimmage or in his route breaks. He's a bit of a long strider whose footwork takes time to develop; not always the best recipe for springing free against man coverage. Doctson isn't blazingly fast either, although he does kick it into high gear when the ball is in the air.
Much of Doctson's struggles come from his lacking technique against press coverage. Too often he exposes his chest to cornerbacks without countering their punch with a hand slap of his own. Multiple times I saw a great opportunity for a swim over press coverage, but Doctson either wasn't sudden enough or technically proficient enough to utilize it. He's got to become much better about using his hands to free himself from jams at the line of scrimmage, maybe even gaining muscle, or NFL corners are going to eat him alive.
In short, there are some things that Doctson does extremely well, and others that will need time to develop. How quickly can he pick up separation tactics coming from an Air Raid offensive attack that often gifted him space to work in? Only time will tell, but I think Doctson will take a little while to blossom at the next level. He'll be 23 when the draft rolls around, which doesn't bother me much, but the question marks surrounding his route-running, deep speed, and explosiveness could easily drop the talented receiver into the second round.
You have your big body. He may take some time to develop and in the mean time, Rueben Randle can be the lead big body.
At pick 59, I don't have a ton of options that don't run afoul of a lot of the comments. A linebacker to compete with Bradham is a good thing to have, as is a running back to complement McKinnon. A safety to groom behind Iloka isn't a bad idea, either. I think, despite the fact that McKinnon is genuinely a starting-quality back—and a good one—I'll get a running back.
I'll take Alex Collins, the other running back at Arkansas (I took Jonathan Williams last week). Scouting report from NEPatriotsDraft:
When you can average 5.6 yards a carry in the SEC you are doing something right. Collins runs with tenacity and power. He rarely goes down on first contact and keeps his legs moving to fall forward and gain that extra yard or two. He runs with good patients and vision. Collins will wait for the play to develop and then shows good lower body explosion and balance to burst through the hole. On many occasions he will ride the back of his offensive lineman to maximize every yard possible on that particular play. He does not have elite speed but showed enough to break off some longer runs. What I like about Collins is that he is not looking to bounce everything outside to get that home run play. He excels at running between the tackles and can wear a defense down to eventually break a big play. From all accounts, he has been an excellent locker room presence and no issues off the field as well. I also really like that Collins was able to step up and be a guy the team could count on after Arkansas other talented Running Back got hurt in the preseason.
One thing that I noticed when watching Collins was his footwork. He is not really a dancer in the backfield, but he takes a lot of small choppy steps that seem unnecessary and inefficient. This happens even when he gets to the second level. He is still moving forward and it certainly has not hurt his production, I just feel like he could clean up his footwork a little. Another area Collins could look to improve would be as a pass catcher. As you can see from the stats above he is not a huge threat coming out of the backfield as a pass catcher. If he wants to stay on the field for all three downs, his route running and hands must get better. His pass protection will have to improve as well. The effort seems to be there, but his technique is hit or miss and that must be cleaned up. Collins has some ball security issues, but not so bad that it is a huge concern for me, but we know the fastest way into any coaches doghouse is to put the ball on the ground.
I really like Collins as a runner and as a fit for the Patriots. He may not be as flashy as some of backs coming out, but he is a tough, smart, downhill runner that has maximized his opportunities. He may never be a home run hitter or break any defenders ankles with his moves, but Collins should have a long, productive career in the NFL. Like I said before, he seems like a perfect fit for the Patriots with the way they use a committee in the backfield. Guys like Henry and Elliot will be drafted well before Collins, but I see nothing to say that Collins could not be as productive as those 2 backs at the next level. Collins is for sure a top 100 player for me and if the Patriots want him, they may have to either trade back with their 2nd round pick or trade up with their 3rd.
At pick 65, I'll take Kyle Murphy, an offensive tackle from Stanford. It will be he who competes with Clemmings in the future.
Murphy sports a prototypical build for an NFL tackle with broad shoulders, long arms and a relatively trim middle. He anticipates the snap, rather than waiting for it, often getting a slight advantage over defenders (but also risking a false start penalty) and overall showing impressive initial quickness, including on cut-blocks.
Murphy's quick start and length make him a formidable opponent in pass protection. He slides well laterally and is alert to stunts and blitzes, getting a strong shove on one defender before switching off to another.
While quick enough to get to the second level as a run blocker, Murphy can get off-balance when attempting to change direction. He is a very effective, on the other hand, as a drive blocker, showing surprising flexibility to get under the pads of opponents and impressive leg drive to consistently move the pile.
At pick 86, I'll take Utah State linebacker Kyler Fackrell. There is evidently first-round talk about him, but I don't believe it—especially because of his advanced age (which makes him a very unlikely Vikings target given their profile).
In this case, he'd be an MLB and kick Kendricks out to WLB, but that's a role I've always preferred. Scouting report from CBS:
STRENGTHS: Tall, long-levered frame. Worked hard to develop his muscle and limb strength. Loose athlete with smooth redirection skills and long strides to cover a lot of ground. Lateral quickness to sidestep blocks or string plays to the outside. Active rusher and quick to read, adjust his angle and close. Uses his length to engage and lock out.
Looks natural in reverse and has experience in coverage. Offers athletic versatility and natural ball-skills (eight passes defended and four interceptions in his career).
Played on special teams coverages in college, including one blocked kick. Humble and hard-working, but also feisty and competitive - singled out as the leader of the defense by his head coach. Football junkie who already works and prepares like a professional. Highly productive with 253 tackles and 36.0 tackles for loss over 41 career starts.
WEAKNESSES: Lean-muscled body type with lanky bulk. Not a forceful player at the point of attack and needs to develop his take-on strength to push through the shoulder of blockers. Plays tall and too easily caught up in the crowd. Quick hands, but shed technique and block recognition requires fine-tuning.
Needs to better break down and finish in space. Long-legged mover, leading to choppy steps and lost balance in short-areas. Inconsistent backfield vision and anticipation, which leads to overaggressive tendencies.
Older prospect and will be a 25-year old NFL rookie. Missed all of the 2014 season due to an ACL tear in his right knee (Sept. 2014).
IN OUR VIEW: A three-year starter, Fackrell lined up as an edge rusher and outside linebacker in Utah State's 3-4 base and was a jack-of-all-trades defender who rushed and dropped in coverage.
He is a tall, long-armed and flexible athlete with range and closing burst, doing his best work in space because he's not a power player. Fackrell can be too easily controlled at the point of attack and needs to develop his take-on strength to better dispose of blockers, but the competitive toughness is there. He has above average intangibles and you won't find anyone who says something negative about him as a person.
All we're hearing about him from the Senior Bowl indicates he's doing extremely well in 4-3 work.
At pick 96, I pick Christian Westerman, offensive guard from Arizona State. CBS:
STRENGTHS: Westerman is well known for his weight-room strength, reportedly bench pressing 225 pounds 41 times in one sitting before his senior season. Reliable. Competitive, passionate player who started 25 of the past 26 games for the Sun Devils over the past two seasons.
Westerman sports a relatively compact frame with his weight evenly distributed over his frame. He is an active, competitive blocker with the quick, light feet to shuffle laterally in pass protection, as well as the natural knee bend, core strength and balance to anchor.
Westerman has a terrific initial punch out of his stance to quickly get to work, extending and using his length to lock out and control the chest of defenders. He possesses the upper-body strength to turn defenders from run lanes with quick hands to react to counter moves by interior rushers. He plays with awareness and tenacity, keeping his head on a swivel to react to surprise blitzes.
WEAKNESSES: Too often gets caught up in the trash when blocking on the move, lacking the preferred quickness and agility to consistently reach and secure the second level. Doesn't possess ideal length for guard and could struggle with the swim moves from the longer-armed defensive tackles of the NFL. Size limitations may ultimately force him to be moved inside to center, a position he never played at the collegiate level.
COMPARES TO: J.D. Walton, San Diego Chargers: Walton began his career at Arizona State before transferring to Baylor, with Westerman initially signing (and playing two games) at Auburn before moving back "home" to ASU. Westerman is stronger than Walton but possesses a similar combination of short-area quickness, balance and tenacity, which could make him a future starter in the NFL.
IN OUR VIEW: Westerman isn't the most imposing offensive lineman in the 2016 NFL draft, but his power, agility and tenacity will certainly earn him plenty of fans among coaches. His lack of ideal size could ultimately push him inside to center.
Personally, I'd rather get center Jack Allen from Michigan State because I absolutely love him, but I think the draft pick is better spent on a guard here and then a center in free agency or late in the draft. It hurts, but Westerman is an interesting prospect who is worth the pick.
At pick 129, we'll add depth to the safety corps with DeAndre Houston-Carson from William & Mary. CBS:
STRENGTHS: Looks the part of a modern day NFL defensive back with broad shoulders, a tapered middle and long limbs. Fluid athleticism, including quick, light feet and loose hips to change directions. Accelerates smoothly, possessing NFL-caliber speed.
Showed impressive awareness in making the transition from cornerback to free safety as a senior, displaying the vision, range and ball-skills to potentially remain at this position. Locates the ball quickly and plays with a highly aggressive brand of football, charging toward the line of scrimmage in run support.
Physical hitter. Possesses an explosive closing burst to spark big collisions and rips at the ball when others are near.
Good awareness for zone coverage, showing burst to close on routes caught in from of him. Good patience in off-man coverage, forcing receivers to commit before turning his hips, putting him in excellent position to make plays on underneath routes. Shows very good hand-eye coordination to pluck passes outside of his frame, timing his leap and/or get-off rushing off the edge well to create interceptions or to block kicks. Good vision to set up blocks with the ball in his hand.
Durable performer. Four-year starter.
WEAKNESSES: Obvious level of competition questions. A better hitter than tackler at this point, too often relying on the force he generates with his collisions to knock ballcarriers down rather than wrapping up securely.
Leaves his teammates in vulnerable positions with over-aggressive pursuit angles, creating cut-back lanes for ballcarriers to exploit. Simply faster than most of the competition he faced and could struggle with well-run double-moves from more explosive athletes.
IN OUR VIEW: FCS players had better dominate at their level to earn NFL attention and that is precisely what Houston-Carson did for the Tribe, starting for four years and recording an eye-popping 293 tackles, 10 interceptions and nine blocks.
He possesses the length, fluidity and competitiveness to return to cornerback in the NFL. His range and vision are intriguing at safety but if he is to remain there, Houston-Carson must show more reliability as an open-field tackler.
At pick 139, I'll select Harlan Miller from Southeastern Louisiana. Teammate of Robert Alford, he seems like exactly the kind of player the Vikings would pick. From Falcons blog Blogging Dirty:
Cornerback Harlan Miller from Southeastern Louisiana (Robert Alford's alma mater) is listed at 6'1, 180 pounds. He carried his size rather nicely but could stand to add more weight to his frame. Miller was a two-year starter in Southeastern Louisiana's secondary and started over 19 games despite having an shoulder injury that held him for three games in the beginning of the season.
Miller is a outstanding athlete but his biggest attribute is his ability to understand on-field situations and handle different assessments throughout each game. Throughout many games, Miller was given the task of tracking team's best receiver and has won many of those battles by simply processing the game better than his opponent.
Harlan has an great trait of quickly processing plays, showing his intelligence not only on the field but also off it in the film room. Many players with great size and athletic ability don't necessarily understand how to translate their physical abilities onto the field. As for Miller, he understands when to physical at the line of scrimmage. He adjusts to change well throughout a game and will change amount of space he gives a receiver depending on how he performed.
In 2015, Miller recorded 49 tackles (5.5 for loss), 10 passes broken up, and 4 interceptions. He held opposing quarterbacks to a 61 percent completion percentage and only gave up 276 yards on 28 catches and two touchdowns when locked man to man throughout the season.
Harlan has great hip movement when defending routes and doesn't loses his balance when lunging in press coverage, something he looks very comfortable doing. He's a scrappy player at the line of scrimmage despite having a wire body. Since he has the task of following a team's best wide out, Miller looks comfortable enough to step inside as a nickel corner but his true spot may be outside.
Watching Harlan, you'll quickly learn that he has that "alpha dog" title and is a high volume player with an aggressive attitude. In many games, he sets the tone in the beginning of the game and a leader amongst his peers. He fits the Comrade filter by never being involved in any off-field situations and a captain during the 2015-2016 season.
Now, there are some who think that Miller only graded out so highly because of the talent he played against but some quiet down after he had a great week at the Shrine Bowl. Though he is an aggressive defender, Miller tends to miss open-field tackles. This is fault to inability to break down and try to make a clean tackle instead going for the big hit. At times, he'll grab onto receivers a little too long while in coverage and sometimes depend on his athleticism too much and gets caught in short yard coverage.
At pick 148, I'll take the defensive end the Vikings always seem to want in the draft. This time, I'm getting the guy earlier, so I have a few more options than last time. It's Notre Dame defensive end Romeo Okwara. Scouting report this time from Greg Gabriel, former Bears director of college scouting:
Strong Points -
Speed and athleticism. Came on strong the second half of this season. Flashes as an edge pass rusher. Has the required height and length. Has a frame that can carry 275 pounds. Plays well in pursuit, tackling.
Weak Points -
Currently lacks the bulk, strength and power to play strong at the point of attack. Inconsistent production especially in the run game. Can be slow off blocks and will give ground at times versus run blocks. Can be fooled by misdirection.
It's too bad this player wasn't redshirted as a true freshman. He has really come on the second half of this season but still isn't quite there. Right now he is best as a pass rusher but he still needs to get stronger and develop some more moves. He is not a consistent run down player and that is more because he lacks top size and power. Because of his athleticism, many of the 3-4 teams will work him out as an outside linebacker. If he proves he can drop into coverage he may have a future in that type scheme. In a 4-3, he will need a year on the practice squad to develop his skills and get bigger and stronger. There is no question he has talent but he is still raw. This player has upside in the right situation.
At pick 162, I'll pick Boise State linebacker Kamaie Correa. He's an edge-rusher who will convert to outside linebacker and will play a special teams role. Once again, the Vikings grab their late-round linebacker/athlete. Here's what Daniel Jeremiah at NFL.com had to say:
I didn't know much about the Boise State junior linebacker before last week. However, after watching his tape I was very intrigued. He's extremely explosive, athletic and productive. His motor is outstanding, too.
I was pumped to see him play live at the Poinsettia Bowl and he didn't disappoint with his performance. He showed the ability to set the edge in the run game and he generated a lot of pressure, including multiple sacks. Boise State moves him around on obvious passing downs, allowing him to pick a rush lane and cut it loose.
He isn't a polished technician as a pass rusher, but he gets by on pure speed and agility. Once he learns to consistently use his hands, he'll take his game to a whole new level
Now, for that center. At pick 208, I'll take Mike Matthews from Texas A&M. Last time I did this, I cheated a little bit and took a player that was not available, but somewhere very near in the same round because it's the seventh round and you should get a little more leeway. NFL.com says:
At 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, Matthews does not have the height and length of his father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, or his brothers Jake (the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft) and Kevin (former Aggies center). Nor is he an elite athlete like his Pro Bowl linebacker cousin, Clay. But he has the family gene for football toughness and intelligence, a strong anchor, and nimbleness in tight spaces, which is most crucial for the center position. Some NFL teams won't have interest in him because of his lack of size, but another squad will find a reliable starter.
With the final pick, pick 212, I'll take Cole Toner, Harvard tackle. USA Today scouting report:
Areas of Strength: Good-looking frame, evenly proportioned and difficult to overpower. Keeps his hands high and tight with great balance and technique in pass protection. Tremendous knee bend and anchor. Powerful punch to jolt defenders. Great grip strength and leg drive in the run game.
Areas to Improve: Didn't face a lot of pure speed rushers, so there are questions about his feet on the edge. Can let his punch linger for awhile rather than re-setting his hands, offering defenders the chance to chop his arms. Needs to establish leverage more often in the run game. Played right tackle at Harvard, will be interesting to see how he looks on the left side. I like Toner's skill set a lot, but how he handles a higher level of competition during Senior Bowl week will go a long way toward determining where he'll be drafted
- Quarterback Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
- Running back Storm Barr-Woods, Oregon State
- Fullback Derek Watt, Wisconsin
- Wide receiver Thomas Duarte, UCLA
- Tight end Darion Griswold, Arkansas State
- Offensive tackle Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
- Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State
- Cornerback Daryl Worley, West Virginia
- Punter/Holder, Peter Mortell
This time, don't freak out about the depth chart, that's what OTAs, minicamp and training camp are for. Maybe Watt beats out Renaud or Mortell beats out Locke. Whatever it is, the players that are there are more important than the order they are in. So, with that in mind, your final roster: