Alan’s 2014 NFL Mock Draft- Part 2 10/10
17. Miami Dolphins: Antonio Richardson, OT Tennessee
The Dolphins started the season 3-0 for the first time since 2002 but have since dropped to 3-2, as they are ranked in the bottom third of the league in both total offensive and defensive yards. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill has been sacked an NFL high 24 times. Their running game is 28th in total rushing yards and 28th in yards per game. The only answer to solve this issue is to draft an offensive lineman, which they should have done last year to replace Jake Long. As they did last April, when they traded up to draft Barkevious Mingo, the Dolphins could do so once again to grab a big name tackle this year. If they fail to keep defenses off Tannehill, they will not have to worry about moving up but if they stay here, the pick is likely ‘Tiny” Richardson, whom you may know as Antonio Richardson from Tennessee. Richardson is raw after just one season of starting action but he is amazingly quick and smooth for a man that is 6-6 and 332-pounds. He was awesome in blocking for a Vols offense that rushed for 189 yards vs. Georgia on Saturday and racked up 404 total.
18. Atlanta Falcons: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
At 1-4, and playing in a tough NFC this season, the Falcons may be finished in 2013. This draft must be about building the defensive side of the football to stop the Saints. They did sack Geno Smith four times on MNF but lost at home to the same rookie who looked awful the week before in Tennessee. Atlanta’s linebackers are terrible and their secondary is not much better. Drafting Mack will help the Falcons immediately. The Buffalo standout entered 2013 with 56 tackles for loss, 18 sacks and 11 forced fumbles. So far in 2013 he has 35 total tackles, 6.5 TFL, 4 sacks and an INT return for a TD. with strong showings against Ohio State and Connecticut on national TV, Mack is a legitimate top 15 pick in May.
19. Tennessee Titans: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State
Starting tackles, Michael Roos and David Stewart, are 30 and 31 years old, respectively and both have voidable years on their contracts upcoming. Tennessee’s line is much improved this season with the additions of Chance Warmack and Andy Levitre so it’s possible the build continues from inside – out with Erving taking a tackle spot. At 6-5, 310 pounds, Erving played in 13 games as a redshirt freshman defensive tackle but has looked like a natural after being moved to left tackle a season ago. He is long, balanced and athletic and has been a major reason freshman quarterback Jameis Winston looks so relaxed and could be this year’s Johnny Manziel. Another year at Tackle and he is likely the steal of the first round at No.19.
20. Houston Texans: Zach Mettenbereger, QB LSU
The Texans have the NFL’s No.1 ranked defense but are starting to realize what most of the NFL already knows, you must have a QB you can trust and one, who at the very least, doesn’t cost your team games. It’s likely that Matt Schaub’s days are numbered in Houston. Schaub after becoming the first player in NFL history to have an interception returned for a touchdown in four consecutive games last Sun. He was yanked in favor of TJ Yates in the fourth qtr. Last week it was AJ McCarron for me but the more I watch the 6-5, 235-pound LSU senior play, the more he looks NFL ready. Spending a year with Cam Cameron may not be enough just yet but it’s possible that if the Texans falter, Cameron can interview for the O-cord job there, as Gary Kubiak is likely out of a job in Houston as well. Mettenbereger has NFL size and arm strength.
21: Baltimore Ravens: Mike Evans, WR
The Super Bowl Champs were known for their big playmaking ability last season. The Ravens offense set the single-season franchise record for most plays from scrimmage gaining 20-or-more yards (72) and set a single-season franchise record for most pass completions gaining 25-or-more yards with 41. Other than Torrey Smith, the Ravens lack depth and quality at WR. At 6-5, 225 pounds, Mike Evans would be a great compliment to the speedy Smith. Averaging nearly 25 yards per catch with the Aggies this year, Evans has nearly 700 receiving yards in 5 games with 5 TD receptions. There may be other WR’s that move up the boards as the year progresses but Evans looks to be a perfect fit for the dart throwing Joe Flacco in Baltimore.
22. Chicago Bears: Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Despite losing two in a row to Detroit and New Orleans, I still think the Bears are a playoff team. Chicago is going to have to address the cornerback in 2014 as both Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings will be free agents and are on the plus side of 30. Loucheiz Purifoy or Ifo Ekpre-Olomu would not be a bad selection here either. Tuitt is starting to play better after offseason sports hernia surgery played a role in his adding 20 pounds. He looked slow and out of shape early in the season but has looked good in two straight games against Michigan State (six tackles) and Oklahoma (five tackles, one tackle for loss). Bookending him with Julius Peppers to terrorize opposing QB’s would help ease the pain if the Bears elect to wait a year to address the CB situation.
23: Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Ebron, TE North Carolina
Last week, I had the Chiefs taking Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the TE from Washington. While I still like him to go in the first round (maybe) I am starting to like Eric Ebron a lot more. Ebron is highly athletic and a versatile prospect who is as much a matchup nightmare as any receiver in the draft. He is also an excellent and powerful in-line blocker. During the past three weeks, Ebron is averaging 80 receiving yards and has two TD’s. Against Georgia Tech on Sept. 21 he caught six passes for 108 yards and a score. Alex Smith knows how to use quick and athletic TE’s, just ask Vernon Davis P.H. (Post Harbaugh). While he is not Vernon Davis, he is exactly what the Chiefs offense needs.
24. Dallas Cowboys: Ha’Sean Clinton Dix, S Alabama
Contrary to many mock drafts, the Cowboys do a good job stopping the run. Of course, we will find out a little more this week when they play the Redskins but they currently possess the fourth best rush defense in the NFL. So I won’t project a DT here but I will project a player that can help them corral their 31st ranked pass defense. Currently suspended Alabama safetyHa Ha Clinton-Dix could be the Cowboys choice here. It is not like Jerry Jones has never selected a player that spent most of his final college season suspended in the first round before (see Dez Bryant). Clinton-Dix has an exciting combination of athleticism and instincts. The Cowboys may also opt to take Loucheiz Purifoy or Ifo Ekpre-Olomu—and none of them would be a bad first night decision for Dallas.
25. Cincinnatti Bengals: Loucheiz Purifoy, CB Florida
Reggie Nelson, Leon Hall, and Dre Kirkpatrick were all injured in Week 4. Hall, Pacman Jones, and Terrence Newman are also getting long in the tooth. DC Mike Zimmer loves speed on defense and he is going to need younger pieces to have it. Purifoy has potential to be a shutdown corner in the NFL and he is a triple threat in that Cincy can use him in the return game and if need be, a little at WR.
26. Green Bay Packers: Ed Reynolds, FS Stanford
For once, the Packers do not rank in the top half of the league in sacks allowed or QB hits. I’ve been pushing for an OL here since I began this mock draft in Week 1 but with the talent still on the board on defense, it certainly couldn’t hurt the Pack to keep building that unit. They are better at stopping the run (5) but stink in pass defense (26). A big hard-hitting safety would be ideal and if Clinton-Dix is gone, it could very well be Stanford’s Ed Reynolds. At 6-2 210-pounds, he’s a tad bigger than Clinton-Dix and he was a big contributor in the Cardinal win over Washington. Reynolds, a redshirt junior, helped limit Washington’s ability to find talented pass-catchers Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams.
27. Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis): Lache Seastrunk RB, Baylor
Let’s all give a golf clap welcome to a running back in the first round. The Baylor Bears offense is truly a remarkable site to watch and Seastrunk is starting to make quite a name for himself playing in it. Baylor has outscored Wofford, Buffalo, Louisiana-Monroe & WVU by a combined 282-65 this season and 45 of those points came in one game. Seastrunk is averaging over 11 yards a carry over his first four games. The 5-10 210-pound native of Temple, TXhas rushed for 589-ards and 8 TD’s this season. He is going to be a fine NFL running back and will be a better fit than Trent Richardson was likely to be in a high-up tempo, possible pistol-read option offense. The Browns have reported interest in Texans backup Ben Tate but there is room for both, especially if the Browns run the type of offense many expect.
28. San Francisco 49ers: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Jim Harbaugh will barely be able to contain himself when he looks up and sees Seferian-Jenkins is available but he could be. Depending on the outcome of the Aldon Smith situation, the Niners may have to look to bolster their pass rush but Seferian-Jenkins is a natural receiver with excellent size and production. He is sneaky quick, not fast–but he’s smooth with good speed, He is a threat to stretch the field or he can pick up huge chunks of yards between the 20’s. In other words, with Vernon Davis, Seferian-Jenkins, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin next season, Colin Kaepernick will think he’s Tom Brady from two years ago.
29. New England Patriots: Ra’shede Hageman, DE/DT, Minnesota
It will be another interesting offseason in Foxborough. CB Aqib Talib is having a Pro-Bowl year but will make NE pay dearly to keep him as a free agent next season—see ya—Their offense needs as many pass catchers, as they can sign and draft, so what to do here is the biggest question mark. Possibly look for Belichick to trade back to the top of round 2 but if he stays here, I still think he doesn’t want to worry about his defensive line breaking down. With Vince Wilfork gone for the season and likely not to return as dominant, he will need another big body player up front—Enter Ra’shede Hageman. At 6-6, 315 pounds Hageman fits the bill for what Belichick wants in his defensive lineman and if Wilfork can come back eventually and produce as he did, the Pats will have a huge formidable duo on their D-line.
30. Seattle Seahawks: Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
The Seahawks have issues along their O-Line due in large part to injuries but they could use an upgrade at the guard position and I’ll give it to them here. According to NFL Draft Scout.com Richardson is “A dominating drive blocker who projects best at guard but spent the entire 2011 season protecting Robert Griffin III at left tackle, Richardson is massive, powerful and shockingly athletic.”
31. Denver Broncos: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Oregon
Thanks to Tony Romo’s 500 passing yards, the Broncos now own the NFL’s worst pass defense. At some point, the Broncos will start playing teams that can play both offense and defense and that’s for sure likely to occur at some point in the playoffs. If they cannot get at least a few stops they will not hoist the Lombardi, as many expect. Many have dropped Ifo down in the draft because of his size but he has a ton of speed and is responsible with it when he closes. He has above average cover skills that should lead to a starting position during the 2014 season.
32. New Orleans Saints: Kyle Van Noy, OLB BYU
Van Noy and Rob Ryan are a match made in football defensive Heaven. The drop from 14 to 32 has nothing to do with Van Noy but everything to do with the wild and crazy NFL from week to week. It’s all based on team needs and each team seems to need something different each week. Van Noy will fly around the Super Dome turf for N.O. While Ziggy Ansah garnered most of the attention at BYU, Van Noy was the more consistent defender. He recorded 22 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, six forced fumbles, two interceptions and two blocked kicks LY. Van Noy’s all-around talents were on display again vs. Utah in the Holy War in late September, as he finished with a game-high 10 tackles, including 1½ for loss.