I know you've all been waiting in angst for me to produce my final mock draft. This is it. It's set in stone with no going back. I've done two mocks here to present two different things. The first mock is what I would do if I were the GM. It reflects nothing about what I expect us to actually do, only the decisions I would make. The second mock is my best guess projection as what Pioli and co. will do come draft day.
1. Phil Taylor - NT Baylor
This isn't the pick because I'm in love with it; I just like every other option less. Also I feel our other needs are easier to address in the later rounds. We need a NT and Taylor can fill that need from jump. He was one of only a few DTs to clear 30 reps on the bench, which tends to be the standard for equating to anchor strength. Should Aldon Smith fall, he's the pick here. Ayers is tempting but i have too many reservations.
2. Jabaal Sheard - DE/OLB Pittsburgh
This is my favorite pick. He will be a monster at the next level. He is one of the few guys who has well developed technique and can play with great leverage. Has the ability to drop his shoulders and beat the tackle around the edge. Good student with an award for heroism. Reminds me a lot of Hali.
3. Greg Little - WR/RB/KR UNC
Pioli doesn't have the stomach for this pick. The kid is an asshole quite frankly. There is a disturbing clip of him blocking a DB into the ground and tearing his calf. I just can't ignore the ridiculous talent the kid has. Fast, sticky hands, leaper, deadly in space,cuts on a dime, overall ludicrous kinesthesia.Crazy size/ speed ratio. He can line up at RB as well. Imagine the matchup confusion that could be forced by having he and McCluster lined up all over the place. He will provide a huge return on some team's gamble. First round ability IMO.
4. Tim Barnes - C/G The Zoo
Just a good C. He's smart and fits what he do. Nice athleticism, range, and smarts. Nice option for a ZBS though I'd like a little more weight on him. I'd say he's better than Kris O'dowd.
5a. Greg McElroy - QB 'Bama
Underrated passer who has no business going this late. No one likes him because he's "only" 6'2 and has supposedly low arm strength. He also happens to be the most accurate passer in this class and has an off the charts football IQ/ 43 wonderlic. Might not kill you deep every play but he can make good decisions and put balls where they need to be. He can be a competent backup who could be a decent starter one day. The questions about his measurables are immaterial.
5b. Mark Herzlich - ILB/OLB Boston College
If he falls this far we hit the jackpot. Last year he was the top OLB prospect but a battle with cancer and bionic leg shot down his stock. He plays like an animal. Tenacious backer with good overall skills. Not great in any one area of his game but good in all of them. I think he would look very good inside for us. Comes up with lots of INTs. If some team has a clue they'll pick him long before this leaving me a hole here to fill. In that case the pick is Steven Friday, OLB VT.
6. Willie Smith - OT East Carolina
Giant, athletic tackle prospect. plays with good physicality and displays range to zone block. He will need technical work.Must learn to use leverage so his height isn't used against him by veteran outside defenders. Small school prospect with a very high ceiling. Future starter.
7. Torey Gurley - WR South Alabama
I just like this guy. I'm a fan of big WRs and he certainly fits that bill. Nice athlete, reasonable speed, solid hands. Would be drafted much higher with another year in school but he's coming out due to financial problems. Might be had as a UDFA but I think he's worth locking down. The next Marques Colston?
GM Scott Pioli
1. Akeem Ayers - OLB UCLA
Ayers has a good skill set for a SOLB. Good diversity of talent: capable in coverage, quick, rangey, can make plays on the ball. He can line up and DE, OLB, or ILB. A swarm type LB. Good guy, team captain. Purportedly a good pass rusher but I have doubts. He has a wiry frame like a WR to me. It shocks me he's almost 260. I question weather he can challenge linemen at the next level and get to the QB. I see him having to be moved inside down the road.
2.Edmund Gates - WR/KR Abelene Christian
Whoever it is, I really see this as the WR pick. Gates in particular brings a lot of the things to the table Pioli and Haley like. He will speed up the offense. Can hurt you underneath or over the top. Sticky handed pluck catcher. His plucking and leaping ability allow him to play bigger than his already solid size (6'0 192). Needs work on technical aspects of his game, which Haley would have fun providing. Great overall athlete but he his older at 24. I know this is a bit early for him put our pick is late in the round and I don't see him making it to our selection in the third. Furthermore Pioli has no problem targeting a guy and taking him value be damned (Jackson, Arenas, Moeaki). Hankerson or Torrey smith could be available here as both look to be slipping. Hankerson has iffy hands and separation ability. Smith has tiny hands causing him to body catch everything and play smaller than his good sized frame should allow. Gates is too small for me but KC will like him.
3.Sione Fua - NT Stanford
Again something of a reach but you are in danger of loosing him to PIT or NYJ after this pick. Once he moved to NT in college he became a monster anchor man. Didn't have the athleticism to play end, but that's fine for what we need. WE just need a cog in the middle and he can be that guy. He cleared 30 reps(31) on the bench. His weight is okay at 308 but will need to fill out some to play in the NFL.
4. DJ Williams - TE/FB/H-B/ Wisconsin
This has Pioli written all over it. Williams can line up anywhere really. Jack of all trades, master of none. good hands. Good POA blocker. a True H back with a diversity of talent that Pioli covets. Pioli also loves the TE position. Williams is also a very high character guy: good student and has community service awards.
5a. Brandon Fusco - C Slippery Rock
He is a lot like Tim Barnes but a bit bigger. Good athletic center who would do well in a ZBS.Small school prospect so his ceiling is a bit of a ?
5b. Martin Parker - DT/DE Richmond
Looks like a solid backup 3-4 DE to me. Plays better against the double team than one on one as he's better at clogging blockers than slipping them. Tough choice here between him and Brandon Bair. Bair is 26 and would need to tack on 15 pounds. His athleticism might also be a bit wasted in the 3-4. I could see David Carter here as well.
6. Courtney Smith - WR South Alabama
If you're casting a WR in a movie, this is your guy. Just a cut up monster looking WR. He does most things pretty well and is notably a good route runner. Long armed, but body catches at times. Speed is meh. gets separation with his girth and presence. Mauls corners. Dominant at the level he competed at. I like him as a double dip depth option.
7. Chris Prosinski - S Wyoming
Centerfield type player. Speed to get to the play and shut it down. high football IQ. Diagnoses what's going one. Makes plays on the ball. Good guy /team captain. Not the best against the run, average tackler. A typical Pioli pick to deepen the secondary.