This is my first post and first posted attempt at a mock draft ever so go easy on me! I like a trade down,but since trades are so unpredictable I went with a little more general approach. If you stick around past my explanation of my picks I did gather some scouting reports and videos on my picks for you all to enjoy. So let's just get to the good stuff!
Rounds 1 & 2
1. Dont'a Hightower
2. Devon Still
We trade back, probably to the 20-23 range in the first, and grab Hightower. It could take two trades, but the goal is to add a couple picks in the 2nd-4th round range. There are a few potential scenarios in which we could do this, but I don't want to focus on that at the moment. Still might have to slide a bit to get to us, or we might have to trade back into the first-round to get him.
Rounds 3 & 4 Brandonmania!!!
Brandon Taylor S LSU
Brandon Washington OG/OT MIA
Brandon Brooks OG/OT Miami of Ohio
*Marvin McNutt WR Iowa
This is where we put our extra picks to use, and find a way to make these three Brandons Chiefs. They are all projected to go mostly in the 3rd or 4th rounds. There is always a chance they could go higher, but I'm hoping Pioli finds a way to use our extra picks to grab all three.
Depending on the picks we can obtain through the previous trades and his availability Marvin McNutt would be another great pick-up in the 2nd to 4th round range. *I love McNutt(did I just say that?) but see him as a bit of a luxury pick compared to the impact a safety and offensive line would provide.
Rounds 5 thru 7
Cyrus Gray RB Texas A&M
Nose Tackle, last year Powe a projected 3rd or 4th round pick fell to us in the 6th. NT has a tendency to fall in the draft and I believe we can find another quality prospect who falls into the late rounds. If not we still have options in free agency with Kelly Gregg and Aubrayo Franklin.
The last couple picks I'll just leave up in the air because if we can snag all of these guys I wouldn't care where they go.
There is no DeCastro, Kuechly, or Poe so I'm sure many people will not approve but I attempted to focus on the impact players could bring to the team as a whole. DeCastro specifically would have a big impact no doubt. I just think the team could take a bigger step as a whole with the right combination of other players in a trade down.
With Peyton now leading the Donks, our defense will need to be prepared. Our secondary is very solid, but putting more pressure on the QB will always make them look better and give opposing QBs fits. So with this draft I wanted to focus on our needs while adding some players who can bring pressure. Hightower is a very solid pass rusher and can do so from the inside which is an area we are lacking. Still can really get after the QB too and would look great lined up with Hali, Bailey, and Houston in sub packages. Still also beefs up the line should we lose Dorsey and/or Jackson in the future. D-line takes time to develop, and I'd be happy with Still and Bailey developing to take over in the future. Brandon Taylor provides depth at safety and can replace McGraw as the 3rd safety in sub packages. He is a very physical hard hitting player and has the potential to be a strong blitzer from the secondary as well.
Despite the DeCastro snub, I definitely wanted to address the offensive line. By doubling up on guards who also played tackle we would hopefully get our upgrade at LG, depth, and possibly a swing tackle. To be honest offensive line isn't my strong suit when it comes to evaluating players and there could be much better fits available in this range but they are both versatile physically gifted players with high upsides.
Marvin McNutt has great physical tools and has shown that he can produce on the field. He would be a great option as our 4th WR and a solid back-up plan should Bowe not return after this season.
Cyrus Gray is a player who might not be an every down back, but brings an awful lot to the table as part of a RB by committee approach like we use. He is a play maker and a solid receiver out of the back field. Hillis is on a one year deal, and we still have lost more backs to free agency/retirement than we've gained.
Below are the previously mentioned scouting reports and video highlights from my picks. None of this is my own work other than copying and pasting from walterfootball.com or nfldraftscout.com.
Dont'a Hightower – Alabama 20-23rd pick
Height: 6'2'' Weight: 265 40 time: 4.62
4/14/12: Hightower showed off excellent speed at the Combine for such a big, heavy linebacker. He has the size of a defensive end with the speed of a starting linebacker. Hightower performed well in the field drills too. He stood out at the Crimson Tide's pro day also. The two performances have validated his stock as a first-round pick.
Hightower had a good season for Alabama. He was a tough, in-the-box defender and increased his splash plays. Hightower has shown the ability to be a dangerous blitzer as well. He looks much faster than he did in 2010 when he was in his first season back from knee surgery. Hightower had 85 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss, four sacks, one interception and three passes batted away this season. He had a dominant game against Tennessee and played well versus LSU. Against Georgia Southern, Hightower blocked a field goal and it looked like he was spiking a volleyball.
Hightower is a real presence in the tackle box, and would fit well on the inside of a 3-4 defense. On passing downs, he could rush the passer from outside linebacker, or blitz from the interior. Hightower may not have the speed and movement skills to be a three-down linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
Great write-up by 89Otis(Which put me over the top on Hightower as our guy)
Great highlight video
Devon Still – Penn State Late 1st/Early 2nd
Height: 6-5. Weight: 303 40 Time: 5.00 Bench: 26 Vertical: 29.5.
Projected Round (2012): 1-2
4/14/12: Still had an underrated Combine, with nice speed in the 40-yard dash. His stock has gone down some only because of other prospects excelling and moving up draft boards. Still had a superb senior season. He was a playmaker and the leader of the Penn State defense.
Still has good size, surprising speed and real power. He played Alabama tough early this season. Still had 55 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, a pass batted away and a forced fumble this season. His last few games, especially against Ohio State and Wisconsin, were his worst showings of the year.
Entering the NFL, Still has an good combination of power, speed and athleticism. He beats offensive linemen with strength as well as quickness. Still has the versatility to play the three-technique or nose tackle in a 4-3 defense. He also could be a 3-4 defensive end.
8/21/11: Devon Still had a strong 2010 season with 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks. He saw frequent double teams, and still was a difference maker for Penn State. As a sophomore, Still had 5.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. He has scheme flexibility and could fit a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense.
S – Brandon Taylor – LSU 3rd or 4th
Height: 5-11. Weight: 209 40 Time: 4.50 Vertical: 33.5. Broad: 9-10
Projected Round (2012): 3-4
3/29/12: Taylor played well in 2011, but he remains very underrated. Even with a lot of playmakers around him, Taylor still produced. He had 71 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up, one sack and two interceptions in 2011. Taylor had strong games against West Virginia, Florida and Alabama. Fast and physical, he was the third-leading tackler for LSU in 2011
Taylor strikes players with some violence. He is fast and doesn't shy away from getting physical. At the Senior Bowl, his physicality stood out along with quality instincts and anticipation. Taylor's Combine 40-yard dash time was very impressive as well. Others rate him lower, but he is a sleeper prospect who could surprise in the NFL
OG/OT Brandon Washington – MIA 3rd or 4th round
Height: 6-3. Weight: 32040 Time: 5.25 10-Yd Split: 1.77 Bench: 28
Projected Round (2012): 3-4
4/6/12: Washington did not perform well at the Combine, but did not have a disastrous performance either. He would have been better off returning to school and improving before entering the NFL.
After being a 2010 All-ACC pick at guard, Miami moved Washington to left tackle after Seantrel Henderson was injured. Washington had a mixed season at left tackle. He did a quality job of run blocking for Hurricanes running back Lamar Miller. Washington has a nice combination of power and mobility, but he belongs on the inside.
Head coach Al Golden was openly critical of Washington after he struggled against North Carolina and defensive end Quinton Coples. Washington took offense at his coach's criticism, but remained the starter at left tackle. He has some talent, and his situation at Miami led him to entering the draft. In the NFL, Washington definitely has to move back inside.
8/17/10: Brandon Washington has the size and athleticism to be a starting guard in the NFL. He is a pretty good pass blocker and packs a nice punch as a run blocker. Washington plays with a mean streak and was twice named the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week in his first year as a starter. He was an All-ACC first-team guard last season.
OG/OT Brandon Brooks – Miami of Ohio 2nd to 4th round
Height: 6-5. Weight: 346 40 Time: 4.98. 10-Yd Split: 1.71 Bench: 36
Projected Round (2012): 3-4
4/6/12: Brooks surprisingly did not receive an invitation to the Combine. He was one of the standouts of the East-West Shrine with a phenomenal week of practice. The powerful Brooks pushed defensive linemen around while showing real athleticism. He performed extremely well at his pro day and put up some impressive numbers.
04/12/12- Miami (Ohio) offensive guard Brandon Brooks was one of the biggest snubs as far as not being invited to the NFL scouting combine. NFL teams have been eager to meet with the imposing blocker, and the 6-foot-5, 346-pounder will take a total of 23 visits. Among his visits: the Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts. Brooks' stock is rising fast in NFL draft circles, so much that some draft analysts have him going as high as the second or third round. Brooks bench pressed 225 pounds 36 times, posted a 32-inch vertical leap and ran the 40-yard dash twice in 4.99 seconds. He also had an 8-9 broad jump, a 4.54 20-yard shuttle and a 7.37 in the three-cone drill. His 10-yard split was 1.71 seconds. Brooks was all-conference for three consecutive seasons. He has played both left tackle and left guard, but is expected to play guard in the NFL and played right guard as a senior. A four-year starter, Brooks went from a 290-pound freshman to a solid 346-pounder as a senior. Brooks is regarded as a strong run blocker who needs to cut down on penalties as a pass blocker.
Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
Height: 6-3. Weight: 216 40 Time: 4.54 Vertical: 37 Projected Round (2012): 2-4.
4/4/12: McNutt ran faster than expected at the Combine, and was solid in the field drills. He also performed well at the Senior Bowl and showcased a well-developed skill set. McNutt has been told that he could go in the Rounds 2-4 range.
McNutt is an underrated prospect and could be a steal. He made 82 catches for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns this year. McNutt produced big plays in all levels of the defense and beat secondaries with a combination of size and quickness. The only teams that truly limited him were Nebraska and Oklahoma. McNutt couldn't get separation from Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. If McNutt had gotten the better of Dennard, then he could have been a first-round pick.
McNutt could have even more production if he played in a better passing offense. McNutt has deceptive quickness, good hands and runs good routes. He is capable of making big plays downfield with his speed and his size.
8/19/11: Marvin McNutt was the primary weapon for Ricky Stanzi, and McNutt recorded 53 catches for 861 yards and eight touchdowns last season. As a sophomore, he had 34 receptions for 674 yards and eight scores. McNutt will have a new signal caller in 2011, so that will be interesting to see how he performs. McNutt has good size and deceptive quickness. If he went to a passing-led school, he could have much better numbers.
Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M
Height: 5-10. Weight: 206 40 Time: 4.47. 10-Yd Split: 1.57.
Bench: 21. Vertical: 32.5. Broad: 9-6. Projected Round (2012): 4-6.
4/4/12: Gray had a nice Combine performance. He ran fast and looked natural in the field drills as a receiver. The biggest issue for Gray is the medical checkup and durability concerns. For the majority of his senior season, he split carries with teammate Christine Michael.
After Michael went down with an injury, Gray became the lead back until he missed the final two games with a shoulder injury. He ran for 1,045 yards (5.3 average) and 12 touchdowns in 2011. Gray also caught 31 passes for 239 yards and three scores. He has a nice skill set but may not have the size or durability to be a lead back in the NFL. Gray could be an interesting back as part of a running back-by-committee approach.