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Draft Blog Picks 25-32 Round One

April 27, 2012

Team: New York Giants

Pick: 32nd (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): OT, OG, RB, CB, TE

Player: David Wilson

Jon’s Final Assessment: David Wilson potentially could be the best RB to come out of this draft. There I said it. Everyone is currently having a love fest with Trent Richardson, and with good reason as his power and ability to break tackles is elite, yet Wilson’s speed, burst, and vision are elite making me think that the difference between the two is much smaller than most believe. They’re extremely different runners so it’s like comparing apples to oranges but Wilson is faster, has a better burst, and will be better in the passing game so it wouldn’t shock me if 5 years from now Wilson not Richardson was regarded as the #1 RB from this draft. That’s high praise and you won’t find it anywhere else as I’ve been obsessed with Wilson’s potential for awhile now and think, even with Mayock and others starting to mention him as a late 1st rounder, he’s a steal that many people still don’t understand. The biggest thing they don’t understand is that he’s not a 4.49 40 guy. Most RBs would be quite happy with that time he put up at the Combine but just put on a highlight reel of his and it’s obvious that he plays like a 4.3 guy. Another thing to keep in mind is that he doesn’t run like a 206 lb back as he has very underrated strength that pops out in every game I’ve scouted of his as countless times he breaks a tackle not just with his jukes but with his raw strength. I’ve already compared one RB in this draft class to Cadillac Williams (Isaiah Pead) but Wilson has a little Caddy in him too as he’s so aggressive and runs with a recklessness that inspires a team. Unfortunately that’s why Wilson maxes out as a Top 15 player while Richardson is bordering on Top 5 status as I do worry about him being injury prone. He stayed upright all 13 games this season despite being used like a true workhorse (290 carries) yet he seems to have Ed McCaffrey disease as he takes vicious hits on a regular basis. Part of it’s because of his reckless style and part of it is because at 206 lbs he doesn’t have too terribly much to cushion a blow. David Wilson is a leader, a great practice player, has an elite burst, good vision, top end long speed to take it the distance, has been a dynamic kick returner, has great hands, and was one of the most dynamic and productive players in the country last year. He doesn’t go higher than a Top 15 grade due to his possible injury prone nature and his fumbles this year which aren’t terrible on a per carry basis (was 9th in the nation in rushing attempts so his 5 carries don’t seem as bad) but still hurts him as I’m very much against running backs that fumble. He’s a guy who will probably go in the late 1st/early 2nd but looks like a future Pro Bowl RB and a guy who could give Richardson a run for his money in terms of best RB from the 2012 Draft. Top 15 as my #2 RB 4/4/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

14

33

45

53

+18

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Well doesn’t that suck. At least the Cowboys made a great pick because so did the rest of the division as RGIII, Fletcher Cox, and David Wilson all were players I really liked and were good values where they were picked at. Most scouts had a 2nd round grade on Wilson but to me he was a mid 1st as his explosiveness and productivity last year were elite. He has average vision, is undersized, and has a bit of a fumbling problem but to me Wilson was the most explosive back in this draft and had the added bonus of having elite hands making him a dual threat as a pass catcher. I really worry that Wilson could have some huge games against the Cowboys in the upcoming years and am very disappointed that he went to the Giants. Great pick for a team that doesn’t need anymore talent at the skill positions.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Crap those are some good highlights. I wish they still had slow and injury prone Brandon Jacobs.

 

Team: TampaBay Bucs

Pick: 31st (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): WR, RB, LB, CB

Player: Doug Martin

Jon’s Final Assessment: If I had a penny for every time I heard Doug Martin called underrated I’d be a very rich man. It’s interesting how players sometimes swing from underrated to overrated in such a short time and I think the phenomenon has occurred with Martin. One of the biggest complements a scout can give a back is to say he’s a complete back and that’s exactly what Martin is as he has the frame (5’9 1/4 223), strength, and vision to be a workhorse back but also has underrated speed to break the long run, has solid hands to be a capable pass catcher, and is one of the better pass blocking backs in this draft. It’s true that he can do everything relatively well and that’s begun to grow on scouts as he’s been a good producer the past two years for Boise St., had a very good Senior Bowl, and finished it with a solid Combine where he showed okay speed (4.55 40) for a back his size but more impressively showed top notch explosion (’36 vertical, 10’00 broad) that I wasn’t expecting. Yet lately I’ve heard Martin get talk as a possible late 1st rounder and that’s when you know scouts have jumped the shark with him as Martin is not a 1st round back. What people fail to mention when they say he can do everything well is that Martin does nothing great. He broke some long runs in college but probably lacks the speed to do it in the NFL, most likely settling for 30 and 40 yarders instead of the 102 yd KR he had vs. Georgia or the 84 yd TD run he had vs. Utah. Also this lack of top end speed makes it unlikely he’ll be anything more than a serviceable pass threat out of the backfield as he rarely got separation vs. the top LBs at the Senior Bowl and doesn’t have the frame built for speed. Add in that he’s strong and can move the pile but doesn’t have elite strength or YAC ability like Trent Richardson and that his yards per carry average dropped noticeably (6.3 vs. 4.9) after Kellen Moore’s two top receivers left (Titus Young and Austin Pettis) as the defense could focus more on him and you get a player that looks to be a good, capable starter in the NFL but hardly a Pro Bowl back. Martin is a guy who can do everything well yet nothing great and should be a good, dependable starter in the NFL for a long time. That being said I don’t see Pro Bowl potential in him and think his ceiling is a bit limited so he settles in as an early 3rd rounder as my #8 RB who was underrated the past two years but is eerily close to now being overrated by many scouts 4/5/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

66

17

31

50

-35

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: I wasn’t nearly as big a fan of this kid as other scouts were as they focused so much on his versatility and I focused on the fact that he’s good at everything but not great at anything. 1st round running backs are rare and when you take one that high he needs to be special. Martin isn’t and I still contend that he’s a mid to late 2nd round pick who will be a quality starter but nothing special. He isn’t fast, his yards per carry went down dramatically as a senior, he can catch the ball but his lack of speed makes him an average receiver out of the backfield at best, and he played in a poor conference behind one of the best passing attacks in the country (aka never saw an 8 man front). I still don’t see what the buzz is about with Martin.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Another Boise St. kid. Has an Oklahoma or Texas kid gone yet?

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Pick: 30th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): RG, WR, DT

Player: AJ Jenkins

Jon’s Final Assessment: AJ is a guy whose sleeper status really confuses me as he was one of the most prolific WRs in the country last year, played in one of the 4 major conferences, has solid size, was very good at the All-Star games, and had a great Combine performance yet still is regarded as just a mid round pick at best. From the moment I saw him I was impressed as he has a great burst and quickness in his routes and separates from coverage easily. That’s the most important factor in grading WRs in my opinion so my interest in him is obvious yet it’s hard to see why I’m alone on this kid just b/c he isn’t 6’4 220. His negatives are that he occasionally drops the easy pass, isn’t the biggest or tallest guy, and isn’t an elite YAC guy like a TY Hilton or Joe Adams. He’s more of a poor man’s Marvin Harrison as he’s fast, quick, and runs good routes yet usually gets few yards after the catch. That’s fine and I’m quite comfortable giving him a 3rd round grade despite having no PR ability, major YAC skills, or the size to ever be a true #1 WR. He has enough size to stay outside as a #2 WR and the speed to be a deep threat for a team while still being quick enough to run short and intermediate routes. A future dependable #2 WR for a team. 3rd round as my #11 WR 3/18/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

85

57

NR

71

-55

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Jenkins was one of the few guys who I wished I could go back and change my ranking on after other people’s came out as I really liked the kid but put him in the 3rd round for no real good reason and it was largely b/c I wrote up his bio in early March long before the process was completed. In highsight he’s probably more of a mid to late 2nd rounder but even with that grade he’s a huge reach here as he just doesn’t have the size or pedigree to warrant a 1st round pick. I would have rolled the dice on Stephen Hill instead who is bigger, taller, and faster yet is a bit more raw. Hill has the chance to be a future #1 WR where as Jenkins looks more like a career #2 WR. I like the player but it’s a pretty huge reach at #30.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: This draft is officially boring. Beer me quick I’m fading!

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Pick: 29th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): LT,DE, WR, CB

Player: Harrison Smith

Jon’s Final Assessment: Harrison Smith is the classic example of a solid player that every team in the NFL tries to convince themselves is a future star simply because there is such a lack of talent at the position in that specific draft. I do agree there is a pretty big dropoff from Smith to the #3 S in this draft class but history shows that the only teams that push a player up their board due to a scarcity at the position are teams that consistently underachieve. I like Smith as he’s tall, strong, has long arms, okay ball skills (more on that later) and is an underrated athlete. He’s underrated because he’s white and a white player in an NFL secondary is rarely seen but in 5 of the 6 drills (vertical was exception) he was in the top half among the 58 DBs at the Combine. Yet while I like him as a future solid starter at SS I highly doubt he has any Pro Bowl potential and am shocked that conversation now is about whether or not he sneaks into the late 1st round. In 3 of Harrison’s 4 seasons he had 0 interceptions. In numerous games of his I scouted he seemed to lack the pure speed to get over from his CF spot to help out his overmatched CBs. At the combine he officially ran a 4.57 40. These are not attributes of a playmaking 1st round safety at all! At the combine Mike Mayock said that his 40 time was pretty good. It wasn’t and only looks good in this safety class but let’s compare him to the 1st round safeties of the past 5 drafts for a second to see how he matches up. There have been 8 safeties taken in the first round the past 5 years (Berry, Thomas, Delma, Phillips, Landry, Griffen, Nelson, Merriweather). 1 of those safeties ran in the 4.3s (Landry), 6 of those safeties ran in the 4.4s, and 1 of those safeties (Delma) ran in the 4.5s. Before any Harrison supporters get their hopes up, Louis Delma’s 40 time was 4.51. So the slowest 40 time of any safety taken in the 1st round the past 5 years is dramatically faster than Harrison’s time yet we are supposed to buy that his 40 was a good time? I don’t as I think he’s a solid athlete but that’s it, solid. What’s worse though is that he would have needed to put up jaw dropping Combine numbers to warrant any 1st round consideration in my opinion because he’s a SS who might not have the versatility to play FS in a league that is slowly killing away the SS position. Also the fact that he went pickles 3 of his 4 years makes any reference to Smith as a ballhawk absolutely absurd. Take away one game, 2010 bowl game vs. Miami where he had 3 picks, and he averaged 1 pick a year for his career. I like Smith as he’s a tough, hard hitting SS with good range who has solid hands and solid athleticism. He will be a solid starting SS in the NFL. Yet nothing I just wrote the past two sentences would make me even consider spending a 1st rounder on the kid. Stars are drafted in the 1st round and solid starters are drafted in the 3rd round. Early 3rd round as my #2 S 3/10/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

74

28

46

43

-45

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Mayock might like this pick but pretty much every other scout I read had him in the 2nd round or later. I was in the later camp as him not having an INT 3 out of his 4 seasons yet still being called a playmaker was one of the sillier hypocrisies of this draft season. He’ll be an average strong safety who will struggle in coverage at times but be good against the run. I think this is one of the 5 worst picks in the 1st round.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Name me another white safety? Name him. Once you do that then I’ll say that wasn’t a terrible pick!

Team: Green Bay Packers

Pick: 28th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): 3-4 OLB, DT, S, LT, C, RB

Player: Nick Perry

Jon’s Final Assessment: Perry is a player that could be drafted in the top 10-15 yet probably should be taken more in the late 1st as team’s will be expecting an elite rusher yet will be getting more like an above average starter. The best thing Perry actually does is set the edge and stop the run as he has an incredibly thick lower body to go along with great upper body strength (35 reps) that make him one of the best run stuffing DEs in this draft. There’s talk that he could transition to a 3-4 OLB yet I have serious reservations about that as he lacks a burst on film and doesn’t really play to his 40 time (4.67). His entire Combine workout in fact was spectacular with a 4.67 40, 35 reps, and elite explosion (’38.5 vert and 10’4 broad-both 1st among the 26 DEs). These numbers scream Top 10 pick and it wouldn’t shock me if he went as high as #9 to the Panthers yet on his game film he lacks the elite burst, bend, or overall athleticism teams want in a right DE. I think a team that evaluates him and expects a 12-15 sack a year guy will be disappointed yet a team that expects 6-10 sacks a year at left DE while setting the edge and playing great run defense will be very happy with him. It’s all expectations with Perry as he’s just too tight hipped and not quite quick or fast enough to be a top level rusher. He still has tremendous value as defensive ends who can stop the run and be capable rushers while doing it are hard to find. Yet he’ll be a team’s #2 rusher and therefore is unworthy of too high a selection. Top 25 as my #3 pass rusher who is scheme specific as only a 4-3 DE 4/1/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

25

49

28

21

+3

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: I like Nick, I like Nick at #28, and yet I hate this pick as he was a guy who didn’t look to me to be a good fit to move to 3-4 OLB. In fact of all the early round guys I thought he and Chandler Jones were the two worst fits for the conversion so it will be interesting to see what he does. He reminds me a lot of Will Smith for the New Orleans Saints as he’s a thick guy who is great against the run and has the explosion and strength to get 8-10 sacks a year but isn’t ever going to have those monster 15-20 sack seasons. A good all around player but I question the fit.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Is he married to Mariah Carey?

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: 27th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): CB, WR, RB, S

Player: Kevin Zeitler

Jon’s Final Assessment: It’s funny how easily scouts equate one person with another. Last year the Wisconsin OL had a stud LT (1st round) a stud LG (3rd round) and a backup OG (7th round) drafted. Everyone also loved C Peter Konz and thought he was a future star. Notice how no one mentioned Kevin Zeitler? It’s not hard to shine on a team with that much talent yet he somehow didn’t as he was only honorable mention Big Ten and never seemed special to me when I scouted the team. One year later his play hasn’t improved very much yet he’s now 1st team Big Ten and considered by many to be the 2nd best OG in this year’s draft? I don’t buy it. Zeitler is a classic technician who lacks the elite quickness, long arms, or strength to be anything more than an average starter in the NFL after a few years on the bench at the start of his career. There’s a place for guys like him in the NFL but mark my words: Someone will draft Zeitler in the 2nd or 3rd round this year and be sadly mistaken. They will draft him in the same area that John Moffitt was taken last year in despite the fact that when they were on the same team Moffitt was universally regarded as the superior player. Anything earlier than a 4th round selection is a wasted pick but I expect it to happen. Zeitler is one of the most overrated players in this draft and a late 5th rounder to me as my #10 OG 2/27/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

188

31

37

30

-161

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: To me Zeitler was an average guard who played next to an elite center and when that center (Peter Konz) was taken away from him and he played alone (at the Senior Bowl) he looked like the average guard I had him as the entire time. Obviously this and Dontari Poe are the two biggest discrepancy picks as I have him ranked 188th on my board and the other 3 scouts I listed have him ranked from 30th-37th. We shall see who is right long term but I graded this kid extensively for 2 years and there never was a time where he looked like a 1st rounder to me. Huge reach.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Another year and another offensive lineman from Wisconsin taken in the 1st round.

Team: Houston Texans

Pick: 26th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): RT, RG, WR, 3-4 NT, CB

Player: Whitney Mercilus

Jon’s Final Assessment: Whitney is a player that finally is starting to move up draft boards but still is considered a late 1st rounder by most. That’s actually a pretty big improvement from the end of the regular season as I couldn’t find anyone who had a 1st round grade on him at that point despite elite production in 2011 (16 sacks, 22.5 TFL, 9 FF), a good frame (6’3 5/8 261) that shows the room to add weight, a non-stop motor, and great character. The Combine was only above average for him (very good speed with a 40 at 4.68 and strength with 27 reps but below average explosion with a 32.5 vert and poor quickness with 4.53 shuttle) but it seems to have put to rest any ideas that he’s a poor athlete and his stock is now rising. I personally think he’s a good not great rusher but in this draft that puts him right near the top as it’s a draft without a truly elite rusher but a lot of solid ones. What seems to set him apart are his long arms, strength, and rush technique as he regularly battled OL and was able to free himself after an initial battle. He isn’t the elite athlete who will turn the corner against LTs in the NFL but has enough speed to threaten their edge so his strength, inside moves, and non-stop motor can stay effective. Also his ability to separate the ball from the ball carrier is elite as he has 11 FF in only 2 years and I expect this trait to follow him to the NFL as he arrives with power at the end of his rushes. Whitney has the frame, long arms (33.88), strength (27 reps), motor, productivity, and rush technique to stake a claim as the top rusher in this draft but in the end barely misses out to Ingram due to Melvin’s elite versatility. He isn’t a great athlete but has been unfairly downgraded due to this and I expect him to be a good rusher in the NFL, just not a Pro Bowl caliber one. Top 15 as my #2 pass rusher 4/12/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

16

22

24

28

+10

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: This is maybe the most underrated pick in the 1st round as most guys will say it’s about where he should have gone but I had him 10 picks higher on my board and thought I might have been underrating him a bit towards the end of the process. He isn’t the greatest athlete but he has a non-stop motor, good arm length, elite production, and has a knack for separating the ball from the ball carrier. It’s a skill that some guys just have (D-Ware unfortunately doesn’t) and Mercilus has that. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up being the best pass rusher to come out of this draft and he just happens to be going to a Wade Phillips defense. Nice fit and a great pick.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: His last name is Mercilus? How cool is that!

Team: New England Patriots

Pick: 25th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): 3-4 OLB, S, CB, DT, WR

Player: Dont’e Hightower

Jon’s Final Assessment: Dont’a is one of the most overrated players in this draft at ILB as he has average instincts, below average speed, poor lateral quickness, never had a 100 tackle season, is a huge liability in coverage, and really was helped by playing in a scheme perfectly suited for him and with teammates that covered up his weaknesses. Yet to me Dont’a isn’t and never was a legit ILB as 3 years ago Saban was calling him the team’s best pass rusher and throughout his career Dont’a was the team’s pass rush specialist. If moved to pass rusher suddenly everything changes as his speed goes from below average to above average, instincts don’t matter as a pass rusher, coverage skills rarely matter, and his 6’2 ¼ 265 frame that screamed overrated 2 down LB suddenly looks like a solid frame for a pass rusher. Everything suddenly clicks into place with the switch which is why he isn’t an ILB but a pass rusher on my board. The only issues I have with him at his new role are his strength and his limited experience and production in that capacity. Clay Matthews also had limited experience rushing the passer but exploded as a rusher once in the NFL so there is precedence but with only 5 career sacks a team would definitely be taking a risk if they selected him solely as a pass rusher. Yet his strength is what really bothers me as I noticed on film that he wasn’t the strongest guy, especially for a guy his size, and this idea that he sheds OL at will in the phone booth is pure myth. I was really curious to see what he would bench but surprisingly he skipped the drill both at the Combine and his Pro Day which verifies to me that it’s an issue. If he has average strength as a LB it means he’s extremely weak as a DE if he’s position switched and there could be issues with him holding up against the run and setting the edge. Right now Dont’a is a guaranteed 1st rounder who is getting discussion by some teams as a better ILB than Luke Kuechly. That’s absurd to me as I can guarantee you that Dont’a will be eaten alive by passing teams if not covered up schematically and 1st rounders are supposed to cover teammates weaknesses not have to be helped themselves. As an ILB he battles Dontari Poe for the most overrated player in this draft as I have him as a 3rd-4th rounder but as a pass rusher I have him as a late 2nd rounder as my #9 pass rusher as I like his frame, burst, and quickness. There wasn’t a ton of tape on him as a pass rusher but there was enough for me to think he could be good in the role 4/16/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

62

15

32

32

-37

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: I’ve never been a huge fan of Hightower’s but he goes to the perfect scheme as Belichick runs a lot of Nick Saban’s zone stuff that could protect him in coverage. I’m a Patriots fan but am not nearly as ecstatic of this draft with Hightower and Jones as others are as both have major holes in their game that have to be covered up. Hightower to me was a 2nd rounder who benefitted from the craze scouts have right now with everyAlabama player.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Those are some big hits in his highlights.

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