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Draft Blog Picks 9-16 Round One

April 27, 2012

Team: New York Jets

Pick: 16th (1st round)

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

Player: Quinton Coples

Jon’s Final Assessment: Coples is going to be one of the more fiercely debated players in this draft as he has so many issues to work through that some might give him a top 5 grade and others wouldn’t touch him until the 2nd round. The first issue a team has to work through is an issue I’ve yet to hear even mentioned this offseason and that’s what position to play him at. He cut weight this offseason and came into the Combine at 284 lbs so that he could state his case that he’s a DE. Yet I’ve said for 2 years now that his best position is as a one gap DT as he lacks the bend or initial burst needed to be a quality right defensive end and doesn’t seem motivated enough to play left defensive end where a player has to battle through both a tight end and right tackle on the majority of plays. As a one gap DT he would use his superior quickness and length to exploit mismatches with interior linemen while having the frame (6’5 3/4 284-easily could bulk up to 300) and strength (25 reps) to handle the run responsibilities. Whether it was last year when he played at DT more than at DE or the Duke game this year when he slid over there for some reason in that game, his best production came as a DT not a DE. It appears that he wants to play right DE and has spent this offseason trying to prove it (he never moved to DT in one on one drills at the Senior Bowl even though many players did to highlight their versatility) yet his best position is at DT. The next thing a team has to go through is his “lack” of production as a senior which to me is a non issue. In 2010 he had 59 tackles, 10 sacks, 15.5 TFL, and 2 FF yet in 2011 he “embarrassed himself” with 55 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 15 TFL, and 3 FF? I’ve read so many articles about how poor of a season Coples had but in reality his numbers were nearly identical to the year before. Some might argue that similar numbers is a letdown as a senior is supposed to have dramatically superior numbers to previous years but Coples 2010 numbers were elite so to basically match them is fine by me and this continues to be more myth than truth. Yet while a team shouldn’t think twice about his 2011 production they should have a long discussion about his 2011 effort as he was far from a leader on defense like his coaching staff would have wanted and expected from their highly rated senior but instead was often the first player to be found sulking on the sidelines. Both in the Georgia Tech game and the Clemson game he basically checked out of the game as he wasn’t into it emotionally and had to have teammates come by to cheer him up. This to me is the big issue with Coples as I would never draft a player in the top 5 whose effort was ever questioned and I would have trouble even spending a top 10 pick on one, no matter how talented they are. I watched about half of North Carolina’s games and the vibe I got was that the coaches weren’t putting the players in the best position to succeed and the players were often dogging it. Whether it was an open rebellion, a small circle of players quietly rebelling, or just a subconscious situation that they weren’t aware of it was obvious that Coples didn’t try his hardest and was a cancer at times to that team. Every team will have a slightly different take on Coples as there is a lot to work through but my take is that he was in a pretty bad situation the past two years, showed that he never will be a leader, showed that he lacks toughness, but also showed how talented he is as he put up great numbers this year despite not always trying. Coples is one of the 5 most talented players in this draft and while I do worry about his lack of leadership, toughness, or positive attitude I think that he could be coached up to be a Pro Bowl DT. He drops below Fletcher Cox who has a similar level of talent without the issues but I just can’t drip him any further than a Top 20 grade as my #2 DT since his talent is just so immense 4/3/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

20

21

12

8

-4

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: The Jets sure do love those head case types don’t they? I hate this pick due to his attitude issues and the fact he fits MUCH better in a 4-3 scheme than a 3-4. He’s a gamble anyway and just became a bigger one due to the locker room he’s joining and the scheme he’ll be playing. Ingram would have been a much better fit.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Did that guy brand himself like a freakin cow? Wow that’s disgusting!

Team: Seattle Seahawks

Pick: 15th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): WR,DE, OG

Player: Bruce Irvin

Jon’s Final Assessment: Bruce is an interesting prospect as he has a lot of things to work through for a club and therefore grades will probably dramatically differ between teams. The first thing a team has to work through is his character as he’s a JUCO kid who ran with a drug dealing crowd in High School, dropped out, was homeless for a short time, and landed him in jail for 3 weeks. He used that as motivation and hasn’t had any incidents the past 4 years, getting his GED and making it to JUCO school, so some will argue it’s in his past but I’ve always felt you can tell a ghetto player just by seeing him and he’s definitely a ghetto player. There are guys with attitudes, guys with motivation issues, guys with immaturity issues, and then just bad dudes. Bruce is in that last category in my opinion, just look at his mugshot, and I think there will be some sort of trouble down the road with him once he becomes a millionaire and is living the good life. The second thing a team has to work through is where to play him and this is where his grade could really fluctuate between teams as I could see a team that runs a 3-4 see him as a legit 3 down OLB and give him a 2nd round grade. Yet I could see another 3-4 team see his tight hips and inexperience in coverage and decide he’s just a pass rush specialist which would drop him to the 4th round area. 4-3 teams for sure will decide that as I’m unsure if he can be a full time 3-4 OLB but am positive he can’t be a full time 4-3 DE at only 245 lbs. Finally a team will have to work through his elite production (22 sacks, 28.5 TFL) and determine if it is legitimate or if it’s more a case of exploiting overmatched OTs that aren’t of the level of talent he will be facing in the pros. I personally think this is the case as his 22 sacks are clumped into 18 games as he had 7 games of 2 or 3 sacks. Too often I watched as he dominated a no-name RT in his Big East schedule yet was made invisible against the more talented OTs. The reason is that he’s a one trick pony as he uses his speed rush almost every down, lines up often in a wide nine position, and seems to have no real counter moves to speak of. Some will say that he can be taught them but for an undersized rusher he’s surprisingly tight in his hips and ankles which limits his ability to bend around an OT’s reach often causing him to shoot well past the QB upfield as he can’t turn the angle tight enough. It also makes me seriously question him as a 3-4 OLB and reduces his chances of ever developing counter moves which are often based on quickness and flexibility. I do think that a team would be well served to have him as a rusher off the bench as in certain matchups when facing a team with a slower, less talented OT he can be devastatingly effective. Yet that’s essentially what I think he is, a matchup rusher who will be invisible most games but could have a huge impact a few games a year when facing a Marc Columbo circa 2010 type player. I’m not interested in drafting a player too high whose effectiveness is based more on the opponents talent than his own but I do see his value. I grade him as a 3rd rounder in talent who drops to the 4th round due to character red flags but fully understand how a team who thinks he can be a full time 3-4 OLB would grade him out as a 2nd rounder. 4th round as my #15 pass rusher 3/27/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

122

41

48

58

-107

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Wow what a shocker. I heard the rumors but wow this still shocks me as he only played part time in COLLEGE! You don’t take a part time player in college in the 1st round! DUMB DUMB DUMB!

Drunk Cowboys Fan: That looks like a bad kid. Future mugshots coming for this guy.

Team: St. Louis Rams

Pick: 14th (1st round)

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

Player: Michael Brockers

Jon’s Final Assessment: Brockers is one of the two fast rising DTs that went from relatively unknown to potential Top 10 pick. I personally don’t understand why Brockers even came out as I watched 8 of their games this year and almost never noticed him. He’s a guy that has elite talent but is so raw I would be very uncomfortable even taking him in the late 1st, let alone the Top 10. Yet I wouldn’t be shocked if someone did as he’s a guy that seems to keep getting bigger (weighed 306 this season but came to the Combine at 322) while keeping his amazing athleticism for a guy his size. The first thing I noticed about him when watching film was his long arms as he has absolute vines growing out of his shoulders and there are times when he can hold an interior lineman at bay 3 ft from him and be in complete control of his opponent. Moments like that intrigue me to no end but when he isn’t doing that he often is completely invisible. He and Tannehill will be the two biggest roll of the dice players in this draft as they both flash Pro Bowl skills but even more often looked bad. For a potential Top 10 pick Brockers was pancaked more than any player I’ve ever graded. He also shows a lack of instincts as he often was found rushing the wrong way with an end around or counter run confusing him.I see the elite talent as he’s quick, long armed, strong, and still appears to be growing yet he only has 2 career sacks and 11 TFL! I don’t even have to research it to know that he would be one of the least productive Top 10 tackles in history and I just question why a team wants to draft a project that high in the draft. His saving grace though is that he does have a strong motor and his long arms make him at minimum a run plugging DT who will bat a lot of balls down at the line of scrimmage yet I see him as a huge gamble. One of the riskiest picks in this draft as he’s a huge boom/bust type with All Pro talent but an incredibly limited track record. I don’t take projects this raw in the 1st round so unlike most scouts who have a Top 10 or 15 grade on him I have him as an early 2nd rounder as my #5 DT 3/29/12. Update: I moved him up to a Top 25 grade as my #3 DT as I studied more tape and am more comfortable with him, though he still is a project. It’s a gamble but he has All Pro ability and unlike Poe I think Brockers will achieve or get close to achieving his full potential 4/16/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

27

29

11

15

-13

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: A little surprised but they are building a pretty nice DL inSt. Louis with Brockers joining Robert Quinn (ranked #1 Overall last year on my board) and the very underrated Chris Long. A tad high for a guy who is likely just a run stuffer and would have been best suited in a 3-4 scheme.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: WHO? Going for another beer.

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Pick: 13th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): LT, 3-4 OLB, RT, OG

Player: Michael Floyd

Jon’s Final Assessment: Some might be surprised or even shocked that I ended up ranking Michael Floyd over Justin Blackmon as my #1 WR but I want to make it abundantly clear that this didn’t happen overnight. Going into the season Floyd was the #7 overall player in the country and the #2 WR barely behind Justin. Most scouts didn’t have them this close going into the season so compared to most scouts there was very little ground for Floyd to have to make up to surpass Justin on my boad. This showed again at the end of the season when I ranked Floyd as the #11 player in the country and the #2 WR, again only slightly behind Blackmon at #8 overall. They’ve been neck and neck for over a year now as they both are highly talented WRs yet each with their own red flags and deficiencies that make them inferior to last year’s top WR AJ Green. Floyd is the superior physical specimen as he’s taller (6’2 5/8 vs. 6’1 1/8), bigger (220 vs. 207), and faster (4.47 at the Combine vs. 4.46 at Blackmon’s pro day which is equivalent to a 4.56 run at the Combine as pro day tracks are notoriously faster). Yet Blackmon is the better route runner, more productive WR (albeit in a WR friendly spread offense), and hasn’t been in trouble with the law like Floyd has. They both have enormous talent as bigger WRs with a burst yet Blackmon appears to have been misrepresented a bit as he at times was listed at 6’3 220 yet is actually 6’1 207, a rather dramatic difference. Also I feel that Blackmon is getting the top spot largely because he almost numbers whips scouts into believing in him as a top prospect. It’s hard not to fall in that trap as he had 9 +94 yd receiving games in his 13 games this season and in 11 of his 13 games he had at least one receiving TD. What’s even more amazing is that’s actually his down year as 2010 was even better! Yet Floyd put up very good numbers in his own right despite having a vastly inferior QB throwing to him and in a pro style offense. When I watch Floyd I see him consistently get off jam coverage, regularly win jump balls against top CBs, and do all sorts of little things like run block down the field and not complain when the offense goes away from him. He has far superior size to Blackmon and when Justin goes off to the NFL and away from Weeden who throws one of the best fade routes of any QB I could him lose a lot of his red zone dominance. In the right offense both should be very successful WRs yet Floyd seems capable of playing in any offense, has better size, and a better burst. I just see superior NFL skills on Floyd than I do on Blackmon who at times struggled to gain separation and often relied on Weeden to thread the ball to him or the offense to give him an uncontested short pass for YAC. The biggest issue I’ve had with Floyd the past two years actually has been his off the field issues but his reinstatement by Notre Dame, forced to live on campus in the freshman dorms and go through numerous alcohol courses, was pretty strict and he never strayed once from it. Also Floyd is the happy go lucky, good teammate while Blackmon at times can be seen screaming at his coordinator or QB when not involved. Floyd has made some dumb decisions but I actually could see Blackmon be the high maintenance diva of the two and further helped Floyd elevate past Blackmon. I’m grading Floyd as the best WR in this draft, below AJ Green, and neck and neck with Julio Jones from last year’s draft who gets a Top 10 grade. Future #1 WR 3/29/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

8

12

16

14

+5

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: I ranked Floyd ahead of Blackmon and think the combination of him and Fitzgerald could be even more lethal than the earlier combo of Larry and Anquan Bolden of a few years ago.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: That is a big a#s WR.

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Pick: 12th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): DT, S, OT

Player: Fletcher Cox

Jon’s Final Assessment: Last year I noticed two sophomore defensive tackles for Mississippi State. Both Cox and Boyd looked like big, strong guys with future NFL careers ahead of them yet neither really seemed to stand out over the other. This year Fletcher Cox changed that as he looked quicker, faster, and stronger than Boyd becoming the best playmaking DT in the country. When he announced he was leaving early for this year’s draft I wrote him in as the #1 DT and assumed others would do the same yet to this point he still is often ranked 2nd-4th among DTs by most scouts. This surprises me as Cox is about as clear cut of a #1 DT as Morris Claiborne is the #1 CB and Trent Richardson is the #1 RB. I don’t have anyone remotely near him in draft grade and while it’s partially due to the fact I think Brockers and Poe are overrated it’s also because I think Fletcher is a special talent. Out of the 33 DTs at the Combine he was first in his 40 (4.79-truly elite as most pass rushers didn’t run a sub 4.8 40!) and first in his 3 cone drill (7.07-the drill shows off quickness and acceleration). This athleticism was evident on tape as well as he has an elite burst and rare movement skills for a guy his size yet is hardly a weak defensive tackle (30 reps) and is just as disruptive in the run game as he is in the pass game. Fletcher’s stock has risen lately so there’s a chance that by the time the draft comes around he’ll be universally regarded as the #1 DT in this draft yet either way I’m keeping the same spot for him as he was #1 at the end of the season and only enhanced his stock with an elite Combine performance. He barely sneaks into the Top 10 as my #1 DT and there isn’t anyone even close 3/29/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

5

11

8

10

+7

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: I’m very annoyed that one of my favorite players in this draft will now be playing for the Eagles. I had him ranked ahead of guys like Claiborne and Blackmon as I think he will be a stud in the Kevin Williams type mold. The Eagles just got scarier.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: I wanted the Cowboys to take that guy, oh well I like Claiborne even more!

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Pick: 11th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): QB, ILB, OG, TE

Player: Dontari Poe

Jon’s Final Assessment: Dontari is highly likely to be the most overrated player in this draft. Right now mock drafts have him going as high as the 5th Overall Pick despite the fact that he played for a lesser conference in C-USA and never even earned 1st team All Conference (2nd team in 2011, Honorable Mention in 2010). He’s almost 100% workout warrior and projection as there is so little for a team to go by on tape that it’s downright absurd. He is incredibly raw showing almost no use of his hands in any form. For a 350 lb guy who had 44 reps at the Combine he rarely shows above average strength let alone elite strength on tape. He has quick feet and a nice spin move yet in 3 years against lower level competition he has only 5 sacks and at the next level will probably have an even tougher time due to his short arms (’32) which were the 5th shortest of the 33 DTs at the Combine. His meteoric rise is so difficult to comprehend that I actually am beginning to think it’s a bit of a wink nod by some GMs hoping to sucker a dumb GM to waste their 1st round pick on him. Yet unfortunately that is where he’s likely to be taken as some team will have a raw player who doesn’t run as fast or play as strong as he tests out at and who has poor recognition of where the football is, plays with poor leverage often rising up immediately at the snap of the ball, and has a complete inability to use his hands. He will likely rarely see the field as a rookie and the team will only be able to hope that he develops quickly so that he becomes a serviceable starter in his 2nd year so they can stop the criticism which will be launched at them. Poe has great tools to work with and someday could be a very good player but even if everything works out I think it’s unlikely he ever becomes a Pro Bowler and that’s the best case scenario. The more likely scenario is that Poe becomes the biggest bust of this draft and causes a GM to get fired. Late 3rd round as my #12 DT 4/2/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

105

13

20

18

-94

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: Worst pick of the draft and I’m alone on this sentiment as evidenced by the fact that Mayock, Rang, and Brandt all ranked him in their top 20. We will see but I think it’s just as bad of a pick as the Chiefs 1st rounder last year in Jon Baldwin who also was a huge bust.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: Man that’s a fat dude!

Team: Buffalo Bills

Pick: 10th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): LT, RT, 3-4 OLB, WR

Player: Stephon Gilmore

Jon’s Final Assessment: Gilmore will be an interesting player to watch as he played like a 3rd or 4th rounder this year but has the talent and physical skills of a top 5 pick. Just comparing him physically to Morris Claiborne accentuates this point as Gilmore is taller (6’0 1/2 vs. 5’11 1/8), heavier (190 vs. 188), faster (4.40 vs. 4.50 in 40), more explosive (10’3 vs. 9’10 in broad), and quicker (6.61 vs. 7.01 in 3 cone, 3.94 vs. 4.12 in shuttle). They both also are true juniors and Gilmore was actually the much higher rated player coming out of HS. It all paints a picture of Stephon being an elite player who should be talked about as possibly the #1 CB in this draft yet his game film this year was inconsistent and a team will have to decide if he can play bump and run man coverage almost purely on speculation as there is very little tape showing him doing it this year. South Carolina likes to play zone with their “spur” position adding speed to their defensive secondary yet a scout has to wonder if they didn’t change their coverage to accentuate his cover skills more due to gaps in his game that they saw in practice which they decided to hide or just because they didn’t want to completely overhaul their defensive philosophy for one player. Basically a team will have to decide whether the 2010 or 2011 performance is more likely to be the one they get from him in the NFL. He clearly is the superior athlete to Claiborne or Kirkpatrick, doesn’t have the red flags of Jenkins, and beat all three of them for 1st team SEC by the coaches in 2010. The kid has Pro Bowl potential and even though he had a down year in 2011 he still has the highest upside of any CB in this draft in my opinion. His down year drops him just below Kirkpatrick in the CB ratings but Gilmore still keeps a Top 15 grade and my #3 CB because of his elite physical skills, his 2010 tape, and his underrated production in all areas (8 INTs, 4 FF, 7 sacks in 3 years). He has more bust potential but I’m convinced Gilmore has much more upside than Kirkpatrick so if a team is trying to hit the homerun and willing to gamble I would actually recommend him over Kirkpatrick despite not one scout having him anywhere near the top 15 area. They are as close to each other in ranking as you can get 3/8/12. Update: After thinking about it more I realized that I truly believe Gilmore will be the better pro than Kirkpatrick and am moving him ahead. They still are close but Gilmore is #2 3/22/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

13

8

15

20

-3

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: I love the player and I love the pick as he has the chance to be one of the 5 best players out of this draft as he has elite athleticism to go with a big frame. An incredibly underrated player.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: My cornerback has better highlights than this guy.

Team: Carolina Panthers

Pick: 9th (1st round)

Team Needs (In Order): DT, DE, WR, LB

Player: Luke Kuechly

Jon’s Final Assessment: Luke joins the short list of players (Konz, Barron) who have been the #1 player at their position for multiple years. It’s a rare feat, and one even more rare for a true junior like Kuechly, that shows how dominant he’s been and how quick he was in making an impact out of High School. To walk onto campus and start as a freshman is tough enough but to earn ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and make +150 tackles in your first season is historic. He’s the only player in BC History to have +300 tackles in his first 2 years, his 15.9 tackles per game this season was highest average ever for a season in the NCAA, and he almost had the most tackles in a season in NCAA history losing out by 2 tackles in his 12 game season to a player who played in 14 games! Kuechly isn’t just a tackling machine, he’s statistically the greatest tackler to ever play college football. Yet while his speed, toughness, instincts, and perfect tackling technique allow him to rack up the tackles he’s a much more complete player as he’s one of the better coverage LBs in this draft with the speed (4.58 40), hands (7 INTs in 3 years), and playmaking ability (2 career pick sixes) to be an asset for a team in any situation. Non-pass rushing linebackers are similar to guards, safeties, and tight ends in that they are positions easily filled and therefore lack value. Yet Kuechly is the greatest LB prospect I’ve graded since Patrick Willis and looks like a future Pro Bowler who has no holes. He’s strong, athletic, tough, durable, instinctive, a playmaker, a great leader, and a hard worker. I’m not sure as a GM that I would ever sign off on using a Top 10 pick on a linebacker but that’s for the GMs to discuss amongst themselves as that’s the grade I’m giving him. Top 10 as my #1 LB who has the highest grade of any LB since Patrick Willis in 2007 4/10/12.

Rankings:

Anderson

Mayock

Rang

Brandt

Gain/Loss

7

6

9

11

+2

Jon’s Thoughts on the pick: A surprise as I love Fletcher Cox and they need a DT but Kuechly was #7 on my board and they took him at #9 so no real complaints here. Could be a Pro Bowler as a rookie, he’s that good.

Drunk Cowboys Fan: A white linebacker in the Top 10? DUMB!

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