The purpose of this mock draft is to get a feel for whom may be available when we pick. I am utilizing a computer app to draft for the other teams. I will not utilize any trades in this edition.
We should be looking to draft a OLB, DE, OG, CB and possibly an ILB, FS, TE and QB. The first four positions are a priority to address, however sometimes the best player available will prevail over a glaring need.
As of today, we have the following 7 picks:
Round 1 Pick 22
Round 2 Pick 22
Round 3 Pick 33 (compensatory)
Round 5 Pick 22
Round 5 Pick 34 (compensatory)
Round 5 Pick 40 (compensatory)
Round 7 Pick 5
Round 1 Pick 22: We have 4 trade opportunities but as mentioned above, this edition will be straight up. The following players are still available DE/OLB Carl Lawson, DE/OLB Charles Harris, TE David Njoko, OG/OT Forrest Lamp, CB Gareon Conley, DT/DE Malik McDowell, DE/OLB Taco Charlton, OLB/DE Takkarist McKinley, CBs Teez Tabor and TreDavious White. This draft is very deep in DE and CBs so I will pass on any of them with this first pick. That leaves OLB and OG as our best bet and still get a good DE and CB later. Charlton and McKinley would be better served on the edge or a 3-4 OLB not a 4-3 OLB. I like Charlton a lot to play on the edge and if I was accepting trades, I would move back 4-5 picks still possibly get him as well as pick up an additional Second Round pick. OGs are deeper in the second and third rounds with only Lamp showing 1st Round potential.
I could still grab a good CB in the Third Round so I won't draft one here. Since I am not accepting a trade, this pick has to produce a starter and of all the guys mentioned above, my pick can and will start immediately and also has some flexibility as to positioning. He doesn't grade out as high as most of the above but he can play 2 different positions. The safe pick for an immediate starter is Forrest Lamp out of Western Kentucky who can start at LG. Lamp played LT in all but his first three games as a redshirt freshman when he played guard in 2013. He was an all conference (USA) selection the past two seasons and a third team AP All American in 2016. His tape against Alabama's defensive front has many sold that he can play well in the NFL as an interior lineman for a decade. He reminds many of Dallas' Zack Martin. Lamp has a good frame and moves well but he has short arms which will move him to LG in the NFL. Guess what??? That's exactly what we need. Problem solved.
Round 2 Pick 22: 4 more trade opportunities, how about that? So we need either a DE or a OLB here. All the top DEs are gone leaving DeMarcus Walker and Ryan Anderson who would be reaches at this point. At OLB, we can choose between Tyrus Bowser, Vince Biegel and Derek Rivers. Biegel is under sized and will be a special teamer. Rivers would be a good edge rusher on passing downs. Bowser can play in the NFL and had I accepted a trade in Round 1, we could've solved both needs in Round 2. I love FSs Budda Baker and Marcus Williams, who would be great choices here. But as it is, the best DE or LB still available is our pick. He played ILB in college and loves to thump but due to his athleticism, he will be better served to play OLB in the NFL. Grading just a bit higher than the FSs is LB Jared Davis out of Florida. This kid is simply a very good football player who has absolutely no character issues. He can start at OLB if he can simply be trained to avoid blockers rather than attempting to run threw everyone while on his way to crushing the ball carrier. LBs are getting lighter and quicker and this kid fits the mold for a good OLB in a 4-3 system that keeps blockers off the LBs.
Round 3 Pick 33: The phones are ringing again, 4 times. I feel like the only kid with money for the ice cream truck. Of course the computer doesn't recognize that you cannot trade compensatory picks. We have a choice, a tough choice here between CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Kevin King and DE Trey Hendrickson. Witherspoon is the better choice for CB. Both are 6-3 but Witherspoon has quicker feet from his younger days playing soccer so he can adjust better with any change of direction than King. Hendrickson would be good against the run as a 4-3 DE but his sacks come more as a second effort rushing and not from any stellar quickness. Imagine if you would, that Tony Lippet had 4 years of experience playing CB in college and then brought his ball skills and size to our defense. That's what Witherspoon brings. He is the 2018 version of Lippet. I know we are pretty deep at CB. I know we need a DE to get ready to replace Wake but Hendrickson will never be quick enough to rush from the left side, he will never be able to replace Wake. He could give Branch some breathers so if I am drafting a DE, he has to have potential to replace Wake in another year or two. You guessed it, I like Witherspoon here. Had I traded down in Round 1, I would absolutely love Witherspoon here near the end of the 3rd Round after grabbing a DE, OLB and OG. He is not known for his tackling. Its not great but he is a pass defense specialist with his gangly frame of all arms and legs. He possesses a rare combination of speed and size for a CB. He is one of 3 Colorado DBs to be named to the 2nd Team All-Pac-12. He tied teammate Tedric Thompsn with a nation leading 23 passes defensed. So he has been well coached.
Round 5 Pick 22: Slim pickings are left for a DE. So we might as well grab a guy who has experience in a tough league and has produced. I grabbed Garrett Sickels out of Penn St who lead the Big10 in QB hurries while collecting 6 sacks. He played his absolute best against Ohio State's talented OL with 2.5 sacks. He plays with the same intensity throughout the game. Typical for a fellow guy from Jersey.
Round 5 Pick 34: When in doubt double down. If you cannot find a good DE, maybe we can grab a quicker OLB who has a frame to put on some muscle and grow into a DE on the practice squad. Enter South Carolina's Darius English. At 6'6" and only 245 LBS he has some room and time to muscle up a bit and train under Cam Wake. Can he put on 30 LBS and learn to be a DE? Worth a shot.
Round 5 Pick 40: Time for some depth at the back end of our Defense so enter Jadar Johnson of Clemson. As an All-ACC Safety, he led national champs with 5 INTs. At 6'0", 206 LBS, he possesses explosive speed and terrific ball skills. Why did he fall so far? Not that great in run support so keep him out of the box and let him play some FS on passing downs while we work on his tackling.
Round 7 Pick 5: You gotta love this guy's name for the Dolphins, Kansas Safety Fish Smithson He is a bit undersized at 5'11", 190 LBS but he makes up for it with his instincts and field awareness. He can cover in the slot and loves to stick his nose in and tackle. He would be a decent backup and could play special teams.
All in all, I am not in love with this draft. Grabbing the sure starter at OG in the 1st Round really limited our opportunities later at DE. I believe we will trade back and pick up an additional 2nd Round pick. I would even trade back again. I think we could wind up with 3 solid 2nd Round Picks and 2 Good 3rd Round Picks by trading back twice in the 1st Round. Look for that in my next edition.
Dolfan since 12/25/1971