Christmas Eve mock draft

December 24th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

What’s one of the toughest things to do when putting a mock together?

Accepting your opinion on a player might not be universally recognised.

In this projection I’ve included a handful of guys I don’t rate all that highly.

Stephon Tuitt is in there, even though I’d only take him in round three. Somebody else might take him in round one based on the upside — so that’s why he’s in.

Khalil Mack is projected in the top ten. There are some character issues to be looked into. He’s a playmaker — no doubt about it. But is he quite the athlete some people believe? For me his greatest move is a bull rush, not speed off the edge. We’ll see how he tests.

People like Tony Pauline, who were sceptical of Mack going into the season, are now calling him a lock for round one. That’s difficult to ignore. And I’m choosing not to ignore it today.

I like C.J. Mosley a lot. Is he a top-20 pick? I wouldn’t take him that early, purely because he isn’t going to be a pass rushing linebacker at the next level. He isn’t Luke Kuechly either. But in a class without a lot of obvious elite players, he’d provide a solid addition to any 3-4 defense looking for a bit of mettle inside.

Jackson Jeffcoat exploded in the second half of the season for Texas. Whenever I’ve watched him, he’s been pretty inconsistent. I’m eager to see some recent tape and watch their Bowl game. A lot of reports say he’s really improved his effort and intensity. So he’s in too… for now.

There are other picks I like a lot more.

Jadeveon Clowney is still the top player in this draft for me. I’ll take a generational physical talent over whoever happens to be the top quarterback by default. However badly you need a quarterback. If Clowney works out at the combine, watch out.

Sammy Watkins will surprise people. Watch the tape and you see an extreme playmaker who got back to his best in 2013. What people don’t realise is he’s a smart receiver who picked up some good habits from DeAndre Hopkins. He will go early.

Marqise Lee is a top-ten talent. So why not put him in the top ten?

The clear strength of this class will be the offensive tackle and wide receiver positions. So I’ve no issue including so many in the first round of this mock.

And then there’s Seattle’s pick, which is at #31 today.

Ra’Shede Hageman is a really interesting case.

Last time I had him in the top ten, and that could happen.

He could go to the Senior Bowl and dominate. He could go to the combine and be one of the stars in Indianapolis.

If that happens, it’s unlikely he lasts until #31.

But there’s a catch.

There are some character question marks. Hageman had a difficult upbringing. Minnesota Jerry Kill kind of sums it up…

“He’s got a tremendous future… He’s a guy a lot of people will want to get their hands on as long as he stays on track”

How easy will it be for Hageman to stay on track? He’s had further issues in college, including being suspended for three games in 2010 for academic reasons.

Then there’s this report from Albert Breer, with quotes from an unnamed executive…

“[Hageman] is big, athletic — he flashes top-10 talent… He’s just inconsistent with his motor and his overall play style”

In terms of what he offers, he has the kind of length (6-6) and size (approximately 305lbs) Seattle looks for. They might have to replace Tony McDaniel in the off-season, or even Michael Bennett.

He has a great burst off the line. I like his hand use, his bull rush and the ability to move outside to the edge. There are some technical issues he needs to address. There’s also plenty to work with if he’s willing to learn.

Making projections late in the first round is a thankless task this early in the process. I set out with the intention of placing a receiver with the Seahawks, but too many were off the board. And I think they need a true #1, not an extension of what they already have.

So here is my Christmas Eve mock draft. Enjoy… and debate away.

#1 Jadeveon Clowney (DE, South Carolina)
Take Clowney at #1, put him next to J.J. Watt and enjoy. Yeah they need a QB, but who’s worth the top pick?
#2 Jake Matthews (T, Texas A&M)
Jake Long’s knee injury in week 16 makes this even more likely.
#3 Anthony Barr (DE, UCLA)
Gus Bradley could use a defense-defining LEO.
#4 Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Louisville)
Oakland needs something — anything — to build around.
#5 Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
He could shoot up boards by the combine. And he’d look great next to Josh Gordan and Jordan Cameron.
#6 Greg Robinson (T, Auburn)
Really good run blocker. Has everything you look for physically in a franchise tackle.
#7 Cyrus Kouandjio (T, Alabama)
He deserves more credit. Really, really good tackle prospect.
#8 Khalil Mack (OLB, Buffalo)
I’m not a huge fan, but other people are. Minnesota will probably lose Jared Allen and needs a pass rusher.
#9 Marqise Lee (WR, USC)
Who wouldn’t want to see Marqise Lee and Robert Woods reunited?
#10 Antonio Richardson (T, Tennessee)
Athletic ‘beast’ of a player with limitless potential. His play has been inconsistent this year, however.
#11 Taylor Lewan (T, Michigan)
Solid, if unspectacular, offensive lineman. New York needs to rebuild in the trenches.
#12 Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M)
Imagine Vincent Jackson and Calvin Johnson on the same roster. That’s what this would look like.
#13 Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina)
Athletic tight end with an engaging personality. Playmaker.
#14 Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M)
The Jets and Johnny Football are made for each other.
#15 Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State)
The best corner in this class.
#16 C.J. Mosley (LB, Alabama)
Green Bay really needs to improve that defense.
#17 Louis Nix (DT, Notre Dame)
He’s not dominated in 2013 and it’s a concern. Has he added too much bad weight?
#18 Odell Beckham Jr (WR, LSU)
Incredibly polished, makes plays. Terrific return man too and massive hands.
#19 Stephon Tuitt (DE, Notre Dame)
I’m not a fan. I’d take him in round three. But I suspect someone’s going to fall for the upside.
#20 Zack Martin (T, Notre Dame)
I’m a big Zack Martin fan. Tremendous all-round lineman with impeccable character. Underrated.
#21 Cedric Ogbuehi (T, Texas A&M)
He could be a big time riser if he declares.
#22 Brent Urban (DE, Virginia)
Chip Kelly likes defenders with length and speed.
#23 Justin Gilbert (CB, Oklahoma State)
He’s had a productive year. I’ve seen one of his games and came away impressed.
#24 Blake Bortles (QB, UCF)
I’m not convinced he’ll make a huge move into the top ten, but I can see why he’d go before some of the other QB’s in this class.
#25 Cameron Erving (T, Florida State)
The combine will be Erving’s friend. Former defensive lineman.
#26 Jackson Jeffcoat (DE, Texas)
Might end up rising a little during the off-season. Has 12 sacks in 2013 going into Bowl season.
#27 Xavier Su’a-Filo (G, UCLA)
Big upside prospect with his best years ahead.
#28 Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, Washington)
Big, orthodox tight end. Could go in round one, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he fell.
#29 Brandon Coleman (WR, Rutgers)
I think he’ll go earlier than people expect. Belichick hearts Rutgers.
#30 Bradley Roby (CB, Ohio State)
Not had the year everybody expected, but still a good prospect.
#31 Ra-Shede Hageman (DT, Minnesota)
Character flags and a lack of production are the issue. Size, burst and upside are the big positives.
#32 La’el Collins (G, LSU)
I think he’ll end up at guard in the NFL, despite playing tackle this year.

41 Responses to “Christmas Eve mock draft”

  1. bigDhawk says:

    Merry Christmas all. The most reasonable 2014 mock I’ve seen anywhere yet. Feels so good to see a mock with Hageman falling to us instead of the Yankey-to-Seattle-because-they-need-a-guard meme. The only name I can think of that is conspicuously missing from round one is Jordan Matthews, but perhaps that says more about how deep this draft really is at OL. What are some possibilities of us getting back into round 3 this draft? Any chance someone thinks Turbo is worth their mid to late 3rd rounder?

    • MJ says:

      Honestly…I can’t imagine Turbin getting a 2nd contract in the NFL. Great guy, just a lousy player. I’m dumbfounded how he still gets PT.

      I am curious about Rob’s take on Jordan Matthews. I both really like him and am really nervous about him in the NFL. Is he fast enough?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think we’d struggle to get anything for Turbin. On Matthews – I see him as a high value, top of the second round type guy. He could slip into the first. But for Seattle, I’m not necessarily sure he’s the type of receiver they need. But I really like Matthews.

      • RJA says:

        I’d love it if you could follow up on this and discuss some of the receivers (both early and middle rounds) that you see being good fits.

        • Madmark says:

          Devante Parker from Louisville that they was talking about watching this year at the beginning of the season
          Kelvin Benjamin from florida St.

  2. Colin says:

    Honest to god question: Is Anthony Barr really worth the #3 overall pick?

    • Michael M. says:

      Good question.

      The one thing that makes me scratch my head about the LEO position is this: Isn’t the whole point of creating this weird hybrid position so that you can fill it with an underrated player that you can pick up for a song? In many ways Chris Clemons was the ideal LEO. We got him for practically nothing, but because of the scheme he comes in and puts up very solid numbers. This leaves your other resources available (like a #3 pick for example) to fill holes elsewhere on your completely depleted roster.

      That is the one thing that confused me about the Bruce Irvin pick, but I guess with his measurables they were rolling the dice for a chance at getting the greatest LEO the world has ever known.

      Either way, Gus Bradley certainly doesn’t “need” to get his LEO here. It would surprise me if Chris Clemons were back with the ‘Hawks next year, so he might be a stop-gap option. Or Gus could try and find another diamond in the rough type player to fill a roll that is perfectly suited to guys like that.

      • Colin says:

        I don’t think Bruce is ever going back to LEO. I think with the play he’s shown at linebacker, that is his spot going forward. He’s better standing up.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I don’t think the point of the LEO is to fill it with just anyone. It’s to find the ideal athletic specimen who can dominate in the role. Seattle took Clemons in a steal of a trade but they also spent a top-15 pick on Irvin.

    • Rob Staton says:

      In my opinion, no. But athletically he will look great at the combine and somebody will buy into the potential.

      • CHawk Talker Eric says:

        It depends a lot on how well Bradley can scheme for him. Barr is an amazing physical talent, but he’s also amazingly raw (still). I don’t think he’s technically skillful enough to be great on his own, at least yet.

  3. Christon says:

    I think that would be a great pick for the hawks in such a shallow DT pool this year. Merry Christmas Rob!

  4. AlaskaHawk says:

    Its an interesting pick. Another troubled player with high potential, keep picking like that and we will become the Raiders. :-)

  5. KyleT says:

    I love the hageman pick! Will a 3-4 defense take Clowney? He seems perfect as a 4-3 end. If we could get Hageman, Antonio Richardson or a big WR prospect in round 1 I would be pretty happy.

  6. House says:

    I would personally love Hageman, but I think with a decent/good Combine showing he’ll be gone. A guy I have recently been watching is Crichton from Oregon St. He’s from Tacoma and has a non-stop motor. At 6’3″/265lbs, he consistently gets in the backfield and makes plays. I watched him tonight look very impressive vs. Boise St. One play he is tackling a RB for a 3 yd loss and the very next play strip-sacking the QB into a fumble for TD return.

  7. Burner says:

    Louis Nix and gaining “bad weight” Can you flesh that out for us please Rob, if you forgive the pun. What exactly does that mean?

    Also what’s your opinion on Brandin Cooks? Could he be in play for our pick in the 1st?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Nix put on fat this year and looked sloppy. Not sure why it happened, but keeping him at the right weight will be a slight concern for some teams. As for Cooks — really like him. Hard to project the smaller guys to the next level, but he’s a fun player to watch in college. Round 2/3 for me.

  8. CC says:

    It is hard for me to see the Jets pick Manziel with all of their other needs. He isn’t a leader, and a huge risk. Based on Idzik’s past he seems quite conservative. He’ll build O and D line first. Other than that, this is a very reasonable mock. Jags will likely go D and see if they can find a QB in the lower rounds or pick up a FA.

    Thanks as always for the great insight! Happy Christmas, Feliz Navid, Bon Natale, God Jul!

    • SunPathPaul says:

      I actually like watching Manziel play, and a lot of doubters may end up wrong on him at the next level…

      With that said, I sure hope he goes to a better team than the Jets overall…him and NY city!? Bad combo

      Jacksonville, Cleveland, and he might do well… My favorite team has a QB, so I’d just like to watch that experiment!

      Go Hawks! Clobber st louis!

    • Rob Staton says:

      To be fair, he did draft Geno Smith in round two. He wasn’t too dissimilar to Manziel in the character department and that was a second rounder, so a high pick. Smith isn’t good enough so if he believes in Manziel…

  9. Stuart says:

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  10. Kyle says:

    Just a few thoughts on different positions that might be targeted (order is random, not by priority)
    CB: It looks like Browner and Thurmond may not be back, but maintaining the depth of that secondary is a big deal. Stanley Jean Baptiste is a guy who fits the mold of a Hawks corner, and I like the guy.

    RB: Turbin is an OK RB, but he needs to be pushed even more. Marshawn isn’t getting any younger either. Michael hopefully will be the featured back in the next few years. Rounds 1 and 2 give the Hawks a great opportunity to trade back in either case and possibly pick up a 3rd rounder, and I would not be too surprised to see them pick a RB in the 3-5 range.

    DT: It may be a foregone conclusion that Mebane will be gone, and the thing that I like about this class is that there seems to be value in almost every round.

    WR: This is one position where the Hawks may spend two picks on, and there are a lot of players to like with different characteristics. There will be 7 WRs who are 6-4 or taller, and others with great production. I think this is a tremendous receiver class.

    OL: This looks like a really good class of tackles coming up, but unless one of those top guys falls to our position, I think the Hawks may just do what they did last year and find late rounders and UDFAs to compete with the group they drafted last year.

    QB: Personally, I hope that Tavaris remains the backup QB on the team, and I think the team and staff like him and have a lot of trust in him. I do hope that the Hawks draft Logan Thomas though. Not to play QB however because he has looked atrocious this year, but he is a massive guy and a good athlete who could be worked out as a receiver or a TE. A really interesting project type of player. Personally, I think it’s worth a gamble with a 6th or 7th as of now, but let’s see if he works out at other positions during the combine.

    • KyleT says:

      Interesting how mebane being gone is a foregone conclusion in the 3rd year of a 5 year deal playing the absolute best ball of his career. Maybe want to call him potential cap casualty? That’s very different then “forgone conclusion”

    • Matt says:

      I’d be surprised if Thurmond did not return. After Thurmond reportedly got suspended PC says that he believes in second chances, which makes me belive that he will be back. Thurmond isn’t Browner, this is on;y his first time.

  11. Darnell says:

    Love that you have Brent Urban in there.

    Is he there based solely on your eye or is there buzz about him? Everytime I watched UVA play he stood out bigtime.

    Should be interesting to see how he tests; as a prospect I think he is somewhere between Margus Hunt and JJ Watt in terms of monstrous white dudes with big upside.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Urban just looks like an under-the-radar type who suffers playing on a bad team. Great length, works down the line. Never gets moved off the spot. He will test well IMO. And then he will shoot up the board.

      • Darnell says:

        I can definitely see that. I’ve seen him listed at 6’6-6’7 295lbs with a projected sub-5.0 40.

        Senior Bowl invite from a bad nondescript team says a lot.

  12. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    I would not like to see Su’a-Filo going to San Fran. The best OL in football keeps on rolling.

  13. Clayton says:

    How do you think Rashede Hageman compares to Sheldon Richardson?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Richardson much more of a sure thing. A Darnell Dockett clone. One of the best players to enter the league in the last 10 years. Hageman very raw in comparison.

  14. Madmark says:

    I really like the pick there Rob. I’m reminded of the draft pick a couple of years ago of Dontari Poe. After the combine he never made it out of the top 10 and really has come into his own on that Kansas City defense now. I really don’t think Hageman will be there when we pick as well as the 3 receiver I like. So I’m sure no one going to like my pick but then it more than likely will change after free agency and then the combine. If Cyril Richardson guard from Baylor is here I jump all over that pick. Then I’m looking for WR in the 2nd round. I have some ideas in the 4th to 7th but it’ll change as I see what PC/JS do with some of our free agents(Anthony McCoy) and high price players(Sydney Rice).

  15. AlaskaHawk says:

    Check out Utah St cornerback Byrd, 5’10″ and 180 pounds, a hard hitter.

  16. Madmark says:

    I got more questions now as we look to the future. 1st one is I was really looking forward this year to see Anthony McCoy breakout and then the injury. Now what is he going to want or is Austin Seferian Jenkins falls to us do we take him. I’ve always wanted that TE that does it all and Luke Willson is already our Eric Ebron and Zache has a couple years left. Hageman I would take in a heartbeat but I just don’t see him falling this far down and I ‘m still curious to see Gregg Scruggs, Jordan Hill, Jesse Williams, and Benson Mayowa. Does Tate want to much to come back and would we be willing to match what Baldwin will be offered.
    At this point and time I think Bowie can take Breno spot at RT and I see McQuiston as a cap casualty. If Cyril Richardson drop to our pick if he didn’t beat Carpentar outright, who for left guard he could easily take G/T spot of McQuiston easily. I’m concern like a lot of people about WR position I just don’t see us having any draft capital to go up and get 1 of the 3 receivers I’d like to get. If Kelvin Bengamin enters the draft I’d even think real hard about drafting him in the 1st round even thou he’s so raw still because he would never make it to the bottom of the 2nd round for us.
    All you did was raise more questions with me ROB and I guess that’s why you do this website. HEHE thanks a lot!

  17. ivotuk says:

    I think Brandon Coleman will drop due to injury concerns and an off season. I was thinking he might be available at our 2nd round pick.

    With all the injuries in the NFL this year, i think teams will be wary about anybody with any kind of injury history, fair or not.

  18. Jake says:

    Not having Derek Carr in the first round is a travesty. Seahawks will be looking at receiver or TE in first round.

  19. Bubba Gill says:

    Hey Rob, man I have to think that Ra-Shede Hageman will go in the top 20, he reminds me so much of Warren Sapp. How is Hageman at beating off defenders and getting after the run?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Hageman is a terrific player, Bubba. The only thing that might lead to a fall is the character issues. But in my next mock today he will be a top-15 pick.