Time for this weeks mock. And before we start, read this. It’ll explain why Manti Te’o isn’t included. If you’ve missed the news, it’s probably the weirdest story you’ll ever read about a Heisman finalist. Or any football player. Ever.
We now know the Seahawks will pick 25th overall. We also know Pete Carroll wants to improve the pass rush. Interestingly, John Schneider appeared on ESPN 710 this morning and chipped in with some thoughts of his own. We’ll go into this in more detail tomorrow, but here are the highlights:
- Schneider mentioned it was a superior group of receivers compared to last years draft
- He talked up the offensive line talent at the top of the first round
- He also mentioned that there were some ‘unique’ defensive lineman available
- Schneider says he finds the crop of junior linebackers ‘impressive’
Like I said, we’ll go into this more tomorrow. I did find the receiver comment interesting given the team avoided the position last year. Depending on how the board shapes up, I think we’ll see a pass catcher taken within the first 2-3 rounds.
He’s absolutely right to talk up the offensive line talent. Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper could all be top-15 picks. It could’ve been an even better class had the likes of Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan declared.
The word ‘unique’ intrigues me when he refers to the pass rushers. The Seahawks have drafted ‘unique’ players before. Could he be referring to guys like Margus Hunt, Ezekiel Ansah and Dion Jordan who are a little unorthodox?
As for the junior linebackers — there’s only four (unless he counts pass rushing OLB’s). Alec Ogletree, Kevin Minter, Jelani Jenkins and Tom Wort were the only four pure linebackers to turn pro. You have to believe this team would love a shot at Ogletree.
For this weeks mock I have to go with a defensive lineman. Was there any choice after everything that’s been said over the last few days? I considered John Simon (DE, Ohio State), Alex Okafor (DE, Texas) and Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida). Then I remembered what we’re dealing with here. John Schneider says there are ‘unique’ pass rushers available. This is a team that consistently thinks outside of the box. And I thought, why not?
Why not just put Margus Hunt with the Seahawks this week?
He’s unorthodox. He’s 6-8, 275lbs and he throws a discus. He’s Estonian. He’s also unlike any player I’ve watched before. His speed, height and weight combination is unnatural and unmatched. He’s one of the biggest physical freaks you’ll find anywhere in the world. And for all of those reasons, he’s possibly one of the most Carroll-y, Schneider-y draft picks we’ll ever find.
You can’t get anymore outside of the box than Margus Hunt. If he was 22-years-old with three years experience at a top programme he’d be a contender to go first overall. Because he’s coming to the NFL via Estonia, a cancelled SMU track and field programme and a last minute football scholarship, his stock is slightly different. Conventional wisdom tells you this is a guy who’ll be 26 in July with limited experience. The Seahawks don’t deal in conventional wisdom.
If Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert are willing to draft a 29-year-old rookie quarterback in the late first round, why wouldn’t a team crying out for a pass rusher consider this guy in a similar range? Carroll and Schneider drafted Bruce Irvin a year ago and he turned 25 during his rookie season. That’s a whole one years difference.
He’s got the upper body strength, the ideal frame, the speed off the edge, the ability to beat a blocker with good hands. He struggles with leverage which is no surprise at 6-8. That’s something you have to live with. For a team that wants to be bigger, faster and stronger than anybody else – he fits the bill. And he’ll get to the quarterback.
Really the age thing isn’t so much a concern if he can have an impact quickly. That’s going to be the defining judgement here. For a team with Super Bowl ambitions (this team has come a long way) it doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s about finding a way to go that little bit further. Winning a Championship. He’s not going to be a ten-year starter. He’ll probably max out with a 6-year career. That’s still six potential Super Bowl runs where you have a legitimate, freak of nature pass rusher.
There are more orthodox players available, but that doesn’t seem to be how this team thinks. Where would he line up? He could start at defensive end if Chris Clemons goes on the PUP list. He can line up opposite Clemons in some balanced four-man fronts. He could line up inside like Jason Jones.
Coincide a pick like this with a free agent acquisition (Randy Starks, Henry Melton, Desmond Bryant) and suddenly this situation looks a little brighter. Margus Hunt might be part of the answer to Seattle’s problems with the pass rush. I’ve included his game tape against Fresno State at the top of this piece.
In terms of the mock draft on the whole, I’ve tried to mix things up a bit this week. I wanted to do a projection that represented two things:
1. The Kansas City Chiefs not taking a quarterback with the #1 pick
2. No early rush on quarterbacks
The position is so important that I expect the best of the group to go early. However, there are a lot of contradicting views here. And what if those views are right? There are so many noises coming out of the league that there won’t be an early rush on the position. I guess anything could happen this year. This is the first draft I’ve covered without a really obvious prospect who’s going to go first overall. It’s a unique. And I don’t want to do the same mock every week.
|#1 Luke Joeckel (T, Texas A&M)
This would be something of a sideways step, replacing Branden Albert. But it’s a possibility if they don’t like the QB’s enough.
|#2 Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State)
The Jaguars need a pass rusher and Werner could be the choice after a 13.5-sack season.
|#3 Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah)
Both of Oakland’s starting defensive tackles are free agents. They had the second worst pass rush in the NFL behind Jacksonville.
|#4 Chance Warmack (G, Alabama)
Why not? He’s good enough. Chip Kelly might be more ‘pro-style’ than people think.
|#5 Damontre Moore (DE, Texas A&M)
The Lions could use an edge rusher. Moore had 12.5 sacks in the SEC this year.
|#6 Jarvis Jones (DE, Georgia)
Jones has top-five talent but the spinal stenosis issue will really linger. He’ll need to be cleared to go this early.
|#7 Eric Fisher (T, Central Michigan)
Like Kansas City, they’ll need to really distrust the QB class to do this. But they DO need a left tackle.
|#8 Alec Ogeltree (LB, Georgia)
Ogletree might have the most upside in the entire draft.
|#9 Barkevious Mingo (DE, LSU)
Get Revis back, plug in a speedy pass rusher and New York’s defense will be scary. In a good way. Unlike the offense.
|#10 Ezekiel Ansah (DE, BYU)
He could be a combine star.
|#11 Lane Johnson (T, Oklahoma)
They need to take a left tackle.
|#12 Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee)
The X-Factor player of this draft.
|#13 Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama)
The complete cornerback. This would be a steal.
|#14 Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri)
Pure three-technique. This would be a steal.
|#15 Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon)
Jordan can make some money at the combine, so he needs to get healthy.
|#16 Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas)
Out of all the safety’s in this class, Vaccaro is getting talked up the most. He’s a solid football player.
|#17 Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State)
I’m not a fan of Rhodes, but big physical corners are the en vouge thing.
|#18 Barrett Jones (C, Alabama)
It’s a big reach, but Dallas need to fix their offensive line. And it starts with the center.
|#19 Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina)
New York should skip to the podium if this happens.
|#20 Zach Ertz (TE, Stanford)
Terrific tight end prospect. Could go even earlier.
|#21 Arthur Brown (LB, Kansas State)
This guy is legit. A brilliant linebacker prospect.
|#22 Jonathan Jenkins (DT, Georgia)
Will they switch to the 3-4 if they appoint Rob Ryan? If so, plug in a nose tackle to take up blockers for Long, Quinn and Brockers.
|#23 Travis Frederick (C, Wisconsin)
Big body, intelligent player and looks made for a man-blocking scheme.
|#24 DeAndre Hopkins (WR, Clemson)
DeAndre Hopkins is a fantastic receiver. Simple as that.
|#25 Margus Hunt (DE, SMU)
I just have a hunch this front office will like the idea of drafting a beast of a pass rusher who’s also a discuss thrower from Estonia.
|#26 Jesse Williams (DT, Alabama)
His best fit in my opinion is at 3-4 end.
|#27 Dallas Thomas (G, Tennessee)
Underrated lineman who had a great year for a bad team.
|#28 Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina)
He can play the one or the three technique.
|#29 Kevin Minter (LB, LSU)
Tough shoes to fill, but Minter has as good a chance as anyone to succeed in replacing Ray Lewis.
|#30 Sharrif Floyd (DT, Florida)
He’s well suited to the five technique in a 3-4 scheme.
|#31 Matt Barkley (QB, USC)
No, I don’t think New England will draft Barkley. But it’s the kind of position where someone could trade up to kick off a run on QB’s.
|#32 Johnathan Hankins (DT, Ohio State)
I don’t rate Hankins, but he might be the best ‘big’ left on the board.
#33 Jacksonville – Eddie Lacy (RB, Alabama)
#34 Kansas City – Robert Woods (WR, USC)
#35 Philadelphia – Kyle Long (T, Oregon)
#36 Detroit – Matt Elam (S, Florida)
#37 Cincinnati – Giovanni Bernard (RB, North Carolina)
#38 Arizona – Geno Smith (QB, West Virginia)
#39 New York Jets – Tyler Wilson (QB, Arkansas)
#40 Tennessee – D.J. Fluker (T, Alabama)
#41 Buffalo – Ryan Nassib (QB, Syracuse)
#42 Miami – John Simon (DE, Ohio State)
#43 Tampa Bay – Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame)
#44 Carolina – Logan Ryan (CB, Rutgers)
#45 San Diego – Terrance Williams (WR, Baylor)
#46 St. Louis – Menelik Watson (T, Florida State)
#47 Dallas – Alex Okafor (DE, Texas)
#48 Pittsburgh – Markus Wheaton (WR, Oregon State)
#49 New York Giants – Johnthan Banks (CB, Mississippi State)
#50 Chicago – Justin Pugh (T, Syracuse)
#51 Washington – Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia)
#52 Minnesota – Kawann Short (DT, Purdue)
#53 Baltimore – Sam Montgomery (DE, LSU)
#54 Cincinnati – Eric Reid (S, LSU)
#55 Seattle – Justin Hunter (WR, Tennessee)
#56 Green Bay – Oday Aboushi (T, Virginia)
#57 Miami – Brennan Williams (T, North Carolina)
#58 Houston – Keenan Allen (WR, California)
#59 San Francisco – Jordan Poyer (CB, Oregon State)
#60 New England – Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB, Connecticut)
#61 Atlanta – Gavin Escobar (TE, San Diego State)
#62 Denver – Stepfan Taylor (RB, Stanford)