I’ve updated the two-round mock draft today to represent how I feel some of the teams may be thinking five days before the draft.
Essentially it comes down to two factors. Firstly, Colin Kaepernick is very much an option for the Seahawks and they believe they can trade down and target him at the top of round two. If a deal is not forthcoming, does the team still feel comfortable drafting him in round one? To see the latest projection, click here or select ‘Mock Draft’ in the menu bar above.
Secondly, which players do the Seahawks grade higher than Kaepernick so that they would avoid the position with their first pick in the draft? Mike Pouncey appears to be one of them. I would project that Jimmy Smith is another and I understand one member of the offensive coaching staff is very high on Mark Ingram. I truly believe neither Pouncey or Smith will be available at #25 and the team isn’t trading up for them. Correctly, the Seahawks believe running back would be a luxury considering their investment in the position through Marshawn Lynch and the many other needs elsewhere.
The impression I’m getting is that they aren’t tied to any one position and that’s an opinion John Schneider expressed in his press conference last week. They would probably like to make an investment in quarterback first and foremost, but they are confident in their ability to perhaps solve three or four problems instead of one. They found some mid-to-late round talent last year, but didn’t strike gold in round two gambling on Golden Tate. You can’t write him off after one year, but evidently he has a lot of work to do to warrant the investment Seattle made.
Nevertheless, Kaepernick fits the bill in terms of what they’re looking for in a quarterback – mobility, arm strength, the ability to extend plays, the non-reliance on brilliant pass protection in order to make plays, running ability to develop the zone blocking scheme and become part of the overall gameplan, character and playmaking quality.
It’d be taking a chance, just like trading for Charlie Whitehurst was taking a chance. Kaepernick would not be expected to start in year one, with either Matt Hasselbeck being re-signed or Carson Palmer being brought in from Cincinnati for perhaps a 5th rounder and a further conditional pick depending on performance. I believe a deal like that could be possible to land Palmer and there has been some discussion. Both are stop-gap options that the team likes enough to run with as it re-builds. There are people out there who rate Kaepernick highly, very highly. Don’t sleep on him being off the board before Seattle is on the board at #25, particularly if a team trades back into the first.
In round two I’ve gone back to the Seahawks taking an interior lineman in Miami’s Orlando Franklin. I suspect guard is an area they are determined to improve and will consider early – but as with other needs, they aren’t going to focus in on the position as a life or death situation.
Elsewhere, I have Buffalo making a surprise move at #3 taking Cameron Jordan. Make no mistake he is a big-time talent who would instantly upgrade Buffalo’s defense. Adding Phil Taylor in round two could set up that defensive front for a long time, particularly in a division that contains a lot of offensive punch. So why not Von Miller, Blaine Gabbert, AJ Green or Patrick Peterson? No specific reason, but how many people had C.J. Spiller pinned to #9 last year? Or Aaron Maybin and Eric Woods to Buffalo the year before? Zero. That alone is not enough to warrant the Jordan projection, but he is a flashy playmaker who will provide a quick impact at a position of need. To some degree, he could be the back-up option to Marcell Dareus for Buffalo.
I have Gabbert dropping to #8 and past a few quarterback needy teams. Cincinnati is still a very likely proposition, but would anyone be surprised if they take a receiver in round one? AJ Green may be able to help a mediocre pick at quarterback in round two (such as Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton) look a little brighter. Arizona should take him at #5 but appear to be leaning towards a veteran option (Marc Bulger is the hot tip). San Francisco, for whatever reason, seems an unlikely fit. If Gabbert does squeeze past the first seven picks, you’re looking at Tennessee as perhaps being the floor.
The reason for the fall in this projection? Gabbert looks the part across the board, yet he was just so completely unspectacular in college. You’re investing in the unknown to a degree. I suspect that Gabbert will be top of a lot of boards in the quarterback department, but may not thrill some GM’s enough to make the call. At the end of the day, Carolina are going to end up taking Cam Newton – a guy with a bigger boom and a bigger bust ratio – over Gabbert, who is the presumed safe option.
I could be wrong here and Gabbert go as high as #2-#4 overall, or perhaps he will slip a little bit?