I’ve updated the mock draft in reaction to the combine and you can see the latest projection by clicking here.
I’ll stress again that these are not intended to be accurate predictions. My intention is always to look at many possibilities mixed in with some opinions on players and directions I think a team would like to go.
The top-15 continues to be particularly difficult to project with limitless connotations. By this time last year we were pretty certain about the top three picks (Bradford, Suh and McCoy) and many had assumed Washington would draft the top offensive tackle on their board (which they did). When you’re sold on a few picks early on it helps set up a mock draft and we don’t that luxury this year.
For example – this week I really struggled to place Nick Fairley. There were a handful of spots in the top ten where he would be a logical and realistic fit, but then I can also see why those teams would go in a different direction. Putting him at #14 to St. Louis seems unlikely at this stage, yet is it improbable or even impossible? I’m not sure.
There are some things I remain confident about. I still think Mike Shanahan will invest his future in Jake Locker. Wherever Jimmy Smith ends up going, I think he’ll present real value and he could be the cornerback from this class to have the best career. Unlike many others, I actually think Ryan Mallett improved his stock over the weekend enough to secure a first round spot – Jacksonville at #16 seems like a really good fit. I’m also absolutely positive that like Colt McCoy last year, we will not see Christian Ponder going in the first round. They aren’t similar players, but they are going through similar levels of unwarranted hype.
So what about the Seahawks? Regulars will know I like to mix it up for Seattle and go through different possibilities. We’ve just about covered every angle by now (or at least every position) and I don’t want this to become a token gesture ‘let’s see who it is this week’. Part of the problem is we’re still trying to work out the new regime. Tim Ruskell had such a defined draft policy it wasn’t difficult to project outcomes. We’re not at the stage yet with Pete Carroll and John Schneider that we can call someone a ‘Seahawks type pick’.
Will they ever draft a quarterback in round one? Do they value the LEO enough to take the fourth or fifth best pass rusher in this class at #25? Is the interior line considered worthy of that first round investment?
I’ve gone with Brooks Reed this week – a rising defensive end from Arizona who would fit at the LEO. He’s not had an explosive career with the Wildcats (15 sacks in two fulls seasons) and his 2009 season was hampered through injury. He posted impressive numbers at the combine, running a 4.68 forty yard dash with a 1.62 ten yard split. As a comparison, Clay Matthews (drafted 26th overall in 2009) ran a 4.62 forty with a 1.58 split. He’s also about 8-10lbs lighter than Reed and didn’t enter the pro’s with much pass rush production due to his role at USC.
Reed also has Clay Matthews hair, but we’ll not count that as a positive part of the evaluation.
It raises similar questions to last week when I suggested Jabal Sheard could be an option at #25. There will be LEO ‘fits’ later on so do you look to boost the interior defensive line instead? There were options in this mock (Phil Taylor, Muhammed Wilkerson, Corey Liuget etc).
Take a look at the tape below courtesy of the invaluable Aaron Aloysius, have a gaze at the mock and let me know what you think.