Tag Archive: Travis Lewis


Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Landry Jones needs to go back to school, simple as that. If he declares after this game I am convinced it is because he talks with Bob Stoops and Stoops tells him he can’t guarantee Bell won’t get more snaps and that there won’t be a quarterback competition. There are some people that think playing Bell might be the better direction for the program, and it’s hard to blame them the way Jones finished the season. He threw only one touchdown in the last four games while he threw more interceptions (8) than he had thrown in the previous nine games (7). This coincided with Ryan Broyles’ injury, but that kind of drop off from losing your best receiver shouldn’t be so drastic, especially at a talent-laden program like Oklahoma. I think it demonstrates how reliant Jones was and is on the talent around him which exemplifies exactly why he will never be a franchise quarterback. He has quality size, pretty good arm strength, but his throwing motion looked like it was in slow motion yesterday and his ball velocity was very unimpressive. I had wondered about these potential issues before, but they never seemed as evident as they did yesterday. He struggled to make anticipation throws, he was missing high very consistently and he seemed hesitant to let it fly at times. A few times he got ready to throw but would then pull it back down which can happen when a quarterback struggles and doesn’t trust what he is seeing. If Jones declares some team will draft him based on his size, production and perceived potential. However, I am very confident that he will never be a franchise quarterback and that he would struggle mightily in the NFL even if he had some talent around him. He is surrounded with talent at Oklahoma and still made plenty of questionable decisions and poor throws, particularly under pressure. I wouldn’t draft him in the first four rounds at this point, and even after that I don’t really see the upside in selecting him.

Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma: Bell is the quarterback who seems likely to replace Jones should he leave or even, possibly, should he return and be forced to participate in a quarterback competition. It was brought to my attention that he was one of the top pro-style quarterback prospects coming out of high school and was converted into the battering ram for Oklahoma’s offense after he got to college. It will be interesting to see how Bell develops once Jones is gone, but there are some people that think he should take over next year. I can’t say how anyone in the Oklahoma program feels, but it will be interesting to see whether Jones leaves or stays, and if there is a quarterback competition if he comes back. After the way he played this year I think it would be fair to open the starting spot up to competition.

Roy Finch, RB, Oklahoma: I thought Finch caught the ball out of the backfield more than he apparently did, but Iowa just couldn’t figure out a way to take away the swing pass to him in the flat, he was just too fast and elusive. He had 34 receptions this year and I think he has the makings of a very good 3rd down back in the NFL. He’s very undersized at 5’7”, 166 pounds but he is very fast and contributed 605 yards on the ground (5.45 ypc) and 3 scores plus 296 yards as a receiver out of the backfield. Additionally he returned 11 kick-offs for 223 yards (20.27 average). Is he going to be a 1st round pick? No, but I do think he has plenty of draftable ability despite his size. He’s only a sophomore so he has another year or two to play at Oklahoma, but his versatility to catch passes out of the backfield and gain yardage after the catch was valuable last night as he caught 2 receptions for 32 yards on swing passes.

Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: Obviously Broyles didn’t play in this game, but his impact was felt because of how Oklahoma struggled to move the ball at times. Their defense won them this game in my opinion, and really made it pretty easy for Oklahoma to score points without being overly effective on offense. Broyles was a great receiver for Oklahoma and while I questioned his straight line speed he always created consistent separation and displayed pretty good hands. I wish him well in his recovery from his awful knee injury, but worry that it might limit his ability to create separation when that was a potential concern already due to his lack of straight line speed.

Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma: Stills has upside thanks to his athletic ability but he did not impress me yesterday. He had a couple of catches, but on deep passes he was unimpressive and didn’t show much effort or ability to adjust to those throws. He dropped a couple catchable passes and overall didn’t live up to the hype he seemed to be accumulating over the course of the season. Not a fan at this point.

Kameel Jackson, WR, Oklahoma: Jackson is a quality receiver and I really like his upside. He flashed much more consistent hands than Stills did and started to come on late in the year after Broyles went down with an injury. He’s only a freshman and wasn’t the focal point of Oklahoma’s offense by any means, but he caught 9 of his 12 passes for 134 of his 165 yards receiving on the season. He didn’t have a touchdown, but he showed he has the hands and the athletic ability to be a big playmaker in the future. Keep an eye on him, I loved what I saw from him last night even if it was a small sample size.

James Hanna, TE, Oklahoma: I like Hanna, and think he’s a possible sleeper for the tight end position. He had 9 total touchdowns the last two years and upped his reception total to 27 along with 381 yards this year, but his touchdown total decreased to two after netting seven the year before. He’s listed at 6’4”, 243 pounds and has a listed 40 time of 4.86, so he isn’t going to be a burner in the NFL. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him drop a pass and his hands strike me as reliable. He’s underappreciated much like David Paulson from Oregon is because of all the weapons he is surrounded by, but I think he has more reliable hands than people think. He’s a late round prospect, but I think he has talent worth drafting late.

Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: Frank Alexander has solid size for a defensive end in a 4-3 or an outside linebacker in a 3-4 but I don’t think he has the athleticism to be a consistent pass rushing threat. He will have to get stronger and add weight, but I don’t see much pass rushing upside in the NFL. He was able to bull-rush Riley Reiff last night but that has more to do with Reiff’s lack of lower body strength than Frank Alexander’s NFL upside. He struggled to beat Reiff off the edge and really all he could do was bull rush him.

Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma: Lewis also didn’t play in this game, but for a different reason than Broyles. Lewis was suspended for this game and that meant we didn’t get to see him match up with a potential top 10 pick in Riley Reiff. Ronnell Lewis is a possible 1st round prospect should he declare early in large part because of alleged 4.5 speed. He’s very fast off the edge and has a lot of upside as a pass rusher as an OLB though I’m not sure he is the smartest player. He was suspended for the game against Iowa because he was ruled ineligible for the game because of academic reasons. That doesn’t make me think he will come back, though it does give him some reason to declare even if it might be for the wrong reasons. It will be interesting to see what he decides to do, but it would be a sign of immaturity if he didn’t come back because of laziness or lack of effort academically. He’s got upside, but he’s got some red flags around him.

R.J. Washington, DE, Oklahoma: R.J. Washington rotated in for Oklahoma against Iowa and he had success rushing the quarterback against Iowa. He is a bit of a pass rush specialist at 6’3”, 248 pounds and had 2 of his 5 sacks on the season last night against Iowa. He will be a senior next year and it will be interesting to see if he can fill the void left by Frank Alexander graduating and possibly by Ronnell Lewis leaving early.

Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma: Lewis is a quality linebacker though he doesn’t have great size. He’s listed at 6’2”, 227 pounds and has a relatively unimpressive 4.72 listed 40 yard dash time. He’s an athletic player though and is also a good tackler. I worry about how he will hold up versus the run in the NFL because of his lack of size and he hasn’t shown the ability to shed blocks to make plays. It’s not a 100% requirement to play WLB in the NFL, but it does help. At his size his game is using his athleticism to avoid blockers and flow to the ball, but if he doesn’t time well at the combine it could make scouts wonder if he’s athletic enough to compensate for his lack of size and strength to get off blocks. I like Lewis, but I need to watch him more to give him an accurate grade.

Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma: Jamell Fleming was featured in my list of potential break-out players for this season. He didn’t have an unbelievable statistical season but he did have a good year and finished it with a great performance against Iowa when he was consistently matched up with Marvin McNutt. He doesn’t have elite size or speed as he is listed at 5’11”, 192 pounds with a listed 40 yard dash time of 4.54. He makes up for it by being a very fundamentally sound cornerback with impressive ball skills and quality tackling. He has a pretty good burst to close and used it to deflect 10 passes this season and intercept 2 passes. I think he’s going to be a quality corner in the NFL despite not being a 6’1” corner with a 4.4 40 yard dash time. He matched up with the taller McNutt effectively though I don’t know how well he would be able to mirror corners with better straight line speed. I like him though.

James Vandenberg, QB, Iowa: Vandenberg was perplexing to watch all night and really all season. He’s a bit of a gun slinger and has above average arm strength but made some very risky and questionable decisions in this game. Like anyone who ever spent time watching Brett Favre knows sometimes those decisions work out, like when Vandenberg threw across his body for a 4th quarter touchdown to continue Iowa’s comeback attempt. However, sometimes they don’t and those turnovers have plagued Iowa all season long. He made a valiant effort leading Iowa back in this game, but he lacked pocket poise and didn’t make good decisions under pressure. He’s too inconsistent for my liking, but he did flash some positive traits last night. It will be interesting to see how he looks next year with a year of starting under his belt, though I anticipate some similar play.

Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa: McNutt’s stock is dropping right now. I’ve heard he’s been getting 5th-7th round grades from scouts and it’s not hard to imagine why when he’s struggled so much against some of the more physical and talented corners he’s faced this year. He struggled against Alfonzo Dennard, Leonard Johnson and didn’t do much on Jamell Fleming last night. One of his only catches against Fleming occurred when he shoved him shortly after releasing on the line of scrimmage and caught the pass a little afterwards. McNutt didn’t seem to be as physical as one might have hoped he would be given his size, and due to his lack of straight line speed and burst in and out of his breaks I think scouts are worrying about his ability to create separation at the next level. Considering all that it really isn’t that surprising that his stock is slipping. It’s too bad though, I liked him coming into the year as a 3rd/4th round guy.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa: Fiedorowicz may not have a great stat line but at 6’7”, 265 pounds he strikes me as one of the next quality tight ends to come out of Iowa. He’s only a sophomore, but he had 16 receptions, 167 yards and 3 touchdowns this year. As far as I could tell based on my research he was the most statistically productive tight end on Iowa’s roster this year despite his age. He also made a critical catch to extend one of Iowa’s drives late in the game yesterday. I didn’t pay particularly attention to him yesterday, but he did stick out to me a couple times. At his size he could develop into an intriguing tight end prospect, so I for one will be keeping an eye on him.

Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa: Reiff is a guy that I projected to be the #5 overall pick in my first mock draft and I still believe he has the potential to go in the top 10. He’s my #2 overall offensive tackle behind the consensus #1 Matt Kalil from Southern Cal. Some have Jonathan Martin #2 overall but I am not sold on him sticking at left tackle in the NFL and think he might need to slide over to right tackle. Reiff will have to make no such transition, and while he isn’t necessarily ready to walk in and start like Kalil and Martin are in my opinion he has as much top left tackle upside as Kalil does thanks to his great athleticism, large frame and long arms. Many were unimpressed with him in this game because he was bull-rushed effectively by a number of Oklahoma defensive ends, but I was not surprised. I have been pointing out that Reiff needs to get stronger in the lower body all season, and it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s watched him before that he struggled to recover and anchor against Oklahoma’s strong defensive ends. He needs to add weight and strength in his lower body but that can be done with a quality strength program and proper determination and work ethic, so that doesn’t concern me. If he was playing with poor leverage or standing straight up out of his stance that would be one thing, but that isn’t the case. Once he gets stronger that won’t be much of an issue at all, so if you believe Reiff has the work ethic to get stronger with a NFL strength coach working with him then you shouldn’t worry about some of his issues with bull rushes last night. I believe he will be fine in that aspect, so he still gets a top 10 grade from me. He’s not ready to walk in and start at this weight obviously, but he’s got more than enough upside to warrant top 10 consideration. If Nate Solder can go in the top 20 last year with his issues with bull rushes as well as speed rushes there is no reason Reiff shouldn’t go in the top 10-15 in my opinion.

Broderick Binns, DE/DT, Iowa: Binns is a bit of a ‘tweener because he is undersized at 6’2”, 261 pounds but I think he might have to bulk up to have a chance at contributing to a rotation in the NFL. He was effective this season as he produced 59 total tackles, 11.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF and a remarkable 8 pass break-ups. That really evidences how well Binns does at getting his hands into passing lanes and his ability to do that led to a pass deflection and an interception on a Landry Jones pass last night in the red zone. Binns reminds me a little bit of Karl Klug’s situation from last year, and I seemed to be higher on Klug than most. He was an all effort guy that had very violent hand usage which I loved, and he has actually led the Titans in sacks this year despite only weighing 270-275 pounds all year. Binns doesn’t have the same motor and hand usage in my opinion, but if used appropriately he could be a quality player.

Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa: I am very high on Daniels. He’s another undersized defensive lineman from Iowa and I think he’s going to stick on a NFL roster and contribute, perhaps much like Klug has as a rookie. I have heard that he isn’t much taller that 6’0” even though he is listed at 6’1” 280 pounds and that will hurt his draft stock. However, he was very productive this season with 66 total tackles (32 solo), 13.0 TFL, 7.0 sacks and one pass break-up. He had 5 tackles last night including three for loss of which two were sacks. He was very disruptive last night as he has been all year and I look forward to watching him at the East-West Shrine Game or the Senior Bowl because he warrants invitation to one of those games. He’s a mid-round prospect right now, but so was Karl Klug and he has been one of the steals of the draft thus far based on how Tennessee has been able to use him.

Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa: Prater is another mid-round corner but he hasn’t had a very good season this year. He hasn’t impressed me in coverage when I’ve watched him this year and he only had 3 pass break-ups and one interception (though he returned it 89 yards for a touchdown) all season. He is a pretty good tackler though and he managed to force an impressive four fumbles, an impressive number for a DB. He didn’t stick out to me much last night but I think his stock is falling right now. He’s listed at 5’10”, 185 pounds and has a 4.49 listed 40 yard dash time so he isn’t a freak corner. He’s probably a 4th or 5th round pick right now in my opinion.

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Oklahoma finally managed to win a big game, even though it was against a significantly less talented UCONN team. Will they be able to win a National Title?

1. Oklahoma- It’s hard to put anyone but Oklahoma at the top. Obviously the quarterback position is integral in college football, and while they lost talent at running back in Demarco Murray they are returning Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles and 15 other starters. The way Jones and Broyles were playing last year, you have to think they are going to be pretty lethal again this year. Jones has tons of starting experience and while his decision making is questionable at times, he knows how to win and should give Oklahoma a good shot to get to the National Championship in what may be his final college season.

2. LSU- I really like LSU’s chances this year. They might not be returning a ton of talent (I think a lot of people underrate Terrance Tolliver, plus they lost star corner/return man Patrick Peterson) but Jordan Jefferson may be ready to take the next step in his progression, and their defense should be fierce as usual. If Jefferson can improve as a passer he has already proven he can win without consistently passing accurately, which could make LSU very dangerous. He has a lot of starting experience too, which I don’t think he gets enough credit for. I also have to give both LSU and Oregon a ton of credit for opening the season playing each other, even though a loss will dash the respective teams’ hopes at a National Title (most likely). A lot of teams will be playing schools like Apple Valley State Technical College of the Arts and other pathetic teams for a free win and tune-up, so it is absolutely imperative that we give LSU and Oregon the credit they deserve for “manning up” so to speak and playing a legitimate out of conference opponent, especially one ranked so high.

Darron Thomas led Oregon to the National Championship last year, but it will be harder to get out of the Pac-12 with Stanford and USC both returning a lot of talent.

3. Oregon- Oregon gets props for scheduling LSU as well, though it is funny that both Oregon and LSU are being investigated by the NCAA currently. Regardless, Oregon is returning a lot of talent including Quarterback Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, and a talented secondary (especially if Cliff Harris stays out of any more trouble) and should make a run at a Pac-12 title. Their main opposition, Stanford, will be right on their heels however.

4. Stanford- Stanford fans everywhere were finally able to exhale when Andrew Luck announced he would return for his redshirt junior season at Stanford and if they are REALLY lucky he may even stay for his senior year, but that is obviously getting ahead of ourselves. After his fantastic season last year when he helped resurrect Stanford from a downtrodden program to a Pac-10 title contender the expectations will be high for him individually and for the team. I expect him to meet expectations with another very impressive season, but it won’t be as easy with the bulls-eye on their back this time around.

5. Arkansas- I am very high on Arkansas and I think they are going to be a dynamic team this year, especially on offense. Tyler Wilson showed flashes of greatness leading a comeback against the future National Champion Auburn Tigers, and will have a bevy of talent to work with as a first year starter. Knile Davis, one of the best running backs in the country, should continue to be very effective, and the Razorbacks return their four best wide receivers from last season (Greg Childs, Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Cobi Hamilton. Hamilton is the youngest and he is a junior this year) who should form a very dynamic passing game. Arkansas can usually sling the ball around the field, but what made their offense truly dominant last season was their ability to run the ball effectively to set up play-action, and that was largely thanks to Knile Davis. With him back, and Wilson ready to step in and sling the ball around like he did against Auburn after Mallett left the game, Arkansas’ offense shouldn’t miss a beat. They also have some talent on defense, especially at defensive end. They should have a pretty good pass rush, but it remains to be seen how good their secondary will be. It could very well be a weakness for their team, but their offense will be loaded enough to win them games even if they get in the occasional shootout.

Thanks for reading the last of my preseason ranking installments! Hopefully you enjoyed them. In the coming days I will be getting back to scouting and writing up preseason scouting reports, etc. So look out for those!

–Tom

1- Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Analysis: Brown has an impressive combination of size and speed. He has a listed sub 4.55 40 yard dash time and while he is only 6’2″, 225 pounds he can really fly around the field. He has a lot of potential and should help replace Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant at linebacker. As a junior Brown produced 72 total tackles (47 solo), 1.5 TFL and had 3 INT’s with an impressive 113 return yards after those interceptions. I expect Brown to step up and continue the strong defensive tradition that has developed recently at UNC.
2- Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
Analysis: David plays MLB for Nebraska from what I remember but at his size he will probably have to move to WLB in the NFL, though if he packed on some weight to get to 230+ he might have a shot at playing the Mike. Regardless, he might not have great size at 6’1″, 220 pounds but he is an absolute tackling machine. He ended last season with a remarkable 152 tackles (85 solo), 12.5 TFL, 6.0 sacks and 8 pass deflections. He is going to get knocked for his size but he can flat out play, and that’s why I have him ranked higher than a lot of other people.
3- Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Analysis: Upshaw has a lot of potential and he is returning for his senior year which will be a huge lift for Alabama. He was productive last year as a junior and was arguably Alabama’s top pass rusher. At 6’2″, 265 pounds he is very well built and was able to amass 52 total tackles (32 solo), 14.5 TFL, 7.0 sacks, 4 FF’s and 2 pass deflections. He has a lot of potential and flashed some impressive hand usage last year if I recall correctly. I am anxious to evaluate him further, but I was always impressed with him when I saw him last season.
4- Travis Lews, OLB, Oklahoma

Analysis: Lewis has been a potential NFL draft pick since he was a redshirt sophomore so now that he is a senior he will finally be in the draft. He has impressive athleticism and has a good reputation in coverage, but I have never been that impressed with him when I have watched him periodically. I am withholding judgement until I see more of him however. Last year he produced 109 total tackles (64 solo), 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 3 INT’s and 5 pass deflections. I think if he replicates his junior season and demonstrates his ability in coverage to me and other talent evaluators he could be a top 50 pick in the draft.
5- Brandon Lindsey, OLB, Pittsburgh
Analysis: Lindsey plays DE for Pittsburgh but I am not sure whether he will be a 4-3 DE or a 3-4 OLB at this point or not. At 6’2″, 250 he might be forced to transition to OLB, but if he gained weight he might be able to stick as a 4-3 DE. We will have to wait and see on that front, a lot of that will have to do with how he plays and develops this year. As a junior who stepped up to replace Romeus in the lineup opposite Jabaal Sheard Lindsey produced 51 total tackles (32 solo), 18.0 TFL, 10.0 sacks, 3 FF’s and one pass deflection. He has a lot of pass rushing upside and was quite disruptive opposite Sheard last year, so it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his effectiveness now that Sheard has moved on to the NFL.
6- Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
Analysis: Irvin had a very big year as a pass rusher last year but was fairly one dimensional as he did not have a single tackle for loss that was not a sack, meaning he was not much of a factor playing the run. That’s not entirely surprising considering he was playing at a listed height and weight of 6’3″, 235 pounds. However, he was dynamic when rushing the passer as he amassed 21 total tackles (18 solo), 14.0 TFL, 14.0 sacks, 2 FF’s and 1 pass deflection. It will be interesting to see if he can reproduce that effectiveness as a pass rusher but even more interesting to see if he can be more effective versus the run.
7- Sean Spence, OLB, Miami
Analysis: Spence might be undersized for the position (about 6’0″, 220 pounds) but he is an impressive athlete and he is a tackling machine much like Lavonte David for Nebraska. Spence produced 111 total tackles (59 solo), a whopping 17.0 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 FF’s and 6 pass deflections. I don’t think he will be able to stick at MLB in the NFL necessarily, but he could play WLB effectively based off of what I have seen from him last year. He plays the run very well despite his size as evidenced by over 14 tackles in the backfield versus the run. He avoids blocks well but the true test of his potential will be how well he sheds blocks despite his relatively small stature.
8- Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State
Analysis: Bradham is on my list of potential break-out players in a previous post, and I think he has a good chance to do it. He stands at 6’2″, 241 pounds and produced 97 total tackles (53 solo), 5.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks, 5 pass break-ups and 1 kick/punt blocked as a junior last season. It will be interesting to see how well he plays the run and drops into pass defense, as I have not seen him play very much yet.
9- Nico Johnson, OLB, Alabama
Analysis: Nico Johnson is a junior who may emerge as the starter opposite Upshaw at OLB. He has a lot of potential at 6’3″, 238 pounds and in a rotation last season he managed 33 total tackles (22 solo), 3.5 TFL, 1 INT and 1 pass deflection. With Upshaw as a mentor he could very well develop into a dynamic pass rusher, though I have not seen him play much so I can’t elaborate on his edge speed or get-off from the stand-up linebacker position. It will be interesting to see what his role is this year, and if he forms a formidable duo with Upshaw for Alabama.
10- Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas
Analysis: Acho returns to a Texas unit with some emerging talent up front and that should give him the opportunity to make plays at linebacker. Last year as a junior he was productive and displayed a lot of talent when he finished with 81 total tackles (47 solo), 10.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT (returned for TD), 1 FF, 2 pass deflections. I am excited to see how he develops and progresses as a senior, but I have high hopes for him.

Thanks for reading my pre-season outside linebacker rankings! Hopefully you enjoyed them. Feel free to comment on them as you see fit. I will have my inside linebacker, cornerback and safety rankings up soon.

–Tom

Updated Mock Draft: 12.5.10

Here is my latest mock draft. It is using the draft order that is current as of last week, but I finished the analysis for all of the selections today and I didn’t want to scrap it when the new draft order comes out on Tuesday, so I finished it and I am going to post it. Hopefully it is still interesting, it took a lot of work to put this all together. Let me know if you like or dislike your teams pick! Comments are very much appreciated. Enjoy!

First Round NFL Mock Draft:

1. Carolina (1-10)- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford- If Andrew Luck doesn’t come out this year there will be a lot of disappointed teams at the top of the draft board, and Carolina would be one of them. Yes, they drafted Jimmy Clausen in the 2nd round last year, but he is not a good enough prospect nor he has he played well enough as a rookie to warrant passing on Luck here. Luck has such great intangibles, pretty good arm strength, good accuracy, he has two years of starting experience in a pro-style offense and has good size as well. If he comes out I would be shocked if he didn’t go in the top three overall selections.
2. Detroit (2-9)- Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson- Bowers surprised me this year as I was ready to write him off as a very physically talented player who never translated his physical ability into production, but he made me eat my words this year as he has amassed over 15 sacks already this year. I don’t know how good his burst is off the line of scrimmage, but he is very strong and should test very well. This might seem a bit high for him now, but he is a terrific athlete for the LE position and having a LE who could potentially be a 10+ sack guy is something that any team would love to have. I don’t know if I think he will actually be that kind of a defensive end, but his physical ability certainly makes it a possibility. Detroit could really use a stud LE like Bowers and their defensive line could be terrifying with Suh, Bowers and a seemingly revitalized Kyle Vanden Bosch on the line.

3. Cincinnati (2-9)- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia- A.J. Green is an extremely talented WR. He has great hands, he is a very good deep threat, and he demonstrated his value to Georgia by helping them turn around their seemingly doomed season once he returned from his suspension. Cincinnati needs some young talent at WR. I like Jordan Shipley and he projects to be a very nice slot receiver for the Bengals, but Chad Ochocinco is getting up in age and Terrell Owens, despite his fantastic statistical season, can’t have a lot left in the tank at this point. Drafting A.J. Green would give them a future replacement for Ochocinco and would help soften the inevitable blow their offense will suffer from when T.O. starts to come back to earth.

4. Buffalo (2-9)- Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas- I have been saying for a long time that Mallett seems like a very likely candidate to go in the top 5 because some team will fall in love with his amazing combination of size and arm strength, but I am not a fan of Mallett despite this assertion. His footwork needs improvement, I am not sold at all on his intangibles from an intelligence standpoint, nor do I think he makes his team better for being on the field. He doesn’t seem clutch or reliable in critical situations to me, and combining that with his questionable intangibles (in my opinion) makes me doubt him as a NFL prospect. But that doesn’t mean he won’t go early in the draft and get a boatload of cash, and the Bills could really use a QB. Fitzpatrick has played better than expected this season, but if they believe Mallett is a Franchise QB (which I don’t) then they will pick him.

5. Arizona (3-8)- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska- The Cardinals could really use a QB, but Andrew Luck and Mallett are off the board and I’m not sure Jake Locker is worth a top five selection considering his relatively disappointing senior season. I don’t think the Cardinals will want to invest in someone who is as big of a risk as Locker is right now considering the amount of development he will need once he gets to the NFL. I’m a Locker fan, but he needs some coaching up once he gets to the NFL. The Cardinals do have other needs though, and cornerback is one of them. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a good corner, but they have little talent opposite him or behind him. Amukamara is without a doubt the top senior corner and may be the top corner in the draft considering Patrick Peterson’s potential move to safety in the NFL.

6T. Denver (3-8)- Marcell Dareus, DE, Alabama- Denver has serious issues versus the run and one thing that McDaniels should realize is that the Patriots built their defenses by adding talent along the front 7, and that should be the Broncos plan of action as well. Dareus is a very big, strong, powerful defensive lineman and I think he projects perfectly to the 3-4 DE position in the NFL and he has plenty of experience playing it in Alabama’s 3-4 defense. Dareus should help solidify their defensive line within his first two seasons on the team.

6T. Dallas (3-8)- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU- Dallas needs serious help at safety and Peterson is an absolute freak athlete who has great size, speed and ball skills. He projects very well to corner and just as well to safety, and could very well be an impact player at FS in the NFL. Having someone with his speed and playmaking ability over the top of the secondary would really make the Dallas secondary very talented and dangerous.

8. San Francisco (4-7)- Jake Locker, QB, Washington- Is Locker a top 10 pick right now? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he went this high when it is all said and done. He has a strong arm, he is very athletic and he has great intangibles. He needs some coaching and development, but I think he has the potential to be an effective NFL QB. I don’t know if he will ever be the franchise QB that so many people thought he would be after his junior season, but I do think he can be effective. Troy Smith has shown flashes this season, but if the 49ers are sold on Locker they should select him. Alex Smith is a 100% certified bust and Troy Smith should remain the starter for at least a year before Locker competes to take over in his second season.

9. Minnesota (4-7)- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn- Do the Vikings have bigger needs than defensive tackle? Yes. QB, Safety and potential Left Tackle depending on what they do with Bryant McKinnie. It’s hard to believe he was voted into the Pro-Bowl just a year ago. Regardless, the heart of the Vikings defense has been their ability to stop the run for years, but that has changed dramatically this year. Pat Williams is wearing down and should probably be released after this season, and despite his lesser numbers this year Kevin Williams is still a very good defensive tackle. But he can’t do it all himself. Nick Fairley is an very talented defensive tackle and honestly he reminds me a bit of Kevin Williams. He has great size, great quickness off the ball and with one move he can beat the offensive lineman and penetrate into the backfield. Getting Fairley would give them a quality defensive tackle to play next to Kevin Williams at some point and they would also have a potential replacement for K-Will as he gets older.

10. Cleveland (4-7)- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State- This might seem high for Blackmon, but I don’t think so. I’ve seen him play a number of games this year and he impresses me every time I see him. He has solid size at 6’0” but he is powerfully built and he is arguably as physical as any receiver in the country. He seems to run relatively effective routes and though I haven’t scouted him specifically yet he seems to have reliable hands. The Browns could very well pick Julio Jones here, but I think Julio Jones might remind them a bit too much of Braylon Edwards. He has incredible potential and ability, but his lapses in concentration will result in drops at times. Blackmon is a very good WR and I have him graded as a top 15 pick right now, so I won’t be surprised if he goes this high at all should he declare.

11T. Seattle (5-6)- Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina- Robert Quinn definitely has top 10 talent but I am not entirely convinced he will go that high. He has two years of film on him, but he was very raw and really just demonstrated his freak ability and potential, but didn’t show much in the way of technique or sound fundamentals during his first two seasons. He has a lot of raw ability but he needs probably a year or two of coaching before I think he will be an effective starter. He could definitely be used in a rotation to try to get a speed rush on 3rd down situations before he becomes a starter, but if his technique and hand usage aren’t developed he will not be effective in those situations. But Pete Carroll is not afraid of a gamble on a guy with character questions and the Seahawks really need a pass rushing boost, so it could be a match made in heaven if Carroll and his coaching staff can develop his ability.

11T. New England (from Oakland 5-6)- Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA- Akeem Ayers strikes me as a prototypical Patriots player. He is very well rounded and he is good as a pass rusher and in coverage, and the Patriots could really use some talent at OLB because they have had trouble finding quality players to play that position. The strength of the Patriots defenses have always been their front seven, and with Ayers at OLB their defense would definitely be strengthened.

13. Washington (5-6)- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama- The Redskins desperately need talent at receiver so McNabb will have somewhere to go with the ball. Julio Jones is without a doubt the best WR available at this spot and the Redskins would love to have him. He has the highest ceiling of any WR in this draft in my opinion because of his combination of size, speed and ability to make incredible catches. He needs to work on concentrating on routine passes to make sure he doesn’t drop as many catchable balls, but he could really help open up the Redskins offense.

14. Tennessee (5-6)- Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina- The Titans need OLB help very badly and Bruce Carter is probably the most athletically gifted OLB in this draft class. Carter might not be the most fundamentally sound linebacker, but he has the potential to be a special teams ace as well as an impact linebacker. I think that after he tests well and showcases his athletic ability he will be a virtual lock for the top 20, so I could definitely see him going as high as #14 overall.

15. Houston (5-6)- Brandon Harris, CB, Miami- The Texans have had issues in the secondary for about as long as they have existed, and that problem was only magnified by losing Dunta Robinson in free agency last offseason. The Texans could really use some help at corner and at safety, but there is not a safety worth this selection. Brandon Harris is a very athletic corner and he has good ball skills and could really help replace Dunta Robinson in their secondary.

16. San Diego (6-5)- Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia- Justin Houston has had a great junior season and I would be very surprised if he didn’t declare and end up in the top 20 selections. The Chargers really need help at OLB because Shawne Merriman is now a Buffalo Bill and Larry English has not panned out as an OLB like they hoped he would have. Houston is not a tough projection for the 3-4 OLB spot in the NFL because he has played that position effectively in Georgia’s new 3-4 defense, which makes this a very easy selection.

17. Indianapolis (6-5)- Drake Nevis, DT, LSU- The Colts really need help versus the run but they don’t like big run stuffers who take up blockers. They like athletic defensive tackles who can get off the ball, penetrate and make plays in the backfield. There aren’t many defensive tackles who have done a better job of doing just that than Nevis this season. He has been extremely disruptive all season and he is quick off the ball, has impressive hand usage and does a good job of regularly beating one on one blocks. He would give the Colts some much needed talent at the defensive tackle position.

18. Miami (6-5)- Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama- The Dolphins have two talented RB’s in Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, but Ronnie Brown is about to turn 29 years old and has had trouble with injuries and Ricky Williams will be 34 in May. Both of them probably have a couple of productive years left, but the strength of the Dolphins continues to be their running game and without a healthy back or two their offense struggles to sustain drives and produce on offense. Mark Ingram could step in as a rookie and contribute immediately as a runner and could replace either back depending on who gives out first or who starts to tail off. One of them figures to get injured at some point next year, and having Ingram would be fantastic insurance for both of them. Not to mention he is prepared to be a workhorse back in the NFL which is what the Dolphins will need in a couple of seasons.

19. Tampa Bay (7-4)- Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida- Tampa Bay has a talented corner in Aqib Talib, but opposite him the talent at corner is questionable at best. Jenkins is a local Florida talent and he has fantastic ball skills, supports the run very well and is a good tackler. I’m not sure how good he is in man coverage yet, but having two playmakers at corner like Talib and Jenkins would mean a lot of turnovers for the Bucs once Jenkins breaks into the starting lineup.

20. Green Bay (7-4)- Cameron Jordan, DE, California- The Green Bay Packers have had a lot of injuries this year but one spot they didn’t have an injury was at defensive end. Why do they need one then? Because Johnny Jolly, their quality defensive end, was suspended for the season for charges related to marijuana. The Packers elected to move Ryan Pickett from NT to DE and promoted B.J. Raji into the starting line-up which has worked well for them, but I don’t think that is a lineup that will be productive for the long haul. Cameron Jordan has had a very strong senior season and he is good versus the run as well as the pass, and the Packers could look at him and see him as a productive 3-4 DE. I’m not sure how well he handles double teams because I haven’t watched him play enough yet, but if he plays well versus doubles he would be an ideal 3-4 DE for the Packers. They could also use cornerback help because who knows how much Woodson has left, but I’m not sure that is a position they will want to address in round one.

21. St. Louis (5-6)- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame- The Rams really need a playmaker at receiver and I’m not sure that there is another position they need help at more than receiver. If the draft breaks this way I could see them trading down to try to add more draft picks to stockpile as much talent as possible. But if they stay here I think they will have to address the receiver position, and I think Floyd is the best receiver available at this point. Floyd may not have elite speed, but he has good size, he locates the ball well in the air, has great hands to make tough catches and I think he has a lot of potential as a receiver in the NFL. He has kind of a “prima-donna” attitude and I am worried a little bit about how hard he is going to work to improve in the NFL considering how easy he has had it at Notre Dame, but those are just my concerns personally.

22. Jacksonville (6-5)- Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue- I would love to have Kerrigan fall to the Falcons, but I don’t think the Jaguars would pass on him. They really need pass rushing help and Kerrigan has been incredibly productive this season. He has a great first step and he really gets off the ball quickly, plus he has as good a motor as anyone in the country, which really says a lot. He should be able to contribute early since I think he is pretty NFL ready, but I’m not sure his ceiling is much higher than a 5-8 sack LE in the NFL. That’s better than what the Jaguars currently have though.

23. Kansas City (7-4)- Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M- The Chiefs really need an OLB to help take some pressure off of Tamba Hali and Von Miller seems to be a perfect fit for them. He has recovered well from a slow start to his senior season and he has had a productive season. I think he projects very well to the 3-4 OLB position and the Chiefs could really use his pass rushing ability.

24. New York Giants (7-4)- Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State- The Giants love quality DT’s who can get upfield and penetrate into the backfield. Paea is freakishly strong but he is very quick and would fit in well on their defensive line. He would help make up for the disappointing players the Giants have at the position besides Barry Cofield.

25. Philadelphia (7-4)- Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma- The Eagles really need some help at OLB as they have tried a number of ways to fill that void but none have been particularly effective. Lewis is a talented linebacker who is very good in coverage and has played a significant role in making Oklahoma’s defense as good as it has been this year. He would fit in well in the Eagles defensive scheme in my opinion.

26T. Chicago (8-3)- Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State- I was trying to decide if Sherrod or Castonzo would be the pick here but I gave the slight edge to Sherrod this time. Castonzo would be a safe selection but I think Sherrod offers them more options as far as playing left or right tackle depending on how Chris Williams pans out at some point.

26T. New Orleans (8-3)- Greg Jones, OLB, Michigan State- The Saints really need OLB help and while Jones is not a very big linebacker I think he is one of the best linebackers in the country. He plays smart and is the heart of Michigan State’s defense. He would fit in well in the Saints scheme in my opinion and would look really good playing next to Jonathan Vilma.

28. Baltimore (8-3)- Aaron Williams, CB, Texas- The Ravens really need a playmaker in the secondary and Aaron Williams comes from a Texas program that has produced a lot of talented defensive backs over the years. He hasn’t had the best season this year, but he is very athletic and has good ball skills and that is something that has to be attractive to the Ravens who need playmakers in the secondary very badly.

29. Pittsburgh (8-3)- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin- It might seem strange that Carimi is the pick here instead of Castonzo, but Carimi fits the Steelers’ scheme so much better than Castonzo because of Carimi’s ability to open holes in the running game. He has good size and strength and is good in pass protection, but I don’t think he will be a LT in the NFL, but he should be a quality RT for a long time.

30. New England (9-2)- Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa- A lot of people might not think Clayborn is going to slide this far, but I think he might when it is all said and done. He has not looked dominant at all this year, and contrary to last season when he seemed to demand a double team I have watched him get blocked one on one effectively most every time I have watched him. I don’t know where the dominant Clayborn has gone, but I don’t think I would spend a top 20 selection on him after having watched him this year. However, the Patriots are notorious for taking advantage of a player they like falling and being available at the end of the 1st round and I could see them taking advantage of this.

31. New York Jets (9-2)- Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State- The Jets could really use a 3-4 DE and Heyward is an absolute mammoth of a man. He has great size and strength and projects perfectly (in my opinion) to the 3-4 DE spot in the NFL.

32. Atlanta (9-2)- Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin- I would be really surprised if the Falcons stayed at this spot if the draft broke this way, I think they would be much more likely to trade down. Remember, Thomas Dimitroff made his name in the Patriots organization before he was hired as the General Manager of the Falcons. However, if they stay here they should be looking for a DE, WR, potentially an offensive lineman, potentially a cornerback or a tight end. There is not a defensive end worth this selection in my opinion, nor is there a corner I like for the Falcons defensive scheme available right now. I think that TE is an underrated need for us because Tony Gonzalez is such a key cog in our offensive system and his reliable hands have resulted in a lot of key conversions for us since we have gotten him. Lance Kendricks might not have had the best season of any TE available this year, but I have been high on him since he was a sophomore TE on Wisconsin. D.J. Williams is another option given the season he has had this year for Arkansas, but Kendricks is a much better blocker and is comparably dangerous as a receiver, so I think he would be a perfect fit in Atlanta.

Thanks for reading guys, hopefully you enjoyed it! Let me know what you think!

–Tom