Like everyone else, I am chomping at the bit for this weekend. Many have already posted their mocks and I have had the chance to offer criticism or support for their picks. It’s only fair that I throw my thought out there as well…..so here goes nothing.
1 (29): Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford (or Stanferdz!!)
All off-season I’ve clamored for us to draft one of the big defensive linemen at this position. Based on all of the mocks we’ve seen, Eddie Goldman, Arik Armestead, Jordan Phillips, and Carl Davis could be available at pick 29. I do not think the first two will be there when we pick and while Phillips and Davis certainly fill a need, Peat offers more value. When I look at the roster I see several glaring holes and one that leaps out at me is RT. Gosder is a fine tackle when he is healthy but, given his contract ($9.9M and $10.4M in 2016 and 2017, respectively), I don’t see him on the roster after this season. So we need a RT for the future and Peat absolutely fits the bill. He is a powerful run blocker with solid technique and is above average in pass protection. Where he tends to struggle is in space against outside rushers. Overall, he would be the perfect bookend to Anthony Castonzo and would likely develop into an elite RT. It isn’t sexy, but damn it’s a solid move.
Other options: Eddie Goldman (FSU), Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma), Marcus Peters (Washington), Eric Kendricks (UCLA)
2 (61): Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State
What can I say; I enjoy watching McKinney play. He’s a ferocious competitor that is almost always in position to make a play. He isn’t the most athletic ILB in the draft but it’s hard to argue with his production. Plus he has elite size and the physical tools to cover TEs in the NFL. He could be a key piece in building an elite defense and he would be the best ILB on our roster.
Other options: Donovan Smith (Penn St), Quentin Rollins (Miami OH), Tevin Coleman (Indiana)
3 (93): Derron Smith, S, Fresno State
Quality depth at the safety position is a big concern heading into the 2015 season. Addams and Lowery are solid starters but the depth behind them is suspect. Dewey McDonald is serviceable in spot play and Anderson is a special teams ace that I wouldn’t be comfortable relying on for long stretches. Winston Guy is the dark horse that the team seems to really like (so he’ll probably get cut or retire in the next week or two….). Smith is arguably the most polished in the draft. He has great coverage skills, is an absolute ball hawk, and is physical enough to play up near the line of scrimmage. His only drawback is his size (5’10", 200 lbs). But to get a guy at the end of the third that can compete for a starting safety slot would be a gem of a pick.
Other options: Jaquiski Tartt (Samford), Davidd Cobb (Minnesota), Marcus Hardison (Arizona St)
Indianapolis sends this year’s 6th (204 overall) and a 2016 3rd to Washington for their 2015 4th (105 overall).
4 (105): David Cobb, RB, Minnesota
Despite all of their patience, Grigson and co. (myself included) finally admitted that Trent Richardson was ineffective in our power blocking scheme. So what was our solution? "Hasta la vista" TRich and "Hola" Frank Gore, who had his most productive years under Pep Hamilton. But Gore will be 32 and it would be foolhardy to expect more than a year or two of quality production from him. While Vick Ballard (when healthy) and Boom Herron have shown that they can be productive in Pep’s system neither is starting quality. Enter David Cobb. He is an ideal fit in the power blocking scheme. He doesn’t have the home-run capability of Coleman (who would also be a great fit) but he can move the chains and has great vision.
Other options: Jaquiski Tartt (Samford), David Johnson (Northern Iowa), Taiwon Jones (Mich St)
4 (128): Ellis McCarthy, NT, UCLA
FINALLY!!! An interior defensive lineman. It made me ill to continually pass on some of the big boys earlier in the draft. As I said, Phillips and Davis were poor value in the first and some of the others were just poor scheme fits even if I really liked their film (Grady Jarrett and Gabe Wright). McCarthy has the size and the strength to eat up space and double teams in the middle. He compares favorably Terrance Knighton. In fact, the comparison is too favorable as McCarthy has had issues with his weight. But if Other options: Gerod Holliman (Louisville), Lynden Trail (Norfolk St), Reese Dismukes (Auburn)
5 (165): Leterrius Walton, DT, Central Michigan
And the run on defensive linemen continues. Walton is a terrific athlete that was recruited as an offensive lineman. He has an explosive first step and a tremendous motor. He is solid against the run and, with some coaching, the ability to get inside pocket rush. Is he strong enough to eat up double teams at the NT position? Probably not….but he can certainly develop into a starting 5-tech in a 3-4 front.
6 (206): Bobby McCain, CB, Memphis
We let Josh Gordy walk and Jalil Brown is currently our fourth corner on the depth chart. That positions certainly needs upgraded and McCain would be a good fit. We’ve recently had him in for a visit so there is at least some interest in him. He’s a physical corner that could use some work in press-man coverage. He’s above average against the run and has knack for the ball. He might be best suited in the slot until his coverage skills develop more.
7 (244): Obum Gwacham, DE, Oregon State
Explosive player that is very fluid in space. Relentless effort and pursuit. If he had the functional strength to match is speed he would be an elite prospect. But he doesn’t. He does have the character traits to improve and get stronger. He could be a situational rusher and special teams player early on and with some time working with an NFL level trainer, he could become a consistent player at this level.
7 (255): Brandon Bridge, QB, South Alabama
This kid has a canon for an arm, NFL size and mobility to boot. Did I mention his cannon? Unfortunately, he has shotgun accuracy and questionable decision making skills. But most of his issues are considered fixable. A year on the practice squad would be in order but he could develop into a decent back up.