*Sigh*... 2014 Mock Draft...

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Finnegans Wake:
Sort of sickening to think about the draft halfway through the season, but what else is there to do?  Have to think this will be in the 1.10 +/- 3 range, inclined to think we may be picking in the single digits.  

R1.  WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M, 6'5", 230#, 4.50.  Some very good options at this spot, including possible heirs to Ben, and some franchise LT players.  But with 2 more years on Ben's deal and lots of needs across the board, I think we pass on a very good crop of QBs early and plug other holes.  At OT, Jake Matthews will probably be gone (Giants?), leaving Michigan's Tyler Lewan, Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio, and possibly Florida State's Cameron Erving and Tennessee's Antonio Richardson as LT picks.  But as vital as LT is, picking early in R2 still leaves decent LT options, whereas there are only a few big impact players on offense like Evans.  Would you draft Jake Long, or Megatron?  

I'm not implying that Evans is as talented as Johnson.  But he's got the same size, he's got great hands, huge catch radius, and he has been amazingly productive against top defenses (Bama).  Manziell jitterbugs out of the pocket and tosses it up for grabs, and Evans comes down with it in triple and even quadruple coverage.  Once he has the ball in his hands, his eyes are big for the end zone, and he is quick to get to a fast stride.  Speed is his question:  he doesn't have Johnson's 4.32 speed, and estimates vary on whether he's under 4.50 or closer to 4.70.  I think he's closer to 4.50, which makes him a slightly bigger A.J. Green, rather than a Gronkowski-speed WR.  Speaking of Gronkowski, Evans would give Ben a larger target, almost TE-sized, that he desperately needs.   Our younger guys have nice speed, but Ben's ability to consistently convert has suffered ever since Ward retired.  Heath and Evans give Ben nice big consistent targets, while AB and Wheaton give him the shifty speed.  (I'm assuming Sanders is allowed to leave.)

R2.  OT James Hurst, North Carolina, 6'6", 305#.  Hurst has estimated 5.28 40 speed, which isn't elite, but it's quite a bit faster than any tackle currently on roster.  Hurst grades well but needs to work on his footwork some.  Working with OG Jonathan Cooper on the left side of the NC line, the two burst holes for RB Giovani Bernard to exploit.  Hurst held his ground against Jadeveon Clowney in the Tarheels' opener, and I think he's a R1 talent who can man the blind side, but who is going to get lost in a crowd of OTs drafted early in 2014.  

R3 - Traded to Cleveland Browns (Shamarko Thomas).

R3 (Comp - Wallace). NT Beau Allen, Wisconsin, 6'3", 325#.  An extraordinarily weak 3-4 NT class.  Not sold on ND's Nix in R1, and other prospects like Tennessee's 6'6" Daniel McCullers look like fool's gold to me.  Allen is a solid run-stuffer in the Badgers' new 3-4 scheme, and has the size to plug the holes.  But what I like most is his motor.  He's not going to rack up sacks, but he's being under-valued as a NT.  We need a guy to anchor the middle and make the guys flanking him better, and Allen can do that in a way Mac apparently can't.

R4. CB Pierre Desir, Lindenwood, 6'1", 205#.  Small school sleeper.  With lots of good talent at the top of this draft, it's tempting to re-stock a position in dire need of help, but I see some value with Desir.  You'll hear more of his name as the draft approaches.  He's got a knack for the ball, and a nice thump as a tackler, but I think he's only going to run around a 4.50 and not get drafted earlier than this.  If he runs sub-4.4 he jumps up a couple of rounds.  Big jump in LOC is the question.

R4 (Comp - Lewis).  S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois, 5'11", 192#, 4.59.  Nice bookend to Shamarko, can play either S spot.  Broke a finger and was wearing a cast and still racked up 5 INTs in 6 games while tackling like a whirling dervish.  Lacks elite top end speed, but Clark never had that either.  Ward will bring a sense of danger to the secondary.

R5.  TE Colt Lyerla, Oregon, 6'5", 250#, 4.59.  Lyerla left the Ducks to enter a drug rehab program after being busted by cops who observed him in a car sniffing coke.  Potential first round talent, borderline undraftable.  Has the speed to win one on one receiving matchups and can be a nasty blocker.  Legal proceedings could delay his availability for camp and regular season.  Is he Hernandez, or Tyrann Mathieu?  Steelers need to drop the illusion of only taking squeaky-clean players, given their recent history.  If Lyerla can be trusted, he's worth the gamble.

R6.  OT/OG Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State, 6'8" 328#, 5.29.  Huge converted TE who plays mean and has decent movement, but needs to be coached up on fundamentals.  Could fit at 4 spots on the line, with best value as a potential LT backup.

R7. ILB Marcus Spruill, Syracuse, 6'1", 224#, 4.64.  Will Sean Spence's miracle return happen?  Will the light come on for Vince Williams?  Who knows.  It's worth it to bring in some competition at the very least.  Spruill is a bit on the light side, but he flies around on the field and isn't there to serve cupcakes.

R7 (Comp - Mundy).  CB/S Louis Young, Georgia Tech, 6'0" 196#, 4.55.  Hard worker who wants it.  Has decent speed and size but not a ton of productivity.  Could be a nice tweener.  Nice physicality, and probably an upgrade over some of the current backups.


Evans and AB would be a killer tandem, love it.  And hopefully Beau Allen will be the next great NT, it would immediately improve the defense.  If the Steelers hit on those two positions, it could go a ways to improving the team.  If the OT in R2 also hit, we may have something on our hands for 2014.  Hopefully Shamarko improves, OL injuries come back healthy, etc, etc. 

They're tied for a top 8 pick, hope they don't screw that up in the second half.

Let's see...two offensive tackles, a WR, and just about every position on defense is all we need.

Yeah, I'd say it's not a minute to soon to think draft.

Finnegans Wake:
Scratch the TE from that mock.  He dropped out of his substance abuse program, not worth the risk.

OK, so we appear to be moving from a ~1.8 +/-2 to a 1.15 +/-2 situation. 

At 1.8ish:  OT Jake Matthews, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Mike Evans, OT Taylor Lewan, ILB CJ Mosely, OT Cyrus Kouandjio.

At 1.15ish: WR Marqise Lee, TE Eric Ebron, CB Jason Verrett, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, S Hashean Clinton-Dix, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Basically, moving from LT/WR --> TE/CB, for best value. 

Down on NT Louis Nix right now.  Down on CB Bradley Roby. 


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