Up Front: This IS Not a mock draft, it’s merely the third(and final) of my way too early pre-draft articles. Call it a primer for the 2013 Edition of the Draft Phantom Draft Guide (Free and being published on the 8th of April 2013). So please don’t read it as ONE single draft merely a collection of not well covered interesting ideas. If you missed the first two sections they are at:
So What is the intent: A brief preview of my draft guide and to provide “food for thought” on some out of the way guys you might not have seen. I also conclude with some strong thoughts/ idea’s that I’d like to put out there so they don’t fester into fact.
*Another caveat I started working on this prior to Kiper’s mocking of Ogletree to Tampa so it might not be as big of an interesting projection.
I’ve also organized for by round that (as of this moment) I would project them to go …that’s obviously highly subject to change.
1st Round Out of the Box Guys:
Eric Fisher OT C. Michigan 6’7” 297lbs.
Anytime you evaluate a prospect coming from a lesser conference one of your questions has to be why everyone “missed” on him coming out of high school. In Fisher’s case its because he was a two sport star(football and basketball) and he weighed in at less than 250 pounds. However those “basketball feet” have served him well along the offensive line; in terms of footwork and agility he is in an elite class unto himself in this draft. His kick slide and feet are simply better than every other tackle. He’s played at every offensive line position (other than center) for the Chippewas before starting exclusively at left tackle over the past two seasons, his time at guard and right tackle has given him added experience in pull blocking. Most impressive is his lock out ability, Fisher has what seem to be exceptionally long arms once he extends fully(which he looks to do quickly) – it’s lights out and good night, book the 20 dollar cab ride around him because your not getting to the quarterback; he simply has too much leverage with his arms for you to turn the corner and too quick feet for you to outrun him to the edge. While Fisher is exceptional in pass blocking he’s also above average as a run blocker he’s tenacious if not over power and positions himself well; he can also contribute if you want to pull block your left tackle on the occasional sweep or counter-trey.
What can effect his draft stock: Fisher is going to participate in the Senior Bowl so he’ll have a chance to show off his skills against better talent than he faced week in and week out in the MAC. Also I’m curious to see how long his arms actually are when they get measured at the combine, I think they are probably longer than average but against MAC opponents they look freakishly long. He still needs to improve his upper body strength (but I think most NFL scouts are already aware of that) to avoid getting bull rushed at the next level, if he ever develops an elite hand punch (like most elite left tackles) he would be something off the charts at the NFL level. Right now he’s projected to go somewhere between 10-20 in the draft and I don’t see that changing much, except to the downside if he gets really whalloped at the Senior Bowl.
Why there is an off chance Tampa would pick him: This is Chess NOT Checkers! (Ok sorry to break out Denzel Washington on you there from Training Day) but while it may not address a pressing Tampa need it could make some long term sense if Fisher is the best player on the board. First off Donald Penn has been very good at LT for the past several years, he also turns 30 next season. As an offensive lineman he’s far from out of gas he’s somewhere between the 6th and 12th best LT every season and that’s pretty good. However, Tampa already has 34 million in cap space committed to him, Zuttah(4M) and Penn and Nicks (10M apiece). Adding a reasonably priced first rounder who is a pass block and pulling specialist at LT could assure a dominating front line for the next several years. Bonus is that playing at RT may extend Penn’s dominance (lets face it his weight fluctuates during the season cause this guy loves the Sizzler Buffet , or any Buffet for that matter). Penn would also probably be a Buc longer at RT as age would catch up with him (33-34) he’d still be quite viable at RT while also commanding a lower salary the same time Fisher would come up for his first renegotiation. Additionally, you look at the fact that we are not extending Josh Freeman says were not giving up on him, but we are not sold either meaning we could have a rookie first rounder next season: especially with a much strong QB class next year that includes Bridgewater, Aaron Murray, Logan Thomas, potentially Manziel and having a shut down passblocking LT who can also up some of the runs Schiano has been dying to have called starts to make some sense from a talent perspective and economic perspective.
Alec Ogletree ILB Georgia 6’3” 235lbs
One of a class of exceptionally athletic and deep linebackers Olgetree has an outside chance to be the first linebacker off the board due to Jarvis Jones(Injury Concerns) and Manti Teo(Sudden Hoax questions). Ogletree brings a rare combination of versatility and athletic acumen to the scene. He does come with his own red flags though, he’s never played a full season at Georgia, in 2009 as a sophomore he played several games at SS (his original position) then the following year when he should have been a permanent starter he ended up starting just 7 games due to injury. This past season he was suspended at the start of the season, originally scheduled to miss 2 games at the minimum Ogletree ended up doing the whole bid of 4 games. When he did return through 9 games he amassed 99 tackles 2 sacks and an interception. Ogletree excels at blitzing the A gap, having recorded 3 the year before in just seven games. He is probably much better than his numbers indicate as the games he has played in for Georgia have been primarily against running teams. Being a former strong safety he’s also more adept in zone coverage than the majority of MLBs. He’s going to need more discipline and better coaching at the pro level though because he tends to get swolled up by larger offensive lineman; he needs to get better at disengaging despite his ability to run players down from behind. The other area he needs more discipline in is gap control, Ogletree enjoys freelancing far too much for a Pro MLB. Probably best suited to a 3-4 defense, Ogletree will bring unique versatility to any team that selects him if they can keep him under control.
What can effect his draft stock: Interview well. He needs to show that he’s able to be coached and has learned from prior mistakes.
Why there is a chance Tampa selects him: We’ll someone could always tie Schiano to a chair on day one of draft day, his character clearly will drive Coach S crazy but scheme wise, based on how Schiano ran his defense at Rutgers, Ogletree is the PERFECT pro MLB for him. He’s also not likely to find anyone with the athletic ability to rush the A gap and drop in coverage; while also being a sideline to sideline tackling machine for awhile. Schiano tried to do some of this with Mason Foster but he’s not a good blitzing linebacker and he’s only average at best in coverage. Scheme wise perfect fit, character wise Alec not so much.
Blidi Wreh-wilson CB UCONN 6’0” 190lbs.
If your looking for tape on Blidi Wreh-Wilson in press coverage…your not going to find it. As a rule the huskies didn’t press anyone. He has the length and speed to play press but his hand checking is obviously under developed as a result. He should not be drafted looking for an immediate impact as an NFL corner, the physical tools are there but he’s not complete yet. He does have excellent recovery speed and when a defender reaches his level he has an innate feel for using the sideline to shield off the catch. He’s given credit as an above average run defender, he’s better than that; multiple times on sweeps and tosses Blidi is blowing up the play even without getting the tackle he seems to have no problem sacrificing himself to submarine the lead blocker (be it a FB or tackle) and allowing one of his teammates to make the tackle. It’s probably this reason and his stellar coverage skills that led to him being a two time team captain at UCONN. In off coverage they don’t get much better than him, he has almost perfect timing on how long he can read the QB’s eyes and when he needs to turn and run with the WR. I would still like to see some better coverage on crossing routes but I think most of this is UCONN not having a very good linebacking corp, at the NFL level most of those passes are simply not completed due to the tattoo factor a WR would get going over the middle and Blidi is in the right position on these just the underneath linebackers couldn’t make a hit. If the Tampa 2 was still popular Blidi could be plug and play for a dozen NFL teams as it stands now he’s going to need at least half a season of coaching and probably a full one before he’s ready to be an NFL starter.
What he can do to improve his draft stock: Excel in press man coverage skills
Why Tampa might take him: Big need a CB, if there is a run at the end of the first round/ start of the second Rhodes, Ryan, Millner, Banks, Amerson could all by gone by Tampa’s second round selection even needing coaching he’s the only other CB with DIV I experience who is in that kind of physical class. Oh-and did you see he’s a two time team captain?
Terrance Williams WR Baylor 6’2.5” 201lbs
Based on production alone Williams should be a first round pick, Williams averaged an eye gouging 147 yards per game this season en route to 97 total receptions for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdown receptions. He’s projected to clock under 4.5 at the NFL scouting combine and was the Big 12’s most dangerous receiver a year after Baylor lost RGIII. Don’t sell the farm for Williams yet though, he may be one of the WORST route runners to come out of college in awhile. He’s immature and has not put the work in to be an elite receiver at the NFL level. He has speed and size so he’ll make contributions but against NFL quality corners he’s going to have some serious serious growing pains. For a player of his talents I cannot recall having seen more lazy breaks on post and corner routes. That’s quite scary to me I know he can do it, he shows quick change of pace and acceleration on comebacks and curls…despite not setting them up properly and he should be better at this point. He’s had 36 collegiate starts going back to 2010, has a career receiving average of better than 16 YPC , can blow the top off coverages, has big strong hands that are reliable and apparently doesn’t respect his craft. He could be one of the elite NFL receivers but after 4 seasons at Baylor playing for a great coach, why do I think he will put in that kind of time? Maybe he can mature but I doubt it, his physical skills alone though will make him a productive NFL receiver.
What could change his draft stock: He could go in the first round…someone may ignore the poor route running (thinking back to Al Davis days) but it would seem to me the era of diva WR’s has passed and Williams will need to say the right things to avoid a lengthy fall.
Why there is a chance Tampa could take him: Obviously WR is not a need, however after Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and Tiquan Underwood there is not much at WR in Tampa. Having only 3 quality NFL receivers is really dangerous for a team built around throwing deep. In truth there are no elite WR’s in this draft but there is a group of about 7 or 8 and I could see Tampa wanting to bone up that position for depth at some point in this draft.
Duke Williams SS/FS Nevada 5’11” 203
He shrunk 3 inches from his junior to senior year (at least according to the Nevada stat sheet. What didn’t shrink was his level of play, a former high school track star Williams has legitimate 4.45 speed and covered a lot of ground for the Wolfpack. Duke is a violent wrap up tackler, I know that sounds odd but he breaks down delivers a hit and ensures he gets his arms around the legs should the ball carrier start to pull away from him. He’s started the last three seasons at Nevada, mostly at SS, but has also spent time at FS and CB. This past season he finished second on the Wolfpack with 106 losses 5.5 for loss to go along with 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 8 pass deflections, and an interception. He also seems to play better in the red zone and at the end of the game. If you have never heard of Williams before, it’s probably because interceptions are not what he’s been racking up at Nevada, not because he can’t he does very well cutting underneath routes with his back to the QB, it’s that the Wolfpack run defense has been so porous they have had Williams in the box too far from the passing lanes. He’s been catching up to balls thrown over his head and deliver a “smack” to the WR at the point of catch rather than being able to play the ball when it coming in. His biggest liability maybe that he’s a bit of a tweener, with that sort of range you’d like to see him at FS, but he hasn’t had the experience playing single high safety very often so if you want him to be at that position some education will be required. High character player, relentless and obviously does what his team needs. His tackle numbers are inflated because Nevada was that bad on defense and simply no one else can make a play. His 2010 film looks more like a safety than a linebacker than this past season but really Nevada needed him everywhere. The player he reminds me most of is Matt Elam, you have to give the advantage to Matt Elam because of the level of competition, but Duke Williams is not that far behind.
Changing his draft stock: Williams has both a combine invite and will play in the little brother of post-season bowls at the East-West Shrine Game tomorrow. He’ll need to play great there because the perceived big boys are in the Senior Bowl or individual workouts only. Given his track star background I can imagine him putting up a combine workout that would place him firmly into Day 2 territory.
Why Tampa may take him: Has character and a good work ethic, this is a really deep safety class, we will need a couple more either now or in the future.
B.W. Webb CB/PR/KR William&Mary(FCS) 5’10” 172(?)lbs
Is the best pure FCS level player to come out for the draft in the last several years. (Not talking about guys who got kicked off a FBS school and transferred down). B.W. has been a proud member of the William&Mary Tribe since he came there in 2008. He started as a redshirt freshman the following year and was an instant star recording 8 interceptions, after that everyone avoided throwing his direction the next couple of seasons as B.W. was a man amongst boys. Some things cannot be concluded because of a lower level of competition but speed, knowing how to high point a ball, anticipating the throw – he’s elite FOR ANY LEVEL in these categories. I’m not exaggerating, he’s not the best cornerback in this draft but no one can claim to be better in those three categories. I also think he has a fair chance of posting the fastest 40 time at the combine. Just to top off his playmaking credentials he’s the FCS special teams player of the year averaging better than 11.2 yards per punt return, this despite the fact that most FCS teams simply refused to kick to him. Those are the superlatives, what he is NOT is a good tackler, he’s a lunger in that area and is also going to need serious work in an NFL weight room. I also don’t think William&Mary is being honest about his size and weight(shocking I know) they have him listed as 5’11” 182lbs, no chance unless I’m going blind. I’ve got 5’10” which looks about right when you measure him against the Maryland receiving crew, the weight no idea but 182 seems inflated. He has lined up in both off coverage and press coverage , but the press coverage was against a lower level of competition and marginal WR’s from FBS I’m afraid facing a large powerful WR he’ll get exposed. Clearly a project player but the athletic upside is there and speed cannot be taught.
What he can do to improve his stock: He’s playing in the Senior Bowl(A big achievement for an FCS player) and of course running the fastest time at the combine would help.
Why Tampa Might be interested: Well we need corners , he’s a team captain, hes hardworking and even if he doesn’t develop as a cornerback (he’ll have to get at least mediocre in tackling) he’d be a heck of a punt and kickoff returner.
Theo Reddick RB Notre Dame 5’11” 200lbs.
Bounced between RB and WR during his time at Notre Dame but played exclusively at the RB position this past season. He has good but not elite vision and plays faster than his 40 time would indicate he should. Not a bruiser basher or every down back in my book at the next level. He is however deceptively elusive and shows the ability to bounce run plays to the outside while also grinding out the occasional tough yard in the middle of the field. I think the one area Theo should focus on while transitioning from the pro’s is being a 3rd down back, being a former WR he’s a much more natural receiver than many of his competitors. His blocking will need to improve, he needs to get lower to anchor at the point of attack and hold off blitzers but he shows more than enough effort in this area he just needs to polish his technique.
What he can do for his draft stock: Play well at the Shrine Bowl, turn in something BETTER than 4.55 at the combine. Additionally if he chokes and gets caught by the drop bug early he could drop totally out of the draft.
Why Tampa could be interested: Michael Ware did a very good job, but with Legarette Blount heading on and Michael Smith being MIA last season…It might be time to make sure you have an adequate backup to avoid riding Doug Martin into the ground.
Phillip Lutzenkirchen TE Auburn 6’4” 255lbs
His name is a whole lot more fun if you say it SGT Shultz style “LOOTZ-EN-KIRKEN”. I watch Phillip and it’s like watching the maytag repair man. He’s a really quality route runner who seems to be open more often than not but has just 39 receptions through his starts the past two seasons. Part of the low production is he’s a constant injury liability after starting 11 games and securing 7 touchdowns as a junior Phillip could have really had a breakout year this season, but a hip injury sidelined him for the final 7 games and his draft stock will take a hit. Further Lutzenkirchen is not an elite or even better than good athlete, he is one of the better route running tight ends in this draft though and does an above average job while blocking in line. In space blocking he tends to get a little lost probably from a lack of game experience in this regard. The durability questions will drive him down, aside from that he’d be a viable starting NFL tight end, as it is I think you take a day 3 flier on him and realize he won’t be healthy all the time. When he is you’ll have a second starting caliber tight end on your roster just don’t bank on him being healthy all the time.
Draft Stock notes: Invited to but will not play in the Senior Bowl due to injury, baring a miraculous recovery he’s a day 3 guy. He really is a good route runner but opinions on him will differ wildly for injury concerns.
Why Tampa Might Want Him: Have you seen our Tight Ends? Dallas Clark was passable at times but can’t block, Stocker was decent blocking but doesn’t exactly stretch the field.
Brad Sorenson QB So. Utah(FCS) 6’4” 238
Originally attended BYU before transferring to Southern Utah, left to follow Ed Lamb when BYU dismissed him, big loss for BYU because having seen BYU’s offense (or lack thereof) this past season..yeah they could have used him. Sorenson looks like a prototypical NFL quarterback tall thick and with a strong arm. He absolutely torched FCS opponents despite playing for a team with an offensive line that even by FCS standards was somewhere between sub-par and just plain bad. His WR’s also were nothing special to write home about. For his career (3 seasons) 9,445 yards 65.5% completion percentage, 61 touchdown passes. Obviously coming from FCS he’s going to need work, the tools are there but he’s going to have to change a lot. One thing he won’t need to change is his arm strength, in terms of throwing power I can’t think of a quarterback this season who has a stronger arm or better zip on the football. His footwork is good given what he is working with, because he’s not exceptionally agile however he does a more than adequate job side stepping and avoiding pressure (something he got practice doing working behind the Firebirds line). The real concerns come from him playing against a low level of competition, working almost exclusively from the shotgun, and not having had to look off safties up to this point. Bottom line, he has the tools but is going to need work both on his mechanics and familiarity with a pro offense.
Improving his draft stock: He’s playing in the NFL Players Association Bowl Tomorrow (the little sister of the draft process) and has a combine invite…both are make or break for him.
Why Tampa might want him: If you need a big arm pocket passing QB who comes in a late round with plenty of upside, there really aren’t any other options.
Jack Doyle TE W. Kentucky 6’6” 253lbs.
Four year starter at TE for the Hilltoppers who went from being a perennial 0-12 joke to back to back bowl invites during Doyle’s tenure. He assembled another solid season this past year making 53 receptions for 566 yards and 5 TD’s. This brought his career receiving totals to 162 receptions for 1769 yards and eight TD’s. It’s his added prowess around the goal line that has Doyle in the draftable range now because fast he is not. He simply lacks the athletic ability to take the top off the defense, I’m expecting him to run somewhere in the 4.8-4.9 range at the combine. He also needs time in the weight room because despite the 253lbs he’s listed at he looks a little lanky. What he does have is an INCREDIBLY high motor, maximum effort on every play. Digging deeper he’s apparently also a high intensity guy in practice and treats it like a game. High effort players always have a chance to succeed where talent alone could not take them. He’s going to need to show that he can contribute on special teams in order to make an NFL roster and he doesn’t have a high upside but a combination of that maximum effort and being a viable goal line weapon means I could see him sticking in the NFL for a while.
Improving his draft stock: Needs to run something looking like an athlete at the combine
Why Tampa: Maximum effort guy, high energy even if he doesn’t make the team that’s the sort of player I could see coach Schiano being interested in late on day 3.
5 Simple Rules/Suggestions:
1) Please Stop Mocking either Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz in round 2, I’m ready to put that in the not gonna happen category. Both present good value later in round 1, more to the point no GM wants to “miss” on a first round pick. Beyond that you have far too many teams needing TE in the back of the draft and these guys are pretty easy choices, think about it Atlanta, Denver, Green Bay(letting go of Finley), Seattle, St. Louis(though bigger need at WR), Chicago, and the New York Giants.
2) Don’t expect an automatic QB run. Not that I’m saying it won’t happen but while last years QB class was good, this years is no where near that good. Also NFL teams tend to learn from group mistakes the 2011 QB run is a prime example, the Panthers are mostly happy with Cam Newton. However the Jags (Gabbert), Titans(Locker), and Vikings(Ponder) are all still licking their wounds from big reaches for need.
3) Not everyone is a 3rd round pick. Pretty much everyone whose not saying there a solid first round guy (and some of them will go in the second) is claiming to be a 3rd round pick because that’s what the draftniks publish (at least one source for almost all of them has them going in round 3) by that list the 3rd round will need 150 selections to make everyone happy.
4) The Manti Teo situation is ongoing – I have no idea how it will alter his draft stock. The combine may stop the bleeding it might not.
5) Every teams fan base wants Tyrann Mathieu, no coach wants to deal with that.