NFL Mock Draft by Omar | Picks 22-32…
22. St. Louis Rams via Wash: Matt Elam S Florida
Craig Dahl is one of the worst starting safeties in the NFL and an abominable tackler. Meanwhile, Quintin Mikell has been really inconsistent the last years. An upgrade at safety is desperately needed for the Rams. Fortunately, this is a great safety class, so the Rams could address the position with their second first round pick without making any major reach. This is a bit early for Matt Elam, but I had to give St. Louis a safety. Besides, if Mark Barron went seventh overall, I imagine Matt Elam could go around the twenties without being called a reach.
Others have Kenny Vaccaro as their top safety prospect in this class. I happen to disagree. Even though Vaccaro is a really good prospect and a ferocious tackler, Matt Elam, in my opinion, is a much better athlete and is better against the run. Elam is no liability against the pass either as you will probably notice watching his game against LSU. He was one of the key components for a breakout defense. Elam is, in my humble opinion, the best and most complete defensive back in the whole draft class.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Terrance Williams WR Baylor
I have heard by a reliable source that the Vikings really like Terrance Williams. He would be an ideal complement for Percy Harvin and would give Christian Ponder a great deep threat and red-zone target. Jerome Simpson created a lot of hype this past offseason, but has been really underwhelming so far. The Vikings could use another wide-receiver to draw some attention off Percy Harvin, much like the Cardinals did last April when they selected Malcom Floyd.
Based on his size (6-02, 210 pounds), one could think Terrance Williams is a big possession receiver who offers little after the catch. One could not be more as the Baylor product is able to stretch the field with his blazing speed and, once he has the ball, he is really dangerous. Williams is more like a Demaryius Thomas or Josh Gordon type of receiver with lots of raw upside, but not as developed as you would expect. What is more appealing about him, is that he has been able to improve a lot from last season, which speaks volumes about that raw talent leavel I was talking about. In case you want to watch him, I highly recommend the game against West Virginia early this season.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnthan Banks CB Mississippi State
The Colts secondary is a total mess right now. Vontae Davis, for whom the Colts gave up a second round pick, has been playing terribly and Darius Butler should not, by any means, be an NFL starter. Johnthan Banks started the season on fire, but declined a bit down the road. He is still, by some distance, the top senior cornerback prospect—though Will Davis might have something to say about that.
A big week is coming for Johnthan Banks. The Senior Bowl week will be really important for Banks in order to revitalize his draft stock. Banks is a really intelligent cornerback, which is a really underrated quality on a defensive back today. Even though he is not the athlete Dee Milliner or Desmond Trufant are, Banks has great technique to go along with his rangy frame and fluid hips. He is a good fit for a cover-2 scheme, but can also hold his ground when asked to play press-coverage. As complete as they come at the cornerback position.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Hunter WR Tennessee
Seattle’s wide-receiver corps is really inconsistent. Sidney Rice is a talented player, but he is really injury-prone; and even though, Golden Tate has really emerged as a great wide-receiver—especially after the catch—, the Seahawks could really use a big end-zone target for the great Russell Wilson. Justin Hunter (6-04, 205 pounds) fits that mold perfectly and would be a great complement for Golden Tate and Sidney Rice. Hunter recently declared for the 2013 NFL draft.
Justin Hunter will not be among the fastest wide receivers at the combine. However, his slight lack of athleticism is overshadowed by his good hands and great route-running skills. What really stands up from Hunter’s game and makes him arguably the top receiver in this class, however, is his rout adjustments when the ball is thrown. He has the best ball skills of any wide receiver on this class, which makes him a really nice red-zone target. While his routes and ball-skills are great, he can also make things happen with the ball in his hands.
26. Green Bay Packers: Giovanni Bernard RB North Carolina
The Packers have very few needs, one of them being an explosive running back who can give a whole new dimension to their offense. Alex Green has not shown anything since being drafted, and the team clearly does not think James Starks be a starter; neither do I. It is even scary to think what Green Bay offense would looks like with Giovanni Bernard as their running back. Bernard is much higher on my board that in almost anyone’s. In fact I actually think Bernard could go a lot earlier than this, but I could not find a fit for him.
The most explosive running back in the nation, Giovanni Bernard has taken college football by storm in just his second season. Bernard is a threat to score on every play and has a special ability to gain yardage after the contact despite and break tackles in spite of his size (5-10, 205 pounds). He is good catching balls out of the backfield as well. What is really special about Bernard is his vision; he always seems to understand the blocks in front of him and take the biggest possible gain. He is running back as complete as they come .
27. Houston Texans: Barrett Jones, C/G, Alabama
Houston’s offensive line has not been the same since it let Mike Briesel go via free agency and inexplicably cut Eric Winston the past offseason. Even though Duane Brown is still one of the top offensive linemen in football, Derek Newton has been terrible replacing Winston at the right tackle position and, so the Texans must find an upgrade for him as soon as possible. Jones is a fast raising prospect though I still have certain concerns about him—which I will explain later. However, he is a great fit for Houston’s zone-blocking scheme and would only be asked to play right tackle.
28. Denver Broncos: Kawann Short DT Purdue
The Broncos have Kevin Vickerson and Justin Bannan as their starting defensive tackles. While neither of them has been terrible, they could certainly use an upgrade and give the team a more solid rotation, especially if they do not plan to move Derek Wolfe to his most natural position at defensive tackle. I was not a believer in Kawann Short prior to the season, but he has had a monster season and has a monster season. His improvement hinges primarily on his play rather than his stats, which are still very good.
Kawann Short a penetrating tackle that can get quickly into the backfield and make plays either rushing the passer or against the run. His play, in fact, reminds me a bit of Ndamukong Suh. Short is not a guy who will move the whole opposing offensive line backwards, but he is more than capable of winning his individual matchup, getting to the backfield, and disrupt the play, as you will be able to notice in his game against Iowa. I am really looking forward to see Short at the Senior Bowl, where I believe his stock will raise.
29. New England Patriots: Sharrif Floyd DT Florida
I would prefer giving the Patriots an offensive guard, but none in worth taking this high in my opinion other than Chance Warmack that is obviously gone. Besides, the Patriots have a slight need at defensive tackle because Kyle Love is an average starter at best and they have very little depth behind him and Vince Wilfork. Sharrif Floyd I another prospect who I think will raise a lot later in the process and I see quite plausible he ends up being a first rounder. He would be a great complement to the big run-stuffer Wilfork.
Sharrif Floyd was another key element in Florida’s defensive breakout season. He had a monstrous campaign in tape and proved himself to me one of the top penetrating defensive tackles in this class. Floyd had only one sack this season, but do not let that mislead you. He is constantly putting pressure and penetrating the opposing offensive line. Floyd is not as strong as other defensive tackles in this class, but he is as fast as any of them and he is outstanding attacking any hole left by between opposing linemen. He had a great, great game against Missouri this year, if you want to see more from him .
30. Atlanta Falcons: Sam Montgomery DE LSU
The Falcons have a lot of need for such a good team. Depending on what happens with Tony González, this pick could be used on a tight end. Defensive end is a bigger need though as John Abraham will be 35 for the beginning of the 2013 campaign. Ray Edwards was recently released, and neither Cliff Matthews nor Jonathan Massaquoi has proved to be capable of bringing pressure to the opposing quarterback on a consistent basis. I am punishing Sam Montgomery a bit for his mediocre campaign though I still love him as a prospect. The Falcons would be getting somewhat of a steal here.
As you probably already know, I had Sam Montomery as the top prospect in this draft back in August. Montgomery is not as athletic as his fellow LSU tiger Barkevious Mingo, but he is a more complete, all-around player. He is actually better against the run than he is rushing the passer, but he is a more than decent pass rusher. Montgomery is may the second best technician among defensive end in this class just to Bjoern Werner, but he lacks a little explosiveness of the edge to win the first step to the opposing offensive tackle. He had an underrated game against Cyrus Kouandjio this year, but if you want to see Montgomery on his full glory, you should watch his tape last year against Georgia and Alabama (the first one).
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Jenkins DT Georgia
As great as the 49ers’ defense has been the past two years, they have had a clear liability at the nose tackle position, where Isaac Sopoaga has been mediocre at best as you probably noticed when New England ran down his throat all the game. Jonathan Jenkins provides really good value at this point, so the 49ers would be sticking with their top player available philosophy and addressing arguably their greatest need. The best front-seven in the NFL would only become more dominant with Jonathan Jenkins in the middle
I was not such a fan of Jenkins’ ceiling though I recognized that he could be a solid and consistent starter once in the NFL. Well, his upside and athleticism came to light in probably the most important game he has played throughout his short career against Alabama. Even though Georgia lost that game, Jonathan Jenkins has an unstoppable force for the Bulldogs. He even gave Chance Warmack his toughest game this season beating him a couple of times. Jenkins has an incredible combination of anchor, speed and strength that could see him going somewhere near where Phillip Taylor (to whom he reminds me a lot) went in 2011 (21st overall).
32. Baltimore Ravens: Alec Ogletree ILB Georgia
There is a lot of uncertainty on Ray Lewis’ future. Even though he claims that he will remain playing for Baltimore for at least another year, it is uncertain whether or not he can play as he once did and, more importantly, stay healthy. After all, the future hall of famer would be entering his 17th season. If he does leave, the Ravens will have a huge hole at middle linebacker as Jameel McClain is a pretty mediocre player and Dannell Ellerbe is below average against the run though he is great in coverage. Fortunately for the Ravens, they would be taking a great all-around player who is also a good leader.
Alec Ogletree has been one of the best players in one of the best defenses this season. He has great aggressiveness and athletic ability to go after the ball carrier while still being serviceable in coverage. Ogletree has all the talent to be a high pick this upcoming draft, but at times, he just disappears and does not seem give the hundred percent. He is one of the most ferocious tacklers in college football. Ogletree is listed at 234 pound, but I fully expect him to weigh in at least 15 pounds heavier. If you want to see more from him, I recommend the Ole Miss game.