This second post in my round 1 mock draft series discusses picks 5-8.
5. Buccaneers—Fletcher Cox (DT-DE, Mississippi State). Bucs lost ten in a row. They need a run stopper, and fast. Morris Claiborne is higher up in the talent pool, and they took DE Adrian Clayborn in last year’s first round, but a good tackling DE in a 4-3 scheme will take precedence for the Bucs. Ronde Barber might be in his last year, and none of the linebackers or DBs wanted to throw their bodies into running players with the ball (that means tackling). Cox makes it tough for runners to bounce outside of the edge. Imagine If DT Gerald McCoy stays healthy. With Cox tackling for losses and McCoy’s inside explosiveness, it could be tough to be a QB in the NFC South. Adding Cox and a new coach can bring a quick turnaround.
6. Redskins—Morris Claiborne (CB-KR, LSU). Daniel Snyder has been called “Napoleon” by some, but the thing with him is, he doesn’t have the guts to put a big pick in an unproven skilled position and will trade for a once-proven talent at QB (a la Brad Johnson, Mark Brunell, Donovan McNabb) and draft high for DBs. With talk of Peyton Manning going to Washington and having lost Carlos Rodgers in free agency, Claiborne is the logical choice.
7. Jaguars—Justin Blackmon (WR, Oklahoma State). OK, Blaine Gabbert looks like a little kid forced to play football by his dad, but hey, give him another chance. A big-time tough receiver could be what Gabbert needs. Blackmon is thick and strong with good leaping ability and can fight for some passes that might not be on target. Maybe his mean-looking sneer will scare Gabbert into playing better.
8. Panthers—Michael Brockers (DT-DE, LSU). Again, another NFC South team that has a lame defense. Cam Newton has enough around him right now: a good line, running backs and receivers. He was able to be all he could be. Defensively, with linebacker injuries and the D never really recovering from losing impact player Julius Peppers, even two years after his trade, this team needs a monster up front. Brockers tackles, blocks kicks, and disrupts passing lanes at the end position. This pick brings an instant improvement to the Panthers D.
Next up, picks 9 through 12.