With both the Senior Bowl and Combine in the books, we’ve reached a perfect time for an updated mock draft. As usual, we’ll go pick by pick to make sure we discuss each pick thoroughly enough, and as usual, we’re assuming I’m the GM, so I’m not making picks based off who I actually think will go where, but rather who I’d take with the slot. And no, no trade scenarios because they’re infinite.
Here’s a quick rundown of our draft so far: no. 1 Houston Texans (Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina), no. 2 St. Louis Rams (Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M), no. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars (Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville), no. 4 Cleveland Browns (Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M), no. 5 Oakland Raiders (Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn), no. 6 Atlanta Falcons (Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan), no. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson), no. 8 Minnesota Vikings (Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State), no. 9 Buffalo Bills (Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo) and no. 10 Detroit Lions (Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M). With the 11th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Tennessee Titans select?
Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA.
It’s always nice when the most talented player on the board also happens to fill a major need, and that’s exactly what we have here.
Our new DC, Ray Horton, likes to run a hybrid 3-4 and mixes with even fronts. For that to be successful, we need guys off the edge who can get to the QB. I like Derrick Morgan’s pass rush ability, but it’s not a lock he’ll be a good fit in our odd fronts. Even if he is, you need at least two top notch pass rushers in this league to really help keep offenses honest.
What about Kamerion Wimbley? He’s got experience playing in an odd front, but he’s really lost a step and hasn’t put up a double digit sack season since his rookie year in ’06. I’d love to cut him to free up $2.4 million in cap space, but I’d be left with $5.4 million in dead money. He’ll have to re-structure, and I’ll move forward with Barr, Morgan and Wimbley as my top three OLB’s.
Barr is a great value at eleven. It wasn’t too long ago that he was being rumored as a potential top-3 pick, so to have him fall to us is an opportunity we won’t pass up. He’s got good size (6-foot 5, 255-pounds), impressive balance, good strength and is a heck of an athlete. He actually was playing running back for the Bruins up until two years ago before switching to OLB, and then absolute erupted in ’12 and ’13, racking up 23.5 sacks, 41.5 TFLs and 10 FFs.
He’ll likely be a liability in coverage at first, but has the athleticism to make it work and already has the skills to take on average to above average NFL TE’s down the seam. Even still, his primary role, and what we need him to do most, is going to be getting after the QB, and he’s one of the absolute best at that in the ’14 draft class.
Who else was considered here? I’d really like a road grading RT to replace David Stewart and his voidable $6.4 million, but this is just a tad early for Zack Martin (Notre Dame) and Morgan Moses (Virginia). I’ll look for Antonio Richardson (Tennessee) in round two. I also considered Darqueze Dennard (CB, Michigan State) here, not only because he’d be a great value but I’m likely to lose Alterraun Verner to a higher bidder in free agency, and we’re still not totally sure what we have in Blidi Wreh-Wilson.