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), no. 10 Detroit Lions (Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M), no. 11 Tennessee Titans (Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA), no. 12 New York Giants (C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama), no. 13 St. Louis Rams (Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama), no. 14 Chicago Bears (Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri). no. 15 Pittsburgh Steelers (Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State), no. 16 Dallas Cowboys (Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt), no. 17 Baltimore Ravens (Eric Ebron, TE, UNC), no. 18 New York Jets (Marqise Lee, WR, USC), no. 19 Miami Dolphins (Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame), no. 20 Arizona Cardinals (Ra’Shede Hageman, DT/DE, Minnesota), no. 21 Green Bay Packers (Lous Nix, NT, Notre Dame), no. 22 Philadelphia Eagles (Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn), no. 23 Kansas City Chiefs (Odell Beckham, WR, LSU) and Cincinnati Bengals (Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State). With the 25th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the San Diego Chargers select?
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State.
There were three main positions I was looking at hard here; a blindside left tackle to play bookend of RT D.J. Fluker, our first round pick last year; an elite edge rusher at outside linebacker, where we’ve swung and missed of late; and an athletic, shutdown-capable cornerback with high upside.
The top tackles left on my board are Morgan Moses (Virginia) and Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama), both of whom are better suited on the right side, so I’ll hold off on an OT. If Ford hadn’t be snagged by Philly at no. 22, he’d be a perfect candidate to play OLB for us, but with him gone, it’s too early to take either Kyle Van Noy (BYU) or Jeremiah Attaochu (Georgia Tech) at no. 25.
Considering the above information with the fact that the second tier of cornerbacks is all but untouched, I’d be a fool to look elsewhere.
Roby may not be quite the athlete that Gilbert is, nor quite the polish as Dennard, but his ceiling is arguably just as high as theirs, if not higher. Physically he’s got the skills to be a no. 1 cornerback, with good size (5-foot 11, 200-pounds), speed (4.39 40-yard dash), strength (17 reps on 225) and burst (4.04 20-yard shuttle). He has good feet, backpedals and flips hips smoothly and has good change of direction skills. He has the strength to mirror bigger receivers with physicality at the line, but the quickness and explosion to also mirror smaller, quicker wide outs. He also has good hands and a knack for making big plays.
Roby does need some polish and coaching up. He noticeably had a disappointing junior season, and had some maturity and off the field issues to deal with as well, so he doesn’t come without some risk. But if he does put it all together and realize his immense potential, he’ll one day be considered a steal at 25.
With Roby and Shareece Wright on the outside, Steve Williams at nickel and Eric Weddle and Marcus Gilchrist at safety, our secondary isn’t looking quite so bad. Certainly it’s an improvement from last years squad, which finished 29th in passing yards allowed.