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G-Dawg Mock 5.0 "We have a trade"...


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***This is slightly modified version of a mock from 3 weeks ago***

Alright, obviously the topic of the day is the Falcons working out S'ua Cravens - a player we have all discussed and mostly admired.   I think the Falcons are currently poorly positioned to retain his services as I believe he is a little bit of a reach and not good value at #1-017 and will likely be off the board 5-20 picks ahead of our 2nd rounder at #2-050.

I have also decided in my feeble brain that I like S'ua Cravens better than Darron Lee who is being mentioned as a top 20 pick.   Now, two years from now, I may look silly saying it but that is the way I feel now.   Something else confusing in my pea-sized brain was whether Cravens was going to translate better as a strong safety or a Will Linebacker.   I believe the comments leaked by commentators and Cravens speed on the clock at 4.55-4.65 makes him better suited for WLB which is a playmaking position and often in coverage on nickel downs.   Cravens is a good blitzer and should be ideally suited for Quinn's defense at the Will.

If a top 10 player falls to #17 or a Shaq Lawson, I could change my mind - but for now - on March 24, 2016, these are my thoughts and this is my "trade back" mock.    Onto the mock!

TRADE:  Right now the reigning SuperBowl Champs do not have a legit starting NFL QB.   They will find a vet as a stop-gap for 2016 but they will need a long-term solution and I see Paxton Lynch as a target.   I see Jared Goff and Carson Wentz going in the top 10 - likely to Cleveland and San Fran - but there are plenty of other NFL teams in search of a QB to groom.   Bold teams like the Broncos make bold moves and I see them as a likely trading partner for the Falcons - it is a good spot as the price is not too steep for the Broncos - and - if Paxton drops into the 20's, other teams are going to try to jump back into the late 1st round to grab him.   The Broncos are loaded on both sides of the ball (although not as loaded as they were after losing Maliek Jackson, Trevathan and Osweiler - Broncos can replace the two defenders but you gotta have a QB and Paxton has the length and athleticism to entice the HOF QB and GM John Elway.  Without further ado, here is the deal:

Falcons Trade:  #1-017 = 950pts

Broncos Trade: #1-031 (600pts) + #2-063(276 pts) + Future 3rd round pick (116pts divided by 2 since future = 58pts, assumes end of 3rd round) = 934pts (close enough) - maybe we get 7th to balance.

Denver Selects:   Paxton Lynch, QB- Memphis (6'6", 225lbs)

memphis-tigers-quarterback-paxton-lynch.

Now onto the Falcons Draft!

NFL DRAFT:

#1-031)  Atlanta Falcons - S'ua Cravens, WLB - USC (f/ Denver) - 6'1", 226lbs

STRENGTHS Born to be a football player. Combines smarts, instincts and toughness. Will not hesitate to jump into the mix and have proven his ability to make full­-time conversion to linebacker. Outstanding with his hands. Always first with his punch into blocker's frame and unlocks instant arm extension to keep himself clean. Showed ability to engage blocker, shuffle with square pads and disengage for the tackle. Scouts believe he will comfortably carry over 230 pounds in pros. Big boy production comes from always choosing play-making option over passive route. Loves to play on the other side of the line when possible. Sticky hands and can take the ball away if you give him a shot. Posted nine interceptions in three years. Aware in zone coverage, but has some blitz value. Will have immediate impact on special teams coverage.

WEAKNESSES

 Small for an NFL linebacker spot. Lack of length to consistently pull himself around the corner against edge blocks. Former safety who is still learning nuances of the position. Will take time to adjust to NFL power at the point of attack. Will get hooked inside and lose contain. Not as twitched up and fast as expected. Will get engulfed if he doesn't win early with hands. Unable to maintain feel for the target in his trail technique in man coverage. More likely to maul and grab over trusting technique in coverage. Willing to dive and miss rather than working for a higher percentage tackle.

SOURCES TELL US

 "He's a lot of fun to watch because he processes quickly like an NFL linebacker and then just fires into the play. I've never really cared about the size at the WILL, I just want to know if they have instincts and can run and make plays. That's it. He can do that." -- Former NFL general manager

NFL COMPARISON

 Lavonte David

BOTTOM LINE

 Plays with a unique lens that includes his time at the safety position as a freshman. Teams focusing on putting a "tweener" label on him could be making a huge mistake considering his competitive nature and toughness. Cravens was highly disruptive and productive in each of his three seasons as a starter thanks to his tools/traits to act on his instincts. Cravens will help on special teams immediately and could become an early starter for a 4-­3 defense looking for a playmaking weak­-side linebacker.

#2-050)  Atlanta Falcons - Keanu Neal, SS - Florida  (6'0", 211lbs)

STRENGTHS

 Athletic frame with NFL size. Quick-­twitch player cranks it up to top speed in a hurry. Explodes downhill in run support with blood in his eyes. Vicious hitter looking to bruise bones and set tones. Rangy run stopper. Drives all the way through his contact with aggressive finishes. Scouts impressed by his personal character. Good click and close skill in coverage. Is on top of receiver immediately after the catch. Worked from the box and as single high safety at Florida. Impact tackler around the line of scrimmage. Plays with a sense of desperation and rarely fatigues.

WEAKNESSES

 Will have to make business decisions regarding when to bang and when to simply tackle in order to save his body. "Hulk smash" playing style led to 15 missed or broken tackles in 2015. Can be wild in space skating past his target. Field awareness can be hit or miss in coverage. Will lose track of deep ball responsibility from time to time. Won't always turn and run early enough.

SOURCES TELL US

 "He looks like an NFL safety. Looks like he can run on tape and is exactly what you look for in run support. He's an athlete so I don't worry about his cover skills as long as his instincts are okay." -- NFC defensive backs coach

NFL COMPARISON

 Kenny Vaccaro

BOTTOM LINE

 Neal started the year off with a hamstring issue that slowed him down and caused some uneven tape at times, but his size, athleticism and hitting are the best in this draft. Neal isn't limited to simple box tasks even though he thrives there. He has all the makings of an early starter and may hear his name called earlier than some might project.

#2-063)  Atlanta Falcons - Jaylon Smith, MLB - Notre Dame (f/ Denver) (6'2", 223lbs)

STRENGTHS  Angular, sinewy build with a body fat number you could count on one hand. Checks every size, weight, speed and athleticism box there is. Can sink hips and change direction with suddenness in space. Has length and quickness for extended playmaking radius. Racked up 225 tackles over his last two seasons as a starter. Lightning quick lateral scrapes from gap to gap following track of the ball. Able to transition from scrape to spring seamlessly. Has a turbo boost to race running backs to the corner. Tries to meet oncoming blocks with physical punch and desired arm extension to stay clean. Adequate speed to diagnose and respond. Play speed is elite for the position. Very talented in man coverage. Asked to take on challenging man coverage responsibilities and responded. Has tools to become an excellent blitzer.

WEAKNESSES

 Tackles for loss production doesn't match up with his traits. Too passive in his approach preferring to wait on plays rather than racing downhill to own them. Not strong enough at point of attack to maintain balance and positioning when blockers get into his frame. Understands angles to the ball, but still learning shortcuts through the gaps. Flies after the ball with reckless abandon failing to come to balance as a tackler. Has habit of lunging into arm tackles rather than using feet to work into better tackling position. Missed 11 tackles this year. Tore ACL and MCL in his bowl game and his rookie season is in doubt.

SOURCES TELL US

 "He reminds me so much of DJ (Derrick Johnson) when he came out. Same frame, same speed and same playmaking ability. Both of those guys are made for the pro game." --­ Former AFC defensive coach

NFL COMPARISON

 Derrick Johnson

BOTTOM LINE

 In this day and age of "tweeners" being labeled "hybrid" players, Smith is the rare commodity who is truly hybrid in the sense that he has the athleticism, speed and physical makeup to play any linebacker spot in either the 3­-4 or the 4-­3. Smith was productive but slightly miscast in the middle of the Notre Dame defense and is better suited to play in space as a 4­-3 outside linebacker. However, his length and upfield burst could draw the attention of a 3-­4 team looking to transition him into a rush linebacker while utilizing his rare cover skills. News regarding Smith's injury and potential issues surrounding recovery have created doubt regarding his draft stock and his final landing spot will be determined by a team's medicals. Without the injury issues, he's one of the top player's in this draft.

 

#3-081)  Atlanta Falcons - Christian Westerman, OG/C - Arizona State (6'3", 298lbs)

pi-cfb-arizona-state-christian-westerman

STRENGTHS

 Outstanding athleticism and movement skills. Is quick off the snap and able to beat defenders to the spot. Can get to difficult cross­-face blocks using timing, technique and footwork. At his best when on the move. When pulling or climbing to second level, has a terrific connect rate against moving targets in space. True technician. Plays with desired balance and base and his feet rarely stop chopping and working after contact. Approaches target with bend and rolls hips up under him after contact. Has massive bear paws for hands and is a weight ­room freak daddy. Has hand placement and upper body strength to lockout pass rushers if he gets extension first. Father was a three-year starter at guard for Arizona State. Should test off the charts at the combine.

WEAKNESSES

 While he moves stacks of weights with ease, his play strength doesn't always match that when matched up against interior power players. Short yardage push will not be an NFL strength. May need more mass on his frame to handle NFL defensive tackles. When asked to base block, becomes more of a stalemate blocker than block­-winner. Could use a more authoritative punch in pass protection. I question whether he can effectively re­direct interior pass rushers once they get into the edge on him.

NFL COMPARISON

 Alex Mack

BOTTOM LINE

 Quick-­twitch, athletic guard who comes from a football family and has been working on his strength and athleticism from a young age. Offensive line coaches will appreciate Westerman's technical savvy and zone scheme teams will covet his fluidity and blocking ability on the move. A move to center is not out of the question thanks to his body type and quickness and his draft stock may be helped by a potential ability to offer roster depth at several offensive line positions.

 

 

#4-115)  Atlanta Falcons Alex McCalister, DE - Florida (6'6", 239lbs)

 

STRENGTHS

 Looks like a bigger version of Leonard Floyd. Has rare length and range to defend both the quarterback and running back against zone read. Ridiculous ground coverage over first three steps. Able to drop, dip and accelerate around the edge like it's an embankment. Features upfield burst and springy hips that are waiting to be unlocked and unleashed. Will flash a "whoa!" spin move that he's still learning to harness. Shows ability to long-­arm tackles back into the pocket.

WEAKNESSES

 Was dismissed from the team late in the year. Rushes with no discernible plan or workable counter moves. Can't hold his water versus the run. Instincts are lacking. Doesn't use long levers as effectively as he could. Frame nowhere near thick enough. Has to work overtime to try and keep weight on. Suffered a foot injury in November of this season.

NFL COMPARISON

 Obum Gwacham

BOTTOM LINE

 Despite playing in less than 40 percent of the defensive snaps for the Gators over the past two seasons, managed to notch 12.5 sacks. His character must be questioned and he doesn't possess an NFL-­ready frame or instincts. McCalister is a project in need of muscle and coaching, but his traits as a rusher are exciting if he can build upon them.

 

G-DAWG Analysis: This draft could set up the Falcons for years.   On Jaylon Smith, I am going to speculate that the medical re-check will be not great and teams are going to be very cautious about investing a top pick on him.   Without this trade with Denver, the Falcons were in no position to take a flyer on a player that could pay big dividends.   However, now, they have the extra pick they can use to gamble.  Falcons are  not winning a SuperBowl in 2016 and we all know it - this is a long-term investment and a calculated gamble - My guess is other teams would start gambling on Jaylon Smith with their 3rd round picks and we beat them to the punch with Denver's end of 2nd round pick after already adding two playmakers to the fold in S'ua Cravens who I would play at Weakside Linebacker and Keanu Neal who should take over the Strong Safety spot.   With these two picks added to the defense, we should be able to wait and be patient with Jaylon Smith.   In the 3rd round the Falcons find tremendous value in Christian Westerman who should be able to come in and beat out Mike Person for the starting Right Guard spot.    Not that I give it too much credence but NFL.com's player comparison is Alex Mack.   Westerman is the perfect fit for a ZBS and this would be great pick for the Birds.   Alex McAllister is a developmental player who will likely be a back-up and special teamer for 1-2 years while he grows into his body and gains strength - he has the edge rusher traits of a top pick but is just not a finished product - call him a "poor man's Leonard Floyd" but without all the risk of being taken early.

I see this as a "playmakers galore" mock draft with something for 2017 as well - with the stashing of Jaylon Smith and Denver's future 3rd rounder to boot.

 

 

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I would really hate it if this happened. Cravens is alright but I think he's overrated by this board. He's a top 50 player but I don't see him as a 1st rounder at ALL. People talk about Jeremy Cash being slow but Cravens is slower. Both guys have exceptional instincts which makes them look faster on the field though. I think there are just better values than Cravens on the board. I'd rather have Cash in the 2nd or Feeney in the 4th than Cravens in the 1st or even 2nd.

That said, I hate the idea of drafting Jaylon Smith too. Don't get me wrong, he was an exceptional football player at Notre Dame, but we can't count on him making a full recovery. This reminds me so much of the Marcus Lattimore situation. Yes, Smith is an exceptional talent, but he's a luxury pick that we just can't afford to make. If we were guaranteed to get a fully healthy Jaylon Smith in 2016 I'd be down, but it's just not a guarantee and it's not a risk I'd be willing to take. I love Jaylon Smith the 2015 Notre Dame player, but I'm really weary on Jaylon Smith the 2016 draft prospect.

Keanu Neal is such a weird prospect. There are people with him in the 1st round, and there are some that wouldn't touch him until day 3. He's really polarizing. Until very recently CBS Sports had him listed as a 7th rounder. Athletically he's good but not great, size wise he's a little small for our SS spot, but his tape is good. I don't know what to make of him.

Westerman is a terrible athlete. When a guy's pros mention him being a good athlete, and then you look at his workout numbers and he's in the bottom third of athletic testers in this year's offensive line class, it's cause for concern. Swap him out for McGovern and I'll be pretty content with that pick.

Y'all already know I love McCalister. I'm beginning to think the hype train is taking off on him though and it's starting to concern me that he might not be available at our 4th rd pick. If he is it makes all the sense in the world to pick him though. He and Higbee have been my go-to 4th rounders for a little while now.

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11 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

Kayoh disagrees with me.  #shocking

It's alright it's 1 man's opinion.

Neal I love I see him as a scheme perfect fit and in the box tackling demon.

Jaylon Smith why not here again fans will post out the obvious what he is now and not think about what he could be for me I too would take a shot and roll the dice.

Westerman or McGovern it doesn't phase me as long as we add a guy and bolster our talent on this position of need.

Cravens yep I could live with that pick at 31.

The premise for me is we have to fix something this off season and in this draft it's the middle of the field coverage on 3rd down is where I see the benefits along with our FA's adding a good ZBS G I think it's about right on track.

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legit question. If Goff and Wentz both go top 10, do you think the Rams pass on Lynch at 15 and even if they supposedly do, why would the Broncos not trade 3 spots higher to make sure they are in front of the team with the most likelihood of taking a QB for the next 10 picks. 

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Just now, g-dawg said:

Kayoh disagrees with me.  #shocking

Let me tell you what I DO like about this mock.

I like the trade. If St. Louis passes on Lynch (and they friggin SHOULD) I could definitely see Denver wanting to trade up and get him. I love the idea of picking up an extra 2nd and a 2017 pick. That's great stuff, and my next mock is 100% going to include a trade similar to that.

I also love Alex McCalister. You probably knew that if you pay any attention to my posts.

I even agree with you from a position of need standpoint in this draft. If we could walk away from the 2016 draft with a starting WLB, SS, MLB, and G, and a situational edge rusher like McCalister, I'd be very happy about it.

I'm just not a fan of the specific players you picked.

Cravens ran 4.69 at his pro day. This is a player who's primary "pro" on paper is that he's really fast and athletic, but his actual testing shows otherwise. Don't get me wrong, he clearly plays fast because he has great instincts, but he's far from the only WLB or SS in this class with that trait. For comparison, Jeremy Cash has great instincts, and he ran 4.56. A lot of concerns regarding Cash were that he might be too slow to cover in the NFL. Cravens is slower. If you're basing your opinion on highlight videos of Cravens, realize that most of his big plays came on blitzes where he timed the snap perfectly, and that even if he is able to do that in the NFL (which he might, but it'll be a lot more difficult with the varying QB cadences in the big leagues) it'll happen less frequently and offenses won't let it happen more than once in a game. Even then, Jeremy Cash is a phenomenal blitzer too. So Cash at 50 is, in my opinion, a far better value than Cravens at 31 or even 50. I just think Cash is the better player overall.

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30 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

***This is slightly modified version of a mock from 3 weeks ago***

Alright, obviously the topic of the day is the Falcons working out S'ua Cravens - a player we have all discussed and mostly admired.   I think the Falcons are currently poorly positioned to retain his services as I believe he is a little bit of a reach and not good value at #1-017 and will likely be off the board 5-20 picks ahead of our 2nd rounder at #2-050.

I have also decided in my feeble brain that I like S'ua Cravens better than Darron Lee who is being mentioned as a top 20 pick.   Now, two years from now, I may look silly saying it but that is the way I feel now.   Something else confusing in my pea-sized brain was whether Cravens was going to translate better as a strong safety or a Will Linebacker.   I believe the comments leaked by commentators and Cravens speed on the clock at 4.55-4.65 makes him better suited for WLB which is a playmaking position and often in coverage on nickel downs.   Cravens is a good blitzer and should be ideally suited for Quinn's defense at the Will.

If a top 10 player falls to #17 or a Shaq Lawson, I could change my mind - but for now - on March 24, 2016, these are my thoughts and this is my "trade back" mock.    Onto the mock!

TRADE:  Right now the reigning SuperBowl Champs do not have a legit starting NFL QB.   They will find a vet as a stop-gap for 2016 but they will need a long-term solution and I see Paxton Lynch as a target.   I see Jared Goff and Carson Wentz going in the top 10 - likely to Cleveland and San Fran - but there are plenty of other NFL teams in search of a QB to groom.   Bold teams like the Broncos make bold moves and I see them as a likely trading partner for the Falcons - it is a good spot as the price is not too steep for the Broncos - and - if Paxton drops into the 20's, other teams are going to try to jump back into the late 1st round to grab him.   The Broncos are loaded on both sides of the ball (although not as loaded as they were after losing Maliek Jackson, Trevathan and Osweiler - Broncos can replace the two defenders but you gotta have a QB and Paxton has the length and athleticism to entice the HOF QB and GM John Elway.  Without further ado, here is the deal:

Falcons Trade:  #1-017 = 950pts

Broncos Trade: #1-031 (600pts) + #2-063(276 pts) + Future 3rd round pick (116pts divided by 2 since future = 58pts, assumes end of 3rd round) = 934pts (close enough) - maybe we get 7th to balance.

Denver Selects:   Paxton Lynch, QB- Memphis (6'6", 225lbs)

memphis-tigers-quarterback-paxton-lynch.

Now onto the Falcons Draft!

NFL DRAFT:

#1-031)  Atlanta Falcons - S'ua Cravens, WLB - USC (f/ Denver) - 6'1", 226lbs

STRENGTHS Born to be a football player. Combines smarts, instincts and toughness. Will not hesitate to jump into the mix and have proven his ability to make full­-time conversion to linebacker. Outstanding with his hands. Always first with his punch into blocker's frame and unlocks instant arm extension to keep himself clean. Showed ability to engage blocker, shuffle with square pads and disengage for the tackle. Scouts believe he will comfortably carry over 230 pounds in pros. Big boy production comes from always choosing play-making option over passive route. Loves to play on the other side of the line when possible. Sticky hands and can take the ball away if you give him a shot. Posted nine interceptions in three years. Aware in zone coverage, but has some blitz value. Will have immediate impact on special teams coverage.

WEAKNESSES

 Small for an NFL linebacker spot. Lack of length to consistently pull himself around the corner against edge blocks. Former safety who is still learning nuances of the position. Will take time to adjust to NFL power at the point of attack. Will get hooked inside and lose contain. Not as twitched up and fast as expected. Will get engulfed if he doesn't win early with hands. Unable to maintain feel for the target in his trail technique in man coverage. More likely to maul and grab over trusting technique in coverage. Willing to dive and miss rather than working for a higher percentage tackle.

SOURCES TELL US

 "He's a lot of fun to watch because he processes quickly like an NFL linebacker and then just fires into the play. I've never really cared about the size at the WILL, I just want to know if they have instincts and can run and make plays. That's it. He can do that." -- Former NFL general manager

NFL COMPARISON

 Lavonte David

BOTTOM LINE

 Plays with a unique lens that includes his time at the safety position as a freshman. Teams focusing on putting a "tweener" label on him could be making a huge mistake considering his competitive nature and toughness. Cravens was highly disruptive and productive in each of his three seasons as a starter thanks to his tools/traits to act on his instincts. Cravens will help on special teams immediately and could become an early starter for a 4-­3 defense looking for a playmaking weak­-side linebacker.

#2-050)  Atlanta Falcons - Keanu Neal, SS - Florida  (6'0", 211lbs)

STRENGTHS

 Athletic frame with NFL size. Quick-­twitch player cranks it up to top speed in a hurry. Explodes downhill in run support with blood in his eyes. Vicious hitter looking to bruise bones and set tones. Rangy run stopper. Drives all the way through his contact with aggressive finishes. Scouts impressed by his personal character. Good click and close skill in coverage. Is on top of receiver immediately after the catch. Worked from the box and as single high safety at Florida. Impact tackler around the line of scrimmage. Plays with a sense of desperation and rarely fatigues.

WEAKNESSES

 Will have to make business decisions regarding when to bang and when to simply tackle in order to save his body. "Hulk smash" playing style led to 15 missed or broken tackles in 2015. Can be wild in space skating past his target. Field awareness can be hit or miss in coverage. Will lose track of deep ball responsibility from time to time. Won't always turn and run early enough.

SOURCES TELL US

 "He looks like an NFL safety. Looks like he can run on tape and is exactly what you look for in run support. He's an athlete so I don't worry about his cover skills as long as his instincts are okay." -- NFC defensive backs coach

NFL COMPARISON

 Kenny Vaccaro

BOTTOM LINE

 Neal started the year off with a hamstring issue that slowed him down and caused some uneven tape at times, but his size, athleticism and hitting are the best in this draft. Neal isn't limited to simple box tasks even though he thrives there. He has all the makings of an early starter and may hear his name called earlier than some might project.

#2-063)  Atlanta Falcons - Jaylon Smith, MLB - Notre Dame (f/ Denver) (6'2", 223lbs)

STRENGTHS  Angular, sinewy build with a body fat number you could count on one hand. Checks every size, weight, speed and athleticism box there is. Can sink hips and change direction with suddenness in space. Has length and quickness for extended playmaking radius. Racked up 225 tackles over his last two seasons as a starter. Lightning quick lateral scrapes from gap to gap following track of the ball. Able to transition from scrape to spring seamlessly. Has a turbo boost to race running backs to the corner. Tries to meet oncoming blocks with physical punch and desired arm extension to stay clean. Adequate speed to diagnose and respond. Play speed is elite for the position. Very talented in man coverage. Asked to take on challenging man coverage responsibilities and responded. Has tools to become an excellent blitzer.

WEAKNESSES

 Tackles for loss production doesn't match up with his traits. Too passive in his approach preferring to wait on plays rather than racing downhill to own them. Not strong enough at point of attack to maintain balance and positioning when blockers get into his frame. Understands angles to the ball, but still learning shortcuts through the gaps. Flies after the ball with reckless abandon failing to come to balance as a tackler. Has habit of lunging into arm tackles rather than using feet to work into better tackling position. Missed 11 tackles this year. Tore ACL and MCL in his bowl game and his rookie season is in doubt.

SOURCES TELL US

 "He reminds me so much of DJ (Derrick Johnson) when he came out. Same frame, same speed and same playmaking ability. Both of those guys are made for the pro game." --­ Former AFC defensive coach

NFL COMPARISON

 Derrick Johnson

BOTTOM LINE

 In this day and age of "tweeners" being labeled "hybrid" players, Smith is the rare commodity who is truly hybrid in the sense that he has the athleticism, speed and physical makeup to play any linebacker spot in either the 3­-4 or the 4-­3. Smith was productive but slightly miscast in the middle of the Notre Dame defense and is better suited to play in space as a 4­-3 outside linebacker. However, his length and upfield burst could draw the attention of a 3-­4 team looking to transition him into a rush linebacker while utilizing his rare cover skills. News regarding Smith's injury and potential issues surrounding recovery have created doubt regarding his draft stock and his final landing spot will be determined by a team's medicals. Without the injury issues, he's one of the top player's in this draft.

 

#3-081)  Atlanta Falcons - Christian Westerman, OG/C - Arizona State (6'3", 298lbs)

pi-cfb-arizona-state-christian-westerman

STRENGTHS

 Outstanding athleticism and movement skills. Is quick off the snap and able to beat defenders to the spot. Can get to difficult cross­-face blocks using timing, technique and footwork. At his best when on the move. When pulling or climbing to second level, has a terrific connect rate against moving targets in space. True technician. Plays with desired balance and base and his feet rarely stop chopping and working after contact. Approaches target with bend and rolls hips up under him after contact. Has massive bear paws for hands and is a weight ­room freak daddy. Has hand placement and upper body strength to lockout pass rushers if he gets extension first. Father was a three-year starter at guard for Arizona State. Should test off the charts at the combine.

WEAKNESSES

 While he moves stacks of weights with ease, his play strength doesn't always match that when matched up against interior power players. Short yardage push will not be an NFL strength. May need more mass on his frame to handle NFL defensive tackles. When asked to base block, becomes more of a stalemate blocker than block­-winner. Could use a more authoritative punch in pass protection. I question whether he can effectively re­direct interior pass rushers once they get into the edge on him.

NFL COMPARISON

 Alex Mack

BOTTOM LINE

 Quick-­twitch, athletic guard who comes from a football family and has been working on his strength and athleticism from a young age. Offensive line coaches will appreciate Westerman's technical savvy and zone scheme teams will covet his fluidity and blocking ability on the move. A move to center is not out of the question thanks to his body type and quickness and his draft stock may be helped by a potential ability to offer roster depth at several offensive line positions.

 

 

#4-115)  Atlanta Falcons Alex McCalister, DE - Florida (6'6", 239lbs)

 

STRENGTHS

 Looks like a bigger version of Leonard Floyd. Has rare length and range to defend both the quarterback and running back against zone read. Ridiculous ground coverage over first three steps. Able to drop, dip and accelerate around the edge like it's an embankment. Features upfield burst and springy hips that are waiting to be unlocked and unleashed. Will flash a "whoa!" spin move that he's still learning to harness. Shows ability to long-­arm tackles back into the pocket.

WEAKNESSES

 Was dismissed from the team late in the year. Rushes with no discernible plan or workable counter moves. Can't hold his water versus the run. Instincts are lacking. Doesn't use long levers as effectively as he could. Frame nowhere near thick enough. Has to work overtime to try and keep weight on. Suffered a foot injury in November of this season.

NFL COMPARISON

 Obum Gwacham

BOTTOM LINE

 Despite playing in less than 40 percent of the defensive snaps for the Gators over the past two seasons, managed to notch 12.5 sacks. His character must be questioned and he doesn't possess an NFL-­ready frame or instincts. McCalister is a project in need of muscle and coaching, but his traits as a rusher are exciting if he can build upon them.

 

G-DAWG Analysis: This draft could set up the Falcons for years.   On Jaylon Smith, I am going to speculate that the medical re-check will be not great and teams are going to be very cautious about investing a top pick on him.   Without this trade with Denver, the Falcons were in no position to take a flyer on a player that could pay big dividends.   However, now, they have the extra pick they can use to gamble.  Falcons are  not winning a SuperBowl in 2016 and we all know it - this is a long-term investment and a calculated gamble - My guess is other teams would start gambling on Jaylon Smith with their 3rd round picks and we beat them to the punch with Denver's end of 2nd round pick after already adding two playmakers to the fold in S'ua Cravens who I would play at Weakside Linebacker and Keanu Neal who should take over the Strong Safety spot.   With these two picks added to the defense, we should be able to wait and be patient with Jaylon Smith.   In the 3rd round the Falcons find tremendous value in Christian Westerman who should be able to come in and beat out Mike Person for the starting Right Guard spot.    Not that I give it too much credence but NFL.com's player comparison is Alex Mack.   Westerman is the perfect fit for a ZBS and this would be great pick for the Birds.   Alex McAllister is a developmental player who will likely be a back-up and special teamer for 1-2 years while he grows into his body and gains strength - he has the edge rusher traits of a top pick but is just not a finished product - call him a "poor man's Leonard Floyd" but without all the risk of being taken early.

I see this as a "playmakers galore" mock draft with something for 2017 as well - with the stashing of Jaylon Smith and Denver's future 3rd rounder to boot.

 

 

It's good to finally see someone mentioning Trading down actually having a logical "VERY" well thought our answer!!

Now saying I agree, But we could have worse scenarios. Well done!

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Just now, Ezekiel 25:17 said:

It's good to finally see someone mentioning Trading down actually having a logical "VERY" well thought our answer!!

Now saying I agree, But we could have worse scenarios. Well done!

did you really need to quote the entire mock lol

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8 minutes ago, Kayoh said:

I would really hate it if this happened. Cravens is alright but I think he's overrated by this board. He's a top 50 player but I don't see him as a 1st rounder at ALL. People talk about Jeremy Cash being slow but Cravens is slower. Both guys have exceptional instincts which makes them look faster on the field though. I think there are just better values than Cravens on the board. I'd rather have Cash in the 2nd or Feeney in the 4th than Cravens in the 1st or even 2nd.

ideally, you would like to get Cravens at #50 but he is such a versatile player that fits into almost any defense with his position versatility - bottom-line, Cravens is a playmaker and those are rare.  You say "he's a top 50 player and I have us taking him at #31 - if it is a reach, it is only 10 spot reach - and for what you are getting, a good trade-off.  I don't see many players that would be on the board at #31 that are much better on value - when you factor in our scheme and the fit, I see it as decent value.

That said, I hate the idea of drafting Jaylon Smith too. Don't get me wrong, he was an exceptional football player at Notre Dame, but we can't count on him making a full recovery. This reminds me so much of the Marcus Lattimore situation. Yes, Smith is an exceptional talent, but he's a luxury pick that we just can't afford to make. If we were guaranteed to get a fully healthy Jaylon Smith in 2016 I'd be down, but it's just not a guarantee and it's not a risk I'd be willing to take. I love Jaylon Smith the 2015 Notre Dame player, but I'm really weary on Jaylon Smith the 2016 draft prospect.

it is so easy to say "Marcus Lattimore" as a jumping off point for dismissing Jaylon Smith's future.  I understand it was not the garden variety ACL injury and the whole "nerve damage" argument.  It should also be noted that Lattimore had multiple ACL injuries which is one distinguishing difference.  Of course it is a gamble but it is annoying to ready "If we were guaranteed" - if you were guaranteed, you would never have a shot at a top 5 talent, so gimme a freaking break on the guaranteed talk.  As far as the "luxury pick we cannot afford to make" comment - yeah, actually we can afford to make that pick.  Instead of grabbing Darron Lee @ #17 (who has his on risks/tackling) - we get Sua Cravens who can also start at WLB plus the bonus of the Jaylon Smith gamble - we still have another 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounder to address other needs - so I took a somewhat gamble pick and made it tolerable by creating an extra premium pick


Keanu Neal is such a weird prospect. There are people with him in the 1st round, and there are some that wouldn't touch him until day 3. He's really polarizing. Until very recently CBS Sports had him listed as a 7th rounder. Athletically he's good but not great, size wise he's a little small for our SS spot, but his tape is good. I don't know what to make of him.

I was arguing w/ Larry about the CBS Sports and NFL.com's and their rankings and how we should not take them as such gospel  - this was vis-a-vie the Ragland thread - well the sports media did not think much of Keanu Neal - what has happened now is the sports media has noticed that the NFL teams and their scouts seem to think more highly of Neal than they did - thus the sudden rapid movement up the sports media boards - this is not because the prospect is polarizing as much as the sports media did not recognize the talent that the NFL scouts did.


Westerman is a terrible athlete. When a guy's pros mention him being a good athlete, and then you look at his workout numbers and he's in the bottom third of athletic testers in this year's offensive line class, it's cause for concern. Swap him out for McGovern and I'll be pretty content with that pick.

I like McGovern as well and he was actually in this mock a few weeks ago.  I see you underestimating Westerman and I think because of your metrics and analytical background you are wrongfully downgrading Westerman - you said yourself in all of your models that it does not do well at certain positions - there are ugly bodies and athletes in the interior across the NFL that do well.  Suffice it to say, there are those that know more than you and me that disagree.

Y'all already know I love McCalister. I'm beginning to think the hype train is taking off on him though and it's starting to concern me that he might not be available at our 4th rd pick. If he is it makes all the sense in the world to pick him though. He and Higbee have been my go-to 4th rounders for a little while now.

I actually will give you credit for this pick.   Basically, if I don't take Shaq Lawson in 1st round and Ogbah, Dodd nor Spence falls to #50, then there is no point in taking an edge rusher in 2nd/3rd round.  McAllister could be a total bust in the vein of Lawrence Sidbury but 4th round is a nice place to gamble on an edge player with potential.

my counterpoints in red

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13 minutes ago, Romfal said:

legit question. If Goff and Wentz both go top 10, do you think the Rams pass on Lynch at 15 and even if they supposedly do, why would the Broncos not trade 3 spots higher to make sure they are in front of the team with the most likelihood of taking a QB for the next 10 picks. 

it is a fair critique.......I will concede it.

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Just now, g-dawg said:

I like McGovern as well and he was actually in this mock a few weeks ago.  I see you underestimating Westerman and I think because of your metrics and analytical background you are wrongfully downgrading Westerman - you said yourself in all of your models that it does not do well at certain positions - there are ugly bodies and athletes in the interior across the NFL that do well.  Suffice it to say, there are those that know more than you and me that disagree.

There are ugly bodies and athletes in the interior across the NFL, but not in zone blocking schemes. The ZBS requires better athletes to succeed. I understand guys like Kouandjio and John Miller from last year have a place in the NFL, but their best place isn't in our offensive scheme. McGovern is so much better as a fit than Westerman and not just because he's a better athlete. Last year Mitch Morse was drafted in the 2nd round to play C for KC and he had an excellent rookie season. That tells me that Mizzou is doing something right with their OL and combine the scheme fit, athleticism, and NFL translatability, and to me it just makes McGovern the better overall pick for us by quite a large margin.

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Trades are impossible to predict, but it would be the only way we'd end up with Cravens. I like him as a SS in our scheme. He has the instincts, tackling and coverage ability, and enough athleticism to be good. For those saying he is an inferior athlete, go look at Kam Chancellor's athletic numbers from 2010. Not so great.

I agree that Neal is an interesting prospect. I don't see first round, but he's playing as a single high safety a lot on tape and he wouldn't be doing that for us. He might be my 3rd choice for a SS in round 2 (behind Cravens and Cash).

Westerman is a bit puzzling himself. On tape, he looks like a guy that would have done really well in the athletic testing, but he certainly did not. I'd be happy with him in the 3rd, but I'm not sure he'll be there.

Big fan of McCalister, assuming his background checks out. We'll know how serious of an offense it was that got him kicked off off the team based on when or if he is drafted.

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My biggest issue with the class is you've got ~3 picks of a type that I don't think you can have more than two of in this draft. And that really comes down to Jaylon Smith, IMO. I think if you want to go playable LB and safety, you can't take Smith (unless of course he falls). If you want Smith for a long term investment, I think you can do now LB OR safety. 

And I say that mainly because I think its a mistake to come out of this year's draft without a piece of the impressive DL talent pool. And specifically one in the first two rounds. There's so much high level talent in this draft that I think you've gotta get one of these dudes in the top 50-75. 

But I guess you could do that and still get Smith because I don't think he'll go in the first two rounds. 

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2 minutes ago, Kayoh said:

There are ugly bodies and athletes in the interior across the NFL, but not in zone blocking schemes. The ZBS requires better athletes to succeed. I understand guys like Kouandjio and John Miller from last year have a place in the NFL, but their best place isn't in our offensive scheme. McGovern is so much better as a fit than Westerman and not just because he's a better athlete. Last year Mitch Morse was drafted in the 2nd round to play C for KC and he had an excellent rookie season. That tells me that Mizzou is doing something right with their OL and combine the scheme fit, athleticism, and NFL translatability, and to me it just makes McGovern the better overall pick for us by quite a large margin.

Its not worth arguing about - I could easily have left McGovern in there and you would be happy - I would be happy w/ either right now.  Your critique is duly noted kind sir.

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Just now, g-dawg said:

Its not worth arguing about - I could easily have left McGovern in there and you would be happy - I would be happy w/ either right now.  Your critique is duly noted kind sir.

Man, for someone with such strong opinions, you sure do hate debating. I love debating, it's the best way to learn imo.

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