3 for 3 Mock Draft No. 1 - Post-Combine, Round 3
Leading up to the 2014 NFL Entry Draft, PFF Fantasy will be conducting three three-round mock drafts. The first (post-combine) was just completed, and the results will be presented in three installments (Round 1, Round 2, Round 3). The second mock draft will take place after the dust settles from free agency, and the final mock draft will take place in late April.
Here’s how Round 3 went in 3 for 3 Draft No. 1 …
1. Houston — Brendan Leister, DraftBrowns.com — Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin
We came into the draft with a big need at the ILB position and Chris Borland is a great fit. Although Borland lacks prototypical size for the position, he makes up for it with his instincts, closing burst, and motor. He should compete for the starting job from day one.
2. Washington — Jim McCormick, ESPN — Bashaud Breeland, DB, Clemson
An infusion of talent in the secondary will be a team priority this offseason. With Breeland’s ball skills, solid size, and versatility, he could have a future at corner or free safety for this club.
3. Oakland — Ryan Riddle, Bleacher Report — Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
The Raiders need to add a guy into the mix at QB and Brett Smith has the potential to be their first franchise QB since … hell, I don’t even know how far back we should go for that one. This kid is tough, accurate, and vastly underrated. I gave him the highest tape grade of all QBs in this draft.
4. Atlanta — Dan Kadar — Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
The addition of an offensive tackle is strictly a needs fill for Atlanta. Mewhort didn’t do anything to hurt himself at the Senior Bowl and should be serviceable at left tackle and good on the right side.
5. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay) — Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus — Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
Murphy has a chance to play both OLB spots in the Jets’ hybrid scheme, either as the SAM replacing Calvin Pace or perhaps as the WILL where the Jets have lacked a pass-rushing presence for quite a while.
6. Jacksonville — Bear Heiser, NFL.com — Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
MJD likely is out the door, and Sims has the potential to play a very active role in both facets of the offense. Sims provides Teddy Bridgewater a trusty receiving option when all else fails, and things will fail from time to time with so much youth coming in at the skill positions.
7. Cleveland — Dane Brugler, CBS Sports — Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
The Browns have their new right tackle, pushing Mitchell Schwartz inside, which solves one of the guard problems. Richardson has some technique issues and needs to develop his consistency, but he has all the tools to be a 10-year starter in the league.
8. Minnesota — Ian Kenyon, Bleacher Report — Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
Jared Allen’s eventual succesor.
9. Buffalo — Dan Hope, Bleacher Report — David Yankey, G, Stanford
Yankey’s stock took a hit with a poor combine performance, but his collegiate tape shows he’s one of the best guard prospects in this class. Good value in Round 3 and as the 14th offensive lineman off the board. Along with first-round pick Jake Matthews, the Bills would solidify their offensive line by filling both of their needs up front, which should enable Buffalo to both more adequately protect E.J. Manuel while opening up more running lanes for C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
10. New York Giants — Jake Ciely, Football.com — Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
This RB class isn’t spectacular, but to get Hyde here, clearly the best player available (BPA) and filling a need, is spectacular. David Wilson is a question mark, Andre Brown has his own health issues (if re-signed), and Hyde is a good blocker, something the Giants love in their RBs. Hyde moves the chains and has good hands. That’s really all the Giants ever want from their RBs.
11. St. Louis — Evan Silva, Rotoworld — Logan Thomas, QB/TE, Virginia Tech
12. Detroit — Chris Burke — Craig Loston, S, LSU
Narrowed it down to three guys here: Loston, a CB and a TE. With Louis Delmas no longer on the roster, though, the need for a physical presence deep was a pressing one. That’s exactly what the Lions get here in Loston – an aggressive safety who is capable of starting in the NFL.
13. San Francisco (from Tennessee) — Michael Moore, PFF Fantasy — Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
With so much uncertainty in the 49ers secondary, it doesn’t hurt to add some depth in the event of major turnover. Jean-Baptiste has been called a “Richard Sherman clone” thanks to similar builds and the fact that both are converted receivers. He’s used those skills to play well to the ball and use his quickness in coverage. Also led all corners in the vertical jump at the combine.
14. Dallas — Kevin Greenstein, PFF Fantasy — Louchiez Purifoy, CB/FS, Florida
If there’s another glaring need in the Cowboys’ defense, it’s the lack of playmaking in the secondary. If not for his injury history, Morris Claiborne’s slow start at cornerback (below average in each of his two seasons) would be cause to consider a position shift to free safety. Purifoy could develop into a top-tier free safety, but could also bring value as a larger nickel corner capable of matching up against tight ends in the slot. Either way, he’s the kind of playmaking ballhawk the Cowboys will need if their defense is to measurably improve in 2014.
15. Baltimore — Shane P. Hallam, DraftTV.com — Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi
WR is definitely a big need for the Ravens, but with how the board fell in the first two rounds, I felt it was better to wait and address it here. There were a few possibilities, and though Moncrief is similar to Torrey Smith, his 221-pound frame will be a good complement and the 4.4 flat speed is nothing to sneeze at either. Can instantly come in and compete for the No. 2 job, plus with how deep WR is, the Ravens could take another complementary WR in the sixth round.
16. New York Jets — Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus — Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
The Jets need a receiver that can win off the line to take some pressure off Geno Smith. While Landry might be a bit redundant with Jeremy Kerley already on the roster, his ability to get open and move the chains should help the Jets offense in the short and intermediate range.
17. Miami — Eric Galko, The Sporting News — Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
After finding two future starters on the offensive line with the first two picks, I wanted to target a safety, nose tackle or a best player available with a second-round grade on my board. There wasn’t a glaring BPA that fit the offense or defense. My pick came down to Caraun Reid, DaQuan Jones, Tre Mason or Reynolds. With the running back class very deep and only a handful off the board, I decided I’d rather wait until the fourth to get a Kapri Bibbs/Isaiah Crowell/Storm Johnson type. Adding a nose tackle would be nice and Justin Ellis intrigued, but there’s depth later that we can find a rotational/developmental nose tackle. Reynolds was the clear best free safety on the board, the only one left in this class that I expect to be a long-term starter. Defensive tackle and running back are still needs, but this draft is deep at both spots for Day 3.
18. Chicago — Eric Edholm, Yahoo Football — Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
There’s some tempting offensive talent out there, and I strongly considered Marqueston Huff and Antone Exum for their attractive versatility, but no gotta-have-him safety or corner that we can’t wait until (the mythical) Round 4 for. Instead, the Bears go with a player who can help clear up a muddled linebacker position. Put Skov in the middle, Lance Briggs outside, have Jon Bostic back Briggs up on the weak side (as his successor one day) and play the nickel, and have Shea McClellin and Khaseem Greene battle it out or platoon on the strong side. Skov hasn’t been the same since his 2012 knee injury but was Stanford’s best player not named Andrew Luck in the Orange Bowl win two years ago. The Bears suddenly are much stronger up the middle now.
19. Cleveland (from Pittsburgh) — Dane Brugler, CBS Sports — Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida
I was tempted to double up on OL in the third round with Billy Turner here, but Watkins is an excellent player and every team could use another cover man with versatile experience. I was tempted to go RB here, but with two picks in the fourth round (not in this mock), I feel confident I can land a quality back next round.
20. Arizona — Peter Bukowski, Sports Illustrated — Jackson Jeffcoat, OLB, Texas
Getting a talent like Jeffcoat in the third round would be a steal for the Cardinals. Jeffcoat, as an underclassmen, was being talked about as a potential top 10 overall pick at one point. While he never lived up to those expectations, he is an explosive athlete (as his 4.63 40 time showed) and while he’s raw as a tactician, has the physical tools to be an effective OLB in both pass coverage and as a rusher for this Cardinals defense – especially with a front seven as loaded with talent as Arizona’s.
21. Green Bay — Nick Slegel, PFF Fantasy — Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State
Bradford is an OLB by trade, a beast of a rusher and a disruptive force in the backfield. But his pass-coverage ability and stout run defense often go unnoticed. With the Packers in need of LB help/depth across the board, Bradford could develop into a very nice, versatile weapon to be plugged in where he’s needed – whether that’s on the outside or the inside in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme.
22. Philadelphia — Ryan Lownes, DraftBreakdown.com — Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
In the third round the Eagles finally get to address their biggest need. A versatile free safety with impressive range and the fluidity of a cornerback, Brooks could emerge quickly as a contributor on defense and special teams.
23. Kansas City — Matt Miller, Bleacher Report — Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
The Kansas City Chiefs have a good starting quarterback in Alex Smith, but we’re drafting for the future too. Mettenberger can essentially redshirt for one season before competing for the job in 2015.
24. Cincinnati — Josh Katzowitz, CBS Sports — E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri
The Bengals have actually wanted a cornerback since the first round, but after Dennard and Gibson were off the board, I filled in other needed spots. Now, I really need a cornerback to help an aging group, and I like Gaines, because of his cover skills and physicality. Plus, he’ll have time to learn and grow with Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick expected to continue getting plenty of playing time.
25. San Diego — Ethan Hammerman — Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
That “other” Gaines CB is pretty good in his own right. At 6 ‘1″, 185 pounds, Gaines can play in any defensive scheme and shows both the active hands needed for press and the loose hips to play off. The Chargers need help in their secondary, and Gaines could end up being a long-term starter for them. He has the ability to be a playmaker, and many San Diego games could end with Gaines interceptions and Rivers kneeling in the victory formation.
26. Indianapolis — Alessandro Miglio, PFF Fantasy — Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
The wide receiver position was kicked around for the second-round pick, with the value Ka’Deem Carey presented ultimately winning out. Martavis Bryant was the best of the rest this time around. The 6’4″, 211-pound receiver ran the 40-yard dash in a sizzling 4.34 seconds at the combine, unofficially. Officially, he was fifth-best at his position at 4.42. On tape, Bryant was a revelation. He routinely beat opposing cornerbacks – often by zooming by them – and won contested passes. It’s a wonder he isn’t more touted.
27. New Orleans — Josh Collacchi, PFF Fantasy — Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
If anyone can get Seantrel to live up to his potential, it is Sean Payton and Drew Brees. If he reaches his potential, he’s a steal in the third.
28. Carolina — Michael Schottey, Bleacher Report — Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
This is probably a round (or more) before he goes in the actual draft, but we have only three rounds to work with here, and he’s got the most talent of any offensive weapon on the board. It only takes one team to believe he’s a changed man, or that his talent is a big enough reward to work with the risk, and the Panthers need targets.
29. New England — John Sarmento, 2MuggsFF.com — Isaiah Crowell, RB, Alabama State
With LeGarrette Blount hitting free agency this year, and Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen set to be free agents in 2015, Bill Belichick is always a year ahead. Crowell is the best RB in the class, but with some off-the-field issues. He’s a much safer value in Round 3.
30. San Francisco — Michael Moore, PFF Fantasy — Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
Huff is a versatile receiver who could play outside, slot, and even return kicks. Also a good blocker for the run-heavy 49ers and should shore up the bottom end of the receiver depth chart in San Francisco.
31. Denver — Benjamin Allbright — Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
As with Gayle, the Broncos elect to continue to try to find help up front on defense. Martin is a large DE, more typical of what the Broncos like their defensive ends to look like on 1st and 2nd down. Surprised he slid this far.
32. Minnesota (from Seattle) — Ian Kenyon — Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Amazed to find him at the tail end of the third round, the Vikings select Eastern Illinois QB, Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo needs some seasoning and may not be ready to go in Week 1, but could take over for Cassel midseason and is a high ceiling/low floor type of QB prospect.