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2013 Draft Thread ~ Capsules, Opportunity and Analysis (1 Viewer)

Jene Bramel

Footballguy
This is the eighth year :nerd: for this thread in the Forum.

As usual, I’m going to borrow this thread to post my pre-draft thoughts on the higher profile prospects by position, the Bloom 100 columns, my yearly column on the best depth chart opportunities and then as a companion to my real-time Twitter thoughts during draft weekend.

Earlier Forum Discussion

Matt Waldman comparing / contrasting Barkevious Mingo and Dion Jordan

Defensive End / Pass Rusher Capsules ~~ Post 2

Linebacker Capsules ~~ Post 7

Safety Notes ~~ Post 8

Defensive Tackle Notes ~~ Post 9

Cornerback Notes ~~ Post 10

Pre-Draft Bloom 100

Depth Chart Opportunity ~~ Post 12

If you’re new to these threads, here are our previous threads to revisit and enjoy. It’s always one of my favorite threads of the year.

2012 // 2011 // 2010 // 2009 // 2008 // 2007 // 2006

 
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Defensive Line / Pass Rushing OLB Capsules

This class is interesting. There’s elite upside for a long list of potentials, but each player has at least one major issue that leaves me wondering whether he’ll translate his potential to the NFL game. It’s also a class where every player is a little different. Draft position may not be that instructive, i.e. a player may drop to the second round not because they don’t have first round talent, but because a good match didn’t happen until then.

Depth chart opportunity will affect where I’ll slot these players on my Combined Draft Board, but I thought I’d try to provide an idea of where each player loosely fits into my thinking before the draft.

There are links to the increasingly more extensive and invaluable cut up videos at Draft Breakdown if you're interested in reviewing these players for yourself.

Cornellius “Tank” Carradine | Florida State | 6-4, 276
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/cornellius-carradine
Scouting Notes: Used primarily as 4-3 RDE, but moved around in subpackages. Very good hand placement and leverage. Shed well against the run, pursued to sideline and secondary. Elite motor and extremely quick feet. Not explosive off snap, but hand technique, quick feet and recognition skills keep him from getting engaged. Seems to shed effortlessly at times. Average first step keeps him from elite edge rushing skill, but flattens and finishes well. Shows some counter moves. Rarely dropped into coverage in zone blitz, but was fluid and decent in open field. Not much playing time until last season. Tore ACL in November.
Fantasy Line: Carradine had the look of an elite all-around end before his injury. Unlikely to go in the top ten now and may not be capable of 600+ snaps until 2014. Could get looks as 3-4 OLB, but could be T20 fantasy player in 4-3 scheme.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 1
Scheme Fits: 4-3 RDE, 3-4 OLB, 4-3 LDE

Ezekiel Ansah | BYU | 6-5, 271
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/ezekiel-ansah
Scouting Notes: Moved around formation. Played nearly every technique along line and standup pass rusher. Extremely athletic, with quick feet, elite change of direction ability. Excelled in pursuit. Was very good when moving forward at the snap and delivering a blow. Hand technique and leverage inconsistent between the tackles, maddening habit of using spin move inside when engaged on run downs. Can be explosive finisher, but inconsistent off the ball. Has elite edge rushing upside, though not used in that situation much last year. Recognition very good despite lack of experience and improved during the year. Struggled against a good group of tackles at the Senior Bowl in 1v1 drills, but was better as week progressed and impressed during game.
Fantasy Line: Athletic and inexperienced, but looks as much football player as athlete. May take a year to develop, but has the highest fantasy upside in this class if he’s drafted by a 4-3 team and hits.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 1
Scheme Fits: 4-3 RDE, 3-4 OLB, 4-3 LDE, 3-4 RDE

Dion Jordan | Oregon | 6-6, 248
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/dion-jordan
Scouting Notes: Mostly a standup rusher, but did see snaps in three point stance and over a slot receiver in coverage. Lanky, but moves well, eats up ground quickly. Flattens and finishes well, quick/strong hands if engaged on first move. Usually good recognition, able to run with receivers, quickly drop into zone coverage, but struggles to change direction on route breaks. Pursues well to sideline, recognizes run and moves through trash well. Played through torn labrum in second half of season.
Fantasy Line: Jordan is scheme diverse. He probably ends up in a 3-4 OLB role, but could play either 4-3 RDE or 4-3 SLB. Should be worth rostering as a 700+ snap player in any role, but upside depends on fit.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 1 / Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 2-3
Scheme Fits: 3-4 OLB, 4-3 RDE, 4-3 OLB

Bjoern Werner | Florida State | 6-3, 266
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/bjoern-werner
Scouting Notes: 4-3 strong side end mostly, but a few snaps in two point stance as nickel rusher. Flashes of elite edge rush talent, but rarely explodes off snap and doesn’t disengage or counter well. Plays high, but seems to work for him more than it should. Has good feet and closes well. Always moving forward, but motor inconsistent on plays to opposite side of field.
Fantasy Line: Werner bores me and I’m not sure I see the edge rush upside many others do. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have DL1 upside. Should be an 800 snap player in time and compilers are fine fantasy options.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 1
Scheme Fits: 4-3 DE

Barkevious Mingo | LSU | 6-4, 241
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/barkevious-mingo
Scouting Notes: Often played strong side end in edge setting role. Relentless motor. Athletic and explosive, but more often used a bull rush than speed edge rush, possibly due to responsibility of scheme. Can flatten and showed off a successful spin move at times. Bull rush showed good leverage and strong hands, but was rarely successful. Very strong setting the edge for his size. Didn’t see any coverage drops, but should be athletic enough to transition to OLB if asked.
Fantasy Line: If used in Wide-9 and continues to develop as pass rusher, could be elite fantasy end as he adds bulk. If drafted into 3-4 scheme, situational value only until we see how he develops.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 1 / Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 3-4
Scheme Fits: 4-3 DE, 3-4 OLB

Datone Jones | UCLA | 6-4, 283
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/datone-jones
Scouting Notes: Used between the tackles primarily last year in variety of techniques in the guard-tackle gap and over the nose. Explosive off the snap, often first lineman moving but in control. Plays with excellent leverage and controls linemen with hands to shed consistently. Successful in pass rush with first step but has strong bull and rip moves. Closes quickly after beating linemen. Proved his pass rush can translate against a good group of tackles at Senior Bowl, where he more than held his own in 1v1 drills.
Fantasy Line: I really liked Jones at the Senior Bowl. He won’t be explosive, but he could grow into a 700 snap, all-around talent with DL2 value.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 2
Scheme Fits: 4-3 DE, 3-4 RDE, subpackage DT

Margus Hunt | SMU | 6-8, 277
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/margus-hunt
Scouting Notes: Primarily played 4-3 LDE, some snaps over nose in subpackages. Literally and figuratively, a huge enigma. Unexpectedly low stance, explosive off the ball and acceleration for a man his size. Shows very good speed off edge, flattens well, counters with good rip/swim move. When plays with good leverage and uses his hands well, easily controls blockers and is force in run game. Plays high too often. At times, looks dominant on tape. Much too high and stiff against Sr. Bowl competition.
Fantasy Line: Jumps off screen in linked cutups v TCU and Fresno, which made his Sr. Bowl 1v1 and team drill play that much more disappointing to me. With development and a role in a 4-3 front, could be a dominant fantasy player. Could bust given his play against all-star competition and/or if drafted into 2-gap scheme.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 2
Scheme Fits: 4-3 DE, 3-4 DE, 3-tech

Alex Okafor | Texas | 6-5, 264
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/alex-okafor
Scouting Notes: Mix of 4-3 DE and stand up snaps around the formation. Can be explosive off the snap, but not true edge rusher. Better bull rush and uses hands well. Sets edge against the run, but instincts are average and doesn’t make as many plays as he could. Dropped into space at times, but didn’t look athletic doing so.
Fantasy Line: Combination of bull and speed rush upside intriguing, but may not translate well to the box score.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 2
Scheme Fits: 4-3 LDE, 4-3 RDE, 3-4 OLB

Damontre Moore | Texas A&M | 6-5, 250
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/damontre-moore
Scouting Notes: Played mix of RDE/LDE in 4-3. Seemed noticeably less explosive later in the season. Some question of whether multiple nicks and conditioning began to add up. When on, is explosive in pursuit with good array of pass rush moves, an ability to flatten and a quick finish. When not, his first step is average and his finish is inconsistent. Shows good hand placement and leverage at times, gets ridden out of plays due to his poor leverage at others. Usually good motor, pursues to sideline. Looked fluid in coverage on rare occasions he dropped into coverage. Combine measurables (4.95, 12 reps) cause for concern given questions on tape.
Fantasy Line: Inconsistency in all phases worrisome for his statistical upside, especially if he goes to a 3-4 team. May be a player that adds weight and develops DL2 value in his second or third year.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 2
Scheme Fits: 4-3 RDE, 3-4 OLB, 4-3 LDE

Jarvis Jones | Georgia | 6-2, 245
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/jarvis-jones
Scouting Notes: Mostly a standup rusher, but did drop into coverage at times. 40 time was disappointing but looks more explosive and plays faster than time suggests. Shows some edge burst and puts himself in position to use hands well, but doesn’t follow through on pass rush often enough and doesn’t counter well. Inconsistent shedding to play run, not a fundamental tackler. Looks fluid dropping into coverage, but awareness suspect at times. Overall, has tools, but execution and consistency questionable. Also questions about spinal stenosis condition, but seems mostly non-issue.
Fantasy Line: Will be 3-4 OLB, not consistent enough in any phase to be statistically consistent.
Pre-Draft Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 3-4
Scheme Fits: 3-4 OLB

Quanterus Smith | Western Kentucky | 6-5, 250
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/quanterus-smith
Scouting Notes: Bloom favorite. Used as 4-3 end on either side of formation. Impressive strong hands after engaged, strong shed and swim moves. Flashes of edge rush skill and flattens well, though inconsistently explosive off snap. Sometimes gets too high too soon on first pass rush move. Struggles to hold point despite hand technique. Torn ACL in November.
Fantasy Line: There’s some edge rush upside here, but no guarantee he’s more than a situational player in the long term. Climbs draft board if he’s taken early by a team with a depth chart opening.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 3
Scheme Fits: 4-3 RDE, 3-4 OLB

Sam Montgomery | LSU | 6-3, 262
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/sam-montgomery
Scouting notes: Primarily 4-3 DE, rarely moved around formation, handful of snaps as standup rusher. Almost always last player moving after snap, which limits any speed rush ability he might have. Strong for his size, hot motor, flashes good bull rush. Runs bowlegged, which hurts his acceleration after first couple of steps. Good recognition skills, but too stiff to take full advantage.
Fantasy Line: Untapped potential if he can be coached to react to snap, but major worry about bull rush and lack of acceleration translating to NFL in current state. May be situational player, inconsistent fantasy value, especially if team tries him as 3-4 OLB.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 3
Scheme Fits: 4-3 DE, 3-4 OLB

Corey Lemonier | Auburn | 6-3, 255
http://draftbreakdown.com/players/corey-lemonier
Scouting Notes: Played defensive end last year, but getting looks as 3-4 OLB in pre-draft workouts. Flashes edge rush capability, but inconsistent getting off snap. Was consistently a beat slow v Joeckel and completely shut down. When he does get off ball, he’s explosive, gets low with good lean and will flatten. Otherwise, doesn’t disengage and is neutralized. Shows an interest in inside pass rush move and bull rush, but not successful. Can leverage and use hands well, but doesn’t make many plays v run.
Fantasy Line: If goes to 3-4 scheme, will be scoring system dependent. Will need time to develop as 4-3 end, but could grow into DL2 in time.
Pre-Draft Fantasy DL Rookie Tier ~ 3 / Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 4
Scheme Fits: 4-3 RDE, 3-4 OLB

Others that will have my attention on draft weekend: Chase Thomas (Stanford), Brandon Jenkins (Florida State), Michael Buchanan (Illinois), Lavar Edwards (LSU), Cornelius Washington (Georgia), Malliciah Goodman (Clemson), Devin Taylor (South Carolina), Trevardo Williams (UConn)
 
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mm/ I look forward to this every year.

8th year? Geezuz...between this and the 2k Audible show earlier I'm starting to feel down right antediluvian.

 
mm/ I look forward to this every year.

8th year? Geezuz...between this and the 2k Audible show earlier I'm starting to feel down right antediluvian.
Would've appreciated the addition of :manwithcaneandlongwhitebeard: smiley with the latest message board reboot.

 
Can Dion Jordan become a defender capable of covering elite tight ends man to man? His size and movement skills don't make it impossible to imagine him matching up with Gronk or Graham. In theory he has the frame and the speed to not be mismatched physically. This is the potential upside that nobody else can offer. I think that the strategic value to a defense would be immense if Jordan could be developed to combat certain types of offensive weapons.

 
Can Dion Jordan become a defender capable of covering elite tight ends man to man? His size and movement skills don't make it impossible to imagine him matching up with Gronk or Graham. In theory he has the frame and the speed to not be mismatched physically. This is the potential upside that nobody else can offer. I think that the strategic value to a defense would be immense if Jordan could be developed to combat certain types of offensive weapons.
I've seen him turn and run with smaller receivers, but asking him to keep up with the size/speed/change of direction of the elite TEs is probably asking too much. I've read some comparisons to Von Miller, but I think he's more pass rusher than linebacker right now. Maybe he's athletic enough to grow into that kind of player with experience, but I think his upside for now is working toward handling the underneath half of a bracket coverage concept.

 
Linebacker Capsules

This group isn't nearly as deep as last year's class and none in the 2012 class compare to the top players in the respective tiers (Luke Kuechly Tier 1: Lavonte David, Bobby Wagner Tier 2; Zach Brown, Demario Davis Tier 3) last year for me.

There are scouting reports here for the players I think have the best every-down profiles. I've also added some quick one-liners for another handful of players whose landing spots could elevate their potential.

Alec Ogletree | Georgia | 6-3, 242

http://draftbreakdown.com/players/alec-ogletree

Scouting Notes: I see two different players. The good Ogletree reads quickly, comes downhill hard and delivers a strong blow. The not-so-good Ogletree is flat-footed, catches blockers with his shoulder, doesn’t use his hands at all, gets sealed easily and misses tackles. Every one of those issues is easily correctable. He’s very fluid and athletic in coverage and comfortable enough to watch passing plays develop rather than eyeing the receiver only.

Fantasy Line: Should grow into a very good every-down linebacker but – like Zach Brown and Sean Weatherspoon – needs to play hot all the time to become an elite fantasy option. I think he could succeed inside, but his best fit may be at WLB to use his speed and comfort in open space to best advantage. Probably will slot into LB2 tiers or above in time.

Pre-Draft Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 1

Scheme Fits: 4-3 WLB, 4-3 MLB, 3-4 WILB

Arthur Brown | Kansas State | 6-0, 241

http://draftbreakdown.com/players/arthur-brown

Scouting Notes: Not always moving after the snap, but has first step explosiveness and acceleration to be a penetrating, disruptive player anyway. Takes on blockers well but sometimes sheds inconsistently. Elite scrape and pursuit skill. Fluid in coverage and reacts well, but reads need a little work. Not violent, but physical for his size.

Fantasy Line: Will play every down. In the Jon Beason mold where he could be an effective ILB if asked, but may be a better fit in space. If improves coverage recognition, could be a LB2+ fantasy talent.

Pre-Draft Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 1

Scheme Fits: 4-3 OLB, 4-3 MLB, 3-4 ILB

Kevin Minter | LSU | 6-0, 246

http://draftbreakdown.com/players/kevin-minter

Scouting Notes: Solid between the tackles, but rarely violent or dominant. Will take on blockers but isn’t an explosive shedder or tackler. Instincts improve his effective range, doesn’t have sideline speed. Won’t be an effective man coverage defender between hashes, but understands coverage angles and depth.

Fantasy Line: Will have value if drafted by a team that sees him as an every-down player. Lack of range will limit his ultimate upside, but likely slots in LB3 tier (at minimum) over long term.

Pre-Draft Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 1-2

Scheme Fits: 4-3 MLB, 3-4 ILB

Manti Te’o | Notre Dame | 6-1, 241

http://draftbreakdown.com/players/manti-teo

Scouting Notes: Very good instincts and reacts quickly which allows him to penetrate into backfield often. Takes on blockers and usually sheds well, scrapes down line effectively. Fluid in coverage and awareness/instincts/breaks on ball are good. Doesn’t finish penetrating plays often enough, sometimes overruns gaps, seems to guess before shedding at times and gets wrong-shouldered more easily than he should. Despite otherwise strong instincts, play action is a problem for him. Speed to sideline and recovery speed questionable, but not as bad as 40 times might make you think. Didn’t fare well against quality interior linemen and quicker backs.

Fantasy Line: Has enough coverage ability to be considered an every-down prospect. Production will be more dependent on surrounding cast and opportunity than scheme and role. May not have range and power to reach elite tier. More Curtis Lofton/Pat Angerer than Luke Kuechly.

Pre-Draft Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 1-2

Scheme Fits: 4-3 MLB, 3-4 ILB, 4-3 SLB

Sio Moore | Connecticut | 6-1, 245

http://draftbreakdown.com/players/sio-moore

Scouting Notes: Showed scheme diversity, playing stack linebacker, rush linebacker, slot cover role last year. Plays downhill, takes on blocks well, tackling can be inconsistent. Passing instincts are okay, better when asked to run with receiver. Excellent blitzer/rusher from variety of angles and stances. Doesn’t have elite range, but can get to the sideline at speed.

Fantasy Line: Could appeal to teams using hybrid fronts. Kind of a Stephen Nicholas, Lawrence Timmons type mix of skills. If plays every-down with a good base defensive role, may have LB2 upside.

Pre-Draft Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 2-3

Scheme Fits: 4-3 OLB, 3-4 ILB, situational rusher

Khaseem Greene | Rutgers | 6-1, 241

http://draftbreakdown.com/players/khaseem-greene

Scouting notes: Elite quickness and athleticism. Seems to be gliding at warp speed while scraping to ball, had an extra gear leftover while covering backs in drills at Senior Bowl. Will take on blocks, but plays high and prefers to use quickness to elude. Is more of a wrap tackler and not physical unless moving at speed. Effortlessly gets to landmarks on zone drops, has a good burst when on delayed blitz.

Fantasy Line: Gets compared to Lavonte David, but isn’t as physical. Better comparison may be somewhere between Zach Brown and Ernie Sims with better coverage skills than both. Could have an immediate subpackage role, and has LB2 upside if earns a good base defensive role.

Pre-Draft Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 2-3

Scheme Fits: 4-3 WLB

Kiko Alonso | Oregon | 6-3, 238

http://draftbreakdown.com/players/kiko-alonso

Scouting notes: Quick and athletic. Looks frenetic, but generally makes sound decisions with good instincts. Some false steps and may overrun plays. Can more than hold his own in coverage. Worried about his tall, thin frame and reckless style of play. Seems a much better fit as a Will than the inside linebacker roles I’ve read him projected into.

Fantasy Line: There’s an Ernie Sims comp here, but Alonso makes decision based on his reads rather than disguising a lack of instincts with speed and athleticism. If he keeps his best attributes, avoids off-field issues and puts on a little more weight, could be a very underrated fantasy prospect.

Pre-Draft Fantasy LB Rookie Tier ~ 2-3

Scheme Fits: 4-3 WLB, 3-4 WILB, 3-4 MLB

Quick hitters on other prospects that will have my attention on draft weekend

Kevin Reddick | North Carolina | 6-3, 240

Instinctive, downhill between the tackles ILB. Has decent coverage instincts, but lacking speed to be above-average coverage defender.

Jamie Collins | Southern Mississippi | 6-4, 250

Probably a 3-4 LOLB without much fantasy upside, but chance to develop into every-down 4-3 SLB with some value.

Zaviar Gooden | Missouri | 6-2, 234

Athletic, rangy, with straight line explosiveness. Inconsistent nstincts, angles, coverage questions may ultimately limit his opportunity.

Michael Mauti | Penn State | 6-2, 232

Will have to recover from a third knee injury, but has shown all-around ability and could eventually be an every-down player.

DeVonte Holloman | South Carolina | 6-2, 243

Former safety needs to develop instincts in run defense, but has a chance to grow into every-down 4-3 OLB.

Jelani Jenkins | Florida | 6-1, 243

Injury issues cloud future, but has every-down upside if he’s more durable and continues to develop.

Jon Bostic | Florida | 6-1, 245

May get a look as a base defensive inside linebacker, but may not have speed and strength to stick.

Ty Powell | Harding | 6-2, 249

Small school pass rusher who stood out as a potential 4-3 OLB at the Senior Bowl. Could sneak into the third round and see opportunity.

Nico Johnson | Alabama | 6-2, 248

Between the tackles thumper who could hold matchup value in the right situation.

Vince Williams | Florida State | 6-1, 233

Frame more stocky than measurables suggest. May have base run defender upside in right situation.

 
With the usual reminder that the IDP value of safeties is dependent on opportunity, this class is flush with potential Rookie Tier 1 / DB2+ prospects. Whether the most attractive prospects will slot any earlier than the third round of a rookie draft will depend on how your league values the position vs the third/fourth tier wide receiver group.

I’ll forego the extended scouting reports, etc. here in favor of a quick hitting approach. If you have questions on scouting details, post them and I’ll be happy to answer.

Pre-Draft Tier 1 Fantasy Prospects

Barring a surprise slide or poor landing spot, these three should slot into the third or fourth round in rookie drafts.

**Kenny Vaccaro | Texas | 6-0, 214 | FS = SS

Elite interchangeable piece. Can cover slot, but has size/willingness to be effective in the box.

**Johnathan Cyprien | Florida International | 6-0, 217 | SS > FS

Last year, Demario Davis was my Senior Bowl crush. This year, Cyprien. Fundamental, physical run defender. Some worries about coverage angles and recovery speed, but solid cover safety.

**DJ Swearinger | South Carolina | 5-11, 208 | SS > FS

May be step slow to sideline in deep coverage, not as physical shedding as he is hitting. Lots of statistical upside.

>>>>><<<<<​
Pre-Draft Tier 2 Fantasy Prospects

Any of these players could jump a tier if they’re drafted into a good opportunity.

**Matt Elam | Florida | 5-10, 208 | SS >> FS

Aggressive and physical, but doesn’t finish consistently. Capable in coverage in college, unlikely to be above-average in NFL.

**Eric Reid | LSU | 6-1, 213 | FS > SS

Fluid in coverage for his size. Aggressive and willing, but could be more consistent in run support.

**Shawn Williams | Georgia | 6-0, 213 | SS = FS

Fundamental and instinctive, but isn’t particularly quick or physical.

**Shamarko Thomas | Syracuse | 5-9, 217 | SS > FS

Hyperaggressive and physical. Good speed, but height may limit his coverage ability.

>>>>><<<<<​
Pre-Draft Tier 3 Fantasy Prospects

Need a good situation to move out of the late rounds / free agent watch tiers.

**JJ Wilcox | Georgia Southern | 6-0, 213 | SS >> FS

Upside, developmental talent. Needs technique work, but instincts appear to be there. Moves up a tier if a team takes a chance on him early.

**Phillip Thomas | Fresno State | 6-0, 208 | FS >> SS

May be selling him short here. Doesn’t have elite speed, but instinctive in coverage. Inconsistent run defender.

**TJ McDonald | USC | 6-2, 219 | FS > SS

Could be one of better statistical players on this list, but inconsistent in both phases.

**Bacarri Rambo | Georgia | 6-0, 211 | FS >>>SS

Very solid centerfield prospect. Not Jairus Byrd, but should get more consideration in big play heavy setups.

>>>>><<<<<​
Worth watching, but highly opportunity dependent and unlikely to be more than free agent watch consideration: Josh Evans, Tony Jefferson, Duke Williams, Zeke Motta, Earl Wolff

 
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Like the safety group, the defensive tackle class is also impressively deep. There are three elite players, a handful of other players who could be elite and lots of middle round potential. Some won’t be statistically productive, but those in leagues that use a defensive tackle position will have lots to choose from this year. Be aware that many of these players could be drafted into a 3-4 defensive end role and be classified with the DE class after the draft.

Tier 1 Fantasy Prospects (Draftable in DT-specific leagues)

**Sheldon Richardson | Missouri | 6-2, 294

Explosive off snap, disruptive, relentless to whistle, runs like a linebacker in pursuit. Wins on quickness rather than technique.

**Sharrif Floyd | Florida | 6-3, 297

Quick, penetrating player. Plays too high at times, but sheds well. Some concerns he won’t develop into consistent pass rusher.

**Star Lotulelei | Utah | 6-2, 314

Short area quickness and power, can anchor or penetrate, technique and pad level sometimes inconsistent. Marginal pass rusher.

Tier 2 Fantasy Prospects (Upside / Potentially Rosterable)

**Sylvester Williams | North Carolina | 6-3, 313

Big bodied but can get skinny in gaps and penetrate. Short bursts of effort, seems to be on the ground half the time. Needs consistency.

**Johnathan Hankins | Ohio State | 6-3, 320

Defends run well with first step quickness or leverage and technique. Some pass rush upside. Carries some effort concerns, though I didn’t note anything worrisome.

**Kawann Short | Purdue | 6-3, 299

Versatile body, plays with power despite body type. Disappears for stretches, needs to be more consistently physical.

Monitor on Watch List: Jesse Williams, John Jenkins / Bennie Logan, Akeem Spence, Jordan Hill / Brandon Williams, Montori Hughes

This is an interesting group. Some may grow into statistically productive nose tackles (Williams and Jenkins). Some have upside if they can put it together as penetrating players (Logan, Spence, Hill). The last two on the list (Williams and Hughes) are potentially dominant small-school prospects who impressed at the Senior Bowl and could be drafted into a rotation only to become much more.

 
I don't believe in pre-draft fantasy slam dunks at the cornerback position. The very best profile is a physical player with above-average size, good ball skills (particularly in zone coverage), a willingness to support the run, good enough in coverage to stay on the field but not good enough that quarterbacks avoid him too often, a better corner playing opposite him and a relatively weak group of tacklers surrounding him. If a player fits 2-3 (or more) of those criteria, he goes on my watch list.

This year's class of corners is deep. I think we're going to get some fantasy value from most of the top eight on this list, but the next twelve (and probably others) could end up becoming rosterable talents as well.

In rough order of expected draft interest, with the caveat that the last 12-15 names could vary widely on most team's boards, here are the players I'm listening for on draft weekend. I put asterisks by the players I think may have the best scouting profiles for success.

Dee Milliner

Xavier Rhodes

DJ Hayden**

Johnthan Banks

Desmond Trufant**

Jamar Taylor**

Jordan Poyer

Blidi Wreh-Wilson

David Amerson

Robert Alford**

Darius Slay

BW Webb

Will Davis

Leon McFadden

Sanders Commings

Tyrann Mathieu

Mark Anthony

Dwayne Gratz

Logan Ryan

Tharold Simon

 
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The rise in subpackage snaps and platoons across all positions and a high injury rate, especially at the linebacker position, left many team depth charts in an uncertain position after last year. In some cases, free agency clouded the picture rather than providing clarity. So there’s lots of opportunity to be had in a year with above-average depth at most positions.

Defensive End

DETROIT – Jason Jones has struggled to be successful at defensive end and has durability issues. I like Willie Young, but he’s unlikely to hold up as a 700+ snap player either. It’s arguably the best opportunity for a game-ready pass rusher this weekend.

DENVER – The loss of Elvis Dumervil leaves the Broncos without an edge rushing talent to pair with Von Miller. Expect Denver to bring in competition for Derek Wolfe and Robert Ayers.

OAKLAND – Jack Crawford has some upside, but isn’t likely to grow into an above-average all-around end. The Raiders need help in lots of places, but defensive end should be a priority.

BUFFALO – The Bills have Manny Lawson and Mark Anderson as rush options opposite Mario Williams. But Mike Pettine is going to want an Adalius Thomas, Paul Kruger type of player to fit his hybrid scheme. That player may not be classified as a defensive end, but it warrants mentioning here.

Other teams to watch: JAX, ATL, NE, TB, TEN, DAL, MIN, STL

Linebacker

BALTIMORE – Rolando McClain will likely be released, leaving the Ravens with Jameel McClain and Josh Bynes as their likely starters. The middle linebacker here will get good protection from his front seven teammates, little competition for tackles and a good schedule for production. This might be the best situation on the board this weekend.

NEW YORK GIANTS – The Giants may give Mark Herzlich another chance to succeed in the middle, but this depth chart isn’t inspiring. Herzlich, Dan Connor, Jacquian Williams, Spencer Paysinger and Keith Rivers (and maybe Mathias Kiwanuka) may be seen as a “sum better than parts” package and the Giants have a history of not prioritizing linebackers in the draft. Still, it remains an attractive spot.

MINNESOTA – Audie Cole isn’t the answer inside and the Vikings didn’t seem to trust Erin Henderson in subpackages last year. This is a very good landing spot for a player with every-down potential.

CHICAGO – DJ Williams is on a one year deal and an off-field and locker room nightmare at times. The middle linebacker of the future is not on the roster.

KANSAS CITY – Derrick Johnson is in his age 31 season and the Chiefs have Akeem Jordan starting alongside him with Zac Diles and Cory Greenwood for competition.

PITTSBURGH – The Steelers keep bringing back Larry Foote because they have had such bad luck with their developmental inside backer prospects. Stevenson Sylvester is still in the mix but not a long term option and Sean Spence is a question mark after last season’s injury.

DENVER – The Broncos have a very strong pair of outside backers and may not need a stud every-down middle backer. I still think there’s some potential in Nate Irving, but this is a situation to watch.

HOUSTON – Brian Cushing is a durability question and the Texans have cycled through too many inside linebackers to count in their history. A high draft pick here would be a high upside opportunity.

SAN DIEGO – I’m still a fan of Donald Butler, but he leaves plenty of opportunity for his teammates. Jonas Mouton may finally get a chance and the Chargers have multiple rotational bodies, but there’s room for improvement here.

ARIZONA – The Cardinals signed Lorenzo Alexander and Jasper Brinkley, but neither is a long-term option next to Daryl Washington, who is a slip away from a season-long suspension. It’s not a prime depth chart situation, but there’s always lots of opportunity in Arizona.

NEW ORLEANS – David Hawthorne and Jonathan Vilma aren’t great fits for the Saints’ new scheme and have had trouble staying healthy in recent seasons. Edge rusher may be a higher priority for their prospective 3-4, but an all-around WILB would be welcome here.

Other teams to watch: NYJ, CIN, JAX, STL, ATL, TB, TEN, IND, OAK, GB

Safety

Every team has a potential opening at safety – well, probably not Seattle – and there’s a deep group of two-way safety prospects. The market here will be very interesting to watch, especially early on Saturday. This is going to be a “follow the talent” situation, but there are a couple of primo fits to highlight.

CINCINNATI – The Bengals’ linebacker group might be the slowest in the league. Taylor Mays stands atop their depth chart at strong safety. Enough said.

ST. LOUIS – Darian Stewart was pushed aside due to injury and inconsistency last year. He’s now the best safety on the roster. The surrounding cast is better at OLB and CB than Cincinnati, but there’s still significant tackle upside here.

JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars may have too many holes to prioritize safety in the first 2-3 rounds, but there are at least ten players better than Chris Prosinski on the board.

ARIZONA – Yeremiah Bell has a one year deal and Rashad Johnson has struggled when given extended playing time. Good long term opportunity here.

 
I'll mostly be commenting on Twitter throughout the weekend, but I'll have extended reviews and some early fantasy thoughts in this thread when the picks aren't flying in.

If you're new to Twitter, the easiest way to get the best FBG viewpoints and conversation from the best draft minds on Twitter is to follow Sigmund Bloom's draftnik list (click on the subscribe button if you have your own account or just read the scrolling timeline on the page if you don't).

Sig, Matt Waldman and I will also have live analysis tonight from 10-midnight ET on The Audible: Live.

 
Apologies for the delay in posting. The Forum turned on me last night and ate my post. :wall:

The first round doesn't usually bring a trove of top IDP prospects. We'll sometimes see a stud all-around linebacker, every-down defensive end or a safety or two, but it's usually a round of defensive tackles, cover corners and edge rushing outside linebackers. Last night was no exception.

Today will be much more interesting. We'll still see a good number of DT and CB taken, but Arthur Brown, Manti Te'o, Kevin Minter, Sio Moore, Tank Carradine, Johnathan Cyprien, DJ Swearinger and other fantasy prospects are likely to come off the board before the night ends.

A few brief thoughts on the first round prospects by position:

Defensive End
Don't pigeonhole Dion Jordan into a 4-3 defensive end role yet. I think that's ultimately where he'll be classified, but he's more than an edge rusher. Von Miller isn't a great comparison, but Jordan could ultimately be a 4-3 SLB or get some looks as a hybrid player. For now, he'll probably be a rotational end. Ultimately, as always, his value will depend on usage and classification. Ezekiel Ansah is inexperienced but the depth chart strongly suggests he'll be a 700+ snap player immediately. I'm not sure he'll defend the run well enough to have a Jabaal Sheard like rookie year, but the opportunity could be there. Datone Jones has the profile of a statistically productive 3-4 DE. He could have a Calais Campbell / Mo Wilkerson kind of ceiling.

Defensive Tackle
Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd went to schemes that fit their skill sets well. Whether either can convert their talent to the box score is debatable. The Jets have two 5-techinque ends in Quinton Coples and Mo Wilkerson, but there's room for a rotation with Sheldon Richardson. We could also see some hybrid sets with Richardson as a 3-tech. Sylvester Williams is talented but riskier than Lotulelei or Floyd.

Linebacker
I wrote earlier in the thread that I felt Alec Ogletree's best fit was at WLB in a 4-3. That's what he'll be in St. Louis. Matt Waldman argued on our show last night that Jeff Fisher may have found his next Keith Bulluck. I don't think Ogletree is that caliber player yet, but it's an interesting thought. Though it's a good schematic fit to highlight his strengths, scrounging for tackles next to James Laurinaitis doesn't bode well for Ogletree joining the elite fantasy ranks. I think both Jarvis Jones and Barkevious Mingo can be upper tier rush OLBs and should be relatively high on the radar of those in big play leagues. I'm not sure I see the fit for Bjoern Werner in Indianapolis unless they're planning more of a 4-3 base.

Cornerback
Dee Milliner and Desmond Trufant are going to be nice targets under the rookie corner rule. Xavier Rhodes is a great schematic fit for Minnesota. I love DJ Hayden, but I don't know when he'll be cleared for contact.

Safety
Kenny Vaccaro went to a crowded depth chart situation in New Orleans, but is arguably already the best all-around safety on the roster. There's been speculation that Roman Harper could be released; at minimum, he's likely to move into a rotational role. Eric Reid is a solid talent, but has major competition for tackles. Matt Elam might struggle in coverage, but he's likely to be used to his strengths as a strong safety. He may have DB2 upside immediately.
 
Jene Bramel@JeneBramel13m
Rumors of Minter to Arizona earlier today are accurate. Great fit next to Washington long term.

Jene Bramel@JeneBramel10m
Lorenzo Alexander and Jasper Brinkley weren't long term answers but are nice depth. Minter not necessarily base defender only.

Jene Bramel@JeneBramel9m
Bills have openly praised Nigel Bradham. Alonso pick an indication of what new defensive coaches think of Sheppard.

Jene Bramel@JeneBramel8m
Alonzo is frenetic, but instinctive. If he can stay healthy and remain reckless and productive, will be very good player.

Jene Bramel@JeneBramel6m
Also possible Mike Pettine likes his personnel better in 4-3. Bradham SLB / Sheppard MLB / Alonso WLB. Not sure where that leaves Lawson.

 
Jene Bramel@JeneBramel4m
Guess I'm going back to take a second look at Jon Bostic. Worried that he was stiffer than billed and not strong enough to handle ILB role.

Jene Bramel@JeneBramel4m
Don't think I'm missing the boat on Bostic entirely though. We'll see.

Jene Bramel@JeneBramel4m
Five ILB / 4-3 OLB types taken before Arthur Brown...

Jene Bramel@JeneBramel1m
Not sure what kind of shoulder injury would make me want Alonso or Bostic over Brown.

Jene Bramel@JeneBramel20s
Patriots get Jamie Collins, immediately get more versatile with their scheme than they've been in years. 3-4 OLB w/ 4-3 SLB, nickel DE poss

 
I'm unfortunately not going to be around much tomorrow afternoon. But keep an eye on the following names for opportunity / depth chart fits: Alex Okafor, Quanterus Smith, Cornelius Washington, Devin Taylor, Khaseem Greene, Michael Mauti, DeVonte Holloman, Ty Powell, Shamarko Thomas. This list is fluid of course but here's an early look at fantasy tiers: DE ~~~ Jordan = Ansah >>> Jones > Moore >> HuntDamontre Moore could move up here, but I think there's a clear and sizable tier break between the top two players here.DT ~~~ Lotulelei > Floyd = Richardson >> Williams = Short = HillDoubtful I'll have any of these players above the mid-6th in the first version of my combined draft board.Rush ~~ Mingo > Jones = Carradine = Collins > Werner = Lemonier > MontgomeryMingo and Jones get a bump in big play leagues, with Carradine and Collins jumping up, too.LB ~~~ Brown > Ogletree = Te'o = Minter = Moore > Alonso > Bostic >> GoodenLittle question that Brown is the clear top linebacker and top overall rookie IDP. Think we'll see the majority of the others in every-down roles (Ogletree is a near lock) by the end of 2014, but I'm not that excited about Alonso or Bostic yet.SF ~~~ Vaccaro > Elam = Cyprien = Williams = Swearinger > Reid = Wilcox = McDonaldAll eight of these players belong on a dynasty roster except in shallow leagues. Vaccaro is a half tier ahead, but may take a bit to hit his ceiling and the seven players behind him are a pretty tightly grouped bunch. Super Early T12 Overall ~~ Brown > Ogletree = Te'o = Minter = Jordan = Moore > Ansah = Vaccaro > Elam/Cyprien/Williams = Alonso I'll tease out a few corners that may be draftable late and tier them later this weekend. List most likely to include Milliner, Hayden, Trufant, Rhodes, Taylor, Alford right now.

 
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Very busy week ahead -- Combined Rookie Draft Board, Redraft Tiers >> Rankings, Every Down LB Updates and more.

If you're drafting this weekend...here are a few third day players who may possibly earn higher than Rd 7 / FA Watch consideration on my draft board.

DE Quanterus Smith / Devin Taylor / Malliciah Goodman

LB Michael Mauti / Khaseem Greene / Nico Johnson / Vince Williams / Kevin Reddick

SF Shamarko Thomas / Bacarri Rambo / Phillip Thomas / Josh Evans / Janoris Slaughter / Tony Jefferson

 
Attaching an image of the first version of the Combined Draft Board. I'll post a link when the full feature is ready and I'm working to see if the new message board skin will allow me to add an Excel spreadsheet you can modify as I've done in years past.

Combined Draft Board.xlsx

 

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Attaching an image of the first version of the Combined Draft Board. I'll post a link when the full feature is ready and I'm working to see if the new message board skin will allow me to add an Excel spreadsheet you can modify as I've done in years past.
Thanks for all the hard work Jene. I know I'm not alone in saying Thank You.

Not sure if you have settled on your "favorite" IDP for this draft. Any hints?

 
Attaching an image of the first version of the Combined Draft Board. I'll post a link when the full feature is ready and I'm working to see if the new message board skin will allow me to add an Excel spreadsheet you can modify as I've done in years past.
Awesomeness!

 
The Excel version of the draft board (for download and personal modification) is now attached to post 26. I'll link the full feature in a new thread when it's published.

KCitons said:
Not sure if you have settled on your "favorite" IDP for this draft. Any hints?
Not sure if I have a 2013 favorite. The linebackers look pretty straightforward without any obvious undervalued upside. I like nearly every one of the safeties on the list but the supply will outstrip the demand.

Seany.D said:
Bramel + Stacy = Man Crush?
Think there's enough talent there to be productive in an attractive situation.

 
Well agreed Bramel.

And after hearing Bloom talk about how Pead was "fed up with football" from last year, I have to say, I'm the one that's starting to develop a man crush for one Zachary Stacy!

It seems I'm well in the minority with Stacy, but I like what I saw and I trust Waldman's evaluation. There's not elite upside here, but I think -- unless we see a healthy Lattimore -- that tier is cluttered with RB2 upside. No reason Stacy can't earn 250 touches in time and hit that kind of projection.

 
Well agreed Bramel.

And after hearing Bloom talk about how Pead was "fed up with football" from last year, I have to say, I'm the one that's starting to develop a man crush for one Zachary Stacy!

It seems I'm well in the minority with Stacy, but I like what I saw and I trust Waldman's evaluation. There's not elite upside here, but I think -- unless we see a healthy Lattimore -- that tier is cluttered with RB2 upside. No reason Stacy can't earn 250 touches in time and hit that kind of projection.
As a 49ers fan I can't wait to see Lattimore play at Candlestick park or possibly the new stadium in Santa Clara. And yes, long live the RSP, Matt rocks!

 
Just want to say how much I love Jene's draft spreadsheet. I modeled my own version after that, and it has proved invaluable for structuring my own research. I look forward to seeing this update every year!

 
Hey Jene,

I know you have Tank ranked as an outside backer, but it looks like GM Baalke has his penciled in as a down lineman. Thought he might end up here as a replacement for J. Smith and with Brooks signing that new contract last year, I figured he would stay on the outside, starting.

Do you think Tank can project for the numbers J. Smith has put up on this defense, down the road?

I know Baalke did say (in the link I posted above), that Tank could see some snaps as a linebacker and that would make sense to give the offense different looks, while taping into his versatility, but wouldn't he hold eligibility as a lineman?

Perhaps this is just a Terrell Suggs situation to monitor for eligibility every year.

 
Full feature with commentary posted now posted.

Of note: I finished the commentary very late Sunday night.

Since then, I've moved Markus Wheaton up into the second tier of wide receivers. It also sounds like the Niners are planning to use Tank Carradine as a base defensive end and situational pass rusher (thanks Seany). That will move him somewhere between the second tier (behind Datone Jones) and Margus Hunt. Kiko Alonso also gets a very slightly higher grade after the Kelvin Sheppard trade.

I'll have these updates and more in an update to come soon.

 
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