By Mike O’Connor, Staf Writer
Here we are folks, the last precious days that lie in between us fans and the long awaited NFL Draft. Trade and interest smokescreens are polluting our heads, even more so than recent years. Without a doubt, this draft will be as unpredictable and shocking as any other years. So what better way to embrace the chaos than by dirtying the already mucky water?
Here are five of my most shocking, yet realistic (according to my rankings) predictions for this Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday. (Note: these are for fun, I understand a majority of these won’t happen).
1. Jarvis Jones falls into the 3rd Round: Some who follow me on Twitter might have already realized that I’m possibly the biggest non-believer in Jarvis Jones. For me? It’s everything. I don’t see a possible fit for him in this league. He’s not the kind of raw athlete who has a wide basis of skills around the line of scrimmage that would spell a 4-3 Outside Linebacker. Additionally, he doesn’t have the size, strength, quickness, or rush ability that would allow him to stand up as a 3-4 Outside Linebacker.
Next, Georgia’s scheme basically allowed Jones to shoot through gaps that their defensive lineman would create, which is what Justin Smith is asked to primarily do for San Francisco. Jones hardly ever beat lineman with actual rush technique. In fact, Jones was, at times, a liability in creating pressure by himself, until he would find that gap that their gameplan tried to create. To make matters worse, Jones was a liability vs the run all year, and this was finally exposed at large when Alabama ran Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon over his side nearly every single play. His lack of strength doesn’t allow for any separation to tackle, let alone any lateral movement to help seal the edge.
The tale of the tape doesn’t lie. Jones’ early stock that soared solely depended on his oddly lucky turnovers produced, and fluky sack totals. As people have actually started to watch tape, Jones has unsurprisingly fallen off the map. Most think its surprising to drop him out of their Top 15, or maybe even first round. However, with my reasons above said, why wouldn’t Jones be passed on by a rusher with a better basis of skills and athleticism, while being more raw, like Jamie Collins or Corey Lemonier? The pair or rushers are widely regarded as second round picks at best, but there’s no reason to take Jones ahead of them as a 3-4 or 4-3 team. Thus, I have Jones falling out of the second round in my upcoming mock. With no fitting place in today’s league, and a still mysterious case of spinal steriosis, I see no reason to over-draft him in the first two rounds.
2. Jamar Taylor will be the second corner off the board: Is this disliking towards Xavier Rhodes? Not at all. I like Rhodes and his favorable skillset for a scheme that is heavy with their man coverage. However, Rhodes is often too physical at times, and depends on grabbing receivers when he has to flip his hips in coverage. Jamar Taylor has been one of my favorite defensive prospects throughout this whole draft process.
Taylor can essentially play any role a corner is typically asked to play. His instincts are top notch, he’s a scrappy cover man in tight quarters, and he has excellent pure speed/athleticism. He tackles just as well as any corner does in this draft class, and never shies away from getting his nose dirty in the run game. Lastly, Taylor’s strength and build makes him an intimidating hitter for a cover corner. There isn’t much you don’t get with Taylor at the position.
The 2010 draft saw the Cleveland Browns take Florida corner, Joe Haden with their seventh overall pick. However, it became well known after the draft that the team’s scouts were fighting over him and current Jets corner, Kyle Wilson. Wilson and Taylor both attended Boise State. I think it is obvious that Taylor is a stronger corner back prospect right now than Wilson was when he came out. So, who’s to say Taylor can’t see a similar surprise going so early? Dee Milliner is a better corner, in my opinion, but it is very close.
3. The Jets could trade both First Round picks: It is no secret that the Jets have an overwhelming amount of holes, but I think that the unfortunate trade of Darrelle Revis shows the rebuilding year that the 2013 season will end up being. I believe that GM John Idzik is attempting to find pieces to the future for this team, and not just balance out an average roster. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, really. A team in a full-fledged rebuilding mode has to find strongholds at certain positions that can carry a team, instead of slowly building up a balanced, but not dangerous roster.
With that said, I think that the Jets will look to accumulate more picks if both Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo are gone by 9. Both can provide immediate impact in regards to the lackluster pass rush, and today’s NFL has proven that you can literally build a team around a consistent pass rusher. Unfortunately, Jordan could likely be out of the picture after the second pick, and Mingo could definitely be jumped on by a Browns team that is hungry for a pass rusher opposite of Jabaal Sheard. If such events occur, there’s not a doubt in my mind that the Jets will look to move out of the 9 slot.
Pick 13, obviously acquired from the Revis trade, should be a possible trade down scenario no matter how the board falls. Teams rarely have two picks so high in the first round, and when they do, the obvious move is to use them to your advantage. This 2013 draft class, in my opinion, has its most striking value in Day 2. With the 13th pick, it is a mystery who the Jets could target. Unless the team is very, very high on two specific players, it is hard to believe that they wouldn’t try and trade down for better value with pick 13. I think the most convincing evidence here is the incredible value at the corner back position in Rounds 2 and 3. While I’m clearly high on Jamar Taylor, no other corner offers a lot of value in the teens. This is especially true when certain teams with picks to the ceiling, like San Francisco (13 picks) can afford to gamble, trade up, and get their guy.
4. The Absurd Run on Corner backs: This class of corners is easily the deepest position in the 2013 draft. I think it’s quite possible that more corners will go in the second round than the amount of running backs taken in the first four three rounds combined. It’s no surprise that running backs have steadily decreased in value in today’s NFL, as more ball carriers are deployed by each team than ever before. Also, there is actually some really nice value to be found on the hunt for running backs in this draft. But out of pure talent and impact, the corners in this class dominate the running backs in number.
I don’t want to spoil exactly how many more corners I have in just the second round versus amount of runners in the first three, but the results are astounding. This feat hasn’t occurred in the last 10 years of the draft, which is around the time when I’d say runners started to lose overall value. It is an obscure prediction, for sure, but I think it is just as likely as any other prediction on this list. This could really show how essential it is in today’s NFL to find corners who fit your defensive scheme to play your desired defense.
5. Best guess at a “Bruce Irvin Pick”- B.W Webb: When I scouted BW Webb here, I really liked what I saw. I won’t reiterate what I stated on the scouting report so much, so I advise you quickly check out the report. In short, I can see Webb at the top of some teams corner back boards, just because of his unique skillset. In a consistent Cover 2 scheme, we could see Webb develop quickly into a sure-fire starter, and maybe even a Pro-Bowler. In fact, there’s been reports that Webb talked exclusively with the Rams at the Combine and Senior Bowl, and that they liked him to a significant level. I’m not saying BW Webb is sure to be a first rounder, but if there is one out-of-nowhere pick to be made this year, I’m going to give the prediction to BW Webb.
—> To fully believe my crazy predictions, my 7 Round mock draft, which I plan finishing in time for the day of the Draft, should explain a lot. Be on the lookout for it as we near closer to the beloved date of April 25th!