Thursday, 25 April 2013

DC Writers Mock Draft: Picks 26-32

The DC Writers mock reaches it's final stage in the build up to the NFL draft, Live at 12am Thursday on Sky Sports 1.

26th – Green Bay Packers – Matt Elam, S, Florida.
Pick by Tommy Gibbs

With the departure of Charles Woodson the Pack need a similar vein of player to mould into their versatile defensive chess piece, someone who can cover well, but also blitz and make plays in the backfield. 

Elam could well be that man, a physical and energetic playmaker who has experience playing close to the line of scrimmage a' la Woodson. Whilst perhaps not as complete as Cyprien, I think he better fits the Packers' mentality on defence.

27th – Houston Texans – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Pick by John Winter

By the time the 2013 NFL season starts Andre Johnson will be 32, and will not be getting any younger. The Texans also lack a solid deputy for Johnson and bringing Hopkins in will help out Matt Schaub who could definitely use an extra star wide out against elite defences.

Hopkins is a fit for Houston's vertical passing game, a speedy receiver who has big play potential, he will able to learn under Johnson and eventually take over as the number one receiver in Houston.

Houston could go easily go with Tennessee's Justin Hunter or USC's Robert Woods with this pick, but Hopkins is arguably a more polished prospect than Hunter and a better fit for their scheme than Woods.

28th – Denver Broncos – Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise St.
Pick by Ross Watson

With Champ Bailey's career coming to an end now is the perfect time to bring in a prospect with the ability to contribute right away in sub packages before stepping into the full starters roll next year of whenever it is needed.

A few might consider Te'o in this spot, but even though the Broncos defence is a perfect schematic fit from the LB out of ND, Denver does have some bodies that can do the job and recent draft history has shown that ILB's can be found in the latter rounds.

29th – New England Patriots – Margus Hunt, DE, SMU.
Pick by Tom Snee

Knowing how much Bill Belichick loves media attention and controversy(!), I nearly went for Manti Te'o, but you just cannot ignore a beast like Margus Hunt.

He's is the kind of defensive end that some whiny 14-year old creates on his Xbox and posts videos on YouTube about how great he is - only in real life. Had he been schooled in the US from an earlier age and had the football experience, his physicals mark him out as a top ten pick , but his late entry into the sport sees the 6'8, 275lbs behemoth unlikely to go any higher than late in the first.

Every perceived weakness - play recognition, little variety in his pass rush, inconsistent technique - can be fixed in time, and although Hunt is a little older than most prospects, time is very much on his side, particularly in an organisation like New England.

Expect ol' Bill to snap this kid up if he's on the board - that man loves a project.

30th – Atlanta Falcons – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M.
Pick by Richard Penwright

I was torn with this pick. Do I get LB Arthur Brown from Kansas State or Moore from A&M? In the end, I took Moore. It's not very often a potential top 10 pick slides down to 30.

The consensus All-American was a sack machine last season with 12.5 sacks to go along with 21 tackles for loss. It's those types of numbers that the Falcons will be hoping for when the playoffs roll around as their lack of pass rush was a big issue in the 2012 post season.

With the addition of Osi Umenyoira, the Falcons also have a veteran Super Bowl winner who Moore can learn from.

31st – San Francisco – Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Pick by Jon Goddard

The 9ers almost have the luxury of picking the best player available with a roster stacked with talent. With the loss of Delany Walker they need another tight end to feature in their dynamic offence and Jim Harbaugh returns to Stanford to pick up an old favorite.

Ertz is easily tied with Tyler Eifert as the top tight end and the 9ers get yet another player to make use of.

32nd – Baltimore Ravens – Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Pick by Simon Love

What do Manti Te'o's girlfriend and quality Ravens inside linebackers have in common?
Neither of them exist.

The Ravens got awfully thin at linebacker this offseason with the loss of starters Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger, and second stringer Brendon Ayanbadejo. Baltimore also gave up on the "Sergio Kindle Project" this offseason, but he was never really around to be missed. Elvis Dumervil was a direct replacement for Kruger (and an upgrade), and Rolando McClain will take a linebacking spot but his quality was brought into question during his time in Oakland and the jury will be out on him. 

This leaves the Ravens with at least one LB spot to fill, and I feel that Manti Te'o is their guy. While Te'o did not have a great Combine and is possibly a little light for an NFL ILB, he is incredibly aggressive. His coverage skills are limited, but who will that remind the Ravens of?

I have a gut feeling that the Ravens will trade out of this pick to gain numbers lower down the board, but if they do chose to stick then I can easily see them plumping for the Notre Dame man, who projects as a lower 1st - upper 2nd round pick on most draft boards and is just the kind of player that the Ravens seem to get the most out of.


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