This is C3’s pre-free agency Mock Draft with my picks (Mel Mayock) along with guest contributor, @SamsSlater96. This Mock is a little different than the others you’ve seen. I’m picking and stating my reasoning for the first round. I give my reasoning and insights as to why a team will go after a certain player. The reasoning could be based on last year’s weaknesses as rated by our friends at ProFootballFocus.com. Or the reasoning could be the pending loss of a Free Agent. And BPA logic comes into play too. THEN (here’s the fun part) Smokewagon has inserted his picks along with his reasoning. We did our picks independently so this should be interesting.
We also have C3’s Professor and Freakin’ Puerto Rican chiming in on who they think the Panthers should take should the board fall this way. We want to hear from you, leave your thoughts on our picks and look for our next Mock to come out just before the draft.
If you don’t already, you should follow our guest, @SamsSlater96 on Twitter, as he is one of the most insightful Panther fans and we thank him for his joining us for this Mock.
We hope you enjoy and look for an updated Mock as we get past Free Agency. Hit me up on Twitter to give me your thoughts. You can tell me I’m great or that I suck. All comments appreciated.
The Panthers have their pick of Ereck Flowers, TJ Clemmmings and DJ Humphries. I’m going Humprhries here as I think he is the most complete LT in the Draft. The only thing holding him back really has been the health issues. I do believe had he gone back for his Senior season and stayed healthy that he would be a top 10 pick in 2016. So to take him at 25 is great value for the Panthers. Click here to read more on why Humphries is a great pick.
Carolina’s number one priority is to address the OT position this offseason, either through FA or the draft. With the team selling off all of their stock in BBinc. (Byron Bell Inc.) and losing Jordan Gross the year earlier to retirement, Carolina is going to have to protect their biggest investment in team history…. Cam Newton. “Team Gettlvera” has lady luck smile down on them for the third straight draft by having a player of need lineup in true correlation with the so “overused” term BPA.
The most glaring weakness on offense last season was the play of the offensive line. In particular the poor play of the left tackle. The position must be addressed this offseason and this is the draft to do it. One of the deeper positions in this draft is the OT position. Gettleman loves his “Hog Mollies” and this year he has plenty to choose from. If he is available at pick #25 I really like TJ Clemmings. Clemmings has everything you look for in a LT. Size, speed, length, a mean streak (something the Panthers need along the offensive front) and good feet. Having moved from the hardwood to the gridiron has served Clemmings well. He has good footwork from his days of playing in the paint. The down side of late switch to football is lack of experience. This guy would be a definite upgrade from anyone on the roster at left tackle. If he is there at pick #25, Gettleman can’t pass him up.
With reports that WR Torrey Smith is seeking $10M per year and with the ageless Steve Smith getting one year older, this pick makes too much sense. Flacco needs receiving options and Coates is one of my favorite options. Plus it will be fun to watch Smitty stare down Coates after one of his drops. Coates may bench press him. (he benches 400 lbs.)
The Cowboys’ Defense needs help in a big way and their DBs were the weakest link on the team. Marcus Peters is probably the most talented DB in the Draft and as long as he’s passed his personal anger issues, he will be an amazing pick. This pick can make up for the wasted pick in Morris Claiborne. Jordan Phillips could also make sense here too, but I’m going DB here. If they let DeMarco Murray walk in Free Agency, then look for Todd Gurley to be the pick.
The Broncos are looking to retool their Offensive Line where the word is they may be looking for as many as three new starters. Fisher is athletic and plays with intensity. He will look good protecting Peyton Manning
Though the Colts really need Oline help as Luck saw way too much pressure. He was sacked 41 times while the Colts only totalled 29 sacks themselves. But nothing helps a Quarterback like a good running-game and Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson are not going to get it done. Gurley would be a huge boost to this team long term.
The Packers ranked 23rd against the rush and that is one area that has to be addressed. Jordan Phillips is the guy to do just that. At 6’5/ 329 lbs., he will clog up the middle and allow Clay Matthews to roam and make even more plays.
The only weaknesses on the Seattle team was WRs and OL. Devin Smith is tempting here as they could use speed, but adding a mauler like Flowers to replace Justin Britt will add to what they do on Offense. Flowers fits the Seahawk mold of being a tough guy that can push you around. Marshawn Lynch (assuming he is back with the team. IF not they will be praying that Gurley or Gordon are available).
If this high-risk/high-reward pick works out, life isn’t quite fair. The Patriots top-rated WR was Brandon LaFell (33rd rated WR by PFF) and Green-Beckham could be the next Randy Moss. And the NE tradition of taking troubled players and making them model citizens adds credence to this selection.
There are bigger needs than running back they will say. This team needs a franchise left tackle they will say. A complimentary receiver to go with Benjamin would be more valuable given Stewart’s resurgence they will say. Passing on Gurley, however, for need defies Gettleman’s sworn BPA formula. Guys like Gurley simply don’t come along often. He’s explosive, electric, and from his reports can run a sub 4.35 40-yd dash. He returns kicks, has power, great vision, and can block. He does it all. Had it not been for his knee injury, he would have been a Top 10 overall pick. If his knee checks out, bring this Backyard Baller home. Carolina can only count on Stewart for so much and never for long.
With Torrey Smith most likely gone due to free agency and with Steve Smith going on 36 years old, Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome will need to bring in youth movement to the position that can stretch the field so the team can get the most out of Joe Flacco’s big arm. Devin Smith is a vertical speed demon that can completely take the top off of any defense at the next level. Many have compared him to Dolphins WR Mike Wallace but Smith is a better prospect than what Wallace was when he came out of Ole Miss. He will slide right in nicely in the role vacated by the aforementioned Torrey Smith next season.
Dallas’s offense carried the team to an NFC East division title and a playoff victory this season, but the defense on the other hand was amassed by other franchises cast offs and this finally caught to Dallas in the end. The Cowboys also lost their leading sack master DeMarcus Ware to free agency before the season even got under way and it showed for the Dallas pass rush was non existent for most of 2014. Taking Dupree can go a long way into remedying both problems. Dupree is a freak of an athlete who is just scratching the surface on what he can become with NFL coaching, and who better to get the most out of this man than Ron Marinelli on that side of the ball.
With Terrance Knighton a FA and Denver going towards a true ¾ defense under the direction of Wade Phillips a new nose tackle will be a must get for GM John Elway. Phillips is a load to handle coming in at 6’ 6” weighing in at 324 lbs. He also shown flashes of being able to rush the passer while he was anchoring that defensive line for the Sooners. For a ¾ defense to be effective it must start up front with a big body to hold down the middle and this is where Phillips comes into play.
Indy could end up taking a RB with this pick in Jay Ajayi or Melvin Gordon, but think it would be valuable at this spot to look for Robert Mathis’s replacement as the focal pass rusher for the Colt’s defense. Mathis is coming of an Achilles tear at 34 years old. This is not good for any player much less an undersized pass rusher that relies on speed more than power. The team takes Harold here hoping to replace Mathis for his time in the NFL is near an end.
With the Green Bay releasing A.J. Hawk, Julius Peppers (35), and Clay Matthews (always seeming to miss time due to injury), adding some youth to the linebacking core makes sense drafting this late in the first round. Anthony had an eye opening performance at the Senior Bowl and his combine continued that trend with his stock soaring by the minute within the scouting ranks. This would just end up being one of those sound Ted Thompson picks that when looked back on in ten years will have made a ton of sense.
It has become evident up in Seattle that besides all of the talent on that team the one thing that is missing is a true #1 WR for Russell Wilson to throw the pigskin to. This dilemma has come back to bite Seattle more than they would like to admit. Strong would give Wilson that big target he has missed in the passing game during his time running Seattle’s offense. Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Chris Matthews are not viable options to ever be “The Guy”, they’re more better served as being the garnish besides the rib-eye on your plate.
New England fresh coming of a victory in Super Bowl 49 is going to be in the process of having to replace some of the players that got them there the season. Looking at where the key losses could come from is in the secondary. Darrelle Revis is going to be hard to afford and UFA safety Devin McCourty is looking to cash in as the number one ranked safety on the market. Drafting the smooth as silk corner out of Wake Forest will help fill the void left by “Revis Island.” The Pat’s have recent history in taking DB’s in the end of the first round with Patrick Chung in 2009 and the mentioned McCourty in 2010 respectfully.