With the first mock draft, I'm not going to trade any picks - we're not moving up or down, we are simply just picking where we stand. It doesn't mean I think we should stay put, this is just the first in a series of mock drafts you will see here at GGN over the coming months. No doubt many will disagree (some more strongly than others) but it's impossible to please all view points. So here we go, my first take on what we should do come April:
Round 1: Pick #9. Dion Jordan, OLB/DE - Oregon University
I thought about Jarvis Jones and Barkevious Mingo for this selection, even thought Eric Fisher and Chance Warmack. However Jones degenerative spinal condition scares me, Mingo is coming off a a very average year where i questioned his motor. Chance is a great prospect but people would hate a guard this high, and I think it's a little high for Fisher especially when you hear how high the team seems to be on Howard. So instead I went for the extremely versatile Dion Jordan who has great length, height and speed, a player who looks comfortable in coverage with good instincts for the football. He's not that polished and he didn't have a stud year, but I think he has a lot of potential and has a very good work ethic, I like his pursuit and his tackling ability and with Rex Ryan he could do wonders. Could do with adding a few pounds to his frame, but already possesses a good swim/spin move already.
Round 2: Pick #39. Ed Lacy, RB - Alabama University
I don't like our running game right now, Greene will be gone and I'm not sold on Powell as the answer. I want a more rounded back and I think Ed Lacy is that guy. He is a big back who runs tough, but who also has the ability to receive out of the backfield. He shows patience and vision to avoid contact, open field ability to make people miss and he also picks up blitzes well, so there would be no need to substitute him on passing downs. He also doesn't have much tread on the tires yet and that's always important for a running back. 1322 yards and 17 touchdowns this season show you what he can do, he's averaged 6.5, 7.1 and 7.3 yards per carry in his three years at Alabama and that is pretty damn impressive. He had a 9.1 average against Georgia, 7.5 average against LSU and a 7.0 average against Notre Dame, so he shows up when it really counts.
Round 3: Pick #72. Jonathan Cyprien, SS - Florida International
If you read my scouting report on Jonathan Cyprien you will know I'm a big fan. I know that we need help on the offensive side of the ball but being realistic we are not competing next year, so I'm loading up on value in this draft. Jonathan brings everything I love to the safety position, he works up at the line but is just as comfortable in coverage. He has an excellent work ethic and has been impressing this off-season. He delivers a big pop to anyone who comes near him, but he is never out of control either. Has good instincts in the passing game and has the fluidity in the hips to run and change direction with receivers or tight ends. Will he be here in the 3rd? the more he impresses this off-season the less likely it becomes but we can hope, he's a Rex Ryan type guy and he would add a little talent to a safety core that is lacking in it, especially as Landry is unlikely to be back and Bell is a veteran on his way out, and not guaranteed to be back either.
Round 4: Pick #103. Brian Winters OG/OT - Kent State
I couldn't fit any offensive line talent into the first three rounds, nothing seemed to fit. However Brian Winters has played RG, RT and LT in college and he has excelled at every single position. Very physical player who finishes his blocks, more suited to play inside rather than out at the NFL level. Good base and plays with good leverage, understands the important of good hands, instincts are good in pass protection and keeps his legs moving in run blocking. Excellent in-line blocker and is a bit of a mauler and enjoys the physical side of the game. Also seen by teammates as a good leader. With Slauson and Moore possibly gone this year, we need to bulk up on the side of the line.
Round 5: Pick #134. Aaron Dobson, WR - Marshall University
I really like Dobson and think that after the combine and interview sessions, he'll be gone. However he has a good combination of height and bulk. Has good but not elite speed, has exceptional hands and makes the difficult catches look easy. Excellent body control and vertical ability. Very competitive and extremely tough, always happy to go over the middle and make the catch. Excellent in the red-zone and uses his body well to box out defenders. Good hands off the line against press coverage and shows a willingness to do his duty blocking as well as receiving. A player who's production would have been significantly better with good QB play.
Round 6: Pick #167. Marcus Lattimore, RB- South Carolina
As a freshman it looked like Lattimore would become a college all time great. 1197 yards and 17 touchdowns, then injuries completely derailed his career. He is now recovering from a dislocated knee cap and several torn ligaments. There is a chance that he may have to miss the entire 2013 NFL season based on his recovery timetable and how long it will take him to get up to speed. So teams wanting production immediately won't be interested, but a team who wants to look long-term could hit the jackpot if they are patient with him. He had good speed, great vision and patience and some of the best open field moves. With the Jets, if we take Lacy early then we can afford to spend a late round pick on a project like Lattimore who could really burst onto the scenes in 2014.
Round 7: Pick #199. Reid Fragal, OT- Ohio State University
Reid was a tight end for the majority of his Ohio State career, however after his weight ballooned and he realized his comfort level was as a blocker and not as a receiver, he made the move to right tackle with the Buckeyes. He was considerably better than anyone has hoped, and now he plays at 6'8 and 310 lb's. He has a lot of athleticism and he plays with a real toughness. Did a lot of blocking from the tight end position, and he plays with excellent leverage. Of course he still needs a lot of work a the position in terms of hand placement and schemes but as a 7th round prospect I wouldn't mind taking a chance on him and giving him a couple of years to really develop.
I realize that I have left the offensive line a little late, but at the positions we were drafting, I just couldn't find the value on players I expect to be there. I drafted this way to fill the pass rush need, some talent on the offensive side of the ball and a play-maker at safety. I also took a couple of projects as I always like drafting for upside at the end of the draft. Lattimore intrigues me as does Fragel. This is just a first draft and I'm sure in 2.0 a lot of the picks will change.