The Chargers get their man. A blindside protector for Phil Rivers. An uber-athletic speciman who also happens to be a quality football player as well.
The San Diego Chargers are proud to select:
Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson
Height 6'6", Weight 303 LBS, Arm Length 35 1/4", Hands 10 1/8"
Overview: Colleges have been converting tight ends into offensive tackles for years in order to maximize the athleticism of outside linemen consistently facing defensive ends with speed and power. Johnson showed the chops to make this transition as a starting right tackle in 2011, though his search for a home position was more complex than it is for most promising NFL prospects.
He was an honorable mention all-state quarterback in Texas as a high school senior (and a fourth-place finisher in the shot put at the state’s track championships), and then began his college career playing limited snaps at that position for Kilgore Junior College (510 yards, two touchdowns). After redshirting his first year with the Sooners as a tight end in 2009, Johnson failed to make any statistics in seven games played at tight end and defensive end the following year. In the spring of 2011, he begrudgingly moved from end to the offensive line due to injuries on that side of the ball. He didn't start the season opener against Tulsa, but lined up at right tackle for every game the rest of the year. Johnson continued that streak in 2012, this time at left tackle in place of the departed Donald Stephenson. He started 11 of 13 games on the left side and picked up an All-Big 12 second-team mention from coaches.
Strengths: Uses his athleticism well, displaying good foot quickness to mirror pass rushers off the edge to deny them the corner and adjust to their inside moves. Easily reaches second-level targets when pulled outside or stepping up in the box, and sustains the block. Generally plays with good pad level and balance despite his height, and can fire out from a three-point stance and generate a bit of push on run plays. Johnson's feet keep moving through initial contact, allowing him to get into the correct blocking angle while engaged. He also uses his hands and length well to maintain distance with the defender. NFL coaches will like that he plays with an attitude, as he looks willing to hand-fight with defensive ends, usually landing multiple strong punches, and will consistently finish blocks with a strong arm extension.
Weaknesses: Lack of experience on the offensive line is a concern, so putting another strong season on tape will be a boon to his draft stock. Height will always be an issue when trying to get leverage against veteran pro defensive linemen, must continue to add strength throughout his frame to control and anchor.
NFL Comparison: Riley Reiff
Bottom Line: Johnson was a high school quarterback and a backup at his junior college at that position for one season before moving to tight end, defensive end and then finally right tackle during his first three seasons with the Sooners. He finally got his shot on the left side in 2012 and was as reliable as ever. Scouts saw the potential in Johnson grow throughout the 2011 and 2012 seasons due to his athleticism, strength, and solid technique despite his lack of experience. Expect his name to be mentioned frequently throughout the process.
Jets select olb Barkevious Mingo
CJ2K has been a fraction of his formal self over the last several seasons, and one of the major reasons behind it has been subpar blocking in front of him. They paid a pretty penny to former Bills' guard Andy Levitre, who should be able to pull from his left guard spot to allow Johnson to run to the right. Now they could use a mauling right guard who is also able to pull to his left in order to allow Johnson to run off tackle to either side effectively.
The Tennessee Titans are proud to select:
Alabama OG Chance Warmack
Height 6'2", Weight 317 LBS, Arm Length 34 3/4", Hands 9 5/8"
Overview: Alabama running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson have received deserved acclaim for their production over the past three seasons, two of which ended with Tide head coach Nick Saban holding the crystal football signifying a BCS championship. One of the big reasons for the success of the team’s running attack, figuratively and literally, is the play of Warmack.
Coming out of Atlanta’s Westlake High School as a top national recruit, Warmack earned playing time at guard in five games as a true freshman. He was injected into the starting lineup the following year, starting all 13 games at left guard – the same spot where he again lined up every week in the team’s second BCS championship season last fall. The second-team All-SEC pick in 2011 brings a nice combination of strength and mobility to Alabama’s offensive line, which in and of itself would make him a potential starter at the next level.
Strengths: Thick interior player. Possesses a strong punch to shock oncoming defenders and consistently extends his arms to keep them at bay in pass protection. Strong lower half helps his anchor against bull rushes. Mobile enough to effectively trap and pull, regularly negates targets coming into the hole and flattens defensive backs in his path. Practiced fitting on linebackers on combo blocks. Brings attitude on every play, constantly keeps his hands and feet moving when drive-blocking, rolling his hips through contact, and looking to pancake his man whenever possible. Doesn’t have the quickest feet, but is very technically sound and uses his strong punch to stop defenders and his length to mirror. Drives interior defensive tackle off the ball on base blocks. Has handled a number of dominating college defensive lineman with ease.
Weaknesses: Pops straight up out of his stance at times, losing leverage battle against better tackles on occasion. Has foot speed to get out in front of screens but will miss targets and lacks the short area quickness to adjust to defenders on the move. Will stop his feet after first contact at times. Does not elite recovery speed to stop secondary rushes from quicker defensive linemen. Not asked to be a puller for Alabama’s zone-heavy run scheme.
NFL Comparison: Carl Nicks
Bottom Line: Sturdy guard with dominating strength at the point of attack and enough mobility to clear the way for Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, 2012 top five pick Trent Richardson, and probable first round pick Eddie Lacy over the last three seasons. His toughness and durability are outstanding, and he grades out as one of the elite talents in the 2013 draft, and as a probable starter day one on Sundays -- and he'll stick around for a long time.
The Buffalo Bills could really use a legit starting wideout opposite of Stevie Johnson, and it just so happens that they have their pick of every WR in the draft even after trading down. They are really tempted by the pure athletic gifts belonging to Cordarelle Patterson, but he may be somewhat of a project after only one season at Tennessee following his junior college stint. They decide instead to go with a multi-dimensional weapon who, in spite of his lack of size, is rising up draft boards to garner serious top-10 consideration. Just imagine how creative that the new Bills coaching staff could be with do-it-all types like Tavon Austin, C.J. Spiller, and Brad Smith at their disposal on the field at the same time.
The Buffalo Bills are proud to select:
West Virginia WR Tavon Austin
Height 5'8", Weight 174 LBS, Arm Length 30", Hands 9 1/8"
Overview: The Mountaineers have had a dangerous spread offense since Rich Rodriguez led the team, but have moved from a run-based system (ranked third in the FBS in rushing in 2007) to a pass-based spread (ranked sixth nationally in passing in 2011, 10th in 2012). A huge part of the offensive success the Mountaineers have enjoyed over the last two seasons is due to the talent of Austin. A small but quick and elusive playmaker, Austin's role and impact grew seemingly by the week during his senior season, as he went from a slot returner and returner to a fully fledged Swiss-Army knife, including lining up in the backfield and taking handoffs.
The two-time Maryland high school player of the year set all kinds of state career and single-season records, a large share of which (34 touchdowns, 2,660 rushing yards -- that's 12.2 yards a carry) as a senior. WVU coaches couldn't wait to get him on the field, playing him in all 13 games and starting him in four. He caught 15 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown while racking up 476 kick return yards (including taking the opening kickoff against Connecticut 98 yards for a score). Big East coaches named him second-team all-conference in 2010 as he became a larger part of the passing game (58-787, 8 TD) and rushing attack (15-159, TD), but kicked him up to first team as a receiver (101-1,186, 8 TD) and returner (36 attempts for 938 yards, two TD on kickoffs; 19-268 on punts, ranked sixth in the FBS with a 14.1 yard average) after an excellent junior season. He led the FBS in all-purpose yards once his 182 rushing yards (one TD) were added in, and finished 2011 with 390 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in the team's 70-33 blowout win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Austin burst into Heisman contention during his senior season with a 572 all-purpose yard (second most in FBS history) performance against Oklahoma on national television. Austin's full repertoire was on display, as he caught 4 passes for 82 yards, rushed 21 times for 344 yards and two touchdowns, and 146 kick return yards. His senior season saw him total career highs in y.f.s. (1932), all receiving categories (112-1289-12 TDs), and rushing (72-643-3 TDs), as well as 978 return yards and two touchdowns. His dominating play saw him finish eighth in Heisman voting, win the Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player), and garner a first-team All-America as an All-Purpose player.
Strengths: Slot receiver possessing elite acceleration with the ball in his hands, takes advantage of available lanes to explode for big gains. Shows excellent vision both as a runner out of the backfield, as a returner, and as a receiver with the ball in his hands. Almost unstoppable at continue on for additional yardage. Not a frail receiver; plays tough, has some upper-body thickness, and bounces up quickly from hits. Varies the speed of his route, lulls defenders to sleep and takes off to create space on out routes or over the middle. Tough to grab after the catch in zone coverage. Flashes the hands to adjust to wide or high passes, as well as tracking balls over his shoulder. Also goes down to grab low throws. Displays excellent balance to tightrope the sideline. Often used on fly sweeps, using his elite quickness and acceleration to cut inside or get the corner for big plays. Finds space as a kickoff returner to use his speed, will head straight upfield and can spin off tackles in the open field to maximize the return. Can make the first man miss on punt returns and has the vision to slalom between players to the sideline or up the middle. Very difficult to track down from behind. Wins at every level of the field despite his size, and has been somewhat underutilized deep. Improved as a blocker, and will body up on bigger players.
Weaknesses: Limited to the slot on most plays; lacks the size and strength most scouts prefer outside, or even as a kick returner. Hands are good, but not exceptional; will let some hot passes through his small hands and into his chest. Gets a lot of his yardage on shallow crosses, quick throws outside, and the fly sweep/"touch pass." Might not have the chance to get the sideline as often at the next level, forcing him to lower the shoulder and get what's available to him inside. Must prove he can hang onto the ball after taking big hits from NFL defenders. Will hesitate on punt and kick returns at times instead of immediately accelerating or trusting his blocking, and can get tripped up easily on contact. Incredible balance and stop/start ability, but he might not have elite straight line speed.
NFL Comparison: Randall Cobb
Bottom Line: Don't blink when Austin has the ball in his hands, as his elite acceleration helped him finish second in the country in all-purpose yards as a senior and lead the FBS as a junior. Don't be surprised if he turns out to be a first round pick or the first wide receiver off the board, as he is a huge playmaker on offense and special teams in the NFL despite the slight build that scared scouts away from other WVU offensive stars in the past.
the Jets take Barkevious Mingo
The Dolphins are on the clock trying to wheel and deal a last minute trade, but no takers!
With that said....
The Miami Dolphins Select.....
Bjoern Werner, Junior, FSU, DE
- HometownBERLIN, GER
- Weight 255 lbs.
The Bucs pulled off the amazing #1 in the league in run defense, but #32 in the league in pass defense. They drafted Mark Barron high last year and spent big bucks on Deshon Goldson this offseason, so they are now pretty much set at safety, but Tampa's biggest need is at corner (with Aqib Talib in New England and the unsigned Ronde Barber...who had been playing more safety than corner of late anyway...with one foot now in the retirement home). They haven't been willing to pay a king's ransom in draft picks and salary for Darrelle Revis for nothing. And if this pick ultimately goes to New York in the Revis trade, the Jets would likely want to draft a corner high to replace Revis, so this pick would still make sense in that case as well.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are proud to select:
Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes
Height 6'1", Weight 210 LBS, Arm Length 33 3/4", Hands 9"
Overview: Xavier Rhodes (pronounced "ZAY-vee-er"), a redshirt junior, started all three years he spent on the field while at Florida State, including a three-man rotation in 2011 that featured Mike Harris and Greg Reid. The Seminole is best known for his big, physical, imposing frame on the edge and willingness to press receivers in man coverage, a trait that is difficult to find at the college level. Rhodes was lucky to line up behind behind pass rushers like Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine during his career, but they were equally as thankful to play with a defensive back that refused to get his opposition a sliver of separation. The imposing corner does have some injuries on record, including one to his hand after only three games in 2009 and a gruesome knee injury at the end of the 2011 that turned out to be a bad sprain.
As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Rhodes started all 14 games at the boundary corner position and registered 58 total tackles, 3.5 of which went for a loss, including two sacks. He added 12 pass breakups, including four interceptions. Rhodes was forced to play in a three-man rotation in 2011, and his numbers show it. He still went on to be credited with 43 total tackles, 1.5 went for a loss. Along with the tackle numbers, Rhodes added four pass breakups including an interception. Finally, in 2012, Rhodes regained his full-time place on the boundary side of the formation, tallying 39 total tackles, two of which went for a loss. To go along with one forced fumble, Rhodes intercepted three passes on seven pass breakups.
Strengths: Big frame and size for the position. Press corner that likes to have a hand on his opponent at all times. Consistently does get some kind of contact or jam when pressing, remains balanced without overextending. Contact is the arm mirroring the release side. Stays with quick twitch cuts and release with equally fast movements. Flashes strength to throw receiver to the side when wanting to get in on piles. Improved against the run as the season went along. Can really lay into a hit if it is lined up on the edge. Turns to find the football and adjusts well if in the hip pocket of a receiver downfield.
Weaknesses: Coming off of a knee injury in 2011. Very inconsistent on runs to the empty side, loses contain, does not react quickly enough. Misses tackles when lunging at ball carriers and when leaving his feet. Hands are by his waist at the snap instead of higher to punch more quickly. Can be disinterested when play goes to different receiver he is not responsible for in man coverage, closing speed lacks urgency. Does not have experience inside as a slot corner in nickel. Performance takes a step back in zone coverage, struggles to pass off and close on receivers entering or leaving his area. Looks sluggish or tight hipped when not asked to mirror movements. Not a blitzer when path is impeded.
NFL Comparison: Brandon Browner
Bottom Line: Rhodes thrives in physical press coverage, something very few college players can put on their resume. At time his tackling technique is questionable, but Rhodes will make his living locking up boundary receivers with a balanced and strong jam followed up by enough speed to stick in their hip pocket. Just don't ask him to play in zone, because Rhodes shows tight movements when forced to pass receivers to a separate area. His game is somewhat scheme dependent, but expect Rhodes to be selected in the first 50 picks.
The Carolina Panthers are really tempted by Cordarelle Patterson still being on the board. They have really needed a weapon opposite Steve Smith ever since the heyday of Muhsin Muhammad. They also could use right guard and right tackle, and with local product Jonathan Cooper and hulking behemoth D.J. Fluker also still available, they could be tempted to add someone to protect Cam Newton as well as open holes for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. However, they really haven't had a presence in the middle of their d-line since the days of Kris Jenkins. Drafting the best available DT makes sense here, as they are getting solid value with this pick in the middle of round one.
The Carolina Panthers are proud to select:
Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson
Height 6'2", Weight 294 LBS, Arm Length 34 1/2", Hands 10 1/2"
Overview: Richardson could have gone anywhere to play major college football after his stint at the College of the Sequoias, as he was one of the top junior college prospects in the country even with missing all but two games of the 2010 season there because of a wrist injury. But the former star player at St. Louis' Gateway Tech High School decided to return home instead of going to Southern California, Miami (Fla.), or an SEC power.
He originally planned on signing with Missouri out of high school, after being rated the top defensive lineman in the country by several recruiting services (he had 19 sacks as a senior, also eight touchdowns as a tight end), but did not qualify academically. There were some anxious moments before the 2011 season as well, because Richardson needed to finish course work in August before the NCAA deemed he was eligible to play for the Tigers. He played through a shoulder injury (which required surgery in the offseason) and only started two games on the year, but made enough plays as a reserve (37 tackles, eight for loss, two sacks) to garner honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from league coaches.
Missouri's move to the SEC coincided with Richardson taking over one of the starting defensive tackle positions. Richardson had a standout season, earning second-team All-SEC honors as one of the lone bright spots on a Missouri team that was often overmatched against superior competition. He led all interior defensive linemen in the conference in tackles (75), adding 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks for good measure.
Strengths: Scouts like the light feet Richardson shows for his size, as he is able to twist inside and chase plays to the sideline with great speed. That agility, combined with his length, makes him a strong tackler in close quarters. Richardson's first step off the snap, especially when lined up over the ball, is quite impressive; he gets into the backfield in a heartbeat, beating reach-blocks and will work his way through double-teams if he sees the ball in the quarterback's hands. He plays with leverage at the point of attack at times despite his height, holding his ground and wrestling with attitude. Has enough athleticism that Missouri uses him as a standup rusher and to drop into short zone coverages over the middle of the field, where shows the ability to cover crossing receivers and tight ends in a short area
Weaknesses: Richardson can struggle to break down and his upper-body strength is not elite, which means his high pad level and failure to use his hands to shed blocks can allow him to get turned from the hole and taken to the ground once off-balance. He had surgery in the offseason to repair a shoulder injury, so he must show his strength has improved. A better player in pursuit than he is holding the point against the run, where he can struggle to anchor. Drag down lunging tackler that misses ball carriers in space.
NFL Comparison: Cullen Jenkins
Bottom Line: Richardson was forced to go the junior college route, then missed most of his sophomore year due to injury before attending his home state school in Columbia; he wasn't a starter in 2011, but showed off the athleticism (eight tackles for loss, two sacks) to make scouts think 2012 could be a break-out year. He had a superb junior campaign, and his role grew extensively with Missouri using him in a variety of roles. With Richardson's incredible athleticism, he figures to be one of the top combine performers and will likely warrant a top-20 selection.
The Saints were historically bad on defense last season. They are switching to a base 3-4 defense, and could use some versatile weapons who can rush the passer, whether it be standing up as a 3-4 OLB on early downs, or with his hand in the dirt as a rush end in nickel and dime passing situations. They cannot believe that the most intriguing, athletically gifted pass rusher is still available this late in round one, when many were projecting him to possibly come off the board in the top 10. Sure, he's a bit raw after only being introduced to American football a few short years ago, but he's shown that he is a quick study, on the basis of his slow start but strong finish during Senior Bowl week (appeared to be a fish out of water early on during practices, but later on that week he was a man amongst boys during late practices and the game itself).
The New Orleans Saints are proud to select:
Brigham Young DE/OLB Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah
Height 6'5", Weight 271 LBS, Arm Length 35 1/8", Hands 10 1/4"
Overview: When examining the kind of NFL talent BYU has produced in recent years, athleticism and potential are not buzzwords often associated with the Cougars' prospects. In fact, head coach Bronco Mendenhall and his staff would likely admit they stumbled into landing one of the senior classes top upside prospects in defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah (pronounced Ahn-saw). A native of Accra, Ghana, Ansah tried out for the basketball team in 2008 and 2009. After failing both times, he joined the track team but left at the end of the 2009 season and joined the football program in 2010 despite warnings from Mendenhall and his staff. The then-sophomore conceded to being worried of how much contact occurred in a football game and noted he always considered his body "a delicate flower."
After switching sports, Ansah worked through winter training, where he gassed out after nearly every drill. However, with a strong work ethic and added bulk to his thin frame, Ansah earned the trust of coaches and continued to practice with the special teams units through the 2011 season. In those 18 games played, Ansah accumulated a total of 10 tackles (the majority on special teams), one pass breakup, and one credited quarterback hurry. Despite still not being on scholarship entering his senior season, Ansah bulked up to nearly 270 pounds in an effort to learn two defensive roles: outside linebacker and defensive end. He earned a prominent role out of preseason camp and has lined up at defensive end in a three man front, outside linebacker in a four man front, and even some snaps at three technique or nose tackle on third downs. Finally, in his one season as a full time starter, Ansah talied 62 total tackles, 13 going for a loss, including 4.5 sacks. The versatile defensive lineman added nine pass breakups, one forced fumble, and one interception while lining up as a rush outside linebacker, defense end, and defensive tackle.
Strengths: Combination of size, length, and foot speed is nearly unparalleled. Delivers solid first contact that jolts opponent back. Continues to press and locate ball carriers in the backfield. Consistently sheds at the line of scrimmage, envelopes his target with a strong grasp and outstanding closing burst. Flashes the complete package, specifically when rushing from the edge on passing downs. When lining up inside a natural anchor shows up, helped by low pad level off the snap. Burst off of extension is counter move, gains significant ground on target. Obvious coaching on technique is absorbed and implemented.
Weaknesses: Has admitted to a lack of stamina. Fatigue is noticeable after a few plays of rushing the passer. In those circumstances, does not chase the play down from the backside, instead staying at the line of scrimmage to knock down the pass. Technique is not always there, specifically on the edge against the run. Frequently gives up the wrong arm or shoulder to blockers, takes himself out of the play. Hand fights at the line against the run rather than driving or penetrating to disrupt. A hit or miss player on the field but consistency is growing.
NFL Comparison: Justin Tuck
Bottom Line: It is amazing how far Ansah's technique has come in such a short amount of time, not to mention how much he has transformed his body to fit the role coaches want him to play. That sizable frame coupled with outstanding closing speed and natural power will captivate many, making a top-20 selection possible. Ansah is rough around the edges, but the number of height/weight/speed athletes with positional versatility selected in that area in recent years point to a rise up draft boards.
With Jeff Fisher preparing for the real draft, St Louis has decided to go with his stunt double, Ron Swanson, to make the pick. There's a couple of young men St Louis likes at this pick, but when looking at each position, there's one player that so much better than everyone else at his position, St Louis would be remiss to pass him up given their need to improve their offense and give some weapons to Sam Bradford.
While I'm sure Sam would be giddy with excitement with a shinny new toy like Cordarelle Patterson, Jeff Fisher and Ron Swanson don't do giddy. They prefer the basics. Meat and potatoes are the staple of their diets.
The St Louis Rams select Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame.