AFC South: Robert Woods

Mock draft season is rolling to a rousing close. I know you'll miss it terribly. So I offer one last run- through of Mel Kiper Jr. (here's his latest)Insider and Todd McShay's (here's his)Insider work.


Kiper: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

McShay: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Paul Kuharsky: The more I've thought about it, the more trouble I have getting on board with a tackle at No. 2. They can fill a hole at right tackle easily in later rounds and don't need two left tackles.


Kiper: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

McShay: Dee Milliner*, CB, Alabama

Paul Kuharsky: Kiper passed on guard Chance Warmack and McShay passed on Jonathan Cooper and Warmack. I would see the Titans seeing either of those defenders as a value 10 picks into the draft.


Kiper: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

McShay: Rhodes.

Paul Kuharsky: There may be way too much consensus building for Rhodes in this spot. So I turn skeptical and start to believe they must dislike him. A lot.


Kiper: Robert Woods, WR, USC

McShay: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

Paul Kuharsky: A lot of consensus here on it being a receiver. I bet they are rooting for teams to want to get back into the back of the first round for quarterbacks. They can probably get a receiver from this tier of players with a relatively early second-rounder.
NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

What’s the ideal first-round scenario for each team?

Houston Texans

The first 26 picks of the draft probably won’t hit a lot on wide receivers, giving the Texans their choice of a large group. West Virginia’s Tavon Austin likely will be gone, and Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee will probably be intriguing to some team. Ideally, if all of the other receiver prospects are on the board, there will be one the Texans believe is an ideal complement to Andre Johnson, whether it’s Cal’s athletic Keenan Allen, Tennessee’s burner Justin Hunter, Clemson’s sure-handed DeAndre Hopkins, USC’s daring Robert Woods or Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton.

Indianapolis Colts

Beyond Alabama’s Dee Milliner, it’s a quiet first round for cornerbacks and the Colts get Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. He’s got the size, skills and mentality that should make him a great candidate for coach Chuck Pagano to deploy in man coverage against big receivers like Andre Johnson and Justin Blackmon. A cornerback crop of Vontae Davis, Rhodes, Greg Toler and Darius Butler should be significantly better than last year’s, and improved coverage will help the pass rush, where the Colts also need to add an outside backer.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Chiefs take a left tackle at No. 1 and leave the Jaguars to take a pass-rusher like Oregon’s Dion Jordan or BYU’s Ziggy Ansah. Although Jacksonville has gaping holes at right tackle and cornerback, the prospects at those positions do not seem as valuable as the draft's top pass-rushers. And the Jaguars have had pass-rush deficiencies for years. Coach Gus Bradley has a defensive background, and a premier player who can put heat on quarterbacks is an absolute priority.

Tennessee Titans

The top nine teams in the draft lay off guards, or if one is drafted before the Titans are on the clock, it’s UNC’s Jonathan Cooper. That leaves Alabama’s powerful Chance Warmack there at No. 10 for the Titans, who draft him to play right guard beside right tackle David Stewart. Tennessee pledged a revamp of the offensive line to maximize the opportunities for quarterback Jake Locker and running back Chris Johnson. After the addition of free agent Andy Levitre as the left guard, Warmack would finish the project.
Do you like the Jacksonville Jaguars taking BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah at No. 2 overall in next week's NFL draft?

How about Alabama guard Chance Warmack to the Titans at No. 10, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes to the Colts at No. 24 or USC receiver Robert Woods to the Texans at No. 27?

Those are Mel Kiper Jr.'s picks in his latest mock draft.

But if you’ve got a different idea, we’ve got a fun tool for you.

If you’re an Insider, simply head here, make a change to Kiper’s draft and see the trickle down effect it has on the rest of his first round. Make another and watch the ripples again.

Once you start playing with it, an hour may pass before you realize you’ve gotten a little carried away.

There is no tidy stacking, no obvious, orderly listing, no neat way to sort the receivers at the top of the upcoming NFL draft.

[+] EnlargeAllen
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsCould standout WR Keenan Allen end up with an AFC South team?
Tavon Austin of West Virginia is a DeSean Jackson/Percy Harvin type who figures to be gone by No. 20. Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee has the potential to be a freak talent-wise, but will scare some teams with his inconsistencies. He, too, figures to be off the board by the time the Indianapolis Colts are on the clock at No. 24.

In a recent conversation with ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, I asked him about who would fit for the Colts there and the Texans at 27 as the two teams look for receiver help.

Here is his rundown of the next tier of guys, all of whom he said a team would ideally get in the second round.

Keenan Allen, Cal: "He’s not 100 percent, he ran a 4.7 the other day. It’s not a perfect situation. But he’s a late-first, early-second round prospect and he should play like that. On tape we estimate him at 4.53, 4.55, that range. I thin he’s going to be a really, really good No. 2 in the league.

“…He was catching the ball better than ever this past year. He knows how to use his body. He’s very athletic. He’s got size and he’s thickly built. While he’s not near a burner, he’s quick and he’s got enough speed to challenge you and to take advantage of mistakes. To me he would be the highest-rated wide receiver when Tavon and Patterson are off the ball."

Justin Hunter, Tennessee: “If you’re looking for someone who can run vertical routes and stretch the field. If New England is looking for that guy, a poor man’s Randy Moss, that’s what Justin Hunter is: 6-4, 196, can burn, can climb the ladder. He’s a silky smooth route runner and quite honestly when they needed to pick up a first down, when they needed a play at Tennessee, that’s where they went, it wasn’t to the other guy Patterson.

“And he’s the one who showed up consistently. I think he’s a better football player than Cordarelle Patterson. But with the ball in his hands, Patterson is just freakish. But he really disappears. He’ll show up with one or two big plays that just kind of blow your mind and leave you wanting more."

After Allen and Hunter, McShay groups USC’s Robert Woods, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins, Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton. They are all in the rage of 6-0, 6-1, 200-212, low 4.5s.

“I think Hopkins has the best hands of the three," McShay said. "I think Woods is the quickest, best athlete and certainly he’s been productive for a long time. He’ll go over the middle, he’ll do a lot of different little things for you and I think he’s going to be a really good No. 2 receiver in the NFL as well. Quinton Patton, he doesn’t like going over the middle, but he’s very athletic. He has great hands and ball skills 90 percent of the time, but he’ll have some focus drops. He’s kind of a wildcard to me. But if he plays to his potential he may be the third- or fourth-best receiver of this group in the NFL."

After Austin, McShay would prefer all of these guys in the second round. But he said he sees Patterson going before the 20th pick, and one or two of the others going in the late first-round range.

I asked McShay about the comparisons of Woods to Reggie Wayne. He said he only sees it a little bit, that Woods doesn’t run like Wayne. Woods' ability to snatch the ball on the run, the way he can make some things happen and his ability to be savvy in coverage may be the root of the comparison. But there have been some questions about the consistency of Woods’ work ethic, and Wayne is a big-time worker.

Woods needs to land with a team where a peer in his position group will ride him regarding his work ethic and mistakes. If he’s among a more passive group it won’t bode well for him, McShay said.

So there is some deeper thinking on receivers who could be in play for Indianapolis and Houston in the 20s. It is one man’s opinion, of course, and we’re not taking into account all of the other potential context that could steer Ryan Grigson or Rick Smith somewhere else entirely.

Both Indianapolis and Houston need to add a receiver somewhere in this draft, though based on what they have in house, the Texans are more needy than the Colts.
Mel Kiper’s new mock draft Insider is out, and I can share with you a look at the AFC South.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars

Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Kiper says: "The Jaguars have been saddled with a deficient pass rush for years now, and I think they will take advantage of the opportunity to take a high-ceiling 4-3 defensive end who, yes, needs some development, but should still give them impact in 2013."

My reaction: Ansah’s combination of size and athleticism draws comparison to Jason Pierre-Paul. For a team that’s had an anemic pass rush for years, the idea of a Pierre-Paul has to be delicious.

10) Tennessee Titans

Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

Kiper says: “Adding Warmack simply provides an immediate upgrade on the interior of your offensive line. One of the more dominating run blockers to enter the draft in years, Warmack is what I'd call a 'no excuses' addition to your team. If your running back isn't better running behind Warmack, it might be time for a new back."

My reaction: I’m on board with this pick, and have been since we knew the Titans would be in this slot.

24) Indianapolis Colts

Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Kiper says: “If the value on the offensive line isn't there, I think Rhodes makes a lot of sense. The Colts were active in free agency, adding help in a handful of spots, but Rhodes has the chance to be the best cornerback on the roster after he gets a little seasoning.”

My reaction: If Rhodes is judged to be worth the pick by Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano, I’d be all for a corner at this spot. It’s a spot that remains a primary concern.

27) Houston Texans

Robert Woods, WR, USC

Kiper says: “The Texans need to find a reliable route-runner who can create space both underneath and down the field in their scheme, which offers a steady diet of play-action passes and demands that receivers can set up defenders. Woods has extremely reliable hands and is underrated in his ability to stretch defenses over the top.”

My reaction: We’re all so certain it should be a wide receiver in this spot, we seemed destined to watch them take something else.