Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Fun with Scouts Inc.'s seven-round mock
By Mike Sando
Predicting which teams will draft specific players can be tough work.
Last year, for instance, the seven-round mock draft from Scouts Inc. went 0-for-28 in projecting players to NFC West teams. Some of the projections lined up from the standpoint of position. For example, the Seattle Seahawks did select a linebacker in the second round, but it was Bobby Wagner, not Lavonte David. The St. Louis Rams did take a receiver in the second round, but it was Brian Quick, not Rueben Randle.
One unexpected turn in a draft can throw off subsequent projections. The 2013 draft appears particularly tough to handicap. John Schneider, the Seattle Seahawks' general manager, recently said he could not recall a draft quite like this one from that standpoint.
So, good luck, mock drafters.
The Scouts Inc. seven-round mock for 2013 provides a conversation starter as we navigate the final day before the real draft begins.
A run through the picks for NFC West teams (with a head nod to similar pieces from Kevin Seifert and Jamison Hensley for the divisions they cover):
Jordan's availability at No. 7 might come as a surprise. The Cardinals would, in theory, improve their outside pass rush with that selection.
The Barkley projection might catch you off-guard after Carson Palmer's arrival changed the subject away from quarterbacks. Drew Stanton has some salary guarantees, too. I'm skeptical.
The Scouts Inc. projection would extend to six the streak of drafts without Arizona selecting an offensive lineman in the first three rounds. Jordan Mills, the projected choice in the fifth round, wouldn't help the situation at guard, where the team has a need, in my view.
The Cardinals would also come away without immediate help at safety and without a speed receiver. The offense wouldn't improve enough right away through this draft.
St. Louis Rams
Safety, running back, receiver, guard and outside linebacker might be the five top needs for the Rams, not necessarily in that order.
The Scouts Inc. mock addresses each of those needs with the Rams' first five picks.
The Rams will have to balance clear needs at safety and elsewhere against a big-picture desire to continue building the roster for the long term with additional choices secured from the Washington Redskins.
At 231 pounds, Lacy would fill the Rams' need for a bigger back after the team allowed Steven Jackson out of his contract. Lacy, Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson would give the Rams a talented young committee at the position.
San Francisco 49ers
There's very little chance the 49ers will hold onto all 13 of their selections, of course. They'll have the flexibility to move forward, move back or even trade into the 2014 draft.
The projection for Brandon Williams in the third round caught my attention.
Williams is a 335-pounder from Missouri Southern State. He cranked out 38 reps in the bench press at the scouting combine, most among defensive tackles. Scouts think he projects to multiple positions across multiple schemes in the NFL. That would appeal to a team such as the 49ers.
Williams played at the NCAA Division II level. Would the 49ers use a third-round choice for a Division II prospect? They used a sixth-rounder for Western Oregon's Jason Slowey last year, the only time San Francisco has selected a Division II player over the past two drafts.
It's an interesting thought. The 49ers do have a need for a big, talented, versatile defensive lineman. They could bring along a prospect such as Williams with an eye toward 2014.
The Seahawks are one of two teams without a first-round selection after sending theirs to Minnesota in the Percy Harvin deal.
The second-round projection, Sio Moore of Connecticut, would give the Seahawks a weakside linebacker to play with Wagner (middle) and K.J. Wright (strong side).
The team also has plans for Cliff Avril at linebacker, at least in some capacity. There's room for a standard weakside linebacker after the Seahawks allowed Leroy Hill to reach free agency.
Tavarres King, the Georgia receiver projected in the fifth round, is known as a vertical threat. He averaged 22.6 yards per reception last season.