Best Available NFL Free Agents – Defense

Defensive Tackle
Aubrayo Franklin
Albert Haynesworth
John Henderson
Fred Robbins
Anthony Adams
Tony Brown
Jovan Haye
Marcus Thomas
Kelly Gregg
Howard Green
Eric Foster
Tommie Harris
Jimmy Kennedy
Trey Lewis
Jay Alford
Myron Pryor
Jason Shirley (G)

Defensive End
Andre Carter (OLB in 3-4)
Aaron Kampman
James Hall
Shaun Ellis
Matt Roth (OLB in 3-4)
Raheem Brock (DT in 4-3)
Antwan Odom
Tyler Brayton (DE in 3-4/DT in 4-3)
Jarvis Moss (OLB in 3-4)
Jimmy Wilkerson
Tim Crowder
Tim Bulman
Ikaika Alama-Francis
Jeremy Jarmon
Victor Abiamiri

Inside Linebacker
Gary Brackett
E.J. Henderson
Stephen Cooper
James Farrior
Andra Davis
Mike Peterson (SLB)
Keith Brooking
Ricky Brown
Keyaron Fox
Niko Koutouvides
Phillip Dillard

Outside Linebacker
Reggie Torbor (ILB in 3-4/SLB in 4-3)
Travis LaBoy (OLB in 3-4/DE in 4-3)
Joey Porter (OLB in 3-4)
Brady Poppinga (SLB in 4-3/OLB in 3-4)
Omar Gaither (MLB in 4-3)
Ernie Sims (WLB in 4-3)
Kevin Bentley (SLB/WLB in 4-3)
David Vobora (SLB in 3-4)
Na’il Diggs (SLB in 4-3)
Xavier Adibi (WLB/SLB in 4-3)
Darryl Blackstock (SLB in 4-3)
Isaiah Ekejiuba (SLB in 4-3)
Prescott Burgess (OLB in 3-4/ILB in 3-4)
Ramon Humber (SLB in 4-3) (suspended first three games of regular season)
Edgar Jones (DE in 4-3/OLB in 3-4)

Safety
Nick Collins
Melvin Bullitt
Chris Crocker
James Butler
Jim Leonhard
Bob Sanders
Jon McGraw
Chris Harris
Husain Abdullah
Hiram Eugene
Paul Oliver
Deon Grant
Gibril Wilson
Hamza Abdullah
Sabby Piscitelli
Gerald Alexander
Anthony Smith
C.C. Brown
Dominique Barber
Derrick Martin
Jon Corto
Bret Lockett

Cornerback
Andre’ Goodman
Leigh Bodden
Chris Johnson
Drew Coleman
Bryant McFadden
Kelly Jennings
Lito Sheppard
Byron Westbrook
Nathan Jones
Benny Sapp
Phillip Buchanon (PR)
Donald Strickland
Karl Paymah
Leigh Torrence
David Jones
Rod Hood
Frank Walker
Brandon McDonald
Anthony Madison
Kennard Cox
Will Blackmon (KR/PR)
Jorrick Calvin (KR)
Cletis Gordon

Offensive Line Grades – 2014 NFL Draft

Welcome to my “2014 Offensive Line Draft Primer”

By Lance Zierlein

I’ve created formulas for tackles, centers and guards that take into account their power in the run blocking game, foot quickness, ability in pass protection, hand strength and how they sustain their blocks, body control, core strength and tenacity. As you will notice, I have included both tackle and guard ratings for some players and I’ve included a grade for players who may fit into the zone scheme as well.

My grades, as always are a combination of how I see a player now and how I see a player fitting into the NFL. For example, with Greg Robinson, I am projecting the player I believe he will become as he continues to learn the fundamentals of pass protection technique after playing for a run-heavy offense.

These grades are my own and I they do not necessarily reflect where I think a player will or should be drafted. As with any draft year, I grade the player with no regard to the draft class and only on his merits as an offensive linemen. Then, based on how the board shapes up, I would then fit them into the right spots. For example, I have a high 2nd round grade on Joel Bitonio, but I would probably draft him higher than that because he has position flexibility and I also believe that he is a safe player.

Round Grading Scale
1st 7.0 – 6.3
2nd 6.2 – 5.6
3rd 5.5 – 5.0
4th 4.9 – 4.5
5th 4.4 – 4.1
6th 4.0 – 3.5
7th/FA 3.4 – 3.0
Grade Explanation of Grade
7.0 – 6.75 Dominate, franchise-type lineman, perennial All-Pro
6.74 – 6.55 Outstanding player, should be consistent Pro Bowler
6.54 – 6.30 Very good starter, first-round talent
6.29 – 6.26 Borderline first-round, Top 40 player
No. Name School Pos. Overall Gradesort icon Other Position Zone Grade LZ Says… Edit
1 Greg Robinson Auburn OT 6.71 As powerful at the point of attack as any offensive lineman I’ve studied.  Dominates in run game with great leverage and strong hands.  Needs to dial back desire to destroy defender with each snap and play under control.  Lunges and takes bad angles at times in pass protection, but both issues are coachable as Robinson has had limited experience in protection.  His dominant traits (including foot quickness for his size and length) lead me to believe that he could be a long-time All-Pro tackle.  Likely to go through growing pains as a rookie, but will develop into dominant talent.
2 Jake Matthews Texas A&M OT 6.53 Matthews is the most game-ready offensive lineman in the draft.  Doesn’t feature elite physical traits, but is an outstanding run and pass blocker who is plug and play from the day he signs his contract.  Times his hands and feet perfectly and is unmatched in this draft as a technician.  Longer DEs can get into his chest at times but that isn’t an overwhelming concern.  Not as long as you would like at the LT spot, but his talent and skill makes up for that.
3 Taylor Lewan Michigan OT 6.33 Lewan has great length and is the premier athlete at the tackle position in this draft.  Has the feet to make any and ever block imaginable, but doesn’t always take proper angles to get across the face of 3-techs.  Plays with a good base in pass protection and has enough bend and anchor to handle bull rushers.  Technique needs some refining, but Lewan is a first round talent and features the traits that should make him a good NFL starter at LT.
4 Xavier Su’a Filo UCLA G 6.17 Powerful and nasty.  Su’a-Filo features fluid hips and can get around the corner with good quickness when asked to pull and usually finds and hits his target.  Will play to and past the whistle.  Has the foot quickness and strength to redirect when needed.  Tends to get caught up on first man and takes too long to come off and pick up second rusher on twists.  Gives up more pressure in pass protection than you want.  His ability to move well and play with plus power will make him a late 1st round to early 2nd round target.
5 Cyrus Kouandjio Alabama OT 6.15 Kouandjio had a bit of a disappointing final season and has some medical concerns that may take him off the board for certain teams.  Plays too high and loses leverage at times, but does show enough anchor to battle back mid-snap.  Outstanding foot quickness into his pass sets and has great length to protect the edges.  Leverage is a concern on the next level.  He must play with lower pad level.
6 Zack Martin Notre Dame OT, G 6.13 6.21 I have Martin as a guard due to his short arms and lack of length for the position.  He’s a persistent run blocker who latches on and finishes.  Plays with a wide, strong base and can drop anchor when needed.  Technically proficient with a good punch in pass pro.  Won’t overwhelm with athletic traits but is a good football player who can be plugged in right away and be successful.  Can play in any scheme.
7 Brandon Thomas Clemson OT, G 6.13 6.08 My draft grade is based on the talent and does not reflect his ACL tear.  Has very powerful hands and is able to engage and overpower opponents with his patented “torque” move.  Is shorter than you would like for a tackle but moves his feet well in to play the position in the NFL if a team wants to look there first.  Has some issues getting across the face of the defender in run game.  Adept at shutting down inside moves with power and strong inside step.  Highly underrated and undervalued by some, but Thomas should be a very good NFL guard when he makes it back from his achilles injury.
8 Morgan Moses Virginia OT 5.97 Bad-bodied, long-armed tackle who displays a stiff lower body and has issues changing direction or run blocking in space.  With that said, he gets guys blocked.  That trumps the other issues.  Moses understands angles and how to use his length and flashes substantial pop when DEs try to beat him inside.  I have concerns about whether Moses’ lack of athleticism on the next level and he will always struggle to get back-side blocks on the LBs in the running game.
9 Joel Bitonio Nevada G 5.58 5.50 5.67 One of the most tenacious linemen in the draft.  Never quits on a play and will win some battles by outworking and outlasting defenders.  Can play tackle or guard.  Aggressive at the point of attack, but doesn’t generate as much power as you expect – even when he’s on the move.  Anchors effectively against power and has high football character.  Scheme and position versatility should raise his stock.
10 Cameron Fleming Stanford OT 5.51 Plays with consistency and within himself.  Fleming is well-coached and flashes consistent power and aggressiveness as a run blocker.  Despite being heavy-legged, is fairly consistent with his pass sets and does a decent job of protecting the edge.  Limited athleticism means he must play in power scheme and will need some help against legitimate edge speed on the next level.  He’s not for everyone, but his toughness and plus run blocking make will make him more attractive to some teams than you think.
11 Weston Richburg Colorado State C 5.45 He’s the best center in this draft.  Plays with a terrifc anchor despite being high-cut and maintains desireable body control in hand-to-hand battles or in space.  Has plus feet and was effective getting out and pulilng at Colorado State.  Doesn’t generate plus power at the point of attack, but usually holds his own.  Scouting community raves about his leadership qualities and take-charge attitude at practice and in games.
12 Billy Turner North Dakota State G 5.43 5.26 5.46 Turner had issues in protection in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl, but they were primarily technique-related and they might be coachable for him.  He has stated he would like to play guard in the NFL and I consider that to be his primary position with tackle as secondary.  Plays with an aggressive demeanor and plays hard.  Climbs to the second level quickly and flashes good body control in space.  Has a good anchor and can recover and redirect against blitzers.  Plays out of control at times.
13 Trai Turner Louisiana State G 5.42 5.51 Doesn’t look like much on the hoof, but don’t let that fool you because he will take it to defensive tackles.  Has good feet and does a nice job of working for position when moving laterally.  Is able to sustain blocks  on the move or on the second level.  Can get moved off his spot against power, but has enough core to survive against brute force.  Hard worker and best-suited for a team looking to play in space.
14 Dakota Dozier Furman G 5.41 Played tackle in college but is best-suited to play guard in the NFL.  He’s always looking to finsih and plays with a chip on his shoulder.  Powerful run blocker who can win in tight quarters.  Has issues with change of direction and can get off-balance.  Gets too grabby when it isn’t even necessary at times.  Will potential to be a wall inside vs. pass rush.  May need a year under his belt to gain necessary experience.
15 Jack Mewhort Ohio State OT, G 5.39 5.43 Solid in many areas but isn’t noticably strong in any one area.  Mewhort flashes power in his hands lacks explosive power as a run blocker.  Shows good body control as a second level run blocker changes directions well enough to play tackle in the NFL.  I liked him better the first time I studied him but noticed more flaws when studying him again months later.  Might be best suited to play guard.  Despite average athleticism, he has enough foot quickness and function strength to fit into all schemes at guard.
16 Corey Linsley Ohio State C 5.39 One of the most “under the radar” center prospects in this draft despite playing at Ohio State.  Linley is unmatched in this year’s draft from a power standpoint at the center position and would overwhelm weaker interior linemen.  Solid lateral movement and ability to hit moving targets in run game.  Will have trouble with A-gap blitzers and change of direction in pass pro can be uneven.  Said to be borderline “arrogant, but in a good way”, Linsley has mentality that teams want from centers and unusual power from a center.
17 Ja’Wuan James Tennessee OT 5.17 His bread will be buttered in pass protection.  If he struggles, he won’t be an NFL starter.  Lacks power and fails to consistently sustain as a run blocker.  Flashes good foot quickness to cut off the edge and re-direct back inside.  More quick than fast.  Solid in pass protection but has to prove he can anchor against bull-rushers.  If James can get stronger, he has a chance to be a solid NFL RT.
18 Seantrel Henderson Miami (FL) OT 5.05 Elite size, mass and length and moves well in space.  Has issues with balance and struggles to change directions against inside moves.  Henderson drops his head too often and misses his target in running game.  Length allows him to stymie edge rushers, but rushers will a variety of moves will cause Henderson issues no matter how long the arms.  Severe concern over football character and despite the grade I have on him, I wouldn’t draft him in any round.
19 Marcus Martin Southern California C 5.04 Flexible bender with good quickness off of the snap.  Has functional core strength but not a strong player.  Too often will be looking side to side in pass protection with nobody to block when he could be helping guard to secure a block.  Body control doesn’t match your expectations.  Can get to any run block asked of him and has enough leverage to anchor despite lack of weight room strength.
20 Gabe Jackson Mississippi State G 4.99 Wide, thick frame allows him to drop anchor against power, but 1-gap defenders will cause him trouble.  Lets his hands get too wide.  Powerful punch and can get guys turned in run game.  Faced strong competition at DT while in SEC.  Jackson carries excessive bad weight and needs to play lighter.
21 Cyril Richardson Baylor G 4.91 Massive guard with the ability to move to the second level quicker than you expect.  Has difficulty changing direction and sustaining blocks and his power is generated more by his sheer size rather than natural strength.  Will struggle to regroup and recover when beaten.  Plays too highly and loses leverage.  Has potential in a power scheme but needs more strength and technique work.  Won’t be bull-rushed and has good pop in his hands.
22 James Hurst North Carolina OT, G 4.89 4.91 Brings his lunch pail and gets to work, but his lunch pail won’t be enough to say at LT in the pros.  Is an average athlete and relies on his upper body strength to get guys blocked.  Plays with a low pad level and keeps his feet churning in run game.  Has very everage body control and movement skills for the tackle position.  Will have to play RT or be bumped inside to guard.
23 David Yankey Stanford G 4.75 Solid guard at Stanford who played with consistency and got guys blocked.  Lacks an NFL trait to really hang his hat on.  Yankey isn’t very powerful and is letthargic out of his stance when asked to pull.  Plays with sound technique and displays good awareness and ability in pass protection.  Limited athleticism dooms him to just a fit with power team.
24 Antonio Richardson Tennessee OT 4.74 Richardson features a strong anchor to go with his oustanding length and is rarely bull-rushed.  Doesn’t bend well so can’t translate weight room power into running game power.  Struggles badly against inside moves and in change-of-direction situations.  Might be a servicable RT with enough help, but lack of body control will always be a problem as he’ll have a hard time keeping defenders in the middle of his power zone.
25 Travis Swanson Arkansas C 4.74 Better straight line movement than lateral movement.  Takes awhile to get around the corner when asked to pull.  Displays good posture and adequate bend in pass protection and can withstand power better than his 20 bench press reps would lead you to believe.  Catches pass rush too often rather than punch.  Durable, experienced SEC starter who has handled himself well against plus athletes and power.
26 Anthony Steen Alabama G 4.70 Stubby frame with short arms, Steen is hardly impressive to look at.  On the other hand, he is good technician in pass protectionn and uses his hands very well.  Steen moves okay in space and takes pretty good angles.  While I’m higher on Steen than some others based on his anchor strength and hand usage, his short arms are a major concern.
27 Michael Schofield Michigan OT, G 4.66 4.66 4.73 Experienced college tackle with good technique but has problems against explosive power.  Core strength may be an on-going issue for him, but if he can get stronger, has the technique and feet to compete for a starting job.  Displays good foot quickness and takes proper angles with second level blocks.  His best position might be guard with a team who features zone scheme.
28 Wesley Johnson Vanderbilt G, C 4.61 4.61 4.64 Actually graded out better as a tackle, his college position, as opposed to as an interior lineman.  Too light to play tackle, but could be a fit at guard or center in zone scheme with roster flexibility to play tackle in a pinch.  Smooth in pass sets with ability to counter inside moves and change directions.  Not a physical speciman and will get pushed around at times in the NFL, but is well-schooled and gets more the most from his frame.  Should be a very good value pick as a center.
29 Justin Britt Missouri G 4.51 4.45 4.53 Tenacious worker who also uses good foot quickness to gain advanatagees.  Lacks functional strength and can get pushed around.  May lack enough anchor to play inside for any team other than strict zone scheme, but not nothing more than a backup as a tackle.
30 Brandon Linder Miami (FL) G 4.22 4.28 Has played guard and tackle, but is a guard-only on the next level.  Can make blocks on the move and climbs to his second level target quickly and with good angles.  Lacks anchor and has a hard to holding his ground against leverage-oriented DTs.  Lack of strenght leads to “panicked hands” which get way too wide in pass protection.  Has good frame and movement skills but may be overmatched by NFL power.
31 Matt Patchan Boston College OT, G 4.21 4.27 4.34 Hard to find a tackle who gets off the ball and into a defender quicker than Patchan.  Uses explosiveness off of the snap and outstanding foot quickness to win as a run blocker.  When asked to play with power will struggle.  Gets jostled too often in pass protection due to lack of functional strength.  Has some character concerns to check out.  His foot quickness will make a coveted target by a zone team.
32 Jon Halapio Florida G 4.19 Punishing power when he gets into his man.  Generates push from powerful lower body and can beat people up in the phone booth.  Power to redirect, but feet don’t always cooperate.  Will struggle against interior quickness and must play downhill as angles in run blocking will be hit or miss.  Power gives him a chance to succeed and I like his chances if he gets with the right team.
33 Bryan Stork Florida State C 4.14 Good strength at the point of attack but is limited athletically and is inconsistent with second level blocks.  While anchor and power are a plus, hard to see him being a difference maker rather than just a decent center.
34 Spencer Long Nebraska G 4.09 Fluid movement in space and able to play with some pop on the move but isn’t a power player when asked to handle man in front of him.  Good pass protection technique but change of direction is a major concern and the reason I’m concerned about him.  Also, injury history has to be studied.  Not sure he has one part of his game that he can point to as a definitive strength.  Has an NFL frame.
35 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif OT, G 4.05 4.10 4.15 Duvernay-Tardif’s pro day results were off the charts and he dominated competition…. in Canada.  Tardif has oustanding combination of power and quickness and has an athletic frame.  His kick-slide and pass set are very smooth.  A team will likely draft the traits within the first five rounds, but the question of how long it will take him to adjust to the NFL level of competition is a tough one to answer.
36 Tyler Larsen Utah State C 3.96 While I like Larsen better than Bryan Stork as a talent, it is impossible not to penalize him for his short arms.  Shows good upper body strength but has trouble sustaining blocks due ot lack of length.  Takes smart angles to the second level but has no margin for error due to subpar lateral movement.  Gets caught leaning too often and doesn’t play with leverage.  Scrappy but limited.
37 John Urschel Penn State G 3.86 3.93 Not much to look at from a physical standpoint, but when you watch him he rarely has consecutve bad snaps and works to overcome size/strength deficiencies.  Smart player who takes great angles and keeps his feet working.  Lacks physical tools but a willing zone blocker.  Has an outside shot of making a roster, but I like him.
38 Charles Leno Boise State G 3.58 3.68 Fluid kick slide in pass protection and mirrored fairly well, but he doesn’t have the frame to be an NFL tackle.  Outstanding foot quickness makes him a zone scheme candidate but I don’t think he is strong enough to make a roster right now.  Might be best suited for a practice squad where he can try to get biggeer.
39 Chris Watt Notre Dame G 3.55 Nothing I see from him gets me excited.  Watt lacks core strength and allows defenders to get into him thanks to shorter arms.  More of stalemate blocker than snap-winner and doesn’t appear to be physically gifted enough to be anything more than a backup at best.
40 Jon Harrison Florida C 3.54
41 Andrew Norwell Ohio State G 3.47 Shows anchor in pass protection and has plus size.  No plus athletic traits or skills that stand out.
42 Kadeem Edwards Tennessee State G 3.47 My grade is lower than he probably deserves.  I don’t like the physical tools much at all, but I do like his playing demeanor.  Body looks loose when engaged, but has a surprising amount of strength in his hands when he locks on.  Battled like he belonged at Senior Bowl.  Feet are just okay lacks power or refinement.  Tenacious attitude will endear him to a team or two and that should get him drafted late.
43 Cornelius Lucas Kansas State OT 3.44 Former basketball player with ridiculously long arms and a frame that can easily add weight.  Moves better than most with his high center of gravity and does a decent job of keeping defenders in front of him.  Has issues anchoring and doesn’t get much push in run game.  Plays with toughness, but is a developmental project right now.
44 Kevin Palmer Baylor C 3.28 Played right tackle for Baylor this season after injuries depleted the position.  Is very stiff and plays too upright.  Palmer fires out of snap and gets into his man quickly and is actually more effective at getting push than you would expect for a player with such little bend.  Has some issues with sustaining in pass pro.  Projects inside to center.
45 Russell Bodine North Carolina C 3.23 3.24 3.31 Athletic testing and strength testing at the combine would lead you to believe that Bodine is one of the most gifted interior linemen in the draft, but the tape doesn’t agree.  Ridiculously sloppy hand usage and gets too grabby.  Good cut blocker on the move and can play center or guard.  Has issues anchoring.
46 Gabe Ikard Oklahoma C 3.19 3.27 Very good foot quickness, but doesn’t have power to match-up against NFL interiror linemen and ends up on the ground too often.  Will be physically overwhelmed on the next level.
47 Zach Fulton Tennessee 3.19 Plays with a decent level of power in tight spaces.  Is unable to move quickly enough to handle speed off the snap or change of direction from LBs and DTs.  Lacks requisite athleticism to be a full-time starter.
48 Karim Barton 3.18
49 Ryan Groy Wisconsin G 3.15
50 Trey Hopkins Texas G 3.11

TSV Exclusive: One Round Mega Mock Draft

Editor’s Note: The Sideline View’s Mega-Mock Draft is a one-round mock with players selected “fantasy football” draft style using a snake draft format. No trades were allowed, and the first two picks were pre-determined; selection began at pick #3. Participants and selection order:

  1. Josh Norris, Rotoworld
  2. Ryan Lownes, Draft Breakdown
  3. Evan Silva, Rotoworld/ProFootballTalk
  4. Adam Caplan, The Sideline View
  5. Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
  6. Matt Miller, Bleacher Report
  7. Lance Zierlein, The Sideline View
  8. Anonymous Coach—We asked an NFL coach who has been a source of league-wide information for us over the last several years to take part in our mock draft and he agreed on the condition of anonymity.
  • 1.  Indianapolis

    ANDREW LUCK

    Quarterback | Stanford

    Selection: Pre-determined

  • 2.  Washington (from St. Louis)

    ROBERT GRIFFIN III

    Quarterback | Baylor

    Selection: Pre-determined

  • 3.  Minnesota

    MATT KALIL

    Offensive Tackle | Southern California

    Selection: Josh Norris

  • 4.  Cleveland

    TRENT RICHARDSON

    Running Back | Alabama

    Selection: Ryan Lownes

  • 5.  Tampa Bay

    MORRIS CLAIBORNE

    Cornerback | Louisiana State

    Selection: Evan Silva

  • 6.  St. Louis (from Washington)

    FLETCHER COX

    Defensive Tackle | Mississippi State

    Selection: Adam Caplan

  • 7.  Jacksonville

    MELVIN INGRAM

    OLD/DE | South Carolina

    Selection: Dane Brugler

  • 8.  Miami

    RYAN TANNEHILL

    Quarterback | Texas A&M

    Selection: Matt Miller

  • 9.  Carolina

    QUINTON COPLES

    Defensive End | North Carolina

    Selection: Lance Zierlein

  • 10.  Buffalo

    STEPHON GILMORE

    Cornerback | South Carolina

    Selection: Coach

  • 11.  Kansas City

    DONT’A HIGHTOWER

    ILB/OLB | Alabama

    Selection: Coach

  • 12.  Seattle

    LUKE KUECHLY

    ILB/OLB | Boston College

    Selection: Lance Zierlein

  • 13.  Arizona

    RILEY REIFF

    Offensive Tackle | Iowa

    Selection: Matt Miller

  • 14.  Dallas

    MARK BARRON

    Safety | Alabama

    Selection: Dane Brugler

  • 15.  Philadelphia

    MICHAEL BROCKERS

    Defensive Tackle | Louisiana State

    Selection: Adam Caplan

  • 16.  NY Jets

    JUSTIN BLACKMON

    Wide Receiver | Oklahoma State

    Selection: Evan Silva

  • 17.  Cincinnati (from Oakland)

    DAVID DECASTRO

    Guard | Stanford

    Selection: Ryan Lownes

  • 18.  San Diego

    SHEA MCCLELLIN

    OLB/DE | Boise State

    Selection: Josh Norris

  • 19.  Chicago

    MICHAEL FLOYD

    Wide Receiver | Notre Dame

    Selection: Josh Norris

  • 20.  Tennessee

    WHITNEY MERCILUS

    OLB/DE | Illinois

    Selection: Ryan Lownes

  • 21.  Cincinnati

    DRE KIRKPATRICK

    Cornerback | Alabama

    Selection: Evan Silva

  • 22.  Cleveland (from from Atlanta)

    KENDALL WRIGHT

    Wide Receiver | Baylor

    Selection: Adam Caplan

  • 23.  Detroit

    AMINI SILATOLU

    Guard | Midwestern State

    Selection: Dane Brugler

  • 24.  Pittsburgh

    DONTARI POE

    Defensive Tackle | Penn State

    Selection: Matt Miller

  • 25.  Denver

    JEREL WORTHY

    Defensive Tackle | Michigan State

    Selection: Lance Zierlein

  • 26.  Houston

    BRUCE IRVIN

    OLB/DE | West Virginia

    Selection: Coach

  • 27.  New England (from New Orleans)

    NICK PERRY

    Defensive End | Southern California

    Selection: Coach

  • 28.  Green Bay

    KENDALL REYES

    Defensive Tackle | Connecticut

    Selection: Lance Zierlein

  • 29.  Baltimore

    STEPHEN HILL

    Wide Receiver | Georgia Tech

    Selection: Matt Miller

  • 30.  San Francisco

    KEVIN ZEITLER

    Guard | Wisconsin

    Selection: Dane Brugler

  • 31.  New England

    DEVON STILL

    Defensive Tackle | Penn State

    Selection: Adam Caplan

  • 32.  NY Giants

    RUEBEN RANDLE

    Wide Receiver | Louisiana State

    Selection: Evan Silva

Best Available NFL Free Agents – Offense

Quarterback
Donovan McNabb
Billy Volek
A.J. Feeley
Jake Delhomme
Patrick Ramsey
Jim Sorgi
Kyle Boller
Luke McCown
Dennis Dixon
J.P. Losman
Jeff Garcia
Mark Brunell
Kevin O’Connell
Rhett Bomar

Running Back
Cedric Benson
Ryan Grant
Thomas Jones
LaDainian Tomlinson
Earnest Graham (FB)
Clinton Portis
Maurice Morris
Melwelde Moore (PR)
Ryan Torain
Carnell Williams
Jackie Battle (FB)
Ronnie Brown
Derrick Ward (KR)
Jerious Norwood (KR)
Sammy Morris
Chester Taylor
Kevin Faulk
Lorenzo Booker (KR)

Fullback
Ovie Mughelli
Ahmard Hall
Moran Norris
Mike Sellers
Lousaka Polite

Wide Receiver
Braylon Edwards
Plaxico Burress
Mark Clayton
Roy Williams
Terrell Owens
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Mike-Sims Walker
Bernard Berrian
Anthony Gonzalez
Patrick Crayton (PR)
Greg Camarillo (PR)
David Anderson (PR)
Bryant Johnson
Jerheme Urban
Chansi Stuckey
Kassim Osgood
Arnaz Battle (PR)
Rashied Davis (KR)
Michael Clayton
Nick Miller (PR) (suspended first four games of 2012)
Jarett Dillard
Logan Payne
Tim Toone

Tight End
Visanthe Shiancoe
Jeremy Shockey
Bo Scaife
Billy Bajema
Tory Humphrey
Anthony Becht
Kris Wilson
Stephen Spach
John Gilmore
Reggie Kelly
Justin Peelle
Anthony Hill

Offensive Tackle
Marcus McNeill (LT)
Kareem McKenzie (RT)
Max Starks (RT/LT)
Chad Clifton (LT)
Stacy Andrews (RT/G)
Tony Pashos (RT)
Brandon Keith (RT)
Tony Moll (RT)
Mark LeVoir (RT)
Tony Ugoh (LT)
Pat McQuistan (RT)
Kirk Chambers (LT/RT)

Guard
Eric Steinbach
Jake Scott
Vernon Carey (RT)
Bobbie Williams
Kyle Kosier
Chris Kemoeatu
Leonard Davis
Derrick Dockery
Montrae Holland
Anthony Herrera
Daniel Loper
Russ Hochstein (C)
Floyd Womack
Adam Goldberg (RT)
Kasey Studdard
Jaimie Thomas
Jason Shirley (DT)
Trevor Canfield

Center
Jeff Faine
Jason Brown (G)
Casey Wiegmann
Jamaal Jackson
Andre Gurode (G)
Scott Mruczkowski
Tony Wragge
Brett Romberg

Long Snapper
Ken Amato
Matt Katula
Chris Massey
David Binn

Punter
Mat McBriar
Daniel Sepulveda
Matt Turk
Jason Baker
Brad Maynard

Kicker
Ryan Longwell
Dave Rayner
David Buehler

Scouting the Draft: Centers

Editor’s Note: Author Larry Zierlein was a college and NFL offensive line coach for 32 years. His career is highlighted by a Super Bowl win in 2008 with the Pittsburgh Steelers under Mike Tomlin. We asked Coach Zierlein to take a look at several offensive line prospects from this year’s draft and share with us what he saw.

He watched multiple cut-ups for each prospect listed, but wants to remind the reader that for a final evaluation, it takes even more film work, interviewing the player to get a feel for his character, checking on the player’s background and working linemen out whenever possible.  Coach Zierlein gave us the order that he would rank each of the tackles and guards based on what he saw from each prospect.  The only player’s he evaluated are the ones listed.

Coach Zierlein is retired and working Under Armour’s “Football University” camps along with other former NFL coaches.  This was also his first year working out offensive line draft prospects in preparation for the Senior Bowl and Combine.  If you are an agent interested in contacting Coach Zierlein for work with future clients, please email us and we’ll pass the info along to him.

See: Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards

Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State

Height: 6’4
Weight: 312
Arms: 31 1/2″

  • Good strength and plays with a good base
  • Marginal quickness
  • Good anchor
  • Some shotgun snap problems
  • Average with re-direct
  • Good awareness and pretty physical player
  • Average finisher in all games I watched
  • Average puller from center position
  • Slow twitch player who doesn’t accelerate to the 2nd level
  • Doesn’t accelerate feet after contact
  • On the ground too much
  • Somewhat of a waist-bender

Overall:  Average athlete with average feet.  He has some strength and toughness and his base is solid.  Very average quickness which limits the amount of teams who will look at him.  Looks like a 4th round center.

Opening Eyes in Mobile

The Senior Bowl is just one part of the evaluation process for NFL teams, and it’s important to put in perspective that reviewing how these prospects performed on the field throughout their career more weight than one week of practice. However, due to prospects playing with lesser talent around them, changing positions, dealing with inconsistencies, or overcoming injuries, the Senior Bowl can also be a way for top NFL Draft talents to “rehab” or “rebuild” their reputation, and give team’s good reasons to overlook their film.

Most players here didn’t have their grade affected more than a few slots, but a handful of prospects performed well enough to warrant teams at least consider reviewing their film with a new look their skill sets.

  1. MARQUISE GOODWIN, WR, TEXAS

    Coming out of a Texas offense that has a (recent) history of not utilizing their weapons consistently, the track star Goodwin shined this week by utilizing his elite speed in a variety of unexpected ways. He obviously got separation with speed vertically, but it was the explosive burst he showed redirecting in shorter routes that impressed. He also got off separation off the press much better than expected, leaving the possibility of playing outside still open as well. With his burst between routes, flashing the ability to extend away from his body, and more development in his routes than expected, Goodwin has gone from track speed-type receiver to intriguing mid round “riser”, similar to TJ Graham last year.

  2. DENARD ROBINSON, WR, MICHIGAN

    While it was a rough set of practices for Denard in his first trial at receiver for NFL scouts, Robinson actually showed some intriguing and developmental attributes this week to show signs that he’s progressing. In each facet of his role as a receiver, he’s struggled, from extending away from his body to finishing catches to route tree development to getting separation. But he’s flashed each one of those skill sets individually, showing signs that he understands what he needs to do, but isn’t polished yet. A rough week for Robinson, he’s at least shown his willing and able to make the adjustment to receiver.

  3. VANCE MCDONALD, TE, RICE

    A relatively unknown prospect when he accepted his invitation early in the process, the Senior Bowl’s Executive Director Phil Savage spoke highly of McDonald throughout the process and before the week began, and McDonald didn’t disappoint.  McDonald has the ideal body type for a tight end, and showed the physicality and drive as a blocker and the receiving ability to work in-line and outside. Some concerns over how fluid he is and if his hands are consistent, but he’s done well to maximize his chance to get out of a lackluster Rice offense to impress this week.

  4. DATONE JONES, DE, UCLA

    Coming off an up and down senior campaign, Jones consistently showed this week what he flashed throughout his career. With his strong lower half and fantastic leg drive, he collapsed the pocket from the outside as well as any rusher here. He played with good pad level, extended and was forceful with his hands, and even gave the event’s best player, Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher, a tough match-up on a few occasions. Able to play a 4-3 strong side end or a 5-technique in a 3-4, Jones may have helped his value the most of any player here this week.

  5. DESMOND TRUFANT, CB, WASHINGTON

    In college, Trufant showcased great ball skills, route timing, and quick hips to stay tight to his receiver. This week, he showed that on a consistent basis, especially in off coverage, consistently against the some of this draft’s best receivers. While he struggles a bit when asked to press, he’s got the initial back pedal, the recovery speed, the burst between steps, and the anticipation that makes a great off-man cornerback. Trufant proved he’s one of the better cornerbacks in this class this week, and firmly put himself in that early 2nd round, maybe even late first round, thanks to picks 25 through 40 being defensive back heavy.

NFL Mock Draft 2012 #1 from Adam Caplan

  • 1.  Indianapolis

    Andrew Luck

    Quarterback | Stanford

    Analysis: Luck will be the Colts next franchise quarterback for many years to come.

    Needs: QB, WR, TE, G, ORT, OLB, CB, NT

    Other Possibilities: None.

  • 2.  Washington (from St. Louis)

    Robert Griffin III

    Quarterback | Baylor

    Analysis: Griffin will be an interesting player for the Redskins as he transitions to a West Coast offensive scheme.

    Needs: QB, C, G, ILB, CB, RB

    Other Possibilities: None.

  • 3.  Minnesota

    Matt Kalil

    Offensive Tackle | Southern California

    Analysis: Kalil would fill a major need on the left side of the Vikings offensive line.

    Needs: WR, CB, OLT, G, FS, SS, DT

    Other Possibilities: Morris Claiborne.

  • 4.  Cleveland

    Trent Richardson

    Running Back | Alabama

    Analysis: The Browns were terrible on offense last season, so Richardson could help on that side of the ball right away. They still will need to address other positions on offense as the draft progresses.

    Needs: WR, ORT, RB, QB, RG, DE, CB, SLB

    Other Possibilities: Morris Claiborne.

  • 5.  Tampa Bay

    Morris Claiborne

    Cornerback | Louisiana State

    Analysis: The Buccaneers, because of Aqib Talib’s off-the-field issues and Ronde Barber’s age, must address the cornerback position.

    Needs: CB, RB, DE, LB, FS, SS

    Other Possibilities: Trent Richardson (if he drops) or Stephon Gilmore.

  • 6.  St. Louis (from Washington)

    Fletcher Cox

    Defensive Tackle | Mississippi State

    Analysis: The Rams are not very good on the interior of their defensive line, so Cox can provide an impact in that area right away.

    Needs: WR, CB, DT, LG, WLB, DE

    Other Possibilities: Best available CB or Justin Blackmon.

  • 7.  Jacksonville

    Justin Blackmon

    Wide Receiver | Oklahoma State

    Analysis: The Jaguars still need speed at wide receiver, but Blackmon would start right away. He could give them badly needed physicality at the position.

    Needs: WR, DE, C, CB

    Other Possibilities: Quinton Coples.

  • 8.  Miami

    Ryan Tannehill

    Quarterback | Texas A&M

    Analysis: Veteran QB Matt Moore can start one more season, so that way the coaches can bring Tannehill along at a slower pace.

    Needs: WR, QB, ORT, DE, DT, SS, FS

    Other Possibilities: Justin Blackmon (if he drops).

  • 9.  Carolina

    David DeCastro

    Guard | Stanford

    Analysis: The Panthers need competition at depth at guard, so DeCastro seems like the smartest pick considering what’s left on the board.

    Needs: G, DT, CB, DE, OLB

    Other Possibilities: Quinton Coples.

  • 10.  Buffalo

    Stephon Gilmore

    Cornerback | South Carolina

    Analysis: Gilmore, according to several personnel sources, has a realistic chance to go off the board inside the top-10. While the Bills have bigger needs, Gilmore is the best player on the board.

    Needs: OLT, WR (speed), OLB, CB, DE

    Other Possibilities: Riley Reiff or Michael Floyd.

  • 11.  Kansas City

    Luke Kuechly

    ILB/OLB | Boston College

    Analysis: The Chiefs were #26 vs. the run last season, so adding an outstanding ILB like Kuechly could help them improve in that area right away.

    Needs: NT, DE, OLB, LG, ILB

    Other Possibilities: Michael Brockers or David DeCastro

  • 12.  Seattle

    Quinton Coples

    Defensive End | North Carolina

    Analysis: Coples would fill a major need on the Seahawks defense.

    Needs: DE, RG, LB

    Other Possibilities: Luke Kuechly

  • 13.  Arizona

    Melvin Ingram

    OLB/DE | South Carolina

    Analysis: The Cardinals have a lot of needs, but adding a pass rusher is one of their bigger ones. Ingram can provide an impact right away.

    Needs: OLT, WR, OLB, RG, CB

    Other Possibilities: David DeCastro, Luke Kuechly, Michael Floyd, Riley Reiff, or Jonathan Martin.

  • 14.  Dallas

    Mark Barron

    Safety | Alabama

    Analysis: The Cowboys can finally address their troubling safety position by adding the talented Barron.

    Needs: SS, C, G, DE, WR, CB, OLB

    Other Possibilities: Dre Kirkpatrick.

  • 15.  Philadelphia

    Michael Brockers

    Defensive Tackle | Louisiana State

    Analysis: Brockers is a better player than Poe, according to personnel sources, so the Eagles will add him here at a need position.

    Needs: DT, SLB, CB

    Other Possibilities: Dontari Poe.

  • 16.  NY Jets

    Courtney Upshaw

    Defensive End | Alabama

    Analysis: The Jets know their defense fell off last season, so adding a talent pass rusher like Upshaw makes a lot of sense at the point.

    Needs: WR, ORT, OLB, SS, FS, ILB

    Other Possibilities: Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, Jonathan Martin, or Riley Reiff.

  • 17.  Cincinnati (from Oakland)

    Michael Floyd

    Wide Receiver | Notre Dame

    Analysis: The Bengals badly need to add talent at WR opposite second-year pro A.J. Green. Floyd’s addition would give the team another outstanding talent at that position.

    Needs: WR, RB, DE, DT, CB

    Other Possibilities: Kendall Wright, Dontari Poe, or Doug Martin.

  • 18.  San Diego

    Whitney Mercilus

    OLB/DE | Illinois

    Analysis: The Chargers need help on defense, especially in the pass-rushing department, so Mercilus makes sense for this AFC West team.

    Needs: G, OLB, ILB, CB, ORT

    Other Possibilities: Shea McClellin or Riley Reiff.

  • 19.  Chicago

    Kendall Wright

    Wide Receiver | Baylor

    Analysis: The Bears, despite adding veteran WR Brandon Marshall, need to add speed and more talent at receiver. Wright is talented enough to make an impact as a rookie.

    Needs: G, DE, WR, CB, DT, OT, SLB

    Other Possibilities: Shea McClellin.

  • 20.  Tennessee

    Nick Perry

    Defensive End | Southern California

    Analysis: The Titans biggest need is clearly DE. They likely will eye a bunch of DEs here, but Perry looks to be the best left on the board at this point.

    Needs: DE, DT, CB, C

    Other Possibilities: Dontari Poe, Andre Branch or Chandler Jones.

  • 21.  Cincinnati

    Doug Martin

    Running Back | Boise State

    Analysis: Martin would be the replacement for veteran RB Cedric Benson, who remains unsigned.

    Needs: WR, RB, DE, DT, CB

    Other Possibilities: Dontari Poe or best available DE.

  • 22.  Cleveland (from from Atlanta)

    Riley Reiff

    Offensive Tackle | Iowa

    Analysis: The Browns need to fill out their starting right tackle spot, so Reiff can do that right away.

    Needs: RB, WR, ORT, QB, RG, DE, CB, OLB

    Other Possibilities: Kendall Wright (if he drops).

  • 23.  Detroit

    Jonathan Martin

    Offensive Tackle | Stanford

    Analysis: The Lions really need to address the eventual replacement for long-time starting LT Jeff Backus. And keep in mind starting RT Gosder Cherilus is on the final year of his rookie contract, so Martin makes some sense here.

    Needs: CB, OLT, ORT

    Other Possibilities: Cordy Glenn

  • 24.  Pittsburgh

    Dont’a Hightower

    ILB/OLB | Alabama

    Analysis: ILB is a need position for the Steelers next to Lawrence Timmons, so Hightower can play right away for them.

    Needs: G, NT, ILB,OT, CB, FS, RB

    Other Possibilities: Cordy Glenn, Dontari Poe or Devon Still.

  • 25.  Denver

    Jerel Worthy

    Defensive Tackle | Michigan State

    Analysis: The Broncos lost starting DT Brodrick Bunkley in free agency, so they must fill the huge void that continues to stand out on the interior of their defensive line.

    Needs: DT, WR, DE, RB, CB, C

    Other Possibilities: Dontari Poe.

  • 26.  Houston

    Rueben Randle

    Wide Receiver | Louisiana State

    Analysis: As one personnel source told me this week, don’t be surprised if Randle goes off the board a lot earlier than we think. In that case, the Texans can fill a big need here with the talented wide receiver.

    Needs: ORT, G, WR, OLB, DE

    Other Possibilities: Mike Adams or Cordy Glenn.

  • 27.  New England (from New Orleans)

    Shea McClellin

    OLB/DE | Boise State

    Analysis: McClellin is the type of player that head coach Bill Belichick covets—versatility.

    Needs: OLB, CB, FS, DE, WR (speed)

    Other Possibilities: Harrison Smith, Andre Branch, or Chandler Jones or Vinny Curry.

  • 28.  Green Bay

    Peter Konz

    Center | Wisconsin

    Analysis: With new starting C Jeff Saturday turning 37 in June, the Packers need to plan for his eventual replacement. And keep in mind Konz is also capable of playing guard.

    Needs: OLB, DE, FS, CB, C

    Other Possibilities: Shea McClellin (if he drops) or Kendall Reyes.

  • 29.  Baltimore

    Andre Branch

    OLB/DE | Clemson

    Analysis: The Ravens need to add pass rushers, so Branch makes a lot of sense here.

    Needs: DE, WR, OLB, OLT, LG, C, FS, SS

    Other Possibilities: Chandler Jones.

  • 30.  San Francisco

    Kevin Zeitler

    Guard | Wisconsin

    Analysis: The 49ers can help solidify the interior of their offensive line with Zeitler.

    Needs: RG, WR (speed), CB, DE

    Other Possibilities: Any of the WRs that drop.

  • 31.  New England

    Devon Still

    Defensive Tackle | Penn State

    Analysis: The Patriots, according to a source, will play the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes on again on defense. And Still has the versatility to play in either scheme.

    Needs: OLB, CB, FS, DE

    Other Possibilities: Kendall Reyes

  • 32.  NY Giants

    Mike Adams

    Offensive Tackle | Ohio State

    Analysis: The Giants, because they’re coming off a Super Bowl victory, can afford to take a chance on Adams. He’s capable of playing either tackle spot.

    Needs: G, CB, OT, DT

    Other Possibilities: Best available interior OL.

NFL Mock Draft 2012 #2 from Adam Caplan

  • 1.  Indianapolis

    ANDREW LUCK

    Quarterback | Stanford

    First Mock Selection: Andrew Luck/QB/Stanford

    Analysis: Now GM Ryan Grigson can build around Luck. And it will be interesting to see what his approach winds up being. Draft mostly offense early or defense?

    Needs: QB, WR, TE, G, CB, ORT, NT, DE, OLB

    Other Possibilities: None.

  • 2.  Washington (from St. Louis)

    ROBERT GRIFFIN III

    Quarterback | Baylor

    First Mock Selection: Robert Griffin III/QB/Baylor

    Analysis: It will be interesting to see how the Redskins use Griffin. Will they make him a true pocket passer or will they move him around a bit? Then again, their offensive line isn’t very good, so he may have to move around more than they would like.

    Needs: QB, C, G, ILB, CB, RB, WR

    Other Possibilities: None.

  • 3.  Minnesota

    MATT KALIL

    Offensive Tackle | Southern California

    First Mock Selection: Matt Kalil/OLT/Southern California

    Analysis: This pick could go either way (Kalil or Claiborne), but Vikings have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. And after making Christian Ponder their franchise QB last year (or at least they hope so), they must do a better job of protecting him.

    Needs: WR, CB, OLT, G, FS, SS, MLB, DT, DE

    Other Possibilities: The Vikings must significantly address the secondary if they want to compete at a high level vs. the better passing games in the NFL, so Morris Claiborne has to be a strong consideration here. I’m not buying the Justin Blackmon talk here.

    Don’t be surprised if they wind up trading this pick to the Buccaneers. And even if they wind up doing so, they could still take Kalil or possibly Claiborne at #5.

  • 4.  Cleveland

    TRENT RICHARDSON

    Running Back | Alabama

    First Mock Selection: Trent Richardson/RB/Alabama

    Analysis: GM Tom Heckert must address the offensive side of the ball in a major way early in this draft. Richardson can finally solve their issue at RB.

    Needs: WR, ORT, RB, QB, LG, DE, CB, OLB

    Other Possibilities: Morris Claiborne or a trade down.

  • 5.  Tampa Bay

    MORRIS CLAIBORNE

    Cornerback | Louisiana State

    First Mock Selection: Morris Claiborne/CB/Louisiana State

    Analysis: The Buccaneers have depth at CB, but veteran Ronde Barber is 37. Oh, and fifth-year pro Aqib Talib needs to prove he can stay out of trouble, so CB is a need pick.

    Needs: CB, RB, DE, LB, FS, SS

    Other Possibilities: Trade up in order to select Trent Richardson.

  • 6.  St. Louis (from Washington)

    FLETCHER COX

    Defensive Tackle | Mississippi State

    First Mock Selection: Fletcher Cox/DT/Mississippi State

    Analysis: With a defensive minded head coach like Jeff Fisher who will make the calls on draft day, Cox makes a lot of sense here. Plus, DT is a need position.

    Needs: WR, CB, DT, LG, WLB, DE, OT

    Other Possibilities: With the wide receiver position being a big issue for the Rams, they could select Michael Floyd, who is the top rated receiver for this draft by many personnel sources. Don’t be surprised if they trade down in order to select a cornerback or wide receiver. And if Kalil drops, that could be another player that they target. And OLT Rodger Saffold, some people believe, could be better off inside at guard.

  • 7.  Jacksonville

    JUSTIN BLACKMON

    Wide Receiver | Oklahoma State

    First Mock Selection: Justin Blackmon/WR/Oklahoma State

    Analysis: The Jaguars must add at least two WRs in this draft, and Blackmon would start right away for them.

    Needs: WR, DE, CB, C

    Other Possibilities: Stephon Gilmore. Trade down to possibly select a wide receiver or a cornerback.

  • 8.  Miami

    RYAN TANNEHILL

    Quarterback | Texas A&M

    First Mock Selection: Ryan Tannehill/QB/Texas A&M

    Analysis: The Dolphins must add their future at quarterback in this draft, so Tannehill is that guy for this team.

    Needs: WR, QB, ORT, DE, DT, SS, FS, OLB, TE

    Other Possibilities: The Dolphins are in bad shape at wide receiver, so Michael Floyd also makes sense for this selection.

  • 9.  Carolina

    STEPHON GILMORE

    Cornerback | South Carolina

    First Mock Selection: David DeCastro/G/Stanford

    Analysis: Gilmore would be an upgrade over CB Captain Munnerlyn, who then could handle the nickel role.

    Needs: G, DT, CB, DE, OLB, WR

    Other Possibilities: The Panthers need to add competition and upgrades at guard, so DeCastro would be the other option.

  • 10.  Buffalo

    DRE’ KIRKPATRICK

    Cornerback | Alabama

    First Mock Selection: Stephon Gilmore/CB/South Carolina

    Analysis: I checked with a high-level personnel source on Kirkpatrick who said the defensive back’s off-the-field issues were overblown. The Bills have depth at CB, but not one really good cover player at the position.

    Needs: OLT, WR (speed), OLB, CB, DE, QB (developmental)

    Other Possibilities: Trade up for Matt Kalil or select Luke Kuechly here, who would fill a need.

  • 11.  Kansas City

    LUKE KUECHLY

    ILB/OLB | Boston College

    First Mock Selection: Luke Kuechly/LB/Boston College

    Analysis: GM Scott Pioli has done a nice job in free agency, but there’s still work to be done. He must address the shaky run defense. And to do that, he could add the best available ILB for this draft in Kuechly.

    Needs: NT, DE, OLB, LG, ILB

    Other Possibilities: The Chiefs need to add competition and depth to their defensive line, so Michael Brockers would be an excellent addition.

  • 12.  Seattle

    MELVIN INGRAM

    OLD/DE | South Carolina

    First Mock Selection: Quinton Coples/DE/North Carolina

    Analysis: The Seahawks must help their average pass rush by adding a few DEs out of this draft. Ingram could get in the rotation right away.

    Needs: DE, RG, LB

    Other Possibilities: The Seahawks must address the issue at defensive end, so the surprise pick here would be Chandler Jones, who could wind up being the best defensive end in this draft. DeCastro also makes sense here for the opening at RG.

  • 13.  Arizona

    DAVID DECASTRO

    Guard | Stanford

    First Mock Selection: Melvin Ingram/DE-OLB/South Carolina

    Analysis: The Cardinals must finally build their offensive line, so DeCastro would go a long way toward doing that.

    Needs: OLT, OLB, RG, WR, CB

    Other Possibilities: Riley Reiff, if the Cardinals think he can play LT.

  • 14.  Dallas

    MARK BARRON

    Safety | Alabama

    First Mock Selection: Mark Barron/SS/Alabama

    Analysis: Finally, a really good safety is added to the Dallas secondary.

    Needs: SS, C, DE, WR, CB, G, OLB

    Other Possibilities: Dontari Poe.

  • 15.  Philadelphia

    MICHAEL BROCKERS

    Defensive Tackle | Louisiana State

    First Mock Selection: Michael Brockers/DT/Louisiana State

    Analysis: I really think the Eagles could move out of this spot (up or down), but Brockers, who has more athletic than most fans think, is the pick here for now. That could change in the final mock on Thursday.

    Needs: DT, SLB, CB

    Other Possibilities: Trade up for Fletcher Cox, as I’ve been saying for nearly two months, or for a CB. With veteran CB Asante Samuel expected to be traded, CB is a priority need. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is on the final year of his rookie deal and veteran CB Nnamdi Asomugha turns 31 in July.

  • 16.  NY Jets

    COURTNEY UPSHAW

    Defensive End | Alabama

    First Mock Selection: Courtney Upshaw/DE/Alabama

    Analysis: The Jets’ pass rush was disappointing last season, so Upshaw could provide an impact in that area right away.

    Needs: WR, ORT, OLB, SS, FS, ILB

    Other Possibilities: The Jets need speed at wide receiver, so this could be the earliest Kendall Wright goes off the board. RT continues to be an issue, so Riley Reiff also makes sense here.

  • 17.  Cincinnati (from Oakland)

    MICHAEL FLOYD

    Wide Receiver | Notre Dame

    First Mock Selection: Michael Floyd/WR/Notre Dame

    Analysis: Floyd would give the Bengals really good size at the wide receiver position.

    Needs: WR, RB, CB, DT, DE

    Other Possibilities: Kendall Wright, Michael Brockers (should he drop) or Quinton Coples. Or trade up for a CB, which is a major need.

  • 18.  San Diego

    WHITNEY MERCILUS

    OLB/DE | Illinois

    First Mock Selection: Whitney Mercilus/OLB/DE/Illinois

    Analysis: The Chargers must add at least one quality pass rusher out of this draft. Mercilus could get into their rotation at OLB right away.

    Needs: G, OLB, ILB, CB, ORT, OLT, SS

    Other Possibilities: Riley Reiff.

  • 19.  Chicago

    CHANDLER JONES

    Defensive End | Syracuse

    First Mock Selection: Kendall Wright/WR/Baylor

    Analysis: The Bears badly need to add more pass rushers, so Jones, who has a ton of upside, could see a decent amount of time as a rookie with this team.

    Needs: G, DE, WR, CB, DT, SLB, OT

    Other Possibilities: The Bears, despite adding Brandon Marshall, still need help at WR, so Kendall Wright is a possibility.

  • 20.  Tennessee

    ANDRE BRANCH

    OLB/DE | Clemson

    First Mock Selection: Nick Perry/DE/Southern California

    Analysis: Branch could play quite a bit right away since the Titans lack enough quality pass rushers.

    Needs: DE, DT, CB, C, G

    Other Possibilities: Nick Perry or Dontari Poe.

  • 21.  Cincinnati

    DOUG MARTIN

    Running Back | Boise State

    First Mock Selection: Doug Martin/RB/Boise State

    Analysis: Here would be your new Bengals starting RB from the start of training camp.

    Needs: WR, RB, CB, DT, DE

    Other Possibilities: Trade up for a cornerback. Dontari Poe.

  • 22.  Cleveland (from from Atlanta)

    KENDALL WRIGHT

    Wide Receiver | Baylor

    First Mock Selection: Riley Reiff/OT/Iowa

    Analysis: Wright would add badly needed speed to the Browns’ offense opposite second-year WR Greg Little. The Browns had Wright in for a pre-draft visit and are believed to be high on him. It wouldn’t be surprising if GM Tom Heckert saw him in a similar fashion to WR DeSean Jackson, who he was involved in drafting during his time with the Eagles.

    Needs: WR, ORT, RB, QB, LG, DE, CB, OLB

    Other Possibilities: RT is a major need, so Riley Reiff makes a lot of sense for this selection, but there are decent right tackles who the Browns can look at later on.

  • 23.  Detroit

    RILEY REIFF

    Offensive Tackle | Iowa

    First Mock Selection: Jonathan Martin/OT/Stanford

    Analysis: Keep in mind starting RT Gosder Cherilus is on the final year of his rookie deal. And it’s not out of the question that Reiff could be used at guard.

    Needs: CB, OLT, ORT

    Other Possibilities: Cordy Glenn or Jonathan Martin.

  • 24.  Pittsburgh

    DONT’A HIGHTOWER

    ILB/OLB | Alabama

    First Mock Selection: Dont’a Hightower/LB/Alabama

    Analysis: The Steelers must add an inside linebacker in this draft, preferably early.

    Needs: G, NT, ILB, OT, CB, FS, RB

    Other Possibilities: Cordy Glenn or Dontari Poe.

  • 25.  Denver

    JEREL WORTHY

    Defensive Tackle | Michigan State

    First Mock Selection: Jerel Worthy/DT/Michigan State

    Analysis: Worthy would fill a huge need.

    Needs: DT, WR, DE, RB, CB, C, S

    Other Possibilities: Devon Still or Rueben Randle.

  • 26.  Houston

    RUEBEN RANDLE

    Wide Receiver | Louisiana State

    First Mock Selection: Rueben Randle/WR/Louisiana State

    Analysis: Randle has really good size and speed. I could see him starting next to veteran WR Andre Johnson this season if the Texans wind up selecting him.

    Needs: ORT, G, WR, OLB, DE

    Other Possibilities: Cordy Glenn.

  • 27.  New England (from New Orleans)

    SHEA MCCLELLIN

    OLB/DE | Boise State

    First Mock Selection: Shea McClellin/OLB/DE/Boise State

    Analysis: This is a Bill Belichick pick if I ever saw one. McClellin could start from day one at a need position.

    Needs: OLB, CB, FS, DE, WR (speed)

    Other Possibilities: Harrison Smith.

  • 28.  Green Bay

    QUINTON COPLES

    Defensive End | North Carolina

    First Mock Selection: Peter Konz/C/Wisconsin

    Analysis: This is a value pick. Coples, because of his size, can play end in a 3-4. And the Packers badly need depth and an influx of talent at DE.

    Needs: OLB, DE, FS, CB, C

    Other Possibilities: Peter Konz.

  • 29.  Baltimore

    PETER KONZ

    Center | Wisconsin

    First Mock Selection: Andre Branch/OLB/DE/Clemson

    Analysis: He can take over at LG for now then take over for veteran C Matt Birk in a few seasons.

    Needs: DE, WR, OLB, OLT, LG, C, FS, SS

    Other Possibilities: Vinny Curry or Kendall Reyes.

  • 30.  San Francisco

    KEVIN ZEITLER

    Guard | Wisconsin

    First Mock Selection: Kevin Zeitler/G/Wisconsin

    Analysis: This is a need and value pick at the same time. Zeitler would start right away at RG. He might be the best guard available for this year’s draft. He would really help solidify the 49ers starting five on the offensive line.

    Needs: RG, WR (speed), CB, DE

    Other Possibilities: Amini Silatolu.

  • 31.  New England

    DONTARI POE

    Defensive Tackle | Memphis

    First Mock Selection: Devon Still/DT/Penn State

    Analysis: Poe has way too much athleticism for the Patriots to pass on him there. And also keep in mind they will play the hybrid 3-4/4-3 defensive scheme a lot.

    Needs: OLB, CB, FS, DE, WR (speed)

    Other Possibilities: Devon Still or best available DE for the 3-4.

  • 32.  NY Giants

    CORDY GLENN

    Offensive Tackle | Georgia

    First Mock Selection: Mike Adams/OT/Ohio State

    Analysis: Glenn is capable of playing either tackle spot. And the Giants need competition at both spots. And it also wouldn’t be surprising if some teams looked at him at guard.

    Needs: G, CB, OT, RB, DT

    Other Possibilities: Best available OT.

A Metrics Breakdown of Top Running Backs: Tier 2

The second grouping of RBs certainly has its fair share of interesting prospects. Among the group, there are intriguing RBs like Marcus Lattimore and Christine Michael as well as college workhorses like Stepfan Taylor and Montee Ball. Are any of them worth being considered in the first tier? I’ll explore their college production, trying to determine just that.

Statistics are best used when put in the proper context and combined with film study. These metrics can tell you exactly how many tackles Lattimore broke and can provide support for what you see on film, but it can’t tell you what to feel about a player. Keep that in mind as you read through them. All statistics are provided by STATS ICE, a system that has every game charted from BCS contests this past year.

How Were They in the Open Field?

To start, we’re going to focus on how many extra yards the running backs were able to generate. Combining two common RB metrics, I’ve created an Extra score on a scale of 0-50, combining yards after contact per run and percentage of total yards after broken contact. The score is then divided by their size, since these metrics are geared slightly towards bigger backs. The size factor only had a slight effect on their overall scores. The higher the score the more extra yards a back created.

Montee
Ball
Marcus
Lattimore
Joseph
Randle
Mike
Gillislee
Christine
Michael
Stepfan
Taylor
Extra 27.5 13.87 27.46 16.95 21.76 25.43
Bkn Tak % 4.78% 1.40% 4.01% 2.46% 4.55% 4.97%
YAC 2.49 1.95 2.60 1.76 1.76 2.18
  • I’m going to feel bad about writing unkind things about Lattimore, but his ability to break tackles and gain extra yardage was abysmal. Maybe the lack of ability was due to his previous injury or some other unforeseen factors. On 143 carries he only had 2 broken tackles according to the STATS ICE data. That’s rough for a 230-pound running back regardless of how you slice it.
  • Ball and Taylor, the two workhorse backs, were just about average in these measures. You might hope for some more broken tackles and yards after contact from Taylor given his reputation, but all in all it’s not something that would drastically alter my perception of them.
  • My first instinct is to blame Lattimore and Mike Gillislee’s poor numbers on playing SEC defenses, but Eddie Lacy proved that one could indeed generate extra yardage against tough opponents. That type of ability is clearly what separates Lacy from the other RBs.  As for Gillislee, he’s on the smaller side at 208 pounds, so this could indicate that he may not be cut out for an every down role in the NFL.

Did Their Offensive Systems Suit Them?

With this metric, I’ve adjusted for run direction and formation to create a generic offensive system. Thus, how would they fare if their O-line remained the same, but each of their offensive coordinators ran the same number of times to each direction and formation. The goal is to see if the RBs were used optimally in their offenses. Due to the prevalence of the read-option in college, the directions are broken down into left-middle-right instead of off tackle, etc.

Montee
Ball
Marcus
Lattimore
Joseph
Randle
Mike
Gillislee
Christine
Michael
Stepfan
Taylor
Adjusted Yds 183.72 18.89 -17.60 -9.06 26.21 86.70
Left YPC 5.07 4.48 6.48 4.92 4.29 4.28
Middle YPC 5.19 3.79 4.63 4.06 5.37 4.88
Right YPC 4.71 9.00 4.75 6.53 2.25 4.75
  • Le’Veon Bell and Ball both had drastic increases in yardage when I adjusted for their systems. What this tells me is that it’s possible their Big Ten offenses were insistent on pounding the ball in a certain direction and out of certain formations without further thought for their skills. Had Ball been in an ‘average offense’ he would have gained roughly 183 more yards by this metric.
  • Taylor faced a similar predicament at Stanford, gaining 87 yards in an adjusted offense. The trend seems to be highlighting systems that concentrated on running the ball consistently and from under center. For all of these RBs, it could show they have the talent to thrive in more creative NFL offenses.
  • Every other RB was well utilized. Each one could have had minor gains or losses, but for the most part their programs used them in ways that took advantage of their talents.
  • Both Ball and Taylor were extremely consistent when running each direction. That’s exactly the type of back they need to be: consistent, well-rounded players.

How Clutch Were They?

The clutch metric measures how well each RB did in obvious rushing situations. Game situations like third and shorts, running when a team is ahead, and a few more factors combine to create a score 0-100 to measure the quality of a RB in clutch situations. A higher score meaning a RB is more clutch.

Montee
Ball
Marcus
Lattimore
Joseph
Randle
Mike
Gillislee
Christine
Michael
Stepfan
Taylor
Clutch 60.34 62.62 70.21 57.14 34.35 44.89
Third & Short YPC 3.30 3.30 5.10 3.20 2.10 2.90
  • To this point I haven’t written anything about Joseph Randle, but his clutch score is tops in this tier and third overall amongst RBs. The high score is mostly due to the fact that in third and short situations, he averaged 5.1 yards. That’s to say, he averaged enough to get a first down in third down situations, an impressive stat.
  • For a slower, bruising back, Taylor’s YPC on third and short was a bit wanting. He only averaged 2.9 yards in these clutch situations. Honestly, you’d expect more for a bigger RB who was used to pounding it up the middle.
  • Ball, Lattimore, and Gillislee all come out around the same with around 3.2-3.3 YPC in clutch situations and solid all-around scores in the Clutch metric.
  • Michael’s 2.1 yards per carry is underwhelming. For a big, athletic back who needs to find a niche in the NFL this stat certainly doesn’t do him any favors. It’s true that A&M likely used him in only the most obvious of situations, so that’s a possible reason for his low YPC.

How Many of Their Yards Were Free?

This section is a little bit of an experiment, combining some of my own charting ideas with the STATS ICE data. What I’ve done is sample their games and count the number of plays in which the running back was not touched or did not have to make a football move (juke, spin, etc) within 5 yards of the LOS. This is to measure how many “free” touches each RB got. It doesn’t necessarily measure the quality of the line because the quality of defenses affects the metric as well, but it gives you a feel for how many easy runs each RB had. I only counted runs that even the most mediocre of RBs could have made, so field vision didn’t play a factor.

Montee
Ball
Marcus
Lattimore
Joseph
Randle
Mike
Gillislee
Christine
Michael
Stepfan
Taylor
% Carries 4.67% 5.00% 10.75% 3.33% N/D* 4.59%
% Yardage 12.63% 17.71% 40.1% 18.39% N/D* 11.42%
  • The first thing that sticks out is Randle’s ridiculously high amount of free yardage and carries. Nearly 11% of his carries left him untouched within the first 5 yards of his run. Those runs weren’t just 7 or 8 yard runs, 40% of his yardage came on those. Whether it was poor Big 12 defensive effort or the result of an offensive line that only allowed 12 sacks this year, he got a lot of help.
  • Gillislee didn’t get much help from his offensive line at all. Between strong SEC defenses, a passing game that couldn’t get out of its own way, and some mediocre offensive line play, only 3.33% of his carries were free.
  • Much has been made of the Wisconsin offensive line. While no one would argue that the line play was as superb as previous years, these statistics don’t indicate he received an undue amount of free yardage. Both his percentage of carries and yardage are near average, which would seem to indicate that any talk about Ball’s o-line last year was far overblown.

* Michael was left out since he had such a limited amount of carries relative to the other players, the sample size would have been much smaller than the other players.

Lance Zierlein’s OT Draft Grades

The tackle draft is very uneven.  While the top three tackles in this draft all have Pro-Bowl caliber potential, the middle rounds offer a very scarce amount of starting potential talent.  Guys like Watson, Long, Bahktiari and Armstead are all solid prospects, but once you get past them, it’s a wrap.  Teams looking for tackle help will have to draft tackle earlier than they might like or they will be out of luck.

LZ Favorite – David Bakhtiari:  The big man from Colorado is a little more high-cut than you might like, but he’s a solid pass protector who also climbs to the second level with ease in the running game.  I’m a huge fan of his foot quickness and I wonder if he won’t end up as a center on the next level.

Tackle Rankings

Tackle School Round
Luke Joeckel Texas A&M 1st
Eric Fisher C. Michigan 1st
Lane Johnson Oklahoma 1st
DJ Fluker Alabama 1st
David Bakhtiari Colorado 2nd
Menelik Watson Florida St. 2nd
Kyle Long Oregon 2nd/3rd
Terron Armstead Ark. Pine-Bluff 2nd/3rd
Jordan Mills La. Tech 4th
Oday Aboushi Virginia 4th/5th
Rogers Gaines Tennessee St. 5th
Brennan Williams North Carolina 5th
Nick Becton Virginia Tech 5th
Xavier Nixon Florida 5th/6th
Ricky Wagner Wisconsin 5th/6th
Chris Faulk LSU 6th
Reid Fragel Ohio St. 6th
Vinston Painter Virginia Tech 6th
Luke Marquardt Azusa Pacific 7th
Braden Brown BYU 7th
Emmett Cleary Boston College 7th
Elvis Fisher Missouri 7th/FA
Oscar Johnson La. Tech 7th/FA
Jamaal Johnson-Webb Alabama A&M FA
Jeff Nady Nevada FA
Jason Weaver USM FA
John Wetzel Boston College FA
Jordan Devey Memphis FA
Patrick Ward Northwestern FA
Mike Farrell Penn St. FA