While the BTB community and Draftniks rely heavily on mock drafting value in positions of need, owners tend to want big name players to sell tickets while coaches tend to want game changers that add Ws to the win-loss column. I believe this disconnect is why BTBs latest mock draft has FIVE offensive linemen off the board in the first 17 picks. I think that while these were picks that held value to the teams, they are not big names or big play skilled position players. Without further ado, these are 7 players that I believe have a good chance to get picked before 17, or come into consideration around the 18th pick.
1. Matt Barkley QB USC- Matt Barkley was the top quarterback prospect before the 2012 college season. Questions regarding his accuracy, arm strength, decision making and limited athleticism caused him to fall. However his experience and intangibles, as well as the premium placed on quarterbacks, will make Barkley a strong consideration for the Eagles (4), Cardinals (7), and Bills (8).
2. Robert Woods WR USC- Woods was the top wide receiver prospect before the 2012 college season per CBS. His average combine and "limited" athleticism have dropped in many mocks. However Woods impressed with his 4.38 40 yard dash at the USC pro day, and his ridiculous production and refined route running make him the most NFL ready WR in the draft, and a potential look for the Steelers (17) and Rams (22).
3. Kenny Vaccaro FS Texas- Vaccaro was a well rounded, impact safety at Texas with the versatility to play both safety spots. Although he does not grade out as a top 10 player, he has prototypical elite safety athleticism (having previously ran sub 4.5s 40 yards) and production and will likely be gone in the first 20 picks.
4. Bjoern Werner DE Florida State- Werner was at times during the draft process a potential top 5 pick. However concerns about his athleticism have dropped his stock as of late. The premium on pass rushers, particularly leaders with high motors and great work ethic, will likely make Werner a top 15 pick.
5. Cornellius Carradine DE Florida State- "Tank" Carradine is built like tank at 6'4 276, and moves like a roadster with a 4.75s 40 yard. An injury in Carradine's senior year has apparently dissuaded Draftniks from looking at his tape, where his athleticism and pass rushing ability immediately jumps out. There is no way a potential top 5 athletic talent like Carradine makes it out of the first round, particularly because he compares as a slower but more productive player than potential top 5 pick Ezekiel Ansah.
6. Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame- Eifert has established himself as the top TE in the draft, with athleticism and hands that compare favorably to top 35 draft picks like Kyle Rudolph and Coby Fleener. A team may become enamored with him and see the potential to use him in either a Hernandez or Gronkowski role in the patriots mold due to his athleticism and size, grabbing him in the second half of the first round.
7. Wide Receivers- Along with Robert Woods, wide receivers such as Cordarrelle Patterson, DeAndre Hopkins, Tavon Austin, Justin Hunter and Keenan Allen are all undervalued. All of these receivers have either the athleticism or production to warrant a first round pick- but few have both. Teams that value number 1 wide outs with speed and big play ability will highly value WRs such as Austin, Hunter and Patterson. Teams that value production, route running and pass catching will highly value Woods and Allen.
I agree Offensive linemen such as Cooper, Warmack, Joekel, Fisher, and Johnson are all top 10 players in terms of talent. I just don't agree that NFL personnel are going to agree that they are top 10 draft picks. I think that some of these players I mentioned have the potential to push these guards down to 18 in the first round. Many GMs prefer shiny new toys, and I think shiny new toys are going to get drafted more often than bell cows in the first round. What do you think? anyone I missed?
I'll write about 7 players who are going to get drafted lower if you guys like this post.