Our 2013 Community Mock Draft [is underway]! In this annual exercise we put the fates of all 32 teams in the hands of our community. This exercise accomplishes several things. For one, we often have a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to the NFL. We will get a glimpse into the needs of each of the franchises. It also helps us get familiar with each of the first-round prospects because like last year in a trade up for Morris Claiborne, you never quite know what the future holds for Dallas.
Every GM has been informed of their team's needs and is ready to roll. Let's see who will be selected with the 14th pick in the draft!
GM: [TARHEEL PAUL]
Selection: (DT) [Sheldon Richardson, Missouri]
Here's our GM with his explanation of the selection:
Why the pick: The day after the Dallas Cowboys came to my beloved home town of Charlotte North Carolina and defeated the Carolina Panthers (again). Panthers owner Jerry Richardson decided enough was enough. He then made the move of firing existing general manager Marty Hurney. Now what makes this important to this particular draft pick is who the owner decided to hire as his next GM. That would be a Mr. David Gettleman. He was plucked away from the Giants front office where he served as Pro Personnel Director from 1999-2012.
I bring all of this up because when you think of the recent Giant's Super Bowl teams (puke) you usually think of the defensive line first. I could very easily see the Panthers taking the same route. They are pretty well set at DE with Charles Johnson and the very underrated Greg Hardy. This off season they resigned 1-tech Dwan Edwards that gives them a body in the middle. All that's left to do now is get that light footed 3-tech to really get things going. Enter Sheldon Richardson. This dude has the motor and athletic ability to help take this defense to the next level. Don't get me wrong. He's not going to walk into the NFL and register 15 sacks during his rookie year.
But it's the overall effect that he would have on the defense that impresses me. Teams had a hard enough time trying to figure out who to double on the ends with Johnson and Hardy. Now they have to worry about Richardson up the middle. Not to mention the fact that all these defensive lineman will keep reigning defensive rookie of the year Luke Kuechly clean. Dude already led the NFL in tackles last year (even though we all know that would be Sean Lee if not for the injury). So just imagine what he does with a top notch DT keeping the big nasty's off him.
HIGH PRIORITY TEAM NEEDS (lower number indicates higher priority) according to Drafttek.com
-- Threat Level Red (priority 1-2): None
-- Threat Level Orange (priority 3-4): 4-3 DT, Free Safety, Strong Safety, Cornerback, Feature Receiver, Right Tackle
-- Threat Level Yellow (priority 5-6): Quarterback, Possession Receiver, Slot Receiver, Tight End, Left Tackle, 4-3 OLB
-- Threat Level Green (priority 9): Feature Back, COP Back, Center, 4-3 DE, Middle LB
NFL.com Draft Grade: 90.7
-- Drafttek.com ranked #9 Overall, #2 at the position
-- Russ Lande, National Football Post: #15 Overall, #3 at the position
SUMMARY - Sheldon Richardson was an exciting player to evaluate because he plays at such a consistently high level. He displays the athleticism and timing off the snap to win gaps, as well as the anchor and heavy hands needed to occupy and work off blockers at the LOS. While he lacks natural explosion and long speed he is effective in space because of his read and react skills, as well as his ability to break down and change directions efficiently. Richardson's intensity and passion for football not only show up in his play on the field but also during interviews, and teams are sure to fall in love with his intangibles as well. He is likely to be a top 20 pick and should develop into a highly productive NFL player as either a 43 DT or 34 DE.
-- CBSSports.com ranked #17 overall, #3 at the position
-- DraftInsider.Net ranked #15 overall, #3 at the position
-- DraftCountdown ranked #13 overall, #3 at the position
-- Scout.com ranked #16 overall, #13 at the position
-- Mike Mayock ranked #2 at the position
-- NFLDraftScout.com profile (Rob Rang):
Strengths: Possesses a naturally large frame with proper weight distribution throughout his arms and legs. Has a thick trunk conducive to standing his ground in short-yardage situations. Is quick off the snap, demonstrating the burst to slip through gaps before trap blocks can be effective. Possesses a short area burst to close and surprising flexibility to adjust and make tackles in space. Shows good balance and recognition against cut blocks. Active hands to handcuff offensive linemen attempting to get into his pads and control, demonstrating a quick, fluid arm-over swim move and good strength to rip free from his opponent. Excellent vision and recognition to take advantage of his ability to disengage from blocks and put himself in position to make plays, showing the ability to sniff out screens, draws, etc. Athletic and instinctive enough that the Missouri defensive coaches would occasionally drop him back into coverage on zone blitzes... Showed a terrific motor throughout the 2012 season, often hustling down the line and yards downfield (at times 20 yards+) in pursuit of the ball. Closes quickly and with power, exploding into tackles and showing good hand-eye coordination to strip the ball away. Stepped up his level of play against top competition (Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona State). Has the size and athleticism of a future Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
Weaknesses: Has only had one dominant season at the FBS level (just 13 starts in 24 games) and there is some concern about how motivated he'll remain once he signs a big NFL contract. Has a tendency to stand up out of his stance and lose the leverage battle, occasionally struggling to break free until it's too late in short-yardage situations. More productive rushing the passer, recognizing the dump-off pass and pursuing from behind with passion than actually getting home for the QB sack (just three sacks in his "dominant" 2012 campaign)... Has struggled with academics in the past, resulting in his transferring to a junior college after signing with Missouri as a highly touted prep. Was also suspended for Missouri's final home game of the 2012 season (Syracuse) for violating team rules, reportedly for academics)... Teams will want to have their medical staffs check out Richardson at the Combine, as he underwent shoulder surgery following the 2011 season.
Now On The Clock: New Orleans Saints
Previous Picks: Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel, Jaguars: CB Dee Milliner, Raiders: DE/OLB Jarvis Jones, Eagles: DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Lions: DE Ziggy Ansah, Browns: DE Sharrif Floyd, Cardinals: OT Eric Fisher, Bills: QB Geno Smith, Jets: DT Star Lotulelei, Titans: OG Chance Warmack, Chargers: OT Lane Johnson, Dolphins: CB Xavier Rhodes, Buccaneers: TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame