Last update: Friday, May 11, 2012.
2012 NFL MOCK DRAFT
- WALT'S | CHARLIE'S ROUND 1
| CHARLIE'S ROUND: 2
Charlie Campbell was a senior writer at PewterReport.com.
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Go to Charlie Campbell's 2012 NFL Mock Draft - Round 3
St. Louis Rams: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
St. Louis grabs a superior talent. Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan should solve the team's issues at cornerback. The Rams are interested in Jenkins and have hosted him on a pre-draft visit. If the team takes Jenkins and Justin Blackmon, it will have landed the best wide out and best cover corner in the entire draft. In the passing driven NFL, that could be a recipe for winning.
Jenkins (5-10, 193) does not have huge size, but has the top skill set of an elite cover corner. He had a shot to be a top-10 pick this season if it weren't for the multiple drug arrests that got him kicked out of Florida. If Jenkins had stayed out of trouble, he could have challenged Claiborne and Kirkpatrick to be the highest-rated corner. If Jenkins ceases the off-the-field issues, he will be a great value pick.
Jenkins was dominant at the Senior Bowl. He is a pure cover corner with the speed and agility to run with receivers. Jenkins had a strong performance at the Combine with a 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash, and a good performance in the field drills.
Playing for North Alabama in 2011, Jenkins returned 18 punts for 390 yards (21.7 average) with three touchdown returns and a long return of 92 yards. He had two interceptions and a fumble returned 49 yards for a score as well. Furthermore, Jenkins had 53 tackles with four tackles for a loss and six passes broken up.
Jenkins was a starter as a true freshman opposite Joe Haden in 2008 when the Florida Gators won the National Championship. Jenkins recorded three interceptions in 2010 to go along with 44 tackles and eight passes defensed. He is fast with great feet and athleticism. Jenkins can flip his hips and run with speed receivers. Even at under six-foot, he had success going against the best big receivers he saw in the SEC.
For instance, Jenkins held South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery to six receptions for 53 yards and no scores in 2010, after Jeffery only notched six catches for 57 yards in their first battle. Also, Georgia's A.J. Green had only four catches for 42 yards and a score in the Gators-Bulldogs 2010 meeting. In three games against each other, Jenkins never let Green produce a 100-yard game. Neither Green nor Jeffery recorded a 100-yard game against Jenkins.
In his last two games against former Alabama star wide out Julio Jones, Jenkins limited him to four catches for 19 yards and two catches for 28 yards. Jones and Green are two of the best young receivers in the NFL. In Jenkins' last seven games against Jones, Green and Jeffery, the receivers never recorded a 100-yard game.
Indianapolis Colts: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
The Colts lost Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme. Here Indianapolis can get Luck his top college receiver, while filling a need.
Fleener (6-6, 247) was a dangerous receiver for quarterback Andrew Luck. Fleener had 28 catches for 434 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010. He hauled in 34 receptions for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns this year. Fleener runs good routes and is adept at exploiting the deep middle of the field on seam routes. He should be a good fit in many pro offenses.
A foot injury kept Fleener from working out at the Combine, but he did put up 27 reps on the bench press.
Minnesota Vikings: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
The Vikings need a wide out to replace Sidney Rice. They could use a big receiver to help move the chains and take advantage of defenses focusing on Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin. Minnesota hosted Jeffery on a pre-draft visit.
In 2011, South Carolina was awful at getting the most out of a dangerous weapon like Jeffery. He recorded 49 receptions for 762 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Jeffery finished this year on a high note with four receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown against standout Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.
Unfortunately, Jeffery also lost his cool and got in a fight with Dennard, which got both of them ejected during the third quarter. Still, it helped Jeffery's stock to see him make some big plays downfield against one of the best cornerbacks in the nation when he finally saw some single coverage.
This year, Jeffery generated some concerns about whether he has enough speed to get separation. The junior could have answered the speed concerns at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he did not participate. In his defense, Jeffery got a steady amount of double coverage this season along with terrible quarterback play.
However, it appeared after the season as if Jeffery had some extra weight around his mid-section, which could be what what was dropping his speed and ability to get separation. He had toned up by the Combine, and the 6-foot-3 wide out checked in at a light 216 lbs. Somewhat suprisingly, Jeffery passed on working out there and it seemed that he was ducking the Combine's tests.
Jeffery has a reputation as a good teammate and didn't complain about his lack of targets this year. He put up a massive season in 2010, hauling in 88 passes for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns. Additionally, Jeffery is a good run blocker who gets physical with defenders in the ground game. He is a red-zone weapon who can use his size to win passes downfield.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bobby Wagner, ILB/OLB, Utah State
The Buccaneers need help at linebacker. They've brought Wagner in for a pre-draft visit. He could fit at middle or outside linebacker.
The 6-foot, 241-pound Wagner is a physical, in-the-box presence. He had a big year this season with 147 tackles, two interceptions, 11.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Wagner was consistent with his 133 tackles and 114 tackles in 2010 and 2009. He has some developmental skills and could also be a good fit on the inside of a 3-4 defense. Wagner is well-developed, but his frame may be maxed out.
Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
The Browns grab a signal-caller who could play quickly if they decide to make a change from Colt McCoy. Cleveland has shown interest in Weeden and brought him in for a visit while sending a big contingent to watch him and Justin Blackmon at the Oklahoma State pro day.
Weeden really helped himself with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. A lot of pundits got excited about how he threw the ball in the practices. Weeden is going to be a 29-year old rookie in the NFL, and that is his biggest negative. He has the arm and accuracy to be a starting quarterback.
Weeden completed 72 percent of his passes for 4,727 yards for 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this year. He had a massive game in leading a furious comeback win over Texas A&M. The senior had a rough performance against Iowa State in an upset loss that killed any hope of Oklahoma State reaching the BCS National Championship Game.
Weeden finished the season with a huge game against a good Stanford defense. In the Fiesta Bowl, he threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns, all three going to Justin Blackmon. Having the nation's best receiver made his job a lot easier.
Weeden completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,277 yards with 34 touchdowns against 13 interceptions in 2010. He did a fabulous job of getting the ball to his playmakers. Weeden has a strong arm, excellent pocket presence, good decision making and can make all the throws.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jayron Hosley , CB, Virginia Tech
The Jaguars could look to fortify the cornerback position on the second day, and they have hosted Hosley on a visit. Hosley's positive drug test could hurt him, but he owned up to the mistake and Jaguars general manager Gene Smith is reportedly going to loosen up some on players with off the field issues.
Hosley helped improve his stock with a strong Combine performance. He turned in unofficial 40-yard dash times of 4.44 and 4.38 in his two attempts. Hosley also looked very good in the field work. He is agile and quick. His strong movement skills on the field serve as a confirmation for his quality production in college.
Hosley (5-10, 178) is a ballhawk who is going to need to add some weight and muscle for the NFL. He led college football in interceptions in 2010 with nine picks. Hosley had three interceptions against North Carolina State and two picks against North Carolina. He also is a dangerous punt returner with a touchdown return as both a freshman and sophomore.
Virginia Tech has been a factory for pro defensive backs. Hosley is fast with excellent instincts and hands, and if the junior can develop his body more, he could be a top-notch NFL corner. This year, he had an excellent game against Clemson and star freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Hosley intercepted quarterback Tajh Boyd for the corner's third pick of the season.
Hosley did not perform well against Miami, being beaten for a touchdown and disappointing in run defense. However, he ended his season well with four passes broken up against Michigan.
Hosley had 59 tackles, three interceptions, 12 passes broken up and two forced fumbles in 2011. He would fit any defense well due to his zone- and man-coverage skills.
St. Louis Rams: Jerel Worthy, DE/DT, Michigan State
The Rams have a need at defensive tackle, and they are interested in Worthy. St. Louis is bringing him in for a pre-draft visit.
Worthy entered the season as the top player in the nation at his position. He notched 40 tackles, with eight tackles for a loss in 2010. Even though Worthy recorded only four sacks that year, it led the Spartans. The 6-foot-2, 308-pounder is a solid run defender. He had 3.5 sacks with 30 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and two blocked kicks in 2011. His conditioning seemed to be off at times judging by his snap count.
Worthy had underwhelming performances against Nebraska, Iowa and Notre Dame. He came back to have big games versus Ohio State and Georgia. In the Big Ten Championship, Worthy made his presence felt with a disruptive outing against Wisconsin, and ended his collegiate career well against the Bulldogs. He performed well at the Combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.97.
Carolina Panthers: Trumaine Johnson, CB/S, Montana
Carolina grabs a defensive back who is a nice scheme fit. The Panthers have shown interest in Johnson and he fills a big need.
The FCS-standout Johnson has an excellent combination of size and speed. The 6-foot-2, 204-pounder has unique physical tools and consistent production. He became a starter as a true freshman and recorded four interceptions. Despite missing four games in 2009, Johnson had five interceptions with 12 passes broken up and 54 tackles. He had four interceptions with seven passes defensed and 44 tackles in 2010.
Johnson held his own against Tennessee in the first game of the 2011 season with seven tackles, a pass broken up and a forced fumble. He had 54 tackles with six tackles for a loss, two interceptions and 12 passes broken up this year.
While Johnson could be viewed as a corner or safety, during the Combine, he looked like a better fit at safety because of some tightness in his hips. Perhaps with NFL coaching, his technique will improve enough that he can handle corner.
Pick change; previously Vinny Curry, DE/OLB
Buffalo Bills: Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
The Bills need more help at wide out and are said to want a big receiver. They've shown serious interest in Quick.
Quick (6-4, 220) was solid but unspectacular at the Combine and Senior Bowl. He posted three solid years of production for Appalachian State. Quick had his best season this year with 71 receptions for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns. He totaled 47 catches for 844 yards and nine scores as a junior after hauling in 61 passes for 982 yards and four scores in 2009. Quick is a big receiver who looks like a potential red-zone threat in the NFL.
Miami Dolphins: Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss
The Dolphins need to find a long-term right tackle and a long-term left guard to team with Jake Long and Mike Pouncey. Marc Columbo and Richie Incognito are not the respective answers and were abused by the opposition in 2011. Miami hosted Massie on a pre-draft visit.
Massie (6-6, 315) broke into the starting lineup during his freshman season. He played very well in 2010 and 2011 as a quality pass blocker and a hard-nosed run blocker. Massie has a high ceiling and is a powerful drive blocker who consistently blasts open the holes in the ground game. He will need some development at the pro level, but looks like a future starter at right tackle.
Massie has long arms (35 inches) and performed well at the Combine. He was said to look phenomenal at his pro day and has helped push his stock towards late in the first round or early in the second round.
Seattle Seahawks: Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
The Seahawks could use more help at linebacker. They wanted to get faster and David certainly fits the bill. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley probably saw a lot of Derrick Brooks in David when he watched the tape.
David was a monster for Nebraska in 2010. The 6-foot-1, 233-pounder averaged almost 11 tackles per game and set a single-season school record with 152 tackles. To go along with his fabulous tackle production, he recorded six sacks, 12.5 tackles for a loss and eight passes broken up.
When the Cornhuskers moved to the Big Ten, David's defensive role changed. Nebraska switched to a more traditional 4-3 defense with him as the team's Will linebacker. He totaled 133 tackles with two interceptions, 12 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles this year.
David sparked the Cornhuskers' comeback win over the Buckeyes and also made a series of clutch plays to seal the win over the Nittany Lions. He was one of the few Nebraska players who performed well against Wisconsin and South Carolina. After the season, David had a solid week in Mobile for the Senior Bowl.
Pick change; previously Andre Branch, DE
Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
The Chiefs signed Kevin Boss, but that won't prevent them from taking more talent at the position. Between Boss, Tony Moeaki and Allen, Kansas City has a trio of effective tight ends.
Allen, an early-entry, improved his draft stock this year, but it could have gone even higher if Clemson had given him more opportunities. However, he remained simply underutilized. Allen amassed 50 receptions for 598 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season. He was a dangerous red-zone weapon for the Tigers. Allen's speed catches defenses by surprise, and he has excellent agility to make tough catches.
The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder was a solid blocker for Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper in 2010. Allen was also a receiving threat with 33 receptions for 373 yards and one touchdown. He had an impressive performance against North Carolina and its quality linebacking corps, making seven receptions for 55 yards.
Allen had a disappointing Combine with a 40 time of 4.89, but he showed well in the bench press (27 reps) and field-receiving drills. Reports were that Allen performed well at his pro day.
Dallas Cowboys: Ronnell Lewis, OLB/DE, Oklahoma
The Cowboys are interested in Lewis. They could groom him for a year behind Anthony Spencer before going with Lewis in 2013.
In Lewis' interview with WalterFootball.com, he said that he has a pre-draft visit with the Cowboys, Chargers and Jets. Dallas may have to trade up for him. Lewis could go a lot earlier and is an underrated prospect.
The 6-foot-2, 253-pounder is well-built physical specimen. With his speed and physicality, Lewis could be a good fit as a 3-4 rush linebacker or inside linebacker. He could move between inside and outside depending on the situation.
The junior was moved to defensive end this season and played well. In 10 games, he had 59 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, five passes batted away, a forced fumble and an interception. Lewis played excellently against Texas A&M and its two very good offensive tackles, Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel. Florida State tackles Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders were also outplayed by Lewis. He is an interesting prospect who flashed as an outside linebacker at the end of 2010.
Lewis is a physical force who plays with violence, and is built like a truck. He had academic issues and didn't play in Oklahoma's Bowl game.
Philadelphia Eagles: Vinny Curry , DE/OLB, Marshall
The Eagles land a defensive end to groom behind their veterans. Jason Babin and Trent Cole aren't getting any younger. Curry would provide depth and could eventually pair with Brandon Graham to form a nice duo.
Curry did not have a strong Combine, but came back to run well at his pro day. At the Senior Bowl, Curry had a good week, and he was an effective pass rusher going against better competition.
Curry was the most consistent pass rusher in college football over the past two seasons. He had 12 sacks, 18 tackles for a loss and 94 tackles in 2010. This year, the redshirt senior had 77 tackles with 22 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks, three blocked kicks and seven forced fumbles.
For 2011, the 6-foot-3 Curry bulked up a lot from previous season. He is now weighing in at 266 pounds. Even with the added weight, Curry could still function as an edge rusher in a 3-4 defense. He is fast with fabulous closing speed and plays well in space.
Curry has gotten better in run defense, but will need to be coached up about holding up against powerful offensive linemen when lining up with his hand on the ground as a base end in a 4-3. With his improvements on display in the Senior Bowl, Curry showed that he can play end in a 4-3 in the pros.
Pick change; previously Trumaine Johnson, CB/S
New York Jets: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
New York is fortunate to land Smith at this point in the second round. He visted the Jets before the draft.
Smith helped his stock with a strong showing at the Combine. A day after recording 19 reps on the bench press, he logged a strong 40-yard dash of 4.56 seconds. Smith (6-2, 213) then performed well in the field work and was smooth in and out of breaks. He moved well for a safety and showed some flexibility to handle free safety duties along with strong safety responsibilities.
Smith recorded 90 tackles with three tackles for a loss, 10 passes broken up and one forced fumble in 2011. His splash plays were down significantly from his 2010 season, when he recorded 91 tackles, seven interceptions and seven pass breakups. Smith has a reputation as an intelligent, hard-working player.
New England Patriots: Amini Silatolu, G/T, Midwestern State
New England could target offensive line help early. League contacts have told WalterFootball.com that the Patriots really like Silatolu and sources have indicated that he could break into round one with one of their picks.
Silatolu (6-4, 311) has generated a buzz in the scouting community and is one of the highest-ranked small-school prospects. He had a nice showing at the Combine to help his stock. He was beaten by Wayne State's Joe Long (younger brother of Jake Long) as the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year.
Pick change; previously Devon Still, DT
San Diego Chargers: Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
San Diego needs help at guard since Kris Dielman retired. I think the Chargers may trade up high in the second round for Zeitler, just like A.J. Smith did for Eric Weddle in 2007.
Zeitler was the Badgers' starting right guard for the past two years. If you aren't a road grader as a run blocker, then you aren't going to play for Wisconsin. He put together another excellent year of tape with his run-blocking prowess in 2011. Zeitler was a weight-room standout for the Badgers and has already developed an NFL body.
The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder was dominant in Wisconsin's early games against weak competition, but he showed his pro potential by overwhelming Nebraska's quality defensive tackles Jared Crick and Baker Steinkuhler. Zeitler had another good game against Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy.
In the regular season finale, Zeitler had an excellent peformance against Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still. He virtually shut down Still and it was impressive to see him have his way with one of the best defensive tackles in the nation. In the Big Ten Championship, Zeitler didn't play as well in his rematch against Worthy.
Zeitler didn't have a standout Senior Bowl. He had some struggles in the pass-blocking one-on-ones, but did well in run blocking during the team scrimmage.
Chicago Bears: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
The Bears need more help at receiver and are hosting Randle before the draft.
Randle had a productive 2011 season despite playing in a running offense without a good signal-caller. He caught 53 passes for 917 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has a quality skill set and some quickness to go along with his size. Randle was shutdown by Alabama in his matchups against its future NFL secondary, and he struggled to get separation against the Tide's backs.
Randle had a 40-yard dash time of 4.55 at the Combine. As a sophomore, in 2010, he caught 33 passes for 544 yards and three touchdowns.
Philadelphia Eagles: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
The Eagles add a tackle that they supposedly really like.
Still had a superb senior season. He was a playmaker and the leader of the Penn State defense. The 6-foot-5, 303-pounder has size with the frame to get bigger, surprising speed and real power. He played Alabama tough early this year.
Still had 55 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, a pass batted away and a forced fumble in 2011. Many of his tackles went for no gain or minimal gain. Until Week 12, he had recorded at least one tackle for a loss in every game this season. Still demonstrated the ability to fight through double-teams and still be disruptive. He had a bad game against Wisconsin and guard Kevin Zeitler.
Still had a strong 2010 season with 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks. He saw frequent double-teams, yet was a difference maker for the Nittany Lions. Still had 5.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks as a sophomore. He has scheme flexibility and could fit a 3-4 defense as a defensive end. Still looks like an ideal 4-3 nose tackle, and he has the ability to rush the passer as a three-technique. Still is a well-rounded player.
Pick change; previously T.Y. Hilton, WR/KR
Tennessee Titans: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
The Titans are looking for outside linebacker help. Brown can combine with Colin McCarthy and Akeem Ayers to form Tennessee's long-term trio.
Brown(6-1, 244) is the top 4-3 outside linebacker in the draft and a superb value in the middle of round two. Like many North Carolina players of recent years, the senior is a special athlete. Brown clocked a time of 4.44 in the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. While Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant were the name linebackers for the Tar Heels in 2010, Brown outproduced them, finishing second on the team in tackles with 72. He also had three interceptions.
Brown totaled 105 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, four passes broken up, three interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2011. He had massive games against Wake Forest and North Carolina State. Not only is Brown a good run defender, but he also has fantastic blitzing ability and plays the ball well in pass coverage. Brown consistently produced splash plays as a senior.
Cincinnati Bengals: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
The Bengals want to draft a running back to pair with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. Cincinnati is interested in Wilson and have hosted him at the team facility.
Wilson had a strong showing at the Combine. He helped himself with an unofficial 4.40 sprint in the 40-yard dash. The official time was 4.49. Wilson also performed well in the pass-receiving drills as he was a quality route-runner with good hands. Wilson then jumped out of the gym with a broad jump of 11-0 and a vertical jump of 41 inches. Both of those marks were the best of any running back.
This season, his first as a starter, Wilson was the ACC Player of the Year. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry and totaled 1,709 yards and nine touchdowns. Wilson also caught 22 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. In 2010, as a backup, he ran for 619 yards and five scores. The 5-foot-10, 205-pounder uses speed and explosiveness to rip off some long runs. In the NFL, Wilson will need to work on his ball security as he had a lot of fumbles in 2011.
Detroit Lions: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
The Lions grab a defensive end with some pass-rushing ability to groom behind their veterans. Detroit needs an end in case things go South with Cliff Avril in the long-term, and Kyle Vanden Bosch will have to be replaced in the next few years anyhow. The Lions brought Branch in before the draft.
Branch had 73 tackles with 14 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks in 2011. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder was expected to increase his production with Da'Quan Bowers in the NFL, and halfway through this season, Branch surpassed his totals from 2010. That year, he had five sacks with 8.5 tackles for a loss and six passes broken up.
Though Branch has quality speed, he didn't fare well against Florida State left tackle Andrew Datko. After that performance, Branch exploded against Virginia Tech with 11 tackles, six tackles for a loss and four sacks. He is a streaky player who needs to become more consistent.
It wasn't surprising to see Branch perform well at the Scouting Combine. He ran the 40 in 4.62 while performing well in the other drills. Branch is a very good athlete who has explosivity. He has the speed and agility to function as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Pick change; previously Mike Adams, OT
Atlanta Falcons: Kelechi Osemele, OT/G, Iowa State
The Falcons could easily address the offensive line with first selection. Atlanta has hosted Osemele.
Osemele is a powerful run blocker who is also a good athlete for his size. The 6-foot-6, 333-pounder is a road grader who has surprisingly quick feet. Osemele stayed healthy throughout his collegiate career, starting over 40 straight games for the Cyclones. He could play right tackle or guard in the NFL, but the former would require more grooming.
Osemele has extremely long arms (35 1/4"), the longest of any player who was at the Senior Bowl or the Combine. That, in combination with his quickness, could cause some to feel that he could develop into a special right tackle or guard.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
The Steelers could use a tackle, and Adams could turn into a great value here. Pittsburgh hosted him before the draft, and the team likes bigger tackles.
Adams was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season as part of the Ohio State scandal. He broke into the lineup as a sophomore in 2009 and became a First-Team Big Ten standout as a junior. Adams (6-7, 323) is a powerful run blocker who may be a better fit as a right tackle at the pro level. A speed rusher, like Marshall's Vinny Curry, gives Adams some problems in pass protection, but Curry was an easy win for him in run blocking.
This season, Adams struggled with another speed rusher in Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus, allowing 1.5 sacks and a fumble. Therefore, Adams is going to need a good coach to refine his technique as a pass protector in the NFL. He set off some alarm bells about his work ethic at the Combine after notching only 19 reps on the bench press. Adams had 21 at his pro day. He has a lot of potential but is a boom-or-bust pick.
Pick change; previously Amini Silatolu, G/T
Denver Broncos: Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
The Broncos provide Peyton Manning a weapon to work with. Miller could really take advantage of seven man fronts with safeties covering the deep part of the field. Willis McGahee won't play forever and Knowshon Moreno has had injuries while being a pick from the previous regime.
Miller had a breakout 2011 season with 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns rushing while averaging 5.46 yards per carry. He was the most consistent weapon for Miami. The redshirt sophomore has an excellent skill set. Miller (5-11, 212) has the size and strength to handle the pounding of a large amount of carries. What makes him stand out is his speed. He has the quickness to hit a hole quickly and the straight-line speed to score on any carry.
Miller quantified his speed at the Scouting Combine, running a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds. He wanted to hear that he would be a first-rounder in order to declare for the draft. After consulting the advisory board, Miller entered the draft and signed with Drew Rosenhaus.
Houston Texans: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
The Texans go with a linebacker to help rush the passer. The Texans have starters so they can use Irvin situationally, which would be best for him.
Irvin was a phenomenal pass-rushing force in 2010 as a situational player, recording 14 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder started at defensive end this season, but must continue to bulk up for the NFL. He had 40 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2011.
Irvin definitely looks like a better fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he should continue to add strength for that. Others rate him higher because of his 2010 season, but this year, Irvin didn't produce as well, and he looks like a one-trick pony as a speed rusher. Anytime a tackle got their hands on Irvin, he was done and, routinely, he was treated like a rag doll.
Irvin started playing better late this season, collecting five sacks in a three-game stretch. It could pay off for a team to draft Irvin and bring him along as a situational player while he gets bigger. Irvin blazed a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.
Pick change; previously Lavonte David, OLB
Green Bay Packers: Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati
In 2011, Green Bay tied for 27th in sacks in the NFL with 29 on the regular season. The Packers have to upgrade their pass rush and help out their secondary for 2012. Finding some pass-rushing help for Clay Matthews could allow Green Bay to make a big postseason run next year. Adding a five-technique with some pass-rushing ability would be a good idea.
Wolfe (6-4, 286) was a steady pass rusher for the Bearcats. He has good speed to blow by offensive linemen, and serious power to rip off of blocks to bust into the backfield. This season, Wolfe produced well with 70 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He was extremely disruptive at the point of attack and overwhelmed offensive linemen. Wolfe recorded nine total sacks between his sophomore and junior seasons, but he took his play to another level in 2011.
Wolfe is a sleeper prospect who could provide a big pay off in the NFL. He has the flexibility to play the five-technique in a 3-4 defense, or stay inside in a 4-3. Wolfe had a quality showing at the Combine.
Baltimore Ravens: Mychal Kendricks, ILB/OLB, California
The Ravens could pull the plug on Sergio Kindle, and they lost Jarret Johnson in free agency. Baltimore is hosting Kendricks before the draft, and reportedly, the team really like how he fits in its defense.
Kendricks was one of the stars of the Combine with the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.41) from a linebacker since 2000. He showed his explosion with a 39.5-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 10-7 to lead all linebackers in both categories. The standout Combine has given his draft stock a nice boost.
As a senior, Kendricks moved to middle linebacker and had a productive season. He totaled 107 tackles with 14.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions, three sacks and two passes broken up. Kendricks broke out in 2010 as a rush linebacker for the Golden Bears. He recorded 8.5 sacks with 15 tackles for a loss and 66 tackles. Kendricks (6-0, 240) is a good blitzing linebacker who brings a pass-rush element while also playing well in space.
San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
The 49ers are interested in some depth at defensive end.
Thompson had a strong performance at the Senior Bowl and was a disruptive force on the South's defensive line. He also did well in the one-on-one matchups. Thompson recorded 46 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble this season. He is disruptive at the line of scrimmage on running downs and also can generate a good bull rush now and again. However, Clemson removed him from play in some pass-rushing situations.
Thompson is a run plugger who can work to keep blockers off linebackers, and double-teams off defensive ends. Former teammate Da'Quan Bowers told WalterFootball.com in a Monday Morning Draft column that Thompson's ability to occupy blockers helped Bowers to produce his 15.5 sack total in 2010.
Thompson had 40 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss and one sack in 2010. The 6-foot-2, 311-pounder has the size and strength to be a nose tackle in a 4-3 defense, but he should not be expected to be a pass-rushing defensive tackle at the next level. Thompson also could serve as a five-technique in a 3-4 who would occupy blockers and free up outside linebackers.
New England Patriots: Brandon Taylor, S, LSU
The Patriots land some needed safety help. They hosted Taylor on a pre-draft visit.
Taylor had a strong season for the Tigers and entered the BCS Championship second on the team in tackles, behind only Tyrann Mathieu. Taylor benefited from having a lot of talented players around him, but the 5-foot-11, 209-pounder is a fast, physical playmaker in his own right. In 2011, Taylor amassed 71 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up, one sack and two interceptions. He is a sleeper prospect who has the potential to be a solid pro.
At the Senior Bowl, Taylor did his part to not be a sleeper. He used his physicality and was a real presence. Taylor also has a lot of quickness to cover the deep part of the field. At the Combine, he recorded two strong 40-yard dash times of 4.50 and 4.56 seconds.
Taylor is a hard hitter who looked fluid in the field work. NFL defenses are looking for hybrid safeties like him who can play both free and strong safety.
New York Giants: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
The Giants are looking for receiver help. They brought Sanu in for a pre-draft visit as well.
Sanu ran the 40-yard dash at the Combine in 4.67 seconds. He is not a sprinter, but he is a true football player. Sanu is underrated and could have the potential to become a lead receiver in the NFL. The 6-foot-2, 211-pounder has good size and quickness. He played extremely well this year, putting up 115 catches for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns.
Sanu is a good athlete with playmaking ability. He has large hands (10 1/8) and is not prone to dropping passes. Sanu had a massive 2011 game against North Carolina with some highlight-reel catches. He finished that contest with 13 receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown.
Throughout 2010, his sophmore year, Sanu battled injuries while catching 44 passes for 418 yards and two touchdowns. He had 51 receptions for 639 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman. Over his first two seasons, Sanu ran the ball 121 times for 655 yards and nine touchdowns.
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