Earlier this afternoon I took some time to answer a few of your questions on twitter. A lot of them really deserve more than just four or five word response, so I thought I’d take an few minutes to elaborate…
It’s definitely possible that one or both could wind up in the top five, but I think they’ll ultimately fall a little further.
The Panthers aren’t taking a quarterback, despite some mock drafts linking them with Cam Newton. The Cardinals may consider it, but I think they’ll pass as well. Ken Whisenhunt really wants to bring in a veteran, and I think they will to appease Larry Fitzgerald as well.
That leaves the Bills. And after addressing their strongest position in the 1st round last year by taking C.J. Spiller, it’s anyone’s guess what they may do this time around. Newton and Gabbert are possibilities, but I think they’ll lean toward the best available player – A.J. Green or Patrick Peterson.
There are a lot of players that this could apply to, but I’m going with Syracuse RB Delone Carter and Washington LB Mason Foster.
The reason behind both is the same, they clearly have NFL talent but weren’t surrounded by much of a supporting cast in college. I think once they’re in the NFL they could blossom.
I think there is a clear-cut top five group of receivers, and after that there is a significant drop off. I currently have Tandon Doss as the 6th-rated receiver, but I think the 2nd round is too early.
That said, I won’t be at all surprised if someone does take him in the top 50 picks. The Rams obviously need a receiver, but I wouldn’t take someone like Doss in the 2nd round just to fill a need. They have plenty of mediocre receivers, one more isn’t going to change much. If they can’t get one of the top five guys, they might as well wait for the 3rd or 4th round and take a flier on someone like Vincent Brown or Austin Pettis.
I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the 1st round. The Patriots, Ravens and Jets could all use a 3-4 rush linebacker and Brooks Reed certainly would fill that void. I think that’s a bit of a reach, but it’s possible.
More likely, however, he’ll fall to the 2nd round or 3rd round. A lot will depend on his workouts. If he really stands out, he could certainly climb up the boards.
I’ve said a number of times I don’t like Cam Newton at all. Talent-wise he’s a 1st-round pick, but he doesn’t have the intangibles of an elite quarterback. If he lands in a franchise like the Bills that lacks the structure and stability that he needs, he’ll be a bust. I guarantee it.
On the flip side, I think Kyle Rudolph is someone who will fall, mostly because of his injury. He’s a top 20 talent, but I don’t see him coming off the board in the 1st round. He could be the next Jason Witten – and may fall the 3rd round like Witten as well.
In the eight years I’ve covered the draft there hasn’t been this much confusion at the top. It’s a very mediocre draft class from top to bottom. There are at least four players who could go number one, maybe even five or six if you think Newton and Gabbert are options.
Even though he won’t be a 1st-round pick, I think it’s Mark Herzlich. He is a prototypical SAM linebacker and is ready to play immediately. He doesn’t have the upside of someone like Von Miller, but he’s better prepared to play immediately and a much safer pick as a result. Miller is a boom-or-bust prospect, but Herzlich is a safe bet to be, at worst, a very solid backup.
I like Robert Sands enough to take a chance on him in the 3rd round, but I’m not confident that you can play safety at his size. Bill Parcells fell in love with Pat Watkins’ size and tried to force him into the Cowboys secondary a few years ago. He became a solid special teams player, but nothing more. Realistically, that’s probably what Sands does as well, but there’s a chance he could blossom at the next level.