Keep in mind I try to predict we we actually WILL do, and try to keep it as realistic as possible.
**NOTE** I will not be predicting UDFAs.
Round 1: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Likely the first corner off the board if not for his size. Verrett is a shutdown man-cover guy who offers two things that our secondary lacks, speed and ball skills. Absolute playmaker in both pass defense and run defense. Blitzes well. Big RBs don't bother him, as he goes low and makes the tackle. Sticks to his man in coverage, rarely allowing separation. Bulked up to 189, so shouldn't be as easily outmuscled as he was at times in college. Long arms and ridiculous vertical make up for his height, which is only an inch under Newman and Jones. Can play as our nickel corner, while also lining up on the boundary at times. We get a guy that we can match up against the likes of Antonio Brown, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, and Andrew Hawkins. We've shown interest in Verrett, and wouldn't be shocked to see him be the pick at 24.
Round 2: Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada
With the versatility he possess, it's not shocking that he's another guy we've shown interest in. Bitonio is very technically savvy and a plus athlete who blew up the Combine. Talented in both pass and run protection, he is versatile enough to play both LT and LG. With Boling's health in question, Bitonio can be plugged in at LG from Day 1, and eventually kick out to LT once we move on from Whit. Another bonus to this pick is it should make Boling much easier to re-sign at a team friendly price, if that's something we wanted to do.
Round 3: Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia
Very lengthy guy to add to the DE rotation. Ridiculously strong and can be an explosive athlete. Uses his length well. Solid run stuffer, and has the potential to develop into a scary pass rusher. Can kick inside as a DT and be effective, so he gives us some needed depth there as well. If the combination of Hunt, Gilberry, and Clarke show they can hold down RDE effectively, I'd expect Dontay Moch to make the roster as the 5th DE over Geathers, giving us an explosive edge rusher and a new dimension to our already dangerous defense.
Round 4: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Easiest pick to mock to us for now. A guy we have shown a lot of interest in, I believe this pick totally depends on what happens with Dalton. If Andy isn't extended before the Draft, or at least semi-close to be extended, Mike Brown has made it seem the will prepare to move on. In that case, I think a guy like Mettenberger or Garropolo will be selected in the 2nd or 3rd round. We may even look for a guy at 24 if a couple of the top guys slide. I do believe something will be worked out with Andy though, and if so, I don't see a QB being taken before the 4th. Murray is a 4-year starter who produced quality performances in the SEC. An accurate passer with adequate arm strength, Murray is very experienced in a pro-style offense, and is athletic enough to gain some yards with his legs. Would be a very good backup for Dalton, and may even push for a starting spot in the future if Andy continues to struggle in big games.
Round 5: Storm Johnson, RB, UCF
Not necessarily the 220-230 pound thumper that everybody wants, but he is a powerful north-south runner, while also being effective out on the perimeter. Solid receiver out of the backfield, and possesses adequate speed. Quick to the hole, and can make defenders miss as well as break tackles. Has a solid stiff arm. Arguable one of the most dangerous backs in the open field in this class, using explosive cuts and reversing his field. With his versatility as a runner, you can't always assume a run up the middle when he's in the backfield. Needs to improve his pass protection and ball security, but you aren't going to get a back without flaws in the 5th. Could potentially make a great pairing with Gio.
Round 6: John Brown, WR, Pittsburg St
A guy we have shown interest in, Brown has elite speed and is dangerous in space. As an undersized guy, he has small hands which may cause him to drop some, but he routinely makes impressive catches. He can be lined up in the slot, in the backfield, and is an effective KR and PR on teams. A 3-time team captain, he has been commended as a leader on and off the field as a guy with great character. Not only a Hawk replacement, but possibly an upgrade.
Round 6 (Comp): Spencer Long, OG, Nebraska
Would be long (no pun intended) gone if not for suffering a season ending injury. With Pollak likely headed to C, we could use a new road grading RG to back up Zeitler, and Long fits the bill. Super strong guy who is very solid in both run and pass protection. Smart football guy, and offers the versatility to play RT in a pinch if needed. Continued to effect the Nebraska OL after his injury with his excellent leadership.
Round 7: Ryan Hewitt, H-B, Stanford
The more I think about it, the more I expect Hue to want an H-B instead of a traditional FB. Hewitt is very versatile, being a very good blocker in Stanford's power-run offense, while offering very solid hands out of the backfield. Not bad at all with the ball in his hands. Could play TE if required due to injuries. Very smart guy, and would be a welcomed addition to our backfield.
Round 7 (Comp): Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts
The team has been quietly scouting TEs during the pre-draft process, and with Orson's recent legal issues, I expect one to be drafted. Blanchflower is a talented blocker who also possess ability as a receiver. Surprisingly solid after the catch. Good route runner with reliable hands. Biggest strength is his blocking ability. Versatile, as he can line up in-line, in the slot, and in the backfield. Never quits during a play and shows tremendous pride in his blocking. Could fill in as our FB if Hewitt were to get injured. Not only a run blocker, as he is solid in pass protection as well. Quickly becoming one of "my guys", and somebody I could see us taking.
53 Man Roster
QB: Andy Dalton, Jason Campbell, Aaron Murray
RB: Gio Bernard, BJGE, Storm Johnson, Ced Peerman
H-B: Ryan Hewitt
WR: AJ Green, Marvin Jones, Mo Sanu, John Brown, Dane Sanzenbacher, Cobi Hamilton
TE: Jermaine Gresham, Tyler Eifert, Rob Blanchflower
OT: Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Tanner Hawkinson
OG: Joel Bitonio, Kevin Zeitler, Clint Boling, Spencer Long
C: Mike Pollak, Trevor Robinson
DE: Carlos Dunlap, Margus Hunt, Wallace Gilberry, Will Clarke, Dontay Moch
DT: Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Brandon Thompson, Devon Still
SAM: Emmanuel Lamur, Jayson DiManche
MIKE: Rey Maualuga, Vinny Rey
WILL: Vontaze Burfict, Sean Porter
CB: Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Jason Verrett, Dre Kirkpatick, Adam Jones
FS: Reggie Nelson, Danieal Manning
SS: George Iloka, Shawn Williams
- Rex Burkhead
- Bruce Taylor
- Chris Lewis-Harris
- Larry Black
- Onterio McCalebb
- TJ Johnson
- UDFA DE
- UDFA WR