The Commish’s Mock Draft I (Pre-Combine) 1st Round Continued…
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17. Baltimore Ravens – Kelvin Benjamin – WR – FSU
Commish’s Comments: It was evident that Joe Flacco was uncomfortable in 2013 without Anquan Boldin and his tight end, Dennis Pitta, going down with an injury. Torrey Smith is a deep threat, but has yet to develop into a go-to receiver when the offense needs a big catch on 3rd down. Benjamin is a huge receiver who made big play after big play for FSU in 2013. Benjamin might not possess elite speed, but much like Alshon Jeffrey with the Bears, where Benjamin might lack in elite speed, he makes up for in length.
18. New York Jets – Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech
Commish’s Comments: The Jets are in a similar situation to the Buffalo Bils. They need to put more weapons around their young quarterback. With Evans, Benjamin, and Ebron off the board, the Jets go for the next big tight end in Amaro. Amaro may not be dominant in blocking, but he is a big bodied tight end that can line up in the slot and beat a corner with his quickness. Amaro is an instant mismatch for a defense.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin – OT – Notre Dame
Commish’s Comments: Let’s face it, the Dolphins have needs at every offensive line position. Martin was very impressive at the senior bowl and does not have any character concerns that we know about yet. Martin could project to tackle in the pros, but might be better off at guard where he has pro bowl potential.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Cyrus Kouandjio – OT – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: The Cardinals traded away disappointing Levi Brown last year and still have a big need at offensive tackle. With an immobile quarterback like Carson Palmer, it is very important to have an offensive line to protect him. Kouandjio has the big body and long arms you look for in an offensive tackle, but he is not an elite pass blocker. I’m not sure Kouandjio will be a pro bowl player, but I can see him starting in the NFL for 10 years.
21. Green Bay Packers – Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota
Commish’s Comments: Defensive tackle BJ Raji is likely gone in free agency this off-season as the Packers look to get more athletic with their defensive line. Hageman is a player I expect to be very impressive at the combine as he displays his unique athleticism with his massive frame at 6’6” and 310 lbs.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Calvin Pryor – S – Louisville
Commish’s Comments: The Eagles must address their secondary this off-season. Pryor could compete with Clinton-Dix to be the 1st safety off the board. Pryor is another big safety (6’2” 208 lbs) that can play centerfield and deliver big hits. Pryor is probably better suited to play closer to the line of scrimmage to help out in run support and match up with tight ends.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Marquis Lee – WR – USC
Commish’s Comments: The Chiefs defense seems to be in good shape despite their performance in the postseason. Andy Reid would love to upgrade his receiving corps with more players that fit his scheme. Lee is a big time playmaker with a ton of speed and athleticism. Lee’s an immediate upgrade for the Chiefs on offense.
24. Cincinnati Bengals – Kony Ealy – DE – Missouri
Commish’s Comments: Michael Johnson will be allowed to test free agency and will most likely leave the Bengals this off-season. The Bengals have invested a lot of draft picks into their offense over recent years, so it makes sense to address a hole on defense. Ealy has a nice blend of speed and power off the edge. I could see Ealy as a 10 year starter with pro bowl potential.
25. San Diego Chargers – Darqueze Dennard – CB – Michigan St.
Commish’s Comments: Speed is Dennard’s biggest question, but for the corner-needy Chargers, Dennard would be a steal at this point. Dennard is a physical corner that gets in the face of receivers. It’s difficult to explain by writing, but when you watch Dennard, he just looks different than the other players on the field. He looks like an NFL player. If Dennard runs well at the combine, he could go much higher than this.
26. Cleveland Browns (via IND) – David Yankey – OG – Stanford
Commish’s Comments: If the Browns are going to have Johnny Manziel at quarterback, they better have an offensive line that can protect for him. Yankey left Stanford a year early after already receiving his degree. With Joe Thomas at left tackle and the possible resigning of Alex Mack, the Browns would be slowly building the NFL’s best offensive line in front of Manziel.
27. New Orleans Saints – Dee Ford – DE – Auburn
Commish’s Comments: The Saints could be in the market for an upgrade at offensive line, but getting a pass rusher like Dee Ford would be ideal for Rob Ryan’s defense. The Saints lacked an edge rusher in 2013, so Ford could fill that void. The more I watch of Ford, the more I like him.
28. Carolina Panthers – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU
Commish’s Comments: I feel every year I’m talking about the Panthers needing a receiver opposite of Steve Smith. Beckham Jr. has great speed and the ability to reach top speed quickly. He has very good hands and can make the tough catch in coverage. The Panthers might also think about an offensive lineman or cornerback here as well.
29. New England Patriots – Bradley Roby – CB – Ohio St.
Commish’s Comments: Do not underestimate the relationship between Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer. Belichick drafted numerous Florida Gators while Urban was with Florida. Roby is as athletic as cornerbacks will come this year. He had a slightly down year in 2013 when some scouts thought he was coasting at the end of the year with an eye on the NFL. If the Patriots allow Aqib Talib to walk in free agency, cornerback will be a need for the team.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame
Commish’s Comments: Year after year the 49ers get tremendous value with their large amount of picks. Nix would be amazing value for the 49ers if he fell to this pick. Nix would be a great fit in the 49ers defense with his frame (6’3” 340 lbs), but also his athleticism and ability to move that big frame. Nix would be an upgrade over Glenn Dorsey, who did very well for the 49ers in 2013.
31. Denver Broncos – Morgan Moses – OT – Virginia
Commish’s Comments: The Seattle Seahawks exploited the Broncos offensive line in the super bowl. The Broncos will get left tackle Ryan Clady back from injury, but they might also look to bolster their right tackle spot with a player who can play either tackle spot. Moses helped his stock tremendously at the senior bowl.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Stephon Tuitt – DE – Notre Dame
Commish’s Comments: All you can do is shake your head as the rich get richer. With Michael Bennett likely leaving in free agency, The Seahawks could end up with an ideal replacement. Tuitt can play defensive end, but like Bennett, can slide down to defensive tackle and become a penetrating pass rusher from that spot as well.
For updates on the NFL Draft and the Buccaneers off-season, follow Justin Pawlowski on twitter @Commishonline