It's that time of the year again , when the anxious yet apprehensive feeling that preludes the draft starts to creep into the minds of the Bolt faithful . Anyway for those interested here's some guys who I like in 2012 draft .
The 1st round would seem rather simple , either AJ stops dickin with bandaid measures ( stemming from his futility at addressing the S spot opposite Weddle including passing on Earl Thomas ) and drafts the highest starting possibility at S - Mark Barron - or AJ signs a starter after roster reduction cuts . That is unless Stuckey has somehow ascended to starter without anyone knowing . Now I'm not a fan of drafting safeties early but with the lingering issues at the spot and no starter on the roster ( Bigby has started twice the last two years ) unless AJ pulls a rabbit out of his as... I mean hat finding a starter should be the highest priority . Harrison Smith has already ready been mentioned as an AJ favorite and I'm getting that Ryan Mathews/Weddle /Hester deja vu , the sense that AJ will give up next year's 1st and this year's 2nd to take him early in the 2nd . This is not a good S class so over spending with picks to acquire one does not seem cost effective and giving up draft picks in general should be avoided in most instances - just check with Nick and then take Barron , he and Weddle might become something special . Both OL and pass rusher get mocked here often but as there are starters in place the logic and luxury of drafting upgrades early seems muddled unless the BPA logic is applied , in which case value trumps need at most any position .
The 2nd round should prove interesting if for but one reason , can AJ hold his water ? If recent history is any indicator probably not but we'll operate on the premise that he will stay put with pick #17 . Should the S spot be addressed in the 1st AJ would now have the flexibility of either kicking the tires of an OL ( if by chance MM comes back the OT spot would look pretty good ) either a T or G although if selecting a T I would want someone with LT potential this early or his desired pass rusher . I like the odds of having some decent OLB options at #49 with my personal favorite being the "Hammer" , but Irvin intrigues with his speed element . The reason I prefer Ronnell Lewis over most other OLB choices has less to do with his stats and more to do with how I believe he will affect the defensive personality - he can light people up , is relentless and his play inspires others . He generally gets over looked with Perry , Ingram , Branch and Upshaw all being touted as 3-4 candidates ( though I'm not in complete agreement ) but he put up 36 reps and ran a 4.68 , if AJ wants an aggressive D , draft aggressive players , at worst Lewis is the most feared special teamer in the league . If OL gets the nod either a swing guy or a solid interior guy would be my choice , no way do I draft a RTO ( right tackle only ) in the 2nd but as with the SS spot AJ and Co. may of just had enough and decide to forego all else and take someone designed to supplant Clary , which would hardly be the worst course of action decided upon given Clary's ole pass blocking style . I expect an OL to be selected , exactly where is the question , AJ has never used anything higher than a 2nd on OL and he's only used a 2nd once so the odds seem to favor a later round .
If the first two rounds fill the empty S spot and the pass rusher AJ wants he can use the 16th pick of the 3rd round on another sore spot only this one more recent than S or RT and that would be the 3rd down back , whose loss was felt more sharply than any personnel guy wants to admit . The second round will probably see the bulk of the quality RBs go so by the 3rd the shelf be thinning to the point it would be better not to wait until the 4th and given the need factor I'm in favor of selecting with more choices available . James or Hillman appear top notch candidates for 3rd down duty and offer speed and like both the S and OL spot the positional may not be there but given AJ's specific issues with those spots the priority factor is elevated beyond the norm . Normally I would not endorse taking an RB this early , particularly after using as much resources acquiring Mathews , a move I was against , but the offense needs that 3rd down guy . AJ's ass is on the line and he really can't afford the personnel guys handing in cards with the Mouton's of the draft on it , a head scratcher at best , so take Hillman if he's there , I doubt many would complain .
Should the first two days net a starting S ( Mark Barron ), a pass rusher and defensive personality ( Ronnell Lewis ) and a 3rd down back (Ronnie Hillman ) , AJ could then focus on the balance of the shopping list OL , DL , WR in any order he prefers . The main threat to an optimistic draft , besides the Spanos lead scouting dept , is allowing the desperation of AJ's & Norv's job status to taint the process . Encourage , yes , but do not allow the draft theme to become - OMG if we screw this pick up , we're done ! While AJ may have concerns for his employment , the head personnel guy does not , John- John will survive all the bad picks .