With the NFL Draft on the horizon, I thought it might be a fun exercise to complete a new Mock Draft each week leading up to it. Each week I will complete a seven round mock draft with an emphasis on a certain position (excluding QB) in Rd 1 and throughout the draft to start to get a feel for what players might be available, how the board might fall when emphasizing a certain position in Rd 1. This will also give me a way to scout individual players selected in the mock, before diving into my annual scouting of each position group for draft prep. I will use Pro Football Network since they have a trading option that can be used in future mocks. As offseason events such as the Combine and Free Agency occur, the draft board, players and team needs will come more into focus, so we can see the evolution of this process each week. I will try not to select the same players as previous mocks if possible so we can get a look under the hood of some different players for each mock draft.
MOCK DRAFT 4
Rd 1-Jamyr Gibbs, RB Alabama
Pro: Elite speed and elusiveness, great hands out the backfield, good feel and patience to let the play develop, decisive in his cuts hitting the hole, good contact balance
Con: Does not have the body type or running style to be a regular between the tackle runner, to often looks to bounce outside for the big play than to smash it up inside for a smaller gain, below average in pass pro
Rd 2- Keion White, Edge Georgia Tech
Pro: Great bend around the edge, good closing speed to get to the QB, uses his length well to get leverage and keep his frame clean, good instincts and feel to read the play as it develops
Con: Lacks top end lateral quickness to extend plays to the edge or get home on backside pursuit, needs to develop more pass rush moves/plan, needs to improve lower body strength to be able to convert speed to power
Rd 3-Julius Brents, CB Kansas State
Pro: Great size and length, not afraid to get involved in run support, fluid hips in his trail to turn technique, aggressive in fighting for the ball, shows a good punch with his jams at the line
Con: Needs to anticipate routes more instead of reacting, needs to improve footwork from his jam technique to not get off balance after his punch, needs to improve deep ball tracking to make plays on the ball and not the receiver.
Rd 4- Cameron Latu, TE Alabama
Pro: Explosion off the line, good route running and cuts to break off routes, good punch off the line when blocking, varies his releases to manipulate defenders to get to his spot in the route
Con: Lacks ideal size and body type to be an every down inline "Y" tight end, needs to be better at tracking the ball outside the #'s, needs to improve strength to be a more effective blocker, needs to improve footwork to eliminate wasted steps in his route running
Rd 5- Roschon Johnson, RB Texas
Pro: Size and speed combination, good hands out of the backfield, excels at waiting for the play to develop and then making a decisive cut to get to the hole, willing blocker, natural lean when running usually falling forward on contact, very elusive in the open field
Con: Can play to upright given his size, does not play to his size preferring to avoid contact when necessary rather than punishing a defender, needs to develop better feel in the passing game to disguise screens and timing getting into his swing/checkdown routes
Rd 6- Cam Jones, LB Indiana
Pro: Converted Safety who is good in coverage, good speed and quickness to chase down ball carriers, very good as an "A" or "B" gap blitzer, has quickness and bend to get around the edge on blitz packages, has enough speed to react and make a play
Con: Better in zone coverage where he can drop and look rather than cover a player in man, does not diagnose plays quickly enough to impact the play behind the LOS, not strong enough to take on blockers and fend them off to make the tackle
Rd 7- Nesta Jade Silvera, DT Arizona State
Pro: Good initial quickness and burst off the line to shoot gaps, strong compact build helps him anchor, active hands to keep defenders from his frame to make plays, good lower body strength to hold the POA and can drive lineman back, good tackler once he gets his hands on you
Con: Not enough size or quickness to play zero or 5 tech, strictly a 3 tech player, does not provide much interior pass rush, not a natural athlete so he needs to rely on raw strength to often, does not move well laterally to make plays outside the hashes, while he has quick initial burst he has slow feet in his play progression which cause him to not get to his spot quickly enough to always make the play
The takeaway from this mock was that as usual, you can find quality in the RB class throughout the draft, and you should be able to find an instant contributor on some level in every round. Even if I passed on Gibbs in Rd 1, I could have grabbed a starting level RB in Rd 2 or 3 with Charbonnet or Evans. However, the way the board shook out with the focus on RB, I was unable to add a WR in any round. Any WR available when I selected felt like a reach and I wanted to stay true to the process which is why I was only able to add Latu as a pass catching option.
The player that I was most impressed with in this mock was Johnson. He plays with great elusiveness in the open field and has enough speed and wiggle to bend the edges of the defense. While I would want him to be more physical for his size, he has enough pop to lower his head and pick up tough yards, but he prefers to go around you rather than through you. His game and skill set reminded me of Dalvin Cooks, where he can go between the tackles if needed, but he is more effective off tackle to the edges of the defense and in the screen and swing pass game.
There it is, Week Four in the books. Let me know how you think this one shook out, and your thoughts on any of these players for the Chargers. Thanks