Wait, Saturday? Yeah that’s what happens when your day doesn’t go as you planned. I apologize to anyone who was looking forward to Friday for “Fear the Mock,” unfortunately I encountered a bump in the road that prevented me from getting it done.
Well, I don’t know what reception this mock will receive. I’ve taken the advice I was given on the last mock and I will list the players that I considered in their respective rounds.
Without further ado, let it begin.
1st round: Budda Baker, S/CB, Washington
This may seem like a reach on paper but do not be fooled. Budda Baker is among the most talented players at his position in the past 5 years. His position versatility is extremely invaluable as he can play single high, in the box, or play in the slot. As an athlete he’s going to test extremely well at the combine too.
Baker is extremely intelligent too and was often tasked with playing multiple roles on defense. His play recognition is among the best in this class, as he often identifies the routes pre snap and he can close, while tackling really effectively in space. Washington’s coaching staff often raved about him and it’s easy to see why.
Lotta LBs & pass rushers can learn about how to deal w/RBs from Washington S Budda Baker. Dump them out of your damn way & get to the QB... pic.twitter.com/lCsyIQaWqz— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) February 17, 2017
First off, I know what a lot of you are going to say and before you mention his height or weight, I don’t care. I’ve seen players like this fall in the draft and end up becoming studs in the NFL. I’ve seen comparisons to Bob Sanders, which I think are way off basis because I don’t believe Baker plays anywhere near as out of control as Sanders did.
I don’t even see Honey Badger either as I think Baker is at least two inches taller. In my opinion Baker is a similar caliber player to that of Devin McCourty of the Patriots. Fluid, versatile, athletic, tackle with nice form and have great play recognition. McCourty may not have have seemed like a sexy pick at the time but he’s among the biggest reasons why the Patriots have done so well defensively recently and I believe Baker could bring a similar impact in the NFL.
Baker is the type of player who would come in instantly and make a difference.
Other Players I considered: Carl Lawson and Takk McKinley
2nd round: Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
The Steelers have already shown interest in this edge defender from Youngstown State and it’s easy to see why. Derek Rivers for being six foot four, plays with tremendous pad level, along with hand technique. He’s disciplined vs the run and you won’t find him out of position very often.
Where Derek Rivers shines though is his ability to rush the passer. Rivers has very good bend to dip and flatten to the QB. His hand usage is very good and he often wins with hands or bull rush. His bull rush is very effective because he’s able to keep his pads low and he gets a ton of push, often almost pushing the tackle back into the QB.
Derek Rivers with the chop pic.twitter.com/t8KUvYjkGi— The Mick Nartin™ (@themicknartin) February 8, 2017
Rivers has developed quite well and has spent time training with Chuck Smith to perfect his pass rush. It shows on film and while he’s got to get better when it comes to counter moves, I really like his upside and ability to contribute out the gate his rookie season.
Other players I considered: Jordan Leggett, Gerald Everett and Dawuane Smoot
3rd round: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
Jake Butt is the type of player who’s going to fall not just because of injury, but because of the immense depth of this TE class. I expect player like Adam Shaheen to really rise after the combine but that shouldn’t stop him from getting out of the first four rounds or so.
Jake Butt, the John Mackey award winner, in a lot of ways is like Heath Miller. He isn’t a great speed guy, but he moves really quick for a big guy with his precise routes, his quick release off the line and sudden cuts, Butt is the type of player that Ben will immediately gravitate towards as a security blanket.
Jake Butt may have torn his ACL in his bowl game but I don’t doubt that if the injury proves to not be anymore serious than that, he could get back on the field sooner than people expect. In an era like this, the ACL is no longer the career ending injury it was considered around twenty years ago and this is the type of player that’s worth taking the chance on.
We’ll see how his medicals check out at the combine, but for now, this pick is pretty obvious.
Other players I considered: Damontae Kazee, Samaje Perine and Ryan Switzer
4th round: Jeremy Cutrer, CB, MTSU
He’s one of my favorite players in this entire class and I truly believe this guy is going to be a steal in the draft. When watching him, I’m reminded a lot of Artie Burns. His length, ability to play with physicality, his speed and ball skills are very similar.
I’m not sure just how fluid Cutrer is but if he’s stiff it isn’t very noticeable. He’s got an absolutely great work ethic but it’s his story of how he he got to where he is that really convinces me that he’s going to be playing on Sundays.
There’s not much film on him exclusively but this game against Alabama will impress you quite a bit.
Other players I considered: None
5th round: Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech
Jerod Evans may not be Dak Prescott but he’s got upside to him. When watching his film, he has a nice efficient release, throws with really nice touch, has good ball placement and he’s effective on the move. He shows some flashes of being able to manipulate defenders with his eyes but he’s still a bit raw in that regard.
He’s the type of QB that would be ideal to have sit behind Ben and have him learn for a few years.
Other players I considered: Tanner Vallejo and James Conner
6th round: Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State
This guy had an unbelievable game vs Oklahoma and then just like that he disappeared for the rest of the season. A lot of it wasn’t his fault though as J.T Barrett did not throw the ball a lot and did not play very well.
That said, even when Brown wasn’t being targeted, he was still catching my eye with not his hands, but his blocking.
You can feel that Noah Brown block pic.twitter.com/omIagyr1IH— Harry Lyles Jr. (@harrylylesjr) November 26, 2016
I mean this is one heck of a nasty crack block. I really liked seeing that aggression and nasty because when you aren’t getting the ball as much as you’d like, sometimes players show their frustration and don’t try as hard.
Not Noah Brown.
He reminds me quite a bit of Quincy Enunwa and I think in time, he could develop into a fantastic H back or number 2 type WR. He’s the kind of player who will come in and contribute on special teams definitely. This is a guy you want to keep an eye on later in the draft.
Other players I considered: Chad Williams and George Kittle
7th round: Javancy Jones, EDGE/ILB, Jackson State
Allow me to give credit to where credit it due. I thank my good friend Will Stevenson on Twitter for introducing this player to me.
Javancy Jones got a late invite to the East West Shrine game and really made the most of it. He showcased speed, pursuit but more importantly the ability to diagnose plays and keep himself free of blockers. This is incredible because this is a position he never played before and he showed me a ton of promise at that position.
He’s quick twitched, flies to the football and has great character. I really liked what I saw and his future I believe is very much as an off the ball LB. Even in his highlights you can see the ability to quick avoid and attack plays.
There was also a very good interview from him and I particularly really liked the answer he gave in this question.
When you are breaking down film, what do you look for?
I look at a team’s tendencies on each down as far as run vs pass based on the yardage needed. That helps me apply it to game situations. I also like to look at what types of plays they run out of different formations so I will have a good idea of what to expect when I see a certain formation. I look for the tendencies of the opposing offensive lineman and running backs based on specific formations. I like to study their blocking styles so I can easily counter their moves and get to the ball.
The answer he gave made me think more of an off ball LB than one who would play on the line of scrimmage and I highly encourage you reading the full version from NFL Draft Diamonds. He’s the type of player that’s easy to root for and I have no doubt he’d be willing to play any position he’s asked to.
So how did I do? Do you love this mock or do you absolutely loathe it, let me know in the comments section. Discussion is encouraged!