I know it's early, but I gotta do something to fill the void on the first sunday since August where we have no football. So I'm going to discuss our possible draft picks(sorry WIldeagle that doesn't include Cam Newton) in the first round.
1. Brandon Harris CB Miami 5'11 195- Ranked by most scouts as the third best corner in this year's draft. Very quick corner with very good man coverage skills. Not afraid to take on bigger receivers by himself but struggles with zone coverage at times. Tackling abilities seems to be a concern, tends to lunge at ball-carrier and at times takes bad angles. Numbers dipped down this season compared to last season as quarterbacks threw away from his side(Asante Samueleffect). Harris really struggled his freshman year, where he was a started 6 games including againist Florida State where he got burned deep twice. Great speed, but questionable overall cover skills. Could be the next Lito Sheppard(not a good thing)
2. DeMarcus Love OT Arkansas 6'5 315- Ranked between 4-6th best Offensive Tackle in the draft. Started in 11 games in his first two seasons all at guard andthen became a full time starter at tackle the final two years. Definitely has the strength to play tackle at the next level but his agility and footwork are mediocre as he get torn up by Ryan Kerrigan(Purdue) in the Senior Bowl. Don't like the idea of drafting Love in the first round as he as pretty much the next Winston Justice, big and strong but lacks the initial quickness needed to keep those hyprid edge rushers like Brian Orakpo and DeMarcus Ware from getting shots ont he quarterback. Love might be a better fit for a more run oriented team.
3. Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin 6'7 315- Rankings are all over the place for Carimi. Some scouts were projecting him last fall as a top 5 pick, some scouts have him in the top 20 right now and some scouts have him as a 2nd round pick. In my opinion he is the best offensive lineman in the draft. He was a four year starter at left tackle but scouts believe he is better suited for right tackle in the NFL and spent a lot of time at right guard during this past week at the Senior Bowl. Big, physical blocker known for having a little bit of a mean streak. Don't get why some scouts have criticized him for not always being motivated to play hard. Work ethic and intangibles are unquestioned. One thing people seem to forget about his how great he has been in pass protection. Great lateral movement and great footwork. Has the athleticism to contain those freak-like edge rushers from 3-4 defenses. Good combine should equal to much higher pick then he is being projected at right now.
4. Derek Sherrod OT MIssissippi State 6'5 305- Another highly regarded offensive tackle, biggest knock on him so far is that he blocked in a spread offense and will have to adjust to a totally different offense. Had the best day as an offensive tackle at the Senior Bowl. Has a very good head on his shoulders as he is involved in a lot of leadership programs at MSU andworks with kids in MSU's student athlete community service programs(also had a 3.54 GPA). Not the type of block who knocks defenders on their backside but has great agility and footwork needed to protect against more athletic pass rushers. If he proves at the combine he has the strengthto compete withmore physical lineman, he should be a lock for the first round but probably not higher then 20th.
5. Mike Pouncey OG Florida 6'4 310- Number one ranked offensive guard by a mile. Versatility is off the charts at his position, actually started as a defensive tackle at Florida where he intercepted a pass against Chad Henne of Michigan in the 2008 Capital One Bowl. Moved back to offensive line as a sophomore where he became a full time starter the next two seasons before being moved to center this season. Struggled with snapping the ball out of the shotgun this season and probably won't be looked at as a starting center in the NFl, but as a guard on either side andmaybe an emergency center. Good strength and great athleticism. Excellent ability as a pulling guard and has the ability to get down field on screens to make blocks. With the league getting less and less talent at guard in the draft each year there's no way Pounceygets past the first round and wouldn't be surprised if either New England takes him at # 17 or someone trades up to get him.
6. Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College 6-7 308- Great work ethic as he was a high school tight end at 260 lbs and made the switch to tackle as a true freshman, becoming a full-time starter protecting Matt Ryan. Strength's are his quick feet and long arms but are sometimes offset by quicker lineman and by the bull rush. Was moved to guard a lot during this past week at the Senior Bowl where he seemed to struggle. Has both the ability and the work ethic to be a starter from day 1 at the next level at tackle but is at best a two year project as a guard. Should be taken late first to early 2nd in the draft.
7. Nate Solder OT Colorado 6-8 315- Has become a riser at his position in the draft and may very well be the first lineman taken in April. Very big and very long, combine that with good agility and you may have the most complete tackle in the draft. Technique needs to improve and has to get better at getting off the snap quicker,but those problems are easily fixed with the right coaching. Most likely a first round pick even if he skips the combine.
8. Jimmy Smith CB Colorado 6-2 205- Very underrated corner as he is ranked about 5th overall among cornerbacks. Has great size at corner, to go along withgreat cover abilities(only given up 11 completions past two seasons combined). His 40 time at the combine in March could determine if he gets taken in the first round. Very physical corner, liked to play press coverage and jam recievers at the line(Darrell Reevis anyone). Played on the outside against the biggest receiver and played in the slot as well. If he runs a bad 40, NFL teams may want to move him to safety but he is projected to run about a 4.49. Compare that time to what Peterson should run(4.42) or Prince Amukamara(4.49) and he should move up to #3 or 4 CB by the draft.