Mock Draft 4.0 (Post-Combine Edition, 3 Rounds): Steelers Select ILB Dont’a Hightower, NT Alameda Ta’amu, OG/OT Brandon Washington
65. Indianapolis Colts: Brandon Boykin CB (Georgia)
Indianapolis is in need of help everywhere on their roster, and one such area which could use an upgrade is the Secondary. Indianapolis allowed opposing QB’s to have a 103.5 rating last season and tied with Minnesota for recording the fewest amount of INT’s in the League (8) to boot.
Brandon Boykin could help the Colts’ lowly Pass Defense and should see plenty of playing time in his Rookie campaign. Although small (5’9″ 181 lbs.), Boykin is a tremendous athlete that performed well against S.E.C. Receivers and has added value in the return game. While some teams may be scared of his lack of size and fret that he might not be able to tackle on a consistent basis, Boykin is at least a solid Nickel guy down the road that can make things happen when the ball is in his hands.
66. St. Louis Rams: Mitchell Schwartz OT (California)
St. Louis needs help along their Offensive Line, and it wouldn’t hurt if they acquired a Tackle in the middle Rounds of the Draft this year. The experienced and heady Mitchell Schwartz might be a guy worth drafting in the 3rd Round.
Schwartz started 51 games at Cal at Left (35) and Right (16) Tackle, and earned 1st Team All-Pac 12 Honors in 2011. While he won’t wow anybody with his athleticism, the 6’5” 318 lb. Schwartz is a steady player that has versatility which many teams covet. Like Zebrie Sanders, Schwartz could “Swing Tackle” on game-days in Years 1-2, and eventually find a spot starting at Right Tackle by year 2-3.
67. Minnesota Vikings: Mike Martin DT (Michigan)
Minnesota should at least try to recapture the effectiveness of “The Williams Wall,” and add a run stuffer or two to their roster this offseason. Mike Martin could be a player that the Vikings have their sights set on to help along the Interior of their Defensive Line in the future.
Martin had a strong Senior Bowl week and projects to be a 4-3 DT that can play either the 1 or 3-Techniques after playing mostly NT in Michigan’s 4-3 alignment in college. The 6’1″ 304 lbs. prospect’s high motor will be valued by Minnesota who just has to find a way to stop opposing Offenses from moving the football.
68. Cleveland Browns: Jonathan Massaquoi DE/OLB (Troy)
Massaquoi could have played himself into an early/mid 2nd Round pick with a strong 2011 season. However, Massaquoi underwhelmed and will have to rely on his upside to be drafted in the 3rd Round. Massaquoi shouldn’t fret, because teams like the Browns could fall in love with said upside because they are in need of a Defensive End prospect.
Cleveland must find a pass-rushing DE this offseaon to compliment Jabaal Sheard if they wish to keep pace with the rest of their division. Massaquoi has a nice frame at 6’2″ and 264 lbs., but his speed (4.89 40) and overall raw strength (20 reps) displayed at The Combine and on tape leave much to be desired. Nevertheless, if given time to develop and work on his strength and leverage, Cleveland could reap the benefits of a pass rusher who knows how to use 34.125 inch arms in an effective manner.
69. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lavonte David OLB (Nebraska)
David’s size is probably the biggest thing keeping him out of the 1st Round, because as a Cornhusker he proved himself to be quite the Linebacker in spite of his 6′ 225 lbs. frame. His toughness was on display week in and week out as he amassed almost 300 Tackles (285) in the last two seasons according to a CBS.Sportsline report from the Senior Bowl. A true gamer, David used his speed above all to shine on the football field at the collegiate level, and many teams looking for a 4-3 OLB will be targeting him early in Round 3.
Known for taking smaller LB’s that fit their system, Tampa Bay is a logical choice here. The Buccaneers had the N.F.L.’s worst Run Defense in terms of Yards Per Game in 2011, and gave up 5.0 YPC to boot. It couldn’t hurt the Buccaneers to upgrade the LB position, and a Tackling machine that mixes it up like David could be just what they need to set forth on their task of improving their Run Defense in 2012.
70. St. Louis Rams: LaMichael James RB (Oregon)
St. Louis will be in make-over mode for this entire Draft, and one position they might want to consider upgrading is Running Back. Steven Jackson still can be a productive runner, but he is entering his 9th season and it would be nice for the Rams to acquire a change-of-pace runner to help keep Jackson fresh and add a few extra years to his career.
LaMichael James could be just the runner that the Rams are looking for at the beginning of Round 3. James is a shifty and explosive runner that is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. James’ size, 5’8” 194 lbs., might scare some teams into drafting him as an every-down Back. But as a 10-15 Touch per game guy, James could be quite the weapon for a team like the Rams.
71. Jacksonville Jaguars: Casey Hayward CB (Vanderbilt)
Jacksonville could be looking for some upgrades in their Secondary in the middle Rounds of this draft. No Cornerback on Jacksonville’s roster Intercepted more than 2 passes last season, and the team as a whole only picked off 17. The you factor in Rashean Mathis aging and entering Free Agency, and Jacksonville might have a problem on their hands. Luckily, one player in particular they could select is Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward.
Hayward was a three year starter for the Commodores and seemed to only get better throughout his collegiate career. In addition, Hayward displayed a penchant for big plays and notched 15 INT’s and 20 Tackles For Loss in his final three seasons in college. Hayward is a solid tackler and uses his 5’11” 185 lb. frame well to wrap up the ball carrier and make plays in the open field. His speed on tape looks a bit faster than the 4.57 he ran at The Combine, but it still could be a concern to some teams.
72. Buffalo Bills: Orson Charles TE (Georgia)
If the Bills want Ryan Fitzpatrick to be anything more than a mediocre signal-caller, they might want to look into finding him more weapons on Offense. With Scott Chandler heading into Free Agency, the Bills might want to find a better option for Fitzpatrick at Tight End.
While Orson Charles (6’2″ 251 lbs.) might not be a threat to block, his athleticism and pass catching skills make him a valuable weapon for Ryan Fitzpatrick in the seam. Even though he might be a liability as a blocker, adding Charles to the mix of Stevie Johnson and the rest of Buffalo’s young WR’s could really take this Offense to the next level.
73. Miami Dolphins: Brandon Weeden QB (Oklahoma State)
Even if Miami decides to acquire Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning, it couldn’t hurt for them to acquire some insurance at QB this offseason. In the event that Brandon Weeden is available at the beginning of Round 3, Miami shouldn’t hesitate to select him.
In spite of his age (29 this October), Weeden (6’4” 219 lbs.) has a skill set that can transfer well to what the Dolphins want to do on Offense with Joe Philbin. Weeden has a strong arm, quick release, and displays solid decision making. His footwork may need some tweaking as he played in mostly Shotgun formations in college, but Weeden is a mature player that can step in if need be in case anything goes wrong.
74. Chicago Bears: Bobby Massie OT (Mississippi)
This will hopefully be the offseason for Jay Cutler that the Bears not only find him some weapons to throw to, but some guys that will prevent him from having the tar beaten out of him every time he drops back to pass. Thus, Chicago should be hell-bent on acquiring some Offensive Linemen over the next few weeks.
In the middle of Round 3, the Bears could get decent value if a player like Bobby Massie is still on the board. Massie is an early entry guy from Ole Miss that has played against top competition in the S.E.C. and started 2.5 of the 3 years with the Rebels. Massie could use some work with honing his athleticism and using his height to his advantage, and it wouldn’t hurt if he added a bit more weight to his already imposing frame (6’6” 318 lbs.). Nevertheless, he should develop into a solid Tackle (Right or Left) if developed for a year or two.
75. Kansas City Chiefs: Michael Brewster C/OG (Ohio State)
Casey Wiegmann is pushing 40, and the rest of the Chiefs Offensive Line is not getting any better. For Matt Cassel’s or whichever QB is taking the snaps in Kansas City’s sake, the Chiefs must upgrade the interior of the Offensive Line.
A 4 year stater at Ohio State and an All-American Michael Brewster could be a solid value pickup in Round 3. At 6’2″ 312 lbs., Brewster started 49 games during his collegiate career, and did it all against some top competition in The Big Ten. While Brewster may not possess the athleticism, raw strength, or trapping ability of his predecessor Nick Mangold, he is a smart player that with some development could develop into a starter in year 2-3 of his career.