Gandhi mock draft

Gandhi

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Pick #8 quarterba…

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For many years I have been participating in a mock draft with a lot of other participants (I think we were 26 or 27 this year), where we split out the teams between us, and I obviously were the general manager of the Cardinals.

We are only allowed to trade draft picks from the current draft, because value of players and future draft picks as payment would be too subjective and difficult.

Please note that every projection and pick I made in this exercise were obviously according to my Cards rankings. Not what I would do in general. It always baffles me how people can say things like “he is only the #4 offensive tackle” or such without taking the specific team making the pick into account. Anyway, just keep in mind that general rankings has nothing to do with how I approached this game. Also, like every team, of course I draft for needs.

Here is a link to the entire draft: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/americanfootball/gm-mock-drafttr-den-t1490.html

Round 1

I did not consider moving up or down. If someone had given me a good offer, then maybe, but I was not going to do anything active myself. The reason I would not move down is that I think the Cards need top players. Of course they can be found throughout all seven rounds, but since the odds are better at #8 than #10, #12 or #14, I would prefer to stay put. The reason I did not want to move up was that I had five players I would consider with my first pick, and I felt pretty good that at least one of them would be available.

Those five was:

Derrick Brown, defensive tackle, Auburn (a giant with those movement skills can be dominant.)

Chase Young, edge rusher, Ohio State (I would still rank Nick Bosa over him as a prospect, but that is nothing to be ashamed about. Young is a stud.)

Jedrick Wills, offensive tackle, Alabama (Remember that he protected Tagovailoa’s blindside, since he is a lefty. Great technique. Would give the option to move Justin Murray to guard, and it could complete the line.)

Tristan Wirfs, offensive tackle, Iowa (I will take a Kirk Ferentz-offensive lineman every day. Especially one with so great potential.)

Isaiah Simmons, linebacker, Clemson (the first thing any quarterback will look after, when he gets to the line of scrimmage, is where Simmons are. Could be cool to have a unique quarterback, that the league has never seen before, and a unique defender, that the league has never seen before.)

Young, Wills and Simmons were all gone when it was my turn which made the choice even more obvious.

Pick #8 – defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Auburn

The defensive line has been a problem for way too long. You could even argue that the unit was not much more than above average when Darnell Dockett or Calais Campbell were part of it, even though those two were obviously among the best in the league. Dan Williams and Robert Nkemdiche has been first round mistakes, but I guess at some point it will probably go well.

I believe that the offense will be better – for various reasons – no matter if they don’t get a single new reinforcement from now until they play again at some time, and thus I also believe a dominant defensive line can allow them to realistically compete for the division.

Brown has proven himself through more than one season, and as a senior from the SEC he – at least in theory – should have a slightly easier transition than many others. I think he can fit in any system, as well as in any kind of front. So, teddybears like him usually doesn’t stay on the field on all kinds of downs, but I think he can do it.

In my pre-free agency post I mentioned that Jordan Phillips was on my top five-wishlist, so obviously I am very excited that they got him. Peters is criminally underrated, and hopefully Zach Allen can live up to his potential. If all things goes well, this unit could finally be dominant.

By the way, I would also have taken Brown with the #1 overall pick, and I don’t think that is a controversial view. Though I would have had a discussion with myself about Young and Simmons as well.

Round 2

Bill O’Brien is my new best friend.

Pick #40 – wide receiver Nuk Hopkins, Clemson

Even if Hopkins shows up to training camp in a wheelchair with only one arm this is still an acceptable trade.

Wonderwork by Keim.

Round 3

About halfway through the second round I started to think deeply about who I targeted in the third round. My biggest wish was an offensive tackle, so I tried to survey who I thought were the most likely to fall to my spot.

Lucas Niang out of TCU was my biggest hope, and I was prepared to trade up for him as far as I could come with a fourth round pick. I did not want to part way with more, since the Cards don’t have a fifth round pick. I figured I could get at least to the start of the round with that compensation. Unfortunately, Niang got selected slightly below the middle of the second round.

I had Isaiah Wilson out of Georgia and Robert Hunt out of Louisiana pegged in as targets in the fourth round, but both got selected in the second round, and obviously I thought that was stretching it, and I had not thought seriously about them with my third round pick.

Matt Peart (Uconn) is a player I really like, and I was prepared to take him in the third round if higher ranked players were not available. I have Peart ranked in 2B (middle of the second round), so there was a realistic change he would be the best option.

I like edge rusher Jonathan Greenard out of Florida, and you don’t lead the SEC in sacks by accidence.

Edge rusher Terrell Lewis out of Alabama was my highest ranked player. I can certainly understand why people would be very careful about him after two season ending surgeries, and only a full senior season, but he is just so explosive and with such a big potential. Probably a classic boom-or-bust potential, but there is something to be said about going for the gold, and “the boom” could be really high.

Pick #72 – edge rusher Terrell Lewis, Alabama

I am still a little surprised that they are going to utilize Kennard as an edge rusher. I thought for sure he was brought in the play in the middle, but fair enough, what do I know? Anyway, there is still a huge need for a threat opposite Chandler Jones, and no matter if Kennard can fill that hole or not, there still needs at least one more capable solution. Lewis might be that guy, though at least at first he is probably not an every down-player.

As you can obviously guess I was now in serious consideration to trade up after Peart, but at the same time I was a bit leery about giving up my second fourth round pick, and thus only have three picks left. We shall see what I do.

Round 4

I decided to play the draft-game, primarily because I did not want to part with my fourth rounder. And since it was limited how far I could get with either a sixth- or seventh rounder, combined with a belief that only the Chargers in front of me in this round might take an offensive tackle, I decided to stay put. And I lost. By two picks! TWO! I was actually afraid the Chargers would take him right in front of me, but again, it was so close by that time that I decided to just hope for the best.

I tried to contact some people (teams), but I could not get out of the pick that fast. You have to remember that this draft goes on for weeks, and it is not at all a certainty that every team is present at all time. It is actually very likely that they are not. So it wasn’t possible to trade out.

Pick #114 – offensive tackle Alex Taylor, South Carolina State

I still think it was a good value pick, so it is not like it was the end of the world when Peart was taken, but I had hoped to select Taylor with my second pick in this round (yes, I would have selected two offensive tackles).

I did consider Reggie Robinson, the defensive back out of Tulsa, by the way. I think he is a really, really good defensive back.

When I see Taylor play he reminds me of Michael Oher in the movie “the blindside.” In the games, Taylor is bigger than anyone, so he completely dominates his opponent, but to me it looks like he is not very coordinated in anything, so there is probably a pretty steep learning curve. Big potential, though.

I think we might be forgetting Josh Miles and Brett Toth, who they brought in prior to last season. I am not at all saying that are NFL-good players, but I am just saying that since they are still on the roster, maybe the personnel guys see them as realistic options going forward. Will a fourth round pick change that? On the other hand, right now an unrestricted player is starting, with a 7th round pick and an unrestricted backing up, so why wouldn’t Taylor have a chance?

I don’t doubt they are going to kick out Marcus Gilbert if they find something better, new contract or not.

I am intrigued with the idea of Justin Murray at guard.

Competition is always good.

I trust Sean Kugler.

On to #131.

Second pick in round 4

I tried to trade back (this time in proper time), because I don’t have a fifth rounder, and I thought I could get one of my targets a little later. In a perfect world I would recoup a fifth rounder, but at least another pick. I did not get any offers, though. I think I could have traded with the Cowboys (let me be honest: their “GM” is a friend, so we could probably work something out), but their two highest picks, and thus best compensation, was two late fifth rounders, and I did not want to go back that far.

So my targets were:

Inside linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State (I like how he plays with a low center of gravity, making him able to run through traffic and involve himself in every tackle.)

Safety Antoine Brooks, Maryland (I like his range, though he might be best in the Budda Baker-role. I felt pretty confident he might be there in the sixth round, since I think I might be higher on him than most others. We will see. And few picks later I did in fact see).

Defensive back Brandon Jones, Texas (four year starter at a major program – good athlete – good special teamer. You know, he got injured ahead of their bowl game, so he could not work out for teams at the Combine. Then what do you do? He studied and broke down all 32 defenses, so he could stand out in front of team personnel-guys that way.)

Pick #131 – offensive weapon Lynn Bowden, Kentucky

I honestly don’t know what to call his position. While at Kentucky he has played quarterback, runningback, wide receiver, kick- and punt returner. Last year he played wide receiver for the first five games, and option quarterback from there on. He is not the fastest, strongest, most athletic player in this class, but he is the most unique. Quicker than fast, very twitchy, quick feet. I think he is the most obvious Kingsbury-prospect this year. I would have like him in the first half of the fifth round, though.

I don’t think they have yet given up on their three draft picks from last year, and I am personally high on Sherfield, but Bowden is different than all of them, so I don’t think it is a 1:1-competition.

Round 6

First I would like to say that I have never understood people saying things in the nature of “it is only a late pick – it doesn’t matter.” Look around the league to see how many late round picks is playing on Sundays, and I don’t understand why you would not value it higher to get the chance for another starter. No, the majority of late round picks don’t pan out, and so what?

I had thought for some time that tight end Dalton Keene out of Virginia Tech could be a target in the 7th round, but he got drafted before my pick in this round, so I thought I would just mention him as a prospect I think is interesting. At least in the next round.

I really wanted to draft wide receiver Isaiah Coulter out of Rhode Island, and I targeted him from about midway through the fifth round, as I believe he was my own little secret. He was not, and so I was screwed when I suddenly had to adjust not many picks ahead of my choice seeing that I had no other targets.

So I started studying prospects by turning to the many game recordings good people has published on Youtube, as well as various articles on the internet, and found a couple of interesting players.

J. J. Taylor, the runningback out of Arizona, is a fun player to watch as he is very small, yet plays like you are controlling him with a joystick. I don’t think he provides anything else than D. J. Foster can, though.

Cornerback John Reid out of Penn State is a great athlete, and thus should be able to contribute on special teams, and has some potential.

Pick #202 – linebacker Mykal Walker, Fresno State

I don’t really trust people named Michael that spells it “Mykal.”

He has experience both as an edge rusher and middle linebacker so he can be deployed in different way, and even if De’Vondre Campbell plays great, the depth is not the best.

Walker has already taken the step up from a very little school to Fresno State, and he obviously is doing very well, so maybe in some way he is better prepared for another step up when he goes from college to the NFL.

Round 7

Tight end Jacob Breeland out of Oregon might not have the biggest potential in the world, but he is pretty good all-round already, and to me, he is easily worth a pick in the 7th round.

The other wide receiver out of Rhode Island, Aaron Parker (he is actually Coulter’s cousin) is another intriguing player. He is not elite in anything, but he is good at most things. I don’t know if he is a good special team-player, which is what I am primarily looking for in these late round prospects. That said, the wide receiver unit has to be a strength this season to maximize Murray and Kingsbury. Six out of 18 draft picks the last two years used on wide receivers is a lot, though.

Pick #222 – safety Davion Taylor, Colorado

Let me just be honest right away: had I known about Taylor before yesterday I would have selected him long before. I would have considered him with my second 4th rounder, and I had definitely tried to use this pick to trade up in the 6th round. He won’t be available here in the real draft, so this is an unrealistic pick, but I thought I would still take the chance to mention him.

He is an extraordinary athlete, even by NFL-standards. He did not play games in high school due to religious reasons (he couldn’t play Friday and Saturday, so he only practiced), meaning there is a lot of room for improvement. He has been used as a hybrid safety-linebacker that are so popular nowadays, but I have listed him as safety simply because that would be my preferred position. He has the same measurables (actually almost exactly) both physically and in the testing as Adrian Wilson.

This guy can obviously contribute on special teams right away, and I don’t think it would take long before he would get defensive snaps as well.

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1 – defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Auburn

3 – edge rusher Terrell Lewis, Alabama

4A – offensive tackle Alex Taylor, South Carolina State

4B – wide receiver Lynn Bowden, Kentucky

6 – linebacker Mykal Walker, Fresno State

7 – safety Davion Taylor, Colorado

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Could I do it all again I would have targeted Taylor at the latest in the sixth round, and instead I would have probably drafted Jacob Breeland in the 7th.

I am pretty satisfied. Brown and Lewis I see as immediate contributors and reinforcements on defense, and I think Taylor and Bowden can be effective on offense as well.

Walker and Taylor should be able to be good special team gunners right away, with the potential to grow into bigger roles.
 

Cardsfaninlouky

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Lynn Bowden is a freak. I was at every single one of his home games this past season. Around game 3, our starting QB Terry Wilson went down with a season ending injury, Bowden didn't replace him right away, eventually he did. I was in Phoenix (Carson Palmer ROH game) that weekend when Bowden was inserted at QB, watched the game at a bar in downtown Phoenix. First drive he led them to a TD I believe? Anyways, he started every game after that, including the bowl win over VA Tech. Defenses knew he was gonna run on them & they still couldn't stop him. Look his rushing numbers up, very impressive. He will go around the 3rd rd imo. He's really a WR & very good at it but he can do so many things, very elusive in the open field, makes people miss. I will be jumping for joy if we take this kid.
 

Garthshort

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Gandhi, great draft. And louky, nice input. All, I can add that based upon our roster, it seems that our greatest need is DL, and the question is whether there is a guy worthy of being a Top Ten pick. That's why my hope is a trade back, but if the FO feels that Brown or Kinlaw fits the bill, let's go DT.
 

Harry

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These are contenders but Lewis is a walking emergency room. I think he’s a day 3 guy. I could see them taking Brown. He wouldn’t be my first choice but if he develops into more than just a run stopper, he could be a force in the middle. I think signing Streveler eliminates Bowden from consideration, but he’s interesting.
 

Cardsfaninlouky

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These are contenders but Lewis is a walking emergency room. I think he’s a day 3 guy. I could see them taking Brown. He wouldn’t be my first choice but if he develops into more than just a run stopper, he could be a force in the middle. I think signing Streveler eliminates Bowden from consideration, but he’s interesting.
Bowden is a WR but he can be inserted into many gadget type plays. He doesn't have the most accurate arm but he can hit receivers in stride at times. He was recruited at Kentucky to play WR & has been the best WR on the team for 3 yrs now. He only played QB this season in an emergency situation simply because of need, the backup also got hurt. He played QB his senior yr in H.S. He can also return punts. 2 yrs ago at Missouri, he told coach Mark Stoops "put me in to return this punt & I will score" he did score & we needed it. He's so elusive in the open field, he makes people miss. KK could get a lot of use out of him.
 

Redsz

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Is Derrick brown a nt or de in our scheme?
 

TheCardFan

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That does not matter, Red. Sometimes they play with one front, sometimes with another, and sometimes with fronts we don’t even talk about, like with only two or even one down lineman.

I think Derrick Brown can fit in all of it.

I disagree. Players have strengths/weaknesses and scheme fit matters.

We already have his clone on the roster for the next 3 years.
 

GuernseyCard

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I disagree. Players have strengths/weaknesses and scheme fit matters.

We already have his clone on the roster for the next 3 years.

Read his profile. He fits any scheme.

If Jordan Philips and he are clones (they're not) that would be a good thing.
 
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TheCardFan

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Read his profile. He fits any scheme.

If Jordan and he are clones (they're not) that would be a good thing.

Oh...so read his profile. Don't watch with our eyes or use multiple data sources?

How are they not clones? See post above.

Derrick Brown is also Dexter Lawrence from last year. Again, we have that guy already.

How about this profile?

2020 NFL Draft: Why poor combine is concerning for Derrick Brown and other notable prospects

Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
To start, I need to be clear about my evaluation of Brown's combine. I don't expect his performance in Indianapolis to impact his draft position. He's likely going inside the top 10 overall, and it'd be a shock if he makes it to the second half of the first round. This warning strictly pertains to the amount of long-term success I believe -- and the numbers suggest -- he'll have in the NFL.

Size needs to be factored in with Brown's workout. Among defensive linemen at the combine over the past two decades, his height (6-feet-5) and weight (324 pounds) placed in the 84th and 94th percentile, respectively.

However, all of his measured, on-field work was historically bad. His 8.22 3-cone placed in the third -- yes, third -- percentile among defensive tackles. His vertical? 22nd percentile at the position. His broad jump was a respectable but far from super-impressive 66th percentile. His short shuttle time of 4.79 -- 18th percentile. Ndamukong Suh -- a trendy comparison for the Auburn star -- was light years more athletic than Brown when he tested at the combine in 2010.

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And Brown's workout basically matches the film. While young -- still not 22 -- Brown wins with sheer force through blocks and tremendous block-shedding laterally to go along with stellar tackling reliability. He's the best run defender in the class, bar none. But, while that makes for fun highlights, it's simply not as valuable in the NFL in 2020 as it was even a decade ago.

He took a step forward using his hands when attacking upfield in 2019, yet outside of a bull rush and a very rare swim, one simply can't say Brown is a refined hand-work master on pass plays. And, now, projecting him to win through a gap simply with his burst and athletic gifts at the NFL level might be a fool's errand.

What that leaves is a large, intimidating defensive tackle with easy-to-see strength and an advancing yet not loaded arsenal of pass-rushing moves with well below-average athleticism for the position. For as disruptive as Brown was during his illustrious career at Auburn, the odds are now firmly against him becoming a star (pass-rusher) in the NFL.
 
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