Josh Norris

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Post-Combine Mock Draft

Wednesday, February 27, 2013



17. Pittsburgh Steelers -- DE/OLB Bjoern Werner, FSU

Steeler fans might dislike the fit, but consider Werner is the same weight as LaMarr Woodley was coming out of Michigan. I don’t expect Werner to drop into coverage often, but he times the snap well enough with solid hand use to be a dependable edge rusher. He actually played lighter during the season.

18. Dallas Cowboys -- DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

Richardson’s talent likely exceeds this slot, but if he is on the board the Cowboys have found their 3 technique defensive tackle. The Missouri product has some Fletcher Cox to him and can be scheme versatile. Richardson ended his career with the Tigers on rocky terms, but he has plenty of talent.

19. NY Giants -- DE Cornelius Carradine, FSU

Despite promising reports mentioning that Carradine will hold a Pro Day in April, his status for the beginning of the 2013 season might be uncertain. Still, the Giants are in a great position to make this pick, especially since Tank is a top-12 talent in this class.

20. Chicago Bears -- T Menelik Watson, FSU

The former basketball player is still learning the technical aspects of the position, but Watson was a natural on the right side of the line this season. He could be called the offensive version of Ansah, and there’s a chance a team could project him as a left tackle.

21. Cincinnati Bengals -- S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

The biggest issue I see with Vaccaro is his tendency to miss tackles at the last moment. Everything looks right, but for some reason Vaccaro fails to follow through and wrap up. He can cover the slot in nickel situations, and Vaccaro has plenty of range in the back half.

22. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins) -- G Jonathan Cooper, UNC

With reports surfacing that many teams are looking at Cooper as a center along with his natural guard spot, he could go much higher than this slot. I like either projection, but my only question with Cooper is his tendency to lose off the snap when pass protecting against a defensive lineman lined up over his head. His mobility and comfort in space is outstanding.

23. Minnesota Vikings -- LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State

With the lack of an inside and weakside linebacker, Brown could immediately slide into either role and make an impact. Some will get caught up in his measurements, but Brown is a physical player with excellent speed. There have been reports of a shoulder injury, but Brown did not miss a game in the last two seasons.

24. Indianapolis Colts -- OLB Corey Lemonier, Auburn

Dwight Freeney is gone, and although Jerry Hughes flashed at times last season, Lemonier would offer a much more physical presence on the edge. He shows strong hands and leg drive, but Lemonier loss backfield vision, but I think playing in space would help ease those concerns.

25. Seattle Seahawks -- DE Datone Jones, UCLA

Okay, this requires some reasoning. Obviously the Seahawks need pass rushing help with Chris Clemons injured. Jones’ frame doesn’t fit the traditional wide rusher but his game does. If asked to disrupt the backfield by attacking a certain depth of the pocket, Jones is very effective due to a combination of explosion and strength off the line. My biggest issue was his hand fighting at the line of scrimmage when asked to read and react. Also, the Seahawks aren’t afraid to a take a risk or chance on prospects that don’t quite seem to fit the traditional mold. Jones can effectively rush from the interior as well.

26. Green Bay Packers -- S Matt Elam, Florida

Honestly, I'm not sold on Elam, but others around the NFL seem to be. He puts together one hell of a highlight tape, and perhaps the Gators’ scheme did not take advantage of Elam’s skills. I rank Cyprien and Vaccaro ahead of Elam, and watch out for Georgia Southern’s JJ Wilcox.

27. Houston Texans -- WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson

A Roddy White type receiver, Hopkins catches everything in (or out) of his range. He has straight-line speed, but Hopkins’ hand strength and consistency at the catch point is what makes him one of the top receiver prospects in this class.

28. Denver Broncos -- ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame

I was set on keeping Te’o out of the first-round, but Adam Schefter consistently reporting that the Irish linebacker will not leave the top-32 picks forced me to place him here. Joe Mays and Nate Irving are under contract right now, and Te’o should be an upgrade over Keith Brooking, who was third in snaps among the team’s linebackers.

29. New England Patriots -- CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State

Admittedly, I am a huge fan of Taylor’s, but he fits what the Patriots look for in a cornerback. Even if the team gives Aqib Talib a new deal, this is a logical selection. Taylor is versatile in the coverages he is comfortable in and consistently disrupts the catch point.

30. Atlanta Falcons -- RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama

Thomas Dimitroff’s unwillingness to spend an early draft pick on players with off-field issues could limit his choice of pass rushers (Damontre Moore, Cornelius Washington). Enter Lacy, an athletic specimen for his size with the ability to carry the load for the Falcons.

31. San Francisco 49ers -- DL Jesse Williams, Alabama

Williams is widely considered a nose tackle prospect, and although he could play it in the NFL, the Australian also played the 5 technique end spot for some time at Alabama. We all saw the 49ers defense take a step back when Justin Smith was sidelined. Williams is beastly strong and flashes penetration ability.

32. Baltimore Ravens -- ILB Kevin Minter, LSU

Although Minter isn’t quite as athletic as Ray Lewis was early in his career, the LSU linebacker does many of the same things the older Lewis put on the field. He is just fast enough to get to edge runs due to comfort in trash and tight angles, and Minter is a hammer between the tackles.



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Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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