Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quick Thoughts on the 2013 NFL Draft

After quarterbacks, there is nothing I love looking at more than pass rushers. There's just a lot to watch, because even on plays where they do nothing, you can still learn things about them. I took a look at guys in no particular order, and it kind of worked out perfectly as we start on a bad note but end on a good one.

I wouldn't touch Ezekial Ansah from BYU. I watched his game against Hawaii, and had he not been circled on every play, I would have had no idea he was on the field. He may be a great athlete, but he has a far ways to go before he is a football player. He rushes straight up, is easily blocked because of that and just kind of keeps pushing forward as his only pass rushing move. He does not read plays well which makes him poor in run stopping as well. On top of this, he is not a good tackler, as he just kind of fell off guys multiple times. I would not touch him until the middle rounds where you can gamble on the upside and hope your coaching staff can help him develop.

On the bright side for BYU fans, even though he was not circled, number 3 jumps off the screen on defense. I looked it up to make sure I wasn't being an idiot, but no, it was Kyle Van Noy who was a third team All-American. That dude is fun to watch. I am very high on him for next year.

Dion Jordan has legit quickness, especially in his ability to change directions. He's got a lot of positive reviews for his ability to cover, and I can see why, because all the athletic gifts are there. He played well against Stanford, but I don't know if this guy is an elite pass rusher. He does a decent job of dipping his shoulder when pass rushing, but he never wowed me in his pass rush skills. I honestly didn't see enough to make a definite decision. I see first round athleticism but not sure if I would want to take him in the top 10 picks.

Bjoern Werner definitely doesn't have the athleticism of Dion Jordan. But he's got a motor. He blocked two guys after an interception against Miami. What really stands out are his instincts. He does a good job of reading and reacting to plays. He's not a guy who bit on things and he adjusted quickly to runs and passes. He's gotten grouped in with pass rushers, but this guy is a 4-3 Defensive End that should not be playing linebacker. Where he's got an advantage over the other guys is power, he was basically able to shuck Seantrel Henderson who is a legit offensive line prospect for next year's draft and get a sack. If I am a 3-4 team, I'm not as interested in Werner, but as a 4-3 team looking for a defensive end, this is my guy in this draft.

After Werner, I decided to watch another "slow" prospect and check out Jarvis Jones's game against Alabama. I love productive guys in college, because it usually translates pretty well to the next level, especially on things like pass rushing skills. Jarvis Jones has a motor. Honestly, he may not be the best athlete, but he is definitely quick. Straight line speed really doesn't mean shit when it comes to pass rushing. His best pass rushing move was using his quickness to the outside and dipping that inside shoulder. He does a nice job of making himself a small target for offensive linemen, which is a skill that definitely translates to the next level. I think he can be a double-digit sack guy at the next level.

Quick side note. Watch this Alec Ogletree play.

That's all I need to see from him for me to want the Bears to draft him.

I watched Barkevious Mingo's game against Clemson. This guy was the opposite of Jarvis Jones as the numbers never seemed to match the scouting reports. In this case, I am definitely going with the scouting reports. He pops off the screen and shows a rare ability to explode right at the snap. There were a few moments where I just went "Jesus Christ" while watching the film. Although his sack numbers were not there, the production was. He caused a ton of hurries and just faced a lot of teams with quick passing attacks where there wasn't much he could do. He's got a good bend when rushing to the outside and he's quick enough to cause havoc when looping to the inside. He also has the makings of a pretty solid spin move as he keeps his body pretty tight in it. If I'm getting a pass rusher in this draft, Mingo is my guy. He's not a traditional 4-3 defensive end like he played in college, but making him a 3-4 outside linebacker or a Leo in a 4-3, similar to Bruce Irvin, would lead to a ton of production. The only concern is his pass coverage skills, because he never had to in college, but the raw material is there for him to at least be passable from the start.  Some team is going to be very happy to get this guy on their team.

In full disclosure, I have to admit that I hated Aldon Smith coming out of college, but I feel I learned from my mistake of hating a guy for only making ankle tackles. If it's effective, there is no need to change, and he found a great scheme for his skillset. Still, I wrote this, and I can't completely ignore it, "I was in the middle of writing about Aldon Smith being the worst pick of the first round when, holy shit, Jake Locker got selected one pick after him." The second half of that comment was at least fine. I will still hold my head high on this one forever and ever. 

Also, one last note, I am going to try to live blog parts of the draft. Tonight, I am stuck at an event, but I will try to follow along and sneak in Twitter remarks (@HottJoe). Lukewarm Jonah expressed interest in live blogging the later rounds, so we may try and do that. Stay tuned. 

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