I thought I would atleast wait till all the players declare but I couldnt resist. I just had to put my first draft out there to see what you guys think. Plus, Buddy's conference helped.
Before I get to the draft, let me try to fix our roster first. If I were the GM, the first thing I would like to do is weed out all the injury prone players from the team. That's the best way to reduce injuries directly and indirectly. These injury-prone players just take up roster spots. Once they get injured, we have to fill up some one from practice squad or the street who wont play much anyway. That puts more playing time on the remaining starter level players making them more susceptible to injuries as well.
The reason cincinnati has its excellent defense is because they have an 8 man rotation for the defensive line.
Let's look at our free agents this year.
bell, choice, corner, davis, morrison, torbor, hagan, johnson, ruvell martin, parrish, scott, chandler
Out of these, I would sign johnson, chandler, morrison and hagan. Hagan showed he can be a good backup no.2 and has a spot on the roster. I would not let morrison go especially if we are going to play more 4-3. If you look at his history, he has never been injured and has started every game 6 out of his 7 year career. He can be our starter till we get somebody better.
I would let all the others go. Especially, bell and parrish. Nix himself was unsure of bell. I would let scott go if it is a matter of money. But I would have no problem if he returns. It just takes away depth at linebacker position.
Now to the draft:
1. Jonathan Martin or Riley Reiff, OT
I am finding it difficult to put a defensive end or linebacker this high. Atleast at this point of time, there seems to be no one. I think Nix will get a pass rusher in the FA as he said and draft an LT here.
2. Coby Fleener, TE. 6'6 245 lbs
TE is a position Nix seems to be trying to get more production out of. Like he signed a bunch of OLs last year, he has experimented with a bunch of TEs this year. I think fleener is the best complete TE nix can find. He has a lot of experience. He can block very well. He doesnt have elite speed but he has above average speed. Plus he fights to gain yards after catch. His career yards avg is 16.1 which is pretty good for a TE. With Chandler there, Fleener has time to bulk up a bit and perfect his skills. He is an excellent red zone target as well. With Chandler and Fleener we can go to more pro-style set also.
3. Dwight Jones, WR
The first thing I am expecting to hear is no way jones falls to 3rd round. I am just using current cbs draft prospects rankings and he currently grades in the 3rd round. I dont want to get into this debate as none of us know to project well anyway. Daquan bowers fell all the way from potential no.1 to mid 2nd round. As far as I know, I am not drafting a round above. Anyways, as months go by guys will rise and fall drastically.
But Jones is the perfect WR Nix was talking about. He is 6'4 225 lbs with 4.53 40. He is the guy who can be uncovered even when he is covered. Plus he has a lot of production in college.
4a. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
This guy also fits Nix's profile perfectly. He is 6'4, 260 lbs with a 4.62 40 time.
When I mentioned Chandler Jones, I was pointed out that he doesnt have athleticism. Reading about okafor, that doesnt seem to be the problem. I think if he goes back to school he would return a 1st rounder. Even now, I think he would rise up by the time draft comes. But in the 4th round Okafor would be an excellent development prospect.
4b. Kheeston Randall, DT, Texas
Another Texas guy. Another beast. Looks like another excellent prospect. Reading the report it looks like he is a really good run stuffer but has the tools to be a pass rusher from the middle. If he develops, we will have excellent rotation in the line. Our defense has been atrocious for many years. We have a lot of fat guys who we think are good. If they are so good why even with them developing are we the bottom 5 in defense consistently? Time to cut them and go with Randall.
5a Darius Fleming, OLB, Notre Dame. 6'2, 255 lbs. 4.65s 40 time.
This is not a glowing scouting report but you almost never get a glowing report for 5th rounder. Seems like he has the speed but is a bit stiff. Will be a good depth player for us and maybe a good special teams player.
5b. Quentin Saulsberry, C, mississippi state
I am seeing a lot of lower round and undrafted centers starting in the league. Case in point, philadelphia. We have a very good center in Wood. So this guy is a really good developmental prospect. But as wood is oft injured, saulsberry can be a good backup over time. We dont have to put urbik or colin brown in then. If wood continues to be injury prone, maybe saulsberry can develop into a full time starter. I couldnt find good scouting reports on him though.
6. Antoine Mcclain, OG, Clemson, 6'5, 335 lbs.
Another Clemson product. He played with Hairston and spiller. He is big in size. But since he is a 6th rounder he has ample time to improve his strength and become a better guard. I think he would go straight to our practice squad like jasper last year. I see us building clemson line for spiller.
7. Jerrell Young, S, South Florida, 6'1, 209 lbs, 4.57s 40 time
He has good size and speed to be a safety. Needs to work on coverage skill. Cant ask more from a 7th round prospect.
Chaz Powell, CB, Penn State, 6'1, 206 lbs, 4.48s 40 time
Might be a good developmental prospect. Has good size and speed and is a senior now.
So, that's the draft. You guys will point out that there are 5 offensive players and 4 lower round defensive players but our defense sucks. I dont buy that argument at all. If you keep chasing your weakness you will head nowhere. You draft the best available talent.
Secondly, we drafted defense the last 2 years and went nowhere. If we keep doing this offense will start to struggle. I think it is time to bring defense through FA. Some veteran leadership. Back to draft.
Immediate Starters: Martin, Fleener (on 2 TE sets), Jones.
Late season starter: Okafor ( like searcy this year)
To make room, these will be the cuts.
wr- easley, roosevelt. Easley's future doesnt look promising.
te - caussin, brock, onobun
ot - sam young
DL - heard, dotson, edwards, johnson, gilbert, moore
edwards and johson will be cap cuts. I dont think we will lose much seeing how our defense is bottom 5.
lb - merriman. ( another injury prone player to weed out)
cb - mcgee (another constantly injured player)
fs - corto, nesbitt
Practice squad: jasper, mcclain, aiken, any cuts who are eligible
Our 53 man roster. Starters in bold.
qb - fitz, thigpen, smith
rb - jackson, spiller, j. white, mcintyre
wr - johnson, dwight jones, nelson, hagan, clowney, donald jones (or easley)
te - chandler, fleener, lee smith (blocker)
lt - martin, hairston
lg - levitre
c - wood, saulsberry
rg - urbik, rinehart
rt - pears, brown
rde - (unknown FA), okafor
nt - williams, troup
dt - dareus, randall
lde - kelsay, carrington (carrington starter at RDE when we play 3-4 replacing edwards who was cut)
mlb - sheppard, mckillop
olb - barnett, morrison, c. white, fleming
hybrid olbs - moats, batten
cb - williams, florence, rogers, mckelvin, powell, (maybe some FA)
s - byrd, wilson, searcy, young
k, p and ls
Sorry for the long post. What do you guys think?