Profetta’s 2012 NFL Mock Draft – Round 2

Posted by Brad On October – 9 – 2011
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Micheal Profetta

Major coup in Miami with Luck and McDonald

2. (33) Miami Dolphins- T.J. McDonald S USC   The Reshad Jones/Chris Clemons tag team at FS isn’t cutting it and Yeremiah Bell, who’s a great leader and a sound tackler at SS, might be too old (34 in March) and expensive ($4.3 million in 2012) for a rebuildng team to keep around. McDonald is a big (6-3/205), physical play-maker who’s beginning to pull away from the pack as the top safety in the 2012 class.

2. (34) Indianapolis Colts- Brandon Thompson DT Clemson   The interior D-line has been a sore spot in Indy for as long as I can rember. As usual, the Colts are near the bottom of the run defense rankings this season (currently 27th). Guys like Antonio Johnson and Fili Moala just aren’t doing the job, and Eric Foster’s vomit-inducing leg injury puts his career in jeopardy. Thompson is a Senior, high-character team leader…a typical Polian pick. He’s a good run-stopper who could start at the nose in the 4-3, with rookie 3rd-round steal Drake Nevis at the three-tech, giving the Colts a promising duo in the trenches.

2. (35) Minnesota Vikings- Luke Kuechly ILB Boston College   I’m seeing mock drafts that have Kuechly going as high as the 8 to 15 range. That’s Brian Urlacher (#9 in ’00) and Patrick Willis (#11 in ’07) territory. No way does this happen. Kuechly is a gritty, gutty, fundamentally sound throwback and all of that warm & fuzzy stuff, but the facts are that he’s a relatively unathletic, undersized (238 lb.) MLB with a very narrow frame and a flat ass. Sure, he puts up insane tackle totals, but let’s face it, that defense is always on the field. Too few of his tackles are of the game-changing variety. To put it in perspective, fellow 2010 1st team ACC LB Nate Irving, who had almost half the total tackles as Kuechly last season (97 to 183), had almost twice as many TFL (20.5 to 10.5). No way is Kuechly selected ahead of intimidating, athetic, 250-260 lb. beasts like Burfict, Te’o and Hightower. I see a situation very similar to 2009, when most mock drafts had Ohio State tackling machine James Laurinaitis somewhere in the top 15 all season, until the predraft process exposed some limitations and Laurinaitis ultimately landed at the top of the second round.

I’m not saying that Kuechly won’t be a solid pro. His intelligence and instincts are off the charts. Guys who simply have a nose for the ball usually find success, regardless of athletic limitations or the level of competition (as Ryan Kerrigan is proving in D.C. this season). I just think that Kuechly is closer to Sean Lee than Brian Urlacher from a pure, athletic standpoint. Lee is a fine player, so that’s not a knock on Kuechly, but I think you get my meaning.

Kuechly could be a great fit in Minnesota, who should be in full-scale rebuilding mode this offseason. If the Vikings decide that 10-year vet and impending free agent E.J. Henderson isn’t in their future plans, Kuechly could immediately step in at MLB in Leslie Frazier and Fred Pagac’s Cover-2 defense.

2. (36) Seattle Seahawks- David Wilson RB Virginia Tech   Marshawn Lynch is an impending free agent who has done absolutely nothing to merit a contract extension. Wilson is a versatile speed demon who has 639 yards and 5 TDs in five games. He’s making a case for the ACC Offensive Player of the Year award and a spot in the late first/early second round of the 2012 NFL Draft if he declares. With RG3 and Wilson in the Seahawks’ backfield, opposing defenses better have those oxygen masks turned up to 11.

2. (37) St. Louis Rams- Alameda Ta’amu DT Washington   Aging vets Fred Robbins and Justin Bannan have been little more than “Welcome” mats against the run this season and I doubt either guy will be around in 2012. A huge (6-3/330), disruptive space-eater like Ta’amu could step in as the 4-3 nose and help keep blockers off of MLB James Laurinaitis.

2. (38) Denver Broncos- Jerel Worthy DT Michigan State   Worthy had a nice showing in MSU’s victory over Ohio State, but his overall body of work suggests a prospect who’s more hype than production. He might want to stick around for his Senior season in Lansing, but if he declares, I see him as a fringe 1st-rounder right now. Still, his strength/quickness combo is promising, so he could offer an upgrade from the Broncos’ current cast of journeymen at DT.

2. (39) Kansas City Chiefs- Mark Barron SS Alabama  The Chiefs recently locked up CB Brandon Flowers with a six-year, $50.6 million deal and a contract extension for the other Brandon (Carr) is in the works. Along with Eric Berry, that gives them three-fourths of a potentially dominant secondary, with Kendrick Lewis the weak link at FS. Pioli loves his SEC prospects, so I could see him grabbing Barron, an aggressive, well-rounded play-maker, to start at SS, allowing Berry to move over to FS. A Barron/Berry duo at safety would surely have receivers hearing footsteps as they venture over the middle.

For Chiefs fans desperate to find a replacement for Matt Cassel, I’m sorry. I just don’t like guys like Nick Foles, Brandon Weeden, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Lindley or Ryan Tannehill this high. Maybe in the third round, or better yet, maybe Pioli can dust off some of that old late-round magic (Tom Brady, Cassel) and locate a steal. Florida’s John Brantley could be an intriguing seventh round pick. He has all of the tools and was really coming on under Charlie Weis before suffering  a leg injury in the loss to Alabama.   

2. (40) Jacksonville Jaguars- Vinny Curry DE/OLB Marshall   A productive, high-character prospect from a non-BCS school that addresses a need position…where does Gene Smith sign up? (Will Rackley, Cecil Shorts, D’Anthony Smith, Terrance Knighton, Derek Cox…)

2. (41) Carolina Panthers- Jayron Hosley CB Virginia Tech   Hosley threw a blanket over Clemson’s freshman sensation Sammy Watkins last week and you have to love his instincts and production (3 INTs in 4 games played this season, after racking up nine INTs last year). Hosley’s electric punt return ability would offer a huge upgrade from Armanti Edwards and his pathetic 5.4 yard average. However, I think his size (5-10/171) and deficiencies in run support could keep him just outside of the 1st round if he declares for this draft.

Hosley plays the boundary corner in VTU’s scheme, the stat-bloating, glamour position that has produced an All-American every year but one over the last decade, so I’m a bit more sceptical than most when it comes to Hosley’s pro potential. For every DeAngelo Hall and Brandon Flowers, there have been a Macho Harris and Jimmy Williams among the boundary alumni, so buyer beware.

2. (42) Philadelphia Eagles (from Arizona)-  Sean Spence OLB Miami (Fla.)   With the pick acquired in the Kolb/DRC deal, the Eagles get a steal with Spence, a destructive whirlwind who’s marginal size (6-0/224) may keep him out of the first round. Spence causes havoc in the backfield and can throw a net over tight ends. A potential Derrick Brooks clone.

2. (43) Cleveland Browns- Lavonte David OLB Nebraska   Cleveland could use a dose of speed and a few more big plays from the OLB position. Like Sean Spence, David’s size (6-1/225) could keep him out of the first round. He’s an explosive hitter with great coverage skills and his experience in Bo Pelini’s pro-style, Cover-2 defense should make for a smooth transition to Dick Jauron’s similar scheme. With his coverage skills and excellent timing on the blitz, I could see David serving as a deluxe nickel linebacker while learning from savvy vet Scott Fujita for a season, before taking over at WLB in 2013 (with Chris Gocong switching to the strong side).

A Minnifield in Cincinnati?

2. (44) Cincinnati Bengals- Chase Minnifield CB Virginia   Cincinnati’s depth chart features Leon Hall and a bunch of question marks at CB. Hall and dime corner Morgan Trent are the only guys under contract beyond 2012. Nate Clements is an aging stopgap and a guilty plea in Pacman Jones’ upcoming trial will probably bring an end to his thoroughly depressing NFL career. Minnifield has been quiet this season (1 INT) after grabbing 6 picks in 2010, as opposing QBs have smartly avoided him. Still, he has the makings of solid starter at the next level and represents good value in the second round.

2. (45) Philadelphia Eagles- Andrew Datko OT Florida State   Ryan Harris’ predictable season-ending injury left the Eagles with little more than life-sized, cardboard cutouts at RT. Pro’s pro LG Todd Herreman is holding down the fort as Michael Vick’s blindside protector for now, but the move created a hole at LG that journeyman Evan Mathis has struggled to fill. Ideally, the Eagles would like to find an answer at RT and move Herreman back inside. I don’t like Datko as a first-rounder, but he would be a good value in the second. He has limited upside, but finds a way to get the job done with his disciplined, assignment-sure game and good technique. A pefect RT for O-line coach Howard Mudd’s blocking schemes.

2. (46) Dallas Cowboys- Ryan Broyles WR Oklahoma   Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are set as the starters going forward, but the ‘Pokes could really use a reliable option in the slot. If that guy could double  as the punt returner (reducing Bryant’s risk of injury), all the better. Broyles (5-11/183) would be perfect in that capacity. Broyles is off to a fast start this season (38 REC, 476 YDs, 6 TDs in four games) following his ridiculous 2010 campaign (131 REC, 1,622 YDs, 14 TDs), but he still scares me a little as a pro prospect. Sure, he’s putting up huge numbers against the Tulsas and Ball States of the world, but against FSU and their NFL-caliber corners, he only mustered 55 yards (7.9 AVG) and zero TDs. The recent track record of Oklahoma wideouts is also unnerving (Malcolm Kelly, Mark Clayton, Joaquin Iglesias, Brandon Jones, Mark Bradley, etc.). Still, Broyles is a great route-runner with reliable hands whose numbers are impossible to ignore, so I doubt he makes it past the second day of the 2012 NFL Draft.

2. (47) Chicago Bears- Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska   Nine-year vet Charles Tillman is a rock at one corner, but the 5-8 Tim Jennings gets picked on unmercifully on the other side. He’s scrappy, but “scrappy” is usually a nice way of saying “overmatched”. He should really be a nickel or dime corner. Dennard began the year as a potential top 15 prospect, but missing the first three games in a season where scouts were eager to see how he’d fare without Prince Amukamara across from him has dinged his stock a bit. He could eventually regain his first round status, but for now I see him as a likely second rounder. I never really liked Dennard in the first round (marginal height/very stiff in the hips), but he’s feisty and physical with the ability to play man or zone, so he could be a good fit in Lovie Smith’s Cover-2.

2. (48) New York Jets-  Mike Adams OT Ohio State   Wayne Hunter has been a turnstile at RT and creates few holes in the running game. At 30 years old, he’s not going to suddenly get better. 2010 second-rounder Vladimir Ducasse has looked overmatched on the few occassions that he’s actually played. Adams (1st team BIG TEN in 2010, ahead of Riley Reiff) is a first round talent that could be available this low due to inconsistency and possible character concerns stemming from the OSU scandal. His linear, 6-8 frame and solid athleticism make for good potential in pass protection, to go along with his exceptional run-blocking ability. A potential steal in the mid-second round.    

2. (49) New England Patriots (from Oakland)- Juron Criner WR Arizona   It feels odd to mock a WR to the Pats, since they move the ball through the air seemingly at will, but a majority of that yardage is underneath stuff and a lot of passes to the TEs. New England hasn’t found a guy to replace Randy Moss and his ability to take the lid off a defense. Criner, a big target (6-4/210) with the speed to get seperation downfield, could be that guy.

2. (50) Washington Redskins- Nick Toon WR Wisconsin  Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney have been serviceable starters this season, but both are on the wrong side of thirty and aren’t ideal fits in Mike Shanahan’s WCO. Rookie third-rounder Leonard Hankerson was supposed to challenge for a starting role, but he has really struggled with drops and is currently buried on the depth chart.

Finally healthy after a few seasons of nagging injuries, Toon is quietly moving up draft boards with his surprising early-season stat line (25 REC, 447 YDs, 17.9 AVG, 6 TDs) in Wisconsin’s ground-based offense. Toon won’t blow anyone away with his forty time, but his size (6-2/220), physicality, sticky hands and blocking ability would make him a great fit in Shanahan’s scheme.

With this pick, I can’t help but mention that when I was a punk kid growing up in New York, Toon’s father (former Jets WR Al Toon) was yours truly’s favorite player, so naturally, I may be higher on Nick than most…back in the day, my beloved Jets’ starting wide receivers were the obscenely tall and gangly Toon, and a one-eyed guy (Wesley Walker). How can you not like that?! If only we would have drafted Dan Marino instead of Ken O’Brien…DAMN IT!! *Angrily wipes away tear*    

2. (51) Tennessee Titans- Ray Ray Armstrong SS Miami (Fla.)   31-year old incumbent SS Chris Hope recently suffered a broken arm that should keep him out for a while…not that it matters, considering how poorly he was playing. Backup Jordan Babineaux should be able to hold down the fort for a while, but he’s not any kind of long-term answer.

An insane size/speed prospect at 6-4/215, Armstrong is looking to rehabilitate his draft stock following his early-season suspension. Armstrong needs to be more consistent, but he has the potential to push T.J. McDonald for the #1 safety ranking in the 2012 NFL Draft.

2. (52) Atlanta Falcons- Andre Branch DE Clemson   I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with the Falcons this season. They’re relatively healthy and obviously have a ton of talent, but they seem somewhat unmotivated and unfocused (a very uncharacteristic 27 penalties in four games). There’s plenty of time to right the ship, but for now I have them just outside of the playoffs in my mock scenario.

Branch is a rangy (6-5/260), well-rounded pass rusher who’s emerging from Da’Quan Bowers’ shadow at Clemson and could be the heir to 33-year old John Abraham at RDE.

2. (53) San Francisco 49ers- Jeff Fuller WR Texas A & M   GM Trent Baalke may want to clean house at the WR position after this season. One-year rental Braylon Edwards has yet to make an impact for the ‘Niners and is questionable to return in 2012. Michael Crabtree is apparently allergic to practice and has to be considered a moderate bust considering where he was drafted. Josh Morgan is a good fit in the WCO, but rarely makes a big play. Fuller’s stock has slipped a bit this season, but his great size and experience in Mike Sherman’s WCO should keep him from sliding past the second round.

2. (54) Pittsburgh Steelers- Cordy Glenn G Georgia   The Steelers double dip with another reinforcement for their battered O-line. Glenn is a huge (6-5/336), powerful run-blocker who could line up at either guard position and even play OT in a pinch. A battle-tested, four-year starter in the rugged SEC, Glenn could probably step into the Steelers’ lineup immediately.

2. (55) Buffalo Bills- Levy Adcock OT Oklahoma State   I’m not as high on Adcock as some, but OTs come off the board quickly on Draft Day, so the Bills could overdraft him in order to address their glaring need at RT. Adcock offers very good size (6-5/322) and ahleticism.

Wright's explosive 2011 season garnered a look in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft

2. (56) Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Kendall Wright WR Baylor   The electrifying Wright is emerging as an All-American candidate with 40 catches, 621 yards and 7 TDs. The Bucs have no trouble bullying opponents with their big receivers and imposing ground game, but a speedy, McClusteresque slot target like Wright could add some excitement to a vanilla offense.

2. (57) San Diego Chargers- Delano Howell SS Stanford   I’m pretty sure that Bob Sanders is finished for good this time, so there’s a hole at SS. Howell isn’t getting the press that he deserves while living in the shadows of Andrew Luck and Jonathan Martin, but he’s a smart, consistent prospect who may not be as far behind Barron and Armstrong as some might think. An excellent athlete and a snot bubble hitter, Howell (5-11/200) has the potential to be a starter very early in his NFL career. Similar to Cleveland’s T.J. Ward.

2. (58) Houston Texans- Josh Chapman NT Alabama   Chapman often gets lost in the shuffle with all of the high-profile talent in Tuscaloosa. A workmanlike 3-4 anchor with great base strength, Chapman is okay with doing the dirty work in the trenches.

2. (59) New York Giants- Cam Johnson DE Virginia   When the Giants stop drafting pass-rushers, I’ll stop mocking pass-rushers to them. Johnson is an underrated, athletic all-around  DE with good size (6-4/273) and a knack for making big plays. The Giants never seem to have enough DEs and Osi Umenyiora is going into his 10th season in 2012, so this isn’t a stretch.

2. (60) Detroit Lions- Kelechi Osemele OT/G Iowa State   The Lions need help at LT, RT and RG. Osemele, who’s stock may slip a bit as he continues to deal with a nagging ankle injury, can play all of those positions and would be a boon to the running game at 6-5/335. Osemele’s versatility would give the Lions some flexibility as they rebuild the O-line this offseason.

2. (61) New England Patriots- Devon Still DE/DT Penn State   Another big, versatile D-lineman for the Pats, who should be focused on revamping an old, ineffective D-line this offseason. Still is flying under the radar on an unwatchable Penn State squad, but he shows very good upside as a 3-tech/5-tech.

2. (62) New Orleans Saints- Kheeston Randall DT Texas   Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers are both playing under one-year contracts and on the wrong side of thirty. Randall doesn’t offer much of a pass rush, but he’s a stout run defender who could absorb blockes and help free up Will Smith, Sedrick Ellis and Cameron Jordan.

2. (63) Baltimore Ravens- Trumaine Johnson CB/FS Montana   This pick is probably a stretch at this point, but I really like this small school stud’s potential. I actually have Johnson rated higher than Cliff Harris. His great size (6-2/205), athleticism, and versatility could tempt Ravens’ GM Ozzie Newsome.

2. (64) Green Bay Packers- Bruce Irvin DE/OLB West Virginia   Dom Capers worked miracles with Frank Zombo and Erik Walden at ROLB last season, but neither guy is the long term solution opposite Clay Matthews. Irvin (6-3/245) is really being misused as a DE in WVU’s funky defensive set. He’s an explosive pass-rusher who could blossom as a 3-4 OLB at the next level.

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