Rd. 2 - Danny Watkins (G, Baylor)
Danny Watkins has fast become one of my favourite players in this draft. He had a great Pro Day, he’s a big solid bloke who’s ready to start from day 1, he can move his man out in the run game (exactly what we need for Bush when he pounds it inside) while being athletic enough to pull and block downfield, his pass protection skills are good and he’s a hard working, blue collar sort that you love on the inside of the O-Line.
How does he fall to us at #48? Simple answer - he’s 27 years old. The teams ahead of us will want to go for guys who are seen to have higher upsides. With Al in perpetual win-now mode, however, I can see him being willing to go for Watkins with the #48 and sticking him at one of our vacant guard spots, with the re-signed Daniel Loper to fill the other.
Rd. 3 - Mason Foster (LB, Washington)
I know a lot of guys here love Casey Matthews, and were he at this spot I’d be taking a long hard look at him - but I feel that some team will reach for him in the second because of his name.
In that case, Foster would be a perfect consolation prize. He’s another guy I’ve sent to us in previous mock drafts cause I think his game fits exactly what we need in a LB right now - not flashy, but a safe tackler with great instincts in both pass and run coverage. He could go before this spot if a smart team realises his capabilities, but if not I’ll be hoping Al jumps on him.
Rd. 4 - Deunta Williams (FS, North Carolina)
I know there’s a lot of love here for the West Virginia Predator (Robert Sands) and Jaiquawn Jarrett from Temple - but I’m not sure if either have the speed that Al covets.
Also, I think I like Deunta Williams more than both of them. Before a leg injury ended his season and pre-draft campaign, Williams was talked about as a top-40 pick. I like his combination of physical ability and football instincts.
Rd. 5 - Jah Reid (OT, Central Florida)
Reid wasn’t a guy I knew much about before the Combine, but he was great there and backed it up at his pro day. He’s not a left tackle, but we have Veldheer - what he is is an old-fashioned bulldozing RT. I don’t think you’d want him to start from day 1, but he’ll be fine as a developmental tackle.
Al’s token "fastest guy available" pick. I know how much everyone here loves Buster Skrine, but as a fan of the U I want to take Van Dyke here (plus I have an automatic distrust of anyone who goes by "Buster." Long story.)
Van Dyke is raw and needs to build some more muscle, but he’s shown in workouts that he has the football instincts to back up his speed.
Rd. 7 - DeAndre Brown (WR, Southern Mississippi)
I mocked Brown to us in my last draft, and my reasons haven’t changed - he’s a big guy who’s not afraid to go over the middle and make the big catch even after his broken leg, while also delivering nasty blocks in the run game. I don’t think he has the speed to play WR in the NFL anymore, but with his size and blocking ability I’d be looking at moving him to tight end.
Rd. 7 (compo pick)- Josh Portis (QB, California of Pensylvania)
Again, the same as my last mock. I’ve been a fan of Portis since the Combine. With Gradkowski probably not coming back, the team could do worse than pick up a late-round developmental QB with a good arm and the ability to make plays with his feet. Portis has character concerns (a theft charge) but with a 7th round compo pick, who cares?