This is really, really, really early, so that I don't really expect things to shake out this way, because it is so early in the offseason. Why is that, you ask? Well, at this point, we have not been able to deal with our own free agents, address any positions through available free agents, and also very importantly, the current draft projections are based on proposed player values, which will absolutely change between now and the draft due to the combine and various pro days. So, this is projected as of now, with so many variables that will undoubtedly change between now and the actual draft.
Still, I am just as bored as anyone else at this point of the season, because I don't like the teams in the Super Bowl, and there being so long to wait before any real information comes out regarding the draft and/or free agency movement.
So, based on full length mocks and a current ranking of draftees, here is what I came out with:
First round - Anthony Barr, OLB. In pretty much every mock that I have seen, Watkins is available here, but I simply don't see us taking him at this spot. Barr addresses the highest need on the team, which is the ability to pressure the QB. While I personally don't know if he will turn out to be another Von Miller, because he is so raw, his motor is undeniable, as is his athletic ability. Whether or not another DE is brought in, and I assume that there will be, it will only make the pass rush and Barr that much more effective. Watkins may be a playmaker, but I think that if it comes down to it, that Reggie would take a defensive player over an offensive one at this time.
I have seen different mocks that have QB's available at this spot, but again, I think that Reggie goes for defense; I just don't think he will see any QB's this year that seem worth the flyer at #5. I understand that there are those that won't agree; that's fine, but this is my guess, as of now anyway.
Second round - Trent Murphy, DE. A nice pickup here, continuing to address the weakest spot on the defense. Also, Murphy was the highest rated player that I had on the board, and it does seem as though that is how Reggie likes to work his draft. Most of the drafts I saw had Ealy going before Murphy, although if Ealy fell this far, I would slot him in for the same reason that Murphy stood out. It is a happy coincidence that BPA and need dovetail here.
Third round - Bishop Sankey, RB. Personally, not a big fan of this being the pick, because I don't see RB as being enough of a need to address at this point in the draft. Still, BPA, BPA, BPA. Not a bad pick, because he will ensure that injuries at the position will not cause major problems, he has some nice skills, but just not what I would think I would necessarily take. Depending on what happens in free agency, though, such as if we do not bring back Jennings, this could be a very solid pick. Again, so early in the season, it really is too soon to say.
Fourth round - Aaron Donald, DT. Don't know that he carries quite as much beef as I'd like, but another confluence of BPA and need, depending on how free agency works out. Especially if Sims, and possibly Walker, is brought back, this should give the rotation much better depth and talent, which could only help keep starters fresher throughout the course of the season.
Fifth round - I wish.
Sixth round - Kadeem Edwards, OG. We have so many areas of need that it once again looks that BPA coincides. It isn't that our roster all sucks, but that there is need at almost every position to improve depth, or to possibly upgrade starters. Our starting lineup at the beginning of last year didn't look that bad, but some better starters and definitely depth almost everywhere will only help. Guard is one of the positions right now that needs at least one upgraded starter, although that could change (again) with what happens in free agency, both our own players and others.
Seventh round - Casey Pachall, QB. Okay, I admit it, this is my pick. I have said it before, and will keep saying it, that I think that this guy could definitely be worth a flyer. Big kid with all the measureables, has had some pretty good success in a pro style offense, but has had a few injuries and substance abuse issues. Those issues seem to have been addressed and overcome, but will almost certainly cause a freefall to this area of the draft. A gamer that could definitely pan out; not a bad flyer in this round, especially at this position.
Supplemental seventh round - (Obviously I am of the belief that there will be a supplemental pick awarded, and that it will probably be a seventh rounder.) Ryan Hewitt, FB. This could be a nice pick that allows Marcel Reece to become a more integral X-factor in the offense, and still provide solid blocking whatever a pass or run.
Most of this mock is based on what I saw as the BPA being taken, with a few exceptions, mostly the last two. It can be argued whether Watkins or Barr is BPA; I think that they both bring a lot to the table, but that with all things being equal, that Reggie will look towards the defense in a tie.
This will be updated again, once after draftees are graded at the combine and pro days, and again after free agency as we head into the actual draft. It may be interesting to see how much this changes, and why...