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jrry32

Jrry32 Post-Cooks Mock Draft

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It's been a little while since my last mock, and the Rams have made a couple major splashes. I actually tried very hard to identify some new guys to throw into this mock, but after a fairly exhaustive search, I felt the guys I keep coming back to have the best film. 
 
My process for Day 3 picks is to look for special traits. Guys who fall to Day 3 have flaws. You can find diamonds in the rough by finding guys who have special traits that translate to the NFL. Those traits might allow them to overcome their flaws. I really looked far and wide for edge guys, and nobody who is currently slotted in the 3rd round or later range has impressed me more than Jeff Holland. I looked into guys who put up great athletic testing numbers as our second edge guy on Day 3, but none of them had a trait like Mata'afa's get-off. 
 
Anyways, the point I'm making is that I'd like to offer new players to give you more names, but I am trying to hone in on the guys who I feel will help this team the most. And based on all the film I've watched thus far, the guys below are those players.
Trades
Rams trade Round 4 Pick #35, Round 4 Pick #36, and Round 6 Pick #21
Broncos trade Round 4 Pick #13 and Round 5 Pick #23
 
We trade up in the 4th round with the Broncos to land our developmental LT.
 
NFL Draft
Round 3 Pick #23 - Shaquem Griffin ILB/OLB UCF
Analysis: Griffin checks in at 6'0" 227 pounds with surprising power and elite burst/speed. Griffin closes like few can at the LB position, and his 4.38 40 at the Combine reflects his freakish speed. He's been a highly-effective pass rusher because of his ability diverse set of rush moves and evolved pass rush plan along with his elite speed and quickness off the edge. He doesn't have the size to hold up as an edge, but he should be an effective blitzer. Griffin has had plenty of snaps in coverage and shows the athleticism to handle M2M coverage responsibilities in the NFL. In the running game, he's a sideline-to-sideline LB who will sift through traffic to make TFLs. He can also close from the backside due to his incredible speed. Despite his small stature, Griffin has shown the ability to work off of and through blockers. Griffin's missing hand can limit him at times. It can make it harder for him to disengage from blocks and can cause him to miss tackles. However, Griffin's unique blend of elite speed for his position along with top-notch instincts means that the tackles he generally misses due to his hand are tackles that few other LBs would have been in a position to make. Griffin is a film room junkie who went as far as to put his mattress in the facility during camp to allow himself to stay overnight to watch more film. It shows in his play through his tremendous instincts, tendency to be in the right place at the right time, and his evolved pass rush plan. Simply put, if Griffin had two hands, I think he'd be considered one of the top players in the Draft. He's been highly productive the past two years at UCF and won the Senior Bowl Practice Player of the Week Award. His game reminds me of Lavonte David and Deion Jones.
 
Round 4 Pick #11 - Jeff Holland OLB Auburn
Analysis: You may not have heard of Jeff Holland as he only has one year of starting experience, but he made the most of that year by posting 45 tackles, 13 TFLs, 10 sacks, and 4 FFs in his only year starting in the SEC. What stood out to me while watching Holland is all of the stats that won't show up on the box score. I don't know if I've seen another guy in this class who pressures the QB as much as Holland. Watching his bowl game against UCF, he pressured the QB on almost every single passing play. At 6'1" 249 pounds with 33.5 arms and 10.5 hands, Holland has very long arms and big hands for his size. He definitely fits the mold of a 3-4 OLB. Holland uses his long arms and big hands to win consistently as an edge rusher. He has some of the most polished hand usage and sophisticated pass rush plans in this class. Holland actually has taken martial arts training to improve his hand fighting ability. As it stands now, his go-to moves are the two-handed swipe and the rip and run. Holland consistently wins off the edge by using his advanced hand usage, outstanding punch timing, natural leverage, and polished body positioning to thwart the attempts of tackles to push him past the pocket. Holland's powerful lower body and great balance also allow him to flatten out when turning the corner and prevent OTs from riding him past the QB. Young pass rushers should watch Holland's film to learn how to use their inside arm to soften the edge. Simply put, Holland won't be a workout warrior and doesn't have the prettiest looking body, but he wins as a pass rusher with technical skill, football IQ, heavy hands, power, balance, and tenaciousness. He actually posted comparable production to Carl Lawson, who posted 8.5 sacks as a rookie with the Bengals in 2017. As a run defender, Holland uses his natural leverage, power, and advanced hand usage to set a hard edge. He has some tightness in his lower body which limits his ability to drop into coverage and prevents him from reaching his full potential as a finisher and as a run defender in space, but Holland is a tenacious pass rusher who should drive NFL QBs crazy with his constant pressure.
 
Round 4 Pick #13 - Geron Christian OT Louisville
Analysis: Geron Christian started every game during his college career for Louisville, including his entire true freshman season. At 6'5" 298 pounds with 35 inch arms and 10.75 inch hands, Christian is not lacking for NFL measurables. Louisville's scheme asks their OTs to flip between LT and RT during the game, so Christian has ample experience at both spots, which makes him an ideal player for a swing OT role as a rookie. As a pass protector, Christian is remarkably steady. He is a natural bender who sits comfortably in his space, mirrors with ease, has light feet and smooth change of directional skills, and positions himself well to not give DLs easy pressure or sacks. Christian lost very few snaps in pass protection in the film I watched. He uses his length, smooth athleticism, and great balance to frustrate pass rushers trying to get the better of him. The only two criticisms I have of him as a pass protector are that he needs to be more precise with his punch placement and he needs to get stronger. With his punch placement, his hands have a tendency to end up outside on the DL. With his functional strength, he needs a stronger anchor against bull rushers. He does a nice job of recovering when he's initial beat with a bull rush, but he gives a bit too much ground at times. As a run blocker, Christian definitely needs to get stronger. He doesn't generate a lot of movement in the ground game. He's more an angle and positioning blocker. He's steady in that regard and rarely blows assignments, but he also doesn't blow people off the ball. All in all, he's a guy who can step in and hold his own as a rookie swing OT, and if he gets stronger in the NFL, he has starting OT potential down the line. At only 21 years old, Christian has time to develop his game.
 
Round 5 Pick #23 - Hercules Mata'afa OLB Washington State
Analysis: Mata'afa was an incredibly productive player in his final year at Washington State posting 45 tackles, 22.5 TFLs, and 10.5 sacks as an undersized DT. At 6'2" 252 pounds with only 31.5 inch arms, Mata'afa will not be playing DT in the NFL. With a strong Combine, I felt Mata'afa could boost himself into the first round like Melvin Ingram did by proving he was a 3-4 OLB instead of a tweener. Unfortunately for Mata'afa, he had an underwhelming Combine which have only made the belief that he's a tweener intensify. Still, Mata'afa's film shows a kid with elite get-off who anticipates the snap count well and can play under blockers. Mata'afa has a non-stop motor, the strength to set the edge, good quickness, and a nose for the football. He has great football character, outstanding overall intangibles, and a will to be the best. Mata'afa may not have the athleticism to win on the edge in the NFL, but I think it's worth a try. He's the type of kid who will work as hard as anyone to try and make it happen. With his special traits, I think there's certainly a chance that he can develop into a dangerous pass rusher in the NFL. At minimum, he should contribute on special teams.
 
Round 6 Pick #2 - Jack Cichy ILB Wisconsin
Analysis: Cichy is just a really good football player. The problem for him is his injury history. He missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL, and he missed half of the 2016 season with a torn pectoral muscle. However, I think it's worth the risk because he's a Day 2 talent on tape. Cichy is a very smart and sound football player who possesses good athleticism for his size. At 6'2" 238 pounds with solid arm length, Cichy has the dimensions of a NFL ILB. While Cichy won't overpower blockers, he is quite adept at slipping blocks due to his advanced hand usage and agility. He sifts through traffic well, plays with consistent gap integrity, and tackles well, even in space. Cichy also reads his keys well and rarely takes false steps. The thing that stands out the most is Cichy's ability to close when he gets a path to the runner. He may not run a 4.4 40, but he plays fast. As a blitzer, Cichy is highly effective due to his outstanding anticipation of the snap count and his hand usage when rushing the passer. He puts a lot of pressure on the QB when used on A-gap blitzes. His cover skills are good; although, he's a better zone defender than man defender. Cichy also has that sort of annoying style that gets into the heads of offensive players. He plays through the whistle, is constantly buzzing around opposing players, and has a non-stop motor. All in all, Cichy checks all the boxes and should contribute in the NFL if he stays healthy. He'll be great depth at ILB and can contribute on special teams. If Cichy is gone, Tegray Scales is another possible name here.
 
Round 6 Pick #9 - Tony Adams C/OG N.C. State
Analysis: Tony Adams is a guy I just recently stumbled upon after reading Lance Zierlein's sleeper list. As y'all know, I'm a big fan of Zierlein's OL evaluations, and I must agree that Adams is a sleeper in this Draft. At 6'1" 302 pounds, Adams is going to be overlooked for his lack of height. However, he has 33.5 inch arms, which more than compensate for that lack of height. Adams is a four-year starter at RG and team captain. He did play some Center as a freshman, and that's where I think he ends up in the NFL. Adams is a former high school wrestler and tennis star. You can see both of those sports in his game as he has the upper body strength and hand-eye coordination that you expect from a wrestler with the quality footwork and great balance you expect from a tennis player. Adams rarely falls off blocks, positions himself beautifully when executing his blocking assignments, and is very comfortable blocking in space and on the second level. He times his punches well, he's very reliable in pass protection, and he executes his assignments consistently as a run blocker. What are his weaknesses? He only possesses average overall strength, so he doesn't generate a lot of push in the running game, and he can get pushed back by very strong DTs. Nevertheless, he uses angles and positioning well in the running game to open up holes, and he competes hard as a pass protector. I think Adams would be an outstanding fit in our scheme because of his versatility and how well he fits the Center position in Kromer's blocking scheme. This kid may not be a HOFer, but he strikes me as a guy who has the ability to be a very solid starting Center for a long time in the right scheme.
 
Round 6 Pick #20 - Phillip Lindsay HB Colorado
Analysis: Phillip Lindsay's nickname is the "Tasmanian Devil" because of his endless energy, toughness, and refusal to let his size limit him. At 5'7" 185 pounds, Lindsay is definitely undersized, but that didn't stop him from rushing for 2726 yards and 30 TDs over the past two seasons at Colorado. He also caught 76 passes during that time. Lindsay is a fearless pass protector who will stonewall edge rushers despite his small stature. He saved his QB from a number of hits in college. He's actually been compared to Chris Thompson by some, and there's validity to the comparison. Lindsay is small with good speed (4.39 40 at his Pro Day), great pass protection skills, and good pass-catching skills. He won't break a lot of tackles as a runner, but he'll get what's blocked. He has the potential to be a valuable HB on passing downs. 
 
Projected Starters
QB: Jared Goff
HB: Todd Gurley
WR: Brandin Cooks
WR: Robert Woods
WR: Cooper Kupp
TE: Gerald Everett
LT: Andrew Whitworth
LG: Rodger Saffold
C: John Sullivan
RG: Jamon Brown
RT: Rob Havenstein
 
SDE: Michael Brockers
NT: Ndamukong Suh
DT: Aaron Donald
WOLB: Matt Longacre
WILB: Mark Barron
SILB: Cory Littleton
SOLB: Samson Ebukam
LCB: Marcus Peters
RCB: Aqib Talib
SLCB: Nickell Robey-Coleman
FS: LaMarcus Joyner
SS: John Johnson III
 
K: Greg Zuerlein
P: Johnny Hekker
LS: Jake McQuaide

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Posted (edited)

And as you guys can tell, I think what we should be looking for in edge rushers are guys who can run the arc and will bring it on every down in terms of motor and tenaciousness. With Donald, Suh, and Brockers inside, we don't need elite edges. What we need are guys who will make it difficult on QBs who try to take deeper drops and bail out the back of the pocket and will refuse to quit on the play. With our interior DLs, there will be plenty of clean-up sacks available for plays where the QB gets flushed due to inside pressure.

EDIT: And one other scenario I considered was adding Kemoko Turay with our 3rd, keeping Jeff Holland where he is, and adding Tegray Scales with our 4th Round Comp Pick. I would have added a different OT with our other 4th Round Comp Pick. However, I didn't want to pass on Geron Christian. 

Edited by jrry32

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Like it a lot! Your Holland pick has grown on me the more I read and see on him. I've mocked Christian a couple times to us on that other site so you know I like him. I'll have to look at what Zierlein says about a few of the guys I looked at in the 6th as well. I can very easily see us going 3 or 4 LB and 2 or 3 OLine. 

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I’d be good with it.  Christian is solid in pass pro, but leaves much to be desired in the ground game, however in the 4th round you aren’t going to find perfect prospects and pass pro is more important.  

 

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No real complaints with this mock.  Love the Griffin, Holland, Cichy, Lindsay picks.    Really think Cichy/Lindsay will be a steal.  I admittedly haven't watched a lot of Christian but we certainly need a developmental LT of the future.

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