The scouting combine is valuable for many reasons. One of the primary reasons for the whole event is that it allows coaches, general managers. and team owners to get a sense of priorities and targets in a huge pool of talent. That applies to the faux-GMs who do mock drafts, including your humble draft correspondent. With Pro Days and player interviews coming up, there’s still a lot to get through, and that’s why we’ll have multiple mocks over the next two months. But after the combine is when things start to shake out. Linemen dominate the second half of the first round of our mock, but this is where as many as three safeties could be selected, as well. Picks 17-32 below; you can see picks 1-16 here . 17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri. The Steelers have struggled to strengthen their defensive line in the last few drafts, and Richardson could be an ideal five-five tech in Dick LeBeau’s system. At 6-foot-3 and 294 pounds, Richardson has the strength to plug up blocks, and the athleticism to drop into coverage. 18. Dallas Cowboys: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame. Well, we know that Jerry Jones won’t be “wasting” any high picks on Dallas’ offensive line. So, they might as well get Jason Witten’s eventual replacement now, and allow Tony Romo one more hot route per play while he’s getting his block knocked off. Eifert is a good blocker, but he’s best known for his ability to line up along the formation, and Jason Garrett was a bit more adventurous with his receiver formations at times in 2012. We’ll just have to wait and see how many of the plays he’ll be calling. 19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. I’m not quite as sold on Werner as some — I think he’s a good run-stopper, a very aware defender in space, and a decent pass-rusher. But I don’t see him beating blocks a lot, and he may be a low-ceiling player. The Giants would take that and run with it, as their front seven is in transition. Last season, the G-Men ranked 30th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards metric, and 22nd in Adjusted Sack Rate. He may not be a transcendent player, but Werner could definitely help in both categories. 20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame. Here’s my reasoning for this one. All the best offensive linemen are gone in this mock, and Alabama’s D.J. Fluker might not fit head coach Marc Trestman’s more expansive offense. New Bears GM Phil Emery is an outside-the-box thinker, and Te’o’s productivity from a statistical perspective will appeal to him. In addition, Te’o will benefit greatly from a locker room that includes legendary linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. He’ll be able to mature in a defense perfectly suited to his strengths (decent speed in space) while the Bears front is optimized to minimize his weakness (thumping heads at the line). It will be tough for Te’o as this pick would be a clear indicator that the Urlacher era is close to an end, but I could see Emery taking a shot on the idea that Te’o is the next James Laurinaitis in the right environment. 21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida. The Bengals’ safeties were abused in 2012, and changes clearly need to made in their deep defensive backfield. As he proved at the combine, Elam has the speed and transition ability to transform this weakness to a strength, especially under the direction of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. 22. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas. The Rams are an up-and-coming team, but they’ll need to reinforce their secondary for that next-level championship push. Jeff Fisher loves aggressive safeties with attitude who don’t fear contact in the front half, and Vaccaro plays the front half and back half with equal aplomb. 23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal. Allen missed the combine because his knee injury last year flared up. The plan is for him to have an individual Pro Day in early April, and if that goes well, it would be easy to see the Vikings pulling the trigger on another target for Christian Ponder, especially if Percy Harvin is on the way out. Allen is an ideal receiver for a quarterback who doesn’t have a big arm (as Ponder does not) — he’s very dynamic after the catch, has better speed than some think, and plays with a lot of toughness. 24. Indianapolis Colts: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. Opinions vary greatly on Moore, especially after his sub-par combine workouts Some will tell you that he’s the next Aldon Smith, and others will swear that he’s an oversold outside rusher with limited upside. Personally, I think Moore is a talented kid who needs work on angles, leverage, and hand and foot movement, and that Chuck Pagano is the ideal person to start Moore on his way — especially since Pagano will want to play more snaps in a “traditional” 3-4 defense this season. Ideally, Moore will be able to kick it outside in base packages, and move inside on passing downs. 25. Seattle Seahawks: Datone Jones, DL, UCLA.
Read the original post:
The Shutdown Corner post-combine mock draft, picks 17-32: Safety dance starts in the second half (Shutdown Corner)