Just a quick few ideals before the draft. I will likely have something after the draft, as a reaction, but more
*I’ll be OK with anyone we pick. I might not love the value immediately, but a lot of the “why did they do this instead of this” lies in wanting your guy. More often than not, your favorite team isn’t going to pick your favorite player. Over time, I anticipate whoever is at 9 and gets picked, to be a guy who helps out, a lot.
*I understand the thoughts for WR or OL. I still want defense more, and there’s enough defense out there to make it realistic. That said, I don’t want Luke Kuechly – he’s not what I’d expect out of a top 10 player at LB. And, if he’s picked, at least one of our LBs is outright screwed for his career, which is another thing I’d certainly rather not have.
*I still more or less believe in Melvin Ingram or Courney Upshaw on this team more than Quentin Coples, but Coples is the better player. If he’s there, I expect he’ll be the pick, barring a surprise like another player higher than him being there (unlikely). If they get to him, he’ll be their pick. If not, I bet he slides a good deal – if we don’t like him, it’ll be a hard sell that there isn’t a reason why. I can’t say I’ve made my peace with Coples’ loafing, or honestly his technique issues. I’m still concerned. Maybe I’m, at this late point in the process, willing to defer since Cam Newton clearly came out of the same concerns so brilliantly.
But, Ingram and Upshaw duplicate Greg Hardy less, and are more versatile in this pro multiple scheme. And I do want more of an outside rusher, which they are. Ideally, Charles Johnson would play the left end more than the guy we'd draft. Any of them are talented enough that they will help, regardless of what flavor, and while I'd really prefer a good DT to DE, rush is and always will be at a premium.
*SO with that said, in a crude flow form – and expecting the top 5-6 guys out there, my preference falls on these players in order:
3. Riley Reiff
4. Courtney Upshaw
5. Stephon Gilmore
6. David Decastro
7. Michael Brockers
*Floyd isn’t there – I don’t find him as dynamic as many do just because he did run well. But, he fits, very much so. I wouldn’t, but I’d understand, if he were the pick. Kuechly, or any DT not Brockers, I don’t get at all at 9.
*I’d be in favor of a trade down, especially if Coples isn’t there. Not that he’s the must-have, just that he’s the only guy that could fall to us that shouldn’t.
Even so, if he were there, is the lesser between Ingram or Upshaw (both higher motor players who fit our versatile scheme better) that much worse that you couldn’t drop back and get a 2nd rounder? At least half of those guys I listed above would be there at 16. Any of the DTs, except possibly one, would be there too. And then you’d have the ability to go get another defender at 40, and likely follow that with an offensive player.
So, technically, the above list would have “trade down” #1, and the rest behind that. I seem to like what’s there around 15 more than I do 9, and do like a lot of what is suggested to be around 40 – enough that a second pick around there wouldn’t break my heart at all.
*I have our needs as:
In that order. I don’t have WR down because I don’t believe anyone lower than Blackmon/Floyd really upgrade us, and Floyd IMO is just a possession guy – too high for a guy like that.
I also have DE low because it’s not the “need” the others are. The DL that I have listed are, in my opinion, true upgrades and do make us better, but we don’t have to have a guy like that otherwise. We could do just as well with a Jared Crick later – a guy who could take some snaps at DE for the run, and go inside for the pass.
*Even with Tolbert, I wouldn’t totally expect we don’t take an undersized RB to fit behind he and the two RBs. Rivera talked about Sproles in a way that suggested he wanted a guy like that, and a guy with some return ability and missing NFL size might make sense late.
*Jimmy Clausen did work out with Floyd in his showcase. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if there’s a trade, and that it would come at a low price for Carolina (or trade-up fodder).
*We could draft nothing but OL and DL and be fine.