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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The 28 Pick

Carolina has the 28th pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL draft. Here's
what you might expect with the pick.

Need is hard to say - given the massive needs the team will have, and
hopefully address, before the late April draft. But, it's safe to say
that OT, DB, WR are most likely, QB, RB, and DT are least likely. That
part of the picture will take a while to fully develop.

But, we know plenty - the money, the history - and so we'll start
there. For one, and this is nice, Carolina isn't missing any top draft
picks; they lose a 7th rounder for a 2011 trade to get Colin Jones, a
top special teamer, and they appear to get a 7th back for the Jon Beason
trade, last year. So, the remaining draft picks are in place and 7ths
tend to be more inconsequential anyway.

28 – Sylvester Williams DT Broncos
60 – Robert Alford CB Falcons

Williams was the 8th DL and 4th DT taken. He provided 2 sacks, 4
starts, with 19 tackles total. His contract was $7.6 million over
four years. First year cap hit was 1.378 million.
Picked directly after was Cordarelle Patterson, a lanky WR with top
speed who excelled as a returner and has started to blossom as a WR;
Matt Elam is a starting S for the Ravens, Zach Ertz has been a good TE;
Johnathan Banks provided a good sized corner to Tampa; Carolina's own
Kawann Short would be starting at DT on most teams.

Alford has been a good corner at 60 for Atlanta. Eddie Lacy, picked
right after, has been good as well; a favorite of mine, Larry Warford
has been incredible at G. Behind that, Tyrann Mathieu and TJ McDonald
have been good CBs, and Keenan Allen has been a top rookie WR (though he
never deserved to fall that far).

28 – OLB Nick Perry Packers
60 – Kelichi Osemele G Ravens
Perry, a big USC rusher, followed up a Redshirt Junior campaign of 8.5
sacks with a pro career of 11 starts and 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and
appears to be coming into his own. Perry's contract was 4 years, 7.5

Behind him, AJ Jenkins and Brian Quick have been more miss than hit at
WR. Alshon Jeffery was picked mid-round 2 but would certainly go higher
now (he was picked behind Stephen Hill, who hasn't put it together yet).
Coby Fleenor has been a top TE. Carolina grabbed Amini Silatolu right
between solid OT starters Mitchell Schwartz and Cordy Glenn (I'd gladly
take either type guy at 28). Janoris Jenkins has been the only DB of
note in the area, your mileage may vary on that one.

at 60, Osemele has been an asset, though he's also dealt with ongoing
back problems. Casey Heyward is a top young CB but there's not a lot to
die for around this pick. Jacksonville picked a punter ahead of Russell
Wilson - think about that one for a second.

28 – Mark Ingram RB Saints
60 – Shane Vereen RB Patriots

Ingram's contract was 4 years, $7.42 million. He's a tough one to
read because of the rotation, and New Orleans uses the more versatile
players more.
Gabe Carimi, picked right after by the Bears, was the next OL picked -
and he's now a guard for the Bucs, so they didn't exactly kill that
pick; Ras-I Dowling can't stay healthy at CB, though Aaron Williams has
been a good starter after moving to S. Two starting playoff QBs in this
area, Orlando Franklin was a solid starter at OT when healthy.

Vereen's been a good starter, as has been DeMarco Murray; Carolina
busted Terrell McClain a few picks later. Marcus Gilbert's been a start
at OT.
Not a lot I have to have in this draft in this area. Carolina
certainly got nothing of it, picking three defenders in the next 40
picks and having none of them. Jordan Cameron would be neat to ahve
right now, and he's a guy I was interested in, I guess, along with Sam
Acho (11 sacks in 3 years).

Value Summary -
Obviously, the big thing is picking correctly. You have to get the
best player, and you'll tend to find better lineman value at both 28 and
60, but mostly because they're safer (and you play five, so it's not
tough to get one on a field). WR is pretty hit or miss, as you might
expect in years 1-3 anyway. Some guys take a while, some come out right
at the start. DB is tougher to read outside 28. Tight end seems to
provide plenty enough value, in general.

Contract – it's reasonable to assume that extrapolating the past
contracts out, that each goes up by roughly $100k a year. The
difference between '11's Ingram and '13's Perry, which is the full span
of the new CBA, changes that first year cap hit by under $100k/year.
So, it's safe to assume that the 28th pick will be a 4 year, $7.7
million deal.

The Broncos' combo of Williams, RB Montee Ball ($629k cap hit 2013),
Kayvon Webster ($539k), Quanterus Smith ($336k), Tavarres King (now a
Panther, but either way - $405k), Zac Dysert ($417k) gives a somewhat
accurate estimate of what the draft class will cost - $3.7-3.8 million
for six picks to make the roster.

So, there's room to make something happen here, to grab a starter or
two. Carolina, obviously, has seen the value of a top draft (2013
really bolstered the defense), and the concern of blowing a draft (they
have essentially nothing to show for 2009-10-11 except a few starters at
positions they redundantly overdrafted for).
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