Friday, May 18, 2012

2013 NFL Mock Draft

Way too early edition! Order based on my own power rankings.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars- Matt Barkley, QB, USC

If the Jags are picking first then obviously Blaine Gabbert didn't get the job done. Since there is a different head coach in Jacksonville than the one that drafted Gabbert he will have no problem taking another QB, especially if he's in position to get the best in the draft. Every head coach wants their own guy at QB.

2. Oakland Raiders- Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

Hue Jackson brought Carson Palmer into Oakland and paid a king's ransom to get him. Since then Oakland hired a new GM and Jackson is gone. After a full season of Palmer throwing picks the Raiders will be in the market for a new QB.

3. Cleveland Browns- Robert Woods, WR, USC

Cleveland should have taken a WR in the first round for the last 3 years. They haven't, they have no playmakers at the position, and the continue to lose and draft very high. They decided to take a 1st round QB this year, but it's not going to make a difference with no weapons on the outside. After another losing season they are going to have to finally cave in and get an elite WR prospect.

4. Indianapolis Colts- David Amerson, CB, NC State

The Colts lucked out and got Andrew Luck this year and did the right thing in getting him some weapons on offense, including two of the top TE's in the draft. However they basically ignored the defense completely and have a huge hole at CB. Indy was in bad shape anyway and this was going to be more that a one year turnaround so in 2013 they can focus on rebuilding that defense.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah

Brian Price hasn't gotten the job done up front on defense next to Gerald McCoy, the former 3rd overall pick. McCoy is more of a pass rushing threat and Lotulelei is a dominant run stuffer who is a perfect compliment to McCoy and will give the Bucs a dominant one two punch on the interior of that line.

6. St. Louis Rams- DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama

The Rams could have two high 1st round picks courtesy of the Washington Redskins. With this the Redskins pick they take the top OT on the board. I would say as of now their two biggest needs will be OT and a legit number one WR. Since it appears there will be about 4 WR's that could go in the top 25 they can wait and get their WR with their own pick.

7. Miami Dolphins- Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

The Dolphins took Ryan Tannehill who many think was a reach this year at number 8. Now the pressure will be on in Miami for him to do well and in short order. For that to happen they better get him some quality weapons and I think Wilson will seperate himself from the WR's after Woods.

8. Seattle Seahawks- Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU

It's impossible to predict what the Seahawks are going to do after taking Bruce Irvin about a full round too early. Irvin at best will be a situational pass rusher to start so the need at DE isn't filled in Seattle. Mingo would be too good of value to pass on at this point and can come in and be a complete DE right away.

9. St. Louis Rams- Keenan Allen, WR, California

Like I said before the Rams two biggest needs appear to be OT and WR. I like what they did in this year's draft getting Brian Quick and I think pairing Quick with Allen gives the Rams a legit number 1 WR and two quality big tall fast WR's for Bradford to throw to.

10. Minnesota Vikings- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Many might have Tyrann Mathieu rated higher than Rhodes, but I saw the trend this year with Gilmore going in the top 10 because of his size. Teams like big CB's and the Vikings should especially with big WR's Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, and Brandon Marshall all in their division. The Vikings have a hole at CB and with 3 pro bowl QB's in their division have to get some quality cover guys and pass rushers to help defend the pass.

11. Kansas City Chiefs- Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech

The Chiefs have a talented team and if they're picking in the top half of the first round it's because Matt Cassel didn't get the job done and his time will be up in KC. This will be the year if you need a QB to get one as there could be as many as 5 first round QB's.

12. Buffalo Bills- Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

Steve Johnson may be the most underrated WR in the NFL. The Bills have absolutely got to get him some help or teams are just going to bracket coverage, double, and triple team him and take away their only threat on offense.

13. Arizona Cardinals- Chris Faulk, OT, LSU

I understood what the Cards did in taking Floyd to get another weapon opposite Larry Fitzgerald. That said they have two overpaid, under performing OT's on their roster and it's going to be another season of their QB getting killed, whoever it is.

14. San Diego Chargers- Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU

Quinton Jammer is in his mid 30's and the Chargers have needed to add another CB since they traded Cromartie to the Jets. With Jammer losing a step in may be time for him to step into that nickel roll and bring in the Honey Badger who is a playmaker despite his size at 5'9". Matthieu creates turnovers and is a threat in the return game.

15. Tennessee Titans- Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

This would be too good of value to pass on, especially with Derrick Morgan not living up to the billing of a 1st rounder and the Titans having virtually no depth behind their starting two DE's. Montgomery also has the athleticism to stand up and play OLB on passing downs.

16. Dallas Cowboys- Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

The Cowboys bolstered their secondary in the 2012 off season which has been turned from a weakness to a strength with the additions of Carr and Claiborne at CB. Now they need to add a pass rusher across from Demarcus Ware. Jones could be a top 5 talent and a major value pick at this point.

17. New York Jets- Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

I don't think Rex Ryan is going to like either of the players he has at QB and instead will go after an elite runner and turn the Jets back into a defensive ground and pound team. Rex is going to realize the only way he gets that Super Bowl he keeps guaranting is to take the ball out of his QB's hands and dominate on defense.

18. Carolina Panthers- Johnathon Hankins, DT, Ohio State

The Panthers have stated that they are happy with their DT's, but if they play again in 2012 like they did last year they will change their mind. Big men like Hankins that have as much athleticism as he does is rare and he could play himself into a top 5 pick.

19. Chicago Bears- Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin

Wisconsin offensive lineman are a hot commodity. The Bears have got to get some early round players on their O Line soon. Jay Cutler can not keep going through seasons where he keeps taking the beatings that he does.

20. Philadelphia Eagles- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Andy Reid loves to draft O Lineman early and often. After going to the D Line in 2012 he'll be looking for an upgrade at RT in 2013. Matthews next to Danny Watkins will give the Eagles a road grading right side of the O Line for Vick and McCoy to run behind.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Eric Reid, Safety, LSU

The difference between good and great defenses is having a dominant Safety that can make game changing plays. To be good you have to be able to stuff the run and rush the passer up front and have good cover guys on the back end. The two best defenses in the NFL for the last decade have been the Steelers and Ravens and they had all of that plus a game changing Safety. It's time for the Bengals to get that elite Safety and I think Reid will end up being the best on the board in 2013. If Taylor Mays or Iloka end up working out then the Bengals could go in a different direction, but with not many holes on the roster as of now it might be time for them to go for that game changer at Safety.

22. Denver Broncos- Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue

The Broncos have two elite players at DE, but they are soft up the middle at DT. They did take Wolfe from the University of Cincinnati, but he is not going to be enough and is more of a pass rusher/penetrator vs Short who will be a run stuffer.

23. New Orleans Saints- Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Jonathon Vilma just got suspended for the season and he may be on the last leg of his career. The Saints could be looking for a new MLB for the 2013 season after being without their starter for the 2012 season.

24. Detroit Lions- Johnathon Banks, CB, Mississippi State

The Lions have a hole at CB and there were a few quality CB's on the board in the 2nd round this year when the Lions were on the clock. Instead they went with a WR coming off an ACL injury. With the Aaron Rodgers in their division they need some players who can cover if they want to over take the Packers in the NFC North.

25. Atlanta Falcons- Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

John Abraham is the only legit pass rusher the Falcons have at DE. You can tell he's completely gassed at the end of games as he has to do everything for that defense to provide a pass rush. Okafor is ready to be a complete DE right now in the NFL and will come in and be a 3 down player for Atlanta.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers- Jackson Jeffcoat, DE/OLB, Texas

The Steelers are getting old at LB across the board. They were unable to address LB early in this year's draft due to their needs on the O Line. Look for them to go LB heavy early and often in the 2013 draft.

27. San Francisco 49ers- Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

The Niners obviously aren't convinced that Alex Smith is the guy at QB. They pursued Peyton Manning and didn't pay Smith a lot of money or give him a lot of years. If Bray or Landry Jones is available they very well could take one of them.

28. Baltimore Ravens- Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

Rumor has it the Ravens really wanted Donta Hightower or Kevin Zeitler in the 1st round this year. Both were gone so they traded back and took Upshaw. Next year they will be looking to get younger in the middle at LB and find Ray Lewis' future replacement.

29. Houston Texans- Demarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama

If Kareem Jackson doesn't get it together this season the Texans could be replacing one Alabama CB with another. They will be looking for an upgrade across from Johnathon Joseph because Jackson isn't going to all of a sudden become a better player, he's a bust.

30. New York Giants- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

GM Jerry Reese loves to take big long DE's in the first round. Since he didn't do that this year he'll be dying to get back to that in 2013. Werner has the size to make him interchangable along the line which is exactly what the Giants look for and Osi may not be back in 2013.

31. Green Bay Packers- Barrett Jones, OT/OG,OC, Alabama

When you have Aaron Rodgers using a 1st round pick on an O lineman is never a bad idea. Especially when you can get someone like Jones. His versatility will make him valuable as he can play every single position on the line.

32. New England Patriots- Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

The Pats went defense heavy this year and they could do the same next year. Hunt would be a good fit in a 3-4 defense at DE. Tom Brady only has so many years left and Bill Belicheck will be looking to build as dominant a defense as possible as he knows Brady will put up points.

2nd Round

33. Jacksonville Jaguars- Khaled Holmes, OC, USC

The Jags current Center, Meester, will be 36 years old and is going into the final year of his deal. They will likely be looking for a new Center and Holmes will be the best true Center in this draft.

34. Cincinnati Bengals- Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas

With this pick from Oakland the Bengals will have turned Carson Palmer into Dre Kirkpatrick and now Knile Davis. As of now the Bengals don't have a ton of holes and will be drafting for depth. Adding Davis to Green-Ellis and Scott will give the Bengals a good 3 headed monster at RB. They can really go in about any direction with this pick, but if Davis is available he's a 1st round talent and would be an upgrade over everyone at RB.

35. Cleveland Browns- Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia

The Browns have had a franchise LT in Joe Thomas for years. They need to get someone that is an upgrade on the right side of that line, especially if they want to utilize the elite prospect they have at RB, Trent Richardson.

36. Indianapolis Colts- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Like I said earlier, I like what the Colts did in this year's draft focusing on their offense. The Colts were more than a year away and in this draft they can focus on their defense. They were terrible against the pass and in this mock they come away with 2 CB's with first round grades including the top CB in the draft. This will allow them to have an elite duo at CB that grows together.

37. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Johnathon Adams, CB, Michigan State

The Bucs opted to trade back and pass on taking Claiborne this year. They did come away with a great prospect in Mark Barron, but they still have a huge hole at CB and who knows if Talib is going to be in jail by the time this draft happens.

38. Washington Redskins- Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

I can't believe the Redskins opted to take another QB with limited draft picks after they had already taken RGIII. They really need weapons in the passing game and without a 1st round pick they better hope a quality WR is still on the board in the 2nd. Here they can reunite Williams with Griffin as they already have some chemistry, like the Colts did with Fleener and Luck.

39. Miami Dolphins- Tony Jefferson, Safety, Oklahoma

I'm not really sure why the Dolphins cut Yerimiah Bell when they really don't have any quality depth behind him. Then again I'm not sure why the Dolphins do a lot of the things that they do. That organization is a mess, reminds me of the Bengals of the 90's.

40. Seattle Seahawks- Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida

As far as predicting what Seattle will do, it is impossible. What they will likely need next season is an OLB if they're planning on sticking with a 4-3 defense which I'm not sure with them drafting the undersized pass rusher Bruce Irvin.

41. St. Louis Rams- Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

The Rams should have a really good team within a few years. They have a ton of picks in the top 50 three drafts in a row. They already have drafted 2 top end WR's and a franchise OT. Here they get the best TE in the draft and suddenly Sam Bradford has 3 talented young weapons that are receivers, plus Isiah Pead who can catch the ball out of the backfield.

42. Minnesota Vikings- Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma

The Vikings need a big WR for Christian Ponder to throw to. They do have Percy Harvin who's explosive, but he's a smaller slot guy. Stills will give them a big body in the red zone and someone who can be a possession WR and pick up 1st downs on 3rd and mediums.

43. Kansas City Chiefs- Sean Porter, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

The Chiefs need another pass rusher across from Tamba Hali. Teams have caught on and are chipping Hali with a RB and doubling him. Porter is a perfect fit as he can play in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 and Romeo Crennell runs kind of a hybrid like the Patriots.

44. Buffalo Bills- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

I thought Buffalo would look for a RT early in this year's draft, but they had too many other holes they filled. They better find someone quick or Fitzpatrick will be spending another season running for his life.

45. Arizona Cardinals- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

If Jones plays like he did in the first half of last season he'll be a 1st rounder. He has all the tools to be an elite QB. I don't think he'll last this far into the 2nd. If he's available after the 1st I think Arizona moves up to the top of the 2nd to get him.

46. San Diego Chargers- Da'Rick Rodgers, WR, Tennessee

The Chargers finally let Vincent Jackson go in free agency. Now they need to add another WR, their offense is going to struggle this season. It's going to be really bad if Antonio Gates isn't healthy all year because they have no one at WR.

47. Tennessee Titans- Carrington Bnydom, CB, Texas

I'm wondering what the Titans are going to do this season at CB with Cortland Finnegan gone. They're going to struggle to defend the pass and that's why you'll likely see them take a CB and pass rusher in the first 2 rounds next April.

48. Dallas Cowboys- TJ McDonald, Safety, USC

It seemed like everyone had Dallas taking Mark Barron this year in the draft. I don't think they'll take a Safety in the 1st now that they have 2 potential shut down CB's. However with there potentially being 5 high grade Safeties in the 2013 draft they could take one of the talented Safeties in the 2nd.

49. New York Jets- CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama

Like I said I don't think Rex Ryan believes in anyone he has at QB and will get back to being dominant and physical on defense and running the ball on offense. To dominate on defense you have to be tough up the middle, putting Mosley next to Bart Scott will give them that.

50. Carolina Panthers- Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M

Steve Smith has been begging the Panthers to get him some help at WR and they've never done it. They will next year because they are eager to sell tickets by showing they have a star at QB and for Newton to remain a star he has to have someone to throw to.

51. Chicago Bears- William Gholston, DE, Michigan State

The Bears need to add to their depth at DE. Yes they have Julius Peppers who is a beast, but they need to add some help. With all the quality offenses in that division you have to have pass rushers and cover guys if you want to win in that division.

52. Philadelphia Eagles- Kevin Reddick, LB, North Carolina

The Eagles need to be tougher up the middle on that defense. I think adding Fletcher Cox helps on the interior on passing downs but they need some tough guys that stick their head in there and stop the run. I thought Luke Kuechly would've been a great addition there this year, but he was gone.

53. Cincinnati Bengals- John Simon, DE, Ohio State

With really no holes left now that Safety and RB have been taken care of it's time to draft for depth. I think Micheal Johnson will be re-signed which will give them MJ and Dunlap to start. Simon could come in and pass rush from either the DE or DT position even though he's a bit undersized. The guy is a football player and in a rotation would be a great fit for the Bengals. They could also utilize him at OLB giving Zimmer the option to mix things up and throw a 3-4 at opposing offenses just to confuse them and give them a different look.

If Simon goes to a team with a smart, creative, defensive coordinator like the Bengals have with Zimmer he will be a great steal as the guy has a motor that doesn't stop and he's smart. Zimmer will use him correct and give the Bengals and additional pass rusher to rotate and he can play 3 different spots so you can line him up all over the place. This is the kind of toy to give to Zimmer that will give opposing offensive coordinators headaches.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bengals Draft Prospects for 2013

Now that the 2012 draft is in the books and the Bengals seem to have had a good one, it's time to look to 2013. It's impossible to predict who will work out in this year's draft, but the Bengals seem to have loaded up on interior D Line depth, drafted a starting Guard, a number 2 WR, and a starting CB for at least the next few years. Most draft pundits are giving the Bengals an A for their draft and lets hope they're right. They also landed Vontaze Burfict, a LB, who many thought would be a 1st round pick before the 2011 season. Due to character concerns he went undrafted, lets hope that humbled him and he turns it around and becomes a star at LB for the Bengals.

There's almost a full year until next year's draft so a lot can and probably will change between now and then. For now though it looks like the biggest needs heading into next off season will be a SS, RB, LB, and DE in that order. Also possibly another starting Guard depending on how Wharton, the free agent from Carolina, plays out. As far as the roster sits right now there are more than servicable players at those positions and some intruiging prospects so there aren't going to be "pressing needs." That said upgrades and depth are never a bad thing and it once again looks like the Bengals will be able to go with pretty much the best player available and add talent to the roster. Here's a look at some of the prospects the Bengals may be looking at heading into 2013.


Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma- Jefferson is a big hitter who has played some LB, been moved to Safety and is a punishing run defender. He can also hold his own in coverage and isn't a liability in the back end. The Bengals usually like their Safeties big though and he is only 5'9".

Tyrann Mathieu, LSU- I know Matthieu is listed as a CB, but some see him playing Safety in the NFL. He can play both and that versatility could make him more valuable. He is also only 5'9" and the Bengals like their Safeties big, but this guy can hit and make huge plays in pass coverage as well as the return game. I think Earl Thomas of the Seahawks, from Texas when I see Mathieu. This guy is just flat out a football player and a big time, game changing playmaker.

Eric Reid, LSU- Reid has the protypical size for a SS and is a big hitter which the Bengals will like. He'll likely be the 2nd from the LSU defensive backfield to be drafted in the 1st round. Was an imposing force in the middle of that vaunted LSU defense and came up big with a big interception in the first game vs Alabama. Finished tied for the team lead in tackles in 2011.

TJ McDonald, USC- Heading into his 3rd year as a starter at USC. McDonald is 6'3" and 210 lbs so he has the size. He has 6 career interceptions so the ball skills are there and he finished 3rd on the team in tackles. McDonald is the total package as a run stuffer and a pass defender and could very well end up being taken in the 1st round.

Robert Lester, Alabama- Lester isn't as heralded as teammate Mark Barron was in this year's draft, but if he continues to progress could be one of five Safeties that have a shot to be taken in the first round. After 2 down years as far as Safeties go, it could be a good draft to find an upgrade at the position. Many have graded Lester's ball skills better than that of teammate Barron but he has to become more forceful against the run to become a complete Safety worthy of a 1st round pick.


Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina- Could be the only RB taken in the 1st round in a league where the position has been devalued. Lattimore has the total package to be a 3 down back. He has good size, speed, power, and agility. He can catch the ball out of the backfield as well as pass protect. Not as highly rated as Trent Richardson or Adrian Peterson so it's unlikely he goes in that top 5-10 range. Also is coming off a devestating ACL injury. All that being said he could be an elite RB in the NFL and if the Bengals took Chris Perry in the 1st this guy is way better than Perry.

Montee Ball, Wisconsin- Ball has great size, power, quickness and vision. As of now he probably projects to go in the early 2nd round area. Could be available right in that range of our 2nd round pick from Oakland if they struggle this season. Ball scored a ton of TD's and comes from a line of Wisconsin backs where you don't know if it's the line or the back or a combination of both. Lots of busts have come from the Wisconsin backfield because scouts thought they were better than they really were due to that powerful line.

Knile Davis, Arkansas- Has good speed for his size at 6'0" 220 lbs. Would like to see Davis have another good season as he's only had one good year so far and has had some issues with consistency. Good fit for the AFC North though as he is a good runner between the tackles. If he has another good year I'd feel comfortable with the Bengals using a 2nd round pick on him over Ball as he plays in the tougher SEC and though Arkansas has a good line you don't see RB's being a product of the line there as much as Wisconsin.


Manti Te'o, Notre Dame- If Rey Maualuga struggles again this season it may be time to think about moving him back to SAM LB or making a switch. Te'o is a dominant interior run defender who likely would've been a 1st round pick this year. Has been starting at ND since he was a freshman. Has great instincts, the speed to chase down ball carriers in open space, and the strength to hold up inside. If he continues to play at a high level he could be a top ten pick.

Jarvis Jones, Georgia- Teams with a 3-4 defense will probably be drooling over Jones due to his ability to rush the passer, but he has the size and speed to play in a 4-3. Jones has great athleticism and constantly plays in the backfield. May be a top ten pick like Te'o, but would be a great addition at WILL LB for the Bengals. Would bring an extra dimension of an elite pass rusher from the LB spot who can also cover RB's and TE's and plays the run very well.

Shayne Skov, Stanford- Word is that he plays with big time intensity and had 1st round grades for this year, but that was derailed due to a knee injury. If he can stay healthy he could be a mid to late 1st rounder in 2012. Skov is an excellent run defender and would be an upgrade to the Bengals LB core who didn't do a very good job tackling in 2011.

Kevin Reddick, North Carolina- Lots of draft experts thought Reddick was coming out in 2012 and had him pegged as a 2nd rounder. His stock could go up or down, but I like his game. He's a LB who does everything well he can play the run, drop and cover both RB's and TE's, and can blitz a little bit. Will be a solid addition to any team as he's a consistent player who doesn't make many mistakes but isn't flashy. The kind of player every team needs to be champions.

Arthur Brown, Kansas State- Brown was a transfer from Miami (FL) and just came onto the scene last season. He had an excellent 2011 and has gotten comparisons to Ray Lewis due to his size and style of play. Has to show he's not a one year wonder though to get 1st round consideration but may be a steal in the 2nd or later.

Defensive End:

Sam Montgomery, LSU- For now Montgomery is thought to be a top 5 pick heading into next season. If the Bengals are picking high enough to get him I'll be disappointed. Montgomery has everything you look for in a DE he has that quick first step, explodes up the field, and can change direction instantly rushing the passer and can also stuff the run. If the Bengals want to become an elite defense they need to add that elite edge pass rusher and Montgomery would do that.

Barkevious Mingo, LSU- May need to add some bulk to play DE in a 4-3 but is ideal for a 3-4 OLB pass rushing off the edge. Could be a pass rusher in a 4-3 at his current size but not an every down player. Mingo has the frame to add the bulk though and will only be a junior at LSU. LSU could have the first two DE's off the board.

Alex Okafor, Texas- Okafor is in the same boat as Mingo as far as an elite pass rusher but needs to add bulk to be a 3 down DE in a 4-3. With the Bengals depth and rotation on the D Line both he and Mingo could fit in as a pass rushing specialist as the Bengals run an 8 man rotation on the line.

Devin Taylor, South Carolina- Taylor made the right decision going back to school. He had an excellent 2010 and was thought to be a 1st round pick heading into 2011 but didn't have a good season. If Taylor comes back strong in 2012 he could find himself being taken in the 1st he has all the tools to be a complete DE with his pass rushing ability and ability to stuff the run.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2013 NFL Mock Draft

The way too early edition! Order based on my own power rankings.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Robert Woods, WR, USC

The Bucs were too bad of a team to take a Safety in the top 10 of this year's draft. 1st round Safeties are for teams that are solid, with solid defenses and want to make a good defense great. They didn't do nearly enough to improve a bad team and that's why they're picking first. WR isn't the biggest need for Tampa, but they have to get value with the 1st overall pick. Since they don't need a QB this is the best player worth the pick at a high value position of need for the Bucs. In reality if TB ends up with the 1st pick I'd expect a trade down to a QB needy team.

2. Cleveland Browns- Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

Now if there is a trade up to number 1 for a QB then I would expect Woods to go here, except for the fact that Holmgren won't draft a WR in the 1st round. The Browns really need one though, at some point they have to think to themselves we need some elite playmakers on offense if we're going to win.

Sam Montgomery is a great pick though as he will add to a defense that really only has one legit pass rusher in Jabaal Sheard. In today's NFL you need to be able to throw the ball, pressure the QB, and defend the pass in the secondary. Teams that do those things consistently make the playoffs. The ones that do other things well also make deep runs in the playoffs.

3. Indianapolis Colts- Johnathon Hankins, NT, Ohio State

The Colts did a good job of getting some playmakers for Andrew Luck and if Woods was available here I think he'd be the pick to get Luck that elite WR like Manning had in a young Harrison and Wayne. Since he isn't you have to get the best value in a top 5 pick. That would be an elite NT for a defense switching to a 3-4. The Texans are now king of the AFC South and you have to beat them to win the division. That means stopping an elite rushing attack with Arian Foster and Ben Tate.

4. Oakland Raiders- Matt Barkley, QB, USC

By the time this draft rolls around the Raiders will realize Carson Palmer stinks and it's time to go in another direction at QB. For now Barkley is the early favorite to be the 1st QB off the board and probably number 1 overall as someone will trade up for him. That could very well be the Raiders as they don't mind trading away the future for one player. Thanks Raiders, from a Bengals fan for Dre Kirkpatrick and a 2nd rounder next year.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars- Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

I don't think Blaine Gabbert is going to get much of a chance in Jacksonville. The coach who drafted him is gone and if he doesn't win this year on a bad Jaguars team he'll be gone as well. They do have Justin Blackmon a legit WR 1 and MJD so some weapons are there.

6. Minnesota Vikings- David Amerson, CB, NC State

When you are in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew Stafford you better have some players who can cover. The Vikings could have taken Claiborne this year but opted for the franchise LT. Now they can get the best cover CB in this draft who may be even better than Claiborne.

7. Seattle Seahawks- Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State

Seattle had a draft this year where people were saying, what the hell are you doing? Anyways next year they're going to realize that their new QB, Matt Flynn, doesn't have any legit weapons to throw the ball to and he isn't going to be as good as he was for those 2 games in Green Bay when he had an offense loaded with WR's.

8. St. Louis Rams- DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama   (via trade with Redskins)

The Rams make out like bandits for having the 2nd pick in the 2012 draft giving themselves back to back picks in the top 10 in 2013. They've taken a few high OT's lately in the draft and whiffed but now they have Jeff Fisher and he'll finally land them a stud Tackle to help solidify that line for Sam Bradford.

9. St. Louis Rams- Keenan Allen, WR, California

The Rams missed out on Justin Blackmon with their trade back this year. They did land Brian Quick in the 2nd round who I think will be a really good player. After getting Fluker to solidify the line and adding Allen to pair with Quick, Sam Bradford finally has a legit offense. Add that to a talented young defense that was improved in the 2012 draft and the Rams will be an up and coming team that will contend very soon.

10. Miami Dolphins- Oday Oboushi, OT, Virginia

I can't believe the Phins took Ryan Tannehill 8th overall. Bad move, need is a bad evaluator. They could've had Tyler Wilson in this draft. They also miss out on the top 3 WR's so they turn to their next biggest weakness, Right Tackle. This will at least give Tannehill a pair of bookend Tackles. Now they just need to get him some weapons.

11. Kansas City Chiefs- Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

If the Chiefs are picking up this high again it's because Matt Cassell didn't get it done. They have the weapons at WR, a good running game, and a good defense. Wilson is the last of the big 3 QB's to go off the board and with a solid team around him would be the first to reach the playoffs.

12. Buffalo Bills- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

It's a shame for the Bills if the draft falls like this because that would mean Fitzpatrick didn't get it done just like Cassell only the Bills don't have a QB worth the pick here. Buffalo should have a solid defense in 2012. They had Tackle as a need heading into this year's draft but passed on Reiff, they shouldn't pass on Matthews.

13. Arizona Cardinals- Barrett Jones, O Line, Alabama

Jones versatility to play basically anywhere on the line will make him a hot commodity in next April's draft. The need the Cardinals have at Tackle didn't go away when they drafted Micheal Floyd. I understand the pick, getting a legit weapon across from Fitzgerald, but when the QB doesn't have time to throw the ball it doesn't really matter. The Cards have the most overpaid, under performing Tackles in the NFL.

14. San Diego Chargers- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

The Chargers had a need for a CB this year as well, but I understand why they passed on one with Ingram still on the board. I was kind of disappointed the Bengals didn't take Ingram. When a stud pass rushing DE like that falls into your lap that late you gotta pull the trigger, especially with 2 first round picks. Anyway with an improved pass rush they can now take a 1st round CB to pick the ball off of Carson Palmer if he's still in Oakland.

15. Tennessee Titans- Bjeorn Werner, DE, Florida State

After Sam Montgomery, Werner may be the best 4-3 DE on the board. Jones, Mingo, and Jenkins are all more suited to come off the edge in a 3-4 defense. Werner has the size right now to be a 3 down player and that's what you want picking in the top half of the 1st round. The Titans depth at DE is minimal and the pass rush isn't very good.

16. Dallas Cowboys- Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

The Cowboys will be happy to jump all over Jones at 16. He may be the best pass rusher in this draft class. Now that Dallas has shored up their secondary they are a pass rusher across from Ware away from being an elite defense.

17. New York Jets- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

The Jets got Quinon Coples and his effort issues in this year's draft. They still must continue to upgrade their pass rush if they want to get back to being that elite defense that can run the ball, control the clock, and let their defense beat you. Mainly because their QB's stink and they can't outscore their opponents.

18. Carolina Panthers- Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue

Teams ran and threw all over Carolina last season. On defense you need to be able to stop the run or teams will just run all over you. Also you need to be able to rush the passer. Short is a good interior D Lineman that can provide run support and bring pressure up the interior on passing downs.

19. Chicago Bears- Tyrann Mathieu, CB/S, LSU

Charles Tillman will not be back in Chicago after 2012 because he's due over 8 million. Plus the Bears need an upgrade at CB. When you play in that pass happy division with explosive offenses you better get as many playmakers in the secondary as possible.

20. Philadelphia Eagles- Chris Faulk, OT, LSU

The Eagles have needed an upgrade at Tackle for a few years now. Plus Andy Reid loves drafting lineman early and often on both sides of the ball. Faulk and Watkins on the left side would give the Eagles a dominant right side of the line to run behind.

21. Cincinnati Bengals- Tony Jefferson, SS, Oklahoma

Finally the Bengals get the top notch, 1st round Safety they've been missing for years. Reggie Nelson played well last season and I expect him to keep it up under Zimmer. Jefferson would be perfect to pair next to him. Jefferson isn't the big 6'3" plus Safety the Bengals usually like but he's an elite player at the position with excellent instincts. He can play the pass and the run. No more watching the Bengals SS get completely burnt in coverage. The addition of Jefferson would give the Bengals an excellent starting 4 in the secondary with Nelson, Jefferson, Hall, and Kirkpatrick all 1st rounders.

I've always said the difference between a good defense and a great defense is having a dominant Safety. Look at the Steelers and Ravens, both great defenses for years. They had in common they can stop the run, rush the passer, and both have great Safeties that can make huge plays that change a game.

22. Denver Broncos- Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

After one year in Dallas, Peyton Manning will go to John Elway and tell him the difference between here and Indy on offense was I had an elite TE to throw to, go get me an elite TE. Elway will then pull the trigger on the best TE in the draft.

23. New Orleans Saints- Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida

The Saints will realize after this year they've been getting by with mediocre LB's for way too long. Sean Peyton will notice when he's watching the games at home on TV and come back and draft a LB next year. If I'm a LB, I want to go to the Saints. In addition to your contract you get paid extra when you hit someone and knock them out of the game.

24. Detroit Lions- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Detroit had a major need for a CB. I understood why they took Reiff in the 1st round it was great value. The 2nd round is a different story. CB is a major need and they took a WR coming off an ACL injury they could've had in the 3rd most likely. I like Ryan Broyles a lot, but WR isn't nearly as pressing as CB when you're trying to overthrow Green Bay for 1st place.

25. Atlanta Falcons- Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State

Jenkins is probably better suited to play in a 3-4, but Atlanta has a solid team and he could be used for depth as a situational pass rusher. This would probably add to his value as he'd be coming in on 3rd down fresh against tired O Lineman.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers- Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M

It sucked as a Bengals fan to watch the Steelers have another good draft getting DeCastro and Mike Adams. However they didn't get to go younger on the aging defense in the early rounds meaning they'll have to wait another year with a defense a year older and half a step slower.

27. San Francisco 49ers- TJ McDonald, Safety, USC

The Niners still didn't get to adress their Safety issues as there were only 2 Safeties in the 2012 draft that were starter caliber right now. Look for them to go after a Safety early in next year's draft as that's the only weakness on that defense.

28. Baltimore Ravens- Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

The Ravens took care of getting a younger pass rusher across from Suggs. Now they need someone in the middle who can learn from and then take over for Ray Lewis.

29. Houston Texans- DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama

Alabama just keeps putting out 1st round defensive backs year after year. Other than Johnathon Joseph the Texans need some serious upgrades at CB. Kareem Jackson hasn't lived up to his 1st round status and likely has one last shot to prove himself.

30. New York Giants- CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama

Im suprised the Giants didn't add a LB in the 1st round in this year's draft. That was really the one weak spot on that team. It was masked by a good line, but they'll need to upgrade if they want to return to the Super Bowl soon.

31. Green Bay Packers- Khaled Holmes, Center, USC

The Packers brought in Jeff Saturday which is an upgrade at Center. However he's getting long in the tooth and by the time next year's draft rolls around they'll be looking for a replacement or at minimum some depth.

32. New England Patriots- Kwame Geathers, NT, Georgia

The Patriots added two impact players on defense in this year's draft and now are likely the favorites to win it all. They have one of the best NT's in the NFL but he's now in his 30's and Belicheck will be looking to add a quality backup to spell Wilfork and eventually take over for him.

NFL Power Rankings: Post Draft 2012

1. New England Patriots
2. Green Bay Packers
3. New York Giants
4. Houston Texans
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. San Francisco 49ers
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Detroit Lions
10. New Orleans Saints
11. Denver Broncos
12. Cincinnati Bengals
13. Philadelphia Eagles
14. Chicago Bears
15. Carolina Panthers
16. New York Jets
17. Dallas Cowboys
18. Tennessee Titans
19. San Diego Chargers
20. Arizona Cardinals
21. Buffalo Bills
22. Kansas City Chiefs
23. Minnesota Vikings
24. St. Louis Rams
25. Seattle Seahawks
26. Miami Dolphins
27. Washington Redskins
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
29. Indianapolis Colts
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Oakland Raiders
32. Jacksonville Jaguars

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bengals Draft 2012: A Look Ahead to Day 2

Now that the 1st round is in the books and the needs at Guard and Cornerback are taken care of, it's time to look ahead at where the Bengals could turn on Saturday. The Bengals hold the 21st pick in the 2nd round, number 53 overall. They also have two 3rd round picks with the addition of the Patriots pick via the 1st round trade. They are the 20th and 30th picks in the 3rd round, number 83 and 93 overall. There are still a lot of quality players left and the Bengals could possibly find another starter or two on Saturday.

Since the Bengals have taken a CB and Guard the biggest needs now are probably a 2nd WR across from AJ Green, a Strong Safety, another body on the D Line and a LB. There were some suprise picks in the 1st round so some players with first round grades will be available in the 2nd and some 2nd round grades available in the 3rd.

The absolute biggest need left is Wide Receiver. They have to get a quality number 2 WR to take some coverage off of AJ Green or he'll be seeing double and triple teams all season. Three of the top four WR's in Bengals history have been taken in the 2nd round: Cris Collinsworth, Carl Pickens, and Chad Johnson/Ochocinco. The top WR left is Stephen Hill. Hill is 6' 4" tall and runs a 4.3 40 yard dash. That's elite size and speed. However he comes from the triple option Georgia Tech offense and isn't polished in his route running and may take a year or so to develop. With that kind of speed though he can at minimum take the top off of defenses and make them play Green honest or play with 7 in the box.

There's other names with 2nd round grades with Hill having a 1st round grade. Players such as Rueben Randle from LSU, Alshon Jeffrey from South Carolina, Mohamed Sanu from Rutgers, Brian Quick from Appalachian State, and Jaron Criner from Arizona. Jeffrey was thought to maybe be the top WR in this class before the 2011 season started. He's dropped due to not having great speed and the fact his numbers were down last season. Most of that was due to bad QB play and he could end up being a steal in the 2nd round. The same goes for Randle who played in an LSU offense with a QB that wasn't very accurate and an offense the wasn't very proficient in the passing game.

One more stand out that could be had likely in the 3rd round is T.Y. Hilton from Florida International. He's been called a sleeper by a lot of gurus, but if everyone is calling him a sleeper he isn't really as everyone knows about him. He has blazing speed and ran in the low 4.3's at the combine and some thought he may even run sub 4.3. Burners like that can change an offense completely. He is a bit undersized though at 5' 10".

As far as Safety goes the Bengals are set at FS with Reggie Nelson, but I don't know what they're going to do at SS. Maybe give Taylor Mays a shot to start or compete with Robert Sands. There were really only two viable starting Safeties in this draft and both are gone in Mark Barron and Harrison Smith. The next best is Brandon Taylor and taking him in the 2nd may be a bit of a reach. The problem is he could be gone by the time they pick in the 3rd round. At this point I don't think Taylor is ready to start anyway. One other guy to keep a look out for is Markelle Martin from Oklahoma State, he will likely still be there at the end of the 3rd round.

The Bengals season was a tale of two halves last year. They started off 6-2 and ended 3-5 the 2nd half of the season. This was about the same time they had all of their injuries on the D Line and that 8 man rotation dwindled to about a 5 man rotation. They lost 2 then added 2 free agents which puts them in about the same spot as last season. Carlos Dunlap looks like he can be an elite pass rusher, but can he stay healthy. I really like Peko and Atkins inside. I think they could definitely use another edge rusher with Micheal Johnson in the final year of his contract.

There are plenty of very good D Lineman still available which may be why the Bengals passed on Melvin Ingram. The pass rusher I like the best of who's left is Vinny Curry from Marshall. He may be a bit on the smaller side but I've seen him play and the guy flat out explodes off the line and can fly to the QB on passing downs. There's 4 or 5 D Lineman left that had borderline 1st/2nd round grades and that could be a position the Bengals could pusue in the 2nd and get someone who can contribute immediately. The names to look out for are Devon Still, Andre Branch, Vinny Curry, Jerel Worthy, Kendall Reyes, Jared Crick, and Billy Winn. All of those guys could come off the board in the 2nd round and there would still be some solid players in a deep D Line draft.

The play at LB from Howard and Lawson was quality play last season, but Rey Maualuga was inconsistent and some games so were Howard and Lawson. Some depth could definitely be used at LB. Courtney Upshaw was expected to go top 15 as a 3-4 OLB, but he could also play DE in a 4-3 and is still on the board. That's a shocker in my opinion. Only 2 LB's came off the board in the 1st round in a league where LB's are being valued less and less unless they are edge pass rushers. There's a few names to look out for that could go in the 2nd round in Zach Brown, Lavonte David, Ronnell Lewis, and Sean Spence. This years LB class isn't very deep and if the Bengals feel they have to have another they will likely have to take him in the 2nd. I'd prefer they just find some backups later that can contribute on special teams now.

Last there's the RB position. I'm so glad they didn't take a RB in the 1st round. I think RB is a position that can play as well as it's line allows for the most part. It's also a position quality players can be found in the later rounds. Also I believe teams are better off going with a committee approach keeping players fresh for the entire season. With Benson gone and Benjarvis Green-Ellis in to go along with Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard the need isn't there to take a RB early and they should wait til the later rounds.

Maybe they can get someone like Isiah Pead from University of Cincinnati who can also be a special teams threat. Lamar Miller and Chris Polk are still available and the Bengals would almost certainly have to take them in the 2nd if they wanted them. I believe they're better off waiting for someone like Bernard Pierce from Temple or Cyrus Gray from Texas A&M who can likely be had in the 4th or later.

Overall there are lots of quality players left to be had in the 2nd and 3rd rounds tomorrow. The Bengals also have lots of ammunition and can move up if they chose having two 3rd round picks and three picks in the 5th round.

Bengals Draft 2012: Day 1

The Cincinnati Bengals had 2 first round picks for the first time since pre Marvin Lewis. The last time they had multiple picks in the first round they took Brian Simmons and Takeo Spikes. Both ended up being quality LB's that had long careers. They were unlucky in that they played in the Bengals era where losing was the norm, but both ended being quality players. If the Bengals can get the same production from their 2 first round picks today that will be considered a success.

With their first pick, number 17 overall, the Bengals took Dre Kirkpatrick. Not many were suprised by this pick as the Bengals did have a need at Cornerback and lots of mock drafts had Kirkpatrick going to the Bengals at 17. Dre is a taller, physical CB that can help defend the run as well as the pass. The main concern with Kirkpatrick is he doesn't have elite speed, he ran a 4.51 40 yard dash at the combine. He kind of reminds me of Malcom Jenkins from Ohio State, who also had speed concerns and ended up having to move to Safety. One thing I will give Marvin Lewis credit for is he does know how to evaluate DB's and he's drafted two stellar CB's in the first round since he's been in Cincinnati.

When the Bengals were on the clock there were several players that could've been taken that would help fill a need with depth on this team, so there really wasn't a wrong way to go. Melvin Ingram, the DE from South Carolina was available and I thought he may have been the pick as he was rated very high by most and thought to be a top 10 pick. Honestly I wish they would've pulled the trigger on Ingram who went the very next pick to San Diego. Teams can never have too many good defensive lineman, look at all the injuries for the Bengals on the D Line last season and how they struggled the 2nd half of the season. I've said it a million times, winning football starts up front. Teams that win year in and year out are the ones that are deepest in the front 7 and on the O Line.

David DeCastro the top rated Guard in this class was still available and Guard is probably the biggest need on this team. Guard isn't valued very high by most NFL teams, but I think it should be. It's probably the most undervalued position in football in my opinion. There were other quality Guards available also which is probably why the Bengals opted to go with the only CB left with a 1st round grade.

Another way the could have gone was WR with Kendall Wright from Baylor. Wright is a bit undersized but a speedster who made a ton of plays for the Baylor Bears. This draft has quite a few quality WR's that could end up being nice number 2 WR's to compliment AJ Green, but only a few with the type of speed Wright possesses.

There were 3 picks in between the Bengals scheduled 17th and 21st picks and the 3 teams that held those picks were San Diego, Chicago, and Tennessee. All 3 could use a Guard and I was worried that maybe DeCastro, Zeitler, and Glenn, the top 3 rated Guards could all come off the board in a row. That was especially the case with DeCastro having such a high grade and Zeitler and Glenn having the versatility to play mulitple positions. I watched these 3 picks go by and not one of them took a Guard leaving DeCastro right for the pickens at 21.

The Bengals had something else in mind though and ended up trading back to the 27th spot with the New England Patriots. I knew then that there was no chance of DeCastro making it that far with Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Houston all having a need at the position. Sure enough the hated Steelers took him with the 24th pick and I wasn't feeling too great at the moment.

So I waited with anticipation for the 27th pick wondering who they would pick there. Would it be Stephen Hill the big speed WR from Georgia Tech. Maybe Doug Martin the RB from Boise State, although I'm never a fan of taking a RB in the 1st round unless it's an Adrian Peterson/Trent Richardson home run type of back. I thought maybe they take a D Lineman with this draft being stocked with them.

No, it ended up being Kevin Zeitler, the Guard from Wisconsin. I didn't know much about him but Dave Lapham a former Guard who played in a Super Bowl was giving this kid rave reviews. That's good enough for me. Wisconsin puts out top offensive lineman year after year that are intelligent, well coached players who succeed in the NFL so I am fairly happy with this pick. Mainly because like I said winning football starts up front and now that the Bengals have what looks to be a franchise QB they have to keep the O Line stocked and keep him protected.

Overall it was a decent 1st round for the Bengals. Not the way I would've picked it with how the draft fell but you can't argue their logic. All of the CB's on the roster are older players that are here on one year deals except for Leon Hall. Hall may not be ready to start the season either so the depth at CB was definitely needed and now they have a franchise CB to play across from Hall for the next five years.

If I was picking I would've gone Ingram at 17 with him falling there. I've watched a ton of Ingram and that guy is a stud pass rusher. The model for success is load up on D Lineman that can get after the QB, secondary players, and you have to find your QB. If you can do those 3 things and surround that QB with some playmakers you can compete for Super Bowls. It's simple be able to throw the ball and get players on defense that can disrupt the passing game. I would have stayed at 21 and took DeCastro as well. Lapham says Zeitler is just as good so that's fine, but they could've come out of the 1st round with the top 4-3 DE and the top rated Guard in years. Those two picks would've gone a long way towards the formula of disrupt the opponents passing game and boost your own by giving your QB more time to throw.

The grade for the round would have to be a B+. They did fill a need at CB which goes towards disrupting a passing game and they got a quality Guard that can come in and start right away. We'll see how this works out in the long run. Maybe Kirkpatrick ends up playing Safety due to lack of speed. I just think in the 1st round you have to go best player available if it fits your system and it's a position where there is some need. I think Ingram was that player at 17 and they went CB just because he was the last with a 1st round grade and they viewed that as a glaring need. The Zeitler pick will end up being a quality pick I believe, but he'll always be compared to DeCastro in Cincinnati. Also by making the trade back they allowed the Steelers to get DeCastro so that's why they don't get an A.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ohio State Football: 2013 Mock Class

Recruiting is in full swing for the Buckeyes 2013 class of recruits with the spring game just days away and a large number of recruits scheduled to be in attendance. With a small class that looks like it'll be around 20 after attrition Urban Meyer is being selective and going after the top recruits in the country. The Bucks currently have 9 players that have given verbal commitments so far. Here's a look at what the class could like like come signing day next February.
Quarterback: JT Barrett, Texas
The Buckeyes have 4 offers on the table and the two most likely candidates are Barrett and Mitch Trubisky from Ohio. Both are dual threat type QB's which is what Meyer will be recruiting during his tenure as OSU's head coach to fit in his spread offense. Barrett is a top 2 dual threat QB on a couple recruiting services rankings and with the other top QB in Texas already committed to Texas the Bucks have a good shot at landing him. They may opt to go with 2 QB's if both Barrett and Trubisky decide to commit, but with the smaller class size and need for playmakers at other positions on offense, in they end I think they end up taking just one.
Runningback: Ezekial Elliott, Missouri / Derrick Green, Virginia
The Bucks are loaded at RB with depth right now and have Elliott already committed. Elliott said they told him they were only taking one RB and that may be the case with an already deep group of RB's. That said, Green is a big power back that runs a sub 4.4 40 yard dash. Elliott is a scat back and Green could be a between the tackles, every down type back with great speed which is rare. Green grew up an Ohio State fan and has stated he has the Bucks as his leader. If Green decides to commit I think they'll take his committment and an already deep RB group becomes absolutely loaded.
Wide Receiver: James Quick, Kentucky / Shelton Gibson, Ohio
This is a position that Meyer has stated is lacking in playmakers. They currently have athlete Jalin Marshall committed who will likely play WR/Percy Harvin Role. I would have no objection with them taking a 4th WR with the lack of talent at the position, but I don't think the numbers are there. Quick has serious speed and his highlight tape is off the charts. I think he ends up being a five star by the time his senior season is over and he has the skills to be a superstar and play in the NFL. Gibson is considered to be a lock to commit to the Bucks and he is another WR that is rated in the top 150 in the nation.
There is a ton of talent in this year's class of WR's. There are several other names that are interested in Ohio State as well including Robert Foster who many consider the top WR in the nation. He was probably going to be in until he acted immature on his visit and mocked the academics part. Rumor has it the staff has stopped recruiting him due to character concerns. Other top WR possibilities are LaQuon Treadwell, Uriah Lemay, and Devon Allen. With all of the top talent interested in OSU it's easy to see why this position could take as many as 4 players.
Tight End: Marcus Baugh, California / Mike Heuerman/ Florida
Ohio State already has a talented group of TE's, but the best of them Jake Stoneburner will be graduating after this season. Marcus Baugh has already committed to the Bucks and Heuerman looks like he will do the same. That will give Ohio State 2 more of the top TE's in the nation to go with Heuerman's brother and Vannett. With Meyer willing to use the TE as a pass catcher in his spread look for this position to become more important to the Ohio State offense.
Offensive Line: Ethan Pocic, Illinois / Evan Lisle, Ohio / Marcell Lazard, New Jersey
Due to the previous Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line coach being completely inept and unqualified for his job the line is not very deep. Urban called the starting 5 adequate, but said they have to be better than that and was not at all impressed with the backups. The 2012 class had a decent haul for the O line getting 2 quality Tackles and a quality Guard.
The key for this class is if they can land Pocic who seems to be leaning Buckeyes. He's one of the best Tackle prospects in the nation. Meyer has already secured a committment from Lisle who's highlight video is impressive and looks to be a quality prospect. Also it looks like Lazard will be a commit for the good guys so 3 more quality bodies are coming to add help to the O line depth. Restocking the talent on the line is one of the top prorities for this team, at least it better be.
Defensive Line: Joey Bosa, Florida / Billy Price, Ohio / Tracy Sprinkle, Ohio
Defense wins championships and a dominant Defensive Line can carry a defense. The Buckeyes already had a good line before Meyer was hired and had the impressive recruiting haul on the line in 2012. John Simon and Jonathon Hankins could both be all- americans this season, they won't because the Bucks are on probation, but they are talented enough. If those two end up playing DT they are going to wreak havoc on the interior of opposing offenses. They also have other talented players such as Bennett and Goebel.
Then you get to the incoming freshman. Noah Spence was rated the 4th best player in the country for 2012 and is a five star recruit. He could see action right away as a speed rusher on passing downs. They also brought in Adolphus Washington and Se'von Pittman two top 100 Defensive Ends from Ohio.
Now add to that what looks like another monstrous class of D lineman. Billy Price and Tracy Sprinkle are both highly rated prospects from Ohio, but the crown jewel of this class could be Joey Bosa. Price and Sprinkle have already verballed to the Buckeyes and Bosa looks like he is all but in for 2013. He is returning to Columbus this weekend for the spring game after just taking a visit last weekend in which he was not shy about telling everyone on twitter that he absolutely loved Ohio State and even referred to Michigan as the team up north on his way to his visit there. Bosa is a top 15 player in the nation and is an absolute beast. His highlight video is off the charts and having him and Spence from 2012 gives the Bucks 2 elite D lineman to be backups to an already loaded line.
With this class the D line is going to be absolutely loaded for the next few seasons. Having Bosa and Spence as the starting D Ends as early is 2013 is going to be absolutely sick. Bosa is the type that can move inside on passing downs like Simon does now allowing the Bucks to get another of their elite D Ends on the field such as Washington or Pittman. This is the type of line that can carry a defense to a championship. There's really not enough you can say about how loaded and deep this line will be. They will likely be able to go at least 8 deep for the next few years and bring in backups that could probably start anywhere else and will likely play in the NFL.
Linebackers: Alex Anzalone, Pennsylvania / Courtney Love, Ohio
When Urban Meyer got hired at Ohio State in his introductory press conference he stated that Luke Fickell told him they were thin at Linebacker. After Meyer's impressive recruiting haul in 2 months that's not really the case anymore. They may be thin with experience this season but there are plenty of incoming freshman that can help on the way. Meyer and Fickell combined signed 4 LB's for 2012. Those 4 are Jamal Marcus, Cam Williams, Josh Perry, and Luke Roberts so help is on the way.
For 2013 I think the Buckeyes only take 2 LB's unless Jaylon Smith, one of the top players in the nation, decides to come to OSU and play with his brother Rod Smith. That's looking unlikely now though so they'll take just Anzalone and Love. Neither have committed yet, but both look to be big Buckeye leans with Anzalone just saying yesterday Ohio State was his leader. Love is almost a lock as well as some believe he's lucky to have an offer as Meyer didn't extend one to some players higher rated than he is. Anzalone looks to be a stud who could be in the 2 deep immediately. He has offers from most of the top schools in the nation, including Alabama. Adding Anzalone to a group of Shazier, Grant, and Jamal Marcus who looks to be another potential stud at LB could once again have Ohio State being the "real Linebacker U."
Defensive Backs: Cameron Burrows, Ohio / Eli Woodward, New Jersey / Jayme Thompson, Ohio/ Vonn Bell, Georgia
Ohio State is known as Cornerback U for a reason, they've churned out top NFL CB after top NFL CB. There looks to be another 1st round pick on the roster right now in sophomore Roby. They also brought in 4 DB's in 2012 with 3 of them being 4 star players on the Rivals site. 3 of them look like they'll be CB's and one a Safety with the Safety being Tyvis Powell and the 3 CB's Armani Reeves, Devin Bogard, and Najee Murray. While these players look like they have the potential to add depth other than Reeves none really project to be stars.
Thats not a problem though as it looks like the 2013 class will be loaded with 2 potential 5 star DB's in Burrows who's already committed and Bell who favors Ohio State after his visits so far. Both are 2 of the top DB's in the nation with Burrows likely going to play CB, but has the size to play Safety. He has what NFL teams look for in 1st round picks. He's 6'2" so that's Safety size but is fluid and fast enough to be an elite CB. Bell is one of the top Safety prospects in the nation. A position where the Buckeyes have quality experience on the roster but no stand out stars, Vonn Bell will change that instantly. Woodward is another top 100 in the nation CB prospect so he's no slouch himself and could immediately step in and be the nickel CB.
Once the 2013 class of DB's arrives on campus this Defensive Backfield will immediately be loaded with talent and lots of depth. Burrows will likely start at CB from Day 1 across from Roby and have a tandem of shut down CB's. That is unless they want to start Burrows at Safety next to Bell their freshman year and utilize the upperclassmen in Roby and and Doran Grant as the starting CB's with Woodward, Reeves, Bogard, Murray, and Howard fighting it out for the 3rd CB spot and 4th in Dime situations. That's a heck of a group for 3rd and 4th CB's especially when Howard was the starting CB last season and might be again in 2012 if Grant doesn't beat him out.
I think Grant is more talented and will and Howard because of his experience will win that 3rd CB spot in 2013, if they choose to play Burrows at Safety his freshman season. That is what I would do to get my best players on the field. However if they decide Burrows is just too good of a CB then he will start there and Grant will likely be the 3rd CB. If that's the case Reeves has the size to move to Safety and fight for a spot with the upperclassman such as CJ Barnett and Christian Bryant who have both had starts already at the Safety spot.
Any way the coaches decide to do it after this 2013 recruiting class hits campus the Bucks are absolutely loaded at DB. In fact with all the talent and depth at every position group on the defense they are set up to make a run at being the best defense in the country. This defense will be absolutely stacked with studs starting and the backups in the 2 deep at almost every position. They could realistically make a run at holding opposing offenses to an average of single digit points. The Silver Bullets are going to be back and better than ever.
Athletes: Jalin Marshall, Ohio
For the 2013 recruiting class we've gone through every position and may have saved the best player in the class for last. It's going to be up for grabs between Marshall, Burrows, and Bosa who's the best recruit coming in 2013. Jalin Marshall plays QB at Middletown and he's a special kind of athlete. His highlight video is absolutely sick. One of the best i've ever seen. At Ohio State he's likely going to play the role of playmaker. Some call it the Percy Harvin role, but after Marshall it'll be called the Jalin Marshall role.
Marshall is going to do a bit of everything. I'm sure they'll line him up some at QB, in a wildcat type formation. He's also going to line up in the backfield a la Harvin. Primarily he'll be at Wide Receiver is my guess, mostly in the slot. What they're going to do is find ways to get the ball in his hands where ever he is on the field. Marshall is the type that can take it the distance from anywhere at anytime. So I don't want to label him with a position, I'll just call his position playmaker and lets try to get him the ball as much as possible and good things will happen.
If the number of recruits is 20 for 2013 there's a good chance this is close to what the class could look like. It's kind of a shame that it's a smaller recruiting class this year because there are lots of top recruits showing serious interest in Ohio State and they can't take them all. With 10 verbal commits already there's only room for 10 more and I hope the coaches only accept committments from top prospects from here out. No offense to Sprinkle or Jayme Thompson, but with a limited class size I wouldn't have taken their committments just yet. I think they are going to miss out on 2 highly rated 4 star players for those 2 3 star players. Urban knows more about football than I do though so I could be dead wrong.
With who's remaining that hasn't verballed yet my top 4 that I would have on my wishlist are Joey Bosa, Vonn Bell, James Quick and Ethan Pocic. The biggest needs are playmakers at WR and O lineman so Quick and Pocic are very important almost must gets. Bosa and Bell are just such studs that I really want them at OSU. They can be impact players right away. I think it's a good probability all 4 are Buckeyes when it's said and done. The one I'm most worried about is Pocic with him not attending the spring game.
Overall this is shaping up to be a top ten class. It would probably be top 3 if it was bigger and in terms of average star rating could be number one in the nation by signing day in February. The job Meyer and this coaching staff are doing on the recruiting trail is something that hasn't been seen here in years with the number of top national recruits showing serious interest. In fact Meyer may be the best recruiter this University has ever seen. The 6-7 season that happened last year was an anomoly and with the caliber of players coming to OSU the Bucks will be competing for a National Championship in a very short amount of time. GO BUCKS!