NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Before we get back to talking about the NFL Draft and football. On behalf of everyone at NEPD and myself included, we would just like to send out deepest condolences out to those affected by the unspeakable tragedy that struck our city on Monday. No other city in the world is better equipped to deal with such tragedy.
The loyalty, toughness and spirit that our city is known for has already shined bright. The selflessness of those in the city has been inspirational to others around the world. As someone who has grown up in and around parts of the city, I have no doubt that Boston will overcome this and be stronger than ever once it is all over. The families and loved ones of those affected will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
Here are my 15 thoughts on the 2013 NFL Draft.
1) The NFL Draft is less than ten days away and I still don’t have the slightest idea how the top of the draft is going to play out. While many have projected the Chiefs to be taking Luke Joeckel, I wouldn’t be shocked if they passed. There are literally hundreds of scenarios that I can envision playing out and none of them are unreasonable. While the Chiefs hold the top pick, I think it’s the Jaguars who control how the first round unfolds. Depending on what they do at #2, it’s likely to have a major trickle down effect to the rest of the teams in the top ten.
2) Now that the Steelers have matched the Emmanuel Sanders offer sheet, it’s fair to assume that the Patriots will use their first pick on the wide receiver position. The team has done a nice job of filling their roster and now they head into the draft with no glaring needs, except at that position. Bill Belichick has never used a first round pick on a receiver, but 2013 could be the year. If you look over the Patriots official visits, private workout, and interview list it’s pretty clear that they have allocated most of their time and resources to vetting the top tier of receivers.
3) Don’t ask me to guess which receiver the Patriots will end up picking. In fact, you probably have a better chance if you picked a name out of a hat or threw dart at a name at the dart board than correctly mocking which WR they will end up selecting. When I tried to dig up info on names the Patriots could be targeting earlier in the week I was told “they are being predictably unpredictable.” Many Patriot fans, including myself would like to see the team “double dip” at the position. I think it’s the perfect year to do it. When the Patriots drafted two top tight ends in 2010, the draft had great depth in the mid rounds at tight end. This year there is tremendous value through the 4th and even the 5th round at receiver. With the free agent market dried up, there is a good chance we see the Patriots try to add two play-makers and continue to rebuild their WR corps.
4) Count me among the group of people that believe the gap between Chance Warmack and North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper is minuscule. After studying both players much more since the season ended, I believe that both will be elite level interior lineman in the NFL. Cooper is just so athletic and smooth on the move. The knock on him during the year was that he lacked physicality and strength. Those concerns are somewhat unfounded in my opinion, as Cooper can be seen on film multiple times a game finishing his blocks and delivering a powerful punch to stun his opponent. There is no doubting his mobility and his footspeed. But, when you combine his strength numbers at the combine and some of the finishing power he showed on film, he’s much closer to Warmack than originally thought.
5) Dion Jordan and Ezekial Ansah continue to fly up draft boards, however I refuse to move off my preseason declaration that Barkevious Mingo is the best pass rusher in this year’s class. His explosive get off, combined with his fluid movement in space makes him a more complete package in my opinion than some of the other rushers. He needs to add weight and get stronger, if he does that I expect him to be a force off the edge in the NFL game. I am still very high on Jordan but, let’s face it, he’s not a natural pass rusher. His value comes from his ability to play in space and move around. If I need a pure pass rusher and I am picking in the top five, I am selecting Mingo. With that being said, look for him to end up with the Cleveland Browns at pick 6.