As I've been impatiently waiting for Draft Weekend 2014 to finally arrive I, like any other NFL fan, have been glossing through as many mock drafts as possible, interested solely with how each one sees the proverbial dominos falling as it concerns my favorite team. The intriguing pick becomes the consensus pick becomes the questionable pick ... It makes kids out of all of us; you find a favorite toy, get bored, ask your parents for a new one, then the first one ends up kicked under the bed. I think I speak for everyone besides Goodell and Co. when say the longer wait this year has only delayed the inevitable.
Then there's the paradox with the Titans pick at #11 this year. It falls too far from the top and not far enough at the same time; we're better off just waiting to get this year's model right before next year's drops, when units are priced to sell. Trust me, I want to believe 10 teams are going to pass on Mack or Evans, but that's exactly what the extra two weeks has guaranteed: those guys are simply not slipping through the cracks. So, I've had to accept that we're not all going to be in love with our pick this year. Half of us are going to think we went BPA, and the other half will think we reached.
The three names I've heard most are Barr, Bridgewater, and Gilbert/Dennard. I've also heard Aaron Donald, but the consensus seems to be he isn't really what our defense needs. I will say though, he doesn't seem to have a lot of holes to his game and at least we'd have insurance for Jurrell Casey if we can't get his deal done by the end of the season.
With Barr, I see 23.5 sacks and 41.5 TFL in two years. Even IF he could come in and replicate that against NFL blocking, that leaves us with roughly 30 plays in a season in which he makes a positive impact, keeping in mind a lot of those would be of the setting up 2nd and 3rd and longer variety, not necessarily the game changing kind. In my mind, that just leaves too many plays in which he's getting gobbled up by blocks or having his coverage skills considerably tested for it to be worth looking at him at #11. He's the kind of player that seems to be doing nothing when he isn't doing something, and we have too many guys like that already.
In the case of Bridgewater, I can't really pick him apart as much as I can say this: If we make him a two-toner, we damn we'll better have Jake traded for a 3rd rounder shortly thereafter. I don't say that because I don't like Jake, I say it because there is no possible positive outcome with both of them on this team. Either Jake performs and we waste this pick OR he doesn't and we waste the chance to move him while we can. I think a team like Niners, Rams, or Browns, all with surplus picks, would consider taking him on in exchange for a 3rd rounder as an insurance/plan B type player. I think he's still got at least that upside in league-wide view.
I won't say much about the corners, I just don't think we need to spend #11 on one when we've got Sensebaugh and a recent 3rd rounder in Blidi who haven't been given a shot to start. CB is not a make or break spot for me this year.
What I'm hoping for is we trade back 5-10 spots, pick up any 3rd rounder we can, and nab C.J. Mosley. We've all been complaining about the lack of a versatile, leading-role type linebacker since Keith Bulluck left, and that was 5+ seasons ago. I'm sorry, but we know that McCarthy is not going to be what we once thought possible, and the rest of our options are mediocre, really. The ONLY two complaints I can find on the former Alabama MLB revolve around injuries and the perceived lack of value, and both don't hold water, here's why. The man missed 3 expected games during his career, THREE. Are we seriously that injury-concern-neurotic that we're discarding a player's entire resume based on 3 missed games during an entire college career? There will plenty of players selected this year who've missed as many or more. There's simply no need to question value either if we're trading down to get him, and we NEED to get a 3rd rounder back somehow. This draft is simply too deep to miss out on 32+ picks. This may be an unpopular choice, but I think out of what our realistic chances are, this will help the team in both the short and long-terms the most.
I'll either be left smiling or swearing when our turn at the podium rolls around, let's just all hope we don't take David Carr.