No preface other than the fact that the Jag game officially left me with little to look forward to until the draft!
1) Bradley Chubb, OLB, NC St. We need stud pass rushers to take a big step forward on D. Sheard and Simon are relatively short-term solutions. I wasn’t sold on Chubb, but I am now. I think he’s a stud who might not show the measurables to go in the top 5. But he’s a talented pass-rusher and all-round player.
2) Billy Price, OG, Ohio St. I was sold on the OL going into this year, but it didn’t pan out. With Mewhort not under contract, injured, and contemplating retirement; Vujnovich being disappointing; and other guards being works in progress; it’s time to solidify the interior of the line with an experienced, plug-and-play starter.
3) Malik Jefferson, ILB, Texas. He’s had a disappointing year, after being considered a 1st rounder in the off-season. He’s played OLB this year because his experiment at ILB last year was considered a failure. But he’s more athletic than anyone we’ve had at ILB for years and has the potential to be what we hoped Bostic could be.
4) Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego St. He’s cooled off his last two games after a torrid pace earlier in the season. I can’t credit it, but he’s not considered by many draftniks to be higher than a 4th round prospect. I love him. He’s a hard-running, 220 pound, speedy back who has a knack for long runs. He’ll be the new Gore, with Mack expanding his lightning role.
5) Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa St. Some people are touting him as high as the 3rd round, but most have him here or later. He’s the big WR we’ve hoped for in people like Bug Howard and Kamar Aiken. It’s very hard to assess our WR corps with Brissett, OL troubles, and an OC that can’t figure out how to consistently move the ball. But it seems like we need more.
6) Darius Leonard, ILB, S. Carolina St. Seems to do it all: coverage, pass rush, tackling, etc. Should be a good ST player. He’s 6’3”, 236 lbs, but he seems to have trouble keeping on weight, which will limit him to ILB for us.
7) Siran Neal, DB, Jacksonville St. Massive knee injury to Hooker. Need more safeties to develop, as I don’t think Butler has done well there and Hooker and Geathers are medically challenged. Neal is listed as a CB, but he’s 6’1”, 205 lbs. and he’s a tackling machine on the boundary. Already has a criminal justice degree and two daughters – seems like a good late-round development project/STer who might be properly motivated to succeed.