Tuesday - Mar 28, 2017

Home / Draft / MOCK DRAFT 2.0: In-Depth 11 – 32

MOCK DRAFT 2.0: In-Depth 11 – 32

#11 New Orleans Saints (7-9)

Offense

Points Per Game: 29.3 (2nd)
Yards Per Game: 426.0 (1st)
Pass Yards Per Game: 317.1 (1st)
Rush Yards Per Game: 108.9 (16th)
Yards Per Play: 6.2 (3)

The offense is not the problem in New Orleans as Drew Brees and Sean Payton are masterful in creating offense with whatever they have to work with as personnel. They found a new stud receiver in Michael Thomas who looks to be the next great wide receiver with Drew Brees but I am interested to see how the Saints handle their situation at running back moving forward. Hightower took away carries from Mark Ingram down the stretch, but is a free agent, and 30 years old.  They do however have a young exciting trio of wide receivers in Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas, and Willie Snead.

Defense

Points Per Game: 28.4 (31st)
Yards Per Game: 375.4 (27th)
Pass Yards Per Game: 273.8 (32nd)
Rush Yards Per Game: 101.6 (14th)
QB Hurries: 76 (t-29th)
Sacks: 30 (27th)
Yards Per Play: 6.0 (t-32nd)

Defense is the problem in New Orleans and has been for quite some time. They were terrible on defense yet again allowing opposing teams to run up the score, forcing the offense to try to win games by scoring over 30 points. The Saints needed cornerbacks last year and did nothing in the draft to fix it. They can’t stop the pass and will need to do something to address the issue this off season.

Key Pending Unrestricted Free Agents

Nick Fairley (DL)

Jahri Evans (G)

Tim Hightower (RB)

Nick Fairley played strong last season registering 6.5 sacks. How much will it cost to keep him? Jahri Evans is 33 years-old and is nothing more than a one year fix to their offensive line issues. Tim Hightower is 30 years old and not a long-term solution at running back for the Saints, but that does not mean they won’t sign him for a short contract. Willie Snead has a niche in this offense and may be reluctant to leave.

Moving Forward into Next Season

The Saints have two main focuses moving forward. The first priority is to get some talent on the defensive side of the ball. They lack talent almost everywhere on the field and need a big influx of talent by free agency and the draft. The other priority is to find the next quarterback to take over this offense after Drew Brees. Drew Brees is 37 years old and may only have a few seasons left in the tank. They need to take a shot on a quarterback worth developing in this draft as a future replacement.

Draft

They should focus on finding play makers early in the draft. Whether those play makers are running backs on offense or defenders that can make an impact early in their careers. A dynamic running back would make a ton of sense as the Brees’ window is closing and the transition to the next era is about to begin. A running back would allow them to have an identity as a new quarterback starts with this franchise. They need help on their offensive line in the interior at guard and may draft a player to fill that role. They need help everywhere on the defensive side of the ball. Almost dead last in quarterback hurries and sacks makes pass-rusher a big need in the draft. Their starting linebackers are average and need some real leaders on that second level. They also allowed the most pass yards and need to finally invest in young cornerbacks.

Mock Draft Pick

Derek Barnett (DE/OLB) Tennessee

The Saints seem to attack good football players and Derek Barnett is a good football player. They need to improve their defense and adding a pass-rusher will help their weak secondary get more pressure on the quarterback.  

#12 Cleveland Browns (1-15)

Offense

Points Per Game: 16.5 (31st)
Yards Per Game: 311 (30th)
Pass Yards Per Game: 204 (28th)
Rush Yards Per Game: 107.0 (19th)
Yards Per Play: 5.1 (27th)

The offense lacked a consistent quarterback and therefore failed to be effective. Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Charlie Whitehurst, and even Kevin Hogan were all playing quarterback for this team at some point. The key for them this off-season is to at a minimum, have a plan in place for the quarterback position in 2017.  Whether that means a veteran to start 2017 with a developmental quarterback early in the draft or going with a quarterback with one of their first two picks in the first round would make some sense. This offense will go nowhere until the quarterback position has some consistency.

Defense

Points Per Game: 28.2 (30th)
Yards Per Game: 392.4 (31st)
Pass Yards Per Game: 249.8 (21st)
Rush Yards Per Game: 142.7 (31st)
QB Hurries: 84 (t-23rd)
Sacks: 26 (t-29th)
Yards Per Play: 5.9 (t-26th)

When your rebuild a team and rely mostly on rookies the defense will suffer as the Browns were just behind the 49ers as the worst defense in the league. This was expected as they wanted to develop young players like Emmanuel Ogbah, Danny Shelton, Carl Nassib, Xavier Cooper, Nate Orchard, and some secondary players to play a key role in their defense. The frustrating part had to be the continued struggles against the run this season. In the draft, they should add some talent and experience to their Front 7 to help this issue.

Key Pending Unrestricted Free Agents

Jamie Collins (OLB)

Terrelle Pryor (WR)

Austin Pasztor (OL)

Isaiah Crowell (RB) RFA

This list is very short as the Browns have invested most of their roster on draft picks or young players. The intrigue will be if Jamie Collins will sign long term and can the Cleveland coaches and management convince him this team is on the fast track to becoming a contender in the AFC. I imagine that Jamie Collins would like to play for a team that could have a shot in the playoffs in the next few years and I’m not sure Cleveland will give him that opportunity. The other key free agent is Terrelle Pryor who seems to value Hue Jackson and may decide to stay.

Moving Forward into Next Season

They have fully entrenched themselves in a true rebuilding process. This means they will likely be very particular in free agency and value their draft picks. You may even see them trade down again with their second 1st round pick and collect more picks to bring more youth to their roster for development. As mentioned before, the quarterback position will try and be resolved this off-season for Hue Jackson to show that he can be their coach moving forward. This team will need to show progress on both sides of the ball and win more than one game to say they are on the right track towards rebuilding.

Draft

They have two first round picks currently and could easily find two starters and franchise foundation pieces in this talented draft class. The inevitable and continuing question for the Browns is if they will find a franchise quarterback. Will they choose to take one early in the 2017 Draft and make him their starter, sign a veteran and draft a developmental quarterback alongside Cody Kessler, or skip quarterback all together and go with a few veterans and/or current quarterbacks on their roster? One thing is for sure, if the Browns want to show success on the offensive side of the ball, they need to invest in some offensive linemen in this draft. They may have found one starter for next season in Spencer Drango in a guard spot. This means the center, other guard, and right tackle positions are up in the air for 2017. They have Joel Bitonio and John Greco returning from injury that can help in that process, but they are both also free agents after next season. This class is loaded with EDGE talent and the Browns could use some pass-rushers. Emmanuel Ogbah played well this season and looks to be a solid 3-4 versatile defensive end. This defense needs to find an identity and drafting a pass-rusher to play opposite of Ogbah could help create one for Cleveland. The secondary was young and fought with various injuries all season long. Depending on how they feel about their current personnel, they could look to invest in a cornerback or safety in the 1st round. They really can’t afford to be picky, they need the best players on the board when the draft clock starts.

Mock Draft Pick

Ryan Ramczyk (OT) Wisconsin

No quarterback here — surprise!  I think they go veteran like Tyrod Taylor or Colin Kaepernick, and/or take another mid-round quarterback in the draft. If you want to succeed in a rebuilding process, the trenches become the most important part. They have no answer to their right tackle issue since Mitchell Schwartz left in free agency last season. Ramczyk is a player that can step in right away and improve their offense and quarterback situation just by being a consistent presence on the offensive line.

#13 Arizona Cardinals (7-8-1)

Offense

Points Per Game: 26.1 (6th)
Yards Per Game: 366.8 (9th)
Pass Yards Per Game: 258.5 (9th)
Rush Yards Per Game: 108.2 (18th)
Yards Per Play: 5.4 (t-18th)

The stats on offense and defense for the Cardinals show a team that should be in the playoffs. They lost too many close games this season that derailed their season. David Johnson played like an animal this season and looks to be one of the top 5 backs in the league. The passing offense also did pretty well considering that only Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson had over 40 receptions. The offensive line dealt with injuries and lack of consistency this season that also didn’t help the Cardinals’ fortunes.

Defense

Points Per Game: 22.6 (t-13th)
Yards Per Game: 305.2 (2nd)
Pass Yards Per Game: 210.3 (4th)
Rush Yards Per Game: 94.9 (9th)
QB Hurries: 95 (20th)
Sacks: 48 (1st)
Yards Per Play: 4.8 (2nd)

The stat that blows my mind is being 20th in QB hurries, but 1st in sacks. That tells me the play-calling is superb and when they bring pressure they make it count. Their defense is very good with young players that dealt with injuries throughout the season at different positions. This team is built to win now and I expect them to make a few adjustments and be a more competitive team next season.

Key Pending Unrestricted Free Agents

Chandler Jones (OLB)

Calais Campbell (DE)

Jermaine Gresham (TE)

Tony Jefferson (SS)

Chandler Jones will be in an Arizona uniform next season either under the franchise tag or a long-term contract. Calais Campbell is 30 years old and still bringing it with 53 tackles and 8 sacks last season. Jermaine Gresham was the starting tight end and the Cardinals will need to decide whether they want to commit for just another year or two. Tony Jefferson could be a sought after free agent if he hit the open market and may come at a decent price tag.

Moving Forward into Next Season

Arizona is built to win in the immediate future and general manager Steve Keim will make some adjustments this off-season to make at least one more run at a Super Bowl. Carson Palmer is 37 years old and Larry Fitzgerald at 33 makes their Super Bowl window very tight and they know it. They have also said they would like to get their next quarterback after Carson Palmer this off-season to prepare to move onto the next era. Last season the Cardinals dealt with a string of injuries and should be better just by being healthy next season.  

Draft

They will likely select a quarterback to replace Carson Palmer in the draft. The question will be if they do it in the first round at #13 overall or in the middle rounds. They need offensive linemen and could invest in some during this draft. Wide receiver is also a top priority with Larry Fitzgerald’s age and lack of production from any other wide receiver on the team. Tight end may be an option at some point during draft weekend as they have yet to find a young option for their roster. Continuing to get younger on the defensive line would be a good idea moving forward with older veterans currently on the roster and possibly leaving. Inside linebacker could use an upgrade and may be a great option early in the draft for an immediate impact for 2017. A cornerback opposite of Patrick Peterson would benefit this secondary and make it more difficult to make plays against this secondary.

Mock Draft Pick

Patrick Mahomes (QB) Texas Tech

Suprise! He is a kid with a very high ceiling and all the physical tools. Bruce Arians is a quarterback guru and will see that potential. Think about the quarterbacks that he has worked with and Mahomes fits the ideals. The size, physical tools, and arm confidence such as Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer who have all had success under Bruce Arians. They need to lay the foundation for the future after Carson Palmer and Mahomes can be that guy.

#14 Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings) (7-9)

Offense

Points Per Game: 22.9 (16th)
Yards Per Game: 337.4 (22nd)
Pass Yards Per Game: 224.1 (24th)
Rush Yards Per Game: 113.3 (11th)
Yards Per Play: 5.0 (t-28th)

They seemed to have found their franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz.  He looked great to start the season in Doug Pederson’s quarterback friendly offense, then he started to look like a rookie. The offense really struggled down the stretch lacking the ability to have players that could be consistently productive. I expect the Eagles to look at different options this off-season to add new personnel to their skill positions.

Defense

Points Per Game: 20.7 (12th)
Yards Per Game: 342.8 (12th)
Pass Yards Per Game: 239.5 (14th)
Rush Yards Per Game: 103.2 (15th)
QB Hurries: 124 (2nd)
Sacks: 34 (t-16th)
Yards Per Play: 5.6 (t-19th)

When you see a discrepancy in QB hurries being high and sacks being low, it usually means that even when pressure hits the opposing quarterback, the secondary has given enough space to receivers that the quarterback gets rid of it with confidence. This means that they need help in the secondary to make their defense make their quarterback hurries really count. The Front 7 look pretty solid if they can re-sign Bennie Logan for next season. I expect them to attack their cornerback position heavily this off-season.

Key Pending Unrestricted Free Agents

Bennie Logan (NT)

Easily the best interior defensive hole-plugger in the free agent market. He should get a nice pay day being that he is 27 and in his prime.

Moving Forward into Next Season

This team played really well to start the season and then cracks began to show. They will look to add some better skill position players to give new franchise quarterback Carson Wentz some weapons. The Chiefs are an example of what kind of offense the Eagles and Doug Pederson would like to become — Carson Wentz as an athletic game manager type quarterback with talented skill players like Tyreek Hill, Jeremy Maclin, Spencer Ware, and Travis Kelce. He will look to add those type of play makers to his depth chart. Jim Schwartz built a solid defense in Detroit and Buffalo by providing pressure from the defensive line and having good corner play. He will look to add pieces to solve that puzzle in Philadelphia this off-season.

Draft

The Eagles will be looking for play makers on both sides of the ball. They need better skill position players at running back and wide receiver. I expect the Eagles to draft a wide receiver early in the draft and add a more dynamic running back at some point. Defensively, they need better cornerback play and youth on their roster. Adding an athletic linebacker to work on passing downs would be a wise decision. Fletcher Cox is an elite defensive tackle and perfect for Jim Schwartz’ scheme but they need another player to go beside him that has a similar skill set.

Mock Draft Pick

Mike Williams (WR) Clemson

A cornerback or wide receiver here at #14 is the selection. Mike Williams is the perfect fit for Carson Wentz and this offense as Wentz and Pederson need a big reliable target and Mike Williams is an ideal player for the way this offense wants to function. They have put their future in Wentz but have not given him a stud receiver and Williams will help to fix that issue.

#15 Indianapolis Colts (8-8)

Offense

Points Per Game: 25.7 (8th)
Yards Per Game: 364.4 (10th)
Pass Yards Per Game: 262.6 (6th)
Rush Yards Per Game: 101.8 (23rd)
Yards Per Play: 5.6 (t-11th)

If the Colts didn’t have Andrew Luck, they may have gone 0-16. He is such a talent but gets knocked around a ton. When Andrew Luck is healthy and protected, he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Frank Gore is a future Hall-of-Famer and may be one of the most consistent running backs of all time but he is winding down his career. The offensive line struggled for most of the season but did play pretty well over the last few games of the season. I’m sure they would like to build off of that and really work on the other side of the ball this off-season.

Defense

Points Per Game: 24.5 (22nd)
Yards Per Game: 382.9 (30th)
Pass Yards Per Game: 262.5 (27th)
Rush Yards Per Game: 120.4 (25th)
QB Hurries: 64 (32nd)
Sacks: 33 (t-19th)
Yards Per Play: 6.0 (32nd)

Chuck Pagano was supposed to be a defensive minded coach but it didn’t show on the field. GM Ryan Grigson did not put much talent on the defensive side of the football which was another reason the team went .500 this past season. They are very old as a roster on defense and desperately need youth on their roster for next season at all positions.

Key Pending Unrestricted Free Agents

Erik Walden (OLB)

Darius Butler (CB/S)

Mike Adams (S)

Jack Doyle (TE)

Robert Turbin (RB)

Erik Walden had a career year with 11 sacks and is 31 years old, so it makes for an interesting decision for the Colts who are desperate for pass-rushers. Darius Butler is a fantastic slot corner and also played safety at some points this past season making his versatility worthy of a re-sign for this struggling Colts defense. Safety Mike Adams is 35 years old and may have to look elsewhere for a job next season. Tight End  Jack Doyle proved to be a trustworthy target that you need in an offense and should be re-signed. The reason I put Robert Turbin on this list is he is a pounder like Frank Gore but Gore is older and may start to deteriorate next season. Turbin can be the pounder on short yardage situations or the goal line if Gore starts to show his age next season and will come at a reasonable price.

Moving Forward into Next Season

The list this off-season for the Colts is very specific. They need to add a few veteran offensive linemen to create depth and competition for starting spots. Phillip Dorsett has struggled and adding a veteran to fight for slot receiver duties would be good for the offense. Most of their decisions will rest on their defense with a focus on making it younger and more productive. They need upgrades at almost every position defensively and they will make it a priority to create a new look defense for next season.

Draft

Most of their focus for this draft will be adding young pieces to their defense. They may be in the worst spot heading into this off-season at pass-rusher. Robert Mathis is retiring, Erik Walden and Trent Cole are free agents which leaves no starters on the roster currently for next season — I expect them to add one early in the draft. Getting a young corner to play opposite of Vontae Davis will also be a priority if they don’t sign any free agents to fill that spot. D’Qwell Jackson is not athletic enough to consistently play in the NFL anymore and may be released this off-season. They need to add some athletic and productive inside linebackers to start for next season and may have to get one in the draft. Clayton Geathers is a play maker at strong safety but they will have to decide if T.J. Green is their future at free safety before the draft. If they do not address their defensive line in free agency, they need run stuffers along that line to help their second level.

Mock Draft Pick

Takkarist McKinley (OLB) UCLA

The Colts defense needs an overhaul that must start in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Pass-rusher is the biggest problem at the moment before free agency and McKinley will fill part of that void. Hopefully new GM Chris Ballard will make great decisions to surround Andrew Luck with elite talent.

About Dan Collins

I have always been an avid football enthusiast. The NFL Draft and Fantasy Football is my passion in the realm of football. I write Mock Drafts and inform readers of what is happening during the critical stages of the NFL Draft. I spend way too much time working through Fantasy Football analysis, situations, and thoughts; it is an issue. Follow on Twitter @Dan_R_Collins for Football info and the occasional joke or wisecrack.