Hey guys, this is Luke from Bolts From The Blue. I represented my team in the live mock last weekend, and I'd like to think I did a pretty good job-- I would grade myself a solid B+. However, the point of draft recaps is to have other people grade you! So I would like your judgments and inputs and comments on how you think I scored in the draft. (Probably not as good as say, MadDrac or RaiderPride20, but hey, can't win 'em all.)
Just a thought— I feel that I did better in the later rounds than earlier. When the tough choices from the earlier rounds are removed, it's easier to relax and just pick a guy. I also take a bit of pride in dumpster diving, so if you haven't heard of some of these prospects, look them up and see what you think.
1 (#18). Mark Barron, SS, ’Bama:
I mulled this one over a lot, especially with Perry and Upshaw still on the board. Pass rush and safety were the Chargers’ two biggest needs, and the LB class is much deeper than the safety class, so Barron benefited from that. I do like what he brings to the table, though— he’s a thumper who’s good in run support and has the size to effectively defend the big, athletic TE’s that are becoming ever more popular in this league thanks to the Gronk/Hernandez combo. His injury history gives me pause, although as the injuries he suffered in college are not related to each other, I’m hoping he just had a run of bad luck.
2 (#44). Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
Traded up for this pick, as I suspected (correctly) that there would be a run on rush backers in the immediate future. I like Curry because of his freakish speed for his size, long arms, bullish strength, and unstoppable motor. Some are concerned that he doesn’t offer the necessary scheme versatility to play 3-4 OLB, but he’s got similar body type, production, and drawbacks to Shawne Merriman— who I don’t recall ever dropping into coverage, but did a good job putting the fear of God into opposing QBs. If he can work on setting the edge and defending the run (and he’ll be learning from one of the best in the league at that, in Jarret Johnson), he can be a very good outside linebacker.
3 (#78). Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
I didn’t actually make this pick— my assistant jumped it, I’m afraid— but it’s suitable. Crick was third on my board at the time; he’s not quite as heavy as a typical 5-tech, but has the frame to add more weight, and the strength to absorb NFL blockers. He possesses good short-area quickness and will be good at stopping plays in the backfield, if he can manage to shed tackles. Will need to improve technique, but should become a rotational guy in his first season.
4 (#110). Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State
A bit of a homer pick, but I like Hillman for the team’s needs at RB. We got rid of the one and only Darren Sproles a few years ago, and let Mike Tolbert walk to Carolina, so we’re looking for a back to complement Ryan Mathews. Hillman is a fast, shifty guy who’s much better out of the backfield than Tolbert was and is capable of taking a screen pass to the house. He’s also decently strong (has a big stiff arm) and sees the field well. Needs to work on pass pro, but he’s young, even for a rookie, and will have time to sort that out.
5 (#149). [traded to Pitt to move up in the second]
6 (#182). Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota State
San Diego has brought in a lot of wide receivers this offseason, but with the exception of Robert Meachem, they’re primarily punt-return fodder (Mike Spurlock, Roscoe Parrish, Eddie Royal), and none are over 6’2". I saw Moss in a sleeper spotlight on this site and was intrigued by his athleticism and size, so I checked out his film. This guy is the real deal— his route running is sloppy and he tends to round off, but that’s the only knock on him I could find. He’s big, fast, catches the ball well away from the body, and can leap over any defender. I like him very much as a project WR and would consider him great value in the sixth.
7a (#226). Carmen Messina, ILB, New Mexico
Solid depth/developmental linebacker. Messina is a hard-hitting wrap-up tackler who can make plays all over the field, and was insanely productive at UNM. He should contribute immediately as a special teamer, and could push for an expanded rotational role once Takeo Spikes retires. Heck, depending on how well Jonas Mouton comes back from his rookie campaign on IR, Messina could push for his job.
7b (#250). Derek Dennis, OG, Temple
Depth along the line. Dennis is strictly developmental and would not start except in an emergency. However, in such a circumstance, he has the strength to be a suitable pocket protector; he’s not mobile enough to be a good pull guard, but most of this is due to poor technique (overextending).
Desmond Marrow, CB/S, Toledo
Big corner with good instincts who’s just somewhat slow. Probably won’t be a cover CB at the next level, but he has the tackling ability to make a move to safety possible.
Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern
Very scrappy QB who finds a way to win. Doesn’t have a powerful arm, but is superbly accurate. Mobile when the play breaks down, and he can move the chains with his legs just as well as his arms. Don’t forget, Persa was a legit Heisman candidate following his junior year. If he can bulk up in the shoulders and start making downfield throws, he’s an NFL starter; if he can’t, he’s a Flutie-esque game manager who will be a more than suitable backup and spot starter.
Michael Zweifel, WR, Dubuque
Zweifel won the Gagliardi Trophy this year as the best player in Division III. He posted eye-popping statistics (140 catches, 1915 yards, 25 TDs) and now owns the NCAA career record for receptions across all divisions. He’s a nice guy, Dean’s List, history of giving back to the community— and holy crap, can he play! He plays faster than his timed 4.5 speed and is incredibly elusive in the open field— he regularly makes defenders look silly. On film, he makes every catch: diving catches, leaping catches, one-handed catches while dragging his toes. He displays terrific awareness and can get to wherever the ball is thrown, usually blowing past a corner on the way there. At 6’1" and 195 lbs., he’s not huge, but plays physical enough to fend off press coverage. The best comparison I can think of for him is Steve Largent— how the hell did he slip through the cracks to Dubuque?
Austin Minnifield, RB, Southern Utah
A powerful runner who bulls through contact and seems to never be brought down by the first defender. Reminiscent of the departed Mike Tolbert in that regard. Decent lateral quickness, and his top gear will get past slower guys, but his real value is between the tackles. Don’t know if he’ll stick in San Diego’s crowded backfield, but he’s worth a look.
Mike Bergey, LB, East Stroudsberg
Led the PA State Athletic Conference in total tackles. Good in pursuit, decent in coverage, racked up a lot of sacks for an inside linebacker. Always seems to be around the ball, and is known as a high-character, high-effort leader on the field. I’ll take him as a depth guy any day.
Still reading after all that? Wow, good for you. Anyways, I'd like to say thanks once again for anything you might have to say!