No one watches more film than NFL Films' own Greg Cosell, and today he treated us to his first-ever mock draft. He lays out his criteria at the beginning:
I will choose players based on my film study and my sense of team needs. I have no idea what different teams draft boards look like, nor will I try to speculate what a team might be thinking. The main objective of my mock is to further discuss the top players by putting them in a draft format. One other caveat: I am disregarding documented off-field problems, character issues, anything that is not a function of on-field play. I understand that teams significantly factor that into the equation, but I am solely basing my player evaluations on what’s on the tape.
Here are some highlights and my thoughts on Cosell's thoughts:
1. Indianapolis: My highest rated quarterback is Robert Griffin III. My conclusion: Griffin is a superior arm talent and better natural passer than Luck.
My Take: No doubt about it, RG3 can make throws that Luck can't make—that maybe no current NFL QB can make. He does have a higher injury risk and bust risk, which forces me to agree with the Colts' choice of Luck.
3. Minnesota: For the Vikings in 2012, a corner is more important than a left tackle. Minnesota takes the best corner prospect in this draft: South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore.
My Take: Cosell cites the top QB play in the NFC North as reason to favor CB over OT, but his pick is a bit of a surprise. There is no doubt that Gilmore's ceiling is higher than Morris Claiborne's, although he has more lapses than Claiborne. I would still take Claiborne over Gilmore, and Kalil over both.
5. Tampa Bay: They select the best pure man-to-man cover corner in the draft, Janoris Jenkins. If you watched him at Florida in 2010 matched against AJ Green, Julio Jones and Alshon Jeffery, you know what I mean.
My Take: Cosell again cites the QB play in the division to justify a cornerback pick, and again passes on Claiborne. Jenkins is probably the best cover corner in the draft, and this spot only accentuates the idea that he might not fall out of the first after all.
8. Miami: If you have a top 15 NFL quarterback (give or take) you can compete for division titles and by extension, championships. If you don’t, it’s very difficult. That logic leads me to Ryan Tannehill for the Dolphins. In fact, over time, I believe he has a chance to be significantly better than Top 15.
My Take: Certainly, the pick isn't novel, but the assertion is strong. Cosell feels Tannehill is worth a Top 10 pick and that he has a chance to be one of the best in the league. That's based on film study, from someone who has been doing it for 30 years.
13. Arizona: This is where Matt Kalil comes off the board in my mock... he’s the best left tackle in this draft.
My Take: This is one point where I'll take issue with Cosell. Unless he really doesn't like the left tackles in this draft, Kalil is worth more than the 13th pick, especially with the Bills picking before Arizona. A small nit, but I'll pick it.
15. Philadelphia: I look at the Eagles defense, and see the need for an inside pass rusher in their sub-package personnel groups... With that said, the pick is Chandler Jones from Syracuse.
My Take: Jones has been a hot name for the last month, and Cosell is right to point out Jones' ability to rush the passer from inside because of his size, length and athleticism. Jones won't go this high, but he might go soon after the Eagles pick.
31. New England: This is where Michael Brockers comes off the board. Brockers is a development player with great size, long arms and natural power.
My Take: Brockers barely sneaks into the first, and Dontari Poe is nowhere to be found. Cosell isn't a big fan of spending a top pick on a project at defensive tackle.