Representatives from 32 teams gathered at Mocking The Draft on the last day in March to simulate a mock draft. Vitzeng and I took over as Carolina Panthers representatives. Here are the results from the 2013 MTD Mock Draft. Sound off on whether you approve or despise the selections, and who you would have gone with.
Let me first start off by noting that the draft fell very differently than imagined. The Raiders went with Star over Sharrif Floyd, which opened the door for Sharrif to fall to 14. However, Miami took him at 12, despite having good DTs in Stark and Soliali. Lane Johnson also looked like he was going to fall to 14, however, he was nabbed predictably by San Diego. So, at 14, there was not a glaring BPA to be found, as we were hoping.
At 14, here are the top guys that were available on the Panthers board in no particular order: Cordarrelle Patterson, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Vaccaro, Jonathan Cyprien, Desmond Trufant, Sheldon Richardson, Bjoern Werner, and Keenan Allen among others.
From these players, I was able to narrow it down to Trufant, Cyprien, and Hopkins as the players I had on the top of my board. In the end, I chose to select Jonathan Cyprien with the 14th pick, and was met with 'shocked!,' 'OMG,' and 'WTF' as responses.
Johnathan Cyprien vs Louisville (2012) (via Aaron Aloysius)
Jonathan Cyprien (S FIU) Senior Bowl (via footballmixtapes)
Here is why I took Cyprien:
Trufant and Hopkins, among the others are very very nice prospects, however Cyprien stands out in my book. Trufant has the potential of a true shut-down corner and Hopkins has potential through the roof. However, I think the Panthers would rather wait to see what they have at CB. Additionally, Hopkins is nice, but might only be a #2/Y/Possession WR that is not worth the value there. Unlike the others, Cyprien is exceptional, and I took him.
Cyprien is exceptional and very unique because he is the sole elite Safety in this draft. At 6-0, 217, he is very imposing for a safety. Add some wicked agility, instincts, and leadership, and you have a very special safety. Despite the glut of talent at safety, Cyprien is head and shoulders above the rest, and I saw this as an opportunity to nab the top/elite guy at a position.
There are very few things going against Cyprien. Some have concerns about his speed, but watch the tape, because he plays fast. The same was said about Kuechly. I also have no doubt that if he were playing for a big school, there would be a lot more chatter about him. For those not convinced, simply watch the Louisville/FIU tape. And although some might say that this was not a good value, Cyprien would have most likely taken in the next 5-10 picks.
In Cyprien, we get a hard-nosed playmaker in the secondary. But perhaps more importantly, we get a leader in the secondary. Cyprien's leadership skills are truly what set him apart, and the Panthers typically look for leaders with their first round picks.
Some might not want a safety, but the Panthers indicated last year that they very much want a talented safety. The Panthers purportedly would have selected Mark Barron over DROY Luke Kuechly had he been available. Getting a good safety is important, especially in the NFCS because of the TE talent. Cyprien has matched up on the slot, and can match up against Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham, and other TEs.
Now, many cried that I should have gone with Sheldon Richardson or a DT, as the conventional wisdom would have it. But, I decided to take a gamble on the DT depth in the draft, and simply draft the BPA on my board. Behind the top 3 LTs, Star/Sharriff, and Dee Milliner, Cyprien was the highest on my board.
At 14, I gambled on the DT depth, and I was rewarded at 44, when the top player on my board, and on most boards was a DT. At 44, there were some options, but none as glaring as the DT available. At 44, I selected Kawann Short, who fills a big need at DT.
2013 NFL Draft Profile: Purdue - Kawann Short (via Erick Ward)
Kawann Short is a very talented DT that perhaps might have gone in the first round if it was not for the depth at DT this year. Star, Sharrif Floyd, and Sheldon Richardon rightly so get a lot of hype, but Short is very talented in his own right.
As a DT, Short brings a good balance of run-stopping and pass-rushing. He has played at NT for some of his career at Purdue, and is very adept at stopping the run and clogging running lanes. In the passing game, he has a quick first step, uses his hands nicely, and has some moves. He also, like Cyprien is a leader, and has been a Captain of Purdue's team, something the Panthers value highly.
There are some concerns out there about motor and effort, but I think it is much more due to Short's build and stamina rather than effort alone. During the season, Short played at a very bulky weight, carrying some extra baggage and 'bad weight.' However, after the season ended, he made a concerted effort to shed a lot of weight and get in better shape. He showed up at the Senior Bowl, looking very fit, and it showed as he made many plays and truned some heads. He even showed up at the Combine, measuring just a hair under 300. So, I think the concerns about him perhaps are not as much of a worry as some think.
Add Cyprien and Short together, and I think this draft very nicely solidifies the Panthers Defense at every level. At DT, we now have Short and D'wan to rotate and keep a strong DT presence. At LB, we have a very strong corps in Kuechly and company. And in the secondary, we now have two competent safeties and a host of young talent. The fact that these two guys are vocal leaders is important, and could fill a very significant leadership void that the Panthers have lacked in certain areas.
In adding both Cyprien and Short, I think I filled the Panthers needs as well as getting good value. What do you think? Who would you have taken?
Here is how the draft fell:
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
3. Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
5. Detroit Lions - Eric Fianceer, OT, Central Michigan
6. Cleveland Browns - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
7. Arizona Cardinals - Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
8. Buffalo Bills - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
9. New York Jets - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
10. Tennessee Titans - Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
11. San Diego Chargers - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
12. Miami Dolphins - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
14. Carolina Panthers - Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
15. New Orleans Saints - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
16. St. Louis Rams - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
18. Dallas Cowboys - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
19. New York Giants - Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
20. Chicago Bears - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
21. Cincinnati Bengals - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
22. St. Louis Rams - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
23. Minnesota Vikings - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
24. Indianapolis Colts - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
25. Minnesota Vikings - Alec Ogletree, MLB, Georgia
26. Green Bay Packers - Matt Elam, S, Packers
27. Houston Texans - Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
28. Denver Broncos - Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
29. New England Patriots - Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
30. Atlanta Falcons - Alex Okafor, OLB, Texas
31. San Francisco 49ers - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
32. Baltimore Ravens - Manti Te'o, MLB, Notre Dame
33. Jacksonville Jaguars - D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
34. San Francisco 49ers - Eric Reid, S, LSU
35. Philadelphia Eagles - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
36. Detroit Lions - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
37. Cincinnati Bengals - Gio Bernard, RB, North Carolina
38. Arizona Cardinals - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
39. New York Jets - Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
40. Tennessee Titans - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
41. Buffalo Bills - Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
42. Miami Dolphins - Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
44. Carolina Panthers - Kawann Short, DT, Purdue