With this mock draft, I'm attempting to do my best to draft players where they will be realistically available.
I'm making a few pre-draft assumptions that I've tossed around to go along with this:
1. Franchise Greg Hardy and trade him to Jacksonville or Oakland in a pre-negotiated deal for a 3rd-round pick in 2014 and 2nd round pick in 2015 (equal value to a 1st round pick)
2. Re-sign LT Jordan Gross to a 1 year, $4 million deal
3. Sign RT Rodger Saffold to a 3 year, $15 million deal ($6 million guaranteed, $3 million cap hit in '14)
4. Sign DE Justin Tuck to a 3 year, $18 million deal ($9 million guaranteed, $4 million cap hit in '14)
5. I'm rolling the dice on the Brandon Williams project as my TE2.
Round 1 - Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Maybe the most pro-ready WR in the draft. A reliable upgrade at starter for us from Day 1 on a Super-Bowl contending team. He can make the other receiving threats better by allowing them to contribute in their more natural roles.
Round 2 - Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (previously Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma, prior to his ACL injury)
The OTs that returned to school made an OT choice more of a reach in this round. CB becomes more of a BPA/fit pick as a result. I had Colvin here previously, but Kyle Fuller or Marcus Roberson could easily go here if they're not already gone. A lot of folks felt that Fuller was a more natural fit for us, so this is a logical pick here.
Round 3 (from Jacksonville or Oakland) - Xavier Su'a-Filo, OG, UCLA
Xavier will not be available by the time we'd pick at the bottom of the 3rd round. But with this trade pick at the top of the 3rd round, we can pick a high-caliber OG prospect who played at FBS level for 3 years, is mature (23 years old, 2-year Mormon mission) and has the athleticism we liked in Amini and Kugbila. And we know how important depth is at the OG position. This is a "hog-mollie" pick, for sure.
Round 3 - Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Aside from Clowney, one of the most productive pass-rush DEs in the draft. He has pedigree (his father is Jim Jeffcoat, the former Arizona State/Dallas Cowboys Pro-Bowl DE, now a DL coach at Colorado) and production (12 sacks, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year). He's an upgrade over what we've seen so far from Alexander and,along with an FA like Tuck, could make for a very explosive RDE rotation given the overall talent along our DL.
Round 4 - Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada
I thought hard about Seantrel Henderson here, but he could get picked anywhere from the 2nd round to the 5th round based on his talent vs. the off-the-field issues. Bitonio has been solid all year, with good athleticism and footwork. Not the biggest RT, but big enough. Handled Anthony Barr (1st-round prospect) very well in their matchup. Would be an immediate upgrade over Bell, and would be the heir apparent to Saffold in this scenario.
Round 5 - Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
I keep hearing Ross Cockrell's name popping up, but I've seen Jean-Baptiste's name higher up on draft boards, and I think we'll see him around this range, which would be a steal for someone with his raw talent and measurables. I think Cockrell's stock will rise after his East-West Shrine game performance and the combine. Bashaud Breeland is another name we may need to consider as well.
Round 6 - Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
An appropriate draft position for an undersized, West Coast WR with good quickness and separation ability along with very good production. I honestly was surprised to see him keep showing up in the 6th round of mock drafts, but he is. We'll take him as BPA and another weapon for Cam.
Round 7 - Beau Allen, DT, Wisconsin
I thought about a guy like OG Zach Fulton from Tennessee here, but Dwan Edwards will be 33 and Colin Cole will be 34 next year. At 6'3" 335 lbs, Allen should be solid depth behind Star and Short after Edwards and Cole are gone.
So, by negotiating a franchise sign/trade for Hardy, we've gotten an extra 3rd round pick for 2014 which becomes a quality "hog-mollie" under this scenario. We were also able to sign 3 quality "hog-mollie" FAs with the franchise tag cap space we would have used on Hardy, including our beloved Jordan Gross for one more Super Bowl run. I don't believe this scenario is very far-fetched, but others may disagree. Let me know what you guys think about this scenario.