I'm going to be completely honest: though I pay some attention for this blog and to see what the Cowboys might do, I've kind of grown to despise the NFL Draft. It takes too long, for one, there's too much attention paid to who might do and what on a daily basis, and, particularly this year, it was way too late. I don't really need to hear Cleveland tell people they might not draft Johnny Manziel because I think they're lying. All the hype around Khalil Mack, a player Baylor marginalized and knocked around with ease this past season, seems weird to me. The whole thing has grown into this huge circus that I don't really care about as much as I used to.
But it's that time of the year again, and it does matter for Baylor's future how things work out. So now that we're just a day out from the start of the whole shabang again, I think we can finally look at it a little more closely without too much changing for our guys in the interim.
Before we do that, I want to highlight something Brian Ethridge of BearsTruth wrote last night that I think people should see (if you have a subscription). He contacted several NFL scouts about each potential Baylor draftee to get feedback about where they might go. It's great information well worth the pittance they charge for the honor. Take a look.
Also, SB Nation's cadre of experts, in conjunction with the NFL blogs, have done a wonderful job once again trying to nail everything down heading into the Draft. I know, some of this is going to be the kind of thing I decried above. I get it. I still feel like the people doing it should get recognition for their work, so here we are.
2014 NFL Draft Hub-- this is the place for you to follow the 2014 NFL Draft on the whole.
Dan Kadar's Top 200 Players -- I'll reference this again below.
2014 NFL Draft Scouting Reports -- Sponsored by Gillette!
Combined 2014 Player Rankings -- Exactly as it says.
I'm going to use this post as the start of a storystream for information on Baylor players, including little updates here and there. We'll also have an open thread for each night of the Draft starting tomorrow.
The full schedule, courtesy of the Miami Dolphin blog "The Phinsider," is available here.
Mayock's Top 100 (NFL.com) -- Doesn't have any Bears listed.
Mel Kiper's Top 100 (ESPN.com Insider) -- I don't have an Insider account anymore.
Mel Kiper's Mock Draft (ESPN.com Insider) -- Same.
Todd McShay's Top 300 (ESPN.com Insider) -- McShay is a hack, but I'd be remiss not including his info.
MMQB mock (SI.com) -- Just round 1.
WalterFootball.com 7-round mock -- 3 -- Dixon #94 to SF, 4 -- Cyril #119 to Dallas, Seastrunk #133 to Detroit.
Matt Miller's B/R mock -- Will update later.
CBSSports' Mock First Round -- No Bears listed.
CBSSports Big Board Top 100 -- No Bears listed.
WalterFootball.com Mock Draft Database -- 451 mock drafts ready for your perusal.
If you find any others I need to include, let me know.
Moving now to Baylor's potential draftees, it looks like we should have between 5-7 players drafted with as many as 10 drafted and/or signed as undrafted free agents. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear like we will have any go on the first night (which contains just the first round). The second, containing rounds 2-3, should be more fruitful before the real action starts on day three.
RB Lache Seastrunk (#84 on Kadar's List)
Suffers from the fact that RBs, on the whole, just aren't as valuable as they used to be in the NFL. The shelf-life is too short, the talent too replaceable, and the production too distributed between RB-by-committees and specialist backs for a huge investment in a RB to be smart. More than a few places have questioned whether Lache can be a true every down RB in the NFL, one that can carry the ball 250+ times in a season and stay healthy. Some also question his "vision," or the ability to see plays develop and find the right hole. Ran a 4.46 at the Combine and a 4.37 at Baylor's Pro Day. It's possible that a run on RBs happens in the late second round and somebody snaps up Lache, but the third round seems much more likely. Possibly even the fourth.
Projection: Rounds 3-4
OG Cyril Richardson (#115)
Once a popular mention in the late first round, Cyril's stock has fallen somewhat since the end of the season due to a relatively poor showing at the Senior Bowl against Aaron Donald and questions about his ability to handle quicker DTs generally in the NFL. Now mostly mentioned in the same third or fourth round mix as Seastrunk. If he lasts into the fourth, I think he's going to be a tremendous steal.
Projection: Round 3
S Ahmad Dixon (#187)
Apparently did not impress at the Combine and slid quite a bit. I've seen him mentioned in various places anywhere from the fourth round to the sixth. The same questions about his coverage skills that we talked about here repeatedly will follow him to the NFL. Is being a big hitter enough to play safety in today's NFL?
Projection: Round 4-5
WR Tevin Reese (#196)
Possibly the hardest guy to nail down in our entire crop. Plays faster than he times, although he timed well at Baylor's Pro Day. Tevin is never going to be a feature WR in the NFL due to his frame. He just doesn't have the durability. That doesn't mean he can't be dangerous. Prevailing opinion seems to be that if he can make an impact on special teams and play in the right system to emphasize his talents as a deep threat, he will be a valuable player. He and Seastrunk absolutely killed the drills at the Combine, so athleticism isn't a question.
Projection: Round 5-6, maybe UDFA if nobody jumps on his speed
CB Demetri Goodson
Possibly the only Baylor player to have improved his stock significantly since the season ended. There's a lot of positive buzz around Goodson right now that has pushed him firmly into fourth round territory. Considering how little time he's spent playing football (relatively), that's pretty incredible.
Projection: Round 4
TE Jordan Najvar
Everybody knows how well he blocks, and he has tremendous size. Ran a 4.93 40 at the Pro Day. Some team like the Steelers is going to take him, play him at TE on running downs and throw a few passes to keep people honest, and run the ball like crazy while laughing their cares away.
Projection: Round 6-UDFA
OL Kelvin Palmer
His primary attribute is versatility in that he played everywhere but center while at Baylor. NFL types love that. I bet he's a UDFA and signs on somewhere relatively quickly. Just hope their sound systems aren't too loud in the stadiums...
RB Glasco Martin
Almost certainly headed for UDFA territory unless someone decides to try to play him as a fullback. I still think he has better speed than people think. Guys like Glasco make NFL rosters by playing the hell out of special teams.
DE Chris McAllister
See Martin, Glasco, except substitute "3-4 LB" for "fullback." Can he do that? I hope so.
LB Eddie Lackey
His size is going to be the limiting factor in his future in football, since everybody knows what he can do on the field. It's a cruel world, the NFL, where a guy like Lackey will hope to sign after the Draft and bigger dudes that barely care get drafted all the time.
I shouldn't have to say it, but everything above is my best guess based on the information available. I can and probably will be wrong, especially if someone falls in love with one of our guys ahead of where they are projected to be taken. That could easily happen with someone like Reese, who would excel in a system like ours that challenges teams vertically, or Goodley, who has been doing individual workouts all over the place. By this time, teams probably know where they want to go and have their boards set, so it's just a matter of seeing how the Draft itself plays out and who is available where.