Take your pick. Make the Choice. For each of the first 3 rounds, I'll suggest 3 players who could be available that are positions of minor need (I don't feel that we have any major ones). Take your picks and leave them in the comment section.
Simple, right? Here we go.
1st round- 32nd overall selection.
Let's start by trying to get a pass-rushing demon to start opposite the Claymaker.
The Candidates: Justin Houston, Brooks Reed, Akeem Ayers
Justin Houston, Georgia- Houston was once considered the perfect 3-4 OLB, but after weighing in at 270 lbs at the combine, some think he is more fit for a 4-3 DE. Despite his weight, Houston runs and moves like he is 240...a swift 4.68, a 36.5" vertical leap, and a 10'5" broad jump. That kind of speed and explosiveness in a linebacker is rare. His ability to rush the passer is without question elite, but his completeness as a football player is not crystal-clear yet. Houston's Scouting Report.
Brooks Reed, Arizona- Brooks Reed looks way too much like Clay Matthews. I hope his hair and similar build don't trick Ted Thompson into thinking Reed is better than he is. But that shouldn't be an issue, because Reed is a very good football player. At 6'3, 263 lbs, he is fast (4.68) and possesses explosiveness off the line, but not to the same degree as Houston. He had solid, but definitely not eye-opening production in college. Brooks Reed Scouting Report.
Akeem Ayers, UCLA- Ayers is a mid-late first round player, but could be available at #32 because of how slowly he ran at the combine. For a 255 lbs linebacker, a 4.80 is not as fast as is expected. Ayers also was not a standout in any of the agility drills (LBs Combine Stats). His collegiate stats don't suggest he is a top-tier rusher (14 sacks in 3 seasons) but suggest he is very versatile as he racks up tackles, TFLs, FFs, and even INTs. Ayers seems the type of player who is good at everything but great at nothing. He does, however, have enough upside to grow into a great pass-rusher. Ayers' Scouting Report.
Alright...who do you pick? Are Houston's physical talents too much to pass up, or would you say that for Brooks Reed? Or are you one to think that Ayers will grow into a premier pass-rusher? Leave your answer in the comment section below.
2nd Round- 64th Overall Selection
Now, you know you have to adress your team's biggest need...Offensive Line. These 3 guys are still on the board.
The Candidates: Marcus Cannon G/T, Demarcus Love T, Ben Ijalana G/T
Marcus Cannon, TCU- In college, Cannon's biggest asset was always his size. Cannon size, at 6'6" 350lbs, is physically imposing, but it hinders his mobility. Cannon will almost certainly switch to guard because of his inablity to deal with speedy, agile rushers like Dwight Freeney. In order for Cannon to be a solid NFL starter at either guard or tackle, he will need to cut off about 20 lbs and improve his mobility. Cannon's Report.
Demarcus Love, Arkansas- Love was a 4-year starter at Arkansas, and was solid year after year. But his flaws were finally exposed at the Senior Bowl, where he failed to handle speed rushers like Sam Acho. Love's lack of agility and balance suggest that he may be a project at tackle, unless he makes the switch to guard. Despite his label of being a project, the production and upside is there. CBSsports.com has Love's Scouting Report.
Ben Ijalana, Villanova- A small-school prospect with the versatility to play either guard or tackle. He moves well and is strong, but has poor technique likely due to a lack of high-level coaching. It will take alot of patience to develop Ijalana's technique and footwork before he can be a starting tackle in the NFL. MockingTheDraft has Ben Ijalana's Scouting Report.
Your on the clock...who do you pick? Do you go for pure, raw upside with Ijalana, or ample high-level experience in Demarcus Love? Are you confident that Cannon can be great if he loses the weight? The Commish is waiting.
3rd Round- 96th Overall Selection
Donald Driver is close to done, and James Jones could be gone to free agency. Even if only one of them leaves, we need 4 strong recievers to run our 4- and 5-wide sets. We also are in need of a kick returner, which you can find in some reciever. These 3 guys are still available.
The Candidates: Tandon Doss, Jerrel Jernigan, Austin Pettis
Tandon Doss, Indiana- In my opinion, Doss could be the steal of the draft at the end of the 3rd round. Doss managed to produce (962 yards in 2009, 706 yards 7 TDs in 2010) despite being part of an offense that was dysfunctional at times, and couldn't get on the field because the Hoosiers defense couldn't stop anyone (yielded 34 ppg). Doss brings to the table a tall, thin frame that could add beef, consistent hands, and the ability to return kicks. CBSsports.com has Doss' Scouting Report.
Jerrel Jernigan, Troy- Jernigan is the definition of an all-purpose threat. In college he mostly lined up at reciever, but often was handed the ball on end-arounds, and even took the snap in a Wildcat-esque formation. He ran back both kicks and punts, scoring a touchdown on each in 2010. Jernigan is very small, only 5'9" 185 lbs, which brings up concerns about durability. His size does allow him to be perhaps the quickest player on the field at times. Another concern about Jernigan is his route-running, which could be hindered due to him playing so many other positions on the field. Jernigan's Report.
Austin Pettis, Boise State- Pettis carries a tall frame (6'3" 205 lbs) that could be a major asset if he is able to an extra 10 pounds of bulk to it. Pettis was very productive over his 4 seasons in Boise, as he gathered up 2,838 yards and 39 touchdowns. The biggest question around Pettis is his speed/acceleration both off the line, and at top-end going downfield. Austin Pettis Scouting Report.
So, Ted, with the clock winding down, do you go with Jernigan, who is experienced and could be the next slot-machine that Driver was? Does the strong hands and kick return ability of Tandon Doss appeal to you enough? What about the size and production of Pettis? You are running out of time, make the pick already!
Thanks to Sideline Scouting and CBSsports for the Scouting Reports. And thanks to APC readers for reading my post, and if you were wondering, I'd take Justin Houston, Demarcus Love, and Tandon Doss.
Also vote in the attatched poll.