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THE CHALKBOARD

DRAFT TO DESIGN

When the NFL draft is held on April 28-30, you will hear endless discussion about "needs" and "best players available." But you will hear precious little evaluation of how well a team "drafts to design" other than an occasional mention of "scheme fit."

Think about it like this: Suppose you own a restaurant and the most talented chef in the kitchen is the pastry chef. Are you going to use your resources to buy fish? It would not make any sense to do so. Rather, it makes sense to use your resources to buy ingredients (choclate, cream, fresh fruits) that the pastry chef can use to make difference-making deserts. The combination of the pastry chef's great recipes and top-notch desert ingredients will give your restaurant an edge against the competition, even if the fish is a little undercooked.

QC is not a player evaluator. QC only matches playmaker ingredients to play designer recipes. For that reason, QC has adopted and will rely on a crack "virtual scouting department" for player ingredient evaluation. The members of QC's crack virtual scouting department are:

1) Pat Kirwan (NFL Radio and the Real Football Network)
2) Paul Bessire (Predictionmachine.com)
3) Dan Shonka (Ourlads NFL Scouting Services)

QC believes that all three of these sources are highly qualified and present sufficient diversity of opinion on the ingredients. Kirwan and Shonka are "old school" football men, while Bessire is a 21st Century, cutting-edge analytic evaluator.

With that in mind and without further delay, if every NFL general manager "drafted to design," here is how the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft might look:

1. Los Angeles: Jared Goff, QB California
If the Rams "drafted to design," they would have traded down and picked a solid blocker like C Ryan Kelly given that OC Rob Boras' design experience is exceedingly limited and HC Jeff Fisher's design preferences are well established. Fisher wants to 1) dominate special teams; 2) win the tunover battle; 3) play good defense; and 4) pound opponents with a big running back (Eddie George, Todd Gurley). Even after the trade for the overall No. 1 pick, Bessire's "Draft Machine" still directs that LA would be best served by drafting a blocker (T Laremy Tunsil). Obviously, Los Angeles will pick a QB, not a blocker. Blockers are not Hollywood. QBs are Hollywood. Goff is highly rated by Shonka (No. 7 overall) and Kirwan (No. 11 overall). But our analytic-based scout, Bessire, rates Goff as just the No. 28 prospect in the draft. Fisher and GM Les Snead appear to be following the same recipe that Fisher used when Tennessee relocated from Houston in the mid-1990s. In 1995, the Oilers drafted QB Steve McNair No. 1 (No. 3 overall) and in 1996, their last year in Houston, they drafted thumper RB Eddie George. In 1997, the team began play in Tennessee and by 1999, their first year in their brand new stadium in Nashville, the Titans went 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl. In the five years between 1999 and 2003, Fisher, McNair and George averaged more than 11 wins per season, the only extended period in which Fisher's teams have been consistenly anything better than average. But the last time Fisher used this receipe, he did not have to part with 5 additional draft picks to purchse the QB ingredient (McNair). This time, he did. Goff had better 1) not turn the ball over and 2) produce at an elite level because LA's potential to bring in additional ingredients in the next two drafts presently is compromised. Good luck, kid.

2. Philadelphia, Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
From a "draft to design" perspective, Philadelphia trading up to pick a QB makes more sense than the Rams' trade because new HC (Doug Pederson) inherits an adequate (at best), but over-priced, QB (Sam Bradford). The Eagles' future is dependent on getting more value at the QB position. To address the situation, Philadelphia GM Howie Roseman sent Cleveland the Eagles' No. 1 and No. 3 picks this year and next year for the Browns' No. 2 spot. Our scouting department is even more polarized on Wentz than it is on Goff. The "old school" guys rank Wentz as the No. 6 prospect (Shonka) and No. 9 prospect (Kirwan) on the board. But Bessire ranks Wentz No. 96, which is well behind Jared Goff and a little behind Mississippi State's Dak Prescott and Bowling Green's Matt Johnson. Bradford and/or Chase Daniel can get Philly through the next year or two while Wentz learns how to run Pederson's West Coast Offense. Then, for the next 3-4 years, if the old school is the right school, the Eagles will have a QB at least as good as Bradford at a fraction of the Bradford price. If Bessire is right, then at least Philadelphia's future backup QB will cost less than Chase Daniel.

3. San Diego: Laremy Tunsil, T, Mississippi
The reality is the Chargers likely are playing a "lame duck" year in San Diego in 2016 and will move to Los Angeles in 2017. In addition, it is likely that as part of the transition the Chargers may undergo a complete play design overhaul. Under these circumstances, it makes sense for a team to pick a player that has value in virtually any design. Tunsil fits the description well. Although design options for tackles are limited, the protection a quality tackle provides is indisputably valuabe, particularly when the QB is a pocket passer with limited mobility and a taste for throwing deep routes like Philip Rivers. In the short run, Tunsil will make Rivers' last hurrah in San Diego more comfortable. In the long run, his presence will be valuable no matter who designs the plays for the Chargers in LA.

4. Dallas: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
Many people will pencil in DB Jalen Ramsey for the Cowboys, but QC remembers how DC Rod Marinelli wreaked havoc on opposing defenses when he was creating recipes for 6-7 Julius Peppers in Chicago. Marinelli's defenses were particularly adept at creating turnovers when Peppers kicked inside, rushed from a DT position, and used his height to apply gut pressure. The 6-7 Buckner may not be as athletic as Peppers--who was a standout basketball player at North Carolina--but, in light of the NFL's off-season rule changes, he will not have to deal with as many chop blocks (in theory). QC loves tall interior pass rushers because turnovers seem to follow them around. According to our scouts, Buckner is either the No. 1 (Bessire and Shonka) or No. 2 (Kirwan) ingredient in the entire draft. If Buckner can get in opposing QB faces and keep them from stepping up in the pocket, the current Cowboys pass defenders should create more turnovers than Ramsey alone would create in Marinelli's designs and enable Dallas to improve on their ghastly -22 TO margin, which was the primary ingredent in their 4-12 record in 2015.

5. Jacksonville: William Jackson III, DB, Houston
If HC Gus Bradley is going to survive, the Jaguars pass coverage has to get better. Ownership seems to recognize as much as evidenced by the hiring of Monte Kiffin, one of the master designers who had a hand in innovating the "Tampa 2" coverage design. Jacksonville already has brought in CB Prince Amukamara and S Tashaun Gipson and they likely are marginal ingredient upgrades. FA DL Malik Jackson and DE Dante Fowler, Jr. (who missed all of 2015 with an injury) should boost the pass rush. But Bradley needs more. Jackson is tall (6-1) and and active and suited to play corner in zone coverages designed by Kiffin. Jackson should be able jam receivers and run (< 4.4 40 time) with receivers when necessary. He is the No. 3 rated prospect in the draft by Bessire and received the same grade Bessire gave Denver CB Bradley Roby in 2014. Roby has turned into a dynamic performer for the Broncos. Pass coverage is an area that can be dramatically improved in one year if a team dedicates its draft to improving the area. In addition to Jackson, unless Georgia's 6-6 LB Leonard Floyd unexpectdly falls into the 2RD (he probaly will not), the Jaguars should target Ohio State LB Joshua Perry (Kirwan's No. 29 prospect) in 2RD with an eye toward experimenting with Perry at MLB. At 6-4, Perry is one of two LBs in the draft that has Brian Urlacher and Jack Lambert like height. Like Perry, neither Urlacher nor Lambert played MLB in college, but their height was a key ingredient in taking away the middle of the field from opposing passers in zone coverage and forcing them to challenge athletes like Jackson on the outside with riskier throws. Even if Perry does not work out at MLB, Jacksonville likely will get a solid strong side LB, another area where the Jaguars need help. Finally, if GM David Caldwell can find a trading partner, he probably can trade down and pick up an extra pick and still get Jackson and Perry. The additional pick could then be used to stockpile more covermen. But Caldwell should be careful. Jackson had been a well-kept secret, but as the draft has approached, he has been steadily moving up the board. Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack also are possibilities here, but the defensive designs of Bradley and Kiffin, which are the foundation of the designs of Pete Carroll--the link between Bradley and Kiffin--are simpler than the designs of say Dick LeBeau or Vic Fangio and therefore Ramsey and Jack may not be as impactful as a tall, pure CB who can take away the deep boundary and (hopefully) force turnovers in the style of Charles "Peanut" Tillman.

6. Baltimore: Joey Bosa, LB, Ohio State
GM Ozzie Newsome likes big people and DC Dean Pees spent a lot of time in New England with Bill Belichick who also likes his outside LBs to be over-sized. The Ravens outside rushers, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervill, have been oustanding, but they are both closer to the end than the beginning of their careers. Bosa could learn for a year behind them, create an intimidating pass rush package on third down, and, in a year, take over a starting spot. Bosa is the No. 2 overall prospect on Shonka's board and No. 6 (Bessire) and No. 8 (Kirwan) on our other scouts' boards. He is a perfect fit in Baltimore and nobody is better at not over-thinking the draft than Newsome.

7. San Francisco: Noah Spence, LB, Eastern Kentucky
New DC Jim O'Neill is a chip off the Rex Ryan coaching block and providing him a new 1RD pass rusher will improve the team. According to Kirwan, Spence "might be the best pass rusher in the class." Kirwan got a great, first-hand look at Spence at the Senior Bowl and ranks him as the No. 12 overall prospect. Spence is the best bet in this draft to provide instant edge pressure on opposing passers just as Aldon Smith did in 2011. Spence is not as highly regarded by our other scouts (Shonka No. 25; Bessire No. 60), but the pure pass rush potential is worth the gamble. In 2RD or 3RD, Kelly can grab QB Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), who Bessire ranks the equal of Carson Wentz and ahead of Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook.

8. Cleveland: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
If Cleveland adds Elliott to the draft pick haul it acquired from Philadelphia for the No. 2 pick, the Browns will be in position to be in the playoffs by Hue Jackson's third year in Cleveland--at the latest. Jackson's offensive design in Oakland and Cincinnati ran through his RBs and he likes to have two good ones. Last year, the Browns snagged RB Duke Johnson, the No. 15 prospect on Bessire's board. Johnson looks like he will be a good player, but at just over 200 pounds, he is better suited to a role as pass catcher and change of pace back. Elliott goes a rock-solid 225 pounds, but plays more like a 235-pound thumper. Jackson's design in Cincinnati turned a 2RD QB, Andy Dalton, into a dangerous red zone passer (27 TD per 16 games the last 3 years). Elliott is the overall No. 1 ranked prospect on Kirwan's board. Bessire has said Elliott is the best running back prospect he has ever evaluated and ranks him as the No. 4 overall prospect. Shonka has Elliott as his No. 9 overall prospect. Former Colts' GM Bill Polian said of Elliott on NFL Radio, "I think he's the best player in the draft" and that "absolutely" he would draft him at No. 2. Like Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig, Elliott is the rare RB who creates options because he is a pass protector and pass catcher in addition to being both a "heavy" back and a break-away threat. Elliott is a perfect fit for Jackson's design. If Elliott is there at No. 8, this is a no-brainer. The Browns should "draft to design" and pick Elliott.

9. Tampa Bay: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
New DC Mike Smith inherits a pass defense that underachieved in 2016. Smith likes to give opposing offenses multiple looks and values versatile players. Smith also likes his D to be strong up the middle from front to back. While Ramsey is quite versatile, some scouts think he will be better as a safety than as a cover corner. As the draft has approached, some experts began to publicly express concern that despite his outstanding combine data, Ramsey will not develop into an outstanding NFL player. Former NFL DC Greg Robinson in particular expressed concern that Ramsey plays too tall and does not have the change of direction agility that is required to cover receivers in the NFL. Still, all of our scouts love Ramsey (Shonka No. 3, Kirwan No. 4 and Bessire No. 5) and, if he should fall, he should not fall past Tampa.

10. NY Giants: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
DC Steve Spagnuolo's defensive designs are like Colonel Sanders' recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. While there may be 11 herbs and spices in the recipe, in reality, black pepper does almost all the work. In Spags' D, pressure on the passer is the pepper. The Giants' pass rush was as bland as a rice cake in 2015 and it cost long-time HC Tom Coughlin his job (and left him more than a little salty). GM Jerry Reese already has taken a major step to cure this problem by giving FA DE Olivier Vernon a super-sized big bucket of cash and resigning DL Jason Pierre-Paul. Lawson is well-regarded by all our scouts (Bessire No. 11; Kirwan No. 17; Shonka No. 18). If the Giants' pick Lawson, they can slide JPP inside on passing downs and potentially recreate the "NASCAR" package that fried Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl 42. Like Colonel Sanders, Spags does chicken--err, pass rush--right.

11. Chicago: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
There are not too many defensive designers left who have signature recipes that feature inside LBs. Chicago DC Vic Fangio is one of them. Remember how the 49ers defense came to life when NaVorro Bowman joined Patrick Willis inside and the two of them never left the field. Jack appears healed from his knee injury, although health remained a question as late as 10 days before the draft. Again, a difference of opinion exists between our old school scouts (Shonka No. 4 and Kirwan No. 5) and our anlytic scout (Bessire No. 25). In the kitchen of a lesser defensive design chef, Jack may be closer to Bessire's ranking. But in Fangio's kitcheh, Jack is more likely to leave a bad taste in the mouth of Bears' opponents.

12. New Orleans: LaQuon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi
The Saints defense was abysmal in 2015. It has to get better because it cannot get worse. But DC Dennis Allen is not the kind of designer that you entrust with your No. 1 pick. At least, not when your offensive play designers are Sean Payton and Pete Carmichael. The Payton recipe is well-established. He wants a solid inside core on the O-line to stone gut pressure at the LOS. He addressed that area recently with Max Unger and Andrus Peat. He wants a tall TE. He picked up 6-6 Coby Fleener as a FA. He wants a quicksilver outlet in the passing game. He has that in Brandin Cooks. And he wants a physical receiver who can work the middle of the field and the corners in the red zone. A WR need not possess blazing speed to fulfill the role, but he must be compete ferociously for the ball when QB Drew Brees throws it to him when covered. Payton had the last ingredient until GM Marty Loomis released Marcus Colston. Treadwell is a perfect fit as Colston's replacement. Even if the D is better, New Orleans' only chance to return to the top of the NFC South is to score more points than its defense gives up.

13. Miami: Ronnie Stanley, T, Notre Dame
HC Adam Gase and DC Vance Joseph are the least experienced design tandem in the NFL. And Stephen Ross is one of the league's least patient owners. Yikes. Gase was brought in to rehabilitate QB Ryan Tannehill as he did with Jay Cutler in Chicago last year. If Gase is to succeed with Tannehill, first he will have to get the QB protected. Stanley is rated the No. 5 prospect by Shonka, No. 15 by Kirwan and No. 24 by Bessire. If Gase and Tannehill can get their feet under them this year, next year they can shop for zestier ingredients.

14. Oakland: Vernon Hargreaves III, DB, Florida
DC Ken Norton trained under Seattle's Pete Carroll. With the FA signings of LB Bruce Irvin, CB Sean Smith and FS Reggie Nelson, it looks like Norton is following his mentor's Cover 3 recipe. To make Cover 3 work, a defense has to take the middle of the field away from tight ends and slot receivers, often with underneath man coverage. Some concern has been expressed that Hargreaves might not be tall enough to play an outside corner, but he is probably the best prospect in the draft to lock down slot receivers. All of our scouts think Hargreaves fits into the draft somehwere around here (Shonka No. 10; Bessire No. 17; Kirwan No. 25). In the second round, the Raiders should grab USC safety Su'a Cravens who is a Kam Chancellor clone.

15. Tennessee: Jack Conklin, T, Michigan State
New Tennessee HC Mike Mularkey developed his first recipes under Pittburgh's Bill Cowher who loved the power running game. The Titans acquired bruising RB DeMarco Murray in the off-season and will make every effort to feature him and reduce demands on QB Marcus Mariota. If Mariota is only required to pass less than 30x a game, he can be a highly productive player. But if he must pass more than 40x per game, both he and Tennessee will struggle. Conklin is not the prototypical pass protecting tackle, but he played in a hard-nosed, run-first pro-style system at Michigan State, which makes him a good fit in Tennessee. All of our scouts think highly of Conklin (Bessire No. 9, Shonka No. 14 and Kirwan No. 24).

16. Detroit: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
The Lions have never had a RB that scares anyone on first down since Matt Stafford became the QB. OC Jim Bob Cooter is a design neophyte and now that Calvin Johnson is retired HC Jim Caldwell should make a purposeful effort to balance the offense. If Detroit if feeling bold, it could try to swing a deal with Jacksonville to grab Ezekiel Elliott. But if the Lions stay put, they should grab the Heisman Trophy winning power back. There is some risk here because Henry is not particularly nimble, but he is a load when he gets a head of steam and a ball-carrier that defenses probably will have to respect on first down. Our scouts are not crazy about him, but like him well enough (Kirwan No. 20; Bessire No. 34) to think Henry will be at least a solid starter.

17. Atlanta: Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
Most people see the 6-6 Floyd as an edge pass rusher, but he also played off the ball at Georgia. Falcons HC Dan Quinn is on record as stating his LB corps has to become faster and better at defending the pass. If Floyd could make the transition to inside LB, at his height, he would be virtually impossible to throw over in the middle of field. Quinn could create mass confusion for an offense by moving Floyd around, sometimes bringing him off the edge and sometimes dropping him into coverage between the numbers. Kirwan and Shonka rank Floyd as the No. 22 prospect in the draft. But he is No. 2 on Bessire's board. Skeptical? Well, in 2014, Bessire had Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, Ryan Shazier, and Anthony Barr ranked as the four best players in the draft ahead of the No. 1 pick, Jadeveon Clowney.

18. Indianapolis: Taylor Decker, T, Ohio State
OC Rob Chudzinski, who Chuck Pagano elevated to chief offensive designer during the 2015 season, is a Norv Turner disciple. Chudzinski wants to throw the ball down the field and in Andrew Luck he has the passer to do it if he can keep defenders off Luck. Decker is well thought of by our scouts (Shonka No. 16; Kirwan No. 28; Bessire No. 36). If Chudzinski can plug and play Decker in at RT, he can kick fellow OSU alum Jack Mewhort down to G and make the whole line better.

19. Buffalo: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
Bills HC Rex Ryan loves to design blitzes, but in 2015 his designs could not stop the Bills' pass rush, which had been feared under former DC Jim Schwartz, from plummeting all the way to No. 32--dead last--in the NFL. Ryan's coverage recipes work best when he has a big outside LB who can bring the heat. Manny Lawson currently plays that role but his best days of pressuring QBs are well in the rear view mirror. Ogbah lived in the backfields of Oklahoma State's Big 12 opponents. Our scouts rank him No. 10 (Kirwan), No. 13 (Bessire) and No. 19. QC loves it when the old school guys and the analytics guy agree.

20. NY Jets: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Nobody in the NFL blitzes more and few blitz more creatively than HC Todd Bowles. He will send blitzes up the gut, blitzes off the edge, and execute complex pass coverage. Before LB Daryl Washington imploded, Bowles' designs had him on track to becoming one of the NFL's most versatile and dynamic defenders. After Washington blew up, Bowles converted Deone Buccannon into bruising hybrid LB/S who plays inside the box even against the run. Smith suffered a severe knee injury in Notre Dame's bowl game in January, so obviously the medical is the gamble here. The most recent reports indicate Smith will miss all of 2016, but is likely to make a full recovery. Buffalo chose RB Willis McGahee under nearly identical circumstances in 2003 and McGahee went on to play at least 14 games in 8 of his 10 NFL seasons and to post four 1,000+ yard seasons. If Smith fully recovers from his knee injury, he is a perfect fit for Bowles' designs and could become what Washington never will. If the medical risk is too great or the Jets are confident they can get Smith in 2RD or later, Ohio State LB Darron Lee ( Kirwan No. 16; Shonka No. 20; Bessire No. 54) could substitute in this slot. Lee is fast, but 2 inches shorter than the 6-3 Smith. On the third day, NY should target LB Jatavis Brown from Akron. Brown did not get invited to the combine in Indianapolis due to his diminutive size for a LB (5-11, 227). Brown is fast (4.47 at regional combine) and Bessire's No. 22 overall prospect. He is most likely to fulfill that projection with a designer like Bowles.

21. Washington: A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
DC Joe Barry--the son-in-law of Dallas DC Rod Marinelli--is still another defensive designer who got his early training in Tampa with Monte Kiffin. Since that time, Barry has converted his base defensive platform from the 4-3 to the 3-4. Robinson is big and quick and should be able to step in and start from his first day of training camp. Robinson is versatile enough to play anywhere on the D-line in Barry's designs and probably can excel as either a 1-gap penetrator or 2-gap blocker absorber. All of our scouts like Robinson (Kirwan No. 6; Shonka No. 12; Bessire No. 20). If the Redskins add Robinson to FA CB Josh Norman, Barry's D should be better in 2016.

22. Houston: Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
GM Rick Smith just bet his job and HC Bill O'Brien's job and a truckload of his owner's money that QB Brock Osweiler will develop into an upper echelon NFL QB. To increase the odds his bet will cash, Smith should remember "a TE is a QB's best friend." Current Texans TE C.J. Fiedorowicz has just 21 catches and 1 TD in two NFL seasons. Kirwan ranks Henry as his No. 21 prospect and Bessire ranks him No. 35, so we will say there is a old school/new age consensus that Henry is a late first or early second round prospect. If Smith thinks he can get Henry in the second round, he should remember that Dallas TE Jason Witten is a lot closer to the end of his career than the beginning and Dallas owner/GM Jerry Jones loves to draft Hogs.

23. Minnesota: Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Other wide receivers are more explosive and rated higher by our experts (Baylor's Corey Coleman, Notre Dame's Will Fuller, TCU's Josh Doctson), but Minnesota OC Norv Turner is best with WRs who run good routes and fight for and catch the ball. Boyd, who Bessire ranks as the No. 39 prospect in the draft, meets those criteria better than any other wideout available. If Boyd was an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier, his physical measurables would be comparable to Norv's greatest WR, Michael Irvin. Like Irvin, Boyd is ultra-competitive, has strong hands that clamp instantly onto the ball, and possesses excellent body control. Vikings GM Rick Spielman has been nailing the draft on the defensive side for HC Mike Zimmer in recent years and Spielman's picks (Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, Anthony Barr, Trae Wayans, and Eric Kendricks) combined with Zimmer's designs have Minnesota's D at the threshhold of being one of the NFL's best. Spielman firmed up the Vikings biggest weakness in free agency when he added G Alex Boone and T Andre Smith. Boyd can step in opposite Stafon Diggs and immediately provide QB Teddy Bridgewater with an additional professional target.

24. Cincinnati: Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
Both the Bengals and QB Andy Dalton were enjoying breakout seasons in 2015 until Dalton broke his thumb agains Pittsburgh in Week 14. While Dalton is improved, his history includes a proclivity to generate turnovers forcing the ball to WR A.J. Green when he does not have other viable WRs available. Shepard could provide Dalton a type of weapon in the slot that he has never had. Shepard is fast, strong, tough, productive and polished. Bessire rates Shepard as the No. 12 prospect in the draft. Most other scouts discount Shepard's draft position because he is small and fear he may be pressed, muscled and disrupted in the NFL. But DBs will have to first get their hands on Shepard to slow him down. If the Bengals move Shepard around and stack him behind Green and TE Tyler Eifert, he will be a matchup nightmare for defenses.

25. Pittsburgh: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
The prevailing wisdom is Pittsburgh will draft a DB in 1RD, but WR Martavis Bryant--who last year looked poised to emerge as a star--imploded during the off-season and is now suspended for the year. OC Todd Haley is a master designer with 3WR sets going back to his days in Arizona with Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston. If 2015 3RD WR Sammie Coates is not the answer, Haley will find himslef a WR short and the Steelers biggest strength will be muted as teams devote an excessive amount of attention to Antonio Brown. Doctson is highly rated by two of our scouts (Shonka No. 24 and Bessire No. 26).

26. Seattle: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama
Pete Carroll's defensive designs are permeating the entire NFL. The most underrated ingredient in his recipe is a 2-gap DT/NT who clogs the inside running lanes and keeps blockers off Carroll's linebackers. Arguably Seattle has been the best team in the NFL since 2012. The Seahawks unsung hero during the period was DT/NT Brandon Mebane. Carroll's designs call for lots of aggressive play and 1-gap penetration, but he cheats and "steals" a gap by deploying one run-stuffing stud in a 2-gap technique in almost every design. Reed is a perfect fit for this role, particularly given that Mebane signed with San Diego as a FA. At Alabama, Reed was virtually impossible to move and run against. All our scouts think highly of Reed (Bessire No. 14; Shonka No. 17; Kirwan No. 19). He would be great value at the No. 26 spot.

27. Green Bay: Jason Spriggs, T, Indiana
Even without WR Jordy Nelson, six weeks into the season HC Mike McCarthy, OC Tom Clements and QB Aaron Rogers were sailing along at 6-0, averaging a robust 8.6 QCYPA and losing only .385 yards on sacks per pass attempt. Then the wheels fell off the Packers' offense. Green Bay ended the year averaging a barely acceptable 6.6 QCYPA and losing .562 yards per pass attempt. It is unlikely that McCarthy and Clements suddenly forgot how to design plays or that Rogers suddenly could not execute the designs. Rather, injuries corrupted the platform on which the designs run. By the time the Packers faced Washington in the wild-card round, backup center J.C. Tretter was playing LT. Spriggs is a 6-6, 300 pound athlete who can backup and soon replace one of Green Bay's starting tackles, Bryan Bulaga or David Bakhtiari. Our scouts all like Spriggs' potential (Bessire No. 31; Kirwan No. 33; Shonka No. 35).

28. Kansas City: Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
In the words of the Executive Director of the Fired Football Coaches Association, Jon Gruden, Kansas City DC Bob Sutton is a "pain in the ass." Sutton causes maximum annoyance to opposing OCs when he deploys his D-line in unusual asymmetric formations. For example, Sutton will line up 2 DL and a LB on the LOS to one side of the center and leave massive NT Dontari Poe as essentially a 1-man D-line on the other side of the center. Fundamentally, the Chiefs D is based on 1-gap attacking linemen, which create turnovers without the need to bring extra blitzers. Bullard is a perfect fit for Sutton's designs. Bullard played both DE and DT at Florida and should excel at DE in Kansas City. Bessire ranks him as the No. 8 prospect in the draft and Shonka has him at No. 26.

29. Arizona: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
Bruce Arians likes big QBs with big arms who can throw the ball down the field. In 2014, Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas fit the profile and Arizona grabbed Thomas in 4RD (No. 120). It did not work out at all. Even as QB after QB was injured in 2014, Arians would not put Thomas on the field. He was released before the start of the 2015 season. The 6-7 Lynch is another case of a difference of opinion between our old school scouts and our analytic scout. Kirwan (No. 23) and Shonka (No. 34) have fairly high regard for Lynch. But Bessire ranks him only No. 106, which probably reflects Lynch's rawness that is reminiscent of Thomas. Arizona GM Steve Keim has built a solid roster. By acquiring LB Chandler Jones from New England, Keim already has upgraded the Cardinals pass rush and this draft is pretty deep in quality players. So Arizona is in a pretty good spot to gamble on stealing its QB of the future even though they lack a No. 2 pick as a result of the trade for Jones and thus will not get any help this year from the first two rounds of the draft if they make Lynch their selection.

30. Carolina: Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
By going 15-1 and reaching the Super Bowl, HC Ron Rivera and DC Sean McDermott established themselves as the preeminent defensive design team in the NFL today. Although the Panthers could not finish the deal against Denver in the Super Bowl, the Carolina D was as unyielding as the Broncos stingy D and the Panthers lost only because Cam Newton subsidized Peyton Manning with 2 turnovers that gave Denver 14 points. Rivera and GM Dave Gettlemen have built the D by investing in defenders who play between the numbers: DTs Kwann Short and Star Lotulelei and LB Luke Kuechly. They do not have too look far outside their own backyard to find another between then numbers defender in Cash. Bessire ranks Cash as the No. 10 prospect in the draft. Bessire's predictionmachine.com writes that "Cash's ability to line up at multiple positions and seemingly always be around the football is reminiscent of a young Troy Polamalu." Whoa. That's strong sauce. Kirwan and Shonka are far less effusive, but both seem to think Cash would be worthy of a 2RD selection and the No. 30 slot is just two picks away from the 2RD.

31. Denver: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville With the retirement of Peyton Manning and the departure of Brock Osweiler in free agency, Denver fans are Jonesing for a 1RD QB in this slot. But the Broncos did not hoist the Lombardi Trophy because of Manning or Osweiler. Denver won the Super Bowl thanks to DC Wade Phillips penetrating 1-gap designs and players like Malik Jackson who executed those designs. Jackson rolled his disruption in Phillips' designs into a monster FA contract from Jacksonville. If Rankins is still on the board at the end of the first round, he would make an ideal replacement. Rankins is a classic 1-gap penetrator who could step right into the lineup and help create the kind of havoc that ruined the last game of 2015 for both Tom Brady (AFC Championship Game) and Cam Newton (Super Bowl). All of our scouts are optimistic that Rankins will be a highly productive NFL player (Bessire No. 17; Shonka No. 18; Kirwan No. 32). If Rankins is still available at the end of 1RD (unlikely) and John Elway "drafts to design," he will snatch Rankins and pass on lower rated QBs like Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook.

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