NFL Draft Blitz Mailbag

Updated - 2-11-13

By: Alex Khvatov


With the 2013 NFL Draft approaching, I have been receiving many emails from readers.  I have decided to start a column where I would share my answers publicly.  If you have any questions or comments, please send them to this email:
Ron from New York
The Scouting Combine is less than two weeks away.  Which players do you think will shine in Indianapolis?

Oregon’s DE/LB Dion Jordan, DE/LB Barkevious Mingo from LSU and WR Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee should shine brightly at the Combine.  Jordan should run a fast forty time and display his elite athleticism.  I expect him to look like a natural dropping back into coverage during LB drills.  Patterson should run a 4.3 forty and showcase his natural ball skills.  Mingo should be one of the top performers in the vertical jump and the broad jump.  Other names to keep an eye on: OT Lane Johnson from Oklahoma, DE Margus Hunt from SMU, DT Sheldon Richardson from Missouri and LB Khaseem Greene from Rutgers.  

Will from Detroit, Michigan
No receiver has stood out from the bunch up to this point.  Many receivers are vying for that top spot.  Who do you think will be the top receiver selected on draft day?

Cal’s Keenan Allen and Vols’ Cordarrelle Patterson should battle for the top spot.  Allen has been productive during his three seasons at Cal.  His best attributes are his size, precise route running ability and his ability to pick up yards after the catch.  Patterson started for only one year at Tennessee after transferring from a junior college.  He is very versatile.  He has the size, athleticism and soft hands.  But he is extremely raw when it comes to route running.  I give my edge to Patterson because he is an explosive receiver that shows the ability to make the big play.

Dave Kotten from Florida
My Lions had a very disappointing season in 2012.  We need to get back into the playoffs.  We need to address a number of positions especially on defense.  I have seen a lot of Mock Drafts out there and it seems like CB Dee Milliner is the consensus pick in the first round.  Do you think that he will be the selection?

Defensive end, cornerback and safety are the Lions top priorities in the offseason.  Alabama’s Dee Milliner had a very good junior campaign.  He will be a good corner at the next level.  But he is not as talented as Patrick Peterson or Morris Claiborne.  I don’t envision him being picked in the top 5.  There is a lot of cornerback depth in this draft, so the Lions can address this position in the 2nd or 3rd round.  I think that the Lions should go after a DE with the fifth pick.  DE Damontre Moore from Texas A&M or DE Bjoern Werner from Florida State should be available.  

Todd from Dallas, Texas
What will the Cowboys do with their 18th pick in the first round?

The Cowboys need to address their offensive line, defensive line and safety positions in the offseason.  They are making the switch from a 3-4 defense to a more traditional 4-3 front.  Defensive tackle and offensive guard would make the most sense in the first round.  DT Sheldon Richardson (Missouri), DT Sharrif Floyd (Florida), OG Chance Warmack (Alabama) or OG Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina) would be the likely selections.  If all four of those players would be available, then Warmack should get the nod. 

Sean Reese from San Francisco, CA
Who will be the top small school player drafted in April? 
CB Robert Alford from Southeastern Louisiana should be the top small school player drafted.  I think that he will be selected somewhere in the late second/early third round.  He is a confident corner with terrific speed and good ball skills.  His size is a bit of a concern (5’9 7/8), but he played well against top competition at the Senior Bowl. 

Nate from Canada
What is the deepest position in the draft?
There is a lot of depth at the wide receiver and cornerback positions in the 2013 draft.  I would advise teams to stay away from the receivers in the first round.  They can find quality starting receivers from rounds 3-5.  Some of my personal favorites are Stedman Bailey (West Virginia), Da’Rick Rogers (Tennessee Tech), Aaron Dobson (Marshall) and Corey Fuller (Virginia Tech). 

Jack Stevenson from Boston
Which player will be the biggest riser leading up to the draft?

Defensive end Datone Jones from UCLA would be my pick.  He began to make his ascend after the Senior Bowl.  He has a muscular build and great strength.  He displays very active hands and surprising quickness.  He had a breakthrough senior campaign under the guidance of Jim Mora Jr.  Jones is very versatile and can play multiple positions in different schemes.  He should be a top 20 pick in April. 

J.T. from California
What do you think of safety Phillip Thomas?  Where do you think he will be drafted?

Thomas led the nation with eight picks this year.  He shows the ability to make the game-changing plays.  He is a physical safety.  He has excelled in coverage this year.  Thomas has good ball skills.  He needs to improve his tackling technique because he misses too many open field tackles.  He is a solid third round pick. 

Shane from Springfield, Missouri
I have seen some of your recent Mock Drafts, and you don’t have Geno Smith going number one to the Chiefs.  What are your concerns with Smith?  Do you think that the Chiefs will go elsewhere with the first pick?
 I believe that the Chiefs will draft the best player available with the top overall pick.  I think that OT Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M would be the wisest selection.  Another option for them is trading back and compiling more picks.  I believe that they can draft a quarterback in the second or third round.  Now let’s turn our attention to QB Geno Smith.  Quarterbacks always get picked much higher than they should.  But Smith is not a franchise signal caller to me.  From a statistical standpoint, he had a fantastic senior season.  He is an accurate QB with a good arm that doesn’t make too many mistakes.  Smith played well against weaker competition.  But he struggled against top defenses like TCU, Texas Tech and Kansas State.  He has a tendency to lock onto his primary receiver and force some unnecessary throws.  At times, he doesn’t always trust his arm and won’t pull the trigger.  Smith’s pocket awareness is also questionable.  He also played in a spread QB friendly offensive system which inflated his overall numbers.  He will get drafted in the top 10, but won’t go first overall.    


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