Sports

Breaking down the draft

TOM MELTON, Staff Writer

The NFL Draft occurred this past weekend with the first round being held on Thursday night. Some of you may have seen my mock draft which is a prediction of how the first 32 selections would unfold. I got eight selections correct, one more than Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN. Take pride in one of your fellow students beating ESPN at their own game.

Predictably, Andrew Luck, the quarterback from Stanford, was selected #1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts and Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from Baylor, was selected #2 overall by Washington Redskins.

The Cleveland Browns traded up from the fourth to third overall spot to pick Trent Richardson, a running back from Alabama. It was rumored that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were considering moving up from #5 overall to select him, so the Browns made the move to make sure they got their guy. The Vikings selected Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil #4 overall before the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up from the #7 overall pick to #5 overall to select Oklahoma State standout receiver Justin Blackmon (I predicted this, maybe one of the only people on Earth who managed to do so).

The Dallas Cowboys traded up from #14 overall to #6, selecting Morris Claiborne, a playmaking cornerback from LSU. Tampa Bay made the first slip-up of the draft in my opinion when they grabbed Mark Barron, a safety from Alabama, #7 overall. Barron is widely considered the best safety prospect in the draft, but usually only elite safety prospects are selected in the top 10. Safety was a big need for Tampa Bay, but I think they “reached” (drafted a player higher than they should have) because I don’t think he will be an elite NFL safety. The Miami Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill, a quarterback from Texas A&M, attempting to solidify the quarterback position which has been a problem since Dan Marino retired. The Carolina Panthers selected Luke Kuechly, a linebacker from Boston College, (#9 overall) and the Buffalo Bills selected Stephon Gilmore, a cornerback from South Carolina to round out the top 10. I think Gilmore is overrated. I’m not sure he has the instincts to succeed at cornerback. He was overdrafted because of his rare combination of size and athleticism.

As the draft progressed the Chicago Bears surprised a few people by selecting Shea McClellin, a defensive end from Boise State, #19 overall. I was able to talk to Shea at the Senior Bowl when I was there earlier this semester and he is a great kid, he works extremely hard, and he is very versatile. Being able to rush the passer opposite Julius Peppers should help him, and even though I thought he would be a better fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense I think he can succeed in Chicago. Towards the end of the first round the Green Bay Packers selected Nick Perry, a talented pass rusher from Southern California #28 overall. Perry has a lot of upside but I worry about his lack of hip flexibility and his inability to dip his shoulder to get the edge as a pass rusher. However, the Packers really needed a quality pass rushing option opposite Clay Matthews and Perry definitely can fill that void.

Perhaps most importantly, Beloit’s all-time leading receiver Derek Carrier was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Oakland Raiders just minutes after the NFL Draft concluded. I would like to congratulate Derek and wish him the best of luck as he pursues a career in the NFL.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @TMeltonScouting for more updates about the NFL Draft throughout the year.

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