Mocking the Mocks: Pre-Combine Edition, Volume II

More mocks. ‘Tis the season, after all. “Volume I” is still floating around:

I forgot how quickly things move during draft season. We’re a couple weeks out from the Combine and the original five analysts we were following have already dropped another, pre-Combine update. In hindsight, I should’ve named the first go-around the “Pre-Pre-Combine” edition. But nevertheless, here we are.

Steve of PFF fame is back and touting McDowell once more. The same can be said for Dane, more or less, who still has the Raiders targeting a linebacker at 24 overall. The remaining panel have penciled in a cornerback – three different names, which really speaks to the depth of the group – in for Oakland.


DL Malik McDowell

While they’ve added key pieces to the defense in recent years, the middle of Oakland’s defense is still lacking along the defensive line. McDowell can move around the defensive front, but he can be a disruptive presence along the interior, where he graded at a solid 83.2 against the run and 85.7 (12th in the nation) as a pass-rusher. McDowell has continued to improve each year in college, and while he didn’t take the massive step forward we hoped for in 2016, he still has room to grow as a player at the next level.

Take: Just like Steve’s selection, not much has changed for me. Assuming the previously discussed “character flags” are true, not a player I’m necessarily comfortable with in the first. Since we (you and I, the fans) don’t have “access” to these kids in that regard, based off tape alone (and by tape, we always mean Draft Breakdown), McDowell’s easily a first round player, and one you’d be thrilled to have at 24.

I will add, in PFF’s latest, both FS Budda Baker and DL Jaleel Johnson were still on the board (and ended up not getting drafted in the first round, which is wild). Two personal favorites that I can’t seem to shake, I’d be gunning for one of those kids. However, Malik McDowell is certainly a hell of a “consolation prize”.


CB Tre’Davious White

One of the cleanest players in this draft, White can play outside or in the nickel.

Take: Not sure there’s a consensus on Tre’ White at this point. Had he come out last season, he was a lock for the first, and perhaps as the top CB? Instead, he headed back to school. While I’m not sure he hurt his résumé (All-American, team captain, leader, etc.), perhaps he failed to add to it the way he would’ve hoped? An interesting study regardless, and a true indication of the talent in the secondary that the 2017 class will bring to the table.

Honestly, after reading these quotes alone (via Joe Douglas, the Eagles’ Vice President of Player Personnel), Tre’ just feels like a McKenzie selection:

While I don’t necessarily have a first round grade on White based on what I’ve been able to watch at this point, you won’t find me sulking after pulling a cornerback early. After a solid Combine, I bet he’s right in that (first round) conversation anyway.


CB Quincy Wilson

The Raiders have a big need here, and Wilson offers length and experience at cornerback, where he has played in nearly 40 games for the Gators. For the first time in a while, the Raiders can be drafting in the midst of a title window, and I think cornerback help should be a part of the equation on Day 1 or Day 2. Wilson is a good value in this range, too.

Take: A cornerback, so you know I’m not upset. Much like White, I’m not as high on Wilson as others. I’ve seen some respected names have a higher grade on Quincy Wilson than his teammate and fellow CB, Jalen “Teez” Tabor. That’s high praise, given just how talented Tabor is. With Wilson, you’re definitely getting the build (6’1″, 215). What bothers me the most with Wilson is that, despite the size, he’s such a inconsistent and even poor tackler. He’ll make up for it in other areas, but it’s at least noteworthy, and knocks him down a peg or two in a loaded class.


CB Gareon Conley

An athletic middle linebacker prospect will be tempting for Oakland in Round 1, and depending on free agency, a three-down running back could also get a long look here. In this pre-free-agency mock draft, with so many top-tier cornerbacks falling down the board, the Raiders can nab a No. 1 corner and fill a huge need.

Gareon Conley is your prototypical NFL man-coverage cornerback. He’s long, fast, and has shown the instincts and ball skills to be a dynamic playmaker and play-preventer on an island. The biggest questions will be if the Ohio State secondary—featuring two more first-rounders in Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore—hid his flaws.

The Raiders could go a number of directions here and not make a wrong pick, but landing a cornerback who projects as a No. 1 in a year or two is too good to pass up.

Take: Conley’s a player that I’ve been high on from the onset. So much so that I completely whiffed and failed to realize just how talented his teammate Marshon Lattimore is. I’m working on making up for those past transgressions, and attempting to move forward. With Conley, I think you’re getting one of the more polished, technically-sound corners in this class. If he shows-out in Indianapolis, #they might start talking about Conley right at the top of this group.


LB Haason Reddick

A defensive back-turned-rusher in college, Reddick makes the move to linebacker in the NFL and has the athleticism to be a star.

Take: Reddick’s been steady-rising, after a dominant Senior Bowl. I talked about the walk-on cornerback-turned-monster a bit in the recap below, and my opinion hasn’t changed much. I understand the fit in Oakland, but 24 overall just feels like a bit of a reach:

Few notes here, as well:

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive