With 12 picks in this week’s draft Ted Thompson most likely will do plenty of wheeling and dealing, packaging picks to move up and back. There’s not room on the roster for 12 rookies, plus a handful of undrafted free agents. But assuming Thompson makes all 12 picks, here’s a stab at who he might like.
First, I think there’s a decent chance he elects to move up in the second round, possibly to grab Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, or an outside linebacker if he goes D-line in the first round.
Round 1 (#28): Devon Still, DE, Penn St. Thompson will either go D-line or pass rushing outside linebacker here. If Nick Perry is still on the board, he’s likely the choice. There’s a lot of momentum for Shea McLellin from Boise St. as well here. I get the feeling Thompson addresses the line first and grabs a linebacker with his next pick.
Round 2 (#59): Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma A raw talent who got bounced all over the front seven with the Sooners, Lewis is emotional, hungry and willing to be coached up. He was productive against very good QBs in the Big 12, three of whom could be drafted in the first round. Kevin Greene is handed a talented lump of clay to mold into a pass rusher.
Round 3 (#90): DeQuan Menzie, CB/FS, Alabama Menzie will compete for Nick Collins’ job. A corner at Alabama, he’s seen as a safety at the next level, though he’s a little short to be a prototypical safety.
Round 4 (#123): Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa Thompson continues to stock up on defenders and needs to get another corner in the mix. Prater is a senior with good cover skills and will compete for the dime spot.
Round 4 (#132): Dan Herron, RB, Ohio St. Named the Buckeyes’ MVP despite missing the first half of the season suspended, Herron will get a chance to step right in and compete for carries, with fellow former Buckeye Brandon Saine and James Starks. Nicknamed “Boom,” he’s a big, strong durable back who’s strong between the tackles.
Round 4 (#133): Matt McCants, T, UAB Solid left tackle whose stock fell at the combine when his 40 time disappointed. He’s 6’6″ with long arms and is seen as a guy with a lot of upside.
Round 5 (#163): Kellen Moore, QB, Boise St. Super productive QB whose height and arm strength, or lack thereof, are the reasons he’s still on the board here. Winningest four year player in NCAA history, he has great pocket presence, intelligence and is accurate. Professor McCarthy is eager to get the kid into his lab.
Round 6 (#197): Tyler Nielsen, OLB, Iowa Thompson adds another Hawkeye to the mix. Nielsen is coming off a neck injury, but when healthy he proved to be a productive, high motor guy in Iowa City.
Round 7 (#224): Tramain Thomas, S, Arkansas When in doubt, find secondary help in the SEC. Thomas provides another body to compete for a backup role at safety.
Round 7 (#235) Bryce Brown, RB, Kansas St. I’m not sure Thompson will draft two running backs, but this guy was the #1 recruit in the nation coming out of high school, being compared by some to Barry Sanders. After transferring from Tennessee, Brown quit the Wildcats midseason and announced he was turning pro. Complete shot in the dark, but with four picks in this round, why not?
Round 7 (#241): Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado Pack already has two WRs-in-waiting on the practice squad, but Thompson was intrigued by the former track star’s 4.36 40 time. A transfer from Michigan, Clemons was a deep threat for the Buffaloes and will get a chance to show his stuff in training camp.
Round 7 (#243) Jason Slowey, G, W. Oregon He had a solid Pro Day, with the Packers in attendance, and gives the team another interior lineman to develop.