The SB Nation NFL bloggers are in charge of running a mock draft for the first two rounds and the 20th pick came up. I chose Missouri's Kony Ealy.
I was actually in a very tough spot in terms of whom to select because a whole bunch of players I like were available. It was pretty much a dream scenario.
Since Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were both off the board, I wasn't pressured into taking a safety, especially when Clinton-Dix reminds me of Rashad Johnson -- nice player, but not a Pro Bowl guy. Pryor's height was a concern for me because Tyrann Mathieu is even shorter. the team wants to get longer at the position.
So, in terms of the players I liked, I had pass rushers in Kony Ealy and Dee Ford. Defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman was on the board. All the top cornerbacks were on the board still. At safety, I could have forced a pick with Deone Bucannon, a guy I like, but I would prefer to trade down to get him or hope he is available at 52.
My choice was based on impact now and later.
It was Ealy over Justin Gilbert by a little bit. Gilbert's athleticism and ball skills are very appealing, but he would find it hard to crack the rotation. At best, he would be the slot corner for 2014, where he would have to beat out Jerraud Powers and then Tyrann Mathieu. His true impact would be in 2015 and beyond, which is fine, but I felt that someone who could impact the defense now and in the future was a better pick.
As for Dennard, I only had Gilbert above him slightly, and it was based on athleticism.
So by my logic, pass rusher or defensive line would be more valuable now and later.
Should I go Ealy, Ford or Hageman?
Ealy gave me flexibility and the history of Missouri front seven players was too much to overlook -- Justin Smith, Ziggy Hood, Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson. Ealy, even as a rotation player at OLB or DE gives me value now and later. General manager Steve Keim wants to be able to get pressure to make the secondary even better.
I felt Ealy had more upside and that the fact he could go either DE or OLB was the best bet at number 20. I think he will be impactful either way.
What grade would you give this pick? Who would you have taken instead?
As for the second round...I'm hoping Bucannon lasts. I think he will be a great fit.
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