The All-Pro Names Mock Draft, Rounds 3 and 4

Dreamius SmithThe Steelers have three picks in these two rounds, due to the compensatory pick, so let’s see what fabulous football names we can pick up in these rounds. (For an explanation of the metric please see the previous post.)

Rounds 5-7 were more offensively-minded, with the Steelers taking a guard and a quarterback before finally picking up a DB in the seventh round, but I didn’t expect this trend to continue. First off, the Steelers definitely need some defensive guys, and second, this draft is said to be a strong one for defense. 

It may be strong defensively, but there was something of a dearth of interesting names in the middle of it. (In case you’re wondering, I’m judging the likelihood of where a guy will be taken by his NFL.com draft grade, which in fact is not a very good indication at all, judging by where guys were actually drafted. But it’s a place to start…

The picture which heads the article is of current Steeler Dreamius Smith, from his days as a Butler Grizzly, if they can be spoken of singly. I don’t want to ignore the guys who have pretty fabulous names and are already on the roster…

william likely (1)Round 4: DB William Likely

Also considered: P Matt Haack, just because Haack is such a perfect name for a punter. But it’s not good enough for us. Besides, we already have one. (Cue A Punter’s Lot is not a Happy One, sung to the appropriate Gilbert and Sullivan tune;) OT Julie’n Davenport (who had the further cachet of being compared by Lance Zierlein to LaAdrian Waddle, who would have totally won if he wasn’t already in the NFL) and Damien Mama, who suffers from being another guard.

“Likely to do what?” you may ask? If his college career is any indication, Likely is likely to get you a ton of punt return yardage. I could go for that.

Let’s see what Lance Zierlein has to say in his Draft Profile:

Quick-twitch athlete with springy feet. Has feet and balance to transition his movement in any direction without losing his quickness. Elite lateral quickness should allow him to soak up shifty slot receivers out of their release. Able to mirror and match complex routes. Has instant burst to restrict throwing windows. Plays with plus instincts and anticipation and rarely takes false steps. Always looking to take a path to throw rather than defaulting to the receiver. Has feisty play demeanor. Extremely competitive and plays with a great deal of confidence. Will chop, scrape and dig at the ball to disrupt the catch. Will circumvent perimeter blockers and get after running backs and wide receiver screens as close to the backfield as possible. Outstanding talent as both a punt and kick returner.

Sounds great! What’s the catch?

Extremely short for the position. Will get big-boyed in space when posted up. Teams will likely look for ways to match him up against size on the next level. Will take the worst of it when trying to tackle big running backs headed downhill towards him.

Zierlien’s bottom line:

It is impossible to ignore Likely’s diminutive stature and it’s impossible to ignore the fact that he’s having to come back from an ACL tear. It’s equally impossible to ignore his elite quickness and hyper-competitive nature.

His NFL comparison? Tavon Young. I’d sign up for that!

ejuan priceRound 3, Compensatory pick: DE Ejuan Price.

Also considered: DT Tanzel Smart and DE Deatrich Wise. Just because…

Seriously, do I even have to defend this pick? After all, Lance Zierlein’s NFL comparison was—James Harrison.

Okay, I’ll defend it.  Here’s what Zierlein said::

Quick-twitch athlete with elite playmaking production over last two seasons. Stutter steps and head fakes in rush approach causes uncertainty for tackles. Able to juke inside and bounce back out to create an edge opening as rusher. Built low to ground and plays strong through redirect blocks to trim the edge. Flashes explosive spin counter that can create wins. Absolute bulldog when he smells a sack opportunity. Stout and strong. Big burst to close out quarterbacks. Disruptive in gaps against the run. Sudden stunts inside are often too quick for tackles to counter. Willing to take chances to make plays in backfield.

Okay, there’s some bad news too, but blah blah blah. (Can you tell I like this guy?)

Here’s a quote from the director of scouting for an NFC team:

He’s a little ball of dynamite. He’s got some physical limitations, which will keep him from getting picked early, but I see an NFL rusher. He’s strong and twitchy and can finish when he gets the tackle beat.

But really, they had me at “James Harrison.” Here’s the bottom line:

Stiff-hipped, straight-line rusher who is limited in his rush approach, but has the burst and twitch to finish what he starts. The comparison with James Harrison has more to do with the stature, playing style and rush production that both men possess. While his draft stock might be limited, he has the ability to be a sub-package rusher who could flash on the next level.

NFL: MAR 04 Scouting Combine

Round 3: DE Tarell Basham

Also considered: TE Jeremy Sprinkle, who, like Jessamen Dunker, proved to be light-fingered. Unfortunately, this was much more recent, and you can’t take that sort of risk as easily in the third round. Besides, if, as a prospective NFL TE, he couldn’t make off with the stuff fast enough to outrun security, maybe we don’t want him anyhow.

I also considered CB Corn Elder, who sounds like he belongs in Lancaster County and who, at 5’10”, is a full three inches taller than William Likely. But Likely has the “short cornerback” category well covered…

It should, of course, be “Bashum,” but I expect it will come out like that anyhow. I like this kid, despite my plan to take a pass rusher later in the same round. Here’s what Lance Zierlein has to say:

Possesses an NFL-ready build including long arms and big, strong hands. Shows flashes of explosive twitch in his attack upfield. Able to dislodge a tackle’s anchor with his speed-to-power move. Has upper body power and traits to become better at softening the edge as a rusher. Plays with good short area burst to close out running backs and scrambling quarterbacks. Maintains functional motor to keep looking for tackles outside of his general area. Asked to drop into space at times and showed enough athletic ability to handle it. Roughneck who likes to take it to tackles and tight ends as edge-setter. Gives physical redirect of tight ends getting into routes.

The main knock against him, according to Zierlein, is rather poetic:

Leaves his hands at home rather than turning them into weapons of victory.

Bottom line?

Basham has the strength and length to play as a 4-3 base end or as a 3-4 rush linebacker, but his pass rush approach will need to be sharpened as he lacks the flexibility to bend the edge and attack the pocket with athleticism alone. Basham may never produce a high sack total, but his alpha playing style will appeal to teams looking to groom a solid backup with starter’s potential.

That will do it for today. Check back on Friday for Rounds 1 and 2.

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