With the twenty-ninth pick, the Patriots select…
Jace Amaro, TE out of Texas Tech
With Aaron Hernandez in jail, and Rob Gronkowski constantly injured, the Patriots offense looked flat last year. Tom Brady had no one to throw to last year, and it showed. They need to find a new weapon for Brady to throw to, and it might as well be a tight end. The Patriots offense flourished in the two TE set with Gronk and Hernandez, and it could flourish again with Gronk and Amaro.
Amaro is big bodied, but don’t think that means he isn’t athletic. For his size, he has great body control and can move really well. He can use his size to be a threat in the red zone, and his athleticism to be one in open field. He has soft hands, and will rarely drop the ball. He can be tough to bring down due to his size and body control. He plays with a toughness coaches love to see in their TE’s.
There are some attitude issues that may be a problem. Bill Belichick has never shied away from taking troubled players though so it won’t be an issue during the draft. Adding Amaro to the team would make the Pats offense scary again. If he is still on the board when they are picking, this should definitely be the pick they make.
With the thirtieth pick, the 49er’s pick…
Brandin Cooks, WR out of Oregon State
The 49er’s passing game is really holding them back. They have some great short yardage receivers in Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Anquan Boldin, but they don’t have the homerun hitter. They have no one who can stretch the field. One big play receiver could really make this offense a force to be reckoned with. Opposing defenses would have to play up close thanks to the three receivers mentioned above, in addition to Colin Kaepernick’s running ability. Any receiver who can play the deep ball would have plenty of chances over the top, and Brandin Cooks is the best home run hitter still on the board.
Cooks is a small, but explosive receiver. He has amazing burst allowing him to separate himself from the defensive backs. He is dynamic after the catch as well, with the ability to make joystick type moves making defenders look stupid. He has an eye for the ball, and can generally get to the position he needs to be in to make the catch.
Scouts commend him for his strong character. Former coaches have nothing but good things to say about him as a person and player. He is tough, despite his size, and has never missed a game.
He is small for the position, limiting the types of routes he can run. They don’t need him to go across the middle though, as they have plenty of players who can do that. They just need him to hit the homeruns, which with all the help he will have, he will be able to do.
With the thirty-first pick, the Broncos select…
Zach Martin, OT out of Notre Dame
It was clear following the embarrassing performance of the Broncos during the Super Bowl that they needed some help along the o-line. Peyton Manning was under constant pressure, and suffered because of it. The Broncos have a short time frame to win in, and need to take the chance now, they cant risk going in with this offensive line again.
Martin is a solid offensive lineman that should be able to start this year. He has good footwork, and a strong center of gravity allowing him to handle both speed and power rushers. He has a surprising quickness for his size, and can get going off the snap fast enough to pick up blitzes. He is mobile enough to mirror the quicker defenders, but He plays with a nastiness, and will bury his target into the ground if need be. Despite his lack of athleticism, he can make blocks down field, demonstrating a surprising burst to get to the second level.
He does lack the ideal size, athleticism and length of an offensive tackle, and may have to move inside at some point. He has to rely on grit and toughness to get the job, and his playstyle, while effective, can look ugly at times. He lacks great arm length, allowing the longer defenders to get a push off him before he can get to them, further indicating a move to the inside may be necessary. He bears comparison to Logan Mankins, who also lacks elite attributes, but has managed to become an elite NFL Guard based on toughness alone.
Martin may never be as good as Mankins, but he should be good enough to improve the Broncos line.
With the thirty-second pick, the Seahawks select…
Jordan Matthews, WR out of Vanderbilt
The Seahawks have some talented pass-catchers between Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, and Percy Harvin, yet still they can’t seem to succeed as much as they would like to in the passing game. Part of that may have to due with the fact they have no receivers on the immediate roster that are taller than 6-0. Russell Wilson is short for a QB, and that isn’t helped by the fact he also has short receivers. Drew Brees is short, but he has always had an array of tall players to throw to. Being a short QB means you can have a hard time seeing over the line. Taller wide receivers are easier to see, making them easier to throw to for short quarterbacks.
Jordan Matthews stands at 6-3, making him an easy target for Wilson to see over the hulking offensive and defensive linemen. Matthews made 107 receptions for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns last year. He managed to gain 100 yards in eight of his twelve games in what was his senior season. All of this production was in spite of poor QB play at Vanderbilt. He is a hard worker, and is noted for being an incredibly intelligent player.
The biggest knock against Matthews are his hands, He will drop easy catches sometimes, and doesn’t put himself in the best position to make plays. Hands can be worked on though in practice, and you can teach him how to position himself. You can’t teach his size or natural instincts though. He may not be very fast, but he does have good enough burst to make big plays if you give him space.
Seahawks could probably use an offensive linemen a little more than a WR right now, but most of the top offensive linemen are gone by this point. Jordan Matthews will be a great addition to the Seahawks.