My draft with FA considerations. Its well known that we are up against the cap and won’t be able to go after any high dollar FA’s. This is how I would approach the upcoming offseason. I believe to an extent this is how Smithiak will approach it also. Look at last year. Did anyone see us letting go of Breisal and Cave man? Mario? All in the same offseason? It has sbeen said we model ourselves after NE and what does NE do every year. Let their over valued FA’s walk and replace them in the draft with young versatile players. Then they use the money saved to get FA’s they covet. This mock is based on that premise. 1 Kawann Short, DT, Purdue A Smith insurance and Cody replacement. Why, we already have A Smith and he played well this year? He is over 30 and he is a FA after next year. His eventual replacement needs to be found now. How this helps the team. It adds another high quality Dlineman that specializes in penetration to add to the rotation up front. He is versatile enough to play all three positions. He played all over the line at Purdue. He could start in place of Cody right off the bat IMO. At worst you now have solid depth off the bench to relieve Mitchell and a getting older Smith. 2 Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford C Barwin replacement How this would help the team. First off it will save us from having to spend too much money on Barwin. Money we can spend elsewhere. Why? We already have Mercilous, Reed, Brahman and Barwin. Barwin didn’t have a great year but will still likely get a high dollar offer on the open market. Pass rushers are a premium in todays NFL. Especially young ones in their prime. You can never have enough good pass rushes. How this helps the team. Obviously it gives us another good young pass rusher to add into the mix but it also gives us a smart player that could move easily move inside so he also adds versatility. 3 Robert Lester, S, Alabama R Quin replacement This will save us from having to spend too much money on Quin. Money we can spend elsewhere. He is the most likely of our FA’s to receive an offer that we won’t want to match. How this helps the team. Lester has started the last 4 years at Alabama facing the best the SEC has had to offer and came out looking pretty. He could have been a first round pick had he came out last year. Lucky for us that his numbers were down this year and it’s a deep draft at safety. He has all the right intangibles to replace Quin without any drop off in production. Actually he is probably better at attacking the ball. 3 Shayne Skov, ILB/OLB, Stanford Why an ILB so early? Thought Chase Thomas could move inside? Well that doesn’t help the depth at ILB so I’m getting another Quality inside guy. The way Cushing plays his career could be over or his season ended at any play. Young solid depth is a must. How this helps the team. Skov is very good at blitzing on the inside, intelligent, well coached and solid in coverage which will allow us to blitz Cushing more. His frame will allow him to easily put on 10 or 15 more pounds which will make him a complete player very soon. He will contribute right away. 4 Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State Why so late on the OL? Because what good is it going to do to draft an OL early in this draft? Are you going to start him next year? You really want to start a rookie again? I know the right side of the line didn’t play up to the standard of the guys the year before. Did Breisal and Wisnton play up top that standard in their first year? This OL scheme takes time to learn. The guys we have now will be the starters next year it wont be another rookie you can book that. How this helps the team. Watson is young and inexperienced. He is a project which is the only reason a guy with his physical abilities is available this late in the draft. He is a straight up beast with amazing agility for a guy his size. He looks like D Brown body wise. Give this guy a couple of years and he could be a monster. Maybe with good coaching he can replace Newton or move inside and take over after Smiths contract expires. 5 Kwame Geathers, NT, Georgia Cody insurance Why a big guy? Because we could use some sand in our pants on goal line and third and short situations. It’s a fifth round pick that could end up turning into something special. At worst he could be used in special situations. 5 Brandon Kaufman WR Eastern Washington He’s a two-time FCS All-American. The 6-4, 215-pound Kaufman is coming off a remarkable season in which he caught 93 passes for 1,850 yards and 16 TDs. Watch this link and this one link A young protégé for Andre Johnson with good size 6 Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU I know people are going to say no way he last this long. I say he will be lucky to go here. He really wasn’t that great at CB. He is getting drafted here simply for his return abilities. He’s a specialist with a checkered past. I would put him through an intense interview before I would even draft him here. For the sake of my mock he convinced me that his past is just that and he wants to play football more than anything else in the world. 7 Lucas Reed, TE, New Mexico Brooks Reed’s little big brother. We could use another TE with good size and athleticism and he has good blood lines. 7 Zach Line, FB, Southern Methodist James Casey replacement/insurance If Casey gets an offer hes not worth then Oh well. Line is going to have to add some bulk and power to be a true fullback in the NFL but should be a better lead blocker right now than Casey. He is one of the most productive running fullbacks to come out in some time. Line ran for 1,224 yards (5.9 average) and 17 touchdowns as junior last year. He ran for 1,494 yards with an average of 6.1 yards per carry and 10 touchdowns in 2010, also catching 17 passes for 163 yards. And for you badboy Line runs with power and has a style similar to Stanford's Toby Gerhart in the 2010 NFL Draft. I hate that I couldn't fit Zac Dysert in here somewhere. I have been wanting him for the last two years. I just don't see Kubiak drafting a QB in this draft. There is alot of talent but they ALL have too big of question marks against them. I really want Dysert though. Im afraid after the offseason gets going and people start looking at him he is going to move way up the draft out of our reach.