Under head coach Nick Saban, Alabama typically has built its program with highly regarded high school recruits. In the case of Williams, the Crimson Tide went the junior college route. Williams, who grew up playing rugby and basketball in Brisbane, Australia, only took up football at the age of 15. Once he joined the sport, however, it became obvious that his combination of size, power and athleticism could result in big things. Coaches from the University of Hawaii quickly recognized his talent when they were in Australia performing at a clinic and they got Williams, then 16 years-old, to commit to their program. It was soon discovered that Williams was missing an English and math class. Rather than spend another year in the classroom so that he could play at Hawaii, Williams elected to go to Western Arizona Community College. There, he quickly proved himself to be a man amongst boys, posting 76 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and six sacks over two seasons (18 games) and quickly earning recognition as one of the elite JUCO prospects in the country.He eventually chose Alabama over LSU, Oklahoma State, Southern California, Arkansas, Oregon State, Mississippi and Tennessee. In his first season with the Tide in 2011, Williams started all 13 games as a five-technique defensive end, posting 24 tackles, including four tackles for loss and half a sack. Due to his agility, Williams was moved inside to defensive tackle on passing downs. He transitioned to nose guard in 2012, putting together a second-team All-SEC season. Williams anchored the No. 1 scoring defense in the nation playing the zero-technique position he took over during spring practice. He has even seen some snaps on offense in goal-line situations as a lead fullback and with his rugby background, he hopes to get his hands on the ball. At 6-3, 320, he has the muscle and agile feet to line up in any defensive scheme.
2 (34) Matt Elam S Florida
Like many Florida players, Elam signed with the Gators as a very highly regarded prep prospect. He was primarily a reserve defensive back in his first season with the team, though he did start on special teams (kickoff coverage, return) and finished his true freshman campaign with 22 tackles, including two for loss. Elam emerged as a standout once given the opportunity to start last season. He finished the year second on the team in total tackles (78) and led the club in tackles for loss (11), pass breakups (seven) and forced fumbles (two). He also intercepted two passes, including one against Tennessee's Tyler Bray. While perhaps a bit smaller than scouts would prefer (5-10, 202 pounds), Elam has proven himself to be a playmaker throughout his career, demonstrating not only instincts, athleticism and physicality, but ball-hawking skills (six interceptions) and timing. The two-year starter was at his best under the brightest of lights, making game-changing plays against Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee, and pacing the Gators with 11 tackles, including a sack, in the Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville.
3 (45) Zach Ertz TE Stanford - From trade Picks 61, 93, Future Rd 5. (292+128+29.6= 449.6) (Pick 45 = 450)
A one-year starter, Ertz was a four-star tight end recruit out of high school, choosing Stanford over Arizona, California and UCLA. After sitting out the 2009 season, he saw limited action as a redshirt freshman in 2010, finishing with 16 catches for 190 yards (11.9) and five touchdowns. Ertz saw more playing time as a sophomore in 2011, but was stuck behind Coby Fleener on the tight end depth chart, recording 27 catches for 346 yards (12.8) and four scores. With Fleener off to the NFL, Ertz became the featured tight end in 2012 as a junior (14 starts), finishing with a team-high 69 catches for 898 yards (13.0) and six touchdowns, earning First Team All-Pac 12 and All-American honors. Ertz decided to skip his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. Ertz was part of a crowded depth chart over his first few seasons at Stanford, but emerged as the team's No. 1 offensive weapon in 2012 and led the nation in receiving yards by a tight end. He has developed as a blocker and is usually sure-handed, but still needs to improve his consistency in both areas. Ertz has very good body control and toughness for the position and plays like a wideout in the body of a tight end. While he'll fight with Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert to be the top tight end drafted, it wouldn't be surprising if some teams grade him as a better tight end prospect than Fleener a year ago. Projecting as a top 40 prospect, Ertz has a good chance to be the first tight end in Stanford history to be drafted in the first round.
4 (74) Da'Rick Rogers WR Tennessee
Rogers is a virtual Julio Jones clone, exhibiting an exciting combination of size, strength and explosiveness. He signed with Tennessee as one of the most highly regarded prep prospects in the entire country, and immediately showed off his versatility, racking up 167 yards as a receiver and 117 yards as a runner (reverses, etc.). Rogers was expected to serve as the complementary piece to Justin Hunter in 2011, but stepped up once his teammate was injured and went on to lead the SEC with 1,040 receiving yards in 2011. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark in six games, one short of a Tennessee record, and earned First Team All-SEC honors by the media and league coaches. While there are plenty of traits about Rogers scouts will love, one they must be concerned about is Rogers' accountability on and off the field. For violating team rules, Rogers was suspended indefinitely by Tennessee coach Derek Dooley on Aug. 23 and ultimately transferred to Tennessee Tech. "We're excited to have him and look forward to working with him," Tech coach Watson Brown said Aug. 27. "It's a unique situation for me, but we know he's a good kid. He knows a couple of the players on our team, and we know his high school coach, and we're going on their recommendations. "After meeting with Da'Rick and his family, I can see what everybody is saying about him," Brown added. "We've met with Da'Rick and he understands our expectations." Rogers played in all 11 games for Tennessee Tech in 2012, and was the man among boys he was expected to be, leading the team with 61 catches for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns. No one else on the roster had more than 28 receptions, and Rogers put up his staggering numbers despite every opponent game-planning to contain him. Character red-flags galore, but undeniably an elite talent.
5 (97) Tyrann Mathieu CB LSU - From Trade Picks 128,157,180, 2014 Rd 6 (44+29.6+20.4+20=115) Pick 97 = 112
A New Orleans native, Mathieu arrived at LSU as the No. 13-ranked cornerback prospect in the nation by Rivals.com. In two seasons on the field, Mathieu was a fan favorite with a penchant for big plays in critical situations before off-field issues derailed his college career. He made an immediate impact as a freshman in 2010, earning the backup job to Patrick Peterson in fall practices and playing in all 13 games, including one start at left cornerback. He led the SEC with five forced fumbles - the first glimpse at Mathieu's big-play flair. Despite his 5-foot-9 frame, Mathieu had a team-high seven pass break-ups as a freshman to go along with 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions. Mathieu closed out his first season in Baton Rouge by earning the Cotton Bowl Defensive Most outstanding Player award by recording seven tackles, one tackle for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception, one sack and one pass breakup. Nicknamed "Honey Badger," Mathieu burst onto the national scene in 2011. He led the team with 70 tackles, forced an SEC-best six fumbles and recovered five. Mathieu's big-play ability was also evident on punt returns, as he ranked second in the nation with a 16.2-yard return. He was named the SEC Championship Game MVP against Georgia after he returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown, posted four solo tackles and recovered a fumble. Mathieu earned a trip to New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first Tiger to earn an invitation to the ceremony since Charles Alexander in 1977. He also won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation's top defender as year after Peterson won the honor. Poised to build on that success in 2012, Mathieu was abruptly dismissed from the LSU program Aug. 10 for violating team policy - reportedly for multiple failed drug tests. "This is a very difficult day for our team," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences. "It's hard because we all love Tyrann. We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success. We are going to miss him." Mathieu considered transferring to McNeese State and visited the school, but ultimately enrolled at LSU for the fall semester after a brief stay in a drug rehabilitation center. Mathieu and three other former LSU football players - Jordan Jefferson, Karnell Hatcher and Derrick Bryant - were arrested Oct. 25 after police found drug-related materials in Mathieu's apartment along with marijuana. Mathieu was booked on charges of simple possession of marijuana and later released. NFL scouts who were encouraged by Mathieu's decision to meet daily with former NBA player and head coach John Lucas, who battled drug addiction in the past, now had more off-field issues to weigh. NFLDraftScout.com had projected him as a top-40 pick before his suspension. His value will depend on how teams judge his explanation of his off-field missteps.
6 (131) Marcus Lattimore RB South Carolina
Lattimore signed with South Carolina rated by some recruiting experts as the elite running back prospect in the country two years ago. He quickly proved well worth the hype, rushing for 1,197 yards and a scoring a school-record 19 touchdowns (17 rushing, two receiving) to earn not only First Team All-SEC honors but also earn recognition as the consensus SEC Freshman of the Year and national Freshman of the Year. Lattimore's success early on may have been due in part to opponents game-planning for the traditional Steve Spurrier-led passing frenzy, but by the end of the year the powerful and determined Lattimore had transformed the Gamecocks into primarily a run-based team. Lattimore was well on his way toward improving his gaudy totals last season (818 yards, 10 TDs through seven games) before suffering a devastating knee injury against Mississippi State that ended his year. Lattimore was held out of spring practices as he recovered from surgery to repair the torn ACL.
7 (175) John Boyett FS Oregon
With Boyett having missed all but the first game of the 2012 season due to undergoing surgery on both knees. Under coach Chip Kelly, the Ducks have become famous for their breathtaking offensive firepower. However, throughout Kelly's tenure (and previously Mike Bellotti's, as well) Oregon's most consistent contributions to the NFL came from the defensive secondary. Since 2002, Oregon has had nine defensive backs selected in the NFL Draft, including standout safeties Patrick Chung (New England Patriots), T.J. Ward (Cleveland Browns) and Jairus Byrd (Buffalo Bills). The physical and instinctive Boyett registered a team-leading 108 tackles to go along with 3.5 tackles for loss, seven passes broken up, two blocked kicks and an interception -- the ninth of his career -- in 2011. He recorded another interception, to go along with two tackles in the Ducks' 2012 opener against Arkansas State before determining that he needed the surgery. Boyett underwent surgery on September 12 to repair partial tears to the patellar tendons in each of his knees. The surgery was performed by Neal ElAttrache, the head physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Boyett's expected recovery time was six months, which puts him in position to potentially work out for scouts at the Combine or Oregon's Pro Day.
I think we have 7 future starters in this mock.
Fixed all the errors, didn't bother with picks 227, 246, 252
[ Edited by montereyjack415 on Apr 15, 2013 at 11:37 AM ]