Marc Lillibridge: Bleacher Report
- Round 1: LT Duane Brown
- Round 2: DT Nkdamukong Suh
- Round 3: QB Andy Dalton
- Round 4: CB Jason McCourty
- Round 5: CB Devin McCourty
- Round 6: OLB/DE Whitney Mercilus
- Round 7: WR Torrey Smith
- Round 8: RB Matt Forte
- Round 9: QB Alex Smith
- Round 10:G Davin Joseph
- Round 11: CB Dwight Bentley
- Round 12: OT Gosder Cherilus
- Round 13: OLB Antwan Barnes
- Round 14: ILB D.J. Williams
- Round 15: C Rodney Hudson
- Round 16: DE Evander “Ziggy” Hood
- Round 17: G Rob Sims
- Round 18:
- Round 19:
- Round 20:
- Round 21:
- Round 22:
Round 1, Pick 27: Duane Brown, Left tackle
The crazy part about this exercise is that when I worked for the Green Bay Packers, I would do something similar each season and would be something I would incorporate with my scouts if I ever were to get back into the NFL. After each season, I would stack the starters in each division according to my film grade. That would give me a snapshot of how teams were building their teams and where they may look to add in free agency or the NFL draft. That exercise also helped us as an organization look at positions we needed to improve.
This exercise is different than when the Browns, Panthers, Jaguars or Texans had to build a franchise from scratch because we do not have the convenience of an expansion draft. (To think, the Rams left Kurt Warner exposed and the Browns did not select him.) So when building a team from scratch, especially in today’s NFL, quarterback is probably the best bet in the first round. But since I picked in the 27 spot, I did not feel the cost/value ratio worked in my favor for a quarterback. There are too many other players at different positions that are graded higher than any quarterback I could get here.
Like the Jacksonville Jaguars selected of Tony Boselli in their initial draft, I went with the best left tackle in football. In the past three seasons, Brown has surrendered a total of nine sacks. As a matter of fact, the 27-year old did not give up a sack at all in 2011. Brown is reliable and durable. He has played in 76 games and started every single one.
With a shout out to Team Bloom, I use Profootballfocus.com for a lot of my Bleacherreport.com writing as well as for my clients as a football agent. In the past three seasons, Brown has never graded in the negative overall of any category (pass blocking, run blocking, and penalty). I know I have secured the best offensive lineman in the draft and he should be playing at a very high level for years to come.
My drafting theory has always held the same and as you see my team being built over the next couple weeks, you will come to realize that theory. I cannot reveal my plan just yet because like free agency and the draft, this is also a cloak and dagger exercise.
Round 2, Pick 39: Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle
Love him or hate him, the man is a damn good football player. Not only has he been named a Pro Bowler in two of his three NFL seasons, but Suh has recorded 22 sacks as an interior defensive lineman. Suh just turned 26 years old and will be the force and face of my defensive line for years to come.
The best quality about Suh is that I feel as if he could play defensive tackle in the 4-3 defense like he has proven so well with the Lions. But I also feel he would be a great fit in the 3-4 as a defensive end, much like Haloti Ngata for the Ravens.
As I continue to build my franchise, I have already secured two premier players at two of the harder positions to play in the NFL. Suh can handle himself in the run game and once I add some defensive ends who will challenge the edges, Suh will see plenty of one-on-one pass rush situations. His force up the middle will benefit the outside rushers and vice versa.
Suh also commands double-teams in the run game and so once I get my linebackers in place, all they will need to do is read and run. Suh could just have easily been my 26th pick so I know my team is on track to be dominant!
Round 3, Pick 71: Andy Dalton, Quarterback
I am stoked I got Dalton so late in the draft. We were 71 picks in when I snatched Dalton up and made him my franchise quarterback. Granted, he is no Aaron Rodgers but he could be with a running game and another receiving threat. I will give him both. Dalton has led the once hapless Bengals to back-to-back playoff appearance in 2011 and 2012. The Bengals had only been in two other playoff games since 1990 before Big Red became the signal-caller.
Dalton has not missed a start in two seasons and has a 60% completion rating. He has 47 career touchdown tosses, which is more than Joe Flacco and Drew Brees in their first two years as starters. Dalton is not the prettiest player, but he fits the type of player on want on my team. He is a leader, tough and is a winner. For the spot I was able to select him, I feel as if I have the steal of the draft so far.
Round 4, Pick 119: Jason McCourty, Cornerback
I am a huge proponent of big cornerbacks. It was a philosophy I came up in when scouting for the Packers and one I still believe in. That is not to say I would never play with a shorter cornerback. But that player would need to have unique qualities much like A. Winfield or L. Webb.
McCourty is a physical player who is durable and tough. McCourty is a solid tackler and is not afraid to get physical with the receiver. He had the third most tackles for a cornerback in 2012. According to Profootballfocus.com, McCourty has been a top 20 cornerback the past three seasons and actually a top 10 player the past two seasons.
I like the fact he has the ball skills to secure four interceptions last season and eight in his career. The 25-year old is only getting better and should continue to improve. I now have locked down my left tackle, my defensive tackle, a quarterback and now a shutdown corner. The pieces are in place for a Super Bowl winning franchise.
Round 5, Pick 137: Devin McCourty, Cornerback
Round 6, Pick 186: Whitney Mercilus, Outside Linebacker/Defensive End
Round 7, Pick 199: Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver
Round 8, Pick 250: Matt Forte, Running Back
Round 9, Pick 263: Alex Smith, Quarterback
Round 10, Pick 313: Davin Joseph, Guard
Round 11, Pick 326: Dwight Bentley, Cornerback
The RSP Writers project is brought to you by the 2013 Rookie Scouting Portfolio. Learn more about the 2013 RSP Writers Project and check out the completed 2012 RSP Writers Project where we built teams under a realistic salary cap. You can try it yourself.