We all know the consensus favorite trade-up prospect, but what has not been often talked about are favorite trade-down prospects. In such a deep draft, and with a GM like Mayhew who seems to make a trade every year, we as fans must consider the possibility. So join me in beating the hell out of this dead horse until draft time is upon us. I tried to avoid players that have been talked about at 10, or guys projected as going a few spots before us (sorry OBJ and Darqueze Dennard fans), and focus more on guys whose names haven't been discussed much. I also tried to keep my own opinions out of the short breakdown.
Obligatory Sammy Watkins Image
Kyle Fuller (CB/S) Virginia Tech (18-23 range)
Brother to our very own Cory Fuller, Fuller is a 6'0 cornerback with 4.49 speed. Favorite network analyst Mike Mayock actually rated him as his favorite corner, and he may not even be available at the juncture I predicted him. Fuller's most impressive qualities are his instincts and awareness. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time and he plays faster than he times. Fuller is a willing run supporter and will contribute immediately as a gunner in special teams. Also a very durable player. The biggest detraction of Fuller is his strength, logging only 12 reps at the bench press, as well as his deficiency in man coverage. Will function best as an off man or zone coverage corner, as he lacks the twitch and agility to cover guys faster than him.
C.J Mosley (MLB) Alabama (18-23 range)
The versatile 6'2 Mike linebacker out of Alabama is rated as the highest middle linebacker in the draft. Mosley simply does everything well. He has great instincts in run defense, and pass defense, showing the ability to stuff the run and drop back in coverage. He's a fine blitzer, with sound tackling technique, it's rare to see Mosley miss a tackle. He has excellent lateral agility, moving sideline to sideline making plays. He even has an exceptional attitude. A guy who loves football and is in the weight room constantly. A selfless team player with a high IQ, Mosley's biggest detractions are his size, as he could stand to add more bulk. Nevertheless, Mosley is a plug and play guy with a high floor and high upside.
Marqise Lee (WR) USC (18-23 range)
A polarizing prospect, the 6'0 wideout out of USC has many fans screaming "star", and others screaming "bust". But you can not deny Lee has excellent abilities and the potential to be a #1 receiver in the NFL. Lee is an athlete. He is a shifty runner that can attack defenses after the catch with terrific acceleration. He is a good route runner as well, and understands how to get open against both man and zone coverage. Will attack jump balls and has a knack for getting the deep ball. HIs biggest detractions are his hands, and his injury history. He overcame injuries to his shoulder, knee, and leg, as well as a revolving door at the head coach position at USC. The team willing to take a chance on Lee may come away with a star.
Cody Latimer (WR) Indiana (19-25 range)
Cody Latimer is this year's hot stock of the draft. Previously projected in the middle rounds, even as far as round 6, he has been a rapid riser on draft boards, even receiving the invitation to be one of the prospects present in the NFL draft in New York. His greatest attribute is his size and strength. His 23 reps at the combine led all receivers, and even bested some linemen. And he plays even taller than his 6'2 height suggests, due to his ability to extend his body and catch everything within his radius. He combines his frame with a solid combination of speed and agility (4.44 40 at his pro day.) His ability to beat the jam, run his route effectively, and utilize his soft hands make him an impressive pro prospect, and one which teams should take notice. He does have some lapse in concentration at times, and he doesn't possess the ability to make much guys miss after the catch, but Latimer's abilities are worth looking at, as he has the potential to become a good prospect, and live up to his hype.
Ryan Shazier (OLB) Ohio State (19-25 range)
Ryan Shazier, the electrifying 6'1 playmaker out of Ohio state, blazed a 4.38 40 time at his pro-day, and also finished among the top in his class in vertical and 3 cone drill. Shazier is exactly what Caldwell was referring to when he said "flamethrower." Shazier flies around the field, making plays whenever the ball comes into his area. He excels at using his explosive first step, agility, strong hands, and sound tackling ability to blitz and take down runningbacks. His speed and flexibility allows him to cover tight ends (even the slot TE that is en vogue in the NFL). Is a vocal team leader that at times plays overaggressive, needs to improve his timing and awareness. Will make an excellent 4-3 Will backer, although his frame doesn't allow for much bulking up.
Brandin Cooks (WR) Oregon State (20-25 range)
Brandin Cooks, the 5'10 receiver out of Oregon state, turned heads with his elite combine measurables. Posting top numbers in the 40 (4.33), as well as the 20 and 60 yard shuttle (with an impressive 36 inch vertical too). Cooks proved to be an elite athlete. He will excel at the next level in the slot, using his speed, route running, and good hands to turn any short throw into a long gain. Cooks can also play in the outside, as he's unafraid of going up and playing with the taller defensive backs. Highly productive, fast, tough, intelligent, elusive. Cooks has all the tools to be a receiver in the NFL. The biggest knock on him is his size, he's vulnerable to the jam, and can get re-routed, and he won't contribute much as a blocker.
Ra'Shede Hageman (DT) Minnesota (25-30 range)
Hageman is a huge prospect (6'6, 320 lbs), and an impressive blend of size and athleticism. He flashes the ability to explode off the ball and use his strength (position leading 32 reps at the combine), to jolt blockers out of position and make the tackle. He's a workout warrior, and his potential is incredibly intriguing. Although he has not translated his strength and speed into production. Doesn't possess elite instincts and will be slow to react to plays. Does not possess the ability to get after the quarterback and shed blockers effectively and he will disappear at times. Nevertheless, Hageman's size, speed, and strength will enamor some teams, and he has the potential to be a dominant DT, if he translates his gifts into production.
Jason Verrett (CB) TCU (25-30 range)
' Another tweener, Verrett is a quick, twitchy, explosive cornerback who excels at making plays on the ball. His instincts and reaction time are unparalleled, and he plays much bigger than he is (5'9). Although Verrett is not the prototypical player for the position, he will excel as a rangy nickel corner, with the possibility to be a solid #2 if he can stay in one piece.
Kony Ealy (DE) Missouri (25-30 range)
Kony Ealy is a 6'4, 275 lb defensive end out of Missouri. He has a huge frame with room to add bulk. Ealy's best quality is his athleticism. His ability to pursue quarterbacks off the edge is excellent, and he moves like a linebacker. Ealy definitely has room to improve, particularly in the weight room, but the upside is there. But even as a raw pass rushing prospect, Ealy will come in and contribute to any team's pass rush.
If there are any prospects I missed or guys you want me to mention, feel free to leave it in the comments!