For Aggie fans, this has to be one of the most exciting NFL drafts in some time. Not only because you could see the program's first overall selection in Luke Joeckel, but also because as many as 8 Aggies could be selected over the course of the weekend. So let's try to give realistic predictions on where some of our favorite Ags over the past few years will go.
Prediction: 1st - 3rd overall
This one has gotten a little more complicated over the past 12 hours. It was never a sure thing that Luke would go first overall. After not solidifying himself as the best player in this draft at the NFL Combine, you had to wonder how big of a battle he was in with Eric Fisher from Central Michigan. I'm not surprised you are hearing more and more chatter that Fisher could be the choice over Joeckel -- it could be just a ploy by the Chiefs to increase trade value for the 1st overall selection. If Fisher does go over Joeckel, I expect Jacksonville to select Luke quickly. And the worst possible scenario is the Oakland Raiders find a trade partner at 3, maybe the Detroit Lions or Arizona Cardinals. Overall, I'd still predict Luke to be first off the board.
Prediction: 50th - 90th overall
We've come a long way since February, when we were talking about a Top 10 selection for Damontre. I can't think of another player in this draft whose draft stock has dramatically changed as Moore's has. When researching online mock drafts, very few have Moore in the first two rounds. It may be absolutely shocking to some that Moore could potentially be on the board for the start of the third round, but that scenario is very real. The poor showing at the NFL Combine combined with those off-field issue rumors have done him in. Whoever selects Moore, is however, getting a heck of a defensive end that will play 100% to the end of every whistle. What more can you want? It also only takes one team to fall in love with you as a player and select you. I'll be conservative and say Damontre won't hear his name called until the late 2nd, but I wouldn't be surprised either if it is much earlier.
Prediction: 2nd-4th Round
Christine Michael is as much a guessing game as Damontre Moore in terms of where he could be picked. Michael was 3rd on the team this year in rushing yards, but it's not improbable that he could be one of the first 50 players chosen. For as disappointing as his senior season was, all you have to do is plug in tape of the 2011 Arkansas game and see just how special of a player he can be. I think a team like the New York Jets could covet Michael as he would be a perfect fit in their offense and a focal point with not many other offensive players surrounding him. But would they take an RB high when they have so many holes to fill and rumors of a trade with New Orleans for Chris Ivory in the works? Another team I would watch would be Green Bay. They are in need of a running back and Michael has experience playing in a west coast offense under former head coach Mike Sherman. The Pittsburgh Steelers could also be a destination for Michael.
Prediction: 3rd Round
While players like Damontre Moore and even Luke Joeckel didn't necessarily help themselves during the workout portion of evaluation, Ryan Swope solidified his draft position. Just like you plug in tape of Arkansas for Michael, a team could plug in the Alabama tape from this year and see a clutch 3rd down receiver in Swope. Any WR-needy team could target Swope; he isn't just a slot receiver and isn't Wes Welker. He could play any position on the field. Also don't forget about his special teams skills, returning kicks and punts. Watch out for the Bills, Bears, and Chargers as possible landing spots for Swope.
Prediction: 4th-5th Round
Sean Porter is another tough guy to judge on when he could be picked. You love everything about Porter like his close-range burst and football IQ, except for his size and specifically length. That is going to limit him on where he can play for you. He really isn't a 3-4 OLB although he has experience there. I'm not sure he is an every down 4-3 player right now either, although I think he ends up as a WILL 'backer. I think Porter's progression will be to start off playing in a nickel package, developing into an every down player. But that is going to take someone specifically looking to develop defenses and schemes involving Porter, which ultimately downgrades him into the later rounds. I think he is a late 2nd-3rd round player, but size limitations drop him to the late 3rd round at the earliest. Watch for the Falcons, Cowboys, or Chiefs to select Porter.
Prediction: 4th-6th Round
Stewart is my surprise player in this draft among Aggies (although I'll have one more later) in terms of when he is selected. I personally think we could see him off the board in the 4th round, maybe even ahead of Porter. Stewart's athleticism at the position is only matched by Georgia's Alec Olgetree in this draft. The question is how many teams found Stewart when he was overlooked by Moore and Porter in the front seven during film evaluation. Stewart's game has evolved to become an excellent run defender and being able to set up the entire defensive front seven as a signal caller in the middle of the defense. If he can improve in pass coverage, Stewart will be in the NFL for a long time.
Prediction: 6th Round - UDFA
Six Aggies are guaranteed to be selected this weekend. I have a surprise seventh, and it's Steven Terrell. Many will be surprised by this, but that's because Terrell has been one of the most overlooked defenders for quite some time. Terrell put up some great numbers at the A&M Pro Day in March, clocking a 4.36 40 yard dash. He is also a smart defender, quarterbacking the secondary this past season for Mark Snyder. You really only need two things to play in the NFL, and that's athleticism and football smarts. Terrell has both, making him an intriguing late round pick. Terrell will be a project for whichever team takes him, maybe someone like the Houston Texans?
As great a player as Luke Joeckel is, Patrick Lewis solidified the offensive line this past season, making all the calls at the line of scrimmage. You have to be impressed with how many starts he has had in his A&M career, and being successful in two different leagues and two dramatically different offenses. I'd take a player like Patrick any day of the week to be on my team. If all else fails, I wouldn't be surprised if he got a call from his former OL coach in Miami for a chance to make the roster.
As much as Steven Terrell helped himself at A&M's Pro Day, Nealy might have helped himself more not only with numbers but by displaying personality. Rex Ryan is going to make sure this guy is trying out for an NFL roster.
I think Nwachukwu definitely signs a contract somewhere after his 4.4 40 yard dash and 40" vertical jump at the A&M Pro Day. But to make an NFL team, EZ will have to be a more reliable pass catcher and break away from the complimentary role he has always played while at A&M.
Being a solid special teams player will get him a tryout somewhere.
Deep threat. He also made some outstanding, clutch catches last season. Hopefully he can stay healthy to get a real look to make an NFL roster.