Hit the jump for the third and fourth rounds:THIRD ROUND
With the third round underway, I had two picks: pick 3.16 and pick 3.25. I had my eye on a few players I felt had fallen too far:
Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
Kelvin Sheppard, LB, LSU
Nate Irving, LB, North Carolina State
Brandon Burton, CB, Utah
In my dream scenario, Williams and Bailey would fall and be my two picks. However, both were taken before my pick at 3.16. I didn't receive much in the way of trade offers in the third round; it was basically each man for themselves. When I reach "on the clock" status, I had narrowed my choice to Patrick and Sheppard, both of whom were still on the board.
Patrick struck me as a player that had a chance of being a very solid starting NFL corner; however, Sheppard struck me as a very solid starting NFL middle linebacker. I had already taken Martez Wilson, so my first instinct was to mix value and need and go with Patrick. However, Sheppard is a guy I simply love as a prospect for no good reason. He's a leader on the field and leads with both his words and his actions. The deciding factor in my pick was that there were a lot of linebackers I viewed similarly still on the board (Sheppard, Irving, Greg Jones, K. J. Wright), but there weren't really many corners I viewed as similarly-talented players to Patrick. I pulled the trigger and selected Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville, and hoped Sheppard would make it to my next pick. The decision was VERY close, though.
Sheppard went TWO picks after I selected Patrick, so obviously I had valued him correctly. However, when I went on the clock at pick 3.25, Irving and Burton were still available. Having grabbed Patrick already, and seeing Burton as more of a man-coverage corner than a zone corner, I went with Nate Irving, LB, North Carolina State. I could easily see Irving as a rookie starter and an eventual solid starting middle linebacker. Paired with Martez Wilson, this gave the Jaguars the makings of an outstanding young linebacking corps to build on for the future.
Heading into the fourth round, I realized there were a handful of players remaining on the board that I felt had third-round value:
K. J. Wright, OLB, Mississippi State
Robert Sands, S, West Virginia
Chykie Brown, CB, Texas
Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech
Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska
These were the clear best available players on my board. My selection was at pick 17, so I had a little ways to wait. Unfortunately, two of my targets (Wright and Sands) went off the board with two of the first three picks of the round. It was at that point that I started receiving trade offers. I had a solid offer to move back into the 4th using the 2012 3rd-round pick I had received from Philadelphia in the earlier trade-down, and a solid offer to move down, using my 4th to net two 5ths and a 7th. I still had three players on the board, so I told both to wait.
Chykie Brown went off the board a handful of picks before my pick, so as pick 17 approached I was left with only Carmichael and Paul on my personal draft value board. My offer to use Philly's 2012 3rd to move into the 4th had been given a condition: the player the other team wanted had to be gone. Unfortunately for me, that team was San Francisco, which picked the pick after me at 18. This made it a difficult decision. I didn't want to have zero 4th-round picks, but I also didn't want to have two, as I didn't value those two players highly enough to spend Philly's 2012 3rd on the second of them. The reason I considered the trade down (from Minnesota) was that I wanted to add more picks, and the offer of two 5th and a 7th was very good.
My intention was to make my pick at 17, then if San Francisco's guy was gone, trade Philly's 2012 3rd for their pick and then swing that pick to Minnesota for their two 5ths and their 7th. The problem was that it appeared San Francisco's guy was going to be on the board, and I didn't want to risk it. I would have liked to just give Philly's 2012 3rd straight to Minnesota for the package they were offering, but they wanted to move into the 4th in 2011, not the 3rd in 2012. I explored other trade-up options using Philly's 2012 3rd and found a taker in San Diego. I worked out a potential deal involving Philly's 2012 3rd for pick 4.24 (which I had previously traded them) and their 2012 7th, which was contingent on one of Carmichael and Paul still being on the board. Given that I had to make a decision on the clock at 17, I decided to trade pick 17 to Minnesota for their two 5ths and their 7th.
As the picks leading up to 4.24 went by, the New York Giants started offering their 2012 3rd and 2011 6th for another team's 2011 4th. San Diego was the only team left that had shown any interest in taking a 2012 3rd for their 2011 4th, and New York's offer was clearly better than mine. We were at pick 4.20 or so. I immediately took San Diego's deal without knowing if my guys would be on the board or not. I figured if they were, I'd pick one. If they were both gone, I would deal the pick to New York for the package they had offered, essentially swapping Philadelphia's 2012 3rd for New York's and also adding a 6th-round pick in the process. When we made it to pick 24, both of my guys were still available. I wasn't moving down; I was making this pick.
Choosing between Carmichael and Paul was NOT easy. I like Carmichael in a zone defense; he seems like a guy that can come up and make a play on balls in front of him. He has the speed and athleticism to hang with faster receivers and stick with a slot man. I saw him as a player that could immediately come in and play the nickel corner position as well as being a backup at the outside corner spots. I liked Paul because he was a bigger, physical wide receiver. I haven't had much exposure to him myself, but the little exposure I did have was during the Senior Bowl. He was a beast on special teams; I remember him downing a kick and taking down a return man immediately following the catch on a punt. I figured Paul would not only compete for playing time at WR, but also be an asset on special teams. After weighing all the factors, I decided that since both players were graded almost identically on my board, I should go with the player that helps fill a need. I selected Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech.