Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M
The Kansas City Chiefs sure have been busy. They’ve taken care of most of their glaring holes via free agency and really want to trade back into the first round as every team in the top 10 in 2013 wants to do. They simply can’t find a partner and draft their LT of the future in Luke Joeckel. Looks like they have to settle for the best left tackle in the 2013 draft. What a drag.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Caldwell has been pretty honest so far. He says that the Jags will be a needs-based drafting team under his management. Well if that’s the case let’s look at the roster. The Jaguars currently have better quality starting pass rushers (not elite, just starting) with Jason Babin, Jeremy Mincey, and Andre Branch than starting cornerbacks (Alan Ball, Kevin Rutland, Mike Harris). If we really are basing this draft off of need, then I wouldn’t be surprised if Milliner came off the board at 2, making him the highest drafted CB since Charles Woodson at No. 4 overall in 1998. Milliner is scheduled for a pre-draft visit in Jacksonville after all. Now am I saying this will happen? In this mock, it just did.
Oakland Raiders: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
So many experts have the Raiders drafting Geno Smith at 3. With the recent signing of Flynn, the Raiders decide to address their defense. They were going to select Shariff Floyd at 3, but with Jacksonville selecting Milliner at 2, Jordan slides to Oakland. Oakland’s sack leader last year: Lamar Houston with 4.5. Oakland as a team only had 5 more sacks than the Jaguars did in 2012. They address their pass rush and snag Jordan.
Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan
This is a great example of “best available player at a position of need.” The Eagles brought back Michael Vick in the offseason. With the new offense they’ll be running in the city of brotherly love, the Eagles MUST address their offensive line and keep Vick upright, clean and productive. Fisher brings athletecism and a mean streak, and is believed by some to be the best LT in the draft.
Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Lions lost Cliff Avril in free agency and showed Kyle Vanden Bosch the door. Detroit is in dire need of pass rushers, and take the best one available (in my opinion) in Ansah. Ansah is a freak of nature, but he doesn’t have a lot of football under his belt. Detroit takes Ansah over others (like Mingo), due to his extremely high ceiling. Definite boom or bust pick, but I think it will pay off.
Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Browns are switching to Ray Horton’s 3-4 defense. They’ve already locked up Paul Kruger, but simply can’t pass up on Mingo’s ability to wreak havoc. I believe Mingo will do much better in this scheme than a 4-3. He’s lean which is what you want from a 34 OLB, and I just really think he’d be a good fit opposite Kruger. Even if on the strongside, Mingo will be asked to not only get to the QB, but provide run support and coverage as well which is an area in which Kruger just doesn’t excel.
Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma
The Cardinals signed 33 year old Carson Palmer and Levi Brown isn’t getting any younger. When you bring in a QB like Palmer, you need to protect him. Johnson is shooting up draft boards, and I think that he cracks the top 10 and goes to Arizona. Johnson is an instant injection of youth at left tackle on a poor offensive line and provides Brown with the opportunity to slide to right tackle where he may find himself more comfortable.
Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Never fear Bills fans. No way the new regime marches into camp with just Kevin Kolb and Tavaris Jackson. They snag up the best QB of the draft class in Geno Smith. The best part? They don’t even have to trade up to get him.
New York Jets: Sharriff Floyd, DT, Florida
It’s obvious that the Jets need an edge rusher, but when a player like Floyd slides all the way to 10, you take him. He’ll project as a 34 DE with the Jets. Could he possibly be a disruptive, pass rushing force at 34 DE? Adding him to the mix with last year’s first pick Coples and 2011 first pick, Wilkerson, the 3 could combine to make a very formidable defensive line.
Tennessee Titans: Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee:
This pick goes against conventional wisdom. Yes, there are many needs along both the offensive and defensive lines, but right now Locker’s receiving corps isn’t doing him any favors. Kendall Wright was decent last year, but I just don’t know about Kenny Britt. Nate Washington is on his way out, and yes they signed Kevin Walter formerly of the Houston Texans which is exactly why they should draft Patterson. Patterson is a height/weight/speed guy who is overall the best wide receiver in this year’s draft. He automatically makes the receiving corps better.
San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Stay classy, San Diego. You thought that Lane Johnson would be available at 11, but you were wrong. Your offensive line has been through a lot. Jared Gaither was a lazy d-bag. Louis Vasquez signed with Denver. Lane Johnson went earlier than expected so really you need anything across the offensive line which is why you get arguably the best player in the draft (according to Mel Kiper) to at least make some improvement in the trenches. How can one argue with getting Chance Warmack?
Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU
Miami fills the holes left by Vontae Davis and Sean Smith with the drafting of Rhodes. Many have seen this one coming, and many have mocked this pick. However, interest has been brewing among Dolphins brass about wanting Lane Johnson. They have to settle for Rhodes which is actually a pretty nice consolation prize.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Buccaneers lost Michael Bennett and Roy Miller in free agency. I know their secondary is weak, but with the recent arrest of Da’Quan Bowers the Buccaneers’ defensive line isn’t looking so hot. The heart condition causes Lotulelei to slide to 13, but in all actuality the medical conditions are behind him and Tampa reaps the benefits. Pair him with Gerald McCoy, and bring pressure up the middle.
Carolina Panthers: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia:
The Carolina Panthers revolve around Cam Newton. They live and die by Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers are Cam Newton. When Cam is on, the Panthers are a formidable opponent. They need more weapons, however, and they get one with the selection of Tavon Austin. Austin is the type of player who can score from anywhere on the field and he will compliment the ressurgent Steve Smith. The more weapons Cam has, the better off hewill be. The better off he will be, the better off Carolina will be. This one was a no brainer.
New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia:
Rob Ryan is now in New Orleans, and he will be incorporating his 34. They signed Victor Butler from Dallas who played under Ryan last season, but they need more OLBs who can rush in this new scheme. New Orleans wasn’t exactly the portrait of defensive perfection in 2012, and only racked up 30 sacks. With the switch from a 43 to a 34, New Orleans doesn’t have many candidates to start at OLB. Enter Jarvis Jones who will be perfect for Rob Ryan and his defense.
St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas:
The Rams were originally interested in bolstering their barren wide receiver corps, and Austin was the intended target before he landed with the Panthers. The Rams don’t reach for a WR seeing as how they have two first round picks. Instead, they go with the top rated safety on the board in Vaccaro. The Rams are thinner at safety (Quintin Mikell was let go and they lost Craig Dahl to San Fran in FA) than they are at wide receiver (Brian Quick and Chirs Givens were both rookies last year and should only get better), and Vaccaro is strong in both coverage and run support.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama:
The Steelers have lost their identity. They went from a tough running team to a team that just airs it out all the time. Mendenhall never recovered, Chris Rainey turned out to be a whack job, and the Steelers were left with an Isaac Redman/Jonathan Dwyer combo which didn’t yield great results. The Steelers need to have a threat out of the backfield and that threat is Eddie Lacy.
Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina:
Last year the Cowboys managed to actually find two downgrades in free agency in Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau. Romo just received a huge contract and the play of the offensive line must improve in order for the Cowboys to protect their investment. Jonathan Cooper is versatile and extremely athletic. He can play guard or center and will be a day one starter. The Cowboys stay put and draft one of the best offensive linemen in the draft.
New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Mizzouri
The Giants never ever stray away from an opportunity to draft a defensive lineman. They have a need at DT, but that’s not why they draft Richardson. They draft Richardson because he is a flat out beast in the middle. He excels in run support and can push the pocket. He makes a very impressive addition to an already great defensive line.
Chicago Bears: DJ Fluker, RT, Alabama
The Bears signed Jermon Bushrod in free agency who will take over for J’Marcus Webb at left tackle who is famous for getting yelled at by Jay Cutler. Webb will now slide over to right tackle…or at least that was the plan. With the selection of DJ Fluker, the Bears acquire bookend tackles and in the process eliminate any excuse Cutler may have left.
Cincinatti Bengals: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State:
The Cincinatti Bengals started Terrence Newman and Jones at Corner. They started Reggie Nelson and Taylor Mays at safety. Their 2012 first round pick, Dre Kirkpatrick, stayed injured most of the season. Yet the Bengals had a very good year, especially on defense and it all boiled down to their defensive line. The Bengals add the run stuffing Hankins to a unit that includes Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, Domata Peko and Carlos Dunlap to form one of the best defensive lines in football.
St. Louis Rams: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Rams use their second 1st round pick and select their wide receiver. DeAndre Hopkins is known as the best route runner in this year’s draft, and will become a very reliable target for Sam Bradford. He joins a young receiving corps which includes 2012 draft picks Brian Quick and Chris Givens. Much has been made about how much the Rams lost in Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola. I don’t understand why. Gibson had topped out and Amendola was consistently injured. It’s time to clear the way for the young receivers and let Bradford develop a rapport with them.
Minnesota Vikings: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington:
For some reason a lot of mocks I see have team the Vikings reaching to fill the void left by Percy Harvin. Didn’t they sign Greg Jennings in free agency? What about the defense? Chris Cook and Josh Robinson are pretty good, but in a division that features Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler, you better have not only good cornerbacks, but great cornerbacks. Trufant brings physicality and swagger to the Vikings defense. Minnesota gave up 171 passing yards per game last year, ranking them 31st in the league. The Vikings need more cover men with the loss of Antoine Winfield, and Trufant is the answer.
Indianapolis Colts: Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU
Werner was once considered a top five pick. The Colts have been remodeling their defensive line signing Aubrayo Franklin and Ricky Jean-Francois in free agency to man the middle of the trenches. They still have Robert Mathis, but let go of Dwight Freeney. This leaves a hole at defensive end. This is where Werner comes in and gives Indy two feared pass rushers on both sides. This pick is a steal for a Colts defense that only had 32 sacks last year. Irsay revamped the offense. Now it’s time to give the defense some attention.
Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Vikings make a needs-based selection with their second 1st rounder and get Keenan Allen from Cal. Allen will join a wide receiver corps that includes former Packer Greg Jennings, FA bust Jerome Simpson, and young guns Jarius Wright and Greg Childs. Allen will step in immediately and I’m guessing he will be the starter opposite Jennings day one. Allen is a good all around athlete, runs good routes, and has nice flexibility and awareness. He really isn’t generating a whole lot of buzz, but he’s just an all around solid WR who will provide Ponder with a dependable target.
Green Bay Packers: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Green Bay needs help on defense. They drafted Nick Perry in the first round of last year’s draft who ended up on the sidelines more than one would like. Clay Mathews registered 13 sacks, but the next closest guy was Mike Neal with 4.5. The Packers must find someone who can bring pressure when Mathews is double teamed. Moore has fallen from grace a little bit, but he’s more than happy to pick right up with a contender. The Packers run a 34 alignment, and the Pack needs someone who can come in and be a threat opposite Mathews. Moore hasn’t exactly had a picture perfect draft season, but his tape is still pretty dang good. Green Bay gets a pass rusher at 26.
Houston Texans: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Surprised? Houston had a top 10 scoring offense, ranked 7th in the league in total yards, 8th ranked rushing offense, 9th in scoring defense, ranked 7th in total yards allowed, ranked 16th in passing defense and 8th in rushing defense. However, they were dismantled by the New England Patriots in the playoffs. Why? They couldn’t keep up offensively due to their lack of elite quarterback play. Is Matt Schaub a good QB? Yes he is, but it’s time to start looking towards the future. Schaub will not play forever, and this is exactly where Barkley should go. The Texans pull a Green Bay and draft a QB late in the 1st round and develop him for a few years. The Texans have soft spots on their roster, but none as important as when Schaub goes down. Houston needs a QB of the future.
Denver Broncos: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Peyton Manning gets yet another weapon in Eifert. Manning needs a big strong target in the middle of the field and let’s face it-it’s not Joel Dressen. Eifert immediately becomes an outstanding target for Peyton. The Broncos already have Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker. They need the best TE in this year’s draft and they get their man. The Broncos aerial assault just got scarier.
New England Patriots: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
I don’t care what anyone says, the Patriots cannot pressure the QB whatsoever. It’s one of the only weaknesses on the team. If they didn’t have such an elite QB in Brady, I really don’t know how this team would be. Now they did get a little bit better last year, but could still use some improvement. They drafted Chandler Jones in 2012, and in 2013 they take another pass rusher in Datone Jones. Datone Jones is a versatile pass rusher with a wide repetoire of moves and excellent awareness. Jones is a very good addition to the Patriots defensive line and will automatically help pressure the QB. He could possibly even compete with Rob Ninkovich for a starting role.
Atlanta Falcons: Cornellius Carradine, DE, FSU
Look who snuck into the first round! Carradine was a stud at FSU before going down for the season. He tallied 11 sacks and 13 TFLs before tearing his ACL on Nov. 24th. ACL tears aren’t half as scary as they used to be as you see athletes come back from them all the time. As is stands, Atlanta really needs some more pass rushers with the departure of John Abraham. They signed Osi Umenyiora in free agency, but they will have to do a lot better than that if they expect to pressure the likes of Drew Brees and Cam Newton. That’s where Carradine comes in. He’s a first round talent who will reward the team that wasn’t scared away by a silly old ACL tear.
San Francisco 49ers: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
The 49ers don’t actually need a whole lot, but the draft isn’t always about “need” as it is improving. Every team needs to improve. I believe that 49ers need to improve up front. Nothing against Ian Williams, but I just think Sylvester Williams can do a much better job in this 3-4 alignment as a nose tackle. Sylvester Williams is a dominate force standing at 6’3 and weighing 313 lbs. In the 34 front, the NT has to be able to take on multiple defenders, and Williams is that guy. Think the 49ers defense was scary last year? Wait until they get this beast.
Baltimore Ravens: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
I don’t know why everyone is scrambling to “replace” Ray Lewis, to “replace” Ed Reed. One must understand there is no replacing players like this. The only thing you can do is try and make the team better in any way possible. If I were Ozzie Newsome, there’s no way I’m taking a LB right here especially when there are LBs who can serve me just as well later on in the draft. The biggest area of weakness on the Ravens’ roster is in the middle. Terrance Cody is a flop. The Ravens need a DT more than they need a LB. You won’t find a player on Kawann Short’s level in the mid to late rounds. He comes in and takes Cody’s job, improving the defense-just not the linebacker position.