Join Date: Jan 2011
One rounder, trades, detailed analysis
Probably the last mock I'll post before the draft. I wanted to go multiple rounds, but life is just kicking my ass right now. Please offer comments
1.Kansas City Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M OT
I canít remember the last time a No. 1 pick was so cloudy less than 72 hours before the draft. It certainly seems the Chiefs are leaning OT, but I think itís almost dead even between Joeckel and Fisher. The Chiefs are actively shopping Branden Albert, who may or may not be a Dolphin by Thursday night. I prefer Fisher by a significant margin, but Iím chickening out and projecting KC would rather have the best tackle in the SEC over the best tackle in the MAC.
2. Jacksonville Ezekiel Ansah, BYU OLB
If the first pick is a bit of a messy situation, then Jacksonville is in the middle of an absolute cluster****. Theyíve needed to upgrade their pass rush for years now, and now have their choice of a myriad of athletic freaks whose college production wouldnít seem worthy of the second overall pick. In the end, Ansah gets the nod, largely because he has the most to learn, and thus, the largest upside of any pass rusher in the draft.
3. Arizona* Eric Fisher, Central Michigan OT
I canít believe Arizona is content sitting at 7, given their cataclysmic need for an elite pass protector. I donít see many scenarios where Fisher or Lane Johnson fall to No. 7, so giving up a second rounder to address such a huge hole at such a critical position seems like a small price to pay. Also, the Cards have made almost no effort to upgrade their OT situation in free agency, so I have to think theyíre planning to do something Thursday. The Raiders are a perfect trade partner, because they might have the worst roster in the league and no second round pick.
4. Philadelphia Star Lotulelei, Utah DL
After years of spending premium resources on undersized, athletic defenders, the Eagles now are left with a bunch of misfit pieces for their new 3-4 defense. Philly addressed their pass rush this offseason aggressively and now need to find the right pieces up front. Star is the ultimate 3-4 prospect capable of playing either the 0 or 5 technique. Heís my top-rated player in the draft, and heís one of the few top five picks in this draft who look like great value. His medical checks since the combine have been more positive than could reasonably be expected.
5. Detroit Lane Johnson, Oklahoma OT
The Leos have three glaring holes at three premium positions: OT, DE and CB. In the end, serviceable pass rushers and corners are much easier to find than good OTs. Johnson is relatively new to the position, and has very rare athleticism for an OT. I think the Lions like Reilly Reiff at RT, their current RT is journeyman Corey Hilliard. Needless to say, this franchiseís future depends on the health of Matthew Stafford, so that make Johnson an absolute necessity.
6. Jets* Geno Smith, West Virginia QB
OK, I may all too gullible and falling for a pre-draft smokescreen, but it seems the Jets have a ton of interest in Geno. If the Jets are truly interested, it might behoove them to get in front of Oakland and Buffalo. I would expect Radio City to catch fire if this scenario actually occurs, but I think Jets fans should be prepared for the Jets to pull the trigger on Geno. Geno probably would be an upgrade over the Sanchize, and I would be surprised if Sanchezís contract ended up actually playing a huge part in the decision.
7. Oakland* Dion Jordan, Oregon OLB
A dream scenario for the Raiders, they recoup the second rounder they lost in that awful Carson Palmer deal, and get a player they very well might have taken in their original spot. Like a lot of pass rushers in this class Jordanís measurables are better than his production, though he has been a consistent performer the past two years, his first two of the defensive side of the board.
8. Buffalo Ryan Nassib, Syracuse QB
If you trust everything you hear, it seems as though Ryan Nassib is a virtual lock to be headed to Buffalo. The question just remains how early is Buffalo willing to take him? Theyíll try to move back, but will not risk losing their guy to some QB-needy team jumping back into the first round.
9. Cleveland* Dee Milliner, Alabama CB
It seems Millinerís stock has taken a minor hit in the past week, as some are now wondering if heíll fall out of the top ten or even be the first CB off the board. After receiving a third rounder to move back, the Browns take Milliner to pair with Pro Bowler Joe Haden, giving Cleveland potentially the best CB tandem in the league.
10. Carolina* Sharrif Floyd, Florida DT
The best player on the board fits Carolinaís biggest need, so the Panthers get aggressive and sacrifice a third rounder to secure the anchor of one of college footballís best defenses a season ago. Floyd, who is still a candidate to go No. 2 overall would be an absolute bargain at this point and instantly be an upgrade over Dwan Edwards.
11. San Diego Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina OG
The Chargers might have the worst O line in the league, so it seems they will be forced to address that situation early and often in this draft. If Lane Johnson were to slip past the top five, I think you could see the Chargers desperate to move up, but the likely scenario is they stay put and take one of the elite guards in the draft. Cooper gets the nod over Warmack because of his superior athleticism and experience playing center.
12. Miami Xavier Rhodes, Florida State CB
The Phins need a CB, maybe two. Everybody tells me Rhodes will go higher than most expect, so this seems like a logical landing spot. IMO, Rhodes is a bit overrated and only suited to a few schemes, but he does have outstanding triangle numbers and is excellent at press coverage, which Miami used to thrive playing when they had big CBs Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.
13. San Francisco* Kenny Vaccaro, Texas S
Another draft rumor that I hear too much and makes too much sense not to materialize, the Niners move all the way up from 31 to fill one of their few glaring holes. Replacing Deshon Goldson will be very difficult, but Vaccaro has the right blend of size and athleticism to become one the leagueís better safeties. The next few picks are chock-full of teams with a need at FS, so San Fran will probably have to get up at least this high to secure his services.
14. Tennessee* Bjoern Werner, Florida State DE
Despite their lackluster performance a season ago, the Titans actually donít have too many needs, with the one glaring exception being at DE. Werner, the 2012 ACC defensive player of the year, doesnít have the measurables of some of the other pass rushers in this class, but his production, specifically against upper-level competition is great. Werner fits as a base DE in a 4-3 front, but can also be a double-digit sack producer attacking the blind side.
15. Dallas* Chance Warmack, Alabama OG
Rated by some as the best overall player in the draft, Warmack falls simply because of his position. Thatís just fine by Jerry Jones, whose Cowboys have a big need at OG. In the past, Jones has been more likely than not to trade his original pick, and this would certainly seem like a good time to continue that trend.
16. St. Louis Tavon Austin, West Virginia WR
The Rams have done a nice job building the infrastructure of their program since Les Snead and Jeff Fisher took over, but they still desperately need to find more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Austin is not likely to last this long, so the value is clearly right. The only issue is size, especially since Jeff Fisherís teams in the past have built their foundation in the running game, and Austin would be a liability as a blocker.
17. Pittsburgh Barkevious Mingo, LSU OLB
James Harrison is gone, and the Steelers are somewhat weak in the back end. They either need to fix the secondary or find a way to continue to apply pressure on the QB. Undersized, Mingo struggled at times as DE in LSU 4-3 scheme but profiles as one of the most explosive pass rushers in the NFL. Even if he doesnít play every down, he should be able to make enough of an impact to justify this selection a la Bruce Irvin or Aldon Smith.
18. New Orleans* Jarvis Jones, Georgia OLB
Jones hasnít exactly nailed the pre-draft process, but his college production places him solidly in the first round. The Saints are moving to 3-4 front this year under Rob Ryan, but they donít yet have the pieces to fit their new scheme. They are fortunate to find a guy who has produced playing in a system rarely seen in college.
19. Atlanta* D.J. Hayden, Houston CB
The Falcons seem to have their hearts set on moving up, and they could make a much more drastic move than this. However, with the board as it is, Atlanta has to love seeing the biggest riser in the pre-draft process available at pick 19. Hayden is one of the draftís biggest wildcards, as he might be the most athletic CB in the draft, but he has medical concerns that teams will probably have diverse views on.
20. Chicago D.J. Fluker, Alabama OT
O line is clearly Chicagoís biggest need, as their promising season fell apart in 2012 after Jay Cutler took a few too many blows. Fluker is mainly viewed as a RT, but with the success of not-so-nimble guys like Marcus McNeil, Andrew Whitworth and Cordy Glenn, itís not unrealistic to think he could be the Bearsí long-lost answer at LT.
21. Cincinnati Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International S
The Bengals have quietly assembled one of the most solid rosters in the NFL the last few years, and they might actually be considered Super Bowl contenders this season. That being said, there is no way in hell Taylor Mays can be your starting SS. Cyprien first turned heads at the Senior Bowl and has since established himself as a solid first rounder.
22. St. Louis Arthur Brown, Kansas State OLB
A minor surprise, the Rams take the best player nobodyís talking about at a position of severe need. Brown is similar in many ways to Buccaneer ballhawk Lavonte David, who inexplicably fell to the bottom of Round 2 a year ago. The NFL wonít make the same mistake with Brown.
23. Minnesota Desmond Trufant, Washington CB
The Vikingsí biggest need has been CB for two years now, and they finally get a top 20 prospect to fill this need. I prefer Trufant to both Rhodes and Hayden, especially since he has proven to be adept in a variety of coverage schemes. The biggest knock on Trufant: physicality. That could prove to be an issue for the Vikings, who ask their CBs to support the run.
24. Jets** Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame TE
After moving down from 13 to 31 as part of a blockbuster deal with San Francisco, the Jets move up to pick 24, after Tyler Eifert unexpectedly slides. The Jets lost Dustin Keller in free agency this offseason, so TE is near the top of the Jetsí long list of needs. Eifert might not exactly fit with a ground and pound strategy, but he is well-schooled and well-rounded enough to be considered the top TE in the draft.
25. Minnesota Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee WR
Vikings GM Rick Spielman has always coveted great athletes with good workout numbers, and Patterson fits the bill. Patterson has character issues and has a long way to go as far as mastering the intricacies of the WR position. As he learns to run a full route tree, he can become a bigger version of Percy Harvin.
26. Green Bay Matt Elam, Florida S
This is maybe the hardest pick to project in the whole first round. Iím going S here since Charles Woodson in gone. I loved Elam in college, but his playing style and size create serious durability concerns. This could be a potential trading spot for team at the top of the second round.
27. Houston DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson WR
The Texans almost have to take a WR with their first pick, and they should have their choice of a few solid No. 2 WRs. Hopkins has been rising up draft boards recently, because he has less baggage both on and off the field than many of the other WRs in the same area.
28. Denver Sheldon Richardson, Missouri DT
Richardson is maybe the biggest steal in this particular mock, as not that many teams from the middle of the first round on have a huge need at DT. All things considered, I think the Broncos would like to go CB here with guys like Johnthan Banks and Jamar Taylor among others still on the board, but there is no reason for passing on a borderline top ten talent like Richardson here, who also fills a big need.
29. Philadelphia* Menelik Watson, Florida State OT
Jason Petersí future is in doubt, and the other OTs on Phillyís roster might lack the athleticism to excel in Chip Kellyís uptempo offense. Watson is very raw, but certainly has the physical tools to flourish with a year or two of development.
30. Giants* Cornelius Carradine, Florida State DE
DE is not the Giantsí biggest need, but I am calling for Jerry Reese to stay true to form and take a big, athletic pass rusher to work in a rotation with their other talented pass rushers, especially since Osi is gone. Tank could potentially be a terror playing inside on third downs.
31. Indianapolis** Jamie Collins, Sothern Miss OLB
There are bigger names out there, but few have the upside of this super-athletic outside rusher. Collins had a great year on an awful team splitting time between OLB and DE, and has workout numbers similar to Von Miller. He could be one of the true surprises, not only on draft night but on the field as well.
32. Cleveland* E.J. Manuel, Florida State QB
New GM Mike Lombardi was highly critical of the old regimeís pick of Brandon Weeden, so itís not at all unfeasible that he might pull the trigger on another QB. Manuel has all the tools of a great NFL QB, but it has to be worrisome that he never truly excelled with all the talent around him in Tallahassee. Hey Browns fans, at least you didnít take him No. 6.