This draft is one of the hardest to predict in recent memory. I do think its getting a bad wrap as a “bad draft” only because of a lack of quarterbacks, but that is what sells tickets. Offensive and defensive lines are both very strong. Look for a number of trades to happen as many teams look to trade back.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Fisher (OT – Central Michigan)
Kansas City has a new regime in power and Andy Reid now calling the shots. They now have their quarterback in Alex Smith who they traded way too much for. If you are making the investment, you have to protect him. I’ve gone back and forth between Fisher and Joeckel, but I’ll go out on a limb and say they go with the lesser known Central Michigan product who supposedly the coaching staff prefers.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars -Luke Joeckel (OT – Texas A&M)
Like Kansas City, Jacksonville has to be cursing their timing for a top two pick. The one consolation is that they could very well be back here in 2014. The Jags are a mess and no one player will solve the situation. They do have talent at wide receiver and at least a respectable defense. They could go quarterback and really create waves with Geno, but I think they’ll go best available. They’ll be ecstatic to get Joeckel.
3. Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei (DT – Utah)
The Raiders were abysmal in 2012, and could use this pick on a number of different players. With unproven Matt Flynn and an unknown commodity in Terrelle Pryor, Oakland could look at a quarterback. That said, new management may go the safer route with Star.
4. Philadelphia Eagles -Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah (DE – BYU)
Mike Vick is resigned and looks to be the quarterback for Chip Kelly next season, but both sides now that is only a temporary fix. I could see a QB, OL, or even DT here, but right now I’ll take Ziggy Ansah who has surged up the boards this offseason with loads of potential.
5. Detroit Lions – Lane Johnson (OT – Oklahoma)
A lot was expected from the Lions this season. They did not live up to the hype. Despite a record setting performance by Calvin Johnson and decent effort by Matt Stafford, the Lions had a few holes that need filled. I think they will look to the offensive line and take Lane Johnson.
6. Cleveland Browns – Dion Jordan (DE/OLB – Oregon)
The Browns were in a similar situation last year and did well selecting Trent Richardson who played well this year considering his injuries. Now, new coach Chud and the Browns will look to continue the rebuilding effort. There are a couple pathways for the Browns including offensive line (Warmack, Cooper), defensive back (Milliner), or even quarterback (Geno Smith). I like them to go best available if they don’t trade out and here that is Dion Jordan.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Dee Milliner (CB – Alabama)
The Cardinals have an underrated defense and had a good season going before a horrific fall to end the year. Their need at quarterback is their biggest need, but with Geno gone, there is no one worth the pick. They could move back in the first, or might look at Barkley, Nassib, or Glennon in the second. Here they make the defense even better and get the best young corner tandem in the NFL with Milliner to pair with Peterson.
8. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Nassib (QB – Syracuse)
Buffalo made it known that they plan to draft a young quarterback this season. They could wait a round and take new coach Doug Marrone’s old QB, Ryan Nassib (who I am high on). They could go with a Barkley here, but I don’t see it anymore. If they don’t reach for Nassib, look for them to improve on a defense that underachieved last year.
9. New York Jets – Geno Smith (QB – West Virginia)
The Jets are losing a few players on defense this offseason and could go the defensive route. However, their biggest woes are on the offensive side of the ball. Call it a hunch, but getting that second pick in the first round gives them options and I could see Geno taken to help create even more havoc on the depth chart.
10. Tennessee Titans – Shariff Floyd (DT – Florida)
Chris Johnson has continued to regress over the last few seasons. He blames the line. I do think they could go with Lane Johnson or Jonathan Cooper, but at this point Floyd is a bargain (although I’m not personally a fan) and defensive tackle is another need. Line can wait until round two.
11. San Diego Chargers – Chance Warmack (OG – Alabama)
The Chargers may have been the most under-performing team last season. Almost everyone on the roster seemed to fall short of expectations. The good news? It finally got Norv Turner deservedly canned. I expect a great bounce-back season. Chance Warmack’s run blocking could mean major yards for Ryan Mathews. They could also look at a wide receiver option.
12. Miami Dolphins – Jonathan Cooper (OG – North Carolina)
Jake Long is gone so a tackle could be the Dolphin’s target so look for Lane Johnson (if he falls) or even D.J. Fluker to go here. However, the team many around the league have Cooper as the best guard in the draft so the value may win precedent.
13. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo (DE/OLB – LSU)
If I follow through on my hunch, I would have Tavon Austin here to pair with Geno in New York forming an exciting duo on offense for the Jets. Something they’ve lacked. However, Ryan is a defensive coach at heart and is in love with Mingo. If he falls, I don’t think they can pass it up.
14. Carolina Panthers – Bjoern Werner (DE/OLB – Florida State)
The Carolina Panthers defense hasn’t been the same since Julius Peppers left town. Werner can be a beast off the edge and has less baggage than Jarvis Jones.
15. New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones (OLB – Georgia)
I’ve had a hard time narrowing down a pick for New Orleans. The offensive line is a definite need so the possibility of Fluker, Pugh, or Watson remains. Here Jarvis Jones can create havoc on defense and was once a top five pick. Good value at this point.
16. St. Louis Rams – Tavon Austin (WR – WVU)
St. Louis gets two picks in the first thanks to the RG3 trade last year. Here they get a weapon for Bradford…something he desperately needs. Tavon Austin is one of the most explosive players available this year and can be used in a number of ways.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cordarrelle Patterson (WR – Tennessee)
This pick could be an edge rusher (Jarvis Jones, Demontre Moore), linebacker (Ogletree), or tight end (Eifert). But, the loss of Mike Wallace is a big hit to the offense and they need to replace him. Physically, Patterson could be the best wideout in the draft. The question is his mental makeup.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Kenny Vaccaro (S – Texas)
They would like to see Lane Johnson fall to them, but Vaccaro still being on the board may be even better. The Cowboys were torched last year on big plays. Vaccaro is the best safety in the draft.
19. New York Giants – D.J. Fluker (OT – Alabama)
With Joeckel, Fisher, and Johnson all now into the top 10 of the draft, the odds that Fluker falls is 19 is decreasing by the minutes. Since he is still on the board for this mock, he make sense to the Giants.
20. Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree (LB – Georgia)
This draft will likely be chaos with players going much higher and lower than predicted. A new linebacker to replace Urlacher this year such as Ogletree fills a big need.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Lacey (RB – Alabama)
As I said last year, the law firm (BGE) is only a complementary back. I wanted the Bengals to take David Wilson last year and I still think they will regret not doing so. This year, they likely get their pick of the litter. I still like Giovani Bernard but it appears Eddie Lacey has beaten him out along with Le’veon Bell, Montee Ball, and Christine Michael to be the top RB in the class. He is a strong runner with adequate quickness and looks to be a workhorse in the NFL.
22. St. Louis Rams (from WAS) – Tyler Eifert (TE – Notre Dame)
Even though I already had the Rams taking Tavon Austin (WR) earlier in the draft, they still need more help for their franchise QB. Eifert is a quality tight end and will quickly become Sam’s go to option.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Sylvester Williams (DT – UNC)
The Vikings have one thing for certain. They don’t need a running back. And despite some issues they seem satisfied thus far with their quarterback Christian Ponder. However, they could use some new blood on the D-line and the Vikings have a thing for big guys named Williams.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Xavier Rhodes (CB – Florida State)
The Colts had an amazing season surpassing almost anyone’s expectations. However, for this not to be a sophomore slump, Indy has holes to fill. Primarily, they need offensive lineman and defensive backs. With no real strong lineman left here looks for them to go with the big corner Rhodes (6’1″) or Jonathan Banks (Miss State).
25. Minnesota Vikings – Keenan Allen (WR – California)
The loss of Percy Harvin opens up an opportunity for a new speed option on the roster. They did pick up Greg Jennings, but look for them to go after another weapon in the draft. Quin Patton or DeAndre Hopkins could both be in the mix.
26. Green Bay Packers – Kevin Minter (ILB – LSU)
Green Bay had a little bit of a wakeup call against San Francisco getting beat rather convincingly in the second half. Much of that was thanks to consistent pressure on Rodgers. Solving that will be an offseason mission. They could go running back, but that can wait for a later round, same goes for linebacker unless a very good player falls. It may be a reach, but look for Minter to be the pick.
27. Houston Texans – DeAndre Hopkins (WR – Clemson)
We’ve long seen the decline in the offense when Andre Johnson is out, which is more often than the Texans would like. They’ve tried to find a combo partner for the other side of the field. In a draft with actually decent depth at WR, I think they grab one of the better raw talents in the draft with Hopkins.
28. Denver Broncos – Desmond Trufant (CB – Washington)
After watching Torrey Smith torch the Broncos like a video game, its safe to say there is one glaring need in Denver. A cornerback, even if its a reach, is a must. There will be debate between a few options including Xavier Rhodes (FSU), Blidi-Wilson, and Trufant.
29. New England Patriots – Blidi Wreh-Wilson (CB – UConn)
The Pats need help in the secondary even with the trade and emergence of Aqib Talib (who likely will not stay in NE). BWW is one of the better corners in the draft.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Matt Elam (S – Florida)
With Tony Gonzalez back, tight end is not a priority as it was in previous mock drafts. That said, they still could go with a successor in Ertz here. However, this team is in its window now so an impact defender like Elam makes more sense.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Sheldon Richardson (DT – Missouri)
San Francisco seems to have few holes with great players at a number of positions. At this point, they go for value and that is Richardson in this mock. The tackle is a disruptive force and would further the fear in opposing quarterbacks who are already wetting the bed when they see the Niners.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Manti Teo (LB – Notre Dame)
The Ravens would like to get a linebacker in an attempt to replace Ray Lewis, and would love to have their choice between Miner and Teo falling to them. If it does happen, Teo gives them a viable replacement with talent and leadership, even if it comes with gullibility.