1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT/ Texas A&M – After the combine, Joeckel is still considered the best lineman in the draft, and now that the Chiefs have officially traded a 2nd round pick and a conditional 2014 pick to the 49’ers for Alex Smith, he would certainly love a little protection. They also released Eric Winston which puts KC in need of a starting LT. Joeckel has been the clear cut #1 pick since the college season ended and I would be amazed if the Chiefs went in a different direction.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Sharrif Floyd, DT/ Florida – NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was quoted as saying, “everybody” has Floyd pegged as a top-five pick.” At 6’3 297 pounds, with a solid 40 time, Floyd racked up 13 tackles for loss, three sacks, and two kick blocks as a junior before declaring. There are rumors that Jaguars owner Shad Khan was present at Geno Smith’s Pro Day, and Blaine Gabbert hasn’t proven anything at the NFL level, so this is still a fluid situation.
3. Oakland Raiders – Geno Smith, QB/West Virginia – The fever is here! The QB buzz is beginning to rise, and Geno Smith is obviously the best QB prospect in this draft. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie will be left with making a franchise changing decision, as QB’s taken in the top 5 can cost a GM their job if they don’t pan out. Just ask Mike Tannenbaum. The Raiders retained Terelle Pryor and Carson Palmer on their roster, however neither of them is in the future plans for the Oakland Raiders.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Dion Jordan, DE/Oregon – Jordan was unable to help his draft stock at the Oregon Pro day because he is recovering from a recent surgery to repair a torn labrum and he’s still a top 5 pick! Jordan ran a 4.53 unofficial time at the combine, which is amazing. At 6’6” but only 248lbs., he’s going to get pushed around at the next level. That is, if they can catch him. The Eagles will run a 3-4 defense under DC Billy Davis and Jordan should be a dynamic speed rusher from the outside for Davis defensive unit.
5. Detroit Lions – Dee Milliner CB/ Alabama – The Lions were active in free agency acquiring RB Reggie Bush, DE Jason Jones, and CB Chris Houston. Former Colts GM Bill Polian mentioned Detroit as the “greatest show on turf.” That ought to be billboard material for division rival Bears, Vikings and Packers. The ability to stop those teams, as well as the rest of their opponents next year will be a priority on draft day. Last mock I mentioned that according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, teams wanting Alabama CB Dee Milliner will “probably have to trade ahead of Detroit at No. 5 to get him. I’m still working off that theory, until I read something that tells me otherwise.
6. Cleveland Browns – Ezekiel Ansah DE/ BYU – Ansah reportedly didn’t hire a trainer for the combine instead focusing on finishing his classes at BYU. His draft stock was already high but this news makes him seem kind of freakish. Measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 271 pounds with 35 1/8-inch arms, Ansah posted the sixth fastest forty times (4.63) of 37 defensive linemen who ran, and his 34 1/2-inch vertical tied for seventh. There is also a rumor that his 40 at the combine was the first one he ever ran in his lifetime. Ansah is a lightning in a bottle type of player and would be a welcome addition to any defense that drafts him, especially one that just signed DE Paul Kruger to rush from the opposite side.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Eric Fisher OT/ Central Michigan – NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Total Access that the Cardinals are unlikely to draft a quarterback at No. 7 overall. This may not be the popular thing to do from a fan perspective, but it makes a heck of a lot of sense, even if West Virginia QB Geno Smith was somehow still on the board. The QB class outside of Smith is not worthy of a selection this high and a good LT is a necessity in a rebuilding process. Bruce Arians and his imaginative play calling would love to feel confident their QB, whoever it is, will stay upright no matter what the play, and Fisher can do just that.
8. Buffalo Bills – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/Tennessee – Patterson needs a coach that isn’t going to take any crap and can bring him in with more a drill instructor mind set than a player coach mentality. Doug Marrone may have his hands full, but GM Buddy Nix mentioned to the press that he wanted to draft a big time WR as well as a franchise QB. Good luck with that. Patterson is considered to be as immature as he is talented. There was a report from a scout that he questioned Patterson’s intelligence and thinks the team that drafts him will have to simplify their offense to make him successful. Still, Patterson scored a touchdown via kickoff return, punt return, receiving, and rushing, joining Carl Pickens (receiving, KR, PR, INT) as the only players in Tennessee history to score a touchdown four different ways in a career. The Bills would welcome his talents. Now all they need is a QB and will be looking towards Ryan Nassib in the second round.
9. New York Jets – Jarvis Jones OLB/ Georgia – The National Football Post reported Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones’ neck injury is “starting to look like it might be a non-issue on draft day,” and “there is little chance he falls out of the top ten.” Jones has so much risk attached to him, and yet so much potential. The Jets need a pass rush, but missing out on what could be a dynamic MLB is more of a risk than Jones supposed neck injury. ESPN is reporting the Jets are looking beyond the upcoming season and are already planning for the 2014 draft where Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel would be eligible to be drafted if he chooses to leave. The Jets have been working on a Darrelle Revis trade with the Tampa Bay where they are looking to acquire at least a 2014 first round pick.
10. Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack, OG/Alabama – I stand by this pick since the first mock in Late January. The Titans need to give Jake Locker a chance. Ha! Chance… In order to do that he needs to stay on his feet and taking the best guard at 10 would be a big time pick for the Titans. Warmack is a wild card to me, as the Jets, Cardinals, and Eagles could all use some help at the offensive line.
11. San Diego Chargers – Lane Johnson, OT/ Oklahoma – The new regime of GM Tom Telesco, HC Mike McCoy, and OC Ken Whisenhunt have a lot of work to do to keep the Chargers relevant. Johnson did 28 reps of 225lbs at the combine and with his strength will help Philip Rivers try to redeem himself after getting sacked on 50 of his 587 drop backs. The Bolts’ most glaring need is at left tackle, where Jared Gaither up and quit last season, and Johnson will also help fill the void on the right side where Louis Vasquez played before he departed to Denver.
12. Miami Dolphins – Jonathan Cooper, OG/North Carolina – Miami lost Jake Long to St. Louis and now are left with Jonathan Martin at left tackle and they brought in Nate Garner to be a swing tackle/guard. That being said, neither of these guys is going to a pro bowl any time soon. Cooper will help Miami recover from their loss of a former 1st round lineman. Greg Cossel from NFL films praised Cooper saying “the most purely athletic guard I can remember seeing” coming out of college. Cooper plays with “light feet, great balance,” and also showed a “nasty streak,” consistently “looking for contact.”
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Star Lotulelei, DT/Utah –I personally think this guy is a top 5 pick who will fall all the way to the Bucs because of concerns with his heart. There are many rumors that his heart related issues could be nothing more than a dietary problem which would make Tampa the big winner if that were true. Star is exactly that, a star in the making, and Tampa just lost Michael Bennett to Seattle so they will need some depth on the line to compliment Gerald McCoy and Da’Quan Bowers who should be starting this year.
14. Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson, DT/Missouri – The Panthers statistically had a top 15 defense in 2012 finishing 10th in the league for yards per game allowed. Richardson, became Mizzou’s first-ever All-SEC designee, as he was named to the 2nd-team for his outstanding play. His presence should help solidify Carolina’s front seven.
15. New Orleans Saints – Barkevious Mingo, DE/LSU –Mingo possesses the frame at 6-5, 240 pounds and athleticism to warrant top 10 considerations but at this point he remains an unpolished prospect, and that’s why he will fall to 15. Mingo had a great combine as expected from the athletically gifted DE/OLB. He ran the 40 time in 4.58 which was incredibly fast, and his ten yard splits were also very good which is used to gain short yardage burst. A skill needed at the OLB or DE position in the NFL. With Jonathan Vilma back playing for an entire season, the Saints should regroup and be a much better defense than they showed in 2012.
16. St. Louis Rams – Tavon Austin, WR/West Virginia – The Rams were able to lure OT Jake Long from Miami, so the need to draft a lineman here is much less. Danny Amendola left in free agency to the Patriots after they lost Wes Welker, which is ironic because Austin wants his game to resemble Wes Welker. The Rams would love to get that kind of production from him which would give Sam Bradford a target across the middle much like Tom Brady did for so many years with Welker.