By ANDREW CHAMPAGNE
Major thanks to Walter Cherepinsky, who was kind enough to link to my drafts. If you want to take a look at a ton of other mocks, check out his database at http://walterfootball.com/ .
On to the draft!
1) Kansas City Chiefs (2-11): Geno
Smith, QB, West Virginia
The combination of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn has been awful until very
recently. The Chiefs actually have a few playmakers, but it doesn’t mean much
if you can’t get those playmakers the ball in big situations. I had Matt
Barkley here for a while, but his recent shoulder injury probably cost him a
ton of money. If Quinn continues to show competence under center, I’ll consider
mocking a non-quarterback, but for now, Smith is the guy.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11): Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
I had Jacksonville taking a
quarterback here for a while, but Barkley’s stock dropped and Chad Henne’s been
playing surprisingly well. As such, the Jaguars grab one of the best defensive
players available, and since they already have a quality middle linebacker in
Paul Posluszny, Manti Te’o isn’t a great fit.
3) Oakland Raiders (3-10): Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
The Raiders could also plug their defensive line with Star Lotulelei, but
defensive line is loaded in this year’s draft class and they can address that
need later. Instead, they use the #3 pick on the safest prospect around.
Rolando McClain wants out, and Oakland desperately needs young leadership on
defense, which is exactly what Te’o provides.
4) Philadelphia Eagles (4-9): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Philadelphia let Michael Vick get
massacred behind the line, and without reinforcements, the same thing will
happen to Nick Foles. You need to protect quarterbacks, and here, the Eagles
are in position to take the best offensive lineman in the draft.
5) Carolina Panthers (4-9): Star
Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Probably the most dominating lineman in the draft this year, Lotulelei has
emerged as a force in the PAC-12. Carolina’s defense is inconsistent,
especially late in games, and this selection gives them stability up the middle
as well as one of the best players in the draft. I’ve had them taking Lotulelei
for a while, and with their struggles defending against the run, that’s not
going to change unless their record does and they pick too late to grab him.
6) Tennessee Titans (4-9): Johnathan
Hankins, DT, Ohio State
defense can’t stop anyone, and Hankins’s stock is on the rise. The Titans don’t
have a reliable presence on the defensive line, but that changes thanks to a
draft that’s very rich in quality linemen.
7) Arizona Cardinals (4-9): Matt
Barkley, QB, USC
Ken Whisenhunt stays as head coach, the quarterback situation in Arizona is an
absolute mess. Barkley’s slipped due to a late-season shoulder injury, but he
should be fine for the Combine and his pro day, and you can’t say the Cardinals
couldn’t use an upgrade under center from the likes of John Skelton, Kevin
Kolb, and Ryan Lindley.
8) Detroit Lions (4-9): DeMarcus
Milliner, CB, Alabama
need help defensively, especially in their back seven. Fortunately, DeMarcus
Milliner, the top cornerback prospect in the draft, is available. He could’ve
gone much earlier than this, and he commands respect as the best player on one
of the best defenses in college football.
San Diego Chargers (5-8): Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
New regimes usually mean new
quarterbacks. Norv Turner is likely gone, and with Philip Rivers turning 31
this month and becoming more turnover-prone, whoever gets put in charge will
likely want to draft a big prospect under center. I could easily see the
Chargers trading down, possibly to one of the Rams’ spots at #16 or #18, as
Jones should be available then. However, since I can’t predict specific trades,
he’s the top quarterback available, and he’s a guy I’m really high on, I’m
mocking him here.
10) Buffalo Bills (5-8): Barkevious
Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
gives the Bills a presence at outside linebacker that they don’t have right
now. Besides, an extra pass-rusher could give a talented defensive line some
help in overloading offensive lines.
Miami Dolphins (5-8): Taylor Lewan, OT,
pains me to mock Lewan this high. While he’s a very good offensive lineman,
this draft doesn’t have many of those as compared to previous years, so he’ll
go earlier than he should. Miami may need an offensive lineman, as Jake Long
may not return following a season-ending injury. If Long does not return and
Lewan is available, it’s a decent fit.
12) Cleveland Browns (5-8): Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
winning a couple of games took them out of the Manti Te’o Sweepstakes, which
stinks for the Browns because he would have been an excellent fit there.
Instead, they at least get a decent consolation prize in Moore, who upgrades
the front seven and provides versatility. He could easily fill the void at
strong-side linebacker left when Scott Fujita was injured.
13) New Orleans Saints (5-8): Bjoern
Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
Orleans has some gaping holes on their defense. A defensive tackle would be
ideal, but Sheldon Richardson may be a slight reach at this point. Werner,
though, provides versatility and value at this point in the first round. He
does need to get a little bigger, but he’s anchored FSU’s defense and should be
a very solid pro.
14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7): Xavier
Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Tampa Bay traded Aqib Talib, and their cornerback situation wasn’t rosy to
begin with. With Ronde Barber likely retiring, they need to restock the
defensive backfield. Rhodes makes two Seminoles in a row, and as the
second-best defensive back in the draft, he’d be a welcome addition to Greg
15) New York Jets (6-7): Keenan
Allen, WR, Cal
Jets go 8-8 or better, which is very possible given their remaining schedule,
they likely won’t take a quarterback. With that in mind, they need more weapons
around whatever QB they go with, and Allen is the top wide receiver in this
year’s group. He could instantly make an impact in New York.
16) St. Louis Rams (6-6-1): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
see St. Louis trading draft picks with San Diego, as there’s a drop from Taylor
Lewan to the rest of the offensive linemen in this draft. I can’t predict that
here, even though it makes sense, so I’ll mock Fisher here. He played at a
smaller school, but has a chance to move way up the board with a good showing
at the Combine.
17) Cincinnati Bengals (7-6): Dion
Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Atkins is a stud at defensive tackle, but he could use help coming off the
edge. Jordan is a bit of a tweener, but there’s no question he can get to the
quarterback and wreak havoc in the backfield.
St. Louis Rams (5-6-1, from Washington (7-6)): Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Two offensive linemen? Well, first
of all, there’s a very real chance St. Louis trades one of these picks to move
up. Secondly, it’s not like the line couldn’t use a makeover. Sam Bradford
could use time to throw, and Steven Jackson isn’t getting any younger. Warmack
makes sense here from a value standpoint as well, and in this scenario, he and
Eric Fisher instantly provide fresh life in the trenches.
Dallas Cowboys (7-6): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Dallas could use some reinforcements
on the defensive line. They could take a tackle and move Jay Ratliff outside,
but in this scenario, Montgomery is one of the best players available and fits
Dallas’s defensive schemes.
Minnesota Vikings (7-6): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Minnesota is dead-last in the NFL in
passing yardage. Part of that has to do with having arguably the best running
back in the league, but Christian Ponder doesn’t have much to work with outside
of Percy Harvin. That changes with this pick, as Hunter quickly adds a quality
21) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6): Barrett
Jones, OT/OG, Alabama
year, it seems like Pittsburgh needs help on the offensive line. They drafted
David DeCastro a year ago, but Jones is a versatile guy who can play four
different positions up front. With their offensive line seemingly a patchwork
unit every year, that kind of depth would be invaluable.
22) Chicago Bears (8-5): Terrance
Williams, WR, Baylor
This is a
bit of a reach for the Bears, but the team could really use an underneath
receiver. Brandon Marshall has 101 receptions. The rest of the TEAM has 134.
Yes, Marshall is an exceptional player, but at some point, you need a
dependable #2 option. That’s what Williams provides.
23) Seattle Seahawks (8-5): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Sheldon Richardson’s been rising on
a lot of teams’ boards. His stock is at an all-time high after a big senior
season, and he provides quality defense against the run. That’s been the one
issue with the Seahawks this year, so this is a nice fit.
24) Indianapolis Colts (9-4):
Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
You can run on the Colts, whose front seven ranks 19th in the NFL.
Their defensive tackle situation isn’t promising, and while the defense as a
whole has overachieved this year, they need reinforcements, which Jenkins helps
New York Giants (8-5): Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
Osi Umenyiora enters free agency at
the end of this year. If the Giants don’t keep him, Okafor could slide in as a
replacement. Even if they do, he provides versatility and is one of the best
26) Green Bay Packers (9-4): Kenny
Vaccaro, S, Texas
Green Bay needs help in defending the pass, especially with Charles Woodson
getting older. Vaccaro’s stock has gone up after a 100-tackle senior season,
and he’s gotten better in playing against the pass as well. He’s not a
supremely-gifted athlete, but he’s a smart player who’d fit in on a smart,
27) Baltimore Ravens (9-4): Alec
Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
needs to find a replacement for Ray Lewis, who may end up retiring following
his season-ending injury. Ogletree has some character issues, and could go from
anywhere between the middle of the first round to the beginning of the second,
but he’s a great fit here at #27.
28) Denver Broncos (10-3): Giovanni Bernard, HB, North Carolina
Willis McGahee just suffered a bad MCL injury, and Ronnie Hillman, while
explosive, may not be an every-down back. Bernard is a big-play threat every
time he touches the football. He averaged 214 all-purpose yards per game, good
for third nationally, and if he declares for the draft, he’s probably the best
back in the draft class.
29) San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1): Eric Reid, S, LSU
into the year as a first-round prospect. He has plenty of experience on a
high-quality defense, and he fills a need since Donte Whitner hasn’t been as
solid as the rest of the Niner defense.
30) New England Patriots (10-3): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Wes Welker is in a contract year, and an over-the-hill Deion Branch was playing
a ton of snaps before he was released. This could be a real need position for
the Patriots this coming offseason, and Austin is the best wideout available at
this point. I could also see the Pats taking a defensive lineman, but that
position is very deep.
31) Atlanta Falcons (11-2): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Atlanta’s run defense hasn’t been
good, especially in the last several weeks. Ansah is a high-upside player with
a knack for getting into the backfield. The Falcons have had problems at
defensive end, and this takes a step towards addressing them.
32) Houston Texans (11-2): Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Short has a rare blend of size and athleticism. Unlike some defensive tackles,
he can get to the quarterback pretty well, and that’s an asset from the nose
tackle scheme the Texans run.