By ANDREW CHAMPAGNE
With that, on to the latest mock!
1) Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke
Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Much as I hate mocking an offensive
tackle at the #1 spot, there’s literally nobody else that fills a glaring need
for the Chiefs who also makes sense here. Geno Smith bombed royally in the
Pinstripe Bowl, and while it’s unwise to weigh one game too much in evaluating
one’s draft stock, his performance probably cost him the top pick and a decent
amount of money.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Jaguars still may
acquire Tim Tebow, so taking a quarterback here doesn't make too much sense.
Plus, I think Jones is too valuable to pass up. He gives Jacksonville another
piece on a defense that the front office has put a priority on improving (see
the acquisitions of Jason Babin and Paul Posluszny as examples).
3) Oakland Raiders (4-12): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
to drop Manti Te’o from the #3 spot, especially because I think he’s going to
be a stud at the next level. However, his subpar performance against Alabama
raised a few eyebrows, and as such I have Oakland filling their need at
defensive tackle instead of their need at linebacker. This can still change,
but Lotulelei’s certainly a logical pick here.
4) Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
desperately want to improve their offensive line, but Joeckel is off the board
and no other lineman is of any value here. However, the defensive backfield
could also use an upgrade, and the Eagles can address that need with the top
defensive back prospect in the draft.
5) Detroit Lions (4-12): Damontre
Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
This is a toss-up between Moore and
Te’o, and the Lions can’t go wrong with either considering how porous their
defense was this season. For now, Moore gets a very slight nod. He’s explosive,
and provides the Lions with an edge rusher opposite Cliff Avril that they don’t
6) Cleveland Browns (5-11): Bjoern
Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
another logical landing spot for Te’o, but the Browns could use a pass rusher.
Juqua Parker-Thomas turns 35 and only had six sacks in 2012-13. Werner’s stock
has gone way up. He needs to get a little bigger, but he’s got a ton of time to
do that, and once he does, he could be a really solid pro.
7) Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Geno
Smith, QB, West Virginia
Larry Fitzgerald wasted one of his
prime seasons thanks to three quarterbacks that couldn’t get him the ball, and
Ken Whisenhunt is gone. Matt Barkley could also play his way into this
discussion with a strong showing at the Combine, but for now, Smith is the top
quarterback available in a weak draft class.
8) Buffalo Bills (6-10): Manti Te’o,
LB, Notre Dame
his free-fall end here. The Bills need leaders on defense in the worst way
possible. They don’t have much behind their defensive line, and Te’o can also
bolster a pass defense that was pretty lackluster at times this season. This is
a dream scenario for new head coach Doug Marrone, and it instantly makes
Buffalo’s defense much better.
9) New York Jets (6-10): Barkevious
Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
those Jets fans who had hemorrhages when I mocked Matt Barkley here last week:
It’s OK, you can breathe now. Te’o’s slip means that Mingo is suddenly
available, and he’s a much better fit for New York than Barkley. He provides a
young edge rusher to a defense that needs that kind of player.
10) Tennessee Titans (6-10): Johnathan
Hankins, DT, Ohio State
had some pieces on defense, but nobody fearsome up the middle. That changes
with this pick, as Tennessee grabs the top defensive tackle left on the board.
Hankins, who’s coming off a very strong junior year at OSU, replaces
Sen’Derrick Marks and has the potential to be a game-changer.
11) San Diego Chargers (7-9): Eric
Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
As much as I'd really like to mock Matt
Barkley or Landry Jones to San Diego, I can't do it. Philip Rivers somehow
threw for over 3,600 yards this year, and despite being a turnover machine for
much of the year, I don't think they replace him. Instead, I'll give them Fisher,
who became the #2 tackle prospect in the draft once Taylor Lewan unexpectedly
decided to return for his senior season at Michigan.
12) Miami Dolphins (7-9): Justin
Hunter, WR, Tennessee
gut-punch of the mock goes to the Dolphins, as they needed a high-quality tackle
prospect in the worst way and won’t get one after Lewan took his name out of
the prospect pool. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Dolphins trade
this pick for a move in either direction, but for now, I’ll give them Hunter.
He’s undoubtedly a reach, but Miami needs playmakers in the passing game. Brian
Hartline and Davone Bess are fine complementary players, but neither is a #1
receiver, and Hunter has the potential to be that kind of wideout.
13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9):
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 is the second-best defensive back in the draft, and
he’d be a welcome addition to Greg Schiano’s squad.
14) Carolina Panthers (7-9): Sheldon
Richardson, DT, Missouri
Carolina did its best to save Ron
Rivera’s job, and he’ll return to the Panthers next year. However, their 4-0
surge to end the year cost them a shot at a high-impact defensive tackle, which
they sorely need. Richardson, though, has been flying up draft boards. He was
all over the field this year for the Tigers, and can rush the passer from the
tackle spot, a rare quality that could push him into the top half of the first
15) New Orleans Saints (7-9): Dion
Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
New Orleans has some gaping holes on
their defense, and any defensive player available here would likely be a major
improvement. Jordan could have gone as high as #9 overall. He’s got a ton of
potential, and is a freakish athlete at 6’7” and 243 pounds.
16) St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Chance
Warmack, OG, Alabama
St. Louis needs some help on the
offensive line. Warmack isn't just the best guard available, he's probably the
best offensive lineman left, period. He's assumed a leadership role with the
Crimson Tide, and should be a very good pro.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Alec
Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
needs depth in the front seven. Their cornerstone players aren’t getting any
younger, and at some point consideration needs to be made regarding
replacements. Ogletree is the consensus #2 inside linebacker behind Te’o in the
draft, and there’s a long, long way between #2 and #3 now that C.J. Mosley is
going back to Alabama for his senior year.
18) Dallas Cowboys (8-8): 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. I’ve had this pick set in stone for a while, and it
makes a ton of sense.
19) New York Giants (9-7): Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
a very solid season at Texas before turning heads with a huge performance in
the Alamo Bowl against Oregon State. The Giants love drafting pass rushers, and
Osi Umenyiora entering free agency this offseason means Okafor looks more
attractive than ever.
20) Chicago Bears (10-6): Keenan
Allen, WR, Cal
A lot of
this depends on who the Bears hire as their next head coach. One name being
thrown around is the CFL’s Marc Trestman, a quarterback guru. If they go this
route, Jay Cutler may get another young target to take some attention off of
Brandon Marshall. Alshon Jeffery had his moments, but was hurt for part of the
season. Allen makes sense value-wise, and gives a talented offense another
21) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Johnthan
Banks, CB, Mississippi State
was seventh in pass defense this season, but that was mainly because of their
ability to get pressure on the quarterback. No Bengal had more than three interceptions
this year. Banks is the top defensive back remaining, and was a top-15 pick
before rumblings of knee issues flared up. However, he’s played well enough
down the stretch, and could solidify his status at the Combine.
22) St. Louis Rams (7-8-1, from
Washington (10-6)): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
thought Terrance Williams would have a down year without RG3 under center at
Baylor. All Williams did was catch 97 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He has a ton of tools to like, and here, he gives a Rams offense that doesn’t
have a big-play threat in the passing game a guy who can score any time he
touches the football.
23) Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Tavon
Austin, WR, West Virginia
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 Austin quickly adds a quality
24) Indianapolis Colts (11-5):
Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
You can run on the Colts, and that’s a big reason why Indianapolis got bounced
out of the playoffs in the first round. Their defensive tackle situation isn’t
promising, and while the defense as a whole has overachieved this year, they
need reinforcements, which Jenkins helps provide.
25) Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Kenny
Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Ravens probably want Ogletree,
but he’s not available in this mock. But instead of getting a replacement for
one aging future Hall of Famer, they can get another one at a different
position. Vaccaro could learn from Ed Reed while also bringing great instincts
and a ton of talent.
26) Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
thing missing from Seattle’s resurgence has been a top-tier receiving threat
for Russell Wilson. Patterson is raw from a technical standpoint, but he’s got
a ton of physical gifts you look for in a wide receiver. At #26, with some
outlets now projecting him as a top-15 pick if he declares for the draft, this
is a value Pete Carroll and company can’t pass up.
27) Green Bay Packers (11-5): Giovani
Bernard, HB, North Carolina
doesn’t have a single playmaker in their run game. When you have Aaron Rodgers,
that’s not usually a problem, but it’s the one weakness on an offense that’s
among the best in the NFL, and they can address it in a big way here. I’m a
huge fan of Bernard, and I think he could be an impact player.
28) Houston Texans (12-4): 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.
29) San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Tony
Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
Safety Donte Whitner has been a rare
weak link in a defense that doesn't have many of them. Jefferson’s been a solid
player in an otherwise-weak Oklahoma defense, and he can come in and compete
for playing time right away.
30) New England Patriots (12-4): Ezekiel
Ansah, DE, BYU
Patriots could trade down or reach for a wide receiver (which would make six WR’s
in the first 30 picks), but Ansah makes sense. The Patriots’ front seven isn’t
getting any younger, and Ansah has been getting comparisons to Jason
Pierre-Paul due to his athleticism and potential.
31) Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Tyler
Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Gonzalez figures to do his annual tap dance around retirement. Regardless of
whether he does or not, Eifert is easily the top tight end in this year’s draft
class. If Gonzalez retires, Eifert can start right away, and if he doesn’t, the
Notre Dame product can learn from one of the best to ever play the position.
32) Denver Broncos (13-3): Barrett Jones, C/OG/OT, Alabama
also see the Broncos taking Joseph Randle, but Knowshon Moreno’s finished the year
well and probably deserves a shot at the starting spot next year. Besides,
Jones, the most versatile lineman in the draft, is a great value at the back
end of the first round who can play every position on the o-line.