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): Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
dropping Jarvis Jones down, but his spinal condition, while not an issue during
a stellar 2012 season, may be a red flag this high up in the draft. Jones may
be a stud in the making, but Moore is also a ferocious pass rusher that the
Jaguars desperately need, so he’s far from a bad pick.
3) Oakland Raiders (4-12): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
times have changed. Manti Te’o was here for a while, but his off-the-field
troubles cost him a decent amount of money. Meanwhile, Lotulelei may have
turned down an invite to the Senior Bowl, but he’s by far the best defensive
tackle prospect in the draft and he fills a massive need for the Raiders in the
middle of a porous defensive line.
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 unless you’re REALLY high on Eric
Fisher (he’s a good prospect, but not #4-overall good). 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. If the Eagles really want Fisher,
they can trade down to grab him later in the top 10 picks.
5) Detroit Lions (4-12): Jarvis
Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
dropped Jones out of the top five, but I can’t do that, at least not yet. He’s
just too much of a playmaker to slip more than this, and the Lions could use
him opposite Cliff Avril. His spinal condition may limit how long he can play,
but there’s no denying his talent, and with the cap on rookie deals, that shouldn’t
factor into where he goes too much.
6) Cleveland Browns (5-11): Bjoern
Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
Parker-Thomas turns 35 and only had six sacks in 2012-13. Werner’s stock has
gone way up for a number of reasons. 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): Barkevious
Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
shouldn’t make it past #8 if Arizona goes in another direction, but in this
mock, he’s gone. I had Mingo going here for a while, and he makes a lot of
sense. Buffalo doesn’t have a top-tier edge rusher, and Mingo provides that. In
a perfect world, he gives a very expensive defensive line more room to operate.
9) New York Jets (6-10): Dion
Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Buffalo, New York needs an edge rusher. Jordan is an athletic freak who knows
how to wreak havoc in the backfield. The lone hesitation with him is a torn
labrum, one he’ll reportedly have surgery on before the draft, but he’s a very
good fit for the Jets in this spot, and it shouldn’t affect him when
preparations for the 2013 NFL season begin. If Darrelle Revis gets dealt, I
could also see them drafting Johnthan Banks or Xavier Rhodes, or even moving up
for DeMarcus Milliner, but for now, Jordan’s the pick.
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
13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Johnthan
Banks, CB, Mississippi State
the Bucs are extremely high on Banks, and there’s reason for that. He had an
injury late in the season, but if he’s shown to have overcome it, he’s the
second-best corner in the draft behind DeMarcus Milliner. That’s a welcome
addition for Tampa Bay, whose secondary desperately needs playmakers.
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): Manti
Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
stopping Te’o’s free-fall here, and here’s why. Sean Payton said he wants to
shift New Orleans to a 3-4 defensive scheme in the wake of firing his defensive
coordinator. The Saints already have one very good inside linebacker in Curtis
Lofton, and here, they solidify the middle of their new defense with a guy who
has the best on-field skillset of any player left in the draft.
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): Alex
Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
stock is soaring. He shined in the Alamo Bowl and has been tearing it up at the
Senior Bowl, and as such he’s gone from a fringe first-rounder to the #17 pick.
Pittsburgh needs new blood in their front seven, and Okafor’s versatility is a
18) Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Sam
Montgomery, DE, LSU
Dallas could use some reinforcements
on the defensive line, especially in the wake of Jay Ratliff stupidly getting
arrested for a DWI months after a teammate driving under the influence killed
another Dallas player. 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): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
become a cliché pick because people see a ton of Jason Pierre-Paul in Ansah. I
don’t know if the BYU product has THAT much potential, but he’s a fantastic
athlete with a ton of room to grow. Plus, Osi Umenyiora is approaching free
agency and may not be back with the Giants next year.
20) Chicago Bears (10-6): Keenan
Allen, WR, Cal
Trestman got the Bears job. This means a quarterback guru will be calling the
shots in the Windy City, and as such, 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 weapon.
21) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Alec
Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
should not drop further than this, and if he’s not available (as is the case in
this mock), Ogletree also presents a very good value. The only problem with
Ogletree are some questions about his character, but the Bengals have shown
that they don’t mind those issues as much as other teams.
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
have a ton of holes they need to fill in the middle of their defensive line.
Jenkins is probably the best defensive lineman left in the draft at this point.
He’s a huge presence at 6’4” and nearly 360 pounds, and he also has shocking
agility for a man his size.
25) 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 #25, with some
outlets now projecting him as a top-15 pick, this is a value Pete Carroll and
company can’t pass up.
26) Green Bay Packers (11-5): Xavier
Rhodes, CB, Florida State
slipping this far is shocking. I personally think he might be the second-best
cornerback prospect in the draft. He has good size and speed, and can also be
very physical in coverage. Green Bay’s secondary isn’t getting any younger, but
here, they may be able to fill that need with a tremendous value.
27) Houston Texans (12-4): Kawann
Short, DT, Purdue
need to fill their need at defensive tackle with this pick. J.J. Watt is a
beast, and Antonio Smith also had eight sacks, but they’ve got nothing up the
middle. Short changes that, and also brings a unique ability to rush the passer
from the nose tackle spot.
28) Denver Broncos (13-3): Barrett
Jones, C/OG/OT, Alabama
also see the Broncos taking a running back like Giovani Bernard, 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
29) New England Patriots (12-4): Margus
Hunt, DE/DT, SMU
Patriots need new blood in their front seven, as several of their stalwarts are
getting up there in age. Margus Hunt is a physical freak who can play
everywhere on the defensive line. He only started playing football a few years
ago, but his ceiling is sky-high.
30) Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Tyler
Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Gonzalez appears to be hanging it up following Atlanta’s loss in the NFC title
game. 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.
31) 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.
32) San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): DeAndre
Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Crabtree quietly put together a very solid year, but no other wide receiver had
more than 449 receiving yards. Randy Moss may retire, and Mario Manningham is
coming off a knee injury, meaning that finding a high-quality wide receiver
should be at the top of San Francisco’s off-season to-do list.