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 are apparently a lock to
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): 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 (4-12): 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
The best player available is Star
Lotulelei, but the Lions certainly aren’t lacking at defensive tackle. Instead,
they use this scenario to draft Damontre Moore, the second-best DE/OLB in the
draft behind Jarvis Jones. Detroit’s defense couldn’t stop anyone this year, so
there are certainly plenty of ways Moore could make an impact as a rookie.
6) Cleveland Browns (5-11): Star Lotulelei,
This is a huge break for the Browns.
One commenter on a past mock draft said that Cleveland was actually pretty
strong at defensive tackle. That said, Lotulelei is just way too talented to
pass up for a team that needs star power.
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
goes in a direction besides QB, Geno Smith could potentially wind up here.
However, I don’t think that’s the case, so the Bills instead grab the
pass-rusher they need on defense. Their front seven was atrocious at times this
year, and Mingo is a guy who knows how to wreak havoc in the backfield.
9) New York Jets (6-10): Matt
Barkley, QB, USC
USC quarterback? Well, if this scenario plays out this way, the Jets have three
options: Take Barkley, reach for a pass-rusher since Mingo was the last one who
made sense in the top-10, or trade down. I think trading is the sensible option
(maybe with Carolina so they can grab Johnathan Hankins before Tennessee or
Miami so they can take Taylor Lewan before San Diego), but since I can’t
predict trades, I’ll mock them Barkley for the time being.
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): Taylor
Lewan, OT, Michigan
As much as I'd really like to mock
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 Lewan, who gives
them fresh life on the offensive line, one that's struggled at times this year.
12) Miami Dolphins (7-9): Eric
Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
be a reach, but he’s the last bonafide first-round left tackle prospect in the
draft, so someone will likely overvalue him. To be fair, though, the Dolphins
will likely part ways with Jake Long, and as such need a replacement for him.
Provided none pop up in free agency, using a draft pick on Fisher isn’t a bad
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, which is still up in the air. 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 round.
15) New Orleans Saints (7-9): Bjoern
Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
New Orleans has some gaping holes on
their defense. A defensive tackle would be ideal, but anyone after 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.
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): Dion
Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
the best rush linebacker available, and James Harrison isn’t getting any
younger. They could also take an offensive lineman here, but none are a good
enough value for me to consider mocking them one.
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.
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): Alec
Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Brian Urlacher is one of the best to
ever play his position, but he’s getting older and is a free agent at the end
of the year. With his health now in question, it wouldn’t be shocking to see
the Bears take Ogletree, the consensus #2 inside linebacker behind Manti Te’o,
if he’s still on the board.
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)): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
could go with Barrett Jones, and I wouldn’t be too shocked if that happened,
but they could also use a dynamic wide receiver. Hunter is an excellent value
at this spot, and he gives Sam Bradford a downfield threat that he may not have
23) Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Keenan
Allen, WR, Cal
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 Allen quickly adds a quality
24) 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. Vaccaro could learn
from Ed Reed while also bringing great instincts and a ton of talent.
25) Indianapolis Colts (11-5):
Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
You can run on the Colts, whose front seven ranks 29th 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
26) Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
thing missing from Seattle’s resurgence has been a top-tier receiving threat
for Russell Wilson. Williams put up fantastic numbers at Baylor, and was part
of an offense that really came on late in the year.
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): Tavon
Austin, WR, West Virginia
Wes Welker is in a contract year, Brandon Lloyd has only recently heated up,
and an over-the-hill Deion Branch is playing a ton of snaps. 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 (13-3): Ezekiel
Ansah, DE, BYU
Atlanta’s coming off a great regular season, but their defense really hasn’t
been that great. That’s especially true in the front seven, where teams have
run on the Falcons this year. Ansah is raw, but is extremely athletic and has
sky-high potential. He’s getting comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul, and as a
late-first round flyer, the Falcons can’t pass him up.
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.