1. Cleveland Browns – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I’m completely sold on the fact that Pat Shurmur is the worst Head Coach in the league. His in-game decisions are abysmal and he’s doing no favors for rookie quarterback, Brandon Weeden. That said, there is little change the Browns won’t forgo a future of Weeden if they are picking first overall with a shot at Geno Smith. Jimmy Haslem will clean the cupboards and rid the Browns of all the chefs in this miserable kitchen.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Jags inability to pressure opposing quarterbacks is killing their defense. Barkevious Mingo hasn’t been as productive in 2012 as many expected but there is no doubting his pass rushing ability.
3. Tennessee Titans – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Tennessee has some young talent at the DT position but none near the caliber of Star. Watching the USC game firmed up, for me, that Star will be a top five pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He is a constant disruption in the backfield and single handedly interrupts the opponents running game.
4. Kansas City Chiefs – Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Scott Pioli most likely won’t be making this pick. The new regime in KC will be looking to move on from the Matt Cassel era by drafting another USC QB. Barkley is being widely criticized for his so-so play in 2012 but his porous offensive line isn’t helping.
5. Oakland Raiders – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jarvis Jones may be the most impactful defensive player in college football, when healthy. Clearly, he hasn’t been healthy the last two weeks but it doesn’t change the fact that he can alter the game from his OLB spot. The Raiders need a serious upgrade in their linebacking corps and Jones will certainly bring that.
6. Carolina Panthers – Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Star Lotulelei is really good but I’m not sure that Hankins isn’t better. He has a lightning quick first step for a man that size which will intrigue teams in the top five of this draft. If he falls anywhere near Carolina, I would expect that they swoop him up.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Adding Luke Joeckel here would be solid but the Bucs could lose Aqib Talib after this season. With his history of off-the-field problems, they may allow Talib to walk, leaving a hole at corner. Milliner would be paired up with former teammate, Mark Barron, to give the Bucs a nice young secondary.
8. New York Jets – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Their struggles go beyond Mark Sanchez and whoever the QB is next season, they will need some help in protection. Joeckel is a franchise LT that is quietly playing really well this season.
9. Buffalo Bills – Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t a long-term answer to Buffalo’s problems. Drafting a quarterback here would be wise but I can’t see Tyler Wilson or Tyler Bray warranting the 9th pick. Te’o brings a downhill, thumping style that would be nice for this defense. Their defensive line and secondary appear set but questions remain at the linebacking spots.
10. Indianapolis Colts – Corey Lemonier, OLB, Auburn
Age and heavy contracts could decimate the Colts pass rushing combo. Lemonier is a guy that could fly up draft boards as the process wears on with this overall athleticism and ability to get after opposing QB’s.
The secondary could use some major upgrading but with Milliner off the board and Eric Reid struggling, I don’t see value present at No. 11. Pass rush will remain a concern into next season with some major question marks. Werner is an active pass rusher that is really just beginning to scratch the surface of his enormous talent.
12. St. Louis Rams – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The offensive line struggles in STL is well documented. Clearly, tackle is a position of need but talent up front trumps positional value. Warmack may be the best guard to come out in a long while. His blend of physical play with athleticism is rare and too good to pass on at this point.
13. Miami Dolphins – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Brian Hartline has been spectacular this season but they are still in need of a true No. 1 receiver. The combination of Allen, Hartline, and Davone Bess could be solid for promising signal caller, Ryan Tannehill.
14. New Orleans Saints – Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
0% chance that Will Smith will be back next season and Cam Jordan isn’t a dynamic pass rusher. The Saints desperately need a quality pass rusher and Jeffcoat fits the bill. With NFL bloodlines and loads of talent he could give the Saints an immediate threat off the edge.
15. St. Louis Rams – Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Outfitting Sam Bradford with the best guard in the draft was wise with their first pick. Now adding a talented, big receiver will be a major help as well. I’m beginning to like Williams more than Robert Woods and/or Justin Hunter. He could complement Chris Givens, Danny Amendola, and hopefully Brian Quick really well.
16. Dallas Cowboys – Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
Montgomery doesn’t have the upside of Barkevious Mingo but he has been more disruptive as a pass rusher over his career. He has the size/speed combination to make an intriguing replacement for Anthony Spencer should he leave the Big D.