1. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Brady Quinn is replacing Matt Cassel. Enough said. The Chiefs will most likely take on a new GM, HC, and staff after another abysmal season. Matt Cassel is definitely done in KC leaving the Chiefs with a major need at QB. It’s debatable whether Geno Smith is worthy of this high of a pick but need may drive this one for whoever takes over for Pioli.
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. The current starting ends for Jacksonville have combined for one sack through six games.
3. Cleveland Browns – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Browns pass rush has been non-existent through the first six games of the season. They have needs on defense that should push the new GM (0% chance Heckert is in Cleveland for 2013) to address early in the draft. Jones started 2012 off with a bang but injuries have slowed him down. That said, he’s the most dynamic defensive player in this draft when healthy which is exactly what Jimmy Haslem and Co. will be looking for in April.
4. 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.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Bucs have a ton of money wrapped up in an offensive line that has under produced. Jeremy Trueblood has lost his starting right tackle spot which Joeckel could jump into immediately. The Bucs may be best served by playing Joeckel on the left side and moving Donald Penn to right tackle. This pick gives them some much needed flexibility on the OL.
6. Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Tommy Kelly is a headache that is just not worth the enormous contract. He could be easily replaced by Star Lotulelei. Star was spectacular early on versus USC and solidified himself as a top shelf prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft.
7. Detroit Lions – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The Lions need help in the secondary but a pass rusher may trump that need. Montgomery has outperformed No. 2 pick Barkevious Mingo but doesn’t possess his enormous ceiling. That said, he’s a good fit for this defense. They will look to shore up the secondary in day two of the 2013 NFL Draft.
8. Tennessee Titans – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley are solid players but neither brings the skill set that Werner possesses. Werner is still relatively new to football which is a scary prospect given his level of collegiate production. The sky is the limit for Werner as he grows into an NFL pass rusher.
9. St. Louis Rams – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
The offensive line struggles in STL are well documented. Sam Bradford is quickly becoming a candidate to the next David Carr and STL has to address this area heavily in the offseason. Lewan has been solid since struggling against Alabama in week one. He’s athletic and should allow Rodger Saffold to move back to the right side, his more natural position.
10. Buffalo Bills – Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t a long-term answer to Buffalo’s problems. Chan Gailey and crew could be headed for their last season in Buffalo and the new regime would welcome a change at the QB position.
11. Indianapolis Colts – Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Dion Jordan is a freak athlete that will rise up draft boards as the pre-draft process wears on. At 6’6”, 244 pounds he size and athleticism to transition from college end to standup linebacker in the NFL. With Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis age and contracts it’s conceivable that the Colts could let one of them walk to bring in a long term solution at the OLB spot.
12. Arizona Cardinals – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Cards are sliding after a 4-0 start and I see a crash and burn end to the season. They need help at QB in the worst of ways. Wilson hasn’t been great in 2012 but injuries and coaching drama are a large part of that. There’s no doubts that Wilson has an NFL skill set and could be an NFL starter quickly.
Three losses in a row has the Bengals reeling. They get nothing out of the run game and are in major need of an upgrade at the position. Bernard is rolling right now and may surpass Marcus Lattimore as the top back should the redshirt sophomore forgo his final two years of eligibility.
14. New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Saints need some serious upgrades on the defensive line. They really could use a pass rusher at the end spot but the value here is with Richardson. Richardson has been as disruptive as any DT in this year’s class, which is saying a lot with two DT’s going in the top 5 picks.
15. Dallas Cowboys – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The guard position has been a sore spot in this offensive line for a couple of years. Warmack is as highly regarded as any guard prospect in the recent past and warrants a top 15 selection.
16. Miami Dolphins – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Finding Ryan Tannehill a premier target is critical to his development. Tannehill has played better than expected this early without a big time receiver to throw to. Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are solid but not spectacular, Allen can add that to this emerging offense.