1. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs have little choice with this selection. They don’t have a viable option at QB on the roster and I don’t think they can afford to wait on taking a signal caller. Smith is as good as they come in this QB class. Sure, he isn’t Luck or Griffin but he’s got some nice upside as an NFL passer. The guy is a film rat that will put the work in to be a good, starting QB in the NFL.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida St.
The Jags signing of Jason Babin doesn’t change the need at DE. Babin is a rental (2013 is voidable) that will soon show his true colors in the locker room. There’s a reason a guy as talented as Babin hasn’t stuck around anywhere for too long. Werner is an underrated athlete that gets tagged as a high motor, high ceiling type guy. Werner is a spectacular athlete that can affect the pass and run game.
3. Oakland Raiders – Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
I had the Raiders taking Tyler Wilson in my last mock draft and think that’s still a significant possibility. That said, I love the pass rushers in this draft and the Raiders need one in the worst of ways. Lamarr Houston could kick inside with Tommy Kelly looking to be a cap casualty. Jordan gives the Raiders the versatility to stand up at OLB as well. He’s a phenomenal athlete that will be sure to blow up pre-draft workouts.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Jason Peters is due back but I think they are best served by moving him to RT with Joeckel manning the left side. Todd Heremans can move inside to guard and give the Eagles a very solid OL. Nick Foles is progressing along fine and may get a shot to compete with a veteran next season. Joeckel is the best value at a position of need.
5. Carolina Panthers – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Panthers could easily take one of the DT’s here but I think they need to emphasize the OL in the offseason. While they are a serviceable group they don’t inspire a ton of confidence for the future. Jordan Gross is aging and may be best served moving over to RT and Byron Bell moving to a backup role.
6. Detroit Lions – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Lions abysmal season is exposing a lot of weaknesses that no one thought they had coming into the season. There are holes all over this roster but the quality of pass rushers will be too hard to pass on come April. Damontre Moore is a dynamic pass rusher that doesn’t get enough credit for his ability to get after the QB and his effectiveness in the run defense.
7. Tennessee Titans – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
I really contemplated this pick for a long while. I love Ziggy Ansah, as I documented yesterday, but see a need for a big body in the middle to stop the run. Tennessee has a nice rotation of athletic DT’s but need stout force to better their 24th ranked run defense.
8. Arizona Cardinals – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Arizona would have to be sprinting to the podium if Wilson were available when they were picking. This pick has to be QB and the Cards need to be aggressive trying to get one of the top QB’s. Wilson’s well documented struggles won’t cause him to drop too much and the new Arizona coach will start fresh with a nice building block.
9. San Diego Chargers – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Phillips Rivers is playing awfully. But so would anyone behind this abysmal OL. Rivers may be on a short leash with a (most likely) new HC and GM headed to Southern California. Lewan needs a solid outing against South Carolina to vault himself to the top of the tackle heap. If that comes this could be too low for him to come off the board.
10. Cleveland Browns – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Browns will be in a nice bind if they have to choose for Milliner and Te’o. Sheldon Brown has been playing better but he’s not a long-term answer at corner that the Browns need. Finding a running mate for Joe Haden has to be a priority this offseason. Milliner is a physical corner that runs pretty well for his size. He reminds me of Joe Haden in a lot of respects. He won’t light up the combine with his 40 time or agility but he’s a solid option at CB in the top 10.
11. Buffalo Bills – Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
The Bills hold off on finding a QB until later rounds if Te’o is still on the board when they pick. Matt Barkley isn’t a good fit in Buffalo with arm strength questions and I can’t see them reaching with quality defenders still on the board.
12. Miami Dolphins – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Dolphins need to find a pass rusher opposite Cam Wake and Ansah is a personal favorite of mine. He possesses the skills to be an elite pass rusher in the mold of Aldon Smith. I think he’s a top 10 pick in the draft and would make a nice partner to Wake.
13. New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Saints are miserable right now. On both sides of the ball. Clearly the defense is a bigger need but their offense hasn’t inspired much confidence this season. The front four does little for me and a disruptor is needed in the middle of the defense. Richardson is a steal with the 13th pick in the draft and would be a perfect fit in this defense.
14. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
If you’re the Jets where do you go here? Rex and Tannenbaum are D.O.N.E. in New York. Mark Sanchez isn’t a capable NFL starter at this point in his career. The offense lacks weapons at WR and RB. The defense has grossly underperformed without Darrelle Revis. They need an impact player in this draft on either side of the ball. Mingo slides a bit and the Jets can’t pass on him.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
I have drafted a corner to the Bucs exclusively. And for good reason. That said, they could really use a disruptive force next to Gerald McCoy. This comes down to whether Floyd or Logan Ryan have a better grade. Floyd does, slightly on my board, so he’s the pick. They will need to find a CB in free agency and another early in the draft.
16. St. Louis Rams – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
St. Louis fans haven’t been fans of my failure to find a tackle in the first round of the draft. That said, passing on Warmack is not wise. He’s an instant impact player that should find his way into the Pro Bowl early on in his career. Guard is a huge need and while it’s not as sexy as tackle, it’s still a major need.
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