1. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs have said they will take the best player regardless of position. Geno Smith isn’t the top player in the draft but until they sign/trade for a veteran QB he will be my selection. There’s no sense in drafting Luke Joeckel here to have him block for Brady Quinn or Matt Cassel.
If the Chiefs can’t lock up (at least) a Matt Flynn or Alex Smith type, Smith should be the pick with them re-signing Brandon Albert. We should have a pretty good idea of what they are thinking with how they handle Albert’s contract situation. If Albert is re-signed, it will be at LT money. In that scenario I can’t see them going with Joeckel. To me this pick is Smith or Joeckel and we’ll know in March which way Andy Reid and Co. are leaning.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
My one week hiatus from Bjoern Werner to the Jags is officially over. I could barely live with the fact that I mocked someone other than Werner to the Jags. Jason Babin isn’t likely to be back as they look to find a young, stud pass rusher for their new HC…Greg Roman.
Before updating my top 150 2013 NFL Draft prospect rankings (due out tomorrow), I went back to watch some Werner tape, as he’s my third rated prospect. I feel more comfortable now than ever. I don’t think Werner gets the credit he deserves for his athleticism. The guy is just scratching the surface of his ability, which is scary. A sure sign that you should turn the page on a Werner scouting report is that it starts with high motor, energy player with limited athleticism. I have read several with words similar to those in them…turn the page and never go back.
Let me say this real quick. Micheal Profetta was spot on in his mock draft about teams trading into the two hole for Joeckel. That’s a real possibility. I would be surprised if someone didn’t try if Joeckel escapes No. 1.
3. Oakland Raiders – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
I love Sheldon Richardson, more than most. He has consistently held this pick for a couple of months. I’m changing course a bit. Not because I think less of Richardson but because I think the best move for the Raiders and their pass rush is to move Lamarr Houston inside and find a true edge rusher.
Moore is as good as they come. He is a relentless pass rusher that plays the run better than you would expect from someone that is shy of 260. The Raiders will turn the page Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly and look to go younger and more athletic up front.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Eagles made the splash hiring with the shocking hire of Chip Kelly. Kelly will mold his system to fit the players on the roster and taking the top overall player in the draft is a good start.
The Eagles need to focus on strengthening their offensive line. With Jason Peters back next year, the Joeckel selection allows them to move Todd Heremans inside and gives them a strong offensive line. This is the best option given Nick Foles lack of escapability and a promising running game.
As I said above, Luke Joeckel could be the apple of many GM’s eye. If there’s a trade to the top of the draft, it will be for Joeckel. At this point, I think it’s unlikely that Joeckel makes it to the Eagles. I may be in the minority but I have a higher grade on Joeckel than Matt Kalil, who was excellent as a rookie and looks to be a future All Pro LT.
5. Detroit Lions – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
I’m absolutely torn on this pick. My friend Jeff Risdon pointed out on Detroitlionsdraft.com that the Lions need at CB may be overstated. I agree with Jeff’s take in the article. That said, the top two DE’s are off the board and Milliner is in his sweet spot at No. 5.
Milliner is a physical corner that can play in any scheme. His ability to play press technique in man or zone and off in either will make him a hot commodity in April. I see this CB class as fairly average with Milliner being the closest thing to a sure thing.
6. Cleveland Browns – Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Milliner doesn’t slide to the Browns so they look to a pass rusher for their new 3-4 scheme. The Browns have their coordinators lined up but are waiting for who knows what to announce the new coaching staff. John Pagano will join Norv Turner in Cleveland to form the base of Chud’s staff. Pagano brings the 3-4 to a team that has the personnel to make an immediate change.
Mingo’s lack of production is mind boggling for someone of his skill level. That said, Aldon Smith racked up a whopping total of 48 tackles and 6 sacks in his final season at Missouri. The two compare athletically but Mingo will have to develop into more football player, less athlete if he wants to produce anywhere near Smith’s NFL level.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Kevin Kolb has to restructure his ridiculous deal or the Cards will be taking a QB in this spot. The Cards would be wise to sign Brian Hoyer as a backup and turn the reigns over to Kolb during training camp. A full offseason as a No. 1 may be good for his development. Even if this is the case, they have to find a QB in rounds two or three to compete for the backup job.
I have watch a ton of Warmack over the course of the last several days. I’m blown away with this guys ability. I’m not positive he isn’t the best player in this draft. As much as I like Luke Joeckel, this guy is a stud. I would be absolutely shocked if Warmack wasn’t an immediate Pro Bowler at guard.
8. Buffalo Bills – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Mike Pettine is likely to bring a hybrid three man and four man front to Buffalo. Jones versatility to play in either scheme brings some intrigue to this pick. QB will be a hot topic this offseason but I can’t see them spending the eighth pick on Wilson or Nassib or Glennon and definitely not Barkley.
Jones spinal stenosis will be one of the most monitored topics of the pre-draft process. This pick is assuming everything checks out medically. The issue with Jones’ neck is how much longevity will it allow him in the NFL. That I can’t answer but he’s a solid player.
9. New York Jets – Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Jets are a mess. They can’t give away the GM job and are going to struggle to get under the cap. Mike Tannenbaum left them in disarray in their win now mentality. Pick a position on offense and the likelihood is that they need it. The defense is in need of some pass rush.
Jordan brings one of the most unique skill sets to this draft. He’s a freak athlete that played with his hand up a lot this season. He won’t be working out as he’s hampered by shoulder surgery but you know what you are going to get with this guy.
10. Tennessee Titans – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Titans have some depth at DT but no one to plug the middle. I think the Titans should address the lines on both sides of the ball. If a guy like Chance Warmack slid down to them, they would be wise to snatch him up.
Lotulelei brings the ability to penetrate gaps to blow up the run game, hold at the point, and move the pocket. While, I haven’t bought into him as a top five player in the draft he’s a solid value with the tenth pick.
11. San Diego Chargers – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Chargers offensive line is atrocious. That’s putting it nicely. I think the Chargers need to find at least two starters on the OL if they want to be competitive in the near future. Phillip Rivers has played poorly but needs some help from his OL and running game. Fisher has been compared to former Chippewa Joe Staley but I believe he’s more ready to play than Staley was coming out of college.
Mike McCoy came from the luxury of Ryan Clady locking down the blindside and looks to find his blindside protector early in the draft.
12. Miami Dolphins – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Dolphins have some work to do this offseason. First and foremost is deciding on the future of Jake Long. Losing a LT, no matter how poorly he played this year, is not something that would make this franchise better. I’m not sure what I would pay Long, but I wouldn’t let him leave Miami without make a solid offer.
If Long bolts they could look for a LT or move Jon Martin over to the left side. Either way, finding a receiver early in the draft will be a priority. The Dolphins receivers combined for three touchdowns this season. That’s right, three. Patterson brings elite size and athleticism to the position. A couple of weeks ago, I took to the film to show you why he may be the top receiver in the draft. I don’t think I’m alone on that assessment..
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
To say the Bucs need a corner would be the grossest understatement of the century. They traded away Aqib Talib to the Pats and found out why the Browns and Lions let Eric Wright walk. E.J. Biggers is a free agent and Wright should be cut after signing a big deal last offseason. Yeah, it’s bad in Tampa.
Tampa likes bigger, press corners. That would fit the bill of Rhodes, not Banks. Banks is big but isn’t physical. Rhodes fits Tampa’s scheme to a tee despite not warranting this high of a pick.
14. Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Ron and Dwan Edwards make up the completely inept Edwards Wall in Carolina. With any luck neither will be back next season.
The coup of the draft is Richardson sliding down to the 14th spot. I can’t see this happening but I may be crazy in my assessment of Richardson. He’s a Warren Sapp type impact three technique with unreal athleticism. If he makes it down to Carolina they should sprint to the podium to turn this card in.
15. New Orleans Saints – Kenny Vaccaro, SS, Texas
The Saints lack of pass rush was evident this season. The Saints may be looking to transition to more three man fronts this season, using Martez Wilson at OLB. Ezekiel Ansah may be a fit but I think they look for an upgrade in the defensive backfield.
Roman Harper probably won’t be back, making Vaccaro a viable option for this squad. They play in a division with Matt Ryan and Cam Newton.
16. St. Louis Rams – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
With Eric Fisher and Chance Warmack off the board, the Rams could look to pull the trigger on Lane Johnson or Jonathan Cooper but elect to find a stud receiver to go with some young emerging talent. I don’t see enough of a gap between the next five or six OL to risk losing out on Keenan Allen.
With Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola, and Steve Smith heading towards free agency the Rams need to reload at the position. Allen was stuck with some miserable QB play at Cal and could be a solid value at 16.
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