NFL free agency has been crazy to say the least. This mock draft was changed four times to adjust for the additions made before this thing went to publishing. It’s been a crazy ride and was set to be a three-rounder but time frames and adjustments made it just a two-round effort. Next week, we’ll knock out at least a three-rounder and maybe more for making you wait.
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The Chiefs made some solid signings early on in day one by adding the underrated Mike DeVito and a young, promising QB in Chase Daniel. Prior to going to publishing the Chiefs have agreed on a deal with CB Sean Smith, eliminating a huge hole at corner. Add these moves in with franchising Brandon Albert, re-signing Dwayne Bowe, and dealing for Alex Smith the Chiefs have filled some major holes. They have really set themselves up to take the best player on their board and I think it comes down to one of the tackles.
The Chiefs appear to be locking into a tackle at this spot. The question remains which one will it be? Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel? Depending who you ask, the answer will vary. Joeckel is the definition of safe pick and offers the Chiefs someone to build around for the long-term.
I’m beginning to wonder why Geno Smith isn’t being talked about to Jacksonville. David Caldwell and Gus Bradley don’t owe anything to Blaine Gabbert. Many believe Gabbert has earned his shot at another year to prove himself but can this organization afford another year of growing pains with Gabbert at the helm.
This pick really comes down to whether the Jaguars brass values Geno Smith as worthy of a top selection. Gus Bradley saw firsthand the impact of a franchise quarterback on an organization and sitting at No. 2 may too tempting to pass on that possibility.
Is Tommy Kelly safe? I don’t think so. The Raiders appear to be a collision course with the No. 1 pick in 2014 as they revamp this abysmal roster. They signed Pat Sims from Cincinnati but I think they move on from Kelly’s contract and find youth on the defensive line.
Floyd is a dominating interior pass rusher that is capable of disrupting the entire backfield. The Raiders will look to add youth to the defense and it starts on the defensive line. They will be in the market for a young pass rusher as well.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
This pick comes down to anyone of three guys for me; Dion Jordan, Eric Fisher, and Lane Johnson. I had a corner here but had to make the last minute change when the Eagles signed Cary Williams to go with Bradley Fletcher. So it comes down to a tackle or a pass rusher.
Chip Kelly is looking for athletic lineman and they don’t get much more than Lane Johnson. Johnson fits the bill of any and everything that Kelly is looking for. It will be tough for the Eagles to pass on Eric Fisher but Johnson offers rare upside at the position
Clearly defensive end is the biggest need in Detroit, who’s done a solid job filling holes in free agency. That said, you take the best player here, especially if it’s Eric Fisher. Jeff Backus has been a fixture at LT for the Lions for a decade but will be 36 next season. They tendered Jason Fox and re-signed Corey Hilliard to a two-year deal but neither has proven capable of locking down Matt Stafford’s blindside.
Eric Fisher is a plug and play LT that gives Detroit bookend tackles for the next decade. With Stafford’s mobility (lack thereof) it’s important to protect the pocket in Detroit’s downfield passing attack. Ezekiel Ansah is a favorite of many (including myself) but I would take Fisher over him everyday and twice on Sundays.
NOTE: Jeff Backus announced his retirement as the mock draft was going to publishing. Good thing we had Eric Fisher already plugged in at No. 5.
The only thing better than Milliner sliding to the Browns would be if Geno Smith and Milliner made their way down here as they could sell the pick to Arizona or Buffalo or make a tough pick between the two.
I’ve been a little surprised that the Browns weren’t more active in the corner market during free agency. They went out and addressed the pass rush with Paul Kruger and Quentin Groves and found a steal in Desmond Bryant. The Browns really need help at the corner making Milliner and ideal selection here. He fits opposite Joe Haden and Ray Horton will have a field day with these two manning the edge of his defense. Quietly the Browns are becoming contenders in the AFC North on paper with a young roster full of talent.
The Cards have made a lot of moves this offseason including trimming some veterans off the roster. The quarterback position is still up for grabs with the signing of Drew Stanton and tendering of Brian Hoyer. Kevin Kolb will not be back next season, so this selection could very well be a QB if Bruce Arians falls in love with a Matt Barkley-type.
I just can’t mock a quarterback here that isn’t named Geno Smith. The Cardinals could look at Chance Warmack here to help out the interior of their offensive line but it’s tough finding impact pass rushers like Dion Jordan. He’s a rare specimen at a position of relative need.
The Bills have cut Ryan Fitzpatrick leaving them with Tarvaris Jackson and Aaron Corp to head up the quarterback position in Doug Marrone’s first year. No way that stays that way. Marrone and company could look into the trade market for a Matt Flynn/Ryan Mallett to be their leading man. Or they could reach in the draft.
Ryan Nassib led Marrone’s squad to a 21-17 record and probably vaulted him into the NFL coaching ranks. It will be tough for Marrone to wait out the market but I just don’t see Nassib or any other QB not named Geno Smith worth this spot.
The Bills need an injection of talent on the roster at quite a few spots other than quarterback. WR and LB are the major two areas of need. Cordarrelle Patterson could get a long look at this spot. But if Ezekiel Ansah slides down the Bills way it will be tough for them to pass. Ansah gives Mike Pettine some much needed versatility to begin his Buffalo career.
9. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Not surprisingly, the cap-strapped Jets have been inactive in the first two days of free agency. Rumors abound of a Darrelle Revis trade but nothing has come to fruition. I would expect the deal to be done before the end of the weekend and the Jets to come off lofty trade demands. If Revis is dealt, cornerback could be addressed although the depth did a solid job filling in last year. The Jets really need to walk away from this draft with playmakers on both sides of the ball.
I think the offense is the biggest concern but it doesn’t alleviate the massive hole in terms of pass rush on this team. They need to address the position early in the draft and Mingo brings some rare ability to the position. Mingo could be exactly what the Jets need walking out of this draft as he’s ideally suited to stand up in an aggressive, attacking defense.
The Titans made a splash in free agency with the signing of Andy Levitre which fills a major hole along the interior of their OL. The Titans can now focus on upgrading the front four of the defense. The Titans are good but not great in the middle of their defense. Jurrell Casey, Karl Klug and Mike Martin are solid but none bring the ability to dominate on the inside.
Sheldon Richardson is an interior disruptor that brings the “wow” factor to a defense. He may turn some teams off with his personality but he has the game to back it up. The Titans could also look at adding a pass rusher at this spot but it will come down to value and Richardson is a solid value with the 10th pick.
11. San Diego Chargers – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Chargers added King Dunlap and Chad Rinehart to the offensive line in free agency. Those two don’t inspire a ton of confidence in terms of protecting Phillip Rivers. If one of the tackles falls into their laps they would probably sprint to the podium but Chance Warmack is a nice consolation prize.
How do the Chargers pass on Chance Warmack if he’s available? The offensive has been abysmal for long enough and in need of legitimate starters. Warmack gives Mike McCoy a guy with Pro Bowl potential from day one and should be the pick barring Dee Milliner or one of the tackles doesn’t slide down the Chargers way.