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The Chiefs have done a masterful job of filling holes through free agency. The Chiefs are reportedly shopping the recently franchised player, Branden Albert. If Albert is dealt before or on draft day, I fully expect this pick to come down to one of the tackles. Not ironically news of the Chiefs interest in Geno Smith broke yesterday as talks of Jacksonville’s interest heated up. The Chiefs aren’t taking Smith but will explore any trade possibility that could come their way.
Luke Joeckel is a day one starter that is capable of manning Albert’s LT spot. We have thought for a long while that Joeckel was the top overall player in the 2013 NFL Draft and this pick makes too much sense to pass on.
The Jags have been linked to the possibility of a Matt Flynn trade but until that happens, Geno Smith is going to be the pick here. I just can’t see this new Jaguars regime tying their wagons to Blaine Gabbert, even if for only a year. David Caldwell needs to re-invigorate this fanbase and the Geno Smith selection would sell tickets. If the Jags feel, in the least, that Smith has franchise upside this is a must pick.
In the case of the Jaguars, they gave a half-hearted approval of Blaine Gabbert in the offseason. No one around the NFL believes he can turn the fortunes of this franchise around and the Jags can’t afford another dismal season. Gus Bradley would love to add to his defense but securing a QB is always first priority.
Tommy Kelly is done in Oakland but they added Pat Sims and Vance Walker which provides the Raiders with solid depth but still lack a difference maker in the middle of the defense. I like the idea of adding a pass rusher and moving Lamarr Houston inside but Floyd gives them better value than any of the available pass rushers. My personal opinion is that Dion Jordan is the best available but fits better as a SLB in Dennis Allen’s scheme.
Floyd gives the Raiders a penetrating 3-technique that can disrupt on the interior. Aside from need, the overhaul of this roster has left them void of talent. Floyd is the best overall player available (by many accounts, not mine) making him a logical fit for the Raiders.
The Eagles filled a ton of holes in free agency, especially on defense. They should be in the hunt for a RT and DE in the early rounds of the draft. Star Lotulelei has pretty consistently been my selection at this spot. But in this week’s mock draft, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt.
The Eagles appear to have a wealth of pass rushers but they are counting on Connor Barwin to rebound and Trent Cole/Brandon Graham to emerge as standup rushers. Kelly knows what he has in Dion Jordan, which is a freak athlete with some major upside as an NFL pass rusher that is familiar with Kelly’s modus operandi.
Defensive end may be the bigger need and value position but the Lions are still a heavily pass oriented offense and team. In Jeff Backus’ absence they will be looking to the unproven Jason Fox to fill the void. Fox is a guy that they wanted to groom to take over for Backus but I can’t see them passing on a top shelf LT in favor of a guy that hasn’t been able to secure a spot in three seasons.
Fisher gives the Lions an immediate starter on the left side, allowing Fox and Reiff to battle it out on the right side. Ideally, Fox can take over at RT moving Reiff to the inside and giving the Lions a formidable line on paper. Ezekiel Ansah will get a long look here but securing Stafford’s blindside is priority one.
The Browns are broke at the corner position opposite Joe Haden. Ideally, they would like to get their hands on Brent Grimes but it’s sounding like he’s heading to Miami. The Browns signed Chris Owens, who’s solid in the slot but not capable of making an impact as a No. 2 outside corner in the league. That leaves them with Buster Skrine, who was abused in Joe Haden’s absence on the outside but was a proficient nickel corner.
Milliner is an ideal fit opposite of Joe Haden as he gives the Browns another physical defender with the size to matchup with bigger receivers. If the Browns could secure Milliner in the first, this defense would be one to reckon with on paper.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Cards appear to be on a crash course with a former Michigan State quarterback battle in camp. I’m sure another QB will be brought in via free agency or early in the draft but no options appear to be much better than Stanton/Hoyer.
With the QB situation in the air, the Cards need to do everything in their power to secure the offensive line in front of them. Last year’s rookie tackle tandem took strides towards being formidable but I’m not sure that either is the long-term answer at a position that the Cardinals have sorely missed for a very long time. Passing on Johnson, who has major upside as a franchise LT, would be foolish of this organization.
The Bills should be in desperation mode at QB and could be a prime candidate to trade up for Geno Smith. Tarvaris Jackson isn’t going to help out Doug Marrone’s case in year one as head man in Buffalo. The Bills could go in a ton of directions with this pick as they need help at QB, OG, DE, WR, LB, SS and CB.
I see the Bills as the most likely candidate to pull off a trade towards the top of the draft for Geno Smith but if they stay put they appear to be on a collision course with one of the QB’s that will be considered a reach in terms of value.
Barkley is a polarizing prospect that many have valued as a second rounder. That said, I know of two teams that feel he’s the best quarterback in the draft and won’t make it out of the first. I’m going to trust in that information. I’ve struggled with the notion of Barkley in Buffalo because of the weather conditions and how they will affect his subpar arm strength.
9. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Not surprisingly, the cap-strapped Jets have been relatively inactive in free agency. The Darrelle Revis deal appears to have lost steam although it’s certainly not dead. The Jets have a bunch of needs, arguably the biggest is at pass rusher. Last week we had Dion Jordan falling into Rex Ryan’s lap but I just can’t see him making it down that far.
Barkevious Mingo didn’t help his cause by not benching at LSU’s pro day on Wednesday but he continued to display his freakish athleticism. Mingo is going to intrigue teams very early and is the ultimate high risk, high reward pick early in the draft but the Jets have a propensity to take a chance on guys like this.
Since about November the Titans pick has almost solely fell into one of two categories; guard or defensive tackle. This will be the first week that they look in another direction at this pick. Kam Wimbley and Derrick Morgan are just average pass rushers in my opinion.
Ezekiel Ansah has a ton of upside as a pass rusher at the next level. Ansah’s versatility also gives the Titans a ton of options as he has a rare combination of size, speed, and strength.
The Chargers are a mess on the offensive line and it didn’t get any better with the cutting of tackle Jared Gaither. The Chargers would be ecstatic if Lane Johnson would make it down to No. 11 and they could be a prime candidate to trade up for one of the stud LT’s in the draft. In this scenario, all the tackles are off the board, so they could look to a guard which is also a need. But this team needs to find an impact player at 11 and find a steal at a position of need on defense.
Star Lotulelei could easily be off the board in the top four selections of April’s draft and I can’t see him making it much further than this point, despite some inconsistencies in his game. Lotulelei gives the Chargers a versatile guy that could step in at the nose or play end in their three-man front.