Let’s start this off by throwing out a disclaimer…I think three and possibly four quarterbacks are taken in the first round of the draft. Next week, we will release our annual ‘Trade Mock’ that will take into account trade scenarios.
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Branden Albert hasn’t reported to workouts and isn’t expected to. Sure sign that he will be dealt in the very near future. I fully expect by the time the draft takes place for Albert to be dealt. If and when he is dealt the Chiefs are left with a void on the left side of their line which will be an important piece to fill with Alex Smith taking the helm for Andy Reid.
Joeckel is the real deal. I’m in the camp of Joeckel as a better pro prospect than Matt Kalil. Given Kalil’s success in year one with the Vikings, this is a bold statement but I see very little not to like with Joeckel.
I have been on record as saying that I would keep Geno Smith to Jacksonville until the Jags traded for a quarterback. It doesn’t appear that will happen, so I expect the new regime to find ‘their’ guy with this pick. Gus Bradley and David Caldwell aren’t married to Blaine Gabbert and they can freely wash their hands of Gabbert.
The only other scenario in mind with this pick is if Jacksonville really doesn’t feel Geno Smith is worth this selection. At that point they could look at Dion Jordan to put a playmaker on Gus Bradley’s defense.
First off, let me start this one by saying that the Raiders won’t and/or shouldn’t pass on Geno Smith because they traded for Matt Flynn. Flynn has two starts to his name and isn’t the long term answer at the position.
The Jags take the pressure off the Raiders as they select Smith in front of Oakland. This pick will be a defensive player and I think comes down to a DL. Star Lotulelei got a clean bill of health and could be in the mix for a top three selection. That said, Oakland was abysmal rushing the passer last year and Floyd gives them an interior pass rusher that gives them some disruptive ability at the 3T.
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. The Eagles have really positioned themselves to take the best player available. I think this pick comes down to Eric Fisher, Star Lotulelei, and Dion Jordan.
On the surface of things, the Eagles appear set at OLB with Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, and Brandon Graham but Chip Kelly is intent on adding length, size, and versatility to his defense. Dion Jordan is the definition of a Kelly defender. Connor Barwin was very average last season after a breakout 2011 and Trent Cole and Brandon Graham have played with their hand in the dirt for their entire career.
This pick should come down to a defensive end or tackle. The Lions coaching staff got very familiar with Ezekiel Ansah at the Senior Bowl but the Lions need a bit more of a sure thing with the 5th pick. Jeff Backus’ retirement, Riley Reiff’s move to the right side or inside, and the uncertainty of Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard leaves Martin Mayhew with a pretty easy decision if he’s still on the board.
Fisher is a plug and play LT that has all the makings of being a very good one in the league. I think there’s higher upside to Fisher than that of Joe Staley, who he’s compared to most often. Fisher is an athletic LT that can protect Matt Stafford’s blindside for a very long time and secure an all important position for the future.
Here’s how I see this pick coming down. I think Mike Lombardi targets Geno Smith with the 6th pick. If he’s not there, the Browns look to get out of six with a team looking to jump Arizona for Lane Johnson…ahem, the Dolphins or Chargers. I just don’t see anyone in the new Browns regime enamored with Brandon Weeden, if Smith is there he’s their guy.
Next week, I’ll be doing my annual mock draft with trades. It’s the one exception throughout the year that I opt to project the impossible. If the Browns stay put they need to find a corner and Dee Milliner is a nice partner with Joe Haden. Milliner has the size and speed to form one of better corner duos in the league. If the Browns move down in that 11-12 range they should target Milliner, Xavier Rhodes, or Tavon Austin.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
With Carson Palmer in the fold, it pretty much eliminates the need for reaching for a QB at this point. The Cards need an impact rusher and offensive tackle to anchor this offensive line around. Levi Brown will be back but is best suited to play the right side. Bobby Massie and Nate Potter played well towards the end of the season but won’t keep the Cards from taking a tackle at No. 7.
Lane Johnson is a guy that many teams will target in a trade up. The 2013 NFL Draft will start to heat up with the Browns pick as teams will look to jump the Cards to get their tackle. Miami and San Diego have the most pressing need and Miami has the extra second to pull the deal off. They have been aggressive in free agency and I would expect them to aggressively go after a tackle in the draft.
If no one has the ammunition or wants to spend it, the Cards would be ecstatic to have Lane Johnson in the fold for years to come. The left tackle position has been a major sore spot for the Cards for a long time and it’s time to give Carson Palmer…Drew Stanton…Brian Hoyer…
Kevin Kolb a blindside protector.
Kevin Kolb didn’t quench your thirst for a QB, Buffalo fan? I don’t blame you as it felt like a team realizing they may be caught with their pants down at the dinner party on April 25th. Kolb could compete as the starter and at best be a bridge for the development of a rookie. I’m not sure that he absolves the Bills from taking a QB in the first two rounds.
It appears the Bills will get an up close and personal look at every quarterback prospect. In my mind the signing of Kolb probably avoids them reaching for a guy at this spot.
The Buffalo selection leaves me with heartburn every week and this week is no different. What I do know is that Buddy Nix is looking to acquire picks and wants a big, outside receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the more intriguing projections in the draft. He could go as high as 8 and as low at the mid-20′s. I like Tavon Austin here but not the fit that Nix is seeking in the offense.
Last week it came down to Barkevious Mingo and Ezekiel Ansah for this pick and the same this week. There’s always a couple regrets when doing a three-round mock draft and Mingo over Ansah was one for me. Rex Ryan needs to add a versatile defender in the draft that is capable of affecting both the run and pass game of opponents.
Ezekiel Ansah is the definition of versatility as he could stand up or play with his hand in the dirt. Ansah was used all over the field at BYU and his upside is too intriguing for him to fall out of the top ten of this draft.
I applaud the Titans for quietly going about their offseason business by filling holes with solid players. Adding Andy Levitre should significantly help the offensive line although they could still use a guard/center. Jon Cooper would be a nice fit at this pick but with two quality DT’s still on the board, it makes too much sense.
The Titans have a glut of so-so interior players on the defensive side of the ball. Sammie Lee Hill and Ropati Pitotua were solid depth signings but they still lack an big time disruptor in the middle of their defense. Sheldon Richardson gives them an impact player on the interior that in my book is one of the better players in the draft that may slide a bit.
The Chargers offensive line is woeful to say the least. Jared Gaither was cut, not a major loss but anything at this point would help. In my mind, the Chargers have to aggressively move up this draft to secure a tackle. It’s tough losing picks when you have a slew of needs but Mike McCoy has to figure out whether Phillip Rivers is his quarterback for the near future and won’t do so unless he finds him protection.
Barring a trade up for a tackle, the Chargers will be looking at taking a guard (Warmack, Cooper), an OLB (Mingo) or nose tackle (Star Lotulelei). A pass rusher holds the most positional value but I’m not sold on them taking Mingo, who comes with a high risk, high reward tag. Star Lotulelei is a great value at this pick and gives them a ton of flexibility on a young but very good defensive line.