|Florida DT Sharrif Floyd|
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
I really don't like this pick for the Chiefs that much because Floyd is not a great fit for a 3-4 but after the team overpaid for Alex Smith, overpaid to re-sign Dwayne Bowe and questionably (in my eyes) franchising Brandon Albert, which may take them out of the running of Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel (although not necessarily), who knows what Andy Reid and co. are going to do. With Glenn Dorsey being a free agent and Tyson Jackson being a disappointment, the team needs to improve their pass rush from their defensive front and thus Floyd makes sense.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Jacksonville needs talent across the board, particularly on defense and especially on the line with the team finishing last in the league in sacks. Jason Babin was a late addition and he showed he still has some juice but with Jeremy Mincey disappointing and nobody else, the team needs more help at end. Remember when we all thought that Jordan's shoulder injury would make him drop his stock? Well his shoulder checked out just fine and he absolutely tore up the combine across the board. He may still be raw and should put on some weight but his stock is on the rise big time.
3. Oakland Raiders - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Speaking of teams that struggled to rush the passer in 2012, the Raiders were just as bad as the Jaguars were as they finished 31st in the league with 25 sacks, ahead of only Jacksonville. Their line may be in a worse spot than of that in Jacksonville and they are in rough shape at tackle with Richard Seymour being a free agent and Tommy Kelly being nothing more than garbage. Richardson truly was awesome in 2012 for the Tigers with 75 tackles, four sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. He is an athletic big guy who moves well in the trenches and has the arms to bat down passes as well.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M
5. Detroit Lions - DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
When was the last time the Lions did not need a cornerback come draft time? It seems like every year they need help at corner and they fail to adequately address each time to where it continues to be a problem. With Chris Houston being a free agent this offseason, the Lions should look to take a corner at this spot and considering their strategy to take the best player on the board, Milliner makes a lot of sense. Milliner showed a lot of speed at the Combine and he was brilliant in 2012, shutting down half the field for the Crimson Tide.
6. Cleveland Browns - Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Browns really had some problems defending the pass and one way they could improve in that regards in finding a pass rushing complement for Jabaal Sheard, as they have struggled to find another threat opposite him. Ansah was awesome at the Senior Bowl and he was awesome at the Combine and his stock has been on the rise since. He is pretty raw and only started one year in Provo but he is drawing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul due to his freakish athleticism, which was on display in Indianapolis, and his high ceiling and we all know how that combination has tantalized personnel guys before.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan
You want to hear a joke? The Cardinals' offensive line. You want to hear another joke? No you don't, but anyways, the Cardinals have themselves a truly pitiful offensive line that was statistically speaking the worst in the league with allowing the most sacks in the league with 58 and having the worst rushing attack as well. And you know they will be ecstatic if Fisher falls to them. You may have mentioned that I included Fisher's name in the discussion for the top overall pick and it is a discussion over whether Fisher or Luke Joeckel is the top offensive tackle in the draft. His stock was on the rise going into the Combine and he looked better than Joeckel in Indianapolis. Fisher has the athleticism and the flexibility needed for a big guy at tackle and he has got the skills you look for out of your blindside protector.
8. Buffalo Bills - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I am pretty certain the Bills would be happy if they had the opportunity to take Smith at eight because I think they would be sticking their necks out if they took Mike Glennon, as I had been projecting them to do. They do seem set to take a quarterback based off of what GM Buddy Nix has said about the position and we have all figured out that Ryan Fitzpatrick is not good. Smith has ideal size, a good arm, strong accuracy and mechanics and has plus athleticism and I think it is pretty clear that he is the best quarterback in what is a mediocre quarterback crop.
9. New York Jets - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
It appears that Darrelle Revis is on his way out of New Jersey and while you cannot simply replace a guy like Revis, the Jets have to fill the hole opposite Antonio Cromartie somehow, and if anybody tries to tell you that Kyle Wilson is the answer, they are insane. So they really have to address the cornerback position and thus, Trufant makes sense here. Trufant has made himself a lot of money with brilliant performances in Mobile and Indianapolis and has shown tremendous coverage skills in man-on-man situations, which Rex Ryan and the Jets defense like to employ frequently.
10. Tennessee Titans - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
I have decided to mix it up with the Titans and move away from them going defense with this selection and go with Warmack. A key reason why Chris Johnson has been a disappointment of sorts these past two years has been the deterioration of the Tennessee offensive line. Steve Hutchinson was a big disappointment last year and the team has nothing opposite him. And wouldn't you think that Mike Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard, would love to have a talent like Warmack to build his line around? Warmack should immediately help the Titans' run game because he is an absolute mauler in the run game and he is athletic enough to pass block well.
11. San Diego Chargers - Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma
Among the reasons why Philip Rivers has seemingly regressed, probably the biggest has been the decline of a once-stout offensive line, which this past season gave up the fourth most sacks in the league. The retirement of Marcus McNeill really wounded this line before the season and they never recovered and they really have to address the issue early in this draft. Johnson's stock soared after the Senior Bowl and it has continued to do so in Indianapolis after he showcased his impressive athleticism and agility. He also had a really good senior campaign in 2012 in Norman.
12. Miami Dolphins - Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
I must admit, I thought that Ryan Tannehill did a solid job last year under center, better than I had thought he would be considering how raw he was and how the team around him offensively was not great. But if Joe Philbin and coordinator Mike Sherman want him to take the next step, they have to upgrade the weapons around him. Brian Hartline had a pretty good season this past year but not only is he not a No. 1, he is also a free agent. Patterson may be raw but he is the most physically gifted wideout in the draft, with some folks comparing him in that regard to Julio Jones.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
You know who had a great secondary last year? The Buccaneers. After all, they were 32nd in opposing passing yardage and were that far away from allowing the most passing yardage of all time. They had to get rid of the malcontent Aqib Talib but that left them worse off, especially since Eric Wright was awful, as expected. So they really have to address the cornerback position and thus, Rhodes makes sense here. Rhodes is another guy that helped himself at the Combine as he overcame fears that he lacked speed with a strong 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds and a strong 10-yard split of 1.47 ticks as well. He has impressive size and is physical against not just the pass but against the run as well.
14. Carolina Panthers - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Nobody really knows what is going to happen with Lotulelei on draft day because we really do not know yet what is the cause of his heart issue at the Combine. If it shown that it was a one-time occurrence and not prevalent of a larger issue, his stock will go back where it was but until then, I think he will slide if the draft were held right now. And even if there was a larger issue, somebody will take the chance because of his excellent skill-set and the tremendous tape that he has of his time in Salt Lake City. A reason why I was not as bullish on the Panthers as others were this year was because I knew that the defense was not very good and one of the biggest reasons why was mediocre play at defensive tackle.
15. New Orleans Saints - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Not many teams could use some secondary help more than the Saints, who were spared by the Buccaneers of the honor of being the worst pass defense in the NFL and it became clear last season that they really need an upgrade at safety, both positions in fact. So why not take the best safety prospect in the draft? What new coordinator Rob Ryan will appreciate from Vaccaro are his instincts in both the run game and against the pass as he has a good head for where the ball is.
16. St. Louis Rams - Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC
Sam Bradford has been beaten and battered around during his NFL career by defenses because he has continually been behind awful offensive lines and if Jeff Fisher wants him to realize his potential, he needs to upgrade the five in front. And taking the talented Cooper would be a great start towards protecting Bradford and building a stronger running game. Cooper is another draft prospect that has been on the rise and I think that this could end up being lower than where we will go in a couple of months. He looked very good in the field drills at the Combine and he ran a very good 40. Cooper is very experienced and has started every year in Chapel Hill. He is quick when blocking in the run game and is athletic enough to pass protect as well.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
In a stat that may surprise you considering their history, the Steelers only sacked opposing quarterbacks 37 times this year, tying for only 15th in the league. In fact, their disappointing pass rush was one reason why the Steelers missed the playoffs. Pittsburgh should look to find some youth for their pass rush and taking the talented Mingo would be a good move here. Mingo came back after a great 2011 with a disappointing 2012 but thanks to his great speed and athleticism, he has a high ceiling and he is a great fit for the 34.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
With the Cowboys moving to a 4-3 under new coordinator Monte Kiffin from their 3-4, they were going to need some more classic defensive ends, particularly if Anthony Spencer left town. Now Spencer was franchised by Dallas, but until he signs a long-term deal with the club, his status is not that clear and besides, the Cowboys could also use some depth as well. In that situation, it makes sense to make a good value pick in Werner. I think Werner's stock may drop a little because he showed in the Combine that he would be a poor fit for a 3-4 and he isn't an amazing athlete. However, you cannot deny this guy's talent for rushing the passer.
19. New York Giants - Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
If there is one thing that the Giants have shown a tendency to do in the draft, it is to select talented pass rusher and quite frankly, in such a passing league, why not. And now more so than in years past, with Osi Umenyiora's contract expiring and Justin Tuck coming off a season with only four sacks, look for New York to draft a pass rusher. And if they can get a guy that can help out at linebacker as well, they'll love that. Many folks are thinking that Jones will fall due to the fact that his medical tests did not go very well at the Combine and while I think his stock will fall a little right now, the tape for Jones is simply too good for him to fall out of the first. Of course, that could change but I wouldn't count on it.
20. Chicago Bears - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Austin smoked it in the 40-yard dash with a very impressive 4.34 40 and he quelled fears about his small frame by looking tremendous in the drills. Therefore, there is a reason why he was considered to be one of the winners of the Combine. And Chicago would love to have a guy like him in their receiving corps. Brandon Marshall is an elite wideout and I like Alshon Jeffery but neither has game-breaking speed like Austin and thus new coach Marc Trestman would be drooling at the prospect of having a Marshall-Jeffery-Austin for Jay Cutler to utilize in the passing game.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Would you look at what Vontaze Burfict did last year, coming out after a disastrous draft process and developing into a solid linebacker for the Bengals. Good stuff. Meanwhile, the team has questions at the other two linebacker spots and thus they should look to find some help early in this draft. And they will not be scared by Ogletree's off the field issues. He had himself a great season and was a key reason why Georgia came pretty close to getting to the national championship. He is a great athlete who can cover the field from sideline to sideline and he is sound in coverage and in run support.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) - Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
The Rams have some nice players at receiver with Danny Amendola excelling in the slot, Chris Givens looking like a solid deep threat and they like Brian Quick. But I do not see any of those guys becoming a No. 1 so bringing in a guy like Keenan Allen would be a wise selection. Allen has a nice combination of good size and quality speed and is a guy that loves to attack passes in the air, which Sam Bradford would appreciate. Also, Allen can help contributed in the return game.
23. Minnesota Vikings - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
By no means is Christian Ponder a solid quarterback right now but to be fair to him, he has nothing to work with the exception of Percy Harvin, who could be potentially moved this offseason, leaving the team with scraps. The team didn't get much out of Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins is a scrub and that's their secondary wideouts after Harvin, so you know they need some help. Hopkins can help stretch the field with his good downfield speed and he also gets good separation on defensive backs. He runs very good routes and knows how to catch, which you would think would be important.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Colts' transition to a 3-4 defense did not result in a great pass rush as the team finished tied for 23rd in the league with 32 sacks. Robert Mathis has eight of those sacks and he was the only guy that could consistently apply any pressure on quarterbacks, and Dwight Freeney was recently cut. If the team wants to build a strong 3-4, they need some juice on the edge of their defense. Moore is a guy that did not helped himself at the Combine and he hurt himself with his awful bench press total of 12 reps, which was the worst of any defensive lineman.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Jones is a very athletic end who has a great motor from the point of the snap and his has a very good first step but he is a little raw. He is a good fit for the Seahawks' defense and they could use some more depth at the position as Chris Clemons is coming off a torn ACL and while Bruce Irvin is a beast in rushing the passer, he has a long way to come in stopping the run. And it seems that John Schneider, Pete Carroll and friends want to strengthen their pass rush and they seem very interested in Jones, having visited with him multiple times.
26. Green Bay Packers - D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama
It appears that the Packers have had struggles with their offensive line for years now, going back to the Brett Favre days (and they seem so long ago). And I always say, the Packers are fortunate that Aaron Rodgers is pretty mobile. But they also have lacked a consistent running game and bringing in a guy like Fluker will immediately help in that regard. Fluker may not be the greatest pass protector in the world but he is an all-out mauler in the run game. Plus he is also versatile and he should be able to be a pretty good guard as well, and we all know Green Bay needs depth on the interior as well.
27. Houston Texans - Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
The Texans have themselves a really good defense but one spot with some questions marks is at inside linebacker, a crucial spot in their 3-4. Brian Cushing tore his ACL in early October against the Jets and Bradie James is a free agent this offseason, so utilizing their first round selection may very well be in play for some reinforcements. Minter is a guy that Wade Phillips will love as he is very physical and plays with a lot of intensity that his fellow players feed off of.
28. Denver Broncos - Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Don't get me wrong, the Broncos have themselves a pretty good defense. A sore spot would probably be at defensive tackle, where Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson are decent and nothing more. The bigger concern is that both guys are free agents and while they did just draft Derek Wolfe last year and like him, bringing in another talented tackle would be a wise move. Short may be the best pass rushing tackle in this draft class as he uses his strength and athleticism very well to press the pocket. He is also a not too shabby run defender either.
29. New England Patriots - Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
Remember when the Patriots traded away Richard Seymour to the Raiders way back when and nobody really knew why. Well, the team has struggled since to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks from their defensive front and they never really found an adequate replacement for Seymour, which they can find here. Everybody's best friend Bill Belichick will appreciate Williams's versatility along the defensive line and he will also like Williams's stoutness in the run game as well as his underrated pass rush ability.
30. Atlanta Falcons - Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
It really should be a prerogative for the Falcons this offseason to find some pass rush, because they were really awful rushing the passer in 2012. They only sacked opposing quarterbacks 29 times this past season and the only guy that could provide any consistent pressure, John Abraham, who had a third of the team's sacks, is no longer on the club. Okafor is a talented speed rusher off the edge that has experience lining up at different spots and is a solid run defender as well.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
The "last American badass" Justin Smith has been a star and a huge piece of the 49ers defense since he came to town in 2008. However, he is not getting any younger as he turns 34 at the end of September and he is also entering his contract season. This would be a great opportunity for the San Francisco brass to find and groom a replacement and in Hunt, they can take one of the rising players of this draft. Hunt had himself a tremendous Combine and has seen his stock rise into the end of the first round. He is a prototypical 3-4 end and has even gotten comparisons in his playing style to Smith.
32. Baltimore Ravens - Matt Elam, S, Florida
Not many think that Ravens great Ed Reed will be back with the team next year as there have been rumors that he may retire and he is also a free agent. Even if he does return to the club next year, the Ravens need to find themselves a potential replacement to take over when he does go. Elam may not be a huge guy but he plays bigger as he is very good in run support and also good playing in coverage, and does good work covering tight ends.
Check out even more mock drafts courtesy of the great Walter Cherepinsky at Walter Football.