The free agency shuffle has finally calmed down and which directions teams will likely go in this year’s NFL Draft is becoming more clear. Some moves for quarterback solutions made over the weekend have caused major changes everywhere in this fifth variation of my mock draft and to think things won’t change numerous times over this final month leading up to the draft would be premature. But with that in mind, here is how I see things playing out as of today.
1. Kansas City – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A & M – I never believed Geno Smith would go number one overall, regardless of their talk about being “fascinated” with him.. With the acquisition of Alex Smith and Chase Daniel, a franchise tackle is needed to protect them and Joeckel is the top talent in the draft.
2. Jacksonville – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida – Floyd was considered a top 15 guy back in January and now I’m seeing him as high as number one overall in some mocks. He’ll fit in with a team that had a poor pass rush last season. They’ll be tempted to take Geno Smith, but they need to fix bigger issues first.
3. Oakland – Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon – With the Raiders being the Raiders and trading for Matt Flynn, they’ll pass on the temptation of Smith and let Flynn be the guy during the cap hell years and choose to address their pass rush instead.
4. Philadelphia – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan – It might help the Eagles quarterback struggles if they could actually get some protection in the pocket. If they go young at the position, they’ll need someone to protect him.
5. Detroit – DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama – It’s rare that a corner goes in the top five unless he is a remarkable talent or the team has an enormous need. That would be why the Lions go with Milliner here.
6. Cleveland – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU – Even with the signings of Kruger and Jones, with the switch to the 3-4 defense, Ansah is too good for the Browns rebuilding defense to pass up.
7. Arizona – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma – With Geno Smith on the board to potentially make this a tough decision for the Cards, they are able to do the smart thing and begin building on an offensive line that was unwatchable in 2012.
8. Buffalo – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee – The acquisition of Kevin Kolb puts off the need to put all their rebuilding hopes on Geno Smith. Instead they look to add a compliment to Stevie Johnson.
9. New York (Jets) – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – Honestly, who is surprised here? The Jets seem to be involved in every quarterback rumor lately and taking Geno Smith gives them the excuse they need to bench the overpaid Mark Sanchez.
10. Tennessee – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State – After signing Andy Levitre in free agency, this allows the Titans to work on rebuilding their secondary early. Rhodes, the second best available corner in the draft, slips into the top 10.
11. San Diego – Chance Warmack, G, Alabama – The Chargers have their eye on Lane Johnson, but the early run on the tackle position makes them shift to another facet of the line, which needs a complete rebuild.
12. Miami – Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina – After spending freely in free agency, they’ll need to go young on the line by taking the second best guard in the draft here.
13. Tampa Bay – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – The early steal of the draft as the Bucs need some help from their interior at getting to the quarterback. The Bucs decide to seek cornerback help in round two.
14. Carolina – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri – Projected as a top ten lock, Richardson becomes the second consecutive player to fall for teams drafting for need. Falling to the Panthers here is downright robbery.
15. New Orleans – Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU – Mingo doesn’t move too far from LSU as the Saints will have a need for stud pass rushers with the switch to the 3-4.
16. St. Louis – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia – If Warmack slides, I still believe that is the direction the Rams go. They’ve drafted receivers early the past two seasons but a potential game-breaking player like Austin as a replacement for Amendola is too hard to pass up.
17. Pittsburgh – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia – Teams like the Steelers have been so good for so long because they always seem to take a risk on the “red flag” prospects with high potential. Jones, a top 3 talent, certainly fits that bill and fills a huge need.
18. Dallas – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas – For all of the griping about Tony Romo and his big contract extension, he played very well last season. Imagine what he can do with a defense that can actually get off the field. The Cowboys secondary is solidified with the addition of the best safety in the draft.
19. New York (Giants) – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State – Once considered a potential top pick in the draft, Werner sliding to the Giants here just doesn’t seem fair. Continuing their tradition of building an elite pass rush continues.
20. Chicago – Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia – After addressing offensive line needs via free agency, they focus on the need to upgrade the middle of their linebacker unit for the considerable future. Ogletree would be a perfect fit.
21. Cincinnati – D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama – Things have looked bleak on the Andre Smith front and he may not return. If that happens, a stud tackle prospect like Fluker makes all the sense in the world.
22. St. Louis (from Washington) – Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International – The first “wow” moment of the draft, St. Louis reaches a bit to get the safety they want, as they have no one to play the position as of this moment with Mikell released and Dahl bolting to San Fran.
23. Minnesota – Keenan Allen, WR, California– Even with the addition of Greg Jennings, the Vikings use their second first round pick to put together a more dynamic offense.
24. Indianapolis – Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia – Signing Aubrayo Franklin isn’t making this problem go away. He’s just a stop gap player and a monster like Jenkins could steal his starting spot by mid-season.
25. Minnesota (from Seattle) – Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State – The VIkings could use a guy next to Kevin Williams that can actually move the pile. Letroy Guion was a disappointment and Hankins will start as a rookie.
26. Green Bay – Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State – With their preferred wide receiver prospects off the board, Green Bay decides to address the line and keep Don Barclay as depth only.
27. Houston – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson – The Texans haven’t taken a wide receiver in the first round of the draft since Andre Johnson a decade ago and with no starting caliber options on the roster after him, this has to be the year as Hopkins is a perfect scheme fit.
28. Denver – Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina – Williams had a superb Senior Bowl and that pushed him up into the first round for teams looking to improve their interior pass rush.
29. New England – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington – After watching the Ravens slice apart the Pats secondary in the AFC title game, Trufant falling this far in the draft is a pleasant surprise and an easy pick if McCourty stays at safety.
30. Atlanta – Cornelius “Tank” Carradine, DE, Florida State – Even with the addition of Osi Umenyiora, the Falcons will take the best pass rusher available at 30. Tank has went from a fringe second rounder to a top twenty dark horse. The Falcons can’t pass up his potential at this spot in the draft.
31. San Francisco – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A & M – With the best safety prospects gone by now, the Niners decide to bring in a potential future replacement for Justin Smith who was banged up a lot in 2012.
32. Baltimore – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU– With the departure of Ray Lewis in the middle, a player like Minter who tackles everything in sight is a great prospect to try and fill the void he leaves.
Filed under: 2013 NFL Draft
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