Because I needed to do something to kill the time between now and 8 p.m., here’s my one and only mock draft.
I’ll set the over/under on correct picks at seven.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
It sounds like Andy Reid and the coaches want Fisher, while Kansas City’s scouting team prefers Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel. It didn’t take long for that whole “final say” conversation to take place in KC, huh? The guess here is that Reid wins out and the Chiefs go with Fisher.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Given what we saw with the Seahawks’ defense, I have to think Gus Bradley is in love with Jordan. A long, versatile defender who can drop back in coverage or rush the passer. At the very least, he’s a movable chess piece. And the upside is there as a double-digit sack guy.
3. Miami Dolphins (TRADE with Oakland Raiders) – Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
The Dolphins got their franchise quarterback in Ryan Tannehill last year, yet they lost Jake Long to St. Louis in free agency. Tannehill is the team’s No. 1 asset, and they have to invest in protecting him. Joeckel is one of the cleanest prospects in the draft, and the Dolphins have 11 overall picks, including five in the first three rounds. The Raiders, meanwhile, only have three selections in the first five rounds. They move back to No. 12 and pick up some extra selections.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Sharrif Floyd, DL, Florida
My guess is that the Eagles have Joeckel, Fisher and Jordan as the top-three picks on their board. But what happens in this scenario? The truth is it’s wide open. Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson, BYU DE/OLB Ziggy Ansah and Utah DT Star Lotulelei could all be options. But I’m going with Floyd.
As we mentioned yesterday, there is little certainty when it comes to the Eagles’ new defensive scheme. The only reason Floyd wouldn’t fit is if they were running a two-gap 3-4. But he can line up in a variety of places and is only 20-years-old. Floyd, combined with Fletcher Cox, would give the Eagles a great base from which to build their defense. If Howie Roseman and company are committed to taking the best player available, I think Floyd’s the pick.
5. Detroit Lions – Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
They’ve got to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to compete in the NFC North. The Lions have some talented interior pass-rushers, but adding Ansah to the mix at defensive end gives them another dimension. He’s 6-5, 271 with 35 1/8-inch arms. The only thing Ansah lacks is experience. You take Ansah here and hope that Jim Washburn can mold him into a Pro Bowler. All the physical tools are there.
6. San Diego Chargers (TRADE with Cleveland Browns) – Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
See what I wrote above at No. 3? The same rules pretty much apply with the Chargers and Philip Rivers. San Diego moves up from No. 11 and takes Johnson. Most people don’t see him slipping this far, and the Eagles could very well take Johnson at No. 4. But there is some risk involved. He’s not as clean a prospect as Joeckel or Fisher, even though Johnson has superior athleticism. San Diego banks on his upside and grabs him at No. 6.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
They acquired Carson Palmer via trade, have Larry Fitzgerald and drafted Michael Floyd last year. Arizona has plenty of talent on defense, but it needs to build up front. While the Cardinals would probably love for Johnson to tall to them, chances are he goes in the top-six. Cooper is considered an elite athlete at the position and falls in the “best player available” category.
8. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
I’ll admit falling victim to the rumors here. But the Bills need a quarterback, and most have Nassib among the top-three prospects at the position. It feels like a reach, but it makes sense for his college coach, Doug Marrone, to take a chance on him in the pros.
9. New York Jets – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I know there’s talk of him taking a major plunge, but I just don’t see it. The Jets have two picks in the top-13 and have a chance to take quite possibly the best QB prospect in the draft here. I know Marty Mornhinweg takes a lot of heat, but I actually think he knows what he’s doing.
10. Tennessee Titans – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
He’s in the conversation as potentially the best defensive lineman in the draft. Richardson fits well as a 3-technique (4-3 defensive tackle) and provides some versatility up front.
11. Cleveland Browns (TRADE with San Diego Chargers) – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
He’s a big-time wild card. But the Browns actually have some talent on their roster, and Austin could give their offense another dimension. To be honest, it would not shock me if they stayed at No. 6 and took Austin, but if he’s still on the board at No. 11, I think he’s the pick.
12. Oakland Raiders (TRADE with Miami Dolphins) – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
There are not a lot of strengths on the Raiders’ roster so they definitely go with best player available, which happens to be Lotulelei. He provides a strong, disruptive force at defensive tackle for Oakland.
13, New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
There’s been quite a bit of buzz about him going sooner, and that very well could be the case. Or the Jets could choose to take Mingo with the No. 9 pick. In Mingo, Rex Ryan gets a versatile outside linebacker, who could eventually become one of the better pass-rushers from this draft.
14. Carolina Panthers – Tank Carradine, DE, FSU
Roseman said last week that there are not a lot of pass-rushers in this draft, so expect them to go high. Carradine is my first-round surprise. He has been a bit under-the-radar since he tore his ACL in November, but many consider him among the top pass-rushing prospects available. He and Luke Kuechly give Sean McDermott a couple of nice young pieces on defense.
15. New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Fascinating prospect. Played in the SEC and led the nation in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles. Yet he doesn’t have the measurables and has the spinal stenosis issue. Jones’ stock will tell us a lot about what teams think about his medical, and how they weigh tape vs. testing. The Saints are switching to a 3-4 and get a productive edge-rusher at No. 15.
16. St. Louis Rams – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Rams have a pair of first-round picks at 16 and 22. St. Louis added Jake Long in free agency and continues the offensive line upgrade with one of the draft’s cleanest prospects.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Back-to-back Alabama players off the board. The Steelers could use an infusion of youth and talent in the secondary. I think concerns over Milliner’s injuries were overblown. He suffered the torn labrum during last season and still played in the final four games, while managing to participate at the Combine. He’ll be a nice pick-up for the Steelers here.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Kenny Vaccaro, CB, Texas
They focused on upgrading at cornerback last offseason and continue beefing up the secondary with the addition of Vaccaro, who is thought of by many as the draft’s top safety.
19. New York Giants – D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
Doesn’t it seem like the Giants always could use a corner? Hayden nearly lost his life after a collision during practice last November, but it sounds like he’s ready to continue his career in the NFL. Mike Mayock and Greg Cosell both have him rated as their top corner prospect, ahead of Milliner.
20. Chicago Bears – D.J. Fluker, OL, Alabama
Have back-to-back D.J.’s ever been selected in the draft? Someone get Elias Sports Bureau on the phone. The Bears added some pieces on the offensive line in free agency. They continue the upgrade and get a right tackle here in Fluker.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
This one just makes too much sense. The Bengals have shown pre-draft interest in Cyprien, and they need safety help. Some analysts believe he’ll end up being better than Vaccaro when all is said and done.
22. St. Louis Rams – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Rams’ philosophy here has to be giving Sam Bradford the best chance for success. They upgraded the offensive line with the earlier pick and get a pass-catcher here in Patterson. He’s considered a bit raw, but has a unique blend of size (6-2) and speed (4.42).
23. Minnesota Vikings – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
They are another team with two first-round picks. The Vikings have to compete with Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler six times a year. Upgrading the secondary makes sense, especially given the strong group of corners available. Rhodes (6-1, 210) ran a 4.43 at the Combine and should be able to come in and start right away.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse
The Council Rock South product sneaks into the first round. He played tackle in college and could get a look there in the pros, or he could make the switch to guard. Protecting Andrew Luck is Indy’s No. 1 priority.
25. Minnesota Vikings – Bjoern Werner, OL, Florida State
Doesn’t bring a lot of versatility to the table, and many believe his teammate, Carradine, has more upside. But the Vikings need to add pieces up front for the future, and Werner fits the bill as a 4-3 defensive end.
26. Green Bay Packers – Datone Jones, DL, UCLA
The Packers are in need of defensive linemen, and Jones is a productive 5-technique with good size (6-4, 283).
27. Houston Texans – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
I had a tough time figuring out where to mock Eifert, and he very well could go higher. At 6-6, with 4.68 speed and a 35.5-inch vertical, he’ll be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and give Matt Schaub another weapon to work with.
28. Denver Broncos – Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
If a team really likes EJ Manuel, this could be a spot to trade back into the first round. The Broncos signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a one-year deal, but assuming they stay put, they take advantage of a strong corner class.
29. New England Patriots – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
They lost Wes Welker, but added Danny Amendola in free agency. Allen gives Tom Brady another weapon. And unlike some of the other receivers in the class, he should be a “plug-and-play” prospect.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
They could be interested in moving up for a top-level corner, but Trufant was a four-year starter and ran a 4.38 at the Combine. The Falcons know they’re close. He should be able to come in and contribute right away.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
They lost Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois in free agency. The 49ers add the 6-3, 313-pound defensive lineman, who can line up in multiple spots along the front.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The Ravens aren’t afraid of talented linebackers with off-the-field issues, are they? Ogletree fills a need and is good value at the end of the first round.
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