This is the my final mock draft before the NFL Draft, and it is important to note that this is a no trades mock draft. Obviously not every team will be keeping their picks and there are plenty of teams that are candidates to move around.
I don’t have a quarterback going in the first round, but you can guarantee that a team at the top of the second round will trade up to get one, or a team will trade down to acquire one. Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib are the only possible two quarterbacks that would be picked in the 1st round with their likely destinations being Philadelphia, Jacksonville, New York Jets (Smith) and Buffalo (Nassib). The Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers are the other top candidates to move around at this point.
The NFL Draft is unpredictable and that’s what we love about it, here’s my take on how it could shake out.
1. Kansas City Chiefs- Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M
Nothing changing at the top for the moment. Branden Albert did sign his franchise tender but he has been mentioned in trade talks and could be moved during the draft. Albert doesn’t want to play right tackle and the Chiefs are apparently looking for only a 2nd round pick. As of right now, Joeckel is still the most-likely person to end up in Kansas City but it wouldn’t shock me if Eric Fisher was taken 1st overall. I think Fisher is the best player in the draft.
Actual: Eric Fisher
2. Jacksonville Jaguars- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been putting out smokescreens this week that they are interested in drafting a left tackle, but I just don’t see it happening. They have Eugene Monroe at left tackle and a desperate need for a pass rush. Last year they had fewer sacks than J.J. Watt; it’s time to get a defensive end.
Actual: Luke Joeckel
3. Oakland Raiders- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Like the Jacksonville Jaguars, the talk this past week has been that the Raiders are interested in a left tackle. It’s a definite possibility, but after letting Richard Seymour walk in free agency, they need a new anchor in the middle of the defense. Without a solid defensive tackle, they will get absolutely shredded in the run game. That being said, it wouldn’t shock me if the Raiders took Eric Fisher or traded back to get a 2nd round pick that they don’t have.
4. Philadelphia Eagles- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Philadelphia Eagles had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last year, and if they are going to protect Michael Vick and move the ball on offense, they need to fix that. They also desperately need help at the cornerback position and all they have right now is Cary Williams. Drafting Dee Milliner would be a massive help and give them a good young secondary. Lane Johnson and Eric Fisher are also possibilities here, especially with Lane Johnson’s athleticism.
5. Detroit Lions- Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan
The Lions have plenty of needs at cornerback and defensive end, but with the retirement of Jeff Backus, they need to shore up their offensive line. They have lost a total of three starting offensive lineman this offseason and they do not have the talent to replace them all internally. Eric Fisher is the hometown boy and a natural fit. If Fisher is unavailable, the Lions will target Ziggy Ansah, Lane Johnson or trade back.
6. Cleveland Browns- Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
They have too many needs to worry about quarterback at the moment, especially with this weak of a class. Ansah is a project and needs more experience, but so does the entire Browns team. The Browns are in serious rebuilding mode and they can give Ansah plenty of playing time while they reconstruct their roster.
7. Arizona Cardinals- Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma
After trading for Carson Palmer the Cardinals won’t take Geno Smith in the first round, at least not with how awful their offensive line is. They could get a quarterback at the top of the 2nd round and Lane Johnson would give them the franchise left tackle that they so desperately need.
8. Buffalo Bills- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The talk is that the Bills want Ryan Nassib and it’s a logical fit because his Syracuse head coach, Doug Marrone, is now the head coach of the Bills. Taking Nassib 8th overall is far too high, so they will either try to trade down in the first and take him or wait until the second round. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for them to reach and get the guy they want, but they have a need at offensive line that Warmack would fill beautifully.
9. New York Jets- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Jets franchise is in shambles at the moment. They just traded their best player, Darrelle Revis, they don’t have a quarterback and they have cut some key defensive players this offseason. Drafting Mingo would give them a DE/OLB that could replace Bart Scott in the 3-4 as a pass rusher.
10. Tennessee Titans- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Jonathan Cooper is a mammoth of an offensive guard and he would go great with Andy Levitre, Michael Roos and David Stewart on the Titans offensive line. This elite offensive line would give Chris Johnson plenty of holes to run through and give Jake Locker plenty of time to throw the ball.
11. San Diego Chargers- DJ Fluker, RT, Alabama
If the draft plays out like this, the Chargers will pretty much freak out and so will their fans. With the five best lineman off the board the Chargers would likely trade out of this spot. If they couldn’t, they would likely reach to help fill the hole that they need on the offensive line. Fluker wouldn’t be a huge reach at this spot, but it’s always tough to take a player when you think you can get him 5-6 spots later and add a draft pick.
12. Miami Dolphins- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
After getting a clean bill of health and having a very solid workout back at his Pro Day, his stock is back on the rise. There will still be some questions as to how a virus could bring those readings on a test, but Lotulelei can play. The Dolphins got their quarterback a new toy in Mike Wallace and helped improve their linebacking core, but now they need to help the defensive line out. They would love for an offensive tackle to fall here to put on the right side of the line, but there isn’t one that is worth taking this high.
13. New York Jets- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Geno Smith could end up being the pick here, but they need some serious help on their defense. I’m not sold on Kyle Wilson starting opposite Antonio Cromartie, and Xavier Rhodes could provide support to the secondary that just traded away Darrelle Revis. Brace yourselves Jets fans, it’s going to be a rough year.
14. Carolina Panthers- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers need help on the defensive line and Richardson is the best defensive tackle on the board at this point. Richardson would be a beast in the middle that would help Charles Johnson rush the passer better and allow their secondary to not have as much pressure on them. They had a lot of defensive players injured last year (Jon Beason, Chris Gamble) and adding them back plus Richardson would help them out greatly.
15. New Orleans Saints- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Saints need a pass rusher and with them switching to a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Jarvis Jones would help them out greatly. He’s going to be a great edge pass rusher in the NFL and will help the defense get pressure on the quarterback.
16. St. Louis Rams- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
After signing Jake Long they shored up most of their offensive line, but there is talk that Roger Saffold could ask for a trade because he doesn’t want to move to right tackle. Since that hasn’t happened yet, it is time to get their quarterback Sam Bradford some toys to use and Tavon Austin would be a nice replacement for Danny Amendola who they lost to the Patriots. Austin could be gone by the time the Rams make their first pick, so safety Kenny Vaccaro could be the go-to choice.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers- Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Moore has struggled through the draft process, but with an aging linebacker core, the Steelers will take the best pass rusher left on the board and be happy for his poor Combine performance (4.95 40–yard dash & 12 reps on bench). Moore doesn’t have elite speed or strength, but pair him with Lamarr Woodley and that shouldn’t be an issue.
18. Dallas Cowboys- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Cowboys are in dire need of a safety to help out their solid group of corners and Vaccaro is by far the best safety in this draft. Put Vaccaro in with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr and their secondary is looking very good and quite young.
19. New York Giants- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Giants have some needs at defensive end with the loss of Osi Umenyiora and Bjoern Werner can help with that. Werner is a polished pass rusher that would greatly help out the Giants defense with Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka, who is moving back to defensive end. I wouldn’t rule out the Giants taking a linebacker here though, and Arthur Brown would be another great fit.
20. Chicago Bears- Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
The Bears signed D.J. Williams to replace Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker, but he won’t be the long-term replacement. Brown would be a solid replacement to put next to Lance Briggs and would get some much needed guidance from Briggs. Brown is also versatile enough to help out at outside linebacker, so him and D.J. Williams could play at the same time.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Jonathan Cyprien, S, FIU
The Bengals have a major need at safety and Jonathan Cyprien is ready to play from week 1. The Bengals could also take a look at Alec Ogletree because they are in need of some help at linebacker. Definitely expect the Bengals to go defensively with their first pick in the Draft.
22. St. Louis Rams- Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Eddie Lacy is the best runningback in this draft and the Rams need some massive help after losing Steven Jackson. With all of the best offensive lineman gone, they’ll wait to upgrade the offensive line until the second round.
23. Minnesota Vikings- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
After trading Percy Harvin, the Vikings are in need of a #1 receiver and Patterson is the best available receiver at this point. This should be a virtual no-brainer for Minnesota. Patterson can return kicks and punts and would be a solid replacement for Harvin, though he needs to develop more.
24. Indianapolis Colts- Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, FSU
The Colts releasing Dwight Freeney means they are in the market for some pass rushing help. Carradine is coming off a torn ACL but his athleticism would allow him to stand up in a 3-4 and be a pass rushing specialist for a year while he works on his coverage skills. The Colts have shored up a lot of need positions through free agency but still need help on the defensive side of the ball.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)- Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The Vikings could consider drafting DeAndre Hopkins here to get another wide receiver, but it’s tough to justify drafting two wide receivers in the first round, especially one that is this deep at the receiver position. That’s not to say that it couldn’t happen, it’s just highly unlikely. And yes, by saying this I am unimpressed with the Vikings signing Greg Jennings. Meanwhile, Minter would be a great addition to their linebacking core and would be able to play immediately.
26. Green Bay Packers- Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Green Bay Packers need some help in the secondary with the loss of Charles Woodson and Matt Elam would be a solid fit. I think if the draft plays out like this, that the Packers would trade out with a team at the top of the second round who wants to snag Geno Smith or perhaps the Bills so they could grab Ryan Nassib. Either way, Elam helps them out and provides a safety that can help with run support.
27. Houston Texans- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Texans would be ecstatic if Hopkins fell to them at No.27. They badly need a solid #2 wide receiver to pair with Andre Johnson and Hopkins might have the most reliable hands in the draft. He’s not gonna be a speed demon, but a reliable #2 option he will be.
28. Denver Broncos- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Alec Ogletree was great during the Combine, he just needs to get his off the field issues under control. I’m guessing that with Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey in the locker room that this would not be an issue. After the Elvis Dumervil fiasco and releasing D.J. Williams, the Broncos are in serious need of linebackers and Ogletree would replace Williams in the middle.
29. New England Patriots- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The 29th ranked pass defense is in huge need of help and Trufant will bring some elite speed to the back end. It’s not a certainty that the Patriots will re-sign Aqib Talib, and so Trufant makes sense here.
30. Atlanta Falcons- Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
By adding Osi Umenyiora to replace John Abraham, the Falcons need to add some beef in the middle to help out their run defense and pass rush. Sylvester Williams would be a great pick at this position, especially if all the top cornerbacks are gone. Though, don’t rule out on them trading down or reaching on a cornerback with their first pick to replace Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes.
31. San Francisco 49ers- Margus Hunt, DE/DT, SMU
With 15 picks in the draft and an already very solid young team, the San Francisco have the luxury of reaching on a player that is raw, but a physical freak. Hunt blew the doors of the Combine and would be an absolute force on the 49ers front seven. With the amount of talent they have, Hunt can take his time developing, and won’t be exposed.
32. Baltimore Ravens- Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Picking Datone Jones would allow Haloti Ngata to move back to his natural position at nose tackle. I also think that Jones could stand up and provide some pass rush at outside linebacker in the 3-4, but most certainly couldn’t play every down there. They also need some help at linebacker with Rolando McClain getting arrested again, so Manti Te’o is a possibility despite John Harbaugh’s reaction to his 40 time.