mock-draftWith the Super Bowl in just a few days, the NFL season is almost over. In the offseason what is the one event that demands tons of attention and projections? The Draft! With all its pageantry and hype, it’s a unique event in the sports world. Just like last year, I’m here to offer my mock draft and do my best Todd McShay/Mel Kiper impression. This version is just the 1st round and will expand later on. One thing to keep in mind is that I’ve based picks on team needs right now. Obviously changes will happen as free agency occurs and certain prospects rise up due to workout performances, so they’ll taken into account in further updates.

1) Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
New regimes usually mean new quarterbacks and this won’t be any different. When Andy Reid took over the Eagles, he passed over other options to draft a mobile signal caller with upside who played in the Big East. Well, history does tend to repeat itself. People will say that Smith, nor any other QB, is worthy of the #1 pick, but remember two years ago when Cam Newton shot up draft boards? There is a lot of time, with the Combine and Pro Days, for that to happen. As it stands, Smith is the most likely to be that guy. Plus, the Chiefs cannot go with the Cassel-Quinn-Stanzi triumvirate any longer.

2) Jacksonville Jaguars – Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Unless something radically changes, the Jags won’t see a QB that’s worth taking here, so they’ll turn to improving their abysmal pass rush that netted them the fewest sacks in the league. This is an area they must address at some point during the offseason because their internal options are underwhelming at best. Enter Moore, who led the nation in sacks and has played at a consistently high level during his career in College Station. He played OLB earlier in that career, but DE is his future position, where he can use his strength and burst to get into opposing backfields.

3) Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
There is not a position on defense that Da Raiduhs need help at, so this pick could go several ways. However, with several free agents at DT, Lotulelei will be the pick here. He possess a rare combination of size, power, speed and explosiveness that doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet. He’s extremely disruptive, with the ability to burst through into the backfield and command double teams constantly, even beating them on occasion. Putting him in the middle of the Raider D-line can only help.

4) Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
What happens with this pick depends largely on what Chipples does between now and the draft. However, the Eagles must address their offensive line as Jason Peters is injured, Demetress Bell was a bad signing and King Dunlap simply can’t get it done. Fortunately Joeckel is there for the taking. He’s equally adept at blocking for both the run and the pass with the athletic moves to stifle edge rushers, particularly as he showed against LSU. He could even go #1 if Reid signs a veteran QB in free agency.

5) Detroit Lions – Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
The Lions will picking the best player on the board and here it also happens to fill a big need. Kyle Vanden Bosch likely won’t be back next season and Cliff Avril wasn’t very good. Werner can start from Day 1 and his relentless motor will help Detroit’s pass rush. He started the season off hot before cooling down and ramping it back up at the end, particularly against Florida. He pushes offensive linemen around with authority and could rack up the sacks early in his pro career.

6) Cleveland Browns – Barkevious Mingo , DE/OLB, LSU
Besides a starting QB that isn’t an AARP member, the Browns need a pass rusher opposite Jabaal Sheard and better OLB play, so Mingo could fill both needs.  Though mostly a DE in college, he doesn’t have the strength to be one at the pro level. However, his speed rushing skills will translate well to outside linebacker where he can follow the initial push into the opponent’s backfield. The possibility of him rushing in right behind Sheard will be extremely enticing for the Browns.

7) Arizona Cardinals – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Cards have been plagued by poor offensive line play since time immemorial and what they’ve done in the past hasn’t seemed to help. That could change with the selection of Fisher. He was an unknown at the beginning of the season, but as he continued to dominate the opposition, his stock has risen. He’s versatile, having played tackle and guard in the past, but his calling card is his quickness. He has the footwork to anchor himself to fend off rushers in passing situations and push downfield quickly in running plays.

8) Buffalo Bills – Mike Glennon, QB, N.C. State
The first big reach of the draft. Glennon rates as a fringe 1st rounder, but we’ve seen guys like Gabbert and Ponder rise into the first. Bills GM Buddy Nix has made it clear he wants to draft a QB and being desperate to keep his job, he’ll take a huge gamble on someone not worthy of this slot. This could turn out to be Barkley or Wilson eventually, depending on workouts, but for now it’s Glennon.  

Ansah has loads of potential and is rising up draft boards after wowing at the Senior Bowl

Ansah has loads of potential and is rising up draft boards after wowing at the Senior Bowl

9) New York Jets – Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
Until the Jets’ brass realizes that Mark Sanchez is not even a decent QB, then they’ll turn their attention to other needs. One of those is a pass rushing LB and Ansah is definitely that guy. Some might be surprised to see him this high, but he blew up the Senior Bowl and will blow up the Combine. His potential is off the charts and while he is raw, the Jets might the team that buys into the hype.

10) Tennessee Titans – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Titans wanted to draft a corner in the first round last year, but one did not fall to them. They’ll have more luck this year with Milliner. He is the top cover corner in the draft with great instincts and an eye for breaking up passes as well as big plays in big games. The Titan pass defense was horrible last year and while safety is arguably a bigger need, one would be a reach at this point and Milliner is just too good to pass up. The team can address the safety position later or in free agency.

11) San Diego Chargers – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
This pick has to be an offensive lineman because Philip Rivers appears to be regressing, though it’s hard to tell with him getting sack-blitzed into oblivion half the time behind a horrendous front line. Guards seldom go in the Top 15, let alone the Top 10 but Warmack could do just that since he’s such a tremendous talent. He’s a dominant blocker who showed it time and time again last season. The tape doesn’t lie and he could even go as high as #7 to Arizona, he’s that special.

12) Miami Dolphins – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
The Fins focus this offseason should be on helping Ryan Tannehill and a priority should be getting him a weapon in the passing game. The WR class is a bit muddled with no clear cut choice for first off the board, but Allen could be that guy. He is the total package as a receiver as he can use his size and strength to run short or medium routes and his speed to stretch the field. He has a second gear to beat defenders and is not afraid to take big hits to make the catch. He’ll be Tannehill’s new best friend.

13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Bucs apparently disliked Morris Claiborne so much last year that they traded down and took S Mark Barron instead. They’ll rectify that mistake this time around and get some help for their beleaguered CB corps and worst ranked pass defense. They’ll turn to the underrated Banks, who’s quietly performed very well in the SEC. He’s played ever since he got to Mississippi State and has been one of their stalwarts on defense. Considering the Bucs might need two corners, they can’t afford to pass drafting one at this spot.

14) Carolina Panthers – Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
DT is Carolina’s biggest need and since they might need two and the position’s class is fairly deep they could look to trade down since they don’t have a 3rd rounder. Hankins caused all sorts of problems for teams trying to defend him this season, with the game against Cal being a prime example. Not only can he stuff the run while handling double teams, but can make tackles outside the box. It’s highly likely he won’t be the only DT drafted by the Panthers.

15) New Orleans Saints – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Saints need to use this pick to grab the best defensive lineman, regardless if it’s a tackle or end as both positions must be improved. Fortunately for them, Sheldon Richardson can fulfill both roles in their 4-3 defense, playing end on running downs and moving inside for pass plays. He has elite speed and athleticism that he uses to get around blockers. He’ll be a huge boost to a D-line that needs a lot of help.

16) St Louis Rams – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Protecting Sam Bradford should be a priority for the Rams one of their 2 1st rounders must be used on the offensive line. Johnson is a mammoth tackle who uses his strength to occupy defenders. He gets set quickly off the snap and has been rising up draft boards due to his impressive Senior Bowl week. He could slot in on either side for Bradford and help to keep him off his back.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
With the belief that James Harrison might not be back, the Steelers will focus on the outside linebacker position in the offseason. Red flags are emerging about Jones’ his spinal condition and that he may not test well at the Combine. However, the Steelers are smart and will snatch up the plummeting Jones, adding his dynamite pass rush skills to their defense.

18) Dallas Cowboys – Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
The ‘Boys biggest need is on the interior offensive line and Jonathan Cooper would be perfect here. However, this is Jerry Jones we’re talking about, so of course he won’t do that. They’ll fill a secondary need in DE by taking Montgomery. The LSU product brings proven high-motor and pass rushing skills that wouldn’t look bad at all opposite DeMarcus Ware in Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme.

19) New York Giants – Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
GM Jerry Reese loves to draft pass rushers and he may get to do so with Osi Umenyiora a free agent and Justin Tuck having a down year. The position is critical for their defense and has provided a large part of the team’s identity. Jordan could be an excellent pick here, as he could be Top 10 if he hadn’t suffered a torn labrum. He’s a bit raw, but has loads of athleticism.

20) Chicago Bears – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Though the Brian Urlacher era is coming to a close and a replacement should be found, the offensive line needs to be addressed. Cooper is rising up draft boards and could cement his first round status with a big Combine. Though he’s a bit undersized for the position, he has the quickness to be a great blocker. Matt Forte will appreciate his talent just like Giovanni Bernard did at UNC.

By the time the draft rolls around, Te's' skill on the field will be talked about more thne the hoax

By the time the draft rolls around, Te’s’ skill on the field will be talked about more then the hoax

21) Cincinnati Bengals – Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
While Te’o could end up not sliding this far down, the uncertainty around him now has yet to disappear, which will make teams cautious. Not the Bengals, who have never been shy about controversial players. Te’o also happens to fill a need as Rey Maualuga was pretty terrible at ILB. Once he gets to the combine, Te’o will show everyone why he was a Heisman finalist and will move back up draft boards.

22) St Louis Rams(from Washington) – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Rams have some talented corners to help out the pass defense, but a safety would make it even better. Enter Vaccaro who is undoubtedly the top safety in this draft. He has great range that he uses in pass coverage and coming to help against the run, the latter which is important in a division with the Niners and Seahawks. They also need to get protection for Sam Bradford, but have another 1st round pick to handle that.

23) Minneosta Vikings – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Like Bradford, Christian Ponder could use another weapon in the passing game, more so if Percy Harvin does not come back next year. Patterson has just one year of experience at the FBS level after two in the JUCO ranks, but has a skill set that translates well. He has the hands to go up and catch jump balls with the speed to beat defenders.

24) Indianpolis Colts – DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
As great of a season as Luck had, he was getting hit left and right, so protecting him is of the highest importance for the Colts. Fluker profiles more as a right tackle, which fits Indy since they have Anthony Costanzo on the left side. He has the size and strength to literally overwhelm defenders, but does need to improve against speed rushers off the edge.

25) Seattle Seahawks – John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
As good as the Seahwks’s defense was last season, it could be even better if they had an interior defensive lineman who could occupy blockers and even attack the pocket. Enter Jenkins who is a mammoth beast at defensive tackle. He can play a little uneven at times, but his upside as a disruptive interior force far outweighs those concerns.

26) Green Bay Packers – Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
While the Packers have a tight end who can cause matchup problems in Jermichael Finley, but his future is in doubt. They might use this pick on an athletic pass catcher from the same position in Zach Ertz, who has shown the ability to make tough catches all over the field. He would be yet another target for Aaron Rodgers, adding another weapon to an already potent offense.

27) Houston Texans – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
The Texans have been looking for a solid #2 behind Andre Johnson for what seems like forever, but could find it in Hopkins. He was overshadowed at the start of the season by Sammy Watkins, but quickly reminded everyone of his talent. He can create space with defenders or simply blow by them. His knack for big plays will be a boon for Matt Schaub.

28) Denver Broncos – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
It seems like every year, people wonder when Champ Bailey is going to show his age, but he keeps performing. Nevertheless, the position could use some depth. Rhodes is one of the top corners in the draft with the strength to battle at the line and a nose for closing in quickly for the tackle. Plus learning from Bailey will definitely pay dividends.

29) New England Patriots – Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Pats pass defense improved last season with the addition of Aqib Talib and the emergence of rookie Alfonzo Dennard, but safety Patrick Chung hasn’t ever quite lived up to his talent and could be let go. That would necessitate the need for a replacement, which is where Reid comes in. His stock may have slipped a bit, but his athleticism and play-making ability will entice New England.

30) Atlanta Falcons – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
It looks like future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez is going to retire, in which case his replacement will need to be found, which is where Eifert comes in. He’s a wide receiver in a tight end’s body who can win the physical battles to get open and catch passes even if defenders are right on him. He’s part of the new-breed at the position and yet another weapon for Matt Ryan.

31) Baltimore Ravens – Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Ray Lewis has a chance to go out on top in the Super Bowl, but afterwards the Ravens will look for his replacement and find him in Ogletree. He is a sideline-to-sideline player who hits hard and has good speed just like Lewis. Plus he’s a converted safety with good coverage skills. Ogletree’s performance in the SEC title game was a huge statement and he’ll have big shoes to fill in Baltimore.

32) San Francisco 49ers – Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
The Niner defense is fantastic but needs to keep adding players with some getting older, such as Justin Smith. A perfect successor would be Hunt, who will impress at workouts. He possesses a blend of elite power and speed as he is a former decathlete. The native Estonian is a bit raw and didn’t play football until coming to SMU, but his upside is tremendous. Anyone who watched him in the Hawaii Bowl would know.