I was racking my brain over who to mock here, but the decision is much easier now that Andy Reid is aboard. The Chiefs will probably move back to the 4-3, meaning recent picks of guys like Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey have become worthless. Though you could say they were already worthless. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston could move to defensive end and form one of the best pass rushing duo's in the NFL. Dontari Poe had a nice rookie campaign and looks like a fixture as a run stuffer in the middle. That leaves one spot for Star Lotulelei. He is a great all around tackle, adept at stopping the run but agile enough to get to the quarterback. We all know Reid likes to begin building through his lines. He spent about 494 first round draft picks on lineman during his time with the Eagles. I like Lotulelei as a prospect better then Luke Joeckel, so he is the pick. But it could be any number of guys, including a quarterback. It will be interesting to see who emerges once the draft gets closer.
General Manager Gene Smith's reign of terror in Jacksonville is finally over. Terrible draft reaches like Tyson Alualu and Blaine Gabbert and free agent busts have left this roster in dire straits. I would go so far as to say this is the least talented roster in the NFL. Jacksonville should really spend every draft choice taking the best player available other then linebacker and running back. One of Jacksonville's main problems for at least the past decade has been finding a guy who can consistently get to the quarterback. The German born Werner was a terror as a junior at Florida State, and the scary thing is he is still just tapping his potential. He would be a great gamble for a Jacksonville team that needs something to go right.
You need a position, the Raiders need help there. Massive turnover in the front office and coaching staff, as well as near sighted trades robbing the team of crucial draft picks, has left this roster in crippling shape. One guy is not going to turn around things, but you have to start somewhere. The Raiders failed at pretty much everything in 2012, and getting to the quarterback was one of their biggest problems. There is no true pass rusher on the line, Damontre Moore would be a big help. His transition to end this season was flawless, and he was a terror to opposing quarterbacks all year. He has the frame to get up to about 270 pounds without losing his quickness, and would be a welcome addition to a Raiders roster that needs talent desperately.
Andy Reid may be gone, but whoever is in charge next in Philadelphia needs to adopt the same philosophy. Build this team from the inside out, especially the offensive line. Terrible line play was the main reason for the team's failures in 2012. Joeckel looks like the best tackle in this class, though I am not sure he is on the level of someone like Joe Thomas or Matt Kalil. Best case scenario, Jason Peters comes back strong and gives the Eagles one of the best tackle duo's in the NFL.
It is no secret that the Lions have needed help in the secondary for years. I do not think Milliner is the same type of prospect as Patrick Peterson or Morris Claiborne, but he is the most talented secondary player in this class, and would fill a huge need for Detroit.
If Chip Kelly winds up in Cleveland he will most likely want a new quarterback, as 30 year old project Brandon Weeden is the worst fit possible for his scheme. Smith faded down the stretch in 2012 but I think he is the only quarterback who is a first round lock at this point. He has good mobility and a strong arm. Cleveland does not have their second round pick, so if they want to land their quarterback of the future, they will have to reach here.
Update: It appears the loser franchise Cleveland Browns have failed once again and will not close the deal with Chip Kelly. I still think quarterback is a prime need, as Brandon Weeden had a terrible season and does not look like a starting quarterback in the NFL.
It does not matter who the Cardinals put behind center if the offensive line continues to struggle so badly. Lewan did a pretty good job against the best player in college football, JaDeveon Clowney, during Michigan's bowl game and has the prototypical size and talent you look for in your starting left tackle. An added bonus, I suppose, is that Lewan is an Arizona native.
Now that Chan Gailey is gone, Buffalo can finally end the terrible Ryan Fitzpatrick era. Unfortunately for them, there is no one in this draft who is a can't miss quarterback prospect. I could see Glennon or Tyler Wilson here. Both are big with the strong arm necessary to succeed in the cold Buffalo winds. However, both players were so up and down this year, it all depends on how workouts go. We have seen surprises in the first round before with quarterbacks, and I don't expect anything different this year. Tajh Boyd is another name to remember here.
The Jets would love to upgrade their offense, but this is a defensive draft and you have to make the best of your picks. Jones is quite a value here. Teams might be scared of his medical issues and lack of strength, but you can't deny his play making ability. He would be a great fit for a Jets 3-4 that needs some excitement. If his spinal stenosis issues check out, I think he has a great shot at being the first overall pick.
The Titans have been looking for a difference making defensive tackle since Albert Haynesworth took his money and waddled to Washington. Richardson is a nice all around tackle, good against the run but also able to get to the quarterback.
Fisher dominated mid major college football and has the size and skills you look for in a left tackle. He has been successful when matched up against teams like Michigan St. I think he could push to be a top ten pick, especially with the way the passing game has taken over. Now that GM AJ Smith is gone, the Chargers might actually address a problem that has been around since Marcus McNeil's career was cut short by injuries.
I think Allen is the best receiver in this class, even though DeAndre Hopkins could push him. He does not have elite speed but catches everything thrown his way and is very strong. He had a down junior year ended by a non threatening injury, but a lot of his lack of success has a lot to do with bad offensive play, especially at the quarterback position. The Dolphins are going to do whatever they can to add talent at the wideout position. If they don't land a free agent like Greg Jennings or Mike Wallace, expect them to take a receiver here.
Ansah, a Ghana native, has only been playing football for a few years but is a physical freak. He stands at 6'6, is a former track and soccer athlete, and will most likely wow scouts during the pre draft process. Everyone is looking for the next Jason Pierre-Paul, and Ansah definitely looks the part. The Bucs need to find talent on the defensive side of the ball, at all positions.
The Panthers have been poor at stopping the run for years. They have spent plenty of middle round picks to try to address the position, with little results. Hankins has had an up and down junior season, but has great size and is very good against the run.
Most college fans have heard of Manti Te'o, but not Alec Ogletree. If I was drafting a play making linebacker, Ogletree would be my choice. He is a big time athlete who notched over 110 tackles despite missing the first four games of the season. Once the combines roll around I think he could shoot past Te'o and in to the top ten. The Saints have been revamping their linebacking group and would love to add Ogletree, who can play any of the three spots.
Matthews might be returning to Texas A&M for his senior season, where he could showcase his talent as a left tackle and shoot into the top ten. If he declares, I think he is still a solid first round choice. It is no secret that the Rams need to fix their offensive line, and they have multiple picks to address the situation.
Te'o slips, but he falls into a perfect situation in Pittsburgh. I don't think Te'o has the athleticism to be a top five pick like a lot of mocks have him, but he is a leader, a winner and a solid, three down linebacker. He should be a fan favorite in Pittsburgh for the next ten years.
The NFL is a copy cat league. JJ Watt has shown that a 3-4 defensive end can be more then just a run stopping space eater. The Cowboys almost went with Watt a couple years ago before ultimately settling on Tyron Smith. Hunt is a physical monster, standing at 6'8, and showed how dominant he can be during SMU's bowl game win, notching two sacks and two forced fumbles. Hunt was born in the USSR, grew up in Estonia and found his way to the states. Like Werner and Ansah, he excelled at other sports before finding football. He is a name you should remember, as he could be a top ten pick by the time the draft rolls around.
Another pick, another physically gifted defensive end. Jordan sits at 6'6, 245 with amazing speed off the edge. Jordan played a lot of linebacker with the Ducks so he has good coverage skills as well, and could play either position in the NFL. The Giants are going to lose Osi Uminyora and would like to keep their deep defensive line rotation intact. Jordan would be most successful as a third down specialist who could use his speed to get to the quarterback. He could be another Jason Taylor.
The Bears excuse for canning Lovie Smith was problems with the offense, so they almost have to use picks to address that side of the ball. I do not know why Hopkins is not getting enough love. I would easily draft him over someone like Justin Hunter right now. Hopkins was one of the best deep threats in college football, and was basically unstoppable. He capped off a tremendous season with a monster bowl game where he hauled in 13 receptions for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns. He would provide a great deep threat opposite Brandon Marshall.
The Bengals love to attack the SEC with their first round draft picks. I think they should continue to invest into improving their offense. AJ Green is already one of the five best receivers in the NFL, but imagine if he had a legit number two playing across from him. Patterson has the look of a number one receiver in this league, but he is still pretty raw, having only played one year of major college football. He will probably be a work in progress, but the talent could be too much to ignore at this point.
Rams fans might not want to see them use both first round picks on offensive lineman, but Warmack is simply too good to pass up here. Pound for pound, he may be the best player in the draft, but guards fall, like David DeCastro last year. Warmack might be even better though, and would instantly solidify the interior of the Rams line.
Ray Lewis is finally hanging up his cleats after nearly two decades as Baltimore's middle linebacker. That leaves a hole. Baltimore usually addresses specific needs with their late first round picks. Minter was probably LSU's best defensive player this year and should be a solid, although unspectacular, middle linebacker at the next level.
The Vikings defense was at it's best when they had the Williams Wall plugging up the middle. Williams Wall v 2.0 will feature aging Kevin and mammoth Jesse. Williams has been rumored to bench press 600 pounds and is a monster of a man, with surprising agility for a man his size.
The Colts focused on offense during the 2012 draft and have a playoff appearance to show for it. The team really needs to find players who fit their 3-4 defense, and that starts in the middle. Jenkins is a 360 pound MAC Truck who will really plug up the middle.
The Seahawks are a deep, young and talented team who can simply draft the best player available here. Alan Branch and Brandon Mebane are two good run stuffing tackles, and Short will compliment them with his ability to get to the quarterback.
The Packers need to continue to add talent to the defensive side of the ball. Vaccaro is currently the best safety in this class and one of the only things to go right with Texas defense in 2012. Morgan Burnett is a star in the making at one safety spot, but Charles Woodson is aging on the other, and Vaccaro will be a fine replacement in a year or two.
Mingo was touted as a top five talent all year, but the production was never there. I think he is still very much a project, but at this point in the draft, the talent is too good to pass up. He can be a part of a deep pass rushing rotation in Houston until he builds up his strength and learns the game.
Like Mingo, Montgomery was touted as a top ten pick coming into the season, but just didn't dominate as expected. He has classic 4-3 end size and should be a solid starter at end. He would be part of a rotation at end for New England and is great value here.
Bernard is not an elite talent but he reminds me a bit of Doug Martin, who was taken in the same spot last year. He is short, compact but quick and a very good receiver out of the backfield. The Falcons offense would be that much more lethal if they replace old, slow, plodding Michael Turner with a dual threat like Bernard.
What a season Peyton Manning had. The Broncos have a Super Bowl caliber roster, but they do have holes. A defensive tackle or cornerback would be a good choice here, but giving Manning a legit tight end weapon to throw to here would be a nice get. Eifert is a big time talent who was held back by shoddy quarterback play, though he really came on the last few weeks of the season.
33. Kansas City Chiefs - QB Matt Barkley, Sr, USC. Andy Reid runs the West Coast offense, which should suit Barkley due to his lack of arm strength, even though he might not have the athleticism Reid covets. Barkley is a very good value pick here and could have a solid, productive career as a starter.
34. Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Tajh Boyd, Jr, Clemson. Boyd lacks the height teams look for in a quarterback, but Russell Wilson has shown that height is overrated. Boyd has a strong arm and quick feet and could work his way into the first round with good workouts.
35. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland Raiders) - CB Johnthan Banks, Sr, Mississippi State. The Bengals drafted Dre Kirkpatrick in 2012, but he barely got on the field. Banks is a four year starter in the tough SEC and should provide solid production immediately.
36. Philadelphia Eagles - DT Sylvester Williams, Sr, North Carolina. Fletcher Cox looks like a keeper, but there is a hole next to him.
37. Detroit Lions - DE Alex Okafor, Sr, Texas. Cliff Avril will be gone as a free agent. Okafor doesn't have superior talent, but he is a hard worker who was one of the lone bright spots for a bad Texas defense.
Cleveland Browns (pick forfeited for selecting WR Josh Gordon in supplemental draft)
38. Arizona Cardinals - QB Tyler Wilson, Sr, Arkansas. Wilson's stats are not that impressive, but he did very well considering the Razorbacks quit early in the year. He has a strong arm, good intangibles and could very well be the best quarterback to come out of this class.
39. Buffalo Bills - WR Justin Hunter, Jr, Tennessee. Hunter passes the eyeball test, with an imposing 6'4 game and nice speed. His extensive injury history knocks him down to the second round, however. I always say in my mocks, if you draft a quarterback, you should use the same draft to get him some weapons.
40. New York Jets - WR Tavon Austin, Sr, West Virginia. Austin is a dynamic talent in a small package and could be a nice complement to the 6'5 Stephen Hill.
41. Tennessee Titans - CB Xavier Rhodes, Jr, Florida St. Tennessee really missed Cortland Finnegan in 2012. Rhodes is similar, with a big frame and a tough game.
42. San Diego Chargers - CB Logan Ryan, Jr, Rutgers. Quentin Jammer is getting up there in age and there is little around him.
43. Miami Dolphins - DE Cornellius Carradine, Sr, Florida St. The Dolphins have two second round picks, so they can afford to gamble on Carradine, who was working his way into the first round before a serious injury.
44. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - CB Jordan Poyer, Sr, Oregon St. Poyer is an interception machine and would instantly be Tampa's best cornerback.
45. Carolina Panthers - S Phillip Thomas, Sr, Fresno St. Thomas led the NCAA's in interceptions in 2012. The Panthers need to add a dynamic secondary player, whether it is at corner or safety.
New Orleans Saints (pick forfeited)
46. St. Louis Rams - WR Robert Woods, Jr, USC. The Rams might lose Danny Amendola, and Woods is a nice replacement as a slot guy.
47. Pittsburgh Steelers - DE/OLB Corey Lemonier, Jr, Auburn. Lemonier can slowly develop and add strength for a team who is better then any at drafting and developing defensive guys.
48. Dallas Cowboys - OG Jonathan Cooper, Sr, North Carolina. Even Cowboys fans cannot name their interior lineman. Cooper has a ton of experience and is great value here.
49. New York Giants - OT DJ Fluker, Jr, Alabama. Fluker is a strong, road grating right tackle who is too slow to play on the left side.
50. Chicago Bears - TE Zach Ertz, Jr, Stanford. The Bears continue to tweak their offense by drafting Ertz. Chicago has needed a tight end since foolishly trading Greg Olson.
51. Cincinnati Bengals - S Matt Elam, Jr, Florida. The Bengals continue their run on the SEC. Elam is a good all around safety who would form a nice duo with another former Gator, Reggie Nelson.
52. Washington Redskins - S Eric Reid, Jr, LSU. Reid is a hard hitter and a big time playmaker. Washington has bigger needs then safety but get an immediate starter.
53. Baltimore Ravens - S Tony Jefferson, Sr, Oklahoma. The Ravens drafted their Ray Lewis replacement in round one. They may be doing the same with Ed Reed here.
54. Minnesota Vikings - CB Desmond Trufant, Sr, Washington. Trufant might top out as a nickle back at the next level, but Minnesota's secondary could use all the help it can get.
55. Miami Dolphins (from Indianapolis Colts) - OLB Khaseem Greene, Sr, Rutgers. Greene is a steal here. Undersized, but quick and extremely productive. Would help Miami's conversion back to the 4-3.
56. Seattle Seahawks - WR Terrence Williams, Sr, Baylor. Williams is a steal here. A burner with size who was extremely productive even without RG3.
57. Green Bay Packers - RB Stepfan Taylor, Sr, Stanford. I would really like to see the Packers actually try to find a young, talented back instead of relying on castoffs.
58. Houston Texans - WR Stedman Bailey, Jr, West Virginia. The Texans could use an upgrade over the average Kevin Walker across from Andre Johnson.
59. San Francisco 49ers - WR/CB/RB/QB Denard Robinson, Sr, Michigan. The Niners are a pretty deep team and Harbaugh would love to have a project like Robinson to work on.
60. New England Patriots - CB/S David Amerson, Jr, North Carolina State. The Patriots always seem to need help in their secondary. Amerson is a tweener without a real position, but showed as a sophomore he can make plays.
61. Atlanta Falcons - LB Arthur Brown, Sr, Kansas State. Stephen Nicolas and Akeem Dent are average linebackers who could use some competition.
92. Denver Broncos - S DJ Swearinger, Sr, South Carolina. A hard hitting, physical safety who can provide toughness to an aging Broncos secondary.
93. Kansas City Chiefs - WR Quinton Patton, Sr, Louisiana Tech
94. Jacksonville Jaguars - OG/OT Dallas Thomas, Sr, Tennessee
95. Oakland Raiders - DT Akeem Spence, Jr, Illinois
96. Philadelphia Eagles - CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Sr, Connecticut
97. Detroit Lions - S Baccari Rambo, Sr, Georgia
98. Cleveland Browns - OG Brian Winters, Sr, Kent State
99. Arizona Cardinals - DE/OLB Travis Johnson, Sr, San Jose State
100. Buffalo Bills - DT Bennie Logan, Jr, LSU
101. New York Jets - QB Tyler Bray, Jr, Tennessee
102. Tennessee Titans - DE Quanterus Smith, Sr, Western Kentucky
103. San Diego Chargers - DE Devin Taylor, Sr, South Carolina
104. Miami Dolphins - CB Tyrann Mathieu, Jr, LSU
105. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DT Montori Hughes, Sr, Tennessee-Martin
106. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina Panthers) - WR Cobi Hamilton, Sr, Arkansas
107. New Orleans Saints - DE Datone Jones, Sr, UCLA
108. St. Louis Rams - S TJ McDonald, Sr, USC
109. Pittsburgh Steelers - NT Kwame Geathers, Sr, Georgia
110. Dallas Cowboys - QB EJ Manuel, Sr, Florida State
111. New York Giants - OLB Chase Thomas, Sr, Stanford
112. Miami Dolphins (from Chicago Bears) - OG/C Travis Frederick, Jr, Wisconsin
113. Cincinnati Bengals - RB Montee Ball, Sr, Wisconsin
114. Washington Redskins - DE/OLB Brandon Jenkins, Sr, Florida State
115. Baltimore Ravens - OT Oday Aboushi, Sr, Virginia
116. Minnesota Vikings - WR Da'Rick Rogers, Jr, Tennessee Tech
117. Indianapolis Colts - DE William Gholston, Jr, Michigan State
118. Seattle Seahawks - CB Will Davis, Sr, Utah State
119. Green Bay Packers - TE Travis Kelce, Sr, Cincinnati
120. Houston Texans - OT Ricky Wagner, Sr, Wisconsin
121. San Francisco 49ers - QB Landry Jones, Sr, Oklahoma
122. New England Patriots - OT Justin Pugh, Jr, Syracuse
123. Atlanta Falcons - OT Brennan Williams, Sr, North Carolina
124. Denver Broncos - RB Le'Von Bell, Jr, Michigan State