This is the second official mock I’ve posted this off-season, you can click here to see the first from a month ago. I ran through a first round mock on twitter a week ago and this one won’t be that dissimilar. The biggest and most noteworthy change is that I do not have a single quarterback being taken in the first round of this new three-round mock.
That is significant in my eyes because it would be the first time since 1996 that has happened. So odds are, in that sense this mock will be wrong since it’s only happened once in the past seventeen drafts. But what is interesting that when we entered this off-season, there were a number of teams picking in the Top Ten picks that had needs at quarterback: Kansas City, Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo, and the New York Jets. All but one of those teams have made moves this off-season to secure veteran signal callers. That lone holdout is the Jaguars. Even low-level moves such as the Bills and Browns adding Kevin Kolb and Jason Campbell, respectively, suggests to me that teams have learned their lesson and are more reluctant to reach on a first round quarterback.
It’s simply not a good class, and I think the movement of veteran quarterbacks shows that the teams picking at the top of the first round are reluctant to make that investment in subpar players. There could be some passers drafted in the first round from teams moving into the latter part of Round One. The Jaguars hold the key. If they pass on a quarterback at Pick No. 2, they then are likely to pull the trigger on a quarterback with the opening pick of Round 2 at No. 33. Teams might try to jump ahead of them into the latter portion of Round One to get the guy they like. But we will see. This draft won’t be short on interesting storylines, even if it is on top-end talent.
Also you might want to check out the updated mock muncher.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
The reason why Joeckel has been penciled in here is because I haven’t heard enough to not pick him. It’s pretty safe to assume the Chiefs will use the top pick on the best tackle on their board. But whether that player is Joeckel remains to be seen. The reason why most put Joeckel over Eric Fisher is because of the higher level of competition. And the reason why Joeckel over Lane Johnson is because of experience and consistency. But one could argue that Fisher and/or Johnson have higher upside due to their athletic ceilings. Nothing in the pasts of Andy Reid or GM John Dorsey suggest that they have a strong small school bias to use that as a reason to put Joeckel over Fisher. But the consensus today is that Joeckel is slightly better than Fisher, and until there are a few more Mike Mayocks out there that are willing to shift their opinions, I’ll keep pegging Joeckel to be the top pick.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
What is interesting to me is that Jacksonville’s new GM is David Caldwell, a disciple of both Thomas Dimitroff and Bill Polian. Both Dimitroff and Polian hired defensive-minded coaches as their first choice at their respective jobs in Atlanta (Mike Smith) and Indianapolis (Jim Mora), but proceeded to draft quarterbacks with their first picks. Caldwell hired Gus Bradley from Seattle, who is a defensive maven who’d probably love to have Dion Jordan be the foundation of his rebuilding project for Jacksonville’s defense. But I’m also confident that Caldwell has little faith in Blaine Gabbert moving forward. I just wonder if his confidence is low enough, or perhaps his faith is high enough in one of these prospects to use the No. 2 pick overall on a quarterback. I don’t think so. I think unlike Dimitroff and Polian, Caldwell will settle for taking the best quarterback available with the top pick in the second round.
3. Oakland Raiders – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
The Raiders are just going to be looking for a good football player, and a lot of people really like Floyd. The signing of Tracy Porter probably precludes a move to get Dee Milliner at this pick, who fills a much higher need.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
This is a toss-up between him and Eric Fisher. I picked Johnson this time simply because he’s a little bit more athletic, and should fit better in the zone-blocking scheme that Chip Kelly likes to use. Jason Peters is coming off injury and will have a big cap number next year at age 32. Todd Herremans will turn 31 in October and began his career at left guard, so he could kick inside if Johnson starts at right tackle this year. Then Johnson could eventually move to left tackle if/when they dump Peters down the line.
5. Detroit Lions – DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
Tempted to put Fisher here given the Lions need to replace Jeff Backus, and reports that they don’t have a ton of confidence in Riley Reiff at this current juncture to do just that. Reiff will definitely start this year, but where? And the Lions are waffling on that either to keep teams guessing on draft day, or because they aren’t completely sure. But Ansah is the type of guy the Lions have fawned over in the past and despite some level of confidence that Willie Young could replace Cliff Avril, I just don’t see a guy like Schwartz passing up on a talent like Ansah here. They’ll try to shore up their offensive line in the second round.
6. Cleveland Browns – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
The Browns are a team that is considered a strong candidate to move back, which I would agree with. But if they don’t get any offers, I think they’ll be happy to take Milliner here to team him with Joe Haden as potentially one of the premier corner duos in the AFC. A team like Miami or San Diego would be prime candidates to try and move up here to try and get a tackle ahead of Arizona.
7. Arizona Cardinals – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
I think the Cardinals will be content to take the best offensive lineman off the board with this pick. If one of the three premier tackles are there, it’ll likely be him with the intention of moving Levi Brown to right tackle and benching Bobby Massie. If the tackles are gone, then they probably take one of the guards in Chance Warmack or Jon Cooper to try and upgrade over Daryn Colledge or Adam Snyder inside, both of whom were very underwhelming in 2012.
8. Buffalo Bills – OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
The signing of Kolb won’t stop the Bills from taking a quarterback. But I think the Bills really want Ryan Nassib, who Doug Marrone coached at Syracuse. And if Smith isn’t gone by this point, then I don’t think the Bills will be pressured to take him with this pick. Now if Smith does happen to go in the Top 7 picks, then I think the Bills might feel pressured to get Nassib sooner rather than later. As for Warmack, he could slide in at left guard right beside Cordy Glenn. Similar to the Cardinals, the Bills will be content to take the best offensive lineman left if no quarterbacks are off the board at this point.
9. New York Jets – OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
The Jets have a huge need at edge pass rusher as their starters as of today would be Antwan Barnes and Garrett McIntyre. Nothing more needs to be said.
10. Tennessee Titans – OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
If the “Big 5” linemen don’t go in the Top 7-8 picks, then the Titans will be happy to get the last of them in Cooper. Yes, they spent quite a bit on Andy Levitre, but currently their other two starting interior linemen would be Fernando Velasco (center) and Rob Turner (right guard). I think they signed Turner to push Velasco at center, making their desire to upgrade the other guard spot apparent.
11. San Diego Chargers – DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
The Chargers are an interesting team. They have new management and a bunch of unspectacular talent across their roster. They could really go in a variety of directions come draft time, but most feel they need to make major upgrades to their offensive line. But it’s hard for me to see any of the Big 5 being here. It’s possible, but I don’t think likely. So they are a candidate to trade up. But I do think Lotulelei is a good concession to make here. They already have a nice pair of 3-4 ends in Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes, so they’d probably play Lotulelei at the nose. He’s not ideal for that spot, but I think should work.
12. Miami Dolphins – OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
In my previous twitter mock, I had the Dolphins taking Tavon Austin here mainly because of the reports that Davone Bess’ grip on a job is tenuous at best. But the signing of Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson, plus re-signing Brian Hartline suggests to me that the Dolphins think they have three capable receivers, thus making the value for Austin not as strong here. Instead, they need to be looking for a replacement for Jake Long at left tackle since Jonathan Martin really struggled as a rookie. But I think the Dolphins could convince themselves that Fluker is a good pick here and Martin will be better on the left than he was on the right. They’ve already made some questionable moves this off-season, what’s one more?
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Originally had them going Xavier Rhodes in the twitter mock, but I have the feeling that the Bucs still want to keep the door open for a trade for Darrelle Revis down the road. Drafting a corner with your top pick probably nixes that trade. So I think they take a defensive lineman that can bolster their pass rush to improve their abysmal pass defense. Adrian Clayborn and DaQuan Bowers are both coming off injuries and I’m not sure Greg Schiano loves either. Werner is a high motor edge rusher that can add value as a situational rusher early on if not a full-time starer over one of those two.
14. Carolina Panthers – DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
I pondered Austin going here as the explosive complement and heir apparent to Steve Smith. But considering the Panthers top need was at defensive tackle entering the off-season and they have done nothing there, suggests to me they are looking to take the best interior lineman with this pick. Richardson is that guy unless Lotulelei falls this far.
15. New Orleans Saints – CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
Probably not the pick you expected, but given Rob Ryan’s proclivities to having a good press corner on the outside as he’s had with Nnamdi Asomugha and Mo Claiborne in the past, I think this pick makes sense for the Saints. While they signed Keenan Lewis I don’t believe they think Lewis is going to be the lockdown press guy that is necessary to make a Ryan scheme work.
16. St. Louis Rams – WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Austin’s stock is so hot right now that I’m hard-pressed to think he lasts to this pick, but then I think about how NFL teams are reluctant to go out on a limb for undersized guys that it’s a very real possibility. He’s a great fit for the Rams who will be looking for the slot receiver to replace Danny Amendola. I think the Rams are fairly comfortable with their outside receivers in Brian Quick and Chris Givens, at least enough to go into camp with them as the starters that Austin is a better fit than maybe someone like Cordarrelle Patterson.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Many are pegging the Steelers to take Jarvis Jones with this pick, but I’ve heard that the reason why the Steelers haven’t used many top picks on edge rushers over the years is due to the complexities of Dick LeBeau’s defense taking time to learn. Woodley is only 28, and if he can bounce back given the ages of past Steelers outside linebackers could realistically play another five years in Pittsburgh. Coupled with Mike Tomlin’s alleged affinity for Jason Worilds, I think Steelers will see a pass rusher later in the draft. I think the Steelers still want to get younger on defense, and given the free agent losses of Ryan Mundy and Will Allen, means that Vaccaro adds key depth immediately with the potential to replace one of their starters next year. That likely will be Ryan Clark since 2013 is the final year of his contract.
18. Dallas Cowboys – WR Cordarelle Patterson, Tennessee
I had some trouble with this pick due to the fact that Cooper, Vaccaro, and Fluker, the three players that I think fill the biggest needs on the Cowboys are gone in this mock. But I could see Patterson because Jerry Jones has never been reluctant about adding weapons on offense. Miles Austin should be around for one more season, but beyond 2013 remains to be seen. Dez Bryant hasn’t been Mr. Consistency either, so Patterson would be a good third wheel to replace Kevin Ogletree and also be a nice developmental option for the future.
19. New York Giants – DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
I’ve heard talk linking the Giants to a linebacker, but the Giants don’t value linebackers as much as they do pass rushers. And losing Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck being on his last legs means they have a real need there. Moore will add immediate value as a situational rusher, but even if he takes some time to develop, they do still have Kiwanuka in the mix.
20. Chicago Bears – OT Kyle Long, Oregon
I should probably list Long as a guard since that’s the position he’ll likely play for the Bears. Their current starters there would be Matt Slauson and Gabe Carimi, neither being options that I think inspire a ton of confidence. Long would be able to slide in immediately at left guard, and also offer potential to play either tackle spot if need be down the road in case Jermon Bushrod proves to be as much a failure at left tackle as J’Marcus Webb was.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
The Bengals like having a pass rusher at their SAM spot. Manny Lawson held the job previously, and he’s gone now. The reality is that the Bengals affinity and effectiveness adding SEC players, particularly those with baggage, is astounding in recent years. Between A.J. Green, Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Reggie Nelson, and Dre Kirkpatrick, I don’t know why they would draft anybody from any other conference. Jones would fit in perfectly with that.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington) – OLB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
The Rams need to find another playmaker to put beside James Laurinaitis at linebacker. Jo-lonn Dunbar is decent, but is not an everydown player like he had to be for the Rams last year. Now that they have to deal with Percy Harvin twice a year, getting a safety turned cover linebacker to beef up the middle of your defense won’t hurt. Ogletree has some off-field red flags, but given Jeff Fisher’s willingness to take risks on Janoris Jenkins and (briefly) Titus Young, I think Ogletree’s issues are minor concerns relatively speaking.
23. Minnesota Vikings – ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
I think there are two teams likely to draft Te’o in the first round: Minnesota and Indianapolis. I think the Vikings would love to draft a player like Te’o to upgrade their middle linebacker spot, which if the season began today would be manned by Marvin Mitchell. The Vikings do want to take a wide receiver and cornerback early in the draft, but I think they will feel that need to get their middle man first due to the Colts breathing down their neck.
24. Indianapolis Colts – OG Justin Pugh, Syracuse
There were two really bad things about the Colts last year: the blocking and their defense. So they will take a player to help them at either here. Their off-season additions of Ricky Jean-Francois, Aubrayo Franklin, Erik Walden, Greg Toler, and LaRon Landry filled most of their pressing needs defensively, leaving just inside linebacker as the most glaring spot in need. They did sign Donald Thomas to upgrade the left guard spot, but Mike McGlynn was bad last year at the other spot and Pugh should be a nice upgrade there.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle) – CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
Many think the Vikings will use one of their top two picks on a receiver, which is certainly possible. Either a wideout, or possibly adding a tight end to pair with Kyle Rudolph like Tyler Eifert. But I think given the price they paid for Greg Jennings, I think they’d much rather seek another wideout in Round 2 or later. That leaves their obvious need at cornerback, where they need to find a replacement for Antoine Winfield on the outside.
26. Green Bay Packers – DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
Ryan Pickett is getting older and Jerel Worthy is probably not going to be a big factor next year. Raji is looking more comfortable as an end in their 3-4 scheme now, and if/when Worthy returns he should man the other end spot. That leaves a hole at nose tackle, which I think Hankins, a former Buckeye like Pickett, should be attractive. But I’m not convinced Hankins will be the guy they like most. Maybe John Jenkins, Jesse Williams, or Sylvester Williams tickle their fancy. I really only chose Hankins because of the similarities he has with Pickett.
27. Houston Texans – WR Keenan Allen, California
If Minnesota passes on a wideout like Allen, then I think Houston will be happy to snap him up. They need to find another playmaker opposite Andre Johnson. And while I do believe they have some confidence in DeVier Posey and Lestar Jean, I don’t think they have enough to pass on Allen for another position. They might take a lineman given some inconsistencies they had up front. But I think they like Ben Jones, Brandon Brooks, Derek Newton, and Andrew Gardner enough that it’s not a slam dunk.
28. Denver Broncos – S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
If there’s a first round team that I think is likely to draft Eddie Lacy, I think Denver is the best bet. McGahee is probably playing his last year in Denver, and I think Lacy would be a good fit to replace him as the power element to their offense. But the Broncos need to bolster their secondary and defense given their issues in the playoffs. Cyprien isn’t a true cover safety, but he should be an upgrade over Mike Adams at strong safety.
29. New England Patriots – DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
I really flip-flopped here between Williams and Short for the Patriots. I think the Pats will be interested in a tackle because Kyle Love is really a two-down player and Vince Wilfork isn’t getting any younger. Between Williams and Short, I think Williams is the better potential fit as a nose tackle down the road if he needs to replace Wilfork.
30. Atlanta Falcons – DT Kawann Short, Purdue
Maybe secretly, I picked Williams for New England because I wanted to pick Short for the Falcons. Short was productive and a captain at a school with a rich history of producing quality pass rushers in the NFL. I think many are too focused on the Falcons taking an edge rusher early in the draft, and I think their need is inside. Jonathan Babineaux is probably not going to be back next year, and Corey Peters and Peria Jerry aren’t sure bets either given they are entering contract years in 2013 as well. That basically leaves Travian Robertson as the safest bet to be a Falcon next year. The Falcons have consistently targeted players in the third round as “insurance picks” at positions where guys currently on the roster were entering contract years. Examples include Mike Johnson in 2010, Akeem Dent in 2011, Lamar Holmes in 2012. I think it’s possible that could happen in Round 1 this year. I think the Falcons have a more pressing need at cornerback, but given that Trufant is off the board, and few seem convinced that the fourth-best corner in this draft (Jamar Taylor, Johnthan Banks?) is worthy of a first round pick. The addition of Osi Umenyiora, coupled with Kroy Biermann and Jonathan Massaquoi means that any rookie edge rusher isn’t likely to get a ton of reps in his first two seasons unless he’s really good right off the bat.
31. San Francisco 49ers – TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Eifert could go earlier than this, but there isn’t a team with a strong enough need at the position that I think will pull the trigger. The 49ers without a glaring need and their extensive use of two tight end sets could really be the best fit for him. He could easily slide into the H-back role that Delanie Walker formerly filled and the rich keep on getting richer.
32. Baltimore Ravens – OT Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
I think the Ravens will take a left tackle here. Menelik Watson might be a bit too much of a project for him to go here, although many have compared him to Michael Oher. Armstead is a good athlete from a smaller school, which hasn’t really swayed the Ravens from using past picks on players like Gino Gradkowski, Ramon Harewood, and Jah Reid to name a recent few.
Okay, onto the second round and I promise a lot less reading…
33. Jacksonville – QB Matt Barkley, USC
I chose Barkley over the others simply because I want to think that Caldwell will see some Matt Ryan-esque traits in Barkley. But that’s probably more wishful thinking on my part.
34. San Francisco (from Kansas City) – S Matt Elam, Florida
He’ll slide into replace DaShon Goldson at free safety.
35. Philadelphia – QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Too good a value for the Eagles to pass up a player they considered taking fourth overall.
36. Detroit – OT Menelik Watson, Florida State
The Lions settle for the raw Watson to help shore up their offensive line.
37. Cincinnati (from Oakland) – RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
Another SEC player and the Bengals are looking to supplement the Law Firm.
38. Arizona – QB Mike Glennon, N.C. State
Getting Palmer was short-term fix, Glennon will be pegged as long-term answer for Arians offense.
39. New York Jets – S Eric Reid, LSU
This fills a huge need for the Jets right now.
40. Tennessee – WR Robert Woods, USC
Odds are good that Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, and Kevin Walter are not playing for Titans in 2014 especially if Woods works out.
41. Buffalo – QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
The Bills get their man at this point, although don’t be surprised if they maneuver to make it a certainty.
42. Miami – CB David Amerson, N.C. State
They get the big off-zone corner they need to play opposite Grimes.
43. Tampa Bay – CB Darius Slay, Mississippi State
This gives them insurance in case the Revis trade falls through.
44. Carolina – CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State
He’ll be pegged as Gamble’s replacement.
45. San Diego – OG Larry Warford, Kentucky
They get a mauler to replace Louis Vasquez.
46. St. Louis – S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State
His ball-hawking skills are much needed at free safety.
47. Dallas – DT Datone Jones, UCLA
Will be pegged as their three-technique in new 4-3 scheme.
48. Pittsburgh – RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
A good complement to Dwyer and hope he is their version of Jamaal Charles.
49. New York Giants – OG Barrett Jones, Alabama
He’ll be groomed to replace either Baas or Snee next year.
50. Chicago – ILB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
He’ll wind up either being long-term replacement for Urlacher or Briggs.
51. Washington – CB Robert Alford, SE Louisiana
Their top pick will be asked to shore up a porous secondary.
52. Minnesota – WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Should be a solid possession receiver on the outside.
53. Cincinnati – WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee
Two A.J. Greens are better than one and some think Hunter has similar potential.
54. Miami (from San Diego) – DE Tank Carradine, Florida State
He’ll start off as a situational guy and then ultimately replace Wake down the line.
55. Green Bay – RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
The sort of explosive back that can excel in their pass-centric offense.
56. Seattle – DE Margus Hunt, SMU
The Seahawks need a big body to replace Alan Branch, so why not Hunt?
57. Houston – DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
He’ll be the two-down plugger they need at the nose.
58. Denver – DE Alex Okafor, Texas
He’ll be expected to replace Dumervil on the edge.
59. New England – CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
Doesn’t this smack of a Belichick pick? They need help in their secondary.
60. Atlanta – CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Banks is a ball-hawking corner with good length and a knack for making plays that is dropping because he doesn’t run well. But he’s the sort of productive leader that the Falcons are attracted to, perhaps even enough to take him in the first round.
61. San Francisco – DT John Jenkins, Georgia
Big widebody that will be tapped to replace Sopoaga inside.
62. Baltimore – S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse
He’ll be an upgrade over Ihedigbo at strong safety.
63. Kansas City – QB E.J. Manuel, Florida State
64. Jacksonville – CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut
65. Detroit – CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
66. Oakland – CB Leon McFadden, San Diego State
67. Philadelphia – CB Logan Ryan, Rutgers
68. Cleveland – ILB Kevin Minter, LSU
69. Arizona – TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
70. Tennessee – DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn
71. Buffalo – OLB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
72. N.Y. Jets – TE Vance McDonald, Rice
73. Tampa Bay – TE Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
74. San Francisco (from Carolina) – WR Aaron Dobson, Marshall
75. New Orleans – OLB Jamie Collins, Southern Miss
76. San Diego – OT David Bakhtiari, Colorado
77. Miami – OG Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
78. St. Louis – RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
79. Pittsburgh – TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
80. Dallas – S Bacarri Rambo, Georgia
81. N.Y. Giants – LB Sean Porter, Texas A&M
82. Miami (from Chicago) – WR Kenny Stills, Oklahoma
83. Minnesota – DT Akeem Spence, Illinois
84. Cincinnati – OT Jordan Mills, Louisiana Tech
85. Washington – ILB Kiko Alonso, Oregon
86. Indianapolis – ILB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
87. Seattle – OLB Sio Moore, Connecticut
88. Green Bay – OT David Quessenberry, San Jose State
89. Houston – ILB Zaviar Gooden, Missouri
90. Denver – RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
91. New England – WR Terrance Williams, Baylor
92. Atlanta – OLB Chase Thomas, Stanford
Thomas just really seems like a Falcons pick. He played OLB in Stanford’s 3-4 and is the smart, hard-nose overachiver that the Falcons traditionally like. He wouldn’t help the Falcons a lot in terms of their ability to cover at the position, but would give them another movable chess piece similar to Kroy Biermann on the edge.
93. San Francisco – CB B.W. Webb, William & Mary
94. Baltimore – WR Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech
95. Houston – OG Dallas Thomas, Tennessee
96. Kansas City – S T.J. McDonald, USC
97. Tennessee – CB Will Davis, Utah State