KCCD Writer: Elliot Dennis
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs were awful this season. The biggest need (by far) is quarterback. With Pioli gone, the new GM will almost certainly use this pick to draft his own guy.
Smith was awesome this season. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,004 yards, 40 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. He started the year with monstrous performances but was cooled down against Texas Tech and Kansas State.
The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder has prototypical NFL size for quarterbacks. His skillset is what you look for in a franchise QB. He makes good reads and shows great vision. He has great accuracy, but his arm isn’t “elite” but is very good (but neither was Aaron Rodgers). Smith can also make plays with his feet. The biggest thing he needs to work on is his footwork, but that can be coached.
The Chiefs finally get their man.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
With no quarterback worth taking at this pick, the Jags take the best player available.
Jones has been one of the best pass-rushers in all of college football the past two seasons. In 2011, he was tied for second in the nation in sacks with 13.5. In 2012 he has racked up 12.5 sacks, along with 77 tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, 2 passes broken up, and one interception.
Jones would be an ideal fit for the 3-4 defense at 6-foot-3, 241 pounds. But much like Von Miller he could make the fit to a 4-3 defense. Jacksonville has been one of the worst pass-rushing teams for years, this pick will help to change that.
3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
I would make this pick a QB, but the Raiders are committed to Carson Palmer for the time being. So they get some much needed help on defense.
There’s a good chance that Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly won’t return next season, so this pick makes sense. Lotulelei would be an upgrade anyhow.
Lotulelei is a prototypical prospect for a 4-3 defense. He has been an absolute force the past couple seasons for the Utes. This season he totaled 42 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and four passes broken up. He would anchor the Raider’s defensive line for the next 10+ years.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Philly’s is in need of some offensive line help. Jason Peters tore his Achilles and will probably never be 100%, Demetress Bell was a bust in free agency, and King Dunlap just sucks. Todd Herremans could be upgraded as well.
Joeckel was a big part of Johnny Manziel’s success this season. He started out a bit slow, but was came on very strong against LSU and was tremendous to close the season. He has the ability to be a dominant pass-protector for some team for a very long time.
5. Detroit Lions: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions finally get some much needed secondary help. During the past two seasons, the secondary has been Detroit’s largest flaw, Milliner helps fix that.
Milliner is the best shutdown corner in this draft. He was dominant to open the 2012 season against Michigan and continued his great play throughout the season. He currently has 51 tackles, two interceptions, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and 18 passes defensed.
6. San Diego Chargers: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
The Chargers are now in rebuild mode after this debacle of a season. The offensive line is in shambles, Phillip Rivers has very little time to throw. Protecting Rivers will be a must.
Along with Joeckel, having Matthews was another reason why the Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel, had such a successful season. Matthews is a very athletic tackle who excels in pass protection and is a very good run-blocker. The Chargers make the right pick by protecting Rivers.
7. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Bills finally get a franchise QB. Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t been good this season and is just a mediocre talent in general. The Bills get a much-needed change at that position.
Wilson didn’t have a great season in 2012. His head coach was dismissed before the season, he lost his top-3 receivers, and suffered a concussion early in the season. He ended up completing 62 percent of his passes for 3,387 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
Wilson has a very strong arm, good accuracy, and he is good at making reads. And at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he has prototypical NFL quarterback size.
8. Cleveland Browns: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Browns could use another pass-rusher across from Jabaal Sheard. Moore would be an elite player that the Browns D needs.
Moore was spectacular playing for the Aggies this season. He had team-leading 80 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, two passes broken up, a blocked kick, and a forced fumble this season.
Moore is a fit in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. In 2011, he played in a 3-4 and had a very productive season (8.5 sacks), and dominated as a senior in a 4-3 defense.
9. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers need a presence on the D-line. Their tackles are pathetic and awful against the run. Richardson provides some much needed support.
Richardson was a disruptive force for Mizzou this past season. He totaled 75 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, three passes broken up, and three forced fumbles this season. He has great athleticism and a non-stop motor that could make him a dominant force in the league for years.
10. Tennessee Titans: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Titans are another team that could use some much-needed help on the interior defensive line. This pick could easily be Johnathan Banks as well.
Hankins is a tackle who takes up a lot of space and dominates against the ground game. He totaled 55 tackles, four tackles for a loss, and a sack this season. His numbers don’t indicate how much of a factor he was at times this season.
11. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
It’s obvious that the Cardinal’s biggest needs lie on the offensive line and at quarterback. The Cardinals decide to go with the more important of the two and land the latter. A good QB can mask offensive line issues (see: Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers).
Barkley would have been a top-5 pick in 2012 if he came out early, but he decided to go back to school and some of his flaws were exposed. Barkley was a 4-year starter for the Trojans and he finished his senior season by throwing for 3.273 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and completing 64 percent of his passes.
He has the best mechanics and understanding of the pro game than any other QB in this class. His biggest flaw is his arm strength. He struggles to pinpoint the deep throws and has showed some questionable decision making.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Tampa is ranked dead-last in pass defense and with the Aqib Talib trade, cornerback is their biggest need. Along with that, Eric Wright has been a huge free agent bust.
Banks has been solid during his career at Mississippi State. He started 2012 great, but a knee injury really slowed him down late in the season. He finished 2012 with 59 tackles, four interceptions, and seven passes broken up.
13. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Receiver is Miami’s number one need this offseason. Ryan Tannehill needs a decent receiver to throw to. The addition of Allen gives him that.
Allen had a phenomenal sophomore season, racking up 1,343 yards and six touchdowns on 98 receptions. He didn’t perform as well this year with more attention with defenses, but finished with a respectable 61 receptions for 737 yards and six touchdowns.
Allen looks like a true No. 1 receiver. He has the great speed and strength that you look for in an elite wide receiver. He’s a great route runner that would be able to build great rapport with Ryan Tannehill.
14. New York Jets: Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
The Jets have a million needs, but their draft position doesn’t favor their biggest two (QB, WR). Instead they get a great player in Werner.
The Jets pass rush is very weak, Werner would be able to bolster it. He has been a dominant force this season for the Seminoles racking up 40 tackles, 13 sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, seven passes defensed, and a forced fumble. He has a non-stop motor and looks like a sure hit for the Jets.
15. New Orleans Saints: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
The Saints just need to pick a defensive player. Te’o was spectacular this year for the Irish and would shore up a mediocre New Orleans linebacking corps.
The Heisman runner-up had a great season for the Irish racking up 103 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, four passes broken up, and an absurd seven interceptions. He has great athleticism and speed for a middle linebacker and could play in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.
16. St. Louis Rams: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Rams finally get some protection for Sam Bradford. The Rams offensive line has been poor all season and all of Sam Bradford’s tenure with the team.
Warmack is a special talent who has been phenomenal for the Tide the past couple of seasons. He is good in pass protection and is an absolute mauler in the running game. The Rams get the best interior defensive lineman available.
Head to page 2 for the 2nd half of Elliot’s mock draft.