KCCD Staff 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.
He didn’t compete in the Senior Bowl, but with the questions with the participating QBs there, it really doesn’t affect Smith’s draft stock.
Smith was awesome this season. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. He started the year with monstrous performances but was cooled down against Texas Tech and Kansas State. He was just okay in the bowl game against Syracuse.
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: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Jags desperately need some pass rush help. Werner fits their defense.
Werner was a dominant pass-rushing force this season for the Seminoles racking up 42 tackles, 13 sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, eight passes defensed, and a forced fumble. He has a non-stop motor and looks like a sure hit for the Jaguars.
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 but is versatile enough that he could work in a 3-4. 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: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Lions need a pass rush threat across from Cliff Avril. Kyle Vanden Bosch as hit the age wall and is no longer the player he used to be.
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. He also blocked 2 kicks.
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.
6. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
With the Browns switching back to a 3-4, they’ll need a pass rush threat across from Jabaal Sheard.
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 14.5 sacks, along with 85 tackles, 24.5 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, three passes broken up, and one interception.
Jones would be an ideal fit for the 3-4 defense at 6-foot-3, 241 pounds.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Cardinals have absolutely nothing at either tackle position. No matter what quarterback played for them, he didn’t have time to throw. This pick could be a QB, but the Cards might pick up a guy in round two and play with Kolb this year.
Fisher has been a great left tackle for the Chippewas the last two seasons. Fisher has great size at 6-foot-8, 305 pounds and has tremendous upside.
Fisher was completely dominant during Senior Bowl week, so his stock has really risen up.
8. 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.
With Doug Marrone the head coach in Buffalo now, a lot of people think he’ll take his college QB, Ryan Nassib. I think he’ll take the superior talent in Wilson.
9. New York Jets: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
The Jets really could use a new QB, but there really isn’t one worth taking at this pick. Plus Mark Sanchez’s contract is too big for a backup role. Instead they get a player with great upside in Jordan.
Jordan has played defensive end and linebacker during his time at Oregon. He is a great fit for both the 4-3 and 3-4 defense. He has 44 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles, and a pass defensed this season. He is one of the rawest prospects in this draft, but the upside is evident.
10. Tennessee Titans: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Titans could really use some secondary help. They got burned often in the back end this year.
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 54 tackles, two interceptions, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and 20 passes defensed.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Phillip Rivers has really regressed the past couple of seasons. One of the main reasons was his offensive line play got worse. Protecting Rivers will be key for the Chargers to succeed.
Johnson, the former juco QB and college tight end, spent the last two seasons as Oklahoma’s blindside protector. Two weeks ago it would have been crazy to take Johnson this high, but Senior Bowl week really opened up some people’s eyes.
The 6-foot-7, 303-pounder is an exceptional athlete and looks like a future NFL left tackle.
12. 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.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Johnathan 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 63 tackles, four interceptions, a forced fumble, and seven passes broken up.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers have a huge hole at defensive tackle. It’s by far Carolina’s biggest need.
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.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE, LSU
The Saints just need to draft a good defensive player. The Saints defensive line was horrific this season. They couldn’t stop the run or generate a consistent pass rush. With the Saints rumored to start playing some 3-4 next year, this pick would make sense.
Mingo has top-5 talent, but his production hasn’t showed it the past couple seasons. In 2012 he has racked up 38 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, three passes defensed, and 4.5 sacks. Part of his lack of production has been due to him spying the QB or covering a running back due to his elite athleticism.
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. He had a dominant performance blocking against Manti Te’o and Notre Dame in the National Championship game. The Rams get the best interior defensive lineman available.