KCCD Editor: Elliot Dennis
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Up until the Alex Smith trade, I’ve been mocking Geno Smith here; however, with the Chiefs giving up a 2nd this year and a conditional 3rd this year, they’ve proven they’re committed to Smith for the long term. There’s a good chance they’ll draft a quarterback later in the draft but there’s no chance that they use the first overall pick on one.
This pick will come down to either an offensive or defensive lineman. In my mind the only players that would be considered would be Joeckel, Sheldon Richardson, Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei, or Eric Fisher. The Chiefs will shore their offensive line up for the future by taking Joeckel.
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. A lot of scouts grade him out higher than Matt Kalil graded out in last year’s draft.
The Chiefs take the safest player in this year’s draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Jags desperately need some pass rush help. Jordan is a physical freak and special talent that fits their defense.
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.
Gus Bradley likes speed on his defense, Jordan fits that mold.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
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. Floyd would be an upgrade anyhow.
Floyd is a run-stopping force. He explodes off the line and has shown great power. He totaled 46 tackles, 13 for a loss, three sacks, and a forced fumble this year for the Gators.
He’s another defensive tackle in the running to be taken first overall. His stock has really risen as of late. Scouts love his versatility.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
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 on the right side as well.
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. He displays great technique and has really dominated the MAC with his play.
Fisher was completely dominant during Senior Bowl week and was great at the combine, so his stock has really risen up. There’s chatter that he could challenge Luke Joeckel as the 1st tackle taken in this draft.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
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.
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 Lions.
6. Cleveland Browns: DeMarcus Milliner, DB, Alabama
Milliner is the best 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.
His big knock is that he’s not as physical and not as fast as a shutdown corner should be. He quieted his critics with a great showing at the combine running a 4.38 40 yard dash.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
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.
Johnson, the former juco QB and college tight end, spent the last two seasons as Oklahoma’s blindside protector. A month ago it would have been crazy to take Johnson this high, but Senior Bowl week and the combine 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.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
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.
He didn’t compete at the Senior Bowl, but he impressed scouts at the combine. He ran the fastest 40 among quarterbacks, threw the ball well, and reportedly aced his interviews.
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 skill-set is what you look for in a franchise QB. He makes good reads and shows great vision. He displays great accuracy, but his arm isn’t “elite” however, it is very good (but neither was Aaron Rodgers). Smith can also make plays with his feet. A big concern was the fact that he played in a “gimmick” offense at WVU, but he played in a pro-style attack his sophomore year and played very well.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Jets need pass rush help in the worst way. Mingo is a great fit for their 3-4 defense.
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.
10. Tennessee Titans: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Titans need help everywhere on their defense. Sheldon Richardson is in the running to be the first defensive tackle taken and the Titans would love to select him here.
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.
11. San Diego Chargers: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
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.
With all the “elite” tackles gone, the Chargers reach for one here. Watson has all the talent in the world, but he’s an extremely raw prospect. He’s a great athlete, his technique is just lacking. His stock has risen lately though, so I wouldn’t be shocked if the Chargers took him here. A trade down could be likely.
12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Receiver is Miami’s number one need this offseason. Ryan Tannehill needs a decent receiver to throw to. The addition of Patterson gives him that.
Patterson is an extremely explosive player that has just tapped into his potential. He finished 2012 with 46 catches for 778 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns.
With somebody of his size and ability, it’s just unfair. If he can work on his hands, he could possibly go even higher.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Tampa ranked dead-last in pass defense last season and with the Aqib Talib trade, cornerback is their biggest need. Along with that, Eric Wright has been a huge free agent bust.
Rhodes is a physical corner that had a great showing at the combine. His stock has really risen and there’s a great chance he’ll be the 2nd corner taken in this year’s draft. He totaled 39 tackles, 2 for a loss, 3 interceptions, 10 passes defensed, and a forced fumble this year for the Seminoles.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Panthers have a huge hole at defensive tackle. It’s by far Carolina’s biggest need.
Lotulelei was diagnosed with a heart condition at the combine so that drops him some. However, he was cleared shortly after, so we’ll have to see a great showing on his pro day if he’s to recover his stock.
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 Panther’s defensive line for the next 10+ years.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
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.
Concerns about his spinal stenosis problem have dropped Jones down some draft boards, but with doctors recently clearing him of any problems, there’s a good chance he’ll go even higher than this. I have him as my #1 rated player in the draft.
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.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Rams really need some secondary help, primarily at the safety position. They take the best safety available.
Vaccaro was all over the field this season for the Longhorns. He totaled 96 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, five passes defensed, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles this season. He is a good blitzer from the safety position and can cover well.
Continue to picks 17-32: