Let’s Get Physical: NFL Mock Draft 3.0

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Let’s Get Physical: NFL Mock Draft 3.0

Dan Kitchen, NFL Staff Writer

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Now that The Combine is over, and the offseason mania that is free agency has begun, I felt it was time for an updated Mock Draft! But, after witnessing last year’s trade bonanza brought about by reasonable rookie contracts, I am going to be more trigger-happy in projecting teams’ desires to move up or down.

*Disclaimer: None of these picks have taken into account events happening after the trade of Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers.

*Disclaimer #2: This is a pretty cut-and-dry entry. Most of the other sites use unlicensed pictures, which is illegal. Running through a university media outlet, I can use no such pictures, and the site we use is very limited with logos and the like. If anyone knows a collection of logos for each NFL franchise I can legally use in my posts, comment a link or idea on my post! Thank you!

*Disclaimer 3: My twitter account is @tripleddraft. Not many followers (I started it only recently), but I still post my NFL thoughts and opinions regularly. Follow and feel free to comment with any questions you have about the NFL!

ROUND 1

1.  TRADE (ARZ Rd. 1,2 and 2014 Rd. 3 for KC Rd. 1) , Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

Current speculation is, with Alex Smith arriving in Kansas City and the Chiefs bringing back LT Brandon Albert and WR Dwayne Bowe, they either draft a D-lineman or Dee Milliner out of Alabama. I think a plethora of teams will be inquiring about the top pick from this day on, and with cornerback and defensive line prospects littering the first round, the team will trade down to get some extra picks. Geno Smith may not be the most popular choice for first overall pick, but quarterbacks always balloon up higher than they should because of horrible teams’ desperations. Sitting at pick seven, the Cardinals need a quarterback worse than any other team, and they’ll trade for the first pick so that no other team can steal the top QB of the class from them.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

The Jaguars also desperately need a QB. However, they seem content enough to go through another Blaine Gabbert 2-14 season before drafting a new starter. With all the talk concerning Eric Fisher potentially being the top tackle of the class, remember that Joeckel has consistently been the top prospect, not just tackle. He should go before Fisher, and an offensive line cornerstone could make Gabbert’s next season a tad less abysmal.

3. Oakland Raiders: Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida

We all assumed that after Al Davis was no longer GM of the Raiders, their draft strategy would be easier to predict. Yet we still haven’t the slightest idea of where the team will go. We’ve heard the picks of rush linebacker mixed with those calling for a change at quarterback. The safe bet though seems to be at defensive tackle, where the team needs new, cheaper starters. Floyd’s stock soared more than almost any other prospect’s, and for now is the safest pick to end up in Oakland.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, HY, Oregon

I’m not big on coincidental speculation, nor am I big on letting other analysts’ opinions influence my own. But Mel Kiper and Matt Miller both see Jordan going to Philly to join his former college coach. I think Philly would be a little stupid to pass on Eric Fisher, who could the Eagles’ bad QB situation and make it a little better, but Jordan’s (healthy) numbers will definitely get enough of Chip Kelly’s attention to draft his former star.

5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

The Lions need all sorts of defensive help right now. So why do I mock them an offensive tackle, the same position they drafted in the first last year? The pick from last year, Riley Reiff, plays more like a guard than a tackle, and frankly wasn’t overly impressive in either facet. Fisher has looked better than Reiff all through drafting, and there is more defensive talent later in the draft than offensive line talent. Would not count out Bjorn Werner or Dee Milliner here though.

6. Cleveland Browns: Bjorn Werner, DE, Florida State

The Browns have been linked to Dee Milliner in enough reports that I almost wrote his name down out of reflex. Then I thought about it: Ray Horton is installing a brand new defense this year. While another corner would help, the Browns have an elite Joe Haden and a serviceable Sheldon Brown. Why not draft a key cog of any defense adapting to a new scheme, a pass rusher? The Browns have one, Jaball Sheard, but need a second one. Of the class left, Werner is the only one who makes an immediate impact (Ziggy Ansah is too raw).

7. Kansas City Chiefs (Trade): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Sometimes the draft just falls a certain way that a team gets every pick they want. I said for the first pick that the Chiefs should trade, and if not, Dee Milliner would be one of the best picks to make there. So I mocked the Chiefs a trade. And at pick seven, they get the same guy I almost gave them at one. Milliner sures a shaky secondary. Defensive line should be the pick here, but as with Cleveland, they need a DE who can make an immediate impact, and there is none available (who are guarantees).

Part 2

I mocked this before the signing of Duanta Robinson by the Chiefs. Regardless, the pick of Milliner holds merit, as the Chiefs are still pursuing top free agent corners, and may move Robinson to free agency.

8. Buffalo Bills: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

I had Barkevious Mingo here, and was about to start an explanation until I gave it a second thought. Mingo is far too big a risk for a team to take in the Top 10, though someone undoubtedly will. Patterson is such a good receiver prospect though that I think Buffalo will jump on him to give the team another quality ball catcher aside from Stevie Johnson and a couple running backs.

9. New York Jets: Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU

The Jets are reeling. A couple bad offseason moves, and we could be looking at a team who wins one game (at best) next season. But, knowing Rex Ryan and his decision-making, I think there is over a 50% chance that he goes for a home run pick that either gets his team a winning record or a winless season. Ansah is tied with Barkevious Mingo for biggest risk in the first round, but his ceiling is much higher. I think that somehow, this pick works out for the Jets.

10. TRADE (DAL Rd. 1, 2, 2014 Rd. 4-5 for TEN Rd. 1, 6) Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas

This was a hard trade to call. Safety is of far greater need in Dallas after the release of Gerald Sensabaugh, and Vacarro won’t make it past Miami, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis for them to pick at 18. Tennessee’s asking price would be steep, given that dropping down to 18 from 10 would risk them losing Chance Warmack, but an additional second-rounder may persuade them.

11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

You can always tell how desperate a team’s need at a position is based on how fast their round one pick comes in on draft day. I remember the Steelers needed a guard last year, and when the top guy fell, the Steelers were “On the Clock” for around eight seconds before their pick came in. If San Diego stays at 11, and one of the top three tackles falls, I think the Chargers may challenge the Steelers’ record for shortest time on the clock. They never had a solid offensive line group start more than a couple weeks in a row, and offensive tackle may be the worst part if that group.

12. Miami Dolphins: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

This pick is arguably the first curveball I’ve thrown you that didn’t involve a trade. Miami should be focusing on receivers only in Round 1. But with Patterson gone, there are none that deserve to go above pick 20, at least. No trades really make sense because no prospects left are worth a team mortgaging multiple picks on. Ogletree is one of the most athletic linebackers in the class, and the Dolphins could use an improvement at inside or outside linebacker.

13. TRADE (CHI Rd. 1, 2, 2014 Rd. 4-5 for TB Rd. 1, 3) Chicago Bears: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

The Buccanears are going cornerback in the first round. Any other move is dooming the team to a losing season because of a secondary devoid of any #1 or 2 corners. Selecting Desmond Trufant, Jonathan Banks, or Xaiver Rhodes is an extreme reach here. All three should be available near pick 20, which is coincidentally where the Bears are. At a cheaper cost than most (they receive a third-rounder from Tampa, where as my previous trades had the team moving up receiving a sixth at best), the Bears would happily move up to draft an elite O-line prospect. Their O-line could use an improvement at any position but center right now.

14. TRADE (NYG Rd. 1,3 for CAR Rd. 1) New York Giants: Barkevious Mingo, HY, LSU

Yes, another trade. Think back, there were just as many last year in Round 1. The Giants had such immense success with Jason Pierre-Paul that I bet they will forfeit a third-round pick (Carolina doesn’t have any) to a pick-strapped team to ensure they get another pass-rush prospect who is based entirely on his potential and raw athleticism. Carolina will be looking at any potential trade to move down, because they need more picks, and with the prospects remaining, they will get less and less for moving down.

15. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

You may wonder why I have a defensive tackle going to New Orleans when Star Lotulelei is also available at the position. The Saints need a quick turnaround after the Bountygate scandal ruined their season and part of this draft. While Lotulelei can emerge as the best DT in the class, his heart condition makes him a risk that the franchise can’t afford to miss on right now. Richardson is a safer pick with slightly less upside, but that is what the Saints need this year.

16. TRADE (TEN: Rd. 1 (Via DAL), 3 for STL Rd. 1) Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC

Ok, so the Titans draft strategy of trading down and still getting their man back-fired when I mocked Chicago trading to get Warmack. Panicked, and knowing that Pittsburgh is a possibility to take the only other first-round guard in Jonathan Cooper, the Titans trade their third-rounder to move up two spots and get Cooper before he has a chance to be stolen from them. The Titans are reportedly drafting either a guard or a cornerback in the first, and there is little to no quality in later rounds for offensive guards. You can still find a corner in round 2 or 3.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damontre Moore, HY, Texas A&M

Both Jarvis Jones and Star Lotulelei are prospects with Top-5 talent, but have health conditions that could end their careers before they even begin. Pittsburgh would be smart to pick one, but if other talent that can still fill an aging veteran in the starting line-up and sacrifice a slight amount of talent for durability, Pittsburgh will take that. Moore’s stock fell hard after his workout numbers, but Pittsburgh is known for capitalizing on devalued talent and making them great. Whatever weakness in bench reps or 40 times Moore may have, Pittsburgh could improve dramatically.

18. St. Louis Rams (Via TEN & DAL): D. J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

The Rams’ biggest need has to be offensive tackle. Before this, it was thought there would be none available, and it should just wait until Round 2. Fluker’s stock says first round though, and while a slight reach, he could definitely play from day one, and justify his high selection here.

19. Carolina Panthers (Via NYG): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

Finally the tumble of Star ends. Carolina’s need for a defensive tackle may require someone who can be an immediate impact without risk, but Lotulelei’s ceiling is worth it here. Carolina did without a good defensive tackle last year well enough, and if Lotulelei doesn’t reach the potential he has, the Panthers can always pursue a free agent next season, like the Bears’ star Henry Melton.

20. Tampa Bay Buccanears: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

Almost mocked the Bucs trading back again, but with only one corner left who belongs for sure in Round 1, and a possibility that the team I was pairing them with, Indianapolis, moved them far enough down that Banks, Rhodes, and Trufant could all conceivably go before the Bucs are up again, I felt the Bucs would not take the chance in reality and get their guy a little high. Trufant rose during his workouts, and is back in Round 1 after flirting with it last year and early this year.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

And the other major injury risk ends his drop two picks below Lotulelei. The Bengals have no immediate needs that require a first-round pick. A trade is all too real a possibility, but if Jones falls, he is a player at a position that is among the weaker ones in Cincy. I bet they swipe him up happily as a luxury pick.

22. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

By not franchising slot star Danny Amendola, the Rams have created what may be an immense weakness at a position that is vital to Sam Bradford’s (limited) success. Austin is a guy who belongs in the slot, but has quickness exceeding Wes Welker and Amendola. That just sounds like he could be a better slot guy than either of the two aforementioned stars. The Rams could pull off a steal here.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California

The Vikings should look to trade down. Actually, pretty much every team in the rest of Round 1 needs to explore trading down, unless only one prospect with high talent is left at a position of need. I tried pairing the Vikes with someone who could trade up, but there was no one who could make the deal and still secure a good chance Keenan Allen remains on the board for the Vikings (the Vikings’ other need, defensive tackle, offers enough Round 2 talent to forego it in the first). While the Vikings may not get a third-rounder or some other compensation, they do get another receiver that can provide the Vikings with a reason to say “We don’t need you.” Next time Percy Harvin acts up.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Datone Jones, HY, UCLA

The Colts should be looking for a defensive leader here. Their offense is doing well enough, and can be further bolstered in free agency and later rounds. They need an Andrew Luck on defense: a young guy who can step up immediately and make the unit great. Jones is not that guy. But at this point, there hasn’t been a guy capable of such a task on the board since pick 21. Jones could learn a year from the veterans of the pass rush department (keeping Dwight Freeney would have been a better idea should they pick Jones), and follow in their stead his second year.

25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA): Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

Already getting the wide receiver they need to replace the now departed Percy Harvin, this spare pick can be used to make another Williams Wall (albeit, in half a decade, without anyone named Williams present). Short belongs in the late first, the only question is whether or not a team picks him there.

26. Green Bay Packers: Matt Elam, S, Florida

With the number of first-round capable defensive backs falling to Green Bay at 26, I think they’ll avoid trading and take one for their depleted secondary. Casey Heyward is an absolute steal, leaving them with a need at corner and safety. The Packers have a couple solid fillers at corner, but not one at safety. Elam could be the same type of player Nick Collins was for GB before injuries forced him out, except have a longer period of success.

27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

I thought again about mocking a trade for the Texans (I will be considering it for almost every first rounder left), but they will most likely be looking anywhere but receiver in Round 1 (again), and I don’t think their other needs, corner and inside linebacker, will last too long after this pick. Being forced to reach a little is never fun, but Houston will be smart enough to do it. The Texans had what we all thought was arguably the strongest group of front seven people in the league, but trading DeMeco Ryans put a hole in the unit that hurt them all season. Minter could fill that void and right the ship. (I picked Minter and not Tebow Jr. and not Te’o because it takes a need greater than the Texans’ to bring that drama on board, even if the talent says first round.)

28. Denver Broncos: Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

I was planning to mock a trade to Denver, but they need a corner in the first or second round, and the three teams below them (Atlanta, New England, and San Francisco) may all go corner themselves. Similar to Houston, the Broncos will be smart enough to reach for a need when forced to. Xaiver Rhodes is rated higher by every major prospect ranker I have seen, but from all the reports I’ve been reading (as a freshman college student can’t typically get reports himself), Banks is higher on every team’s draft board. With the potential release of one starter, Terry Porter, and the impending retirement of the other starter, Champ Bailey, Denver needs a corner who can play fast.

29. New England Patriots: Xaiver, Rhodes, CB, Florida State

I wouldn’t put it past New England to pull wait for Denver to pick a corner, and risk that it isn’t Banks. The Patriots are linked to Banks more than most teams, and, if their small risk doesn’t pay off, I bet they swap Rhodes (or whichever corner they grab here) and a third or fourth rounder for Banks. Regardless, New England needs a corner nearly as badly as Denver, with the team unlikely to bring back Aquib Talib, given that the team thinks him a risk, and Talib wants a major deal. Keep in mind though that New England, aside from last year, never picks their biggest need in Round 1, so this may all be a moot point.

30. TRADE (CIN Rd. 2 (Via OAK), 2 for ATL Rd. 1, 5) Cincinnati Bengals: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame

The Falcons have many needs this draft, but the primary ones will be available for the earlier of the two second round picks the Bengals will give them. Three picks in the second round will allow Atlanta to fill more holes with players that are qualified. Cincy is known for taking risks through the offseason on players with less-than-model character, and Te’o’s story is 90% media-blown anyway. Teams know that. With the hard feelings between the team and former starter Rey Maualuga (expected to sign elsewhere), the Bengals may steal Te’o before he falls two picks later to a Baltimore team who would be more than happy to have him.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Corrnelius Carradine, DE, Florida State

The 49ers only true need this offseason is cornerback. There’s no one the team would take here. Safety is also a concern, but they have another pick three picks later. This kind of pick is where franchises like New England, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh draw the ire of all the other teams in the league: they steal the players whose injuries drop them below what a bad team can feasibly select and still improve their team. Carradine was a Top 5 pick before he got hurt early in the year. Had he not been hurt, he would likely be the leading candidate for top overall pick now. San Francisco absolutely steals one here.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

This is the exact pick that would probably cause a violent temper in the Falcons’ war room. The Falcons traded down two picks earlier in the hopes of still getting Okafor (and having the extra pick to use). Baltimore needs a replacement to Paul Kruger, and Okafor is the type of defensive end who could also, with a year’s time, make for an immensely-sized linebacker.

Part 2

Even with the glaring need at receiver left by the Anquan Boldin trade, not a receiver has been taken that the Ravens planned on being available at their pick anyways. With all their planned options still available, the Ravens can look elsewhere in the first, and let the receiver need go until round two.

ROUND 2

33. Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, QB, USC

I have a feeling the reason Barkley is falling below other QB’s on people’s boards is because he is the only QB that the media consistently attacks his flaws. I don’t care if he went to a school whose last three star QB prospects either busted out or were injury-prone. Barkley has shown he belongs as a top QB selected, and the Jaguars know that. Even if attacks at Barkley are true, the Jaguars stink at drafting QB’s. Just look at Byron Leftwich and Blaine Gabbert.

34. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, S, LSU

I think the 49ers will end their pursuits of Dashon Goldson. Between franchise tagging and the potentially hefty contract some desperate team will throw at him, the 49ers can draft a replacement and have cap room in reserve for something down the road. I gave them Reid over Cyprien because the 49ers like their taller, lankier safeties (Reid has 2 inches on Cyprien), and Cyprien doesn’t have the same level of competition on his resume that Reid does.

35. Philadelphia Eagles: Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC

It was a tackle either way for Philly. I just see there being less of a need for the offensive side (the issue is their starters can’t stay healthy) than the defensive (they released both of last year’s starters in February). Williams may not belong this high, but not a single draft expert can deny that Williams may have the best potential of any defensive tackle.

36. Detroit Lions: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International

The Lions almost completely destroyed the Falcons’ hopes and dreams, and drafted the only other potentially first round defensive end left (see next pick). The team is likely to get Cliff Avril signed to a long-term deal though (however much they must forfeit in pride and $$$ to do so), where as safety needs a savior. Cyprien, as mentioned before, hasn’t faced that elite of competition yet, but the Lions are desperate, and Cyprien is the last top safety prospect remaining.

37. Atlanta Falcons: Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist

So the trading down gamble finally bites a team in the butt. Okafor is gone, but Hunt is a player with an unhuman power/speed combination. He is a risk (very raw), but it’s one of those guilty pleasure things you justify in your head as “necessary”. In this case, Baltimore’s taking Okafor is the excuse to make Atlanta’s taking of Hunt “vital” to success.

38. Kansas City Chiefs (Trade): Dallas Thomas, OL, Tennessee

It is up in the air for Brandon Albert’s future with the team. First they franchised him, then asked him to change to right tackle instead of left, and now there are rumors they tagged him just so they can ship him out for picks. Regardless, another offensive lineman could be used at guard or tackle, especially with the very questionable decision of releasing Eric Winston. Thomas can play guard or tackle, which makes him a great pick here.

39. TRADE (BUF Rd. 2, 2014 Rd. 3 for NYJ Rd. 2) Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

Both the Jets and the Bills need a quarterback in the first two rounds of the draft. Bills coach Doug Marrone wants the guy he coached in college playing for him in the pros. The Jets will be looking QB, and if Nassib is the best one available, the Bills will be pressured to trade up to get him. I’m guessing that, assuming the Jets also like Nassib more, they will happily select Tyler Wilson over Nassib if they get a third-rounder out of it. The two are ranked too close to each other to differentiate.

40. Tennessee Titans: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State

Tennessee needs two defensive starters in this draft: cornerback and defensive tackle. Poyer is the last fringe-first rounder who has solidified his status as such, and only two teams lie between the pick here and the one the Titans acquired in the mock-Dallas trade. When you need multiple immediate starters, you have to pick where the value is.

41. New York Jets (Trade): Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

The Jets can draft a quarterback in Round 2. There’s going to be enough drama and controversy next season on that team that even Fireman Ed might convert to a Giants fan. Adding Wilson can not possibly increase the media scrutiny of the team – it’s already at the highest level allowed by human sanity. The Jets might as well draft a guy who could improve the position. He can’t be any worse than Sanchez.

42. Miami Dolphins: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

The Dolphins need all sorts of help in getting Ryan Tannehill targets. With the resigning of Brian Hartline, tight end needs to be as large a priority as receiver #2. Eifert is an absolute steal as a second-rounder. Miami will be salivating into buckets if he comes close to them here.

43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama

The Bucs don’t necessarily need O-line starters in this draft. But in a couple years, when there are numerous holes that may need filled, having a guy with former first-round talent in Jones who can fill any of those holes, not just one position, is never a bad second round pick.

44. Carolina Panthers: Robert Woods, WR, USC

If not for Matt Barkley’s bad play and a plethora of offensive woes this season, Woods would be right up there near the Top 10 with Cordarelle Patterson. His stock jumps everytime teams watch his gametape and look at his numbers, so I have no doubt he will be the first receiver off the board in round two.

45. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia

The Chargers need to stop the revolving door at defensive tackle. Jenkins is a mammoth on the field. San Diego fans would welcome him with open arms, as he is bigger and just as talented as Jamal Williams, their last great defensive tackle.

46. St. Louis Rams: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

The Rams have to be the luckiest team in the draft. Not only have they filled three of their biggest needs in their first three picks, the top running back of the class fell to them for that third pick. Lacy is a fringe first-rounder who could go to a number of teams, either through trading up or just naturally, in the first five picks of Round 2. The Rams would be happy for him to take over for Steven Jackson.

47. Tennessee Titans (Trade): Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

The Titans have needed another defensive tackle for awhile. Hankins is a little bigger than the type of player Tennessee prefers, but then again, he is a little bigger than 99% of the world’s population. It’s not the size that matters, but the ability.

48. Pittsburgh Steelers: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky

Another of the Senior Bowl and Combine monsters, Warford could go much, much higher than this. The Steelers, even though they drafted a guard in the first last year, could use another one, if not to start, then for depth, which they always seem to need to go to. Warford won’t get past them, if he even falls this far.

49. New York Giants: Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State

Even though the Giants took a pass rusher in the first, they need a pure inside linebacker as well. Brown did not play inside in college, but he grades out so much better (and talented) as an NFL inside linebacker than as a pass rusher that I think the Giants will take a chance on him for the starting job.

50. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Trade): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

The Bucs’ experiment to draft Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn, and DaQuan Bowers failed. Their defensive line still isn’t that good. McCoy just started playing how they expected him to when he got drafted #3, Clayborn has always been pretty good, and Bowers has been an absolute failure. With no quality pass rushers left (I don’t think the Bucs will risk a pick on Sam Montgomery after Bowers failed so quickly), defensive tackle is the pick. Jonathan Hankins is a nose tackle, which doesn’t fit the Bucs’ scheme. Williams is also a little out of place, but he can convert to compliment Gerald McCoy.

51. Washington Redskins: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State

The Redskins’ first priority of the entire offseason has to be protecting the player they traded their future for: RG3. They got a glimpse of the horror that happens to the team when he goes down with a severe injury. Quality offensive linemen are needed. Watson is the best tackle left, so he gets the pick. The Skins’ draft strategy should be that simple.

52. Minnesota Vikings: David Amerson, CB, N.C. State

Amerson still has his first round talent that made him the top corner in preseason mock drafts. That talent is just hidden now behind some obvious flaws in his defensive ability. The Vikings, as well as other teams, have to know that the potential in Amerson never left, and they’ll tab him to fill their void.

53. Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Long, OT, Oregon

The Falcons need offensive line depth. The tackles failed often enough that the play of Matt Ryan and Michael Turner suffered a little. With a worse running back situation next season, better O-linemen are needed more importantly than before. Long will take a year or two to develop, but he’ll be a great value pick in two or three years.

54. Miami Dolphins: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

This pick will be close between Hopkins and Justin Hunter of Tennessee. Hunter is still ranked higher, on average, because of the brief period of time where he held top receiver status. But Hopkins has a much higher ceiling, and a good amount of big play ability. By draft day I think he will have a slight edge.

55. Green Bay Packers: Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers

By this point in my mock, trades come with absolutely no rhyme or reason; so much so, in fact, that even I, he who predicted 6 trades in the first round over two months before the draft, won’t even try anymore. Green Bay can get by without a first-round corner, but they need so much secondary help that a safety and corner on back-to-back picks may be a great course of action. Ryan has been mocked as high as the late first, and either he or Jamar Taylor from BSU are options here.

56. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse

Seattle’s whole draft strategy is different now. Before, they were looking for at least two players to help Russell Wilson and someone to provide defensive depth. Now, they have one less pick to maneuver with. Protection for their franchise player is the biggest need left, and late in the second, Pugh provides the best value.

57. TRADE (DEN Rd. 2, 6 for HOU Rd. 2) Denver Broncos: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State

One of the final players to have jumped this high because of freak athlete workout numbers, Williams remains the only DT who belongs in the first two rounds. The Broncos gamble to wait for one of the many defensive tackles left after round one failed, as they have to give up their sixth rounder to prevent Houston from taking their last hope for an instant starter (if Williams even plays that well immediately). This draft is so deep though that there will be some Opening Week starters who don’t even get drafted! A sixth rounder is worth more than a sixth in most other drafts, and Houston will move down one spot for it.

58. Houston Texans (Trade): Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech

While I don’t envision the Texans ever learning their lesson and taking a receiver in the first round, I think they’ll wise up and get one here. The value is sure to depreciate fast between their pick here and next, but quality talent will be taken at a slower rate at other positions of need.

59. New England Patriots: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

I am getting sick just mocking these players to New England. The Patriots need a corner. Xaiver Rhodes falls through round one to them. They need a future franchise receiver. Justin Hunter falls to the end of round two, fit to develop a year or two before he’s needed as a starter. Anyways, that’s all for this pick. You should realize from my attitude that it’s a great pick here.

60. Atlanta Falcons: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State

One of the most surprising names I have heard in the first round discussion is Jamar Taylor. The talent just doesn’t seem to be there in my opinion. Late second round seems like prime range for him, at least for now. He could rise up to first round candidacy. The Falcons would love to get a franchise replacement for Brent Grimes if he leaves, and insurance if he comes back.

61. San Francisco 49ers: Blidh Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut

A name almost as surprising to hear in round one as Taylor’s from last pick, W2 (Yes, I am nicknaming him that. Trademark it.) seems to belong more in the mid-round discussion. I am predicting W2 to be a benefactor from stock inflation the weeks before the draft, which will balloon him up to a team who needs more than just an early-round two safety to solidify their secondary.

62. Baltimore Ravens: Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia

The Ravens get their Anquan Boldin replacement. I had Terrence Williams slotted here because he was ranked in the first round up until a couple weeks ago, but the Ravens have their deep threats in Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. They need a possession/slot guy to play as Boldin did. Bailey isn’t as close to that role as his teammate at WVU, Tavon Austin, but he fits the bill better than any receiver the Ravens should consider taking here.

ROUND 3

63: Kansas City Chiefs: Corey Lemonier, HY, Auburn

Resigning Dwayne Bowe eliminates the need to use an early pick on a receiver. Lemonier improves a shaky pass rush that needs depth.

64. Jacksonville Jaguars: Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State

A blazing 40 yard dash at the Combine put Slay on the map, and the Jags need a corner to replace free agent Derek Cox.

65. Detroit Lions: Khassim Greene, OLB, Rutgers

The pick here comes down to linebacker or running back. With the amount of serviceable platoon backs on the free agent market, linebacker should be addressed in the draft instead. Greene could go higher, but there just isn’t as prominent a need for pure outside linebackers in the draft.

66. Oakland Raiders: Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State

Oh how the Raiders wish they had numerous third round picks. They could get a safety, a quarterback (EJ Manuel most likely), and the speedy receiver (Marquise Goodwin) they love so much. Their secondary is bad enough that it should take priority.

67. Philadelphia Eagles: EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

So it is no secret that new coach Chip Kelly is looking for guys that belong in “his scheme”, which for the uninterested family man, means everyone needs to be wicked fast. Manuel has more speed than most quarterbacks in the draft, but he will be nothing but a back-up competitor with the apparently good Nick Foles (at least this season).

68. Cleveland Browns: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma

I’m sorry, but if Usama Young represents your long-term future at safety, you need another competitor or two for the starting job. Jefferson also provides leadership ability for a defense lacking in it.

69. Arizona Cardinals: Sam Montgomery, HY, LSU

Montgomery is about one bad mistake away from tying Vontaze Burfict for the longest draft free-fall. Both were mid-first round picks; Burfict’s issues helped him go undrafted. Montgomery’s agent reportedly quit on him – agents will take all the money they can get, especially from a first-round prospect. Montgomery has to be messing up bad for that to happen. The Cardinals will be thinking home run in this draft to try and turn last year’s 4-1 start into a playoff spot next year. Montgomery is looking more like a bust than HR, but let the Cards try.

70. St. Louis Rams (Trade): TJ McDonald, S, USC

The Rams will be looking safety and linebacker. There a few linebackers left, but only two safeties. McDonald is the better of the two, and the Rams will take him before the quality at the safety position disappears.

71. Buffalo Bills: Brandon Jenkins, HY, Florida State

The smarter pick may be an offensive tackle for the Bills’ patchwork offensive line. I just don’t see the team using their first three picks on offense when their defense was so bad last year. Jenkins can fill holes for whichever section of the front seven is ailing most at the time.

72. New York Jets: Giovanni Bernard, RB, North Carolina

I would assume the Jets won’t be big players on the running back free agent market, given that their cap situation is probably one of the worst in the NFL. Shonn Greene never panned out as a bruiser back, so they’ll go in a different direction and see what a speedier guy can do for them.

73. Chicago Bears (Trade): Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia

The Bears should do what they need to to protect Jay Cutler. The offensive line needs three or four new starters. The defense was good enough that early picks don’t need spent on it, and the offense is good enough that the only issues are the O-line. A guard from the first (Warmack) and Aboushi here would be an amazing draft thus far for the Bears.

74. San Francisco 49ers: Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech

Offensive line depth is key if a young quarterback is to continue to succeed. The starters may be in place now, but it only takes one injury to put Kaep at risk. Best to get a mid-round guy before they’re all swiped up.

75. New Orleans Saints: D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina

The Saints need to use almost all their picks on defense. Their offense looks like a Super Bowl contender, but their defense looks like a perennial 4-12 team. Roman Harper is not getting any younger, and Malcolm Jenkins is a converted corner. Swearinger provides more talent than any available corner could. Corners are also littering the free agent market, and the Saints should be able to get one for their strapped cap range.

76. San Diego Chargers: Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas

The pick should be Will Davis, a corner out of Utah State. The free agent market is full of cornerbacks though, and the Chargers got the cap room for one. I don’t think the Chargers will give up on Ryan Matthews just yet (one more year of failure should change their minds), leaving last year’s shoddy receiving corp. as a target for repair. Goodwin right now is a one-trick pony: all speed. Mike Wallace is likely getting a $11-12 million deal for being that type of receiver. It’s worth a shot.

77. Miami Dolphins: Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State

Reggie Bush is looking more and more likely to leave Miami for Detroit, Arizona, or the like. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas wait to replace him. Thomas has had chances though, and has not been starter material. Miller may have what the team is looking for, but another back as an insurance policy won’t hurt.

78. St. Louis Rams: Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M

Robert Quinn has flirted with moving to defensive end. If he does complete the switch, the Rams have no fully reliable rush linebackers. Porter gets an edge over Chase Thomas due to the latter’s falling draft stock.

79. Pittsburgh Steelers: Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia

With the Steelers’ style of safety they like to have, a last name like Rambo fits perfectly! Rambo may not have third round ability, but the Steelers are the best team in the league at getting the players they want in the draft, even if they need to reach a little. Having faith in their previous draft’s picks at running back and corner, safety will be a higher priority assuming a steal doesn’t fall to them.

80. Dallas Cowboys: Alvin Bailey, OG, Arkansas

This may be the worst draft for guards (in terms of number available) I’ve ever seen. After the two first-round studs and a second-round riser, Bailey is all that’s left in the next couple rounds. The Cowboys need a new guard fast. Bailey needs to be the pick in the third (if available).

81. Carolina Panthers (Trade): Will Davis, CB, Utah State

The Panthers have a couple major needs, but one of them isn’t that known about: cornerback. They need some new starters, and Davis is a tier above everybody left at the position.

82. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Simon, HY, Ohio State

The Dolphins essentially have a luxury pick here. They could use it on any position but quarterback, and the pick will compete to play right away. Simon is the last outside linebacker/defensive end combo that deserves to go in the first four rounds. I’m guessing that the Dolphins will give way to some minor needs in exchange for someone who could become a vital part of the defense.

83. Minnesota Vikings: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford

I would love the Vikings to get Tyler Bray here. He could replace Christian Ponder (who I am labeling bust) in a year or two when the Vikings want to move on. The immediate need is at linebacker, where different unheard-of players have been revolving in and out for a couple years. Thomas gives them a chance to stop signing such players.

84. Cincinnati Bengals: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

The Bengals have no needs in this draft. Any they may consider “needs” are actually just depth issues that won’t become needs for a year or two. One of those “needs” is running back, where nobody believes BenJarvus Green-Ellis can keep up a starter’s performance for more than another year or two. Lattimore is a former Top-10 pick who will (yes, I am guaranteeing) be a Pro Bowler (if he can go two or three years in a row without injury). The Bengals have the picks to pull off such steals this year.

85. Washington Redskins: DeVonte Holloman, OLB, South Carolina

The Redskins need some new defenders. First priority, corner, has no more value in the third, and can be saved for the fourth or a cheap repair off the free agent market. Linebacker is second, and Holloman’s level of talent, combined with the school’s pedigree for front seven rushers (Melvin Ingram, Devin Taylor, and JaDeveon Clowney), should be enough to sway Washington into drafting him.

86. Indianapolis Colts: Marcus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State

The Colts got dealt a blow when they chose not to resign Austin Collie because of immense injury issues. They now need a third receiver to compete for the starting job. Wheaton has better starter material than Donnie Avery or T.Y Hilton have shown yet, and will help Andrew Luck develop even further.

87. Seattle Seahawks: Chris Faulk, OT, LSU

A young team who needs to protect and provide for their young quarterback, Seattle doubles up on O-linemen with their first two picks of the draft. Trading for Percy Harvin cost them their first pick, but a new receiver and two new linemen should make Russell Wilson look a lot better than a one-year fluke.

88. Green Bay Packers: Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin

Arguably the least sexy a draft pick can be, drafting a center is like eating vegetables – we all got to do it from time to time, but no one really finds it a happy or exciting experience.

89. Houston Texans: Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana

The Texans’ destruction at the hand of Tom Brady showed them that they’ll need some depth in the secondary to contend with teams like the Patriots, Falcons, and 49ers. Alford has been rumored to have a serious medical condition that could end his career early. The Texans do need secondary help, but with the amount of cornerbacks that will likely go unsigned by the preseason in a very deep market, the Texans can afford a risk.

90. Denver Broncos: Kevin Reddick, ILB, North Carolina

This pick is a reach. But with the release of D.J. Williams, the Broncos need an inside linebacker, and can’t afford to have a run of them go before their next pick. Reddick was a first-round prospect before he went back to school for another year. He has been showing scouts flashes since then that he still has that talent.

91. New England Patriots: Jaime Collins, OLB, Southern Miss

The Patriots have a luxury pick. A smart move would be to trade Ryan Mallett to a QB-desperate team (like Cleveland, who has reported interest) while his value is high. Glennon and Bray would each have a year minimum to learn from Brady, then attempt to take his place. Collins is an athletic freak though who needs time to learn how to well-round his game. He’ll have just that in New England.

92. Atlanta Falcons: Jordan Reed, TE, Florida

Tony Gonzalez is back for another year. That may be joyful noise to Atlanta, who would have had to blow their first or second rounder on a replacement. Reed could learn from the best of all-time for a season, and possibly provide enough hope that a first rounder doesn’t need reserved next year for a tight end.

93. San Francisco 49ers: Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut

The 49ers are in a similar position to the Patriots two weeks earlier. They could use another linebacker to add depth, but they can draft one with room to learn. Moore is a great sleeper pick, and could contribute late his rookie year if he learns from the Smiths how to sack at their level.

94. Baltimore Ravens: Dwayne Gratz, CB, Connecticut

The Ravens lost Cary Williams to free agency, Jimmy Smith can’t stop getting penalized, and LaDarius Webb is coming off a season-ending injury. Gratz is a good insurance pick in a draft class that is drawing thinner by the round.

 

 

My next mock draft will be up after free agency has substantially slowed down, and teams have started issuing fake reports as to who they’re “scouting heavily”.

Welcome to the next NFL year!

God Bless, and Happy Early Easter (if I’m not posting again by then)!

– Dan

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