Draft boards are set, coaches have laid their last hints and smoke screens to the media, the marquee players are picking up their suits, and draft-niks around the web are typing up their final mock drafts while blaring ‘80's Swedish rock "The Final Countdown" in the background. It's that special time where sports bloggers can get their last player wish lists/arguments out before the big show starts April 25th at 8PM EST.
A lot has changed in the days leading up to the draft, with the Jets trading Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay the Buccaneers no longer have a first and the Jets have two picks that could drastically affect how the draft plays out. We've also heard from Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim some recently dropped hints at picking up an offensive lineman in the first round.
So let's see how the final mock breaks down, and as always, your comments are welcome. That's what the whole thing is about!
There has been a lot of talk about Kansas shopping their pick and trying to trade down, and I've only seen one situation where it seems possible in the latest Kiper Grade A pick-by pick. Kiper has Detroit moving up to snag Dee Milliner first overall, while still allowing Kansas to pick up Eric Fisher at no. 5, but I can't see it happening. Joeckel has the upside, and Alex Smith needs some protection if he's going to be effective.
The Jaguars finally address an ailing pass rush with one of my favorite pass rushing prospects in the draft.
Consensus pick at number three, but could also be Milliner.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Eagles drafting a tackle here makes a lot of sense, especially with Dion Jordan off the board. I really think Chip Kelly would pick one of his guys if Jordan lasted to no. 4, but Fisher is one heck of a consolation prize.
Surprised Detroit is not taking a tackle at number five? I wouldn't be, Detroit plays in one of the best offensive divisions in the league, and they were a CB carousel last year. Milliner is a great talent and with Fisher off the board he's a great improvement to their secondary.
This is a trade I can seriously see happening. A little bit of need, greed, and gamesmanship from the Cardinals former head coach. The Chargers will want a top offensive tackle and they know the Cardinals want one as well so they'll trade up to take Johnson before the Cardinals get the opportunity. The Browns want to trade back to select Warmack or Cooper and gladly accept the trade. I can almost see Whisenhunt smirking at the Cardinals as his new team selects at lineman talent in the first round after he had neglected to do so for so many years.
7. New York Jets (via Arizona Cardinals): Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
With the extra pick from the Revis trade the Jets move up to select Mingo and the Cardinals slide back to 13 and pick up some extra picks to give the new front office more ability to add their group of guys. Now with the 9th the Jets can target Vaccaro knowing they have their pass rusher.
Ansah will allow the investment in Mario Williams to show more dividends.
The Jets are loving life with two top talents in Vaccaro and Mingo. Their defense will be stout in '13.
This seems to be the consensus pick at number 10. The Titans running game has been terrible and needs to be addressed, Cooper is a mauler and talented.
The Browns had a great off season and they could go defense here, but after adding so many pieces I think they pick Warmack and love the extra picks from San Diego. Best line I've read about the Browns picking Warmack, "Trent Richardson approves this pick".
The Dolphins are another contender who I would not be surprised if they try to trade up for a tackle, and I wouldn't be surprised if they selected Fluker here, but there is a strong connection between the Dolphins and Rhodes. He's the second best corner in the draft and fills a strong need for them.
13. Arizona Cardinals ( via Bucs to Jets): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Cardinals pick up extra picks, and one of the fastest rising talents in the tackle pool. This is a win-win for Arizona.
Star will fill a huge hole on the Panthers defense. This could also be Richardson, the consensus pick.
The Saints want to add a big DT and they'll do it with either Star or Sheldon, who ever is available will be going to ‘Nola.
Austin is a chance for a new and improved version of Danny Amendola. We'll see if he can stay healthier than his predecessor.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia.
Jones is a great pass rushing prospect and will fill in nicely for James Harrison.
Jay Ratliff hasn't been the answer for the Cowboys and Williams is a 313 lb answer to the Cowboys need versus the run and against the pass. Williams is tough, durable, and is a great pick at 18.
Some talent infusion into the middle of the defense would be a good think in New York. They have to know if they don't take Ogletree here Chicago will, but if they have a DT on their board that is higher they could go that way as well.
Prior to the Bears signing TE Martellus Bennett I had a TE filled into this spot because Jay Cutler needed someone with hands to dump the ball off to. But with that hole filled the Bears have needs at CB and LB and could pick Manti Te'o at 20 to fill their needs. I think Trufant is the better player here.
The Bengals add Patterson to fight Sanu for the WR No. 2 slot, and it's a win-win for the Bengals to identify the compliment to A. J. Green and add depth in case one of their weapons goes down due to injury.
22. St. Louis Rams: Eric Reid, FS, LSU
The Rams need to work on protection for Sam Bradford but Reid is a good pick to help their secondary which will need all the help it can get in the NFC Best this year.
23. Minnesota Vikings: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
In prior drafts we had the Vikings picking a WR at 23, but after the Vikings added Greg Jennings and resigned Jerome Simpson the need shifts to the hole in the defensive line. John Jenkins is a NT who is massive. At 6' 3" and 346 lbs his terrific against the run has a good motor to get push on the pocket and can draw the double team.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
His 6' 4" frame and large wing span will give more opportunity for Andrew Luck to do what he does best and chuck the ball down the field.
The Vikings have lost one of their starting linebackers to the Cardinals and can upgrade that position with Te'o.
The Packers flirted with many RBs in free agency and could still end up with a 26 years young, but often injured, Ahmed Bradshaw, but until then I think it's best to identify a solution to the woes that have been the Packers running game for the past two seasons.
Allen is a talent upgrade and will be more like a WR1b who can grow into the role and take pressure off of an aging Andre Johnson.
Werner is a great disruptive force to the offensive line and will be an impact player after the loss of Elvis Dumerville in Free Agency.
Watson is a depth signing here and will get time to grow in the system and compete for a starting spot. But this really is a depth pick due to the lack of talent on the Patriots offensive line, which was evident deep in the playoffs when players became injured or needed spot relief due to cramps.
The Falcons pick Gonzalez's heir and through his good graces he even agrees to come back for "one last ride" to try and win that evasive championship. Eifert is in a great position to learn from a future Hall of Famer and contribute to a pass heavy offense that knows how to use a TE.
With the signing of Asomugha recently, the 49ers can draft TE talent to support their TE heavy sets.
The Ravens lost both ILBs and need to find replacements fast. Minter is a stout defender who is durable and is a sound tackler. He'll have huge shoes to fill in Baltimore, but he's been called a "pro's pro" and is the type of player that could be just the leader that will be missing on the Ravens defense.
Some notables who were not picked in the first round: Geno Smith, or any other QB for that matter. In a draft class this weak in QB talent I wouldn't be surprised if Smith is not taken until the Jets second pick, or there is trading picks on the second day for someone to move up and snag him sometime after no. 32.