Thank God for draft season. In what would normally be a major lull in the off season for other major sports leagues, the NFL has its fans undivided attention, focusing on its future employees. With the combine come and gone and pro days just around the corner draft season, the draft current sits in its second most exciting portion (the top being the draft, obviously). Fans are drooling over prospective potential superstars and debating the verisimilitude of inexhaustible supply of mock drafts on the Internet. So without further delay, here is another on of those mock drafts.
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M. What we thought was a foregone conclusion with the acquisition of QB Alex Smith, the Chiefs have muddied the picture at number one by franchising LT Brandon Albert on Monday. Joeckel is no longer a sure bet for the first selection. Could Milliner be in play as the first CB ever to be taken first overall?
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU. The idiom "all bark and no bite" needs not pertain to Barkevious Mingo. Mingo fits new HC Gus Bradley's LEO position perfectly, and should finally give Jacksonville an elite pass rusher.
3. Oakland Raiders - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida. A lot rides on what Oakland decides to do with Carson Palmer. Assuming he is kept on roster (and presumably at a discounted price), the Raiders need to add impact talent all over the field. Floyd is a great first step in doing just that.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon. Reunited and it feels so good. New Eagles head coach and former Oregon Ducks HC Chip Kelly gets his guy with the fourth selection, literally. But by no means is this favouritism. Jordan is a blue chip prospect. His length and mobility put his potential through the roof.
5. Detroit Lions - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan. Stalwart Left tackle Jeff Backus is currently set to become a free agent, and even if he is retained, Backus is no longer the same lineman he once was. 2012 draftee Riley Rieff looks destined for interior offensive line play (at best a right tackle) leaving the left tackle of the future position up for grabs. Fisher is a bonafide top 5 prospect.
6. Cleveland Browns - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama. Mumurs of Milliner moving up are starting to circulate, but if he's available to Cleveland at six, they have to pull the trigger. Milliner is a top three talent, and would elevate Cleveland into the conversation for best secondary in the NFL.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. This seems to have become the popular selection now that Smith is no longer being mocked to the Chiefs. Geno's skill set and its cohesion with Arians' offensive style has been discussed ad naseum, because it is true. Smith is a seemingly great fit for Arizona, and at this point in the draft process, it seems like a great pick in both value and need for the Cards.
8. Buffalo Bills - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia. Health is a big question in the case of Jarvis Jones, but it seems as though those concerns have been quelled, and Jones is back as a legitimate top ten prospect. I would almost guarantee that Buffalo will be looking for a quarterback for their pick in the second round, though.
9. New York Jets - Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU. It seems as though every team in the NFL could list pass rusher as a position of need, but for the Jets it wuld appear to be THE position of need. The Jets desperately need a pass rushing playmaker and Ansah could be that guy.
10. Tennessee Titans - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama. This is probably a bit too high to take a guard, but after barring witness to Arizona's right guard this season coupled with my willingness to have drafted DeCastro at 13 last season, I can see the value of good interior line play. Warmack is a difference maker on the inside.
11. San Diego Chargers - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma. Johnson rounds out the very solid top three Left tackle prospect group for this draft class, barely missing out of the top ten. San Diego is in desperate need of young offensive line talent, and Johnson should provide that and anchor River's blindside.
12. Miami Dolphins - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee. Tannehill could really use some weapons. I mean, when your best option is Brian Hartline (and yes, I do remember THAT game) it speaks volumes about the unit as a whole. Cordarrelle has a chance to become a top tier WR.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri. Best player available, as simple as that. RIchardson has slid a bit, so Tampa Bay gladly scoops him up and adds another great talent to an already impressive defensive line.
14. Carolina Panthers - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah. It'll be really hard for a team to take a chance on Lotulelei in the top ten, but the upside is too great to let him slip out of the top 15. Enter Carolina, who desperately needs DT.
15. New Orleans Saints - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State. The Saints secondary is a veritable mess, but grabbing a coverage man like Rhodes will certainly help.
16. St. Louis Rams - Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas. The Rams would be well served to not have Craig Dahl start at safety anymore. The Arizona Cardinals would not be well served to have Kenny Vacarro replace him.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - DaMontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M. Moore has experience playing in various positions on the front seven, and that could serve the Steelers well as they could use some patching up on the front seven.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Bjorn Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State. At some point the Cowboys are going to have to stop franchising Anthony Spencer, and when they do, Werner will be ready to step in on the other side of DeMarcus Ware.
19. New York Giants - Jamie Collins, DE/OLB, Southern Miss. Is Collins a perfect fit on the the New York defense? Probably not. But you'd better believe that Coughlin can find a way to utilize Collins. Versatile player.
20. Chicago Bears - D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama. Chicago may be the only team anywhere close to the Cardinals in terms of protection ineptitude. Fluker is an improvement on either side of Chicago's offensive line.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame. Truth be told, Jermaine Gresham is not all that great. Adding Eifert gives the Bengals another great young weapon. Dalton, Green, and Eifert are a great core.
22. St. Louis Rams - Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama. Steven Jackson's out of St. Louis and Eddie Lacy seems like a great potential replacement for Jackson. Similar play styles between these two men.
23. Minnesota Vikings - Keenan Allen, WR, California. It seems all but set that Minnesota will be seriously looking at all wide reciever options here, and Allen fits the bill as a legitimate number one option for Ponder.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State. The magic of a good QB. This team is drafting far away from where they should talent-wise, but Luck is a special QB. Banks adds much needed talent to a poor secondary.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State. Potentially terrifying selection for the Cardinals. Seattle already has a great defense, and if Carradine comes back healthy, that group is elevated into top three discussion.
26. Green Bay Packers - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia. Bye bye Driver, bye bye Jennings. James Jones and Jordy Nelson should still provide solid production on the outside for the Packers and Austin should carve up teams from the slot with Rodgers delivering the ball.
27. Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson.Will this be the year that the Texans finally find someone to line up on the other side of Andre Johnson? Their Super Bowl hopes may rely on it.
28. Denver Broncos - Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International. What do you give the team that has everything? Denver features arguably the two biggest difference makers on both sides of the ball in Manning and Miller. Cyprien likely wont challenge them, but adds need talent at the safety position.
29. New England Patriots - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington. It would appear as though Aqib Talib is on his way out of New England, so the Pats look for his replacement in the very talented Trufant.
30. Atlanta Falcons - Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia. Another proof as to the importance and impact of a great QB. Atlanta has a lot of holes, but adding Ogletree helps build a stronger front seven. Big window in Atlanta with the young Ryan at the helm.
31. San Francisco 49ers - Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State.12 draft picks. The Super Bowl runner ups have 12 picks in this draft. Stockpile talent and depth. The Niners could be very good for a while. Crap.
32. Baltimore Ravens - Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame. Vontaze Burfict was a popular mock selection to the Ravens last year, and the Ravens would have been well served to follow that. Now the infamous Manti Te'o is the popular pick. It makes to much sense not to happen, so it probably won't happen then.