1) Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel – OT – Texas A&M – It is clear the Chiefs are going for a left tackle given their offseason moves. Eric Fisher has made a case to be taken first, but Joeckel has long been the best player in this draft. He is good in both pass and run blocking, and will be able to start from week 1.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars – Ezekiel Ansah – DE – BYU – Fun stat, last season J.J. Watt had 20.5 sacks, the Jaguars had 20. Needless to say a pass rusher is a major need. Ansah is a cool story. Born and raised in Ghana, enrolled at BYU in 2008, ran track in 2009, first played football in 2010, and is now a freak athlete with raw skills that can really make an impact on a team that is still a few years away.
3) Oakland Raiders – Sharif Floyd – DT – Florida – I originally liked Star Lotulelei for the Raiders, but the heart issue that came up at the combine will cause him to fall, which leaves Sharif as the best defensive tackle. He is not a pass rusher, but is certainly a run stuffer.
4) Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Fisher – OT – Central Michigan – A lot of people have Geno Smith going here, and while I think he would be a good fit for the Eagles, I don’t see any QB being worthy of a pick in the top 20-25. The Eagles pass protection has been terrible the past couple years, and with Chip Kelly coming in and expected to run a read option offense, the Eagles desperately need someone that can protect the quarterback.
5) Detroit Lions – Dee Miliner – CB – Alabama – Ideally the Lions would like to see Fisher or Ansah fall to them, but Miliner will definitely help an ugly secondary. His speed is a little less than ideal, but he is big and physical, and may be able to make up for lack of speed by using his body to slow opponents receivers.
6) Cleveland Browns – Chance Warmack – G – Alabama – The Crimson Tide offensive line draft prosects have become a trendy list of bust candidates, but I love Warmack. Warmack has the skills of a tackle, but because he is just 6-2, he will be stuck in the interior. He can overpower defensive tackles, and gets to the second level as good as anyone. I look forward to seeing him as the pulling lead blocker ahead of Trent Richardson for years to come.
7) Arizona Cardinals – Dion Jordan – OLB – Oregon – He is crazy athletic, ran a 4.54 40, and is 6-6 250+. He will be a huge threat off the edge and the only reason he slips to 7 is concerns over his shoulder. He will likely become the next big time pass rushing linebacker.
8) Buffalo Bills – Barkevious Mingo – DE/OLB – LSU – I will start by saying I will not predict any trades in my mock draft, but I am certain the Bills will come out of this draft with Ryan Nassib at QB. That being said, another huge need for the Bills is a pass rusher. They took a flyer on Shawne Merriman regaining his form a couple years ago, but haven’t really found an answer as an outside rusher, I believe Mingo is the answer.
9) New York Jets – Lane Johnson – OT – Oklahoma – The Jets already have a franchise left tackle, but desperately need a man on the end of the right side of the line. Johnson might be well fit as LT on another team, but having two left tackle caliber guys on the offensive line is something no team would complain about.
10) Tennessee Titans – Jonathan Cooper – G – North Carolina – I am still a believer in Locker and I think Chris Johnson still has something left. Both guys would benefit from an athletic offensive guard, and that is just what Cooper would provide. He may be a liability against powerful defensive tackles, but that often comes due to a high pad level. If anyone can help coach up an offensive lineman, it is Titans head man Mike Munchak.
11) San Diego Chargers – Star Lotulelei – DT – Utah – Arguably the best talent in the draft, a heart concern at the combine has cause Lotulelei to slip. The Chargers would be doing back flips to get Star here. Joining Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget would make the San Diego interior defensive line as good as any in football, and all would be age 23, meaning great for years to come.
12) Miami Dolphins – D.J. Fluker – OT – Alabama – The Dolphins need to replace the departed Jake Long at left tackle. Fluker might have the most raw skills of any tackle in the draft, but the emphasis is on RAW. His athleticism is a bit in question, but his power is incredible. He will compete with Jonathan Martin for the left tackle job, and whoever loses the battle, will do just fine on the right side.
13) New York Jets – Kenny Vaccaro – S – Texas – Even after trading Revis, the Jets have a decent set of corners, and a quality safety will only improve the two guys on the corner. Vaccaro makes the big hit and big plays, which is something the Jets could use. Obviously the glaring need is at QB, but a ball hawking QB on D isn’t too bad.
14) Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson – DT – Missouri – A classic 3 technique defensive tackle that can get into the backfield is something the Panthers desperately need and Richardson can provide. With a guy that can be disruptive up front, just imagine how good last year’s defensive rookie of the year Luke Kuechly could be.
15) New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones – OLB – Georgia – Last year the Saints were the worst defense in NFL history, so they simply need to choose the best available defensive player, and that is Jones. Jones can get after the QB and is a great first step in what will likely be a very defensive focused draft for the Saints.
16) St. Louis Rams – Tavon Austin – WR – West Virginia – Quick, name a Rams wide receiver…yeah, I am not sure I can either (insert Torsten listing them off while cursing each of them). Austin is not only a talented receiver, but he is a bonafide playmaker, aka exactly what the Rams offense needs.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers – Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame – The Steelers lost Mike Wallace, but kept their other two star receivers. Eifert is a guy that can stretch the field from the tight end position, which should help keep one-on-one coverage for the outside receivers. In a defensive oriented division, a big, athletic TE can be a real difference maker.
18) Dallas Cowboys – Matt Elam – S – Florida – Ideally one of the previously mentioned offensive linemen or Kenny Vaccaro would fall for the Cowboys, but should that not happen, the Cowboys need upgrades at both safety spots, so they can go strong safety in Elam. Elam is undersized but is a quality player. He will be productive and be a solid safety, something the Cowboys haven’t had for some time.
19) New York Giants – Alec Ogletree – LB – Georgia – Not sure he fits in with Tom Coughlin, but he is the most talented guy at a position of need for the Giants. He is excellent in pass coverage, which is a plus in a league that is being dominated by tight ends. A little uncertain if he would be an inside or outside backer, but he can be productive in either spot.
20) Chicago Bears – Manti Te’o – ILB – Notre Dame – With Urlacher no longer a Bear, they will be looking for the next in the long line of middle backers in Bears history. There were obviously many questions raised starting from the national championship game all the way through the pro day for Te’o, but he is the type of guy that should be able to make the transition to the NFL and be successful.
21) Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Lacy – RB – Alabama – I don’t like taking running backs in the first round, but after the law firm looked more like a public defender than a high powered law service, the Bengals could really use help in the backfield. Lacy is by far the best running back in the draft, and he won’t get past the Packers, so this is the time for Cincy to get an impact back.
22) St. Louis Rams – John Cyprien – S – Florida International – A clear need for the Rams is at safety. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take Kyle Long here and target Shamarko Thomas in the second round, but assuming they attack biggest need here, Cyprien is a great pick for the Rams.
23) Minnesota Vikings – Cordarrelle Patterson – WR – Tennessee – Patterson was a little unproven on the field, but was a workout monster at the combine. The Vikings could use an entire new receiving corp, so expect them to attack this high upside receiver.
24) Indianapolis Colts – Kyle Long – T/G – Oregon – There is some debate as to whether or not Long can play tackle. He certainly has the size, 6-6 315 lbs., but his footwork will decide where he plays on the next level. Regardless, the Colts must build a line to keep franchise QB Andrew Luck upright and healthy, and Long can definitely help there.
25) Minnesota Vikings – Kevin Minter – ILB – LSU – Based on roster composition, I wouldn’t blame the Vikings if they drafted a second receiver here, but that never has and never will happen. Minter can be an anchor in the middle of that defense for years to come. He is slightly undersized and may be physically outmatched at times, but he has very high football IQ, which will allow him to be the QB of that defense.
26) Green Bay Packers – Menelik Watson – OT – Florida State – I don’t see him starting right off the bat. He is very raw and needs to be coached up, but he is as talented an offensive lineman as there is in this draft. He will be a sixth lineman this year, maybe becoming the right tackle by seasons end, but he could easily be a Pro Bowl left tackle in a couple years…that is, assuming there is still such a thing as a Pro Bowl in a couple years.
27) Houston Texans – DeAndre Hopkins – WR – Clemson – He isn’t a burner. He isn’t a physical beast. He isn’t the best athlete, he doesn’t run the most crisp routes, he won’t out jump many people, he won’t break away from many defenders. He will produce though. He has been underwhelming in terms of perceived talent for all three years at Clemson, but one thing can’t be argued with, he gets the job done, which is exactly what the Texans need opposite Andre Johnson.
28) Denver Broncos – Bjoern Werner – DE – Florida State – Werner can create a pass rushing threat opposite Von Miller. Werner gets off the ball quick and has good power on his rush. He could create a Freeney-Mathis like pair that helped keep the Colts dominant for a decade.
29) New England Patriots – Desmond Trufant – CB – Washington – The Patriots draft defensive backs every year, and tend to miss on them every year. Trufant I don’t believe would be a miss. He won’t ever be a top tier shutdown guy, but we will be a solid #1 corner.
30) Atlanta Falcons – Zach Ertz – TE – Stanford – Tony Gonzalez is coming back for one more season, but Ertz can be the heir apparent. He is a very talented receiving tight end and can add yet another threat on an incredibly potent offense. The Falcons can take Ertz, then focus the rest of the draft on improving defensively, and will be one of the scarier teams to face in the NFL.
31) San Francisco 49ers – Margus Hunt – DE – SMU – YouTube his Sheraton Hawaii Bowl highlights. Then realize this guy is Estonia born and raised, moved to Dallas to attend SMU and participate on their track team, only to have the track team dropped. The former track coach introduced him to football head coach June Jones who gave Hunt a scholarship based on his athleticism. What athleticism you ask? How about 6-8, 277 lbs., runs a 4.6 40, benched 225 lbs. 38 times, registered a 34.5 inch vertical at the combine. Oh, and his name is Margus Hunt, aka the greatest name for a defensive lineman ever. In case you couldn’t tell, this is my favorite guy in the draft, and putting him on the 49ers line is just unfair.
32) Baltimore Ravens – Robert Woods – WR – USC – The Ravens need a guy to fill the Anquan Boldin role and be a threat opposite Torrey Smith. Woods is it. He is a great athlete with great hands, and runs above average routes. If the Trojans would have lived up to their pre-season #1 ranking, Woods and fellow Trojan Matt Barkley could easily have been 1-2 in this year’s draft.
Other guys I really like in this draft on day 2 and 3:
Ryan Nassib – QB – Syracuse – I think I have been clear I have him ending up with the Bills. What I may not have expressed is I believe he ends up being the best QB to come out of this draft. He is really underrated in all phases of the game.
Johnathan Franklin – RB – UCLA – This guy will be the best RB to come out of this draft. He was the main reason UCLA has such a successful season. His size might not be ideal, but his skills are.
Keenan Allen – WR – Cal – There are concerns as a red flag for marijuana was raised at the combine that is causing his stock to fall. If he stays out of trouble, whoever drafts him will be getting a steal.
Barrett Jones – OL – Alabama – He can play 5 offensive line positions. Even if he never becomes a regular starter for a NFL team, he will be incredibly valuable.
Shamarko Thomas – S – Syracuse – Watching this guy play at Syracuse was just plain fun. He gets beat from time to time, but when that doesn’t happen, he is destroying receivers that dared go over the middle. He simply punishes people.
Brad Wing – P – LSU – Yeah, I am highlighting a punter, so what? This dude is good. The one consistent “negative” I see in his scouting reports…he outkicks his coverage…aka he kicks the ball too far. Oh, and he is from Australia, and grew up playing Australian rules football, the same story as my favorite punter of all time, Darren Bennett.