More and more underclassmen are declaring their intentions. They have until Jan. 15, so expect more changes.
This mock features an early run on defense, followed by a big run on offensive linemen in the middle of the 1st. The first RB comes off just before the end of the 2nd round. That’s probably too low but it just played out that way this time.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith. QB West Virginia. Every game the Chiefs play reinforces just how badly they need a new quarterback. Smith has the accuracy, anticipation, and athleticism to become a very good NFL quarterback, even if he clearly isn’t the best overall talent in this draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia. So many needs, so many choices…in this scenario the Jaguars opt for the high-risk, high-reward pass rusher. Jones has some of the traits of Clay Matthews, but teams are going to be very concerned about both his spinal stenosis and his inability to get off blocks. Offensive line or several other defensive front seven options were considered here.
3. Oakland Raiders: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. Moore’s star continues to rise as game tape reveals a very good all-around player with scheme versatility. His incredible quickness at closing on the ball and high football IQ makes Moore a relatively safe bet with high upside. I expect GM Reggie McKenzie to actively market this pick in order to move back and pick up more selections.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama. This pick is contingent upon the new regime cutting ties with disappointing Nnamdi Asomugha and opting to trust that Jason Peters can recover to his old self at left tackle. Neither is something I would do, but I’ll play along. Milliner is a playmaking corner with the venerable “clutch” gene, and he brings a winning attitude and mental toughness to a team lacking both.
5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. The Lions face significant free agency issues all over the defense. Taking the positionally responsible Werner allows the more expensive Cliff Avril to depart without an issue. His ability to play both the run and pass with good awareness is mighty attractive to the Lions faithful.
6. San Diego Chargers: Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M. There is a chance Joeckel goes No. 1 overall, so getting the top tackle here is a huge steal for the needy Chargers. He is battle tested and often dominated against several other names you’ll see in this draft. Wondering aloud if the new regime will want a QB change?
7. Cleveland Browns: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State. Pairing the talented Banks with Joe Haden provides the youthful Browns with a potentially awesome set of shutdown corners. Banks has great length and can be physical, and he’s solid and aware versus the run.
8. Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas. It will be very interesting to see what direction the Bills take with their pick. In this scenario they opt for the potential franchise QB. Wilson has concussion issues but is also the best of the more traditional pocket passers in this draft by a pretty significant margin.
9. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State. Tennessee opts to continue building a strong young defensive line by taking the freakishly quick Hankins. There are questions about his sustainable intensity, but he is an impact talent when on top of his game.
10. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah. The Panthers have plenty of palatable options here, but opt to address their interior line presence. Lotulelei isn’t a great pass rusher but he can collapse the pocket and eliminate interior runs.
11. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama. He could go higher than this, but projecting a guard in the top 10 is bloody difficult. The Cardinals fall into him here thanks to their win over Detroit, which moved them from the 4th pick to 11th.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri. Corner and OL both make sense here as well, but the Bucs opt for an underrated gap penetrator who can wreak havoc between the tackles. Richardson reminds me of a slightly lighter, more mentally stable Nick Fairley.
13. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California. This one will make the Dolphins fans smile, getting the top wideout and a viable No. 1 receiver. Allen runs fantastic routes and has excellent hands. His value is hurt some by an injury, but it should have no long-term implications. A potential replacement for Jake Long could be in the offing here too.
14. New York Jets: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon. Jordan is a draft wild card, an incredibly long player with excellent speed but no real position. If that sounds like Bruce Irvin, you’re not wrong. Jordan is not quite that dynamic but will be drafted as if he’s better thanks to the Oregon hype machine. This situation hypothesizes that the Jets will address their QB issue via free agency and a later-round developmental pick.
15. New Orleans Saints: Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan. He has the physical attributes teams covet in tackles: length, natural base strength, and big strong hands. Fisher also plays with excellent balance and has developmental potential. The Saints pass protection struggled this year, and Fisher would help shore things up for the aging Drew Brees.
16. St. Louis Rams: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan. This seems like another no-brainer pick, as the Rams continue to struggle up front. Lewan is a tone-setting man-handler of a left tackle that can start right away. Sam Bradford endorses this pick more than he would like another receiver, which comes later.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mant’i Te’o, LB, Notre Dame. In my last mock, Te’o went much higher. But since I did that one, there seems to be more of an acknowledgement that inside linebackers drafted higher than this are almost never worth it; they just don’t make enough of an impact. Te’o fits better in a 3-4 with his bulk and makes an excellent replacement for Larry Foote.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M. I’ll admit to not being crazy about this fit. Tyron Smith needs to be playing right tackle, not left, and Matthews is also a right tackle by experience. But the latest scion of the greatest football family has the ability to become great on the left side too. Whether he does that in College Station or the NFL next year remains up in the air.
19. New York Giants: Barrett Jones, G/C, Alabama. Interior line versatility for a team that perennially needs youth and depth up front. Jones is the best center in this class by a country mile even though he’s a better prospect at guard. He is not as dominant as many draftniks will have you believe, but he’s good enough to merit a pick here for a needy team.
20. Chicago Bears: Dallas Thomas, T/G, Tennessee. I continue to project Thomas higher than just about everyone on my stubborn belief that NFL coaches are going to fall in love with this polished all-around force. If he played at Alabama, most would find this slotting low and an insult to what he’s done on the field with the Volunteers.
21. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee. Back to back players from a sinking ship of a program in the top 25? You bet. Patterson made quite an impression in his one year in Knoxville, showing the potential to be a great downfield threat who is just scratching the surface of his potential. Almost every scout I’ve talked with rates Patterson higher than more heralded teammate Justin Hunter, who you will find in the next round.
22. Cincinnati Bengals: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia. A quick-strike weapon with some of the greatest quickness you’ll ever see, Austin would bring a desired dimension to the Bengals: someone who can create something from nothing. He can play in the slot, as a lightning RB, and as a return dynamo.
23. St. Louis Rams (from WAS): Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor. Williams is a downfield burner with good size and electrifying speed in the open turf. The theme of this Rams draft scenario is removing all excuses for Sam Bradford as he approaches the end of his massive rookie deal.
24. Seattle Seahawks: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama. Pete Carroll will be enchanted with the Aussie’s competitive spirit and relentless drive. The fact Williams can play the run well and can move all over the line is gravy. He will be an interview room favorite.
25. Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State. Ryan Grigson’s first draft was all about offense. Now he gets to fix the defense, and he starts with the long, tough Poyer. He and de facto 2nd round pick Vontae Davis (they traded it for him) both have excellent size and aren’t afraid of mixing it up, giving the Colts a strong set of starting corners.
26. Baltimore Ravens: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU. The Ghana native is one of the most intriguing athletes in this draft, dripping with potential. He’s quite raw, however; the Jason Pierre-Paul comparisons are not as apropos as advertised, and I like him a lot more as a stand-up rusher. I also like the concept of Ansah playing understudy to Terrell Suggs.
27. Green Bay Packers: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU. One of the more disappointing players of 2012, Mingo still has a lot of good game tape and speed off the edge. If the light switch flips back on he’s a double-digit sack man at outside backer, and the Packers desperately need an impact pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews. Still.
28. New England Patriots: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU. Once upon a mock, Montgomery sat atop the draft. More tape study and talk with scouts soured me to some extent, but there is still a lot to like. Montgomery has a great burst off the snap and has a knack for winding up at the ball.
29. San Francisco 49ers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida. It was near impossible to run between the tackles against the Gators, and Floyd was the primary reason why. Remember, the Niners do not have a defensive lineman under contract beyond next season and we’re at the point where teams tend to draft more for long-term need.
30. Denver Broncos: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame. I seldom advocate for a first-round tight end, but the feedback on Eifert is that he’s too good to fall out of it. He has seam-stretching ability and presents himself as a target very naturally.
31. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU. The Texans defense has struggled without Brian Cushing, and Minter brings the kind of headiness and playmaking to the middle of the defense they need. As desperate as they are for a viable complement to Andre Johnson at WR, here the best fit is on defense.
32. Atlanta Falcons: Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma. Johnson is going to be one of those tackles that sneaks up draft boards quietly, as if no team wants to reveal how much they truly like him, a la Duane Brown and James Carpenter. One of those guys worked out great, the other not so much. The needy Falcons hope he’s more Brown than Carpenter.
33. Kansas City Chiefs: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
34. Jacksonville Jaguars: DJ Fluker, T, Alabama
35. Cincinnati Bengals (from OAK): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
36. Philadelphia Eagles: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
37. Detroit Lions: Matt Elam, S, Florida
38. San Diego Chargers: Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
39. Cleveland Browns: used in Supplemental draft
40. Buffalo Bills: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
41. Tennessee Titans: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
42. Carolina Panthers: Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
43. Arizona Cardinals: Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
44. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: David Amerson, CB/S, North Carolina State
45. Miami Dolphins: Cornelius “Tank” Carradine, DE, Florida State
46. New Orleans Saints: forfeited
47. New York Jets: Robert Woods, WR, USC
48. St. Louis Rams: CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama
49. Pittsburgh Steelers: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
50. Dallas Cowboys: Eric Reid, S, LSU
51. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
52. Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
53. Minnesota Vikings: Jon Cooper, OG, North Carolina
54. Cincinnati Bengals: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
55. Washington Redskins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
56. Seattle Seahawks: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
57. Miami Dolphins (from IND): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
58. Baltimore Ravens: Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
59. Green Bay Packers: Oday Aboushi, T, Virginia
60. New England Patriots: Jamie Collins, LB/DE, Southern Miss
61. San Francisco 49ers: Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
62. Denver Broncos: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
63. Houston Texans: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
64. Atlanta Falcons: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
65. Kansas City Chiefs: Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
66. Jacksonville Jaguars: Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
67. Oakland Raiders: Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
68. Philadelphia Eagles: Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
69. Detroit Lions: Ryan Lacy, CB, Utah
70. Tennessee Titans: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
71. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
72. Cleveland Browns: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
73. Buffalo Bills: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
74. San Francisco 49ers (from CAR): Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
75. Arizona Cardinals: Brian Winters, T, Kent State
76. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M
77. Miami Dolphins: Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas
78. New Orleans Saints: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
79. New York Jets: Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
80. St. Louis Rams: DJ Swearinger, S, South Carolina
81. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Jenkins, LB, Florida State
82. Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
83. New York Giants: Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State
84. Miami Dolphins (from CHI): Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
85. Minnesota Vikings: Nickell Roby, CB, USC
86. Cincinnati Bengals: Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State
87. Washington Redskins: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
88. Seattle Seahawks: Rick Wagner, T, Wisconsin
89. Indianapolis Colts: Micah Hyde, CB/S, Iowa
90. Baltimore Ravens: Manase Foteki, T, West Texas A&M
91. Green Bay Packers: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
92. New England Patriots: Denard Robinson, RB/WR/RS, Michigan
93. San Francisco 49ers: Travis Johnson, DE, San Jose State
94. Denver Broncos: Justin Pugh, T, Syracuse
95. Houston Texans: Tharold Simon, CB, LSU
96. Atlanta Falcons: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford