By Steve Coulter
Let's skip the prelude, I'm sure you don't need much of an introduction with the NFL Draft less than a week away and mocks coming from everyone from Mel Kiper to this guy who forgot to actually, ya know, make his mock selections. Anyways, brief rant has ended. On to my only mock draft of 2013...
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M*
It may not be the sexy pick, but Kansas City knows that every franchise needs an anchor on the offensive line and by all accounts Joeckel will be that type of player in no time. The Chiefs gave up a lot, perhaps too much, to land quarterback Alex Smith from San Francisco in the offseason so protecting him must be top priority. Although the fan base may want to see a more dynamic, high-impact player here, Joeckel really makes the most sense. The Chiefs had five pro bowlers on their roster last year so the turn-around can be really quick in Kansas City if they get this pick right. The junior out of A&M is a low risk, high reward prospect that can keep them on the right track and turn this 2-14 into one that teeters near the .500 mark. Although they've missed on D-Lineman like Tyson Jackson and Dontari Poe in recent drafts, the Chiefs can wait to find productivity later on, if they feel it’s an area of need. Personally, after offensive line, I think the team could use some help on the outside at linebacker to help Tamba Hali avoid double teams as well as safety where they have been exposed in recent seasons. Some analysts are enamored with prospect Eric Fisher and justly so based on what he's done leading up to the draft; however, his competition in college was MAC-level. I'm willing to bet the Chiefs aren't going to take a guy from Central Michigan No. 1 overall. Any takers?
Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
I'm sure the Jaguars would love to trade out of this spot, but similarly to the Chiefs, they are locked into this spot due to a dearth in skill position players in this class. Unless they're bold enough to roll the dice on Geno Smith here, which I don't think anybody suspects they will do, the Jags phone line won't be ringing next Thursday. So why Jordan over other prospects like Ezekiel Ansah and Barkevious Mingo? I'd like to think it’s because of Jordan's length and productivity on the field. Although this may be a reach at No. 2, it's definitely a need-based pick as the Jags had the worst pass rush a year ago. Taking a player like Ansah here runs too big of a risk for bust. He was not as productive on the field as Jordan and just because he was a workout warrior these past three months, doesn't exactly translate that he will be a long-term prospect. Similar to what I’m sure the Jaguars front office wants, I would love to see a trade here to make things interesting, but I don't see it happening. It's more likely Jacksonville will shock the football world and take Smith or cornerback Dee Milliner.
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida*
I am going to clue you in on a little secret right off the bat: I probably won't get this pick right. With that said, everybody's favorite team to mock (literally) during the NFL draft is up at No. 3 which means something eventful will happen early Thursday night. A trade? Not likely. A quarterback? Could happen. A reach? Absolutely. Although Floyd isn't regarded as a reach here at No. 3, I am sure Oakland's brass will find a way to botch this selection. My only hope is they don't end up with Star Lotulelei, because, you know, he's actually a type of player that can immediately help upgrade their porous defensive line. Besides Floyd here, I really think Oakland could go Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson. In this draft class of talented lineman, these two stand out the most for what they did at the senior bowl and the combine, which you know gets the Raiders attention. Lucky for Oakland, their two biggest needs - other than QB and better management - lie on the offensive and defensive line. Can they really screw this up? I hope so.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Another draft prop bet I am willing to make: Philadelphia will not take Geno Smith. It won't happen. Why? Chip Kelly isn't going to get fired after this year which means he has at least a second draft in 2014 to find a QB better suited for his offense. He has two QBs to get him through the season and that can help the Eagles fly back to a .500 ball club. Similar to the Chiefs, a good pick here makes all the difference in making Philly competitive again right away. If he gets this right and the Eagles resurrect immediately, he will be praised. If he rushes the decision and takes Smith and he fails, my guarantee of him being here in 2014 may look foolish. As a brand new head coach, there's absolutely zero upside for Kelly to reach on Smith. He's better off in the short and long term filling the void at cornerback and continuing to find defensive impact players later in the draft. Finding a left tackle would go a long way too, so don't be surprised if Fisher gets called here. Philly allowed 120 sacks or tackles for a loss last year and can’t afford to be slowed down again offensively by weak interior line play.
Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU
What possibly could drive the Lions to ignore Fisher here with Milliner off the board? I don't know, but they are the Lions and I think they're going to go away from what people are predicting they will do and take a risk on Ansah. They could hit gold, or they could end up with coal. Either way, Matt Stafford will remain in the top five for most sacked QBs in 2013 and the Lions will miss the playoffs once again. The NFC North is too competitive for a team that doesn't know how to run the ball or pass protect.
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama*
Just the Browns luck, they pick sixth in a draft that see's the two top pass rushing prospects go before they get to draft. Damn you Lions for tanking so hard last year! It's ok though because in this mock situation, the Browns will have a lucrative pick for an aggressive team looking to trade up. Who do I have in mind? I'm glad you asked. Three teams: Chargers, Dolphins and Vikings who are all in striking distance to get a deal done. Also, don’t sleep on Tennessee here to make the first big headliner move to bring Milliner to the Music City. Does a deal get done though? Nope. Sorry Browns fans, the management doesn't see the value in doing this twice in three seasons, although this would be a better time to do it than it was when they let Atlanta steal Julio Jones in 2011. Some GMs would be reluctant to take Milliner this high because of his position, but it’s a need for Cleveland in the all-of-a-sudden pass happy AFC North and Milliner is the most complete corner in this entire class. Don’t believe me? Watch the tape of his last four games at ‘Bama. That’s proof enough.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Terrific value at a position of need, this situation plays out really well for Arizona who doesn't need to justify passing on Smith to its fan base. The thought here, similar to Philadelphia, is Palmer can serve as a bridge to the next QB, but that guy isn't here in the top part of the draft. I like the logic. They can get value in later rounds and develop it without pressure, but let's be honest: Arizona is going to be a door mat for a while with the 49ers and Seahawks establishing themselves as NFC heavy weights over the past three drafts. This isn't the same NFC West that Arizona was able to run away with a few years ago. However, Fisher will give them a player they can potentially send to Hawaii on a yearly basis and whoever it is under center won't be running for his life, so there is an upside.
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama*
If you missed the national title game, then you’re probably wondering why an offensive guard is going this high in the draft. However, the tape simply does not lie. If Notre Dame was the second best team in the country last season, then their defensive line was either very suspect or just simply gotten beaten down in the trenches by a superior Alabama offensive line. I am going with the later and Warmack was instrumental in that unit. Again, not a sexy pick for the fan base, especially with Geno Smith on the board, but from everything I’ve read Buffalo wants to replace guard Andy Levitre or add another pass rusher to compliment the talent they already have. A quick fact about the Bills: they used five different right guards this season. This pick doesn’t only fit a need; it gives Buffalo one of the draft’s best overall talents and a high-quality player who can start from day one. Although it’s easier for teams to reach on a quarterback (see: Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Ryan Tannehill), I think the Bills will see the obvious: they can get Ryan Nassib or Matt Barkley in round two. If Lane Johnson is available here, I’d like to think he would draw interest inside the Bills war room. But again, I could be way off and the team may be blind here at No. 8 with their sights set on a QB. For Bills fans everywhere, I hope this isn’t true.
Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC
Cornerback has become the team’s biggest need with Darrelle Revis taking is talents to Tampa Bay; however, the Jets have a huge hole to fill at guard so this pick makes the most sense. The Jets have invested six picks in the first three rounds of the last three drafts on pass rushers, so I just can’t see them investing yet again at the position, at least not this high in the draft. Something has to give and one of these six prospects has to develop into a standout pass rusher. I’m not debating whether or not it’s a position of need, but what I am saying is they have prospects to develop at defensive end and outside linebacker; whereas, on the offensive line they have no talent and no depth. Safety is another huge position of interest.
Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU*
Have we really made it to the end of the top 10 without a trade? I am willing to say that this is definitely a flaw of my mock and I wish I could spice it up more but besides Jacksonville at No. 2, Cleveland at No. 6 and Buffalo at No. 8 I just don't see it happening. Never count out the Raiders (trading down) or the Jets (trading up) to make a move too. Overall, in this draft, I think we will see less trades than normally not because teams don't have their eyes on certain players. In addition, trading multiple picks to get one player doesn't seem to add up in the long term. It worked for Washington last year and Atlanta two years ago, but it has failed more often than not. With that said, let's talk about the Titans and the pick here. This is a team I think will shock many and will enter the playoffs this year. This No. 10 selection is vital to getting them back to the postseason. They would love to get one of the top two guards or Floyd, Lotuelei or Millner, but none of those four prospects are available here. A trade up could be in play. My guess is they add some depth in pass rush with Mingo. It’s not exactly a need pick, but a trio of Mingo, Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley sounds intriguing enough.
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Johnson’s vertical jump at the combine is slightly less than A.J. Green. Think about that for a second. Although I don’t know how that makes him a better pass protector, I am willing to be Johnson is one of the best athletes in the entire draft. San Diego would prefer to fill a need at guard with Warmack or Cooper, but both are gone and I don’t see them trading up just to take one of them. Johnson also fits a need and at this spot is considered a steal. I’m sure the Chargers would be more than happy to take one of the draft’s three marquee left tackles. If Mingo falls out of the top ten, I could see them considering him here as well. Don’t sleep on Tavon Austin here either. Speaking of West Virginia prospects, don’t look now folks, but Geno Smith is in free fall on the draft board.
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama*
I really hope Miami is able to execute a trade with the Browns and move into that sixth spot, which in this mock situation is actually highly likely. They’d love to get their hands on Fisher or Johnson, but the reality of the situation is that if they can’t get a deal done with Cleveland they are kind of out of luck. I could see them leap-frogging San Diego to get Johnson at No. 10, but are they really going to get rid of their arsenal of second round picks just to get a left tackle? Fluker is a solid right tackle and it seems like Miami is content with moving guard Jonathan Martin into Jake Long’s old spot on the left side. It’s not sexy, but Miami can still use its two seconds and a third to reenter round one if they are really high on another player. Corner is also an option here, though they would be reaching on Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes Houston’s D.J. Hayden at this point. This could be a definite trade down area, especially if the Dolphins use their second round picks to acquire Brandon Albert from the Chiefs.
13. Vikings (from Jets from Bucs)
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
A trade! This one comes via the Vikings making a deal with the Jets, who made a deal on Sunday with the Bucs to get Darrelle Revis. If you’re looking at this as a Jets fan and you’re probably scratching your head saying “Wait, we get No. 23 and No. 25 for Revis? That’s awful value.” You probably wouldn’t be wrong, but New York adds three first-round players this year, instead of two in the long run. They have a lot of needs and let’s be honest: there is no Darrelle Revis at this spot. If the Vikings are really into the idea of replacing Percy Harvin with Austin, then I say let them do it. Why at No. 13? I think the Panthers could absolutely make a run for him with the next selection. Also, the Rams could look to move into this No. 13 slot to get Austin if they like him enough. Either way, I think the Jets walk away with more first round selections than any team this year.
14. Giants (from Panthers)
Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Tom Coughlin’s regime has never shown a tendency to get aggressive in the draft and trade up, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. With New Orleans eyeing Ogletree, the Giants make a bold move the former Georgia standout. This addresses a huge need for the Giants that hasn’t ever been truly filled. Also, this allows Carolina to think about taking a defensive tackle or a wide receiver at No. 19, rather than jump the gun on one early here. Ogletree has had noted character problems in the past, but expect those to disappear quickly in a New York organization that is as good as any in the NFL.
Datone Jones, OLB/DE, UCLA
A high riser on some team’s draft board, who looks like a bit of a reach here for New Orleans, but don’t under-estimate Jones’ ability to make an impact right away. Schematically he fits and he definitely addresses the Saints biggest area of need. I think a trade is unlikely here unless a team is really in love with Cordarrelle Patterson, but I don’t see that happening. Many of Jarvis Jones slotted to go here, but I think if the Saints are going to take a DE they would opt with Bjoern Werner. Sheldon Richardson makes a lot of sense here too especially with Carolina passing on him.
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Rams have picks so they could very well be on the move in this draft if they want someone like Lotulelei or Austin. I see them sitting home though because they have too many needs and will face the stiffest divisional competition of perhaps any team in the league. It’s highly unlikely St. Louis can catapult over the 49ers or the Seahawks, so they need get their two first round picks right and not waste them in a package deal. Although Vaccaro could very well be there for them at No. 22 I don’t see them waiting with Dallas and Chicago waiting behind them. The Jets trading out No. 13 also allows this to happen.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia*
The Steelers get the nation’s leader in sacks with Jones as well as a player who fits their defensive system tremendously. Many draft experts like Tyler Eifert, the tight end from Notre Dame, to go here, but I don’t see Pittsburgh addressing their offensive needs until at least round two. They can easily tab an impact wide receiver or tight end then without having to worry about the bust factor. Plus, Ben Roethlisberger has proven time and time again, like any elite QB that he can make it happen with an assortment of skill players.
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri*
The Panthers passed on him at No. 14 and so did the Saints at No. 15, and therefore this gives the Cowboys the steal of the draft so far with a defensive tackle in Richardson that can pave the way for Dallas’ future defense. Current DTs Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher are older and ineffective. Richardson’s impact could be immediate.
19. Panthers (from Giants)
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Panthers get a player they are very interested here in Rhodes, whose physical style of play will help them forget all about the retired Chris Gamble. If Carolina wants to compete in the NFC South, they are going to need a capable secondary and I think their brass knows this and that’s why they pass on Richardson, pick up a second rounder from the Giants and still end up with an impact player at a position of need.
20. Colts (from Bears)
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Why are the Colts trading up? Well for starters, the Bengals, Rams and Jets are all eying taking a corner. It’s surprising how many draft analysts think the Colts are going to draft a position other than corner in the first round. Did you watch this team play last season? Yes, running back, wide receiver and defensive end are all needs, but this team needs a cover corner and Trufant may very well be the best player at the position in this draft. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name get called at the 10 spot by Tennessee similar to how Buffalo drafted Stephan Gilmore last year with a bit of a reach selection.
Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Bit of a reach? Some may so but there’s no telling where Hunt will go considering his size and athleticism are on par with just about any prospect in this draft. New Orleans, Pittsburgh or Dallas could very well draft him in the teen picks, but in this mock he falls here to a Cincinnati team that doesn’t seem to have a glaring need. Similar to Indianapolis before them, a running back and a wide receiver are offensive areas, but I think they go defense here. Corner back and safety are both definitely options. A trade possibility with teams like Denver and San Francisco could also come into play here if they are looking for a pass rusher like Hunt. Also, it’s worth noting Geno Smith is still available.
22. Texans (from Rams from Redskins)
Keenan Allen, WR, California
Mark my words: someone will trade up and take Keenan Allen out of California early in this draft. Houston wants a No. 2 who can contribute right away and with Ed Reed filling a huge need at safety, they can afford to get aggressive with some of their picks. Tyler Eifert definitely could hear his name here whether it’s by the Rams or a team trading up to No. 22. The Jets and Bears should have their eyes on him...
23. Jets (from Vikings)
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame*
I really like this pick for the Jets who are two for two picking on the offensive side of the ball. I know it seems unlikely with their three most pressing needs being at corner, safety and pass rush, but I can’t see a team that doesn’t have a tight end passing on Eifert if he falls to No. 23. The Bears and Rams trading out makes this possible and New York would be foolish to ignore a golden opportunity to give Mark Sanchez a viable target in the passing game.
24. Bears (from Colts)
Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State
Chicago ends up big losers in this situation. They trade back and eschew taking Trufant who can make an immediate impact. Then, the Jets take their man in Eifert, who somehow slips to No. 23. The Tennessee wide receivers – Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter – could definitely draw interest here, but the Bears seem to have a capable pass offense thanks to Brandon Marshall’s arrival in the Windy City. If this is exactly how the draft plays out, I’m sure Chicago would love to trade out and collect some more picks. In this situation it seems like Manti Te’o makes sense from a position of need standpoint and a leadership standpoint. The question is can he find his voice in the Chicago locker room? I don’t think he can. Brown leaps over Te’o and Kevin Minter here. It’s worth noting that this deal is less likely to happen because Indianapolis lacks a second round pick, but maybe they can make it happen with a third and some cash, or something else. Overall I like the Bears to trade down once or twice.
25. Jets (from Vikings from Seahawks)
Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Here’s why I love the draft: the Jets can take three players who can start from day one at three positions of need and they will be considered ‘losers’ for not replacing Revis and passing on Mingo at No. 9. Cyprien is being dismissed by some because of his small school background. The tape doesn’t lie though; this guy is a tackling machine and could be a pro bowler relatively quickly. Matt Elam could be a possibility here as well. Another possibility, although it’s a stretch is seeing Smith go here, either to the Jets, the Vikings (if they stay put at No. 25), or the Bills, Cardinals or Jaguars, trading back into the first round. Why here at No. 25? I think Green Bay could be looking to move back and a lot of those teams drafting from 33-40 know that.
26. Jaguars (from Packers)
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
You didn’t actually think there wasn’t going to be a QB taken in the first round, did you? Besides the trade happening in the first ten picks, I’d say this is probably where I am off the most. I just don’t see Smith falling to 26, but there is a gap after the Bills that would suggest that it could happen. With the way the salary cap works now, I’d think a team takes a risk on Smith. After all, he could be better than what they have now. I’m looking at you San Diego, St. Louis and Dallas.
27. Rams (from Texans)
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee*
Patience pays dividends for the Rams as they get the wide receiver everybody seems to be overlooking heading into the draft. They collect some extra picks along the way and address their two biggest needs. I’d give them an A-grade if they walk out of round one with Vaccaro and Hunter.
Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
It’s hard to tell where the Broncos rank defensive tackle as a priority entering the draft. They resigned Kevin Vickerson and they signed Terrance Knighton; however, neither of those moves signals that the team is necessarily happy with what they have. If Derek Wolfe, last year’s top pick, is going to be a presence on the outside, then they could look at a prospect like Williams who could be extremely disruptive from the inside. A lot of experts have a corner going here, but as a fan I just don’t see it. The team already has five and it’s not like Champ Bailey is not making the 2013 roster.
29. Lions (from Patriots)
D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
They pass on Milliner at No. 5 but reenter round one to get Hayden who Denver passes on. I think this is a solid move although it still leaves them without a solid pass protector. If the Pats can’t figure out a trade – they will, trust me – then they will look at Hayden and Jamar Taylor here. A wide receiver could also draw their attention although I don’t see DeAndre Hopkins and Robert Woods getting their names called in round one.
Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
The Falcons could go Taylor here considering how big of a hole they have at corner, but I think Carradine has a ton of upside for an Atlanta front line that needs to be as good as ever if the Dirty Birds want to get over the hump this year.
Eric Reid, S, LSU*
San Francisco staying this motionless is obviously not going to happen, but seriously: where are their needs? With 15 picks, I don’t know what their strategy is. Safety remains a big one. Reid makes a lot of sense here and could play right away. The 49ers are the most interesting team in the draft because of all their picks. Although they picked up Anquan Boldin, another receiver could be worth looking at. Also, they need to replace Walker in the H-back position.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee*
Intriguing and scary. If Patterson falls to No. 32 and the Ravens think about rolling the dice, the league should take notice. Baltimore’s investment here could pay huge dividends if Patterson reaches his potential. With all his upside, it would be hard not to playing across from Torrey Smith and catching passes from Joe Flacco.
33. Bills (from Packers from Jaguars)
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Nassib going as high as No. 8 is just absurd. Nobody wants him in the first round and I really hope Buffalo’s brass recognizes that before they pull the trigger WAY too early. Then again, they are the Bills. Either way, Nassib gets to play for his former college coach and lead the Bills to 5-11 and 6-10 records for the following half a decade. Ryan Fitzpatrick Jr., welcome to Buffalo.
34. 49ers (from Chiefs)
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Stop it. If Werner falls out of the first round and the 49ers get him it won’t be fair. At least my team doesn’t have to play in the NFC…
Kyle Long, OT/G, Oregon
The Eagles pass on Fisher to bring in Kelly’s old blind side machine in Long. I like this pick a lot. Philly is two for two in their biggest need. Taylor could be considered here.
36. Patriots (from Lions)
Matt Elam, S, Florida
Great value and a position of need. The Pats definitely don’t waste the pick here, securing a safety in Elam who can play right away.
37. Dolphins (from Bengals from Raiders)
Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Miami is done waiting with their package of second round picks. This is a great move that helps fill their biggest void. The pay a little high to move up here, but so be it. They beat out division rival New York in the process. I give this pick an A+ if it happens.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The Cards are able to get a QB without doing what the Jags and Bills did earlier in this mock draft which is a mini victory I guess. The problem? Remember the last USC QB to play in the desert. Yea, I wouldn’t want Barkley either.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama*
Is it just me or does this pick solidify the Jets as winners of this draft without them even filling the void left by Revis? I think it does. Take a look at the Jets roster (or don’t it’s ugly) and tell me their four biggest needs aren’t guard, tight end, safety and running back. Yes, they just lost an All-Pro cornerback, but I am standing by this as my opinion and I don’t think I am wrong.
Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
This is a tremendous need and value pick for a Tennessee heading in the right direct. Alford’s highlight tape is as good as anybody in this draft.
41. Packers (from Bills)
Robert Woods, WR, USC*
I am giving into the experts on this and conceding the Packers will draft a wide receiver when they pick. After a lot of trading down, they finally settle on the highly touted Woods to replace Greg Jennings.
42. Bengals (from Dolphins)
Justin Pugh, G/OT, Syracuse
Andre Smith maybe walking and even if he doesn’t, Pugh gives them an extra body up front in case of injury. It’s a nice safe pick for a team that just picked up two more from Miami.
43. Steelers (from Bucs)
Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Depending on how Jones and Ertz develop in the pros, the Steelers very well could win this draft.
Jonathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State
Panthers will draft for need with their picks, because they can’t afford to draft for best available talent, obviously. Hankins is a huge body that can help Luke Kuechly get some more tackles.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Hopkins won’t go in round one, but to get him at No. 45 San Diego will be really happy. I think everybody knows that they have to surround Phillip Rivers with more talent than he has currently. Otherwise, they will have wasted a valuable career.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn
Wreh-Wilson is an interesting prospect who I will keep my eyes on in the next couple of years. He joins a troubled and very talented Rams cornerback group that could very well rival that of their divisional foes.
47. Broncos (from Cowboys)
Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
I don’t know when, or where, but the Broncos will make a move in this draft. It could be up, it could be down, but John Elway has somebody in mind that he wants and I am banking it might be Kevin Minter who is a steal at this point and can fill in the void at linebacker brought on by DJ Williams’ absence. Suddenly that question mark in the middle of Denver’s defense has been answered in this draft.
48. Bucs (from Steelers)
Alex Okafor, DE/OLB, Texas
The Bucs make a nice trade down and still get a huge position of need for them. Last year, Okafor was a first round pick. Watching video of him, I don’t really know why his stock has changed much. Great instincts and great speed off the line.
49. Panthers (from Giants)
Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
Steve Smith’s heir apparent.
Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
The Bears draft is quite odd in this mock – they reach on Brown in round and then they steal Watson. I know Bears fans want a tight end, but don’t sell Martellus Bennett short. He’s 6’6” and plenty of a target for Jay Cutler. This is an offensive team now, so they have to draft along the offensive line to keep Cutler standing up straight.
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
I just had to have the Honey Badger in the first two rounds. Too many instincts, too much raw potential to be ignored for too long this weekend. Are the Skins reaching with their first pick in the draft? Yes. Does it matter if Mathieu’s game is as good as it was two years ago? Absolutely not.
Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
The cameras will be on Te’o for a while and perhaps not this long, but either way, if Minnesota nabs him here at No. 52 he will play with a chip on his shoulder his entire career. Great value.
David Amerson, CB/S, NC State
Underrated prospect who didn’t exactly see the primetime lights due to a struggling Wolf Pack team. He can do a lot in the secondary, which the Bengals will need him to do.
54. Bengals (from Dolphins from Colts)
Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
What a second round for Cincinnati! Although this definitely hinders on whether they make the trade down with Miami to get three second round picks, it plays out in this situation as adding extra weapons to their already potent arsenal of wide receivers. I think any of the second tier running backs after Lacy are options, but good value can be found with later picks.
J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern, S
The Packers never shy away from small school talent and Wilcox is a versatile player who can help make an impact immediately as Green Bay tries to forget about Charles Woodson.
Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
The words “best player available” and “Arkansas-Pine Bluff” will never be used in the same way again.
57. Rams (from Texans)
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Steven Who? The Rams cap a great two round hitting all four positions of need and finding Steven Jackson’s replacement all the way at No. 57 thanks to a first round deal with Houston. Maybe that deal with Washington wasn’t so bad after all.
58. Cowboys (from Broncos)
D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina
Cowboys add a third round pick next season and a sixth round pick this season to get the deal done with Denver and still end up taking one of the best safeties available. Another option here: E.J. Manuel.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
A bit of a reach but New England definitely wants to find a power running back to compliment the elusive Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. I’m not in the Pats war room, so I don’t know if there’s a receiver they like, but currently there isn’t good value available here. Terrance Williams is an option but he could be around with their next pick (from the Lions) in the early third.
Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
If he falls, Atlanta would be happy to snatch him up here. They need more blockers for Matty Ice and Co.
John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Another fallen SEC prospect who the NFC Champions would absolutely love to get here at No. 61.
Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse
The Ravens do a nice job without making any aggressive trades or over-drafting any prospects. Is Thomas Ed Reed’s replacement? Time will tell.