Draft Day is finally upon us! Here’s one final look at what might transpire Thursday night in New York City.
1. Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The guys with the inside information remain split as to whether the Chiefs go with Joeckel or Eric Fisher. The guess here is all the late Fisher talk is a smokescreen to elicit a trade up, and when the dust settles Andy Reid rolls with Joeckel.
2. Jaguars: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
Many mocks have Jacksonville taking whichever offensive tackle the Chiefs don’t. There’s no bigger proponent of the o-line than me, but this franchise needs to make a bigger splash—like an athletic pass rusher.
3. Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Most mocks give Oakland a defensive tackle here, and it makes so much sense that it’s almost a given the Raiders will do something else. If logic reigns, it’ll be Lotulelei… or Sharrif Floyd.
4. Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Lane Johnson has climbed all the way up to this spot in many mocks, but that may be because those same mocks have Fisher already off the board. It wouldn’t surprise if noted contrarian Chip Kelly zigs when expected to zag, but one way or another he lands an athletic tackle here.
5. Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Matthew Stafford would be elated if Eric Fisher somehow falls this far, but that doesn’t seem likely. The Lions could opt for a pass rusher here instead of Milliner, but in a division with Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler taking the top corner in the draft seems like a no-brainer.
6. Browns: Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
Several mocks have Ansah going one pick earlier to Detroit, which would allow the Browns to pair Milliner with Joe Haden. Tyler Eifert is another popular potential Browns pick, and with tight end whisperer Rob Chudzinski as the new coach it’s not as crazy as it seems. Still, the need for an athletic pass rusher suggests Ansah won’t slip past this spot on Draft Day.
7. Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Arizona may be forced to call one of the above bluffs and move up to ensure they get the offensive line help they so desperately need. Or they may be able to stand pat and let one of the three tackles fall into their lap. Oh, the drama of Draft Day!
8. Bills: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
One way or another the Bills find a way to trade down, to a point where taking Ryan Nassib won’t seem like such a stretch. If not, they seem to favor upgrading their offensive line over pumping up their pass rush.
9. Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Mingo to the Jets has made sense all along, and there doesn’t seem to be an impediment to that happening—especially with the Jets now officially having another opportunity four picks later.
10. Titans: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
If the Titans are unable to land Chance Warmack, they could flip sides of the ball and look at a defensive lineman. But Cooper has just as much upside and may actually be a better fit as a blocker for the speedy Chris Johnson.
11. Chargers: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Fluker has popped up of late in several first-round mocks, and with the Chargers desperate for offensive line help he does so here as well.
12. Dolphins: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Most mocks have an offensive lineman still on the board for the Dolphins; with that being their primary need, Miami could be a prime move-up candidate. They’re also being linked with Tyler Eifert, whose name has been associated with multiple teams in the top half of the first round. We’ll stick with the Werner selection, even though after being at one point a candidate for the top overall pick he’s now falling out of many mock first rounds.
13. Jets (via Buccaneers): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Jets just traded Darrelle Revis, and some mocks have them refilling the corner spot with another relative newcomer to the first round, Houston’s D.J. Hayden. It’s a pick that would make Rex Ryan happy, but so would the Famous Footwear catalog; instead, look for Gang Green to use this pick to address the dearth of offensive playmakers on their roster.
14. Panthers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
One constant among the many, many mocks is the Panthers taking a defensive tackle here. Choosing between Floyd and Sheldon Richardson isn’t a bad option to have midway through the first round.
15. Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Many mocks have Jones going to the Steelers two picks later, but they may have to move up past the Saints to have a shot at him.
16. Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Most mocks have the Rams filling their dire need at safety with one of their first-rounders, and with the top safety in this class still on the board there’s no reason to get cute.
17. Steelers: Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
If Jarvis Jones is off the board before Pittsburgh picks, they could look to move back or take a chance on Carradine, whose ACL injury knocked him from the top of most draft boards.
18. Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Dallas hopes to address either their offensive or defensive line with this pick, and with the o-line gutted they’ll be happy to let Richardson fall into their lap.
19. Giants: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
A couple weeks ago the buzz-worthy cornerbacks were Desmond Trufant and Jamar Taylor. Both may still go in the first round—in today’s NFL, who couldn’t use an upgrade at corner?—but with a clean bill of health following last season’s bizarre injury Hayden is popping up in many first rounds. The Giants tend to prefer pass rushers in the first round, but with that position gutted they’ll be happy with a pass defender instead.
20. Bears: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
All the buzz around Te’o has him heading to Minnesota, which has become South Bend West. But don’t be surprised if the Bears tab him to replace Brian Urlacher. Their game isn’t the same—if the Bears want similar, Alec Ogletree or Arthur Brown would be better fits here—but it’s starting to look like Te’o will land in the first round. Sorry, Seton.
21. Bengals: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Cyprien moved into this mock in version 4.0, and even if the Bengals prefer Eric Reid or Matt Elam here there’s enough need for safeties that he’s bound to stick.
22. Rams (via Redskins): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
While many are slotting a wide receiver to the Rams with one of their two first-rounders, don’t be surprised if Jeff Fisher double-dips on the defensive side of the ball. After adding a safety with the earlier selection, the Rams select a speedy linebacker who will step in and help immediately.
23. Vikings: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Minnesota needs to exit this draft with a starting middle linebacker and help along the defensive line; as tempting as Cordarrelle Patterson is, there’s plenty of help at wide receiver later on—especially if the Vikings slide back with one or both of their first-rounders and stockpile picks. Most mocks have Manti Te’o going to Minnesota, but he’s off the board—and Brown may be a better fit in Minnesota’s Tampa-2.
24. Colts: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
While Indy would love to find a pass-rusher, there are too many quality cornerbacks on the board to be ignored. Desmond Trufant could be the pick here, but Rhodes seems to be more frequently mocked to the Colts so who are we to argue?
25. Vikings (via Seahawks): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
This pick will drive Vikings fans absolutely crazy—not because Williams isn’t worthy, but because the fan base knows the need at wide receiver and sees Cordarrelle Patterson still on the board. Swiping Keenan Allen or Robert Woods in Round 2 should sooth the fan base, but it’ll be an acrimonious Friday on sports talk radio in the Twin Cities.
26. Packers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Eifert has been linked with several teams significantly higher in the first round, and if one of them doesn’t pull the trigger on the talented tight end Ted Thompson might actually make this pick instead of trading down.
27. Texans: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Many mocks have Patterson’s Tennessee teammate, Justin Hunter, going here—but those mocks have Patterson off the board by now. Mocks almost universally have Houston picking a running mate/eventual replacement for Andre Johnson here, and Patterson’s the best left on the board.
28. Broncos: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
At this point in the draft it will be tough for the Broncos to find a pass rusher to replace Elvis Dumervil, but in Trufant they’re able to give the back end of their defense some help; you might recall Denver had some issues in that area in last year’s playoffs.
29. Patriots: Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Patriots are always willing to trade down, especially with no obvious fit left on the draft board. Secondary seems to hold the most value and is an area of need, so pencil Reid into New England’s defensive backfield.
30. Falcons: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
So many teams in the top half of the round are interested in trading down, yet the Falcons are one of only a handful who have talked of trading up. If Dee Milliner slides, expect Atlanta to make their move; otherwise, Taylor looks to be the best cornerback still on the board.
31. 49ers: Keenan Allen, WR, California
San Francisco has many picks and few needs, so don’t be surprised to see them package some of their quantity and turn it into quality. If that doesn’t happen in the first round look for the Niners to bolster their receiving corps; buying local makes a ton of sense here, be it Allen or Stanford tight end Zach Ertz.
32. Ravens: Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
The good news for Ravens fans is that at the end of Round 1 they’ll have some viable candidates to replace Ed Reed (Matt Elam) or Ray Lewis (Minter). The bad news, of course, is that they have to replace Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.