This is my first attempt at a mock draft this year. For my first mock I’m not going to put in any trades. I still believe there is a strong chance that KC may get someone to bite and move up to #1 to take Geno Smith, but for the sake of this mock I will keep everyone in their original draft slot.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
OT, Texas A&M
If Kansas City stays at #1 overall I think this pick is a done deal. I know many KC fans would like them to sign Branden Albert long term and go elsewhere with this pick, but I think the writing is on the wall. Even if they are able to trade back a few spots (cough, Bills, cough) I still think they will go OT, likely Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson whom they had a private work out with.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
New Jags coach Gus Bradley is a defensive guy. The Jags had the fewest sacks in the NFL last season. When you combine those things with already having a QB that they reached for on their roster in Blaine Gabbert, I think it will lead to them passing on Geno Smith and taking a defensive player. I think they need a true DE more than a LB (Dion Jordan) or a DT (Sharrif Floyd). That’s why I have Ansah and his amazing upside here over some of the other defensive players being mocked to them.
3. Oakland Raiders
QB, West Virginia
This is the lowest possible spot I see Geno Smith going. The Raiders are in the process of rebuilding the mess left by Al Davis and the previous powers that be. Their cap situation is a mess. This isn’t going to be a quick turn around. Carson Palmer is an average at best QB right now and is on the decline. There is no way he is the long term QB for this team and I think the Raiders would love to get rid of his cap number. I have previously stated that I think Geno Smith’s upside is a player like Aaron Rodgers, a pocket QB with good athleticism, great accuracy, and a solid but not elite arm. The Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie just happens to be from Green Bay.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
No player has shot up mock drafts more in the past month than Floyd. The general consensus is that he will be a top five pick. The Eagles are supposed to be running a 3-4 base next season and with the loss of Cullen Jenkins they’ll need someone to play DE in their three man front. The pairing of Floyd with last year’s first round pick Fletcher Cox would give Philly two very talented interior players. Star Lotulelei could also be a possibility if he clears medically.
5. Detroit Lions
OT, Central Michigan
This pick is pretty simple. The Lions best player is a WR and the quarterback that they rely on to get him the ball has some injury history. They have no LT to protect that quarterback and Eric Fisher is arguably the best player available at any position.
6. Cleveland Browns
Ideally I think the Browns would like a new franchise QB, but there just isn’t anyone available here that is worth taking. With head coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner running the offense they are going to throw the ball. So instead of drafting a QB they’ll get Brandon Weeden the best weapon available. Pairing Patterson with Josh Gordon would give Weeden two great young targets to use to help open up the field for Trent Richardson. Watch for a possible trade down here as well.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Like Cleveland, the Cards would love to go QB here. However, after working with Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck, new Cards coach Bruce Arians knows what a good young QB looks like and I think he’ll realize that there isn’t a QB like them on the board here. If he’s going to get by for a year with a bad QB, that QB is going to need better protection than what the Cards have had up front recently. This pick could also be Lane Johnson, but Warmack is the higher rated player and safer pick.
8. Buffalo Bills
I still think the Bills will feel pressured to trade up to #1 overall in order to take Geno Smith, but since I said I wouldn’t do any trades in this mock Nassib is plan B. Nassib seems to be the #2 QB in the draft at this point and obviously he has an advantage with his college coach now running things for the Bills. Do I think Nassib has any business being a top 10 pick? No. Do I think the Bills get a QB in the first round no matter what after Buddy Nix got caught running his mouth about needing to find his franchise QB and releasing Ryan Fitzpatrick? Yes.
9. New York Jets
If Darrelle Revis gets traded as many believe, this pick could easily be Dee Milliner. Until that happens, I’m going with Dion Jordan here. Rex Ryan’s defense has lacked playmakers in the front seven recently. Jordan is a freak athlete that should help get some pressure on the QB.
10. Tennessee Titans
The Titans are probably really hoping that Darrelle Revis doesn’t get traded because I’m guessing Milliner is probably at the top on their wish list for this pick. Milliner could easily go higher than this, but if he’s available the Titans will jump all over him.
11. San Diego Chargers
This pick is a lot like the previous one. Johnson could possibly go before this, but if he’s there San Diego will pounce on him. The Chargers MUST land a LT to help give Phillip Rivers some time to throw. Don’t be surprised if San Diego moves up on draft day to ensure they land one of the top OTs in the draft if they think one won’t be there at pick #11.
12. Miami Dolphins
CB, Florida State
The Dolphins would love to land Milliner, but unless they are willing to trade up he won’t be an option here. That leaves either Rhodes or Desmond Trufant here if the Dolphins want to address their major need at CB. It’s a toss up between the two for me. I went with Rhodes because they lost a big CB in FA in Sean Smith and at 6’2″ Rhodes could fill that role of covering taller WRs.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If the Bucs land Revis, I’ll change this pick in my next mock, but for the time being the Bucs top need remains CB. With Milliner and Rhodes off the board that leaves Trufant as the top cover CB available.
14. Carolina Panthers
Lotulelei is one of the hardest players to mock at this point. He was able to work out at his pro day and reportedly looked good. If healthy (or medically cleared, to be more precise) he warrants a top 5 pick and has drawn numerous comparisons to Haloti Ngata. If teams don’t like the medical reports he could slide all the way to the middle rounds. It seems like Carolina has been looking for someone to anchor their interior defensive line forever so I think they will jump all over him unless the medical red flags are too much.
15. New Orleans Saints
WR, West Virginia
This pick is not need based, but the idea of giving Drew Brees arguably the most explosive offensive player in this draft is just too tempting. Austin has been moving up draft boards lately and getting to play indoors in the Super Dome with Brees throwing him the ball and Sean Payton drawing up plays for him would make him the front runner for offensive rookie of the year.
16. St. Louis Rams
Offensive line and safety could also be options here, but Allen is a potential #1 WR and after releasing Steven Jackson it would appear that the Rams will rely more on Bradford throwing the ball. Pairing Allen with the recently signed Jared Cook at TE would greatly improve the Rams ability to throw the ball.