17. Pittsburgh Steelers
His medical red flags and a poor showing at his pro day push arguably the best defensive player in college football down the board and right into the lap of the Steelers. With James Harrison gone they need someone to get pressure on the QB. No one in the draft was better at doing that last year than Jones.
18. Dallas Cowboys
OG, North Carolina
Dallas needs help on the interior of its offensive line and Cooper is the best player available. Some experts have even said that there really isn’t much of a difference in the grades they gave Cooper and Chance Warmack. I think if either of those two guards are available when Dallas picks they will take them.
19. New York Giants
DE, Florida State
Another year, another first round pass rusher. It’s just what they do.
20. Chicago Bears
This is another pick based on value more than need. Getting Richardson at pick #20 is a steal. Pairing him with Henry Melton would give them a pair of young dominant tackles to rebuild their defense around.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Some people have Vaccaro going higher than this, but I think the fact that some good safety prospects may be available in the 2nd round may cause some teams to pass on Vaccaro in the 1st. The Bengals have a real need at safety and Vaccaro is good value at this point. DJ Fluker will be a strong possibility here if Andre Smith walks in free agency.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Washington)
LB, Kansas State
After going offense with their first pick the Rams bolster their defense with this pick. They could use another starting LB to go along with Laurinaitis and Dunbar and Brown is the best all around LB on the board at this point.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Kevin Williams is 32 and not the dominant player he was 5 years ago. They also don’t have anyone good to start next to him. Williams may not be much of a pass rusher, but he’s athletic and a force in the run game. Plus, we all know the Vikings love DTs with the last name Williams.
24. Indianapolis Colts
After letting Dwight Freeney walk the Colts need someone to play OLB and rush the passer. They luck out and have the freakishly talented Mingo fall to them at #24. Mingo’s athletic abilities warrant a top 10 pick, but his production on the field has yet to live up. Still, at #24 he is well worth the risk at this point in the draft.
25. Minnesota Vikings
LB, Notre Dame
Te’o was once seen as a top 10 pick before the whole fake dead girlfriend/catfish insanity hit. The fact that he got dominated in the national championship game and didn’t show well at the combine doesn’t help his case either. That having been said, his college tape still shows one of the most productive players in college football. I think a smaller midwestern market like this would be a good fit as well. Adding Te’o and Jesse Williams to the center of their defense would be a big upgrade for the Vikings.
26. Green Bay Packers
TE, Notre Dame
Aaron Rodgers lost a weapon with Greg Jennings signing with the Vikings. The Packers also lost their #2 TE Tom Crabtree in free agency. Add to that the fact that starting TE Jermichael Finley doesn’t seem to be in the team’s long term plans and Eifert makes a lot of sense here.
27. Houston Texans
The Texans missed Eric Winston at RT last season. Besides filling a need, Fluker is a good value here. He has the potential to be a pro bowl caliber RT and would help to bolster an already strong Houston rushing attack.
28. Denver Broncos
DE, Florida State
This pick is assuming that the Broncos don’t sign someone like Dwight Freeney to replace Elvis Dumervil. Some may be surprised to see Carradine this high, but most scouts will say that Carradine was even better than his teammate Bjoern Werner (pick #19) before he got hurt.
29. New England Patriots
The Patriots could also go pass rusher here, but I think Hopkins is the pick. I think Hopkins is one of the more underrated prospects in this draft. When I watch Hopkins on film I see Roddy White. I think he would be a great weapon for Tom Brady and even though he’s not a slot WR his addition could help fill the production lost with Wes Welker.
30. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons need a DE after losing Jonathan Abraham. Jones isn’t the pass rusher that Abraham was, but he is a great athlete with a high motor who would be stronger at the point of attack.
31. San Francisco 49ers
S, Florida International
The 49ers need help at safety badly after letting Dashon Goldson leave. Cyprien is a very physical and high intensity safety that would fit right in with the 49ers defense.
32. Baltimore Ravens
Ogletree slides a little in this mock due to his off the field issues. With two glaring holes at ILB the Ravens will be willing to overlook those issues and snatch up the very talented Ogletree.
So there it is. My first mock draft of the year. What do you think? Who’s too high? Who’s too low? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!