A week out from the draft and the picture is still fuzzy. Rumors swirl, misinformation flies, and we take another stab at making sense of it all.
1. Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Albert-to-Miami talk crystalizes KC’s need for a tackle, and right now the draft community is narrowly leaning Joeckel over Eric Fisher.
2. Jaguars: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
Jordan’s unique athletic traits are making him the hot commodity of the draft. He’ll go in this spot, though perhaps not to the Jags.
3. Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Oakland would love to deal out of this spot, and there’s enough late buzz about Geno Smith that maybe they’ll be able to do so. After giving them Sharrif Floyd previously, Lotulelei’s health questions have apparently been answered sufficiently to return him to the top of the draft board.
4. Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Some Geno Smith to the Eagles steam is building, but Fisher here and finding a way to get back into the bottom of the first round for E.J. Manual makes more sense.
5. Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
If Geno Smith does sneak into the top four, Eric Fisher is likely the guy to fall to Detroit—and they’ll snap him up. Sans Fisher, the Lions either trade down or take the class’s top corner.
6. Browns: Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
Another domino pick: if Geno Smith is among the first five picks then Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel fall to Detroit and Dee Milliner falls to the Browns. That hasn’t happened in this scenario, so it’s either trade down (like everybody else) or a freakishly athletic edge rusher.
7. Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The only real threat to a potential Cardinals-Johnson marriage is Detroit or Cleveland trading back with the Chargers or Dolphins, who would move up to take Johnson. The potential acquisition of Branden Albert might remove Miami from that mix, leaving it a bidding war between San Diego and Arizona.
8. Bills: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Bills (stop me if you’ve heard this before) would love to trade down, and if the Jets get Tampa Bay’s pick at #13 maybe a Tavon Austin-loving club will feel the need. Otherwise, Buffalo won’t be disappointed adding Jones to their defense.
9. Jets: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
I have the Jets dealing Darrelle Revis for the Bucs’ first-round pick, giving them two of the next five selections. They’ll go pass rusher/playmaker, but in what order? If they’re skittish about someone swiping Tavon Austin they’ll take him here and hope Mingo remains at 13.
10. Titans: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Several mocks are slotting Bjoern Werner here, and the Titans do need a pass rusher. But with Mike Munchak calling the shots, and offensive line a desperate need as well, I’ll stick with a guard and roll with Warmack.
11. Chargers: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Bolts would love to find one of the top-tier tackles still on the board when they pick, but they’ll have to trade up for that to happen. San Diego needs help at guard, too, so Cooper is the backup plan.
12. Dolphins: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Werner could go anywhere from 2 to 28; it’s that kind of draft. With no offensive line help left on the board, Miami shores up the pass rush with a low-risk homestate selection.
13. Jets (via Buccaneers): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
This deal will get done; the two sides are still haggling on the final price (my guess is a conditional second-day pick in 2014 will be enough). After filling Rex Ryan’s need for an edge rusher the Jets address their glaring lack of playmakers by adding Austin. Now can they figure out what to do with him?
14. Panthers: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Carolina wants to dip into a deep class of defensive tackles, and in this scenario they have a choice between Floyd and Sheldon Richardson. Not a bad problem at all.
15. Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Saints might still want to address their secondary here, but in this scenario they opt to beef up the front line of their defense instead.
16. Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Rams could hold their collective breath as Tavon Austin and Kenny Vaccaro cling to the draft board with their pick approaching, or they could find a way to leverage four of the first 78 selections into a way to help both their secondary and Sam Bradford’s arsenal.
17. Steelers: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Really wanted to give the Steelers a wide receiver here, but their track record suggests they’ll find help for Ben Roethlisberger with a Day Two—or later—selection.
18. Cowboys: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
With no offensive line help falling to the Cowboys, they’ll flip sides and address their defensive line.
19. Giants: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Giants’ track record is to draft pass rushers in the first round, but they’d have to be sold on Tank Carradine’s health to do that here. Upgrading the secondary is a solid fallback plan.
20. Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Recent buzz suggests the Bears might be looking at tight end Tyler Eifert with this pick, and Xavier Rhodes still on the board is enticing. But there’s still a need to replace Brian Urlacher and Ogletree certainly fits that bill.
21. Bengals: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Cyprien is creeping into the bottom of mock drafts as several teams in this range have a need at safety and he offers NFL size and the ability to cover tight ends. The question is, does he leapfrog LSU’s Eric Reid?
22. Rams (via Redskins): Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The Rams have a need for a speedy linebacker who can step in immediately, so if a receiver they covet isn’t on the board they can wait until Day 2 to address that position and opt for Brown here.
23. Vikings: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
There’s talk the Vikings want to move up, but with multiple needs to fill at positions that are relatively deep in this draft there doesn’t appear to be a burning need to do so. Te’o would be an immediate starter in Minnesota, the Vikings love them some Golden Domers, and McLovin spins the Wheel of Punishment.
24. Colts: Damontre Moore, OLB, Texas A&M
This pick still feels like Moore, but if Tank Carradine checks out health-wise he could make a push here as well.
25. Vikings (via Seahawks): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
With defensive tackles relatively picked over—and talent at the position still available on Day 2—and the 2013 draft class deep enough at receiver to yield help in later rounds, the Vikings address the loss of Antoine Winfield with a surprise gift as Rhodes slips down the board to them.
26. Packers: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
I haven’t slotted Geno Smith in this mock, but he’s going to go in the first round somewhere. Another quarterback or two will go as well, and the Packers are a prime candidate to deal out of the first round for a QB-needy club. If they don’t, they can nab Jermichael Finley’s eventual replacement.
27. Texans: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Maybe it’s Patterson, maybe it’s Keenan Allen, maybe it’s Robert Woods, maybe it’s DeAndre Hopkins. One way or another, though, the Texans find a running mate and eventual replacement for Andre Johnson.
28. Broncos: Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
There doesn’t appear to be good value for defensive line help here, leaving Denver to address the middle of their linebacking corps with Minter. They’d also be a strong candidate to move back while another team fills their quarterback need here.
29. Patriots: Eric Reid, S, LSU
Yet another team willing to trade down, as the Patriots are uncharacteristically short on picks this year. However, in this scenario they’d have their pick of a pair of intriguing safeties, which may be enough to compel them to use the pick themselves.
30. Falcons: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
The Falcons haven’t been shy about trading up to get their guy, and there’s buzz they may have a guy (Dee Milliner?) in this draft they’ll make an aggressive move to get. If they don’t, they could “settle” for Taylor or Jonathan Banks.
31. 49ers: Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Niners haven’t necessarily given up on last year’s first-round receiver, A.J. Jenkins, but opposite Michael Crabtree they’re wafer-thin—especially long-term, with Anquan Boldin on the downslope of his NFL career. With 11 picks and not nearly that many open roster spots San Francisco could be in move-up mode, but having Allen fall to them is a pleasant surprise.
32. Ravens: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Elam isn’t Ed Reed, but then again Reed’s a Hall of Famer so he won’t be easily replaced. Other defensive positions of need, specifically linebacker and interior line, have been picked clean so the Ravens can attempt to fill the gaping hole in their secondary left by Reed’s departure.