1. Kansas City Chiefs — Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Chiefs have eliminated a lot of their major needs before free agency even officially kicks off on Tuesday, March 12th. They have a deal in place to acquire 49ers QB Alex Smith, they signed CB Dunta Robinson who can start opposite Brandon Flowers, they franchised Branden Albert (LT), and they managed to re-sign WR Dwayne Bowe, whom I had chalked up as gone for good. The most interesting move the Chiefs made was to cut right tackle Eric Winston, who is one of the best in the league at his position. Interesting, because Andy Reid probably would have loved to have had Winston last year in Philly. I think it’s a good indication of where this team is going with the pick, though. I think it’s either going to be Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher at this point to replace Winston and give the Chiefs a pair of home-grown bookend tackles for the future.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars — Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Jaguars decimated their defensive backfield this offseason, letting go of safety Dawan Landry and cornerbacks Aaron Ross, Rashean Mathis, and Derek Cox. There is still a chance they could re-sign some of their own guys (Mathis, Cox) but I think corner is going to be a primary area of need in Gus Bradley’s new look defense. Milliner had the inside track at the top pick until the Chiefs cut Eric Winston.
3. Oakland Raiders — Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Raiders need to upgrade their defensive front in a bad way, and adding Floyd to a group that already includes LaMarr Houston could be a nice fit. Floyd has been talked about as the top 4-3 DT out there this year, and I think he’s be a nice fit with the Raiders.
4. Philadelphia Eagles — Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
We’ll have to see if Lotulelei’s health checks out, but assuming it does, I think he’d be a great addition to the Eagles’ defensive line. He projects as a nose tackle in their new defensive scheme, and that’s an essential piece to any team’s 3-4 defense. If his health doesn’t check out, I think the Eagles decide between Eric Fisher (OT) or Dion Jordan (OLB).
5. Detroit Lions — Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Lions may be planning on putting Riley Reiff at offensive guard, and if that’s the case, they need a new right tackle and eventual successor at left tackle. Fisher is the kind of guy who can develop into just that, especially with Gosder Cherilus hitting free agency.
6. Cleveland Browns — Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Browns are moving to a 3-4 defense, and while their front-line is pretty well set with Phil Taylor and Athyba Rubin, they could use a boost in the pass rush department. Jordan will miss a few months with a shoulder issue, but should be at full-strength by the pre-season and can be a big-time pass rusher in the NFL.
7. Arizona Cardinals — Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Cardinals have to re-stock the QB position. I’m not sure this will be their pick come April, but I think it should be. A new regime in Arizona means a new quarterback in all likelihood, and I think the team is done trying to mess around with Kevin Kolb, who was a huge bust of an acquisition.
8. Buffalo Bills — Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Bills need to re-tool their offensive weaponry, specifically at the receiver position. Patterson could be the most dynamic receiver in the draft with his combination of size, speed, and versatility. This could be a great pickup for Buffalo opposite Steve Johnson.
9. New York Jets — Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
Ezekiel Ansah is still pretty new to football, but he’s the kind of guy Rex Ryan can coach up and build into a star pass rusher. He won’t be able to rely on his athletic ability forever, so I think this is a good situation for him to be in on a team with a huge need for pass rush.
10. Tennessee Titans — Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Titans have a hole on the interior of their offensive line, and Warmack is more than capable of filling it. He’s kind of becoming a boring pick for the Titans, but there’s no question he’s the best one if he’s available.
11. San Diego Chargers — Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Chargers have to be able to protect Philip Rivers, or they’ll never get back to the postseason or compete with Peyton Manning for the next three or so years. Lane Johnson is very gifted athletically and could be their left tackle of the future.
12. Miami Dolphins — Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
In a year’s time, the Dolphins may be likely to lose both Vontae Davis (trade w/IND) and Sean Smith (2013 FA). That being said, they need starting corners in a hurry. There’s a good chance they’ll go for a veteran in free agency, but no doubt cornerback will be a high priority for this team.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Bucs missed out on both Milliner and Rhodes in this mock, but Trufant is not a bad option for them. He has shut-down ability, and fills the team’s biggest need without question. Defensive end could be a position they look at here as well with Michael Bennett likely to command a big contract.
14. Carolina Panthers — Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Richardson is a freak of an athlete and could help solidify the defensive front of the Panthers, who would have one of the more intriguing front seven units in the NFL if they are able to land this guy.
15. New Orleans Saints — Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Mingo could go in the top 10, but I think he’ll fall because of his size and scheme fit. He’d be a great fit for the Saints here, who are looking to add pass rushers to their new look 3-4 scheme.
16. St. Louis Rams — Johnathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Cooper would be an instant starter and potential Pro Bowl candidate for the Rams who need to start adding some high draft picks to the interior of their offensive line. Tackle is also a strong option here if they are unable to fill those holes in free agency.