1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
No change here, the Chiefs are even talking about trading Branden Albert after making him their franchise player. If that happens, they will most certainly be taking a left tackle, and the only question at this point is whether or not it will be Joeckel. There are some insiders who believe Eric Fisher is the better overall player.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Jaguars NEED pass rush. I can’t stress that enough. They signed Jason Babin and have second rounder Andre Branch from last year, and those guys are going to need to step it up. Adding Dion Jordan would be a huge pickup for this team’s defense, especially with its needs on the back end. Jordan would help make the entire defensive backfield better.
3. Oakland Raiders – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Raiders have a big decision to make with Carson Palmer’s contract coming up, and they may decide to cut him. If he is kept and paid $13M, you can expect this pick to be used on the defensive line. The rumors that Oakland will take Smith are heating up because it’s unlikely Palmer will take a paycut to remain a Raider. This could be destiny.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
With Dion Jordan and Geno Smith off the board, the Eagles get likely their best fit by far anyway. Eric Fisher has been the hottest prospect in the draft this offseason, rising to top five status in a matter of months. He is a perfect fit for this team at right or left tackle, whatever they should choose. He will be a starter for a long, long time.
5. Detroit Lions – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Detroit could go with Dee Milliner here, but there’s growing speculation that they prefer a pass rusher with their top pick. Likely all the top pass rushers will be gone by the time the second round rolls around, so they take a guy whom many are saying has the most potential of this draft. Ansah hasn’t been playing football for very long, but the Lions have the pieces around him on the defensive line to help bring him along.
6. Cleveland Browns – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Browns fortified their front seven in free agency, and now it’s time to work on the back end of that defense. They need some more playmakers out there, and even though their defense was pretty tough last year, I think they would love to add Milliner to a CB group featuring Joe Haden.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
No Geno Smith, no Eric Fisher, so the Cardinals go with the next best thing and next biggest need on their roster, arguably–pass rush. Jarvis Jones is the type of player who can significantly impact their defense as a whole, and I think at this point in the draft, they’d love to be able to add him. We’ve had Jones as high as #2 overall in mock drafts.
8. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
There are many Bills fans who would riot if this pick happened, but step into the shoes of Titans and Vikings fans from a couple years ago when they used top picks on guys like Jake Locker and Christian Ponder, players whom many thought would be second rounders even leading into the draft. Nassib is a guy who is drawing rave reviews and getting better with each day. He could easily be the pick here for the QB hungry Bills.
9. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
Besides quarterback, pass rush is the Jets’ top overall need without question. Mingo is a smaller guy but the Jets have big enough players up front to be able to free him up in space to make plays. His speed is tough for any offensive lineman to handle, and I think Rex Ryan will be salivating at the opportunity to coach such a talent after having two of the slowest pass rushers in the game for years.
10. Tennessee Titans – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Titans have already added Andy Levitre this offseason, but I don’t think their OL overahaul is done there. They need to get back to running the ball well and on a consistent basis, and while I feel like Chance Warmack is a great prospect, he’s no guarantee to be the first guard off the board. Jonathan Cooper is very athletic, and offers a ton of versatility up front. I think he’d be a great fit with the addition of Levitre at LG.
11. San Diego Chargers – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Johnson fills the biggest need in San Diego, which is protecting Philip Rivers. If Rivers has time to throw the ball, he will find receivers, even if the crew the Chargers have is well below average out there.
12. Miami Dolphins – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Dolphins have a pretty big void at the CB position, and Rhodes will have to start from day one. He is a big, athletic corner prospect to replace Sean Smith on the outside.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Bucs would love to have Rhodes with this pick, but there are some really good DL options out there. They’ve struggled to find a #2 DT to play with Gerald McCoy (when healthy) and I love the idea of Star Lotulelei lining up next to him. Lotulelei’s health has checked out, and he’d be great value here.
14. Carolina Panthers – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Panthers get a great value with this pick and a guy who’s been considered for the #1 overall pick by the Chiefs. You never know what way the draft board is going to fall, but if the Raiders pass on Floyd there’s no telling how far he might go. I don’t think he’d make it much further past the Bucs or Panthers.
15. New Orleans Saints – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Saints need pass rushers, and more importantly they need upgrades in the front seven. Last year, they were absolutely terrible. Jones offers versatility, and is a guy who will give maximum effort on every play. He’d be fun to watch with Cameron Jordan up front.
16. St. Louis Rams – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Rams have gotten rid of Danny Amendola (Patriots) and now have a need at the slot receiver position. Austin not only adds that, but he gives their offense a whole other dimension that they’ve lacked for years. This could be a huge pickup for Sam Bradford and co.