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1) Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel OT (6-6, 306) – Texas A&M
The All-SEC first teamer and Outland Trophy winner is still the top Left Tackle in the draft. Still the safest pick. Still the guy Andy Reid should look to protect his new QB, Alex Smith. He’s the best of a strong group of offensive lineman in this draft.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan OLB (6-6, 248) – Oregon
Possesses excellent size, speed and athleticism. Would likely need to bulk up more to play DE in the Jaguars’ 4-3 scheme. Can drop into coverage in zone schemes. Jags were dead last in sacks last season. Rumors out of Jacksonville are that the team is choosing between Jordan and an OT, but that could just be a façade to get a team interested in trading up to 2.
3) Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd DT (6-3, 297) – Florida
The First Team All-SEC Floyd was moved back inside last year as a junior, and all he did was lead the Gators in tackles for loss. He also sacked Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater twice in the Sugar Bowl. Oakland’s move for Matt Flynn suggests they won’t grab a QB early, and Floyd gives the Raiders their ‘three technique’ (or pass rushing) DT, and instantly boosts last year’s 31st ranked pass rush.
4) Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher OT (6-7, 306) – Central Michigan
Fisher has actually leapfrogged Joeckel on some teams draft boards. Fisher rocked it at the Senior Bowl and had an excellent combine. The Eagles used free agency to renovate their defense, and should use the draft to fix an awful offensive line to keep Michael Vick upright.
5) Detroit Lions: D.J. Fluker OT (6-5, 339) – Alabama
The Lions lost 3 starters from last year’s line, including both starting tackles. While many boards have Lane Johnson of Oklahoma rated higher than Fluker, Johnson has only 2 years at tackle, and likely requires more seasoning than Fluker, who is ready to go and therefore the safer play between the two. Fluker is a road paving tackle who can overpower pass rushers. Should step right into starting lineup.
6) Cleveland Browns: Star Lotulelei DT (6-3, 311) – Utah
A monster in the middle, fits perfectly into the Browns new 3-4 hybrid scheme. A run stuffer who can generate pressure up the middle. Consistently faced (and beat) double and triple teams in Pac-12. Upgrades defense immediately. Given the ok by doctors after a combine EKG turned up what appeared to be a serious heart issue. Subsequent cardiac MRIs have given the green light
7) Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack OG (6-2, 317) – Alabama
The Cardinals are taking the chance that lead-footed Carson Palmer can lead them to the playoffs. To do so, he has to do something Arizona QBs couldn’t do last year, stay on the field. The Cardinals OLine was the worst in the NFL last year, giving up a league high 58 sacks. The team is happy with the development of Bobby Massie at RT in the second half of last year and Levi Brown will return at LT, which makes upgrading weak guard play the next necessity to protect their investment in Palmer.
8) Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib QB (6-2, 227) – Syracuse
Nassib has been crowned the top QB in the draft by ESPN’s Jon Gruden, and reports abound that the Bills intend to reunite new head coach Doug Marrone with his college QB. Nassib has a strong arm and is mobile in the pocket, and only has to overcome retreads Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson to be starting. Could happen before the season ends.
9) New York Jets: Lane Johnson OT (6-6, 303) – Oklahoma
The Jets offensive line went from being the best in the league in 2010 to among the worst in the league last season, giving up 47 sacks – 6th worst in the NFL. The regression of the line over the last 2 years is one of the direct causes of the regression of Mark Sanchez, and the regression of the running game for Gang Green. Jets haven’t been able to replace Damien Woody at RT for 2 years. The very athletic Johnson (4.72 40, 34 inch vertical leap) will help Sanchez (or whoever starts behind that line) sleep better at night, and in one piece.
10) Tennessee Titans: Dee Milliner CB (6-0, 201) – Alabama
The slide ends here for Milliner, who will not get past the Titans. Milliner has exceptional speed (4.37 40) and can play outside. Titans hired former Saints DC Gregg Williams as an assistant to embattled DC Jerry Gray. Williams loves to blitz and play man coverage, Milliner is the kind of talent they will need to go 1 on 1 outside.
11) San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Cooper OG (6-2, 311) – North Carolina
The Chargers line is a disaster. Only Center Nick Hardwick is a legitimate NFL starter. The Bolts front 5 has been getting QB Philip Rivers killed for 2 years now, including an atrocious 49 sacks last year. Want to know why Rivers has been racking up the turnovers, just look in the tranches where SD loses most battles. If Lane Johnson were to somehow fall to 11, he wouldn’t fall to 12, but for this draft, Cooper is the best OLineman on the board. He’s versatile enough to play all 3 interior spots, and rocked the combine with 35 reps on the bench.
12) Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes CB (6-2, 210) – Florida State
The Dolphins would probably love to get one of the top 4 OTs in this draft here, but may find themselves out of luck. If that’s the case, they are better off waiting to the next round for a tackle and getting the better value for their pick and addressing their secondary. Rhodes has excellent size for a corner, is very physical, and is the best CB on the board at this point. He would likely be the replacement for the departed Sean Smith.
13) New York Jets (from Tampa Bay) : Jarvis Jones OLB (6-3, 245) – Georgia
The Jets anemic pass rush garnered only 30 sacks last season. Jarvis Jones was a beast in the SEC, with 24.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, and 7 forced fumbles, all of which led the NCAA. Comes from 3-4 scheme at UGA where offenses routinely keyed on him to no avail. Did I mention he can also cover? Jets couldn’t ask for better fit.
14) Carolina Panthers: Desmond Trufant CB (6-0, 190) – Washington
The Panthers are feeling the pinch of the cap this year hard. They already had to cut CB Chris Gamble (who subsequently retired) due to financial constraints. They need a new top CB, and Trufant is the best available player in a position of extreme need for the Panthers. He is a younger brother of the Seahawks’ Marcus Trufant. Shutdown corner potential. They will need him to fulfill that potential considering the WRs in the NFC South.
15) New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo OLB (6-4, 241) – LSU
Terrific athleticism but still somewhat raw. Has tremendous speed, long arms help him shed blockers, fits 3-4 scheme Saints will run under Rob Ryan. All the physical attributes are there for him to be a great pass rusher, will need to coaching to learn more technique and not just rely on natural ability.
16) St Louis Rams: Tavon Austin WR (5-9, 174) – West Virginia
No one has shot up the draft boards more than Austin, who wowed teams at the combine with a ridiculous 4.28 40 time. Austin is a game breaker, and he can break one from WR, from the backfield, or on a kick return. Gives Rams playmaker they sorely need.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Ezekiel Ansah DE (6-5, 271) – BYU
If he had more than 3 years life experience in football, there’s no way he drops this far. Early run on OL make it possible for Steelers to grab a top 10 type player at 17. Ansah has speed (4.63 40) and agility to play coverage as well. Very athletic, could be a DE or an OLB in Steelers 3-4 system. The heir to James Harrison.
18) Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro FS (6-0, 214) – Texas
Jerry Jones loves Vaccaro, and FS is a huge need for the Cowboys. Reports have Jones considering to trade up top get Vaccaro on draft day, but he may not need to. Vaccaro utilizes his size and speed to be effective against the run and pass. He can also get up there and get the high ball with his 38 inch vertical leap.
19) New York Giants: Sheldon Richardson DT (6-3, 294) – Missouri
The Giants are all about their defensive line, and with the loss of Chris Canty as a cap casualty, Big Blue can pick up an interior defensive lineman who can wreak absolute havoc. Richardson can apply heavy pressure up the middle, to help NY’s outside pass rushers, and is an immovable object in short yardage. High motor guy who will fit right in with Giants scheme.
20) Chicago Bears: Cordarrelle Patterson WR (6-2, 216) – Tennessee
The Bears may think its too early to draft Manti Te’o to help at MLB, and may think Alec Ogletree presents too many off the field risks to draft this high also. Patterson is a blazer with 4.33 speed, and a 37 inch vertical leap to add onto his 6-2 frame. He can be a game breaker as a receiver and a kick returner. Too good for Bears to pass up. Jay Cutler can now throw to someone besides Brandon Marshall.
21) Cincinnati Bengals: Menelik Watson OT (6-5, 310) – Florida State
The Bengals don’t seem to want to pay last year’s starter at RT, Andre Smith, what he wants, and the can’t go into next season with Dennis Roland at starter. Watson has great size and speed, and his upside is compared to that of Joeckel and Fisher. However, he has only played football for 2 years and is still somewhat raw.
22) St Louis Rams (from Washington) : Eric Reid FS (6-1, 213) – LSU
Reid is a tough run stopper, has sub 4.5 speed, and can make plays on the ball. The Rams are very thin at safety after they had to waive goodbye to Quintin Mikell due to cap constraints, and Matt Daniels is coming off ACL surgery. Reid can play now.
23) Minnesota Vikings: Justin Hunter WR (6-4, 196) – Tennessee
Minnesota needed to revamp its WR corps. after dealing Percy Harvin. They signed Greg Jennings, and Hunter will be a great complement immediately. Has terrific size to go with 4.36 speed and 39.5” vertical leap. Has all the physical tools to be a big time WR. Struggled with drops at Tennessee, will need to improve concentration.
24) Indianapolis Colts: Sylvester Williams DT (6-3, 313) – North Carolina
Colts will need to replace the pass rush they lost when they parted ways with Dwight Freeney and need to upgrade against the run. They can do both of those things with Williams. Can play inside and out. Has strong burst off ball.
25) Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): Manti Te’o ILB (6-1, 241) – Notre Dame
As Te’o puts more distance between himself and “Girlfriendgate”, his numbers for his career (which are excellent) are beginning to outshine his poor performance in the BCS title game vs Alabama and his poor combine showing. Vikings don’t appear scared off by the off field stuff with Te’o. He fills a glaring need at MLB.
26) Green Bay Packers: Eddie Lacy RB (5-11, 231) – Alabama
Lacy is exactly the kind of back who can solve the Packers’ backfield problems. Green Bay had a revolving door at RB last season when FA signee Cedric Benson couldn’t stay healthy. Lacy ran wild in the SEC title game and again in the BCS title game. He reads blocks, breaks tackles, and finishes runs. Green Bay wants to be more physical this year. Packers should be thrilled to get Lacy here.
27) Houston Texans: Robert Woods WR (6-0, 201) – USC
Woods has excellent hands, is a strong route runner, and is elusive. Tough and fearless, will go over the middle. Very polished receiver. Can return punts. Could develop into that strong #2 WR Texans have longed for to pair with Andre Johnson. Can play slot and outside. Should be a week 1 starter.
28) Denver Broncos: Bjoern Werner DE (6-3, 266) – Florida State
Broncos find themselves in a bind after playing “Fax Faux Pas” with the former agent for the now departed Elvis Dumervil. Werner is a great way to start replacing those sacks. Has combination of quickness and strength to develop into top pass rusher.
29) New England Patriots: Keenan Allen WR (6-2, 206) – California
Not paying attention to the slow 40 times at his workout, because he is sill recovering from a knee injury. He will get faster as he finishes recovery. Allen is Cal’s all time receptions leader, and he did it in less than 3 full years. Was considered a mid-1st rounder before knee injury. If Pats don’t trade down, this is exactly the kind of move New England makes, getting a higher grade talent who’s stock is devalued, and scooping him up. Considering Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman aren’t exactly ironmen on the field, Tom Brady should be happy with this selection.
30) Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert TE (6-6, 250) – Notre Dame
Falcons have needs in the secondary but Eifert is too talented to pass up here. Nothing like taking the top TE in the draft class and letting him learn from maybe the best TE to ever play the game in Tony Gonzalez. He can already make tough catches. Can line up in line, outside, and in slot.
31) San Francisco 49ers: Matt Elam SS (5-10, 208) – Florida
A physical defender with a nose for big plays, Elam could replace the departed Dashon Goldson, who is now in Tampa Bay. Top rates SS in the draft, who has the speed (4.43 40) to play in coverage.
32) Baltimore Ravens: DeAndre Hopkins WR (6-1, 214) – Clemson
Baltimore made a huge investment in Joe Flacco following his Super Bowl winning run. They followed that up with trading away Anquan Boldin, who was equally terrific in their Super Bowl run. Hopkins draws comparisons to Reggie Wayne, and will add a reliable pass catcher opposite deep threat Torrey Smith.