If you are new to my draft coverage, I’d like to explain how I piece together my mock draft.
As right as I want to think that I am, I am not naive to think that what I put out there is exactly how the 1st two rounds of the draft will play out. The draft is a puzzle with probably a million different ways it could unfold. Through my research of not just the players in the draft, but also of the team’s needs and their year-to-year approach to the draft, I try to construct just one way I believe the draft could unfold.
I do as much research on the players as I can with my limited resources. I analyze each team’s needs by breaking down each team’s roster myself. I also analyze the front office, head coach, and assistant coaches on each team to see if there might be a trend we can follow.
One thing I do not do is trying to predict any trades. The trades we hear about with the NFL draft do not come true. The trades we don’t hear about are the ones that actually happen. It just doesn’t make sense to predict them at all.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel – OT – Texas A&M
Commish’s Comments: Issues continue to swirl around Brandon Albert as rumors continue to persist that the Chiefs will end up drafting Joeckel. The Chiefs have shown some interest in Geno Smith, but with three offensive tackles at the top of this draft, the Chiefs probably feel safe enough to trade down and still be able to draft one of them.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Barkevious Mingo – DE – LSU
Commish’s Comments: In an unpredictable draft, it makes to have an unpredictable pick early. New coach Gus Bradley comes from the Seahawks where he was the defensive coordinator. In this defense, undersized pass rushers are at a premium. Last year, the Seahawks, in a surprise move, drafted an undersized pass rusher in Bruce Irvin halfway through the 1st round. While Dion Jordan is a better all-around linebacker, but does have some questions in rushing the passer and Jarvis Jones has injury and speed concerns, Mingo can be inconsistent on film, but possesses similar pass rush characteristics to Irvin from a year ago.
3. Oakland Raiders – Sharrif Floyd – DT – Florida
Commish’s Comments: I struggled mightily with this pick because I wanted to pull the trigger for Geno Smith here. Matt Floyd is not the long-term answer for the Raiders, but with a team with so many holes, perhaps Geno Smith just isn’t the right pick here. Floyd addresses a huge need for the Raiders and can be a difference maker on defense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Star Lotulelei – DT – Utah
Commish’s Comments: The Eagles want to get bigger along their defensive line. After being cleared medically, I would anticipate the very strong, very massive, and surprisingly quick Star Lotulelei to receive strong consideration from the Eagles for their new 3-4 defense.
5. Detroit Lions – Eric Fisher – OT – Central Michigan
Commish’s Comments: The Lions have questions as to whether Riley Reiff can play tackle and have considered a move to guard for him. The Lions also lost Gosder Cherilus to free agency and Jeff Backus to retirement. Backus and Cherilus were the starting offensive tackles for the Lions in 2012. Fisher is a Michigan guy and can slide in and start at left tackle for 10 years.
6. Cleveland Browns – Geno Smith – QB – West Virginia
Commish’s Comments: The Browns did a good job in free agency, but Brandon Weeden is still their quarterback. With a new GM and new head coach, the Browns might be ready to bring in their own quarterback. After having tremendous success as Cam Newton’s creative offensive coordinator in Carolina, Rob Chudzinski could have a quarterback with a similar skill set to Newton, but maybe better coming out of college in the pocket.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson – OT – Oklahoma
Commish’s Comments: The Cardinals have neglected their offensive line long enough. Bruce Arians likes to throw the football, so an athletic offensive tackle is necessary. There is no more athletic offensive tackle in this draft than Lane Johnson.
8. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Nassib – QB – Syracuse
Commish’s Comments: Nassib is receiving 2nd round mentions from all of the “experts,” but if we’ve learned anything about the draft over the past few years, it’s that quarterbacks get drafted much earlier than expected. Nassib played for new Bills coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse and possesses all of the intangibles you want in a quarterback to lead your team.
9. New York Jets –Dion Jordan – DE/OLB – Oregon
Commish’s Comments: The Jets are desperate for an outside linebacker for their 3-4 defense that can play all over the field. Jordan is excellent in space and can excel at times in coverage. He didn’t rush the passer as much as you’d think he would with his size, so there is some uncertainty as to how good of a consistent pass rusher he can be in the NFL.
10. Tennessee Titans – Dee Miliner – CB – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: Milliner is the top cornerback in this draft. The Titans really struggled on defense a year ago. Milliner is a little stiff in coverage, but is physical and a good tackler.
11. San Diego Chargers – Xavier Rhodes – CB – FSU
Commish’s Comments: The Chargers top need is at offensive tackle, but if all 3 top tackles are gone at this point, the Chargers should turn to their next biggest need at cornerback. Rhodes is a big and physical corner with decent speed to run with receivers.
12. Miami Dolphins – Ziggy Ansah – DE – BYU
Commish’s Comments: The closer we get to this draft, the more we are seeing players separate themselves from each other. Ansah just does not have much film for teams to go by, so drafting him is purely on potential. Because of that, Ansah might slip out of the top 10, but the Dolphins would love a pass rusher opposite of Cameron Wake.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sheldon Richardson – DT – Missouri
Commish’s Comments: The focus for the Buccaneers has surrounded around a cornerback or most recently around Star Lotulelei and Tavon Austin. If the Bucs are truly set on fixing their pass rush, they’ll gladly select Sheldon Richardson to play next to Gerald McCoy along the Bucs defensive line. Richardson is a penetrating defensive tackle who lives in opponent’s backfields and had 10.5 tackles for a loss in 2012 with Missouri. McCoy and Richardson next to each other could lead to chaos in opposing offensive backfields on run plays AND pass plays. While Roy Miller did his job well in 2012, the Bucs needed an upgrade and a player who could stand his ground against double teams, but also win the battles when he is single blocked. Remember this about the Bucs, they typically draft a player that no one is talking about. Remember all the debates of Morris Claiborne vs. Trent Richardson last year? I’m starting to think the Bucs look to go either defensive tackle or tight end here with Eifert, and not in the predictable cornerback route.
14. Carolina Panthers – Tavon Austin – WR – West Virginia
Commish’s Comments: The Panthers have neglected a receiver opposite of Steve Smith for long enough. Tavon Austin is an undersized playmaker, but could be electric in an offense with Cam Newton and Steve Smith.
15. New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones – OLB – Georgia
Commish’s Comments: The Saints brough in Rob Ryan to run his version of the 3-4 defense in New Orleans. In Ryan’s defense, the outside linebacker is asked to rush the passer most of the time and is rarely used in coverage. Jones was not very good in coverage at Georgia, while he excelled as a pass rusher.
16. St. Louis Rams – Cordarrelle Patterson – WR – Tennessee
Commish’s Comments: The word out of St. Louis is that they finally want to get Sam Bradford a big time playmaker at receiver. Patterson is a raw receiver, but possesses a ton of potential and is lethal with the ball in his hands.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Kenny Vaccaro – S – Texas
Commish’s Comments: Vaccaro is the top safety in this draft with ball-hawk skills and the ability to deliver a big hit. The Steelers would like to get a new safety to play next to Troy Polamalu.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Chance Warmack – OG – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: The Cowboys offensive line, in particular their guards, were embarrassing in 2012. Warmack is a mauler as an offensive guard who has the potential to be a perennial All Pro in the NFL.
19. New York Giants – Margus Hunt – DE – SMU
Commish’s Comments: Somebody will take a shot early on Margus Hunt. He is another raw player with an absolute ton of natural ability. The Giants showed a willingness to draft a raw player in Jason Pierre-Paul a few years ago and it paid off. With Chris Canty and Osi Umenyiora gone in free agency, the Giants get a player that could play either position.
20. Chicago Bears – DJ Fluker – OT – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: Gabe Carimi has been a disappointment, but the Bears have finally addressed their offensive line by signing Jeron Bushrod in free agency. Fluker can step in and start at right tackle and give the Bears some confidence in their offensive line in years. Oh, by the way, Jay Cutler would be happy with this.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Alec Ogletree – LB – Georgia
Commish’s Comments: Ogletree might be the most talented defensive player in this draft, but his character will drop him a bit in this draft. If there is any team that could look past his character and see the great player that he is would be the Cincinnati Bengals.
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS) – Jonathan Cooper – OG – North Carolina
Commish’s Comments: The Rams signed Jake Long to be their left tackle and now they have a guard to help solidify their line. Jeff Fisher wants a physical team, and with these acquisitions, he could have that on offense.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Keenan Allen – WR – Cal
Commish’s Comments: The Vikings need more balance on offense. Michael Jenkins was released and Percy Harvin has just been traded. Keenan Allen has the potential to move up draft boards with a good pro day, but as of right now he is a reliable target with good hands. Opposite of Greg Jennings, Allen gives Christian Ponder some good weapons in the pass game.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Bjoern Werner – DE – FSU
Commish’s Comments: I’m not certain Werner has the elite qualities to go in the top 10 of this draft. Werner is a solid reliable defensive end. He reminds me of Adrian Clayborn of a few years ago. Werner doesn’t possess any characteristics that will “wow” you, but he wins with effort. This is not a bad thing. Chuck Pagano will make a place for Werner who could be like Paul Kruger was for the Ravens when Pagano was there.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA) – Sylvester Williams – DT – North Carolina
Commish’s Comments: The Vikings need to address their defensive line, and in particular their defensive tackles. Williams name is getting hotter with each week that goes by as a fit in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense.
26. Green Bay Packers – Jonathan Cyprien – S – FIU
Commish’s Comments: Cyprien’s stock has been on the rise for a while. He has a great blend of size and speed. Cyprien is a big hitter, but can also play deep in coverage. Cyprien could be a nice replacement for Charles Woodson and play next to Morgan Burnett.
27. Houston Texans – Justin Hunter – WR – Tennessee
Commish’s Comments: Eventually , the Texans have to find a receiver to play opposite of Andre Johnson. Hunter has nice size and speed, and could give Matt Schaub the complement he needs.
28. Denver Broncos – Desmond Trufant – CB – Washington
Commish’s Comments: The Tracy Porter experiment did not work. The Broncos not only need a corner to play opposite of Champ Bailey, but also one to eventually replace him.
29. New England Patriots – Johnathan Hankins – DT – Ohio St.
Commish’s Comments: The Patriots are always looking to get bigger and younger along their defensive line.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Menelik Watson – OT – FSU
Commish’s Comments: If the Falcons are about to break the bank on Matt Ryan, why not get him some insurance. Watson has a ton of potential to be a franchise left tackle, but might need some time to develop.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame
Commish’s Comments: Eifert could go definitely earlier than this, and possibly as early as the Bucs pick at 13, but that’s how this draft will play out. The 49ers like to play two tight ends on offense, so with Delanie Walker gone in free agency and the ability to draft the draft’s top tight end, this seems like a no-brainer.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Arthur Brown – LB – Kansas St.
Commish’s Comments: Brown was a captain and a leader at Kansas St with the ability to make plays all over the field.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blidi Wreh-Wilson – CB – UCONN
Commish’s Comments: Gus Bradley had the big physical corners in Seattle and no doubt wants that now in Jacksonville.
34. San Francisco 49ers – Datone Jones – DE – UCLA
Commish’s Comments: Jones is on the rise and would be a big boost for the 49ers defensive line.
35. Philadelphia Eagles – EJ Manuel – QB – FSU
Commish’s Comments: Manuel can run and throw, making him a great fit for Chip Kelly’s offense. The Eagles could also go offensive tackle here and draft Matt Scott out of Arizona later.
36. Detroit Lions – Tank Carradine – DE – FSU
Commish’s Comments: Coming off an ACL tear, Carrdine could end up being the best pass rusher in this draft.
37. Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK) – Matt Elam – S – Florida
Commish’s Comments: Elam is a big hitter in the secondary.
38. Arizona Cardinals – Tyler Bray – QB – Tennessee
Commish’s Comments: A slight surprise here especially with the Cardinals recent moves at QB, but Bray has the arm strength to make the throws down the field which are necessary in Bruce Arians offense.
39. New York Jets – Eddie Lacy – RB – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: Lacy is a powerful runner with very good vision.
40. Tennessee Titans – Alex Okafor – DE – Texas
Commish’s Comments: The Titans need a defensive end that can get to the quarterback.
41. Buffalo Bills – Zack Ertz – TE – Stanford
Commish’s Comments: While at Syracuse, head coach Doug Marrone always had dangerous tight ends. Ertz can be that for him in the NFL.
42. Miami Dolphins – Kyle Long – OT – Oregon
Commish’s Comments: Long is gaining momentum, but the chips just fell this way. He’d start at right tackle for the Dolphins.
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – David Amerson – CB – NC St.
Commish’s Comments: I was debating with myself early in this process if Amerson would play safety or corner in the NFL. There is no doubt that he has natural ability to play corner. While his 2011 film is superb with 13 INTs, his play dropped off in 2012 as he was beat for many long touchdowns. The assumption is that Amerson tried to duplicate his special year from 2011 and took far too many chances in 2012. The natural talent is there. Amerson will need proper coaching on technique to help him reach his full potential. The word I’m getting is that the Bucs are very big into measurables this year when drafting players. Well, Amerson is 6’1” 205 lbs and ran a 4.44 40-yard dash.
44. Carolina Panthers – Eric Reid – S – LSU
Commish’s Comments: Reid has good intangibles and leadership, but does not possess an y elite physical characteristics.
45. San Diego Chargers – Justin Pugh – OT – Syracuse
Commish’s Comments: The Chargers need help along their offensive line. Pugh offers the last top tackle before a drop off.
46. St. Louis Rams – Khaseem Greene – OLB – Rutgers
Commish’s Comments: Underrated sure-tackling linebacker that can help the Rams defense immediately.
47. Dallas Cowboys – Kawann Short – DT – Purdue
Commish’s Comments: Inconsistent, but a hard worker. If there is any defensive line coach that can tap into Short’s potential and make him more consistent, it’s Rod Marinelli.
48. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jamie Collins – OLB – Southern Miss
Commish’s Comments: With Joey Porter gone and the Steelers missing out on Elvis Dumervil, the need for a pass rusher is there.
49. New York Giants – Manti Te’o – LB – Notre Dame
Commish’s Comments: Tom Coughlin doesn’t even know what the internet is. Manti’s secret is safe!
50. Chicago Bears – Jamar Taylor – CB – Boise St.
Commish’s Comments: Taylor is a talented corner who can upgrade the Bears revamped secondary.
51. Washington Redskins – Darius Slay – CB – Mississippi St.
Commish’s Comments: Slay was blazing fast at the combine. The Redskins secondary needs a boost.
52. Minnesota Vikings – Larry Warford – OG – Kentucky
Commish’s Comments: How could the Vikings pass up a massive run-blocking guard with this pick? Adrian Peterson smiles.
53. Cincinnati Bengals – Giovanni Bernard – RB – North Carolina
Commish’s Comments: Bernard’s quickness and receiving ability is a good fit in Jay Gruden’s offense.
54. Miami Dolphins (via IND) – Johnthan Banks – CB – Miss. St.
Commish’s Comments: Banks is a clone of Sean Smith physically.
55. Green Bay Packers – Le’Veon Bell – RB – Michigan St.
Commish’s Comments: Bell is big, fast, and a good receiver. Finally, the Packers address running back.
56. Seattle Seahawks – Jesse Williams – NT – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: Alan Branch remains a free agent, so the Seahawks are still in need of a nose tackle.
57. Houston Texans – John Jenkins – DT – Georgia
Commish’s Comments: The Texans need a nose tackle. Jenkins is 350 lbs, but can move.
58. Denver Broncos – Damontre Moore – DE – Texas A&M
Commish’s Comments: Moore replaced Von Miller at Texas A&M, and now gets to rush the quarterback with him.
59. New England Patriots – DeAndre Hopkins – WR – Clemson
Commish’s Comments: The Patriots must equip Tom Brady with better options at receiver.
60. Atlanta Falcons – Gavin Escobar – TE – San Diego St.
Commish’s Comments: The Falcons must start thinking of life without Tony Gonzalez. Escobar is a great player to learn from Gonzalez with Escobar’s naturally soft hands.
61. San Francisco 49ers – Robert Alford – CB – SE Louisiana St.
Commish’s Comments: The small school prospect is receiving a lot of hype this week.
62. Baltimore Ravens – Quinton Patton – WR – Louisiana Tech
Commish’s Comments: With the trade of Anquan Boldin, Patton gives Flacco a weapon other than Torrey Smith.
*New Orleans Saints forfeit their 2nd round pick due to the bounty punishment.
**Cleveland Browns 2nd round pick was used in the supplemental draft on Josh Gordon.
Top Remaining Players after 2 Rounds:
QBs: Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Mike Glennon
RBs: Montee Ball, Andre Ellington, Johnathan Franklin, Christine Michael
WRs: Stedman Bailey, Chris Harper, Robert Woods
TEs: Vance McDonald, Travis Kelce, Dion Sims, Jordan Reed
OTs: Dallas Thomas, Brennan Williams, Chris Faulk
OGs: Brian Winters, Alvin Bailey, JC Tretter
OCs: Travis Frederick, Barrett Jones, Brian Schwenke
DEs: Sam Montgomery, John Simon, Quanterus Smith, William Gholston, Corey Lemonier
DTs: Brandon Williams, Montori Hughes, Bennie Logan
OLBs: Zavier Gooden, Sio Moore, Chase Thomas, Trevardo Williams
ILBs: Kevin Minter, Jon Bostic, AJ Klein
CB: Jordan Poyer, Logan Ryan, BW Webb, Will Davis, Leon McFadden, Tyrann Mathieu, DJ Hayden
S: Phillip Thomas, DJ Swearinger, Shamarko Thomas, TJ McDonald
Catch The Commish weekdays from 9-12 on 98.7 The Fan.