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
Commish’s Comments: This pick probably comes down to Joeckel or Eric Fisher. Anything else would be considered a surprise. The Chiefs will want to trade down, but I doubt they will.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dion Jordan – DE/OLB – Oregon
Commish’s Comments: I think a pass rusher is a safe bet here, but the Jaguars do hold the first wildcard. Dion Jordan would be a good fit for Gus Bradley’s defense. Sharrif Floyd and Dee Milliner would also address needs. The Jaguars could really throw things off by going quarterback here too.
3. Oakland Raiders – Sharrif Floyd – DT – Florida
Commish’s Comments: The Raiders need a lot of help in many different areas, including defensive tackle. NFL Films’ Greg Cosell says that Sharrif Floyd has the best film he has seen of a prospect.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Geno Smith – QB – West Virginia
Commish’s Comments: It is tough to tell what Chip Kelly might do, both in the draft and on the field. If he’s looking to run his offense, Geno Smith might be a good fit for it. I’m not sold on Smith and would probably wait until the 2nd round if I needed a quarterback, but I also understand that teams reach for quarterbacks in the draft, especially now that the contracts are not outrageous. Star Lotulelei is the other player who makes a lot of sense here with the Eagles needing to get much bigger on their defensive line. If Lotulelei does not go here, he could slide a ways.
5. Detroit Lions – Eric Fisher – OT – Central Michigan
Commish’s Comments: The Lions have needs at defensive end and cornerback, but with Jeff Backus retiring and Gosder Cherilus leaving in free agency, offensive tackle is a need that can be addressed with one of the draft’s top overall players. Fisher would be higher on my board than Ziggy Ansah and Dee Milliner, so he should be the pick. Fisher gives the Lions the ability to play Riley Reiff at right tackle or at guard.
6. Cleveland Browns – Dee Milliner – CB – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: I thought very long about giving the Browns Tavon Austin here as a big time weapon on offense. For me, Milliner would be the safer pick and give them 2 very good corners. I’d be curious to see if the Browns would take a shot on Geno Smith if he were here.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson – OT – Oklahoma
Commish’s Comments: The Cardinals need to finally address their offensive line. Lane Johnson is the most athletic offensive lineman and might have the most potential of any offensive lineman in this draft.
8. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Nassib – QB – Syracuse
Commish’s Comments: If the Bills want Nassib, they might have to draft him here. The other choice for the Bills might be an offensive guard as new coach Doug Marrone is an offensive line guy. The Bills could get crazy and look towards Tavon Austin.
9. New York Jets -Tavon Austin – WR – West Virginia
Commish’s Comments: The Jets have long been mocked a pass rusher like Mingo here, and he’s a distinct possibility, but Austin’s playmaking ability is something the Jets have none of. Marty Mornhinweg comes over from the Eagles as the new offensive coordinator and could view Tavon Austin as his Desean Jackson.
10. Tennessee Titans – Ziggy Ansah – DE – BYU
Commish’s Comments: The Titans continue to look for help for their pass rush. Ansah is a raw player with tons of natural ability and potential.
11. San Diego Chargers –Jonathan Cooper – OG – North Carolina
Commish’s Comments: The Chargers have to address their offensive line and protect Phillip Rivers. I went with Cooper over Chance Warmack because new head coach Mike McCoy had more athletic offensive linemen than maulers while the offensive coordinator with the Broncos.
12. Miami Dolphins – Xavier Rhodes – CB – Florida St.
Commish’s Comments: The Dolphins might be prime candidates to trade up for an offensive tackle, but if they don’t, Rhodes makes a lot of sense. The Dolphins lose Sean Smith in free agency and traded away Vontae Davis last year, so corner is definitely a need.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sheldon Richardson – DT – Missouri
Commish’s Comments: If Star Lotulelei makes it past the Eagles, a decision between Lotulelei and Sheldon Richardson might be the one that ultimately decides the Bucs selection with the 13th pick. Personally, I went with Sheldon Richardson because I believe the Bucs would like to add a defensive tackle with the ability to get to the quarterback to play next to Gerald McCoy. Richardson brings a quickness and penetration value, while Lotulelei brings a power and strength aspect. Both would be tremendous upgrades for the Bucs. One valuable aspect that Richardson brings is that he can fill in for McCoy at under-tackle if McCoy ever went down with an injury again. Lotulelei might be limited to nose tackle. I’m finding it hard to believe that the Bucs are “in love” with Tavon Austin as some national media members are reporting. The Bucs typically do not draft the player(s) that they are linked to most before the draft. This is the reason so many fans were surprised when the Bucs passed on Morris Claiborne a year ago. The Bucs could also strongly consider Tyler Eifert as a player who could own the middle of the field in their offense. If the Bucs want to get crazy, they could see if the Cowboys might want to trade up to their slot to draft Sheldon Richardson themselves in front of the Panthers. The Bucs might be able to retrieve the Cowboys 3rd round pick in return of a swapping of 1st round picks.
14. Carolina Panthers – Star Lotulelei – DT – Utah
Commish’s Comments: Lotulelei could go as high as the 4th overall pick, but could slide this far if the Eagles pass on him. That’s just the way this draft will play out and why it is so hard to predict. The Panthers should find a presence to draft here for the middle of their defense. The Panthers could also consider a receiver or the top safety in Kenny Vaccaro after being linked to Mark Barron a year ago.
15. New Orleans Saints – Barkevious Mingo – DE/OLB – LSU
Commish’s Comments: This could be a tough debate between Mingo and Jarvis Jones, but I think new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likes bigger linebackers to come off the edge. Mingo has elite speed and a frame to get bigger and stronger.
16. St. Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro – S – Texas
Commish’s Comments: Vaccaro is the top safety in this draft. He can play centerfield and come down to lay a big hit in run support.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cordarrelle Patterson – WR – Tenn
Commish’s Comments: I know the Steelers have been linked to Jarvis Jones if he is here, but when does the draft ever go the way most people think? Patterson is lethal with the ball in his hands. He is a raw receiver, but might thrive under Todd Haley as his offensive coordinator. Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley were both at Tennessee’s pro day.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Chance Warmack – OG – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: The Cowboys get a mauling guard as a huge boost to an offensive line in need of a boost.
19. New York Giants – DJ Fluker – OT – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: Fluker is a huge upgrade over David Diehl. Fluker is a run blocking right tackle who plays with a nasty streak.
20. Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree – LB – Georgia
Commish’s Comments: It’s tough to gauge what the new Bears regime will do, but Ogletree has plenty of talent to take a chance on with this pick despite his character concerns.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Jarvis Jones – OLB – Georgia
Commish’s Comments: Jones slips a bit, but this is the type of pick the Bengals love. Jones would bring another dimension of attitude for a Bengals team looking to take the lead in the AFC North.
22. St. Louis Rams (via WAS) – Keenan Allen – WR – Cal
Commish’s Comments: Despite investing a 2nd round pick in Brian Quick a year ago, Keenan Allen would provide Sam Bradford a much more sure target as a polished receiver with excellent hands.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Sylvester Williams – DT – UNC
Commish’s Comments: Williams could continue to rise up this and other mock drafts and might go as high as the Panthers at 14. If Williams lasts this long, the Vikings would likely draft him immediately. Williams would bring youth and talent to the middle of the Vikings defensive line.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Margus Hunt – DE – SMU
Commish’s Comments: Hunt is a raw player with tremendous natural talent and ability. Hunt played in a 3-4 defense at SMU and would be a fit for the Colts defense.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via SEA) – Manti Te’o – LB – Notre Dame
Commish’s Comments: Te’o is not an elite player, but could be a solid player and great leader for Leslie Frazier’s defense in Minnesota.
26. Green Bay Packers – Kyle Long – OT/OG – Oregon
Commish’s Comments: Kyle Long seems like the type of workman offensive linemen that the Packers like. Long could play either guard or right tackle for the Packers.
27. Houston Texans – Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame
Commish’s Comments: The Texans need more help for Matt Schaub in the passing game. Eifert might go earlier than this, but if he is available, the Texans should take him over reaching for another receiver.
28. Denver Broncos – Eddie Lacy – RB – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: I went with Lacy because I feel the Broncos could use a feature back with you legs, but also had the new CBA in the back of my mind. With the new CBA, 1st round picks get 5-year contracts while other rounds get 4-year contracts. One position where the extra year comes into effect is at running back, since their career spans aren’t very long to begin with. If Lacy is great, the Broncos would control him for 5 years and then be able to place the franchise tag on him.
29. New England Patriots – Jamar Taylor – CB – Boise St.
Commish’s Comments: The Patriots brought Aqib Talib back, but they need at least another cornerback and maybe some more long-term answers at the position as well. Taylor has been rising through this whole process and plays physically.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Desmond Trufant – CB – Washington
Commish’s Comments: Trufant is not an overly physical corner, but he is a plug and play corner who could start right away.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Jonathan Cyprien – S – FIU
Commish’s Comments: The best replacement that the 49ers could look for in this draft to the departed Dashon Goldson would be Cyprien. Cyprien is a centerfield safety who can make plays in the pass game, but also deliver a big hit.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Eric Reid – S – LSU
Commish’s Comments: The Ravens cleaned house at safety, so the need is there even with Michael Huff signed. Reid has been a favorite of 98.7 The Fan contributor and NFL Network’s Charles Davis.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – Matt Barkley – QB – USC
Commish’s Comments: Barkley does not have an elite arm, but he is accurate and has a good head on his shoulders.
34. San Francisco 49ers – Zack Ertz – TE – Stanford
Commish’s Comments: Ertz is a good addition for the 49ers who use 2-tight end sets.
35. Philadelphia Eagles – Jesse Williams – DT – Alabama
Commish’s Comments: The Eagles need to get bigger along their defensive line.
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 thumper at safety who can bring another element to the Bengals defense.
38. Arizona Cardinals – Mike Glennon – QB – NC St.
Commish’s Comments: Despite the recent trade for Carson Palmer, the Cardinals can get their long-term solution at quarterback and develop him.
39. New York Jets – EJ Manuel – QB – Florida St.
Commish’s Comments: EJ Manuel’s ability to run and throw with accuracy would be a good addition to Marty Mornhinweg’s offense.
40. Tennessee Titans – Robert Alford – CB – SE Louisiana St.
Commish’s Comments: Alford is a small school prospect with a ton of ability and buzz.
41. Buffalo Bills – Menelik Watson – OT – Florida St.
Commish’s Comments: Watson is a raw offensive tackle needing development.
42. Miami Dolphins – Bjoern Werner – DE – Florida St.
Commish’s Comments: Werner is a very good defensive end who wins with effort.
43. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DJ Hayden – CB – Houston
Commish’s Comments: Hayden’s freak heart accident will have teams wondering when to select him. The Bucs do extensive research on players like Hayden. In recent 2nd rounds, the Buccaneers have taken chances on players like Brian Price and Daquan Bowers. Hayden does not have similar injury concerns as those players did out of college, but it does show Mark Dominik’s willingness to take a shot on a great player in round two. Prior to the injury, Hayden might have been as good as any corner in this draft. If he has little to no effect from the heart injury, Hayden would be a steal here. Recent reports have Hayden going in the late 1st to early 2nd round. With the uncertainty surrounding him, I just can’t see Hayden going in round 1, but remember, the Bucs have the ammunition to trade up and get any of these corners in the last 1st round.
44. Carolina Panthers – Justin Hunter – WR – Tennessee
Commish’s Comments: Hunter provides a big body with speed that can stretch the field opposite of Steve Smith.
45. San Diego Chargers – Darius Slay – CB – Mississippi St.
Commish’s Comments: The Chargers do not have either of their starting corners on the current roster from last year. Slay has been invited to New York which means he is viewed pretty highly by someone.
46. St. Louis Rams – Arthur Brown – OLB – Kansas St.
Commish’s Comments: Underrated sure-tackling linebacker that can help the Rams defense immediately.
47. Dallas Cowboys –Kawann Short – DT – Purdue
Commish’s Comments: Monte Kiffen needs an under-tackle to help anchor his Tampa 2 defense in Dallas.
48. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jamie Collins – OLB – Southern Miss
Commish’s Comments: With James Harrison and the Steelers missing out on Elvis Dumervil, the need for a pass rusher is there.
49. New York Giants – Khaseem Greene – LB – Rutgers
Commish’s Comments: Khaseem Greene can step into a poor linebacker corps in New York and contribute right away.
50. Chicago Bears –Larry Warford – OG – Kentucky
Commish’s Comments: The Bears have been in need of offensive linemen for a while. Warford is a big and physical guard who excels in the trenches.
51. Washington Redskins – David Amerson – CB – NC St.
Commish’s Comments: Amerson’s size and athleticism will be a big improvement to the Redskins secondary.
52. Minnesota Vikings – DeAndre Hopkins – WR – Clemson
Commish’s Comments: Hopkins is quick in and out of breaks, but does not have elite long speed.
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) – Justin Pugh – OT – Syracuse
Commish’s Comments: Pugh is a solid tackle who can play on the left or right side.
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 – John Jenkins – DT – Georgia
Commish’s Comments: Alan Branch remains a free agent, so the Seahawks are still in need of a nose tackle.
57. Houston Texans – Quinton Patton – WR – Louisiana Tech
Commish’s Comments: Patton could provide some speed and hands opposite of Andre Johnson.
58. Denver Broncos – Johnathan Hankins – DT – Ohio St.
Commish’s Comments: Hankins is a big defensive tackle who can plug the middle for the Broncos defense.
59. New England Patriots – Robert Woods – WR – USC
Commish’s Comments: The Patriots must equip Tom Brady with better options at receiver.
60. Atlanta Falcons – Damontre Moore – DE/OLB – Texas A
Commish’s Comments: Moore gives the Falcons some needed help in rushing the passer.
61. San Francisco 49ers – Datone Jones – DE – UCLA
Commish’s Comments: Jones is a good fit as an end in a 3-4 defense.
62. Baltimore Ravens – Travis Frederick – OC – Wisconsin
Commish’s Comments: With Matt Birk retiring, Frederick can step in and play immediately.
63. Kansas City Chiefs – Brandon Williams DT – Missouri Southern St.
64. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blidi Wreh-Wilson – CB – UCONN
65. Detroit Lions – Sanders Commings – CB – Georgia
66. Oakland Raiders – Tyler Wilson – QB – Arkansas
67. Philadelphia Eagles – Terron Armstead – Arkansas Pine-Bluff
68. Cleveland Browns – Matt Scott – QB – Arizona
69. Arizona Cardinals – Corey Lemonier – OLB – Auburn
70. Tennessee Titans – Brian Winters – OG – Kent St.
71. Buffalo Bills – Gavin Escobar – TE – San Diego St.
72. New York Jets – Cornelius Washington – DE/OLB – Georgia
73. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Travis Kelce – TE – Cincinnati
Commish’s Comments: I’ve become a big fan of Kelce. Yes, he was suspended for the entire 2010 season for a violation of team rules, but he came back to play 2 seasons at Cincinnati. Kelce is a very good blocker, but do not consider him just a blocking tight end. He has very good hands to be a security blanket for the quarterback, but also has the speed to stretch the seam of a defense. Kelce is a very aggressive football player who might need consideration for a 2nd round pick. Character concerns might drop him a little, but if he stays out of trouble, Kelce could end up as the top tight end in this class.
74. San Francisco 49ers (via NE) – Tyrann Mathieu – CB – LSU
75. New Orleans Saints – Johnthan Banks – CB – Mississippi St.
76. San Diego Chargers – David Quessenbury – OT – San Jose St.
77. Miami Dolphins – Marc Anthony – CB – Cal
78. St. Louis Rams – Montori Hughes – DT – Tennessee-Martin
79. Pittsburgh Steelers – Phillip Thomas – S – Fresno St.
80. Dallas Cowboys – Christine Michael – RB – Texas A&M
81. New York Giants – Alex Okafor – DE – Texas
82. Miami Dolphins (via CHI) – DJ Swearinger – S – South Carolina
83. Minnesota Vikings – Everett Dawkins – DT – Florida St.
84. Cincinnati Bengals – Bennie Logan – DT – LSU
85. Washington Redskins – Bacarri Rambo – S – Georgia
86. Indianapolis Colts – John Simon – DE/OLB – Ohio St.
87. Seattle Seahawks – Sio Moore – LB – UCONN
88. Green Bay Packers – Duke Williams – S – Nevada
89. Houston Texans – Kevin Minter – ILB – LSU
90. Denver Broncos – Jordan Poyer – CB – Oregon St.
91. New England Patriots – Chris Harper – WR – Kansas St.
92. Atlanta Falcons – Brennan Williams – OT – North Carolina
93. San Francisco 49ers – William Gholston – DE – Michigan St.
94. Baltimore Ravens – Stedman Bailey – WR – West Virginia
95. Houston Texans – Akeem Spence – DT – Illinois
96. Kansas City Chiefs – JJ Wilcox – S – Georgia Southern
97. Tennessee Titans – Vance McDonald – TE – Rice
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