It’s that time of year when everyone in the draft community’s favorite pastime is to throw out a mock draft. I say throw out because rarely, especially this early in the process, is there a chance at nailing anywhere near a high percentage of the picks. Heck, you could do a mock in mid-April and you’d still probably only hit on a handful. But where’s the fun in waiting that long?
Let us not confuse the purpose for why Mock Drafts exist. They’re fun and fans want to imagine what name will be called when the commissioner steps to the podium and their team’s helmet is flashing on the big screen in the background. Besides, if you follow as many ‘draftniks’ as I do on Twitter, the saturation of information can become overwhelming. For me personally, a mock draft is merely an exercise, like batting practice; a way of sorting it all out. So without further ado, your move Kansas City!
1. Kansas City Chiefs – QB, Geno Smith - Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see the Chiefs end up with a defensive player or one of the tackles here when all is said and done. But there’s little doubt they need a QB. Will the need trump the decision to take the best player available? As of now, in the case of a QB, yes.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – QB, Tyler Wilson - If the Chiefs don’t take Smith, he will be the pick here. But with him off the board, the Jags find themselves in a similar conundrum. They have to cut their losses with Blaine Gabbert. New regime, new QB.
3. Oakland Raiders – OT, Luke Joeckel - They could use a QB, but in a clear departure from the Al Davis Era, they opt to grab the best player at a position whose value warrants this spot, the franchise Left Tackle. They’ll draft a QB later to compete with Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – OT, Eric Fisher - If Joeckel goes first, Fisher is not far behind. With Jason Peters, 31, coming off a ruptured Achilles, the Eagles need to think toward the future. They will need a franchise left tackle to protect whichever QB Chip Kelly chooses to run the NFL version of his fast paced offense. Otherwise, that bird will never get off the ground.
5. Detroit Lions – CB, Dee Milliner - The Lions secondary is clearly holding that defense back from being what it was supposed to be after picks like Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley were taken to bolster the front seven. They have the firepower on offense to outscore opponents, if only they could stop them from scoring. Milliner is a no-brainer.
6. Cleveland Browns – OLB, Barkevious Mingo - If things fall right, the Browns should have their pick of the best pass rushers available. Mingo brings the versatility that new DC, Ray Horton covets in his rush linebackers. Mingo is more of 3-4 OLB than a 4-3 Defensive End but he can probably translate to either front better than any other prospect in this class.
7. Arizona Cardinals – OG, Chance Warmack - With both Left Tackles and the top two QBs gone, the Cardinals are in a tough spot value-wise. Traditionally, guards don’t go this high. But their O-line is a mess and Warmack is a force on the interior. They can’t afford to pass on the best player at a position of need.
8. Buffalo Bills – QB, Ryan Nassib - The worst kept secret of the off-season is only gaining more steam as ex-Syracuse Head Coach Doug Marrone is now the man in charge of the Bills and no one has more experience in his system than his former QB. The fit is natural. The value of Nassib in the Top 10 is another story but Marrone won’t take the chance of waiting until Round 2.
9. New York Jets – DT, Star Lotulelei - Rex needs a new QB. Who doesn’t? Jets fans might jump off the Brooklyn Bridge if they took another USC product in Matt Barkley. Instead, Rex returns to his defensive roots and takes the versatile, athletic big body who can play anywhere on his defensive line as a starter from Day One. Lotulelei is too good to pass up here.
10. Tennessee Titans – DE, Bjoern Werner - The only thing quicker than Werner’s burst off the line will be the Titans employee running up to the podium with the best 4-3 edge rusher in the draft staring them right in the face. They’re elated he fell to them.
11. San Diego – DE Ezekial Ansah – By keeping defensive coordinator John Pagano on his staff, new HC Mike McCoy ensures that continuity will remain on that side of the ball. The thoughts on Ansah are mixed after an impressive Senior Bowl performance. He is very raw but has tremendous upside and his stock should continue to rise as we near the Draft. The Chargers take a chance on fitting Ansah into their hybrid scheme.
12. Miami Dolphins – WR, Cordarrelle Patterson – The Dolphins have to get Ryan Tannehill some weapons. The receiver corps hasn’t been the same since they traded Brandon Marshall last year. Patterson is the best of this year’s crop and fills a huge need.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – CB, Johnthan Banks – After trading starter Aqib Talib to the Patriots and the possibility of long time veteran Ronde Barber retiring, the Bucs need help in the secondary. They could go safety here but the corner is the better value, even if the best one in this class is already off the board.
14. Carolina Panthers – DE, Damontre Moore – the Panthers haven’t been the same force on defense since they let Julius Peppers walk in Free Agency two years ago. They desperately need an edge rusher to get to the quarterback. A receiver would be nice but they can’t resist Moore if he’s still there when they pick.
15. New Orleans Saints – OLB, Jarvis Jones – With Drew Brees continuing to put up huge numbers on offense, the pressure is on the defense to stop opponents from scoring. Jones certainly has the talent to be a top 10 pick as a pass rusher in the right scheme but questions about career longevity due to a history of spinal stenosis will cloud his draft status. Don’t be surprised if he falls even further.
16. St. Louis Rams – TE, Tyler Eifert – The Rams need to solidify their weapons on offense if Sam Bradford is ever going to take the next step. They have a bevy of young receivers who could really benefit from a veteran leader in Free Agency. They decide to go with the best Tight End in the draft here to bolster their offensive production.