Each week Fansided.com will have a new mock draft to preview and showcase this upcoming April’s draft. For more in depth analysis of each pick, be sure to visit the Fansided site of your favorite team and check back each Monday for a new and updated Mock Draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT/Texas A&M
This has now become the consensus pick when you consult draft experts. The Chiefs did nothing in free agency to boost their offensive line but they made plenty of moves to make the offense better. The next logical step is to make sure Alex Smith has time to throw and utilize his new toys, and Joeckel is that guy. Plus, the Chiefs are reportedly extremely high on the tackle after the Texas A&M Pro Day, so this is looking more and more like a lock.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Geno Smith, QB/West Virginia
This one has been waiting to be mocked, so I’ll be the sucker who does it. Jacksonville needs an edge rusher, and the top of the draft is the best place to have their pick of the litter, so to speak. But the team essentially sent the entire state of Florida to Geno Smith’s Pro Day, and not only does that signal serious interest but Smith impressed everyone with his workout. The Jaguars have shown increasingly little confidence in Blaine Gabbert, and it would come as no surprise if management finally moved on from Gabbert and went in the direction of the more mobile Smith.
3. Oakland Raiders – Sharrif Floyd, DT/Florida
This pick is also becoming a lock, even if Geno Smith is available. I really love Smith with the Raiders, but Oakland is on the verge of trading for Matt Flynn which allows Oakland to focus on is improving on defense. They’re not going to outscore opponents in 2013, so they need to contain them and Floyd is an absolute monster who was once briefly in the running to be the No. 1 overall pick.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Fisher, OT/Central Michigan
Teams that win have talent that starts up front with protection, and the Eagles need that badly. One of the main things that got Andy Reid fired was the fact that he was done in by his offensive line and they’re poor play. Chip Kelly is even more offensive minded and will work to patch up the holes on the line that still remain. Drafting Fisher means the Eagles will be able to better utilizing their new toys and Kelly’s offense will gain a little more credibility heading into training camp.
Detroit lost both of their defensive ends from 2012 as Kyle Vanden Bosch was cut and Cliff Avril took a deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Ansah is being compared to Aldon Smith and he fits right in with the young defensive line the Lions are piecing together. Cornerback is an option here too, especially id Dee Milliner is there, but he’s fallen from grace in terms of being the best available player at this point. The Lions picked up Jason Jones in free agency, which means they can plug Ansah right in and have two of the best young defensive ends in the game. Plus the Ziggy nickname is really starting to grow on me, and a line that features a Ndamukong and a Ziggy is just really fun to say.
6. Cleveland Browns – Dion Jordan, DE/Oregon
The Browns were hoping to get Cliff Avril in free agency to fill a need at defensive end, but they’ll likely be looking to the draft now after missing out on him. Dion Jordan is a name quickly climbing mock drafts and big boards and it’s not for no good reason. He’s got Jason Pierre-Paul potential as Jordan is fast, athletic and his stock is only going up.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson, OT/Oklahoma
Thanks to some great Senior Bowl practices, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson is rising up draft boards at a pretty quick rate and due to some names dropping out he could go higher than expected. Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan deciding to return to college means there’s a lack of supply for the high demand of offensive tackles at the top of the NFL Draft. Arizona is likely going to sign or trade for Carson Palmer, and even if they don’t, whoever is under center in 2013 will need some serious help up front.
8. Buffalo Bills – Jonathan Cooper, OG/North Carolina
Buffalo needs a quarterback, and they’re not going to get Geno Smith without trading up to get him. While Matt Barkley continues to be available, a more likely option is former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib in the second-round who would be united with his former college coach Doug Marrone. The signing of Kevin Kolb also puts the kibosh on taking a quarterback this high as well. But no matter who’s under center, the Bills will need to protect them moving forward and he’s the best available pick at this spot for the Bills without having to reach for a Tavon Austin or Cordarrelle Patterson.
9. New York Jets – Jarvis Jones, OLB/Georgia
Jarvis Jones was falling in the draft due to questions about his health, but he claimed the problem wasn’t that serious and doctors have apparently agreed. After clearing up the issues about his health, Jones is back to being a top prospect and that’s good news for the Jets. New York needs a lot of things and one of those things is a top linebacker. Jones can step right in and be a much needed breath of fresh air for a defense that was consistently embarrassed in 2012.
10. Tennessee Titans – Dee Milliner, CB/Alabama
The Titans need help on the offensive line, but it seems like a stretch for them to go after Chance Warmack here. Even if Jonathan Cooper had been available, there is no way the Titans are choosing a guard over Milliner if he’s on the board when they go on the clock. Milliner lost a little of his momentum at the Combine, but he’s still a top-10 pick and the best defensive back in the draft. Tennessee needs an upgrade in their secondary and Milliner instantly delivers that.
11. San Diego Chargers – Chance Warmack, OG/Alabama
Guards are hot this year, and both Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack will go quickly after one another if things fall into place. Teams are realizing that you can load up on skill players, but winning starts with solid protection up front, and new head coach Mike McCoy is making Philip Rivers success his No. 1 priority. That starts with making sure he’s protected and Warmack is arguably the best guard in the country.
12. Miami Dolphins – Xavier Rhodes, CB/Florida State
The Miami Dolphins spent big money on upgrading their offense in free agency, which means the draft will focus on making sure the defense can keep opponents down. Miami needs a boost in the secondary and that’s something Xavier Rhodes can give them, as he’s a big corner who plays physical and can be a Richard Sherman type of player, minus the mouth.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tavon Austin, WR/West Virginia
I fantasized about this pick, but it has been a reach up until now. Austin blew people away at his Pro Day and has leaped from being a late first-round sleeper to a bonafide top-15 lock. The Buccaneers need a cornerback and they’ll be taking one at some point in the draft, but due to the sheer number of rising stars at the position, someone is bound to slip into the second round and Tampa Bay has the means to trade up and get one. Austin is the best skill position player in the draft and he’ll not only be a speedy target for Josh Freeman, but he can return kicks and even play out of the backfield with Doug Martin. Austin makes the Buccaneers dangerous and dynamic and they’d be crazy to pass on him.
14. Carolina Panthers – Star Lotulelei, NT/Utah
His heart issues seem to be cleared up which means his status as a top pick is being restored. Lotulelei likely won’t crack the top-10 but the Panthers will be big winners because of that. Carolina needs to plug the middle of their defensive line and bog down opponents in the run game, and Lotulelei is probably the biggest and best player to do that for Carolina. If his heart holds up, the Panthers are getting a one-time top-3 pick in the middle of the first round. Can you say steal?
15. New Orleans Saints – Barkevious Mingo, OLB/LSU
The Saints are starting to realize that they’re not getting any younger, but do have a golden opportunity to dip themselves into the fountain of youth otherwise known as the NFL Draft and help shore up an aging defense. Mingo is familiar with the bayou from his days with LSU and he’s a versatile monster of a linebacker. He plays his heart out and is a sideline-to-sideline type of player. New Orleans still has the talent to win now, but the more they look to the future, the quicker the transition will be when guys start to retire and move on.