The fine folks from around the FanSided Sports Network’s NFL division took some time out to do a collaborative mock draft with the editor from each individual team site making the pick. When the mock draft was complete, Russ Lande of the National Football Post was kind enough to breakdown each pick and give his analysis.
Lande is one of the most well-respected draft gurus out there, so his opinion holds a lot of weight.
Let’s have a look at the top five picks in the FanSided mock draft (You can view the entire mock draft here) with the National Fooball Post’s Russ Lande’s breakdowns — for added measure, I will grade each pick:
By: Patrick Allen, Arrowhead Addict
The Chiefs need to draft a quarterback and Geno Smith is the best signal-caller available. Sure, Kansas City got Alex Smith and gave up some high draft picks to do so, but what is wrong with investing some very high picks in the most important position in all of sports? This pick may be unlikely, but I’m playing general manager and I am doubling down on a quarterback.
Russ Lande: Although I believe the Chiefs need to find a quarterback for the long term, I would not take Geno Smith here as his issues with accuracy concern me. Personally, I would select Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib if I were taking a quarterback or would pass on the position altogether in favor of a defensive lineman. Why trade current left tackle Branden Albert only to replace him with a draft pick? Sign Albert and draft Star Lotulelei to upgrade the defensive front.
Draft Grade: C
I see where Patrick is going with this pick. If you truly believe in a quarterback, you have to take him early no matter what others think of the value. Unfortunately, I can’t give this selection an A because there is too much talent on the board, the Chiefs have much bigger needs and they just invested a second-round pick in Alex Smith.
By: Luke Sims, Black and Teal
The Jaguars get their pass rusher of the future in Oregon’s Dion Jordan.
The Jacksonville Jaguars need all the pass rush help they can get and Jordan enables the team to use him as a LEO position man in new head coach Gus Bradley’s defense, as well as rely on his athleticism to provide even more flexibility on non-pass rushing downs.
Russ Lande: While drafting an offensive tackle is tempting, Jacksonville’s current left tackle, Eugene Monroe, is a good player. The Jags need to drastically upgrade their pass rush and Dion Jordan is an ideal fit as the Leo in Coach Bradley’s defense. Jordan has the ability to be productive both rushing the quarterback and defending against the run. The variety of coverage responsibilities makes him the perfect choice.
Draft Grade: B+
This pick is becoming far too common. Jordan would be an excellent LEO in the Jaguars defense, but if both of the top offensive tackles were on the board they would be wise to take one. Both tackles are much safer picks and Jordan is purely an upside guy.
By: Chris Shellcroft, Just Blog Baby
He’s been called the best prospect in the draft. He also might be the biggest gamble health wise. With the Raiders rebuilding damn near the entire roster, the foundation for the future starts in the trenches. Star shines as the best defensive lineman in this draft and his versatility helps Dennis Allen in his under-the-radar transition to the 3-4.
Russ Lande: The Raiders have a multitude of needs and may consider Geno Smith if he slides to the third pick. However, with Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly not returning, Oakland needs an influx of talent along their defensive line. Star is a powerful man with underrated athleticism and should be an impact player for the Raiders from day one.
Draft Grade: A
This is an excellent pick. Lotulelei is one of the toughest, most dominant players in this year’s draft class and he gives the Raiders a force in the middle of their defensive line that they lack. If it weren’t for the heart scare at the NFL scouting combine, Lotulelei would be in the discussion with the No. 1 overall pick.
By: Geoff Zlobinsky, Inside the Iggles
The Eagles had their best draft in years last April mainly because this was the first time the front office stuck to their draft board and took the best player available. I expect Philadelphia to do the same this year. Luke Joeckel is the best player in that draft, making this selection an easy one for new head coach Chip Kelly. If you have a top-5 pick, you can’t afford to miss and Joeckel is the closest to a sure thing as there is in this draft. He’ll help mend a broken offensive line.
Russ Lande: Despite several reports that the Eagles will draft quarterback Geno Smith, I think the team would pass on the West Virginia quarterback if he slides to them. In 2012, the Philadelphia offensive line struggled mightily and even with the return of left tackle Jason Peters, this unit still needs help. Luke Joeckel would give them a high-end right tackle and also provide significant insurance if Peters suffers any setbacks returning from injury.
Draft Grade: A+
If is really hard to imagine a scenario where Joeckel falls to this point in the draft, but if he is available, this is an absolute no-brainer.
By: Zac Snyder, Sidelion Report
After drafting Riley Reiff last April, the Lions should double-down to ensure Matthew Stafford’s protection for the next decade. Reiff can play right tackle, or even right guard, while Fisher is charged with the task of replacing Jeff Backus.
Russ Lande: Although the Lions no doubt have to protect Matthew Stafford better in 2013, drafting a left tackle the year after taking Riley Reiff in the first round does not make sense to me. Detroit has lost both of their starting defensive ends (Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril) so they have a desperate need at the position and would be better suited taking Ezekiel Ansah or Bjoern Wener.
Draft Grade: A+
Like the last pick, there is virtually no chance that Fisher is still on the board at pick No. 5. There is even a strong chance that he will be the top pick tonight. However, if the Lions were able to land either of the top three offensive tackles with this pick, it is hard to call their pick anything but a success.
What do you think of the top five of this mock draft? Remember, you can check out the entire mock draft here and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
The draft is always a treat for NFL fans, so be sure that you tune in and see who the newest players to rock your favorite teams uniforms will be, and stay tuned to FanSided.com throughout the draft for the latest news, rumors and analysis of every pick.