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.
– Luke Joeckel, OT/Texas A&M
The Chiefs will be acquiring the services of Alex Smith on March 12th which means that everyone can finally get on the same page about the Chiefs not taking a signal caller first overall. Luke Joeckel is now the consensus choice and this one actually makes sense. Smith would have made sense had he actually been first overall talent, but he really wasn’t. With Smith in town, the Chiefs will ned to protect him if they don’t want the trade to blow up in their faces. The Chiefs franchise tagged Branden Albert which means unless he moves to guard, the Chiefs will look at taking someone like Dee Milliner or even Chance Warmack, but a trade down from the No. 1 spot is starting to look more and more likely especially after losing their second round pick in the Alex Smith trade.
The Jaguars are under new leadership from top to bottom but don’t think that means they’re going to take a quarterback. The Jaguars need a pass rusher to come off the edge and get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Werner is hands down the best edge rusher in this years class and he’s quickly risen to the top of the draft. Werner is discussion for the No. 1 pick, so Jacksonville’s getting a stud in the former Seminole.
The Raiders are going to take the best player available in the draft and if Bjoern Werner isn’t there, Sharrif Floyd is going to be the pick. The argument could be made for Dee Milliner, but the Raiders have been wanting to upgrade their defensive front for sometime now and Floyd is looking more and more like a stud.
Eric Fisher is another guy who’s quickly being locked into the top 10 and his stock is only rising from there. Chip Kelly is going to want to protect whoever ends up taking snaps for him and upgrading an atrocious offensive line is the best place to start building for the future. Whatever offense he runs will crash and burn of defenses are able to run through the Eagles paper thin frontline for another season.
Detroit may end up losing both of their defensive ends from 2012 as Kyle Vanden Bosch has already been cut and Cliff Avril is hitting the open market. Ansah is being compared to Aldon Smith and he fits right in with the young defensive line the Lions are piecing together. Offensive line is an option here too but Ansah is too good to pass up.
If Damontre Moore hadn’t have struggled as bad as he did at the combine, he’d be locking himself into this slot. But if it comes down to it, the Browns will not flinch at taking Milliner if he’s on the board when they go on the clock. Don’t be surprised to see the Lions and Browns flip flop picks in mocks leading up to the draft as both need help in similar areas and both are high on the same players — otherwise known as the best ones available.
The Cardinals were mildly in the running for Alex Smith but their current quarterback situation complicated that. But drafting Geno Smith is starting to make a whole lot of sense and unless they trade back, Smith is going to be their man if Eric Fisher is off the board. It’s still a real stretch to lock him into the top 10 but with plenty of time to fluff the hype, Smith will likely be off the board somewhere in the top 10 in April.Buffalo Bills
Dion Jordan, DE/Oregon
Buffalo would love a quarterback but they’re not dumb enough to reach for one if Geno Smith isn’t on the board at eighth overall. 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. It might be a better option to stop the other team from scoring rather than trying to outscore them, and when the Bills fix their quarterback situation, they’ll feel even better about getting a guy like Jordan who can play on the end opposite Mario Williams or slide up to outside linebacker.
Jets fans will likely boo the pick but that has more to do with how mad they are at the teams performance and less to do with their feelings about Mingo. A skill player here would please the fans but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given how stingy skill talent is at this point. Cordarrelle Patterson is a dark-horse option here as Mark Sanchez has nobody to throw to, but Mingo can play defensive end or slide out to linebacker and play the outside slot. The Jets need some defensive improvements if they’re sticking with a Sanchez-led offense and Mingo fills a need and brings in some serious talent.
Guards almost never go very high in the draft unless they’re truly elite talents. Warmack is one of those truly elite talents that Tennessee would be crazy to pass on. The secondary needs help but if Jake Locker is going to lead this team, he needs to stay healthy and he needs to have an offensive line he can have confidence in. Warmack would become the cornerstone of the Titans defense and would not only help Locker but help out Chris Johnson as well.
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. San Diego is going to want to protect Philip Rivers and that starts with improving the offensive line.
Cordarrelle Patterson has been a lock here in many mocks, but a team might trade ahead of the Dolphins and take him before they get on the clock. Even if that doesn’t happen, Miami might look at a defensive player here to ensure both sides of the ball gets upgraded. Vaccaro is one of the best prospects in the draft and would immediately give Miami one of the best young safeties in the NFL. Miami would love to take a cornerback here but Vaccaro would still upgrade secondary that needs some work.
Reports have indicated that despite an obvious need for a cornerback, the Buccaneers don’t see anyone outside of Dee Milliner as a first round talent and will not be taking a corner if Milliner is not on the board. In that situation the Buccaneers will trade down and Tyler Eifert is perhaps the best option that has come around in a while. He’s a true pass catching talent who can complement Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, and he has a knack for finding the ball, something that will help out Josh Freeman and his horrendous accuracy. Free agency will be where the Bucs fill their need for developed corner talent, the draft is where they continue to build an already explosive offense.
When it comes to Richardson, scouts are absolutely high on him and he’s got a lot of evidence to back up all the hype. He’s got a lighting fast first step and can penetrate backfields like some of the top defensive tackles in the NFL. He’s fluctuating in value right now, but all signs are pointing to Richardson seeing his value take a jump as we get closer to the draft. The Panthers need to beef up their front line and Richardson will be something running backs don’t want to deal with on Sunday’s.
The Saints need to prepare themselves for the time when their linebacking corps falls apart completely. Without Jonathan Vilma for a chunk of last season, the middle of the secondary left a lot to be desired as Curtis Lofton failed to be the big free agent signing he could have been. Jones is falling due to questions about his health, but he claims the problem isn’t that serious and the Saints need a top linebacker so much that they might take his word for it.
A dream scenario for the Rams at 16th overall would be to have both Cordarrelle Patterson and Chance Warmack on the board. Such a situation would lead to a serious conundrum for St. Louis as both players fill immediate needs and are the best available players at their position. But the chance that Warmack lasts until the Rams next pick is a lot higher than the chance Patterson does. Sam Bradford needs a tall deep threat and Patterson is the best wide receiver in the draft.