With most analysts already 8 or more mock drafts deep, into their draft prep, I figured it would be best if I left mine for the day of. Too many moving parts, too many developments and not enough certainty surrounding trades and free agency to make a mock draft worth looking at any sooner than a week before the draft. Besides, I’m pretty sure you always save the best for last. With that being said, read on to see what you should expect from your favorite teams.
1. Kansas City Chiefs, T Luke Joeckel
This pick just makes far too much sense. Whether they trade Branden Albert or not, there is just no justifying passing up on Joeckel who is the clear cut best player available in this year’s draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars, T Eric Fisher
Geno Smith would certainly present the Jaguars fan base with a lot more to get excited about, but Fisher would be the smarter pick. The Jaguars need to rebuild their offensive line almost as badly as they need to fix their quarterback solution. Fisher is a much safer pick.
3. Oakland Raiders, DT Star Lotulelei
A lot of people have the Raiders taking Sharrif Floyd out of Florida, but much of that has to do with Lotulelei’s heart condition. Lotulelei now has a clean bill of health and as such should go before Floyd.
4. Philadelphia Eagles, T Lane Johnson
The Eagles have been plagued by offensive line problems for about as long as I can remember, and both sides seem to think this is the perfect fit. I’d have to say I agree.
5. Detroit Lions, DE Ezekiel Ansah
After losing both Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch in the same offseason, the Lions need some reinforcements. Ziggy Ansah will be an absolute stud in this defense, that lives by it’s defensive line play.
6. Atlanta Falcons (from the Cleveland Browns* speculative trade), CB Dee Milliner
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff is no stranger to making big splashes on draft day and needs help at cornerback after Dunta Robinson and Frank Grimes found new homes. The Browns would like to recoup their second round selection, after using it in last year’s supplemental draft on Josh Gordon.
7. Arizona Cardinals, G Jonathan Cooper
Cooper is one of the best guards to emerge from college in years. That and the Cardinals desperately needing help on the offensive line could lead to Cooper being the first guard selected in the top ten in twenty years.
8. Buffalo Bills, WR Tavon Austin
The Bills have been short on receiver depth for as long as I can remember, and expecting any quarterback from this year’s class to compete with what they have now is bordering on absurd. Austin will finally provide the Bills with an option in the passing game whose name isn’t Steve Johnson.
9. New York Jets, OLD/DE Dion Jordan
The Jets desperately need to fix their pass rush and there is no better option in the pass rush left then Dion Jordan. He is a bit of a raw talent, but I’m sure Rex Ryan can find a way to make it work.
10. Tennessee Titans, DT Sharrif Floyd
The Titans need help along their defensive line and drafting Floyd will do just that.
11. San Diego Chargers, CB Desmond Trufant
The Chargers haven’t re-signed Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason has already left for Arizona in free agency. They need somebody to start at cornerback and Trufant is the best option left.
12. Miami Dolphins, DE Cornellius Carradine
The Dolphins don’t have much in the way of needs to address, but if I had to pick one it would probably be another quality pass rusher. They’ll get just that out of Carradine.
13. New York Jets (via Tampa Bay), G Chance Warmack
The Jets need help on the offensive line if this offensive is to have any ridiculously minimal chance of marginal success.
14. Carolina Panthers, WR Cordarrelle Patterson
The Panthers have struggled to find an heir apparent to the legacy Steve Smith is inching closer to leaving behind and Patterson has all the raw ability to do just that. In the meantime though it will help Carolina finally have that one-two punch in the passing game.
15. New Orleans Saints, OLB Jarvis Jones
The Saints are switching to a 3-4 and need to fix their pass rush in a hurry. Jones will allow them to do just that.
16. St.Louis Rams, S Kenny Vaccaro
Following the release of Quintin Mikell the Rams have a serious hole at safety. Enter Kenny Vaccaro. Jeff Fisher has a habit of drafting DB’s early anyways...
17. Pittsburgh Steelers, TE Tyler Eifert
With Heath Miller recovering from a knee injury and Emmanuel Sanders likely to be moved outside, the Steelers need help in the middle of the field. Enter the 6’6 TE Eifert.
18. Dallas Cowboys, DT Sylvester Williams
The Cowboys currently have two players on the north side of thirty lining up in their new 4-3 defense at defensive tackle. One of those two is perennially injured Jay Ratliff. Too easy.
19. Indianapolis Colts (from the New York Giants* speculative trade), CB Xavier Rhodes
While they already have Greg Toler and Vontae Davis, Davis is still considered a vast underachiever and Toler is always a risk to get hurt.
20. Chicago Bears, ILB Alec Ogletree
The Bears have a hole at middle linebacker after letting Urlacher walk. Briggs isn’t getting any younger either. Ogletree has a ridiculous amount of upside and would be a great start to rebuilding that linebacker corps.
21. Cincinnati Bengals, WR Justin Hunter
The Bengals don’t have any pressing needs, but getting a viable second option in the passing game sure would help things.
22. St.Louis Rams, WR Robert Woods
The Rams already thin receiving corps lost two of it’s better members this offseason in Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson. No way they leave the first round without a receiver.
23. Minnesota Vikings, WR DeAndre Hopkins
The Vikings lost Percy Harvin and let Michael Jenkins go. They filled one of those starting spots with Greg Jennings and could fill the other with Hopkins.
24. New York Giants (from the Indianapolis Colts* speculative trade), DE Bjoern Werner
The Giants lost Umenyiora this offseason to the Falcons and if Werner is still on the board at 24 I don’t know how you turn him down.
25. Minnesota Vikings, MLB Manti Te'o
The Vikings second biggest need after receiver is middle linebacker. If you put a bad Championship game and weird relationship “thing” aside Te’o still makes sense as a first rounder.
26. Green Bay Packers, S Jonathan Cyprien
The Packers have a void at safety after releasing Charles Woodson and Cyprien brings the physicality that this team’s defensive backfield lacks.
27. Houston Texans, WR Keenan Allen
With Andre Johnson getting older each season, and the Texans never having a solid number two option in the passing game there’s no way they pass on Allen.
28. Denver Broncos, DT Sheldon Richardson
The Broncos don’t really have any pressing needs. That being said, can never have too many good defensive linemen.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (from the New England Patriots* speculative trade), QB Geno Smith
The Jaguars need to give fans a reason to come to their games, and Smith is about as good a hope as any at this point. New regime has no loyalty to Blaine Gabbert as well.
30. Cleveland Browns (from the Atlanta Falcons* speculative trade), TE Zach Ertz
Brandon Weeden forced way too many bad throws last season and that was with Benjamin Watson in tow. Without him, who will he check down too? Assuming he checks down...
31. San Francisco 49ers, S Matt Elam
The 49ers don’t really have any needs. Safety is about as close as it gets though and as such I’m sure they'll leave the first round having drafted one.
32. Baltimore Ravens, MLB Arthur Brown
Ray Lewis retired and they lost Dannell Ellerbe in free agency. That leaves a serious hole in the middle of their linebacking corps.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV