Sunday, March 24, 2013

2013 Mock Draft 4.0

So free agency is well underway, and we have seen some significant player movement again.  As should be expected, these acquisitions and losses do effect draft plans for each of the involved teams, and as such, this is the mock draft that sees the most significant changes.

Also, at this point in time, most of my player evaluations and grades are complete.  There will still be some small adjustments for some of these guys, but very little major changes in the way in which I have these guys graded.

Also, a reminder.  My mock drafts DO NOT review what I think is going to happen on draft day.  I'm not trying predict anything.  Instead, my mocks espouse what I think should happen.  I place myself in the role of GM for each team and I pick as I would if I were on the clock, based on my perception of team need, and the overall value the I have on each player (I rate players on a scale of 0-200).

So with out any further delay, on to Mock 4.0 we go.

1.       Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT, TAMU
The Chiefs really do have a bunch of different options with this pick.  When I evaluated all of the scenarios, I came down to the two which I favor the most.  This narrowed the decision down to Joeckel vs Eric Fisher.  I like Fisher because unlike Joeckel, I believe he could line up and play RT for the Chiefs who still have franchise player Braden Albert on the left.  But I keep thinking Albert could, and should be traded.  This would land the Chiefs more assets, and open space for Joeckel, who projects as the better LT prospect..  As for now, I go with the TAMU product, but this absolutely change before draft day.  Stay tuned.

2.       Jacksonville Jaguars – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Jags are in a great position in this draft.  They can simply take the best player available that is not a OT.  Guys like Dee Milliner, Start Lotulelei, and Sharrif Floyd are all in the mix.  Based on what I have seen of Gus Bradley's defenses, I suspect Floyd would be the best fit of the three, and thus he remains as my selection here.  He has the ability to really impact the game from the DT position, and Jacksonville needs that.

3.       Oakland Raiders – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
This pick is where those who are tied up in what WILL happen will disagree with me.  Many have the Raiders picking QB, Geno Smith.  Although that may be what happens, it is not what SHOULD happen. Dee Milliner was the best corner in the nation this year, on the best defense in the country, against the best competition anywhere. Milliner can do everything you want from a corner, and I think he will be a great addition to the Oakland secondary.  Milliner is one of the best players on my overall board, and could be a big time anchor in this secondary which is in need of a rebuild.  Also note that in free agency the Raiders opted not to release incumbent QB Carson Palmer.

4.       Philadelphia Eagles – Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
If Dee Milliner were still available, I think the Eagles could be tempted to pull the trigger on him, considering the team is now without Nnamdi Asomugha.  In this scenario though, Milliner is gone, and since the team still needs an athletic presence on the outside of their new 3-4 arrangement, I see Dion Jordan as the guy.  New HC Chip Kelly knows Jordan well having coached him at Oregon.  Jordan will be familiar with the schemes Kelly is bringing with him.  This should allow him to contribute right away, and the Eagles need some guys to step up and do just that.

5.       Detroit Lions – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Lions were one of the more active teams in free agency this year, and I really like what this team added.  I think Reggie Bush will be a phenomonal fit in this offense, and really help open things up.  The team still has some holes, but they are not in desperate need at any one particular position.  Looking a the BPA (best player available) leads them to Fisher, who also happens to fill a need following the retirement of Jeff Backus.

6.       Cleveland Browns – Star Lotulelei, DL, Utah
Cleveland made some very smart moves early in free agency, and addresses what was their biggest need by adding LBs Paul Kruger and Quinton Groves.  This team still has some needs, but they are in a position to look at the BPA philosophy with this pick too.  The health scare Star Lotulelei faced at the combine proved to be nothing, and he really is an impact player.  In the 3-4 the Browns will play, he would line up at DE.  He has Haloti Ngata upside, and I think although not their biggest need, this pick still makes sense.

7.       Arizona Cardinals - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Arizona is a team that really needs a QB, and come draft day, they very well could take one with this pick.  As I have said before, that would be a mistake.  Even after re-reviewing all of the top QBs in this class, I still feel that none of them are worthy of a first round grade.  This means, if I was making the decision, I'd look in a different direction.  To get better QB play, good o-line play is a prerequisite.  They should look at QB in round 2, so now they should add Johnson.  Some have said Johnson is not top 15 worthy.  That is baloney.  He may turn out to be a better pro than either of the other OTs who will be taken in front of him.  He is that good.  Arizona would be smart to add him to the roster if they have that chance.

8.       Buffalo Bills - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee 
Buffalo's big free agency moves came in the form of losses.  Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Levitre were both allowed to leave, and that leaves this team with some holes to fill.  Like the Cards, the Bills may be tempted to reach for a signal caller here, but I think that would be a mistake.  Instead the team should either replace Levitre with Chance Warmack, or give their second round QB an option other than Stevie Johnson to throw to.  In this scenario, I chose to go with the receiver.  I think although raw, Patterson, has exceptional upside.  I think in another year or two, after maturing, this would make for an awesome 1-2 punch at receiver.  Since the Bills are not currently on the doorstep, the team has time to let this investment payoff.

9.       New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
During free agency, we watched everyone who could jump ship from the Jets, expect for Santonio Holmes.  This team could be in real trouble next year.  They have a lot of directions they could go with this pick.  Looking at their biggest need, they are out of luck as all of the top OTs are gone.  Looking at BPA, they find Barkevious Mingo, who brings the potential to get after the QB, which is something else this franchise needs.  Mingo has big upside, but the potential for a bust is there too.  Still, if I were rebuilding as the Jets are, I'd roll the dice on this kid at this point in the draft.

10.  Tennessee Titans - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Although not a flashy move, the Titans opened free agency addressing their biggest need by adding the underrated Andy Levitre to play guard.  I really like this addition for this team already on the rise.  Guard would still be a consideration for this team, but now I would let Chance Warmack pass, and instead look at some other need areas.  Corner is one of them, and despite what some have projected, I really like FSU's Xavier Rhodes. He can play physical, in-your-face football.  I think his strength on the outside would be a welcome addition in Tennessee, and thus this is the call.

11.  San Diego Chargers - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
It is always nice when your team's biggest need matches up with the BPA in the draft.  In the Bolts case, that is exactly the case here.  Although not a star, losing Louis Vasquez really leaves this team wanting at OG, and Chance Warmack is one of the best college OGs I have ever seen.  I think he steps into the lineup as a starter on day 1.  Considering the growth of Denver, and the developments in KC, I think the Chargers have to hit with this pick, and Warmack give their new front office the best chance at doing that.

12.   Miami Dolphins – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Dolphins put a lot of money and effort into "winning" free agency, and they may have done just that.  Adding Wallace and Gibson at wideout, Ellerby and Wheeler at LB, and the possible addition of Winston at RT fills many of this teams needs.  They still have a hole at corner with the defection of Sean Smith to KC, but I see the next best corner, Desmond Trufant as too much of a reach here.  The Phins also need help at S and TE, but the guys they added (Clemons & Keller) are better than the reaches that would be taken here.  So onto DT, where Tony McDaniel has left.  It is not the biggest need for this team, but Richardson could be a big time addition.  The Phins always work to win the battles in the trenches, so although not a sexy pick that the fans will love, I think Richardson would be the best pick for the Dolphins at this juncture.

13.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU
Last year the Bucs began to address their secondary with Mark Barron.  Now they really need to add more help in this spot, but with  Rhodes having been selected, they are left in a bit of a bind. Instead, The Bucs will maximize value by taking Ziggy Ansah.  Ansah had an incredible combine, and established himself as a legit defensive playmaker.  He is raw, but has incredible upside and with the hole left by Michael Bennett leaving, I think the Bucs will be happy to add Ansah's exceptional athleticism to their young defense.

14.   Carolina Panthers - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Carolina is in a very good position with this draft.  They have some holes, but a lot of their key positions are filled with young players, who are emerging stars.  In this scenario, I see the Panther choosing between the best DT, WR, or CB available. Of this population, Tavon Austin is the at the top.  Pairing Austin with Steve Smith would give Cam Newton and this offense some very serious speed. They will be a challenge for all defenses to cover, and could open up the door to some very creative play calling.  Later in this draft they will address the other needs, but taking Austin now would be too tempting to pass.

15.   New Orleans Saints -Bjoern Warner, DE, Florida State
After being a top 5 consideration early in the offseason, Warner fell a little and seems to have solidified himself as a mid- first round pick in my book.  Considering how well his upside matches with what Sean Payton and the Saints like to do defensively, as well as the needs they have up front, this pick makes too much sense not to happen.  Payton will work with Warner to get consistent effort from him, and hope to develop him into a prime DE in this defense.

16.   St Louis Rams - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
If my scenario were to come to fruition,Sam Bradford would need to send a thank you note to the Buffalo Bills.  Their letting Levitre go and sign with the Titans is what allowed for Jonathan Cooper to still be available to the Rams here at 16.  Cooper is one of the Rams top targets and for good reason.  He is listed as a guard, but he can line up anywhere on the o-line.  Considering the team also added Jake Long in free agency, Bradford would have a much improved front to protect him next year.  This team is young, and quickly improving.  Give it this draft and next, and then watch out for the Rams.

17.   Pittsburgh Steelers - Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
This is the first time in a very long time, I can remember looking over the Pittsburgh Steelers and seeing so many holes.  They have to fill needs at LB, NT, CB, WR, and RB.  When looking over the BPAs, the name that is at the top of the list is Jarvis Jones.  Jones is one of my favorite players in this draft.  He is fast and aggressive with a violent streak that is reminiscent of James Harrison.  His still being available is a combination of a no-show at the combine, a poor run at his pro day, and some injury concerns.  The Steelers are in position to add one of the few guys with "superstar" potential from this class, and I just can't see them letting this opportunity pass.

18.   Dallas Cowboys - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Dallas is a team with a lot of talent that continues to fall short season after season.  Last offseason they spent a lot of money trying to upgrade their secondary.  They did better in 2012, but they still have some needs there.  Adding the local product, Kenny Vaccaro will make the Big D fans happy.  Although his measurables are a bit questionable, Vaccaro won everyone over at the combine with his personality and character.  Dallas could use some high character influence in their locker room, and his smarts at the safety position will be well received too.

19.   New York Giants - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Despite being only one year removed from a Super Bowl victory, the Giants have some needs that have to be filled.  They have to fill gaps at TE, MLB, and S.  Some experts have Tyler Eifert as a reach here at 19, but I really like what he brings to the table.  If I am making the pick for the Giants, I look at Eifert's ability to stretch a defense down the seam, and I am intrigued.  Martellus Bennet did a so so job at that a year ago, but he is now in Chicago.  Eifert is also a better route runner, and receiver than Bennett.  Paired with some of the weapons already in New York, I like this move more than any other options available to me at this point.

20.   Chicago Bears - DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
The biggest issue the Bears have faced over the last three seasons is the porous o-line they have.  This has created erratic play from Cutler, and thus, inconsistent results. This offseason the Bears added Jermon Bushrod to play OT for them.  In reality, this should likely preclude them from adding an OT with this pick... but it shouldn't.  Bushrod is not the answer.  I still see this team needing a real option to keep Cutler upright.  If I were calling the shots in Chicago, I'd look at DJ Fluker with this pick.  I like his production at Alabama, against some of the best competition anywhere in the nation.  Then again, if I were calling the shots in Chicago, I would not have signed Bushrod in the first place.

21.  Cincinnati Bengals - Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
The Bengals are a team on the rise.  They still have some needs though, and smart work during this draft could help them fill almost all of them.  I was a little surprised to see them let Andre Smith walk.  They now have a hole that has to be filled, and if they don't add any of the options available during free agency, I would recommend the addition of Watson.  He is raw, but immensely talented.  He would do well under Marvin Lewis, and with some more time and experience, he could be a impact player on the offensive front.

22.   St Louis Rams via Washington - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
After adding Cooper with their earlier pick, the Rams are now able to focus on improving their defense.  I think they would give FIU safety, John Cyprien a long look here, but in the end, I recommend going with LB Arthur Brown.  Brown is a polished linebacker who really jumps off the tape at you when you watch K-State play.  Brown makes a lot of plays, and I suspect that Jeff Fisher would value this type of addition to his defense who did not make enough a year ago.

23.  Minnesota Vikings - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Minnesota was considerably better this year than I anticipated.  They still have some room to grow though.  The Vikes traded away Percy Harvin in the offseason, but then they went and added Greg Jennings from Green Bay.  They still need to add another WR, but they also have some additional holes.  I like Desmond Trufant. I think he is a very good all around corner who really does everything well.  He has very good ball skills, which is something that is missing from Minnesota's secondary now that Antoine Winfield was released.    The Vikes have some other directions they could go with this pick, but I really like the Trufant selection here.

24.   Indianapolis Colts - Mantei Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
The Colts are another team that has made some nice additions during free agency.  They knew they had to address their o-line, and they added Godser Cherilus.  I'm not sold that the o-line is complete, but it is no longer the team's primary focus.  They still need to add some talent to the middle of their defense.  Te'o has had a well chronicled difficult offseason, starting with a poor performance in the national title game.  He will not necessarily be the super star some had thought, but he can be a good player in the right system.  Considering the steps that the Colts took last year, I really like this pairing.  I think Te'o will have the opportunity to grow, and put his past behind him, and the team can coach him up , and offset some of his weakness with the other guys on the squad.

25.  Minnesota Vikings via Seattle - Keenan Allen, WR, California
Seattle sent this pick to the Vikings in exchange for Percy Harvin.  As I mentioned earlier, the Vikes did add Greg Jennings in the offseason, but they still have some holes.  Keenan Allen may not be the fastest receiver, but he runs excellent routes, and has good hands.  If the Vikes are going to be successful, they have to give Ponder some weapons that will force teams out of the box.  Jennings plus Allen could be the ticket.  This would open up the passing game, and take some attention away from Adrian Peterson.

26.   Green Bay Packers - Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
With an exceptionally talented team, the Packers can pretty much sit tight and adopt a BPA strategy with this pick in the first round.  This is not to suggest that the team has no holes.  They do, but they don't have to reach to fill them.  As a result, when they look at the big board, I suspect that Tank Carradine will be their target.  When healthy, Tank has every bit as much talent as teammate Bjoern Warner who went more than 10 picks earlier this round.  He has exceptional strength at the point of attack, and deceptive speed too.  What has held Tank back has been injuries.  If the Pack believes he can stay healthy, this could turn into a steal in round 1.

27.  Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Another really good team, I see the Texans gearing up for a Super Bowl run this season.  They have many of the pieces in place to make that happen, but they still are missing some weapons on the outside that would take attention away from Andre Johnson.  Some may call this a reach, but I really like Hopkins in the Texans offense.  He has speed, good hands, and the athletic ability to go up and compete for the jump ball.  This could be exactly what this team needs to make that final step into Super Bowl contention.

28.  Denver Broncos - Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The Denver Broncos are in a position to simply look to add the best player on the board with this pick.  There are a handful of guys who could fit the bill, but based on my ratings, Kawann Short has the best upside of the bunch.  Unfortunately, he is a boom/bust type player.  His talent is there, but his effort is inconsistent.  Still I think the allure of his upside will be very tempting for John Fox, and he will push to add this young man to his defensive front.

29.   New England Patriots - Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
No pick in my previous mock draft earned me as much flack as this one.  I understand that many experts have Barrett Jones rated much lower.  I understand that.  I simply disagree.  Jones is a winner with great flexibility.  He played all three o-line positions at a very high level while at Alabama.  He played against some of the best competition in the country.  He may not have the measurables that some others have, but he has smarts, heart, and the intangibles that make some guys long time contributors in the league.  If ever there was a team who looked passed the numbers to the player, it is New England.  Despite the ire this will earn me, I am again going with Jones to the Pats with this pick.  It may not be what does happen, but in my mind, it is what should happen.

30.   Atlanta Falcons - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
On the first day of free agency, the Falcons got very good news.  Future hall-of-fame tight end Tony Gonzalez has decided to return for one more season.  This means the Falcons don't yet have a big hole to fill.  This does not mean that they should not look at TE with this pick.  Zach Ertz projects higher that Coby Fleener did at this time a year ago, and adding Ertz who could learn from Gonzo for a year is a perfect scenario for the Falcons.  My suggestion would be to grab Ertz here, and fill some of their other holes later in the draft.

31.   San Francisco 49ers – John Cyprien, S, Florida International
After falling just short in the Big Game this past season, the Niners are loading up for another run.  They have made some nice moves, including adding the veteran receiver Anquan Boldin earlier in the month.  In addition, this team is loaded with draft picks this year, so they can sure up any holes they feel they have.  With their first pick, I suggest the team add the talented John Cyprien from FIU.  He has a lot of upside, and could fill the vacancy left by Dashon Goldson's defection to Tampa.  Cyprien may be a small school product, but his play is simply big time, and his style would mesh perfectly in the Harbaugh defense.

32.   Baltimore Ravens - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
When you are the Super Bowl champs, you wear a big target on your back.  The Ravens learned this only weeks after hoisting the Lombardi trophy as other teams began to pick them clean following their title.  Ray Lewis and Matt Birk retired.  Then Kruger, Reed, Pollard, Ellerby, and Boldin all committed to continuing their careers elsewhere.  This leaves the defending champs with some serious holes, none bigger that the middle of their defense.  Alec Ogletree is an excellent tackler, and makes plays all over the field.  He also has some baggage. If Ozzie Newsome believes his mistakes are simple immaturity, he should pull the trigger on Ogletree with this pick.

33. Jacksonville Jaguars - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
34. San Francisco 49ers via Kansas City - Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
35. Philadelphia Eagles - Blidi Wreh Wilson, CB, UConn
36. Detroit Lions - Demontre Moore, DE/OLB, TAMU
37. Cincinnati Bengals via Oakland - Eddy Lacy, RB, Alabama
38. Arizona Cardinals - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
39. Cleveland Browns - Pick Forfeited
40. New York Jets - Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
41. Tennessee Titans - Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
42. Buffalo Bills - Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
43. Miami Dolphins - Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
44. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
45. Carolina Panthers - Matt Elam, S, Florida
46. New Orleans Saints - Pick Forfeited
47. San Diego Chargers - Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
48. St Louis Rams - Eric Reid, S, LSU
49. Dallas Cowboys - Jamie Collins, LB, Southern Miss
50. Pittsburgh Steelers - Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State
51. New York Giants - Kiko Alonso, LB, Oregon
52. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Bostic, LB, Florida
53. Washington Redskins - Jamar Taylor, CB, Bosie State
54. Minnesota Vikings - Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
55. Cincinnati Bengals - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
56. Miami Dolphins via Indianapolis - Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse  
57. Green Bay Packers - Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine Bluff
58. Seattle Seahawks - Cornelius Washington, LB, Georgia
59. Houston Texans - Jordan Mills, OT, La Tech
60. Denver Broncos - Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
61. New England Patriots - Quinton Patton, WR, La Tech
62. Atlanta Falcons - Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
63. San Francisco 49ers - Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
64. Baltimore Ravens - Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State

65. Kansas City Chiefs - Datone Jones, DE/OLB, UCLA
66. Jacksonville Jaguars - Zavier Gooden, LB, Missouri
67. Detroit Lions - Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
68. Oakland Raiders - DJ Swearinger, S, South Carolina
69. Philadelphia Eagles - Kyle Long, OG, Oregon
70. Cleveland Browns - Dwayne Gratz, CB, UConn
71. Arizona Cardinals - Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
72. Tennessee Titans - Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky
73. Buffalo Bills - Sean Porter, OLB, TAMU
74. New York Jets - Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
75. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
76. San Francisco 49ers via Miami - Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
77. New Orleans Saints - John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
78. San Diego Chargers - Tharold Simon, CB, LSU
79. Miami Dolphins - Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
80. St Louis Rams - Robert Woods, WR, USC
81. Pittsburgh Steelers - Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
82. Dallas Cowboys - Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
83. New York Giants - Sio Moore, LB, UConn
84. Miami Dolphins via Chicago - Jordan Poyer, S, Oregon State
85. Minnesota Vikings - Devonte Holloman, LB, South Carolina
86. Cincinnati Bengals - Khaseem Green, LB, Rutgers
87. Washington Redskins - Joe Kruger, DE, Utah
88. Indianapolis Colts - Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
89. Seattle Seahawks - Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
90. Green Bay Packers - Giovanni Bernard, RB, North Carolina
91. Houston Texans - Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern
92. Denver Broncos - Jordan Reed, TE, Florida
93. New England Patriots - Sanders Commings, DB, Georgia
94. Atlanta Falcons - Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State
95. San Francisco 49ers - Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State
96. Baltimore Ravens - Ryan Swope, WR, TAMU
97. Houston Texans - Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse
98. Kansas City Chiefs - Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
99. Tennessee Titans - Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnatti