Reporting Dan Durkin
By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) It’s hard to believe that the NFL Draft is only two weeks away. Several recent quarterback transactions have shaken up my top-10, which has a cascading effect throughout the first round.
Once again, here’s a seemingly obvious, yet essential fact to keep in mind when you read this: this is a hypothetical projection of the first round. Please let that sink in.
Instead of turning the comments section of this page into hell on earth, if you have a different viewpoint about how your team may want to use their selection, feel free to tweet me. I’m always open to NFL banter.
1) Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel OT (Texas A & M) - Joeckel’s flawless footwork and technique gives the Chiefs a cornerstone left tackle, and a contingency plan should they trade Branden Albert.
2) Jacksonville Jaguars: Geno Smith QB (West Virginia) - Ideally, the Jaguars would trade down and add Matt Barkley or EJ Manuel in round 2. Smith would immediately challenge Gabbert, and most likely win the job in Jacksonville.
3) Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd DT (Florida) – Don’t confuse the Raiders’ activity in free agency for achievement, as their net gains on the defensive line are minimal. Floyd is quick enough to play three-technique, and strong enough to set the edge as a five-technique.
4) Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher OT (Central Michigan) – Once Jason Peters went down, the Eagles line unraveled, allowing 48 sacks. After focusing on defense in free agency, the Eagles can plug Fisher in at right tackle to start, and have a potential future anchor left tackle.
5) Detroit Lions: Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah DE (BYU) - The Lions released Kyle Vanden-Bosch and lost Cliff Avril in free agency, leaving a void on the edge. Jim Schwartz coached Ansah at the Senior Bowl, where he flashed raw talent and a high ceiling.
Read More: Mock Draft 1.0
6) Cleveland Browns: Dion Jordan DE/OLB (Oregon) - While it may be tempting to grab Dee Milliner here, a good pass rush makes a secondary look better, not the inverse. The Browns would be wise to pair a versatile, elite pass rusher like Jordan with free agent Paul Kruger.
7) Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson OT (Oklahoma) – Acquiring Drew Stanton and Carson Palmer allows the Cardinals to address their major need at offensive tackle. Johnson has elite footwork, and a frame that can add 15 pounds without sacrificing a step.
8) Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack OG (Alabama) - After losing guards Andy Levitre and Chad Rinehart in free agency, the Bills are fortunate to plug in the nimble-footed Warmack. Warmack is an impact, day one starter with huge upside.
9) New York Jets: Star Lotulelei DT (Utah) – After getting a clean bill of health for his pro day, Lotulelei didn’t disappoint, flashing strength and size. Lotulelei will help fill the void at nose tackle left by Sione Pouha’s departure.
10) Tennessee Titans: Dee Milliner CB (Alabama) - The Titans need help at every level on their defense and have yet to find a replacement for Cortland Finnegan. Adding the best cover corner in the draft is a step in the right direction.
11) San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Cooper OG (North Carolina) – The Chargers have needs on both of their lines. Cooper is the most athletic interior offensive lineman in this draft, with the ability to win at the point of attack with leverage, and the feet to flow to the second level.
12) Miami Dolphins: DJ Fluker OT (Alabama) – Even though the Dolphins made some noise with their free agent additions, they also lost a big piece in Jake Long. Adding Fluker allows them to move Jonathan Martin to left tackle, and provides the potential for a young set of bookends.
13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes CB (Florida State) – A lot of chatter about the Bucs trading this pick to the Jets for Darrelle Revis. If not, Rhodes fits the bill as a tall, physical corner with smooth change of direction ability.
14) Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson DT (Missouri) – While he didn’t have his best performance against Alabama, Richardson has rare quickness off the ball for a man his size, and could evolve into a solid under tackle.
15) New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo OLB (LSU) – The Saints are shifting from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and Mingo is an intriguing outside linebacker prospect. While he’s raw, and hasn’t displayed many counter moves, Mingo has quick twitch athleticism that can’t be taught.
16) St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin WR (West Virginia) – Tavon Austin is this draft’s most electric playmaker, and would be a perfect fit in the slot for the Rams to replace Danny Amendola. Austin is water bug quick, and tough enough to win 50/50 balls in traffic.
17) Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones OLB (Georgia) – Just like the Ravens benefited years ago from Terrell Suggs’ slow 40-time, the Steelers benefit in 2013 with Jones. Any doubts about Jones go away once you turn on the tape.
18) Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro S (Texas) – The Cowboys would love to see one of the top offensive lineman fall, but Vaccaro is a nice consolation prize. Vaccaro, a willing hitter in run support and solid in coverage, tops the list of a strong safety class.
19) New York Giants: Alec Ogletree LB (Georgia) - Off-the-field concerns aside, Ogletree is an elite talent, and a day-one starter for the Giants. While he needs to get better at shedding blocks, he is a ferocious hitter, and as a former safety, has great coverage skills.
20) Chicago Bears: Arthur Brown LB (Kansas State) – Even before they bid Brian Urlacher adieu, the Bears needed to get younger at linebacker, and DJ Williams and James Anderson are essentially one-year rentals. Brown is this draft’s premier coverage linebacker, adept at shedding blocks, and will be a young cornerstone in the Bears’ front-seven.
21) Cincinnati Bengals: Menelik Watson OT (Florida State) - Armed with ample salary cap space, the Bengals let ample-sized Andre Smith hit the open market. Smith could still return, but if he doesn’t, Watson would step in immediately.
22) St. Louis Rams (from Washington): Jonathan Cyprien S (FIU) - After netting Austin at 16, the Rams turn their attention to the void at safety. Cyprien is a fluid athlete who can play as a single-high, but has also shown a willingness to thump in run support.
23) Minnesota Vikings: Sylvester Williams DT (North Carolina) – Williams possesses a great blend of strength and quickness. When he plays with proper pad level and leverage, he’s a force on the inside.
24) Indianapolis Colts: Datone Jones DE (UCLA) – The Colts added Ricky Jean-Francois, but need more talent and an eventual replacement for Cory Redding. Jones is a tweener, but is a complete player with great upside as a five-technique in a 3-4.
25) Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle): Cordarelle Patterson WR (Tennessee) - The Vikings could also go with a linebacker, but opt for Patterson’s upside. Even after spending big money on Greg Jennings, they need a vertical threat like Patterson to keep safeties out of the box.
26) Green Bay Packers: Tyler Eifert TE (Notre Dame) – The Packers need to improve on their defensive front, but Eifert’s value is too good to pass up. With Jermichael Finley entering the last year of his deal, Eifert can make an impact as a rookie, and eventually become the full-time starter.
27) Houston Texans: Keenan Allen WR (California) – The Texans are still seeking a complimentary wide receiver to Andre Johnson. Allen is recovering from a knee injury, but possesses a nice blend of size, route-running, and strong hands in traffic.
28) Denver Broncos: Cornelius “Tank” Carradine DE (FSU) – Short of Doomgate, John Elway has orchestrated a near flawless offseason. Chances are, after his pre-draft workout, Carradine will go higher in round one. Even with flawed technique, Carradine frequently dominated, and could be a fixture at the five-technique.
29) New England Patriots: Justin Hunter WR (Tennessee) - Even after signing Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Donald Jones, and extending an offer sheet to Emmanuel Sanders, the Patriots need more size and talent at wide receiver. Hunter has elite speed, and would become an immediate starter at the X-receiver.
30) Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Trufant CB (Washington) – The Falcons cast off Dunta Robinson, and lost Brett Grimes in free agency, so there’s a major void at cornerback. Trufant elevated his status after a standout Senior Bowl, displaying quick feet and loose hips.
31) San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid S (LSU) – Losing Dashon Goldson left a big hole in the 49ers secondary, a group that faced their fair share of struggles in last year’s playoffs. Reid has had lapses in coverage, but his rare size-to-speed ratio could be difficult to pass up.
32) Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam S (Florida) – Free agency — more specifically Joe Flacco’s contract — wasn’t very kind to the defending champs. They’re left with a big void up the middle of the defense. Elam gives the Ravens a hard-hitting strong safety prospect to mold.
Dan Durkin joined The Score’s columnist community after finishing runner-up in the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he was a member of the men’s football team (despite his best efforts to join the women’s team). Dan is a longtime Scorehead, known as Dan in Wicker Park – even though he no longer resides in Wicker Park – who will be sharing NFL analysis and opinions. You can follow Dan on Twitter @djdurkin. To read more of Dan’s blogs click here.