The NFL draft is 71 days away, team officials are locked in at the team facilities, grinding away in the film room, and so have I. It’s been 2 weeks since my first mock draft, and since I’ve watched much more broadcast film on the prospects, thanks to pirate bay and draftbreakdown.com. After many long nights I have had players skyrocket and some fall on my board.
1. Kansas City Chiefs– Ryan Nassib QB, Syracuse – The more I watch Nassib, the more I think he can be a surgeon in the NFL. Nassib has a live arm and has a great feel in the pocket allowing him to keep his eyes down-field, while going through his reads and finding the open receiver. Andy Reid will love his quick release and his throwing motion. Nassib, while throwing, gets on top of the ball, allowing him to fit the ball through NFL sized windows down-field. Under the coaching of Andy Reid, Ryan Nassib will flourish and solve KC’s QB problems for the next decade.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars– Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia- Jarvis Jones in my opinion is the best 3-4 outside linebacker in this draft. The 6-2 241 junior is a premier pass rusher, and a perfect fit for Gus Bradley’s 3-4 defense. Jones explodes off the ball with a quick first step, beating tackles that are slow getting out of their stance. Jones can also bull rush smaller tackles walking them back to the QB allowing him an opportunity to get to the ball. Barring an awful combine, in which I believe he will put his athletic capabilities on display, wowing the scouts which results in him solidifying his position as the first defensive player taken in this draft. Spinal Stenosis will not make the Jags shy away from him.
3. Oakland Raiders– Star Lotulelei DT, Utah State- Star is the best interior lineman in this class; the 6-4 320 pound lineman is a versatile athlete, who can play the 0, 1,2,3,4 and 5 technique. Star has an unbelievably high motor and will fit any scheme in the NFL. Star uses his athleticism to explode off the ball, wreaking havoc in the backfield. The Raiders will not only be taking the best player on the board, but will fill a need as it provides an instant upgrade to defensive line who is expected to lose Richard Seymour to free agency, and Tommy Kelly who has proven to be a disaster, expect the Raiders to cut and replace him with Lotulelei.
4. Philadelphia Eagles– Luke Joeckel T Texas A&M- The 6-6 310 anchor at left tackle is extremely athletic for his massive size. Joeckel likes to use his athleticism and text book blocking technique to neutralize pass rushers. When pass blocking, Joeckel uses his big strong hands to lock on defenders, utilizing his quick feet to move with the defender taking him completely out off your TV screen. New Eagles coach chip Kelly, by selecting Joeckel, not only will keep Vick off his back, but will instantly make the eagles offensive line one of the best in the league. I put Joeckel as my best tackle in this draft because of his technique and the fact that he dominated the best defensive front 7’s, such as LSU, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Plus Joeckel will be in familiar territory blocking for a playmaker at QB.
5. Detroit Lions– Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M- Damontre Moore is the most scheme versatile DE in this draft, Moore can play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Coordinators will love his tape as he displays his versatility as a defender when they see him lined up in the 2, 3,4,5,6 and 9 technique. Damontre is quick off the snap, and uses his hande to keep linemen and lead blockers from locking on him. Damontre can do everything on the field from rushing the edge to stunting inside to defend the run. I worry about his upper body strength, and his ability to bullrush bigger stronger tackles in the NFL, but he is versatile enough for a defensive coordinator to move him around if he is being stonewalled. I believe Moore fits best in a 3-4 defense, playing the 5 and 9 technique to get pressure on the quarterback. Detroit will be a perfect landing spot for Moore as he fills a need, and provides Suh and Fairley with one on one match ups.
6. Cleveland Browns– Ziggy Ansah -The Browns have completely cleaned house this offseason bringing a new GM and with the change comes a new 3-4 scheme, enter Ziggy. Ansah is 6-6 260 lbs. natural athlete, the DE/OLB had never played a down of organized football until 2009. Fast forward 3 years and Ziggy is now a premier defensive talent and has not even come close to hitting his ceiling. The Browns I believe must address the outside linebacker position early in this draft, the offense will not be able to consistently put up more than 24 points a game, even with a new wide receiver. If the browns want to win games the defense must keep the game close by adding an explosive 3-4 outside linebacker. Not having one in a 3-4 scheme, spells for another wretched season in Cleveland.
7. Arizona Cardinals– Eric Fisher T Central Michigan- Since the departure of Kurt Warner the Cardinals QB play has been a joke to say mildly. With relatively no QB worth taking here at 7, Arizona must solidify the Anchor position of the offense, left tackle. Eric fisher is my 2nd best tackle in this draft. He had all the scouts and coaches buzzing with his measurables and performance at the senior bowl where he saw his draft stock skyrocket. I would not be shocked at all to see him being the 1st tackle taken in the draft. Fisher measured in at the senior bowl at a whopping 6-7 351 pounds. Fisher as many scouts say is the next coming of Joe Thomas. Cardinals would be lucky to get a franchise tackle at pick number 7.
8. Buffalo Bills- Dion Jordan OLB/DE, Oregon- We all know Buffalo is fed up with Fitzpatrick, Buffalo needs a new QB, but I strongly believe there is no QB here worth taking here at pick number 8. They would be better suited, to find one either in the 2nd or 3rd round of this year’s draft or through free agency. What really stands out in my mind is the horrid performance Buffalo’s underachieving defense showcased last year. Buffalo has talent at many positions, but lacks talent at the cornerstone position of any 3-4 scheme, outside linebacker. Dion Jordan is off the charts in athletic capability and upside. Jordan is 6-7 and is expected to weigh in at the combine at 250 lbs. The weigh in at the combine will be closely watched by many teams because of a report that Jordan actual playing weight was at 220 lbs. Jordan is versatile can play the 4, 5,6,7,8 and 9 technique on the line. He is built with a long frame and raw pass rushing kills. Dion, if asked could also put on more weight and be an elite 4-3 DE, playing the five technique most of the game. Dion reminds me of a more polished Michael Johnson, who moves well in space. Buffalo will have to be patient and not rush into another bad QB situation and take the best player available.
9. New York Jets – Keenan Allen WR, Cal- Keenan Allen is a stud receiver out of California. Allen has good size at 6-2 211 lbs. he has the best combination of hands and route running in this draft. Allen is a smart receiver that understands coverages, finding holes in the secondary sitting down and making the catch, which is a skill that could help Mark Sanchez right now. Allen doesn’t possess elite speed, but makes up for it with his ability to use his big frame to shield defenders from the ball. Jets will also love Allen’s versatility as receiver; teams can split him out wide and play him in the slot position. With the Jets taking Stephen Hill last year and still having Santonio Holmes on the team, adding Allen could really improve the Jets’ offense.
10. Tennessee Titans– Chance Warrmack, G, Alabama- With needs all over the Titans depth chart, I believe they should take the best player available. Chance Warrmack might be the best player overall, in this class but with positional value always being taken into consideration in war rooms, Warrmack slips down to iick number ten. Former offensive linemen, now head coach Mike Munchack, will definitely be in awe of Warrmack’s size, skill and versatility. Warrmack is 6-3, 320 lbs. and is light on his feet. Warrmack uses his strength and leverage so well, almost never being driven back or beaten by anyone at any time all season, and against the best defensive lines in college football no less. Adding Warrmack will clear the way for running back Chris Johnson to easily get in the second level of the defense, but also protecting young Locker from blitzes up the middle that are so popular today. Warrmack immediately improves the run game and also protects the young QB. I believe Warrmack is a HOF’er under Mike Munchack.
11. San Diego Chargers- Lane Johnson T, Oklahoma- Phillip Rivers offensive line last year was horrendous. Chargers best option to help a struggling, paranoid Rivers is providing his backside with a solid Tackle from this year’s draft. Lane Johnson is an athletic pass blocking tackle and would maybe help rivers get back on track. Lane practiced and played well at the senior bowl impressing scouts and seen his draft stock rise. Lane could solve the issue of turnovers, which have cost the chargers many games.
12. Miami Dolphins- Bjorn Werner DE/OLB, FSU- Bjorne Werner is a perfect fit for any defensive scheme thinkable. Adding Werner will instantly upgrade The Dolphins pass rush, which everyone knows has trouble getting to the signal caller without blitzing. Werner is primarily a 4 and 5 technique guy. He has many tools he can use to beat the man across him, one is a speed rush. Werner is explosive off the snap and owns a lethal first step, which he uses to either stunt inside or uses speed to beat his man to the outside edge. Werner also displays exceptional balance and footwork, when locked up with the tackle on the edge, with the ability to turn, bend and keep driving the legs making his way to the quarterback. Werner also has a variety of pass rush moves he can use at the point of attack; he uses his hands very well to parry away blocks, also owns a great swim move and a grip and rip. Without a doubt Werner is the most polished pass rusher in this draft, technique wise.
14. Carolina Panthers– Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri -The Carolina Panthers have 2 good pass rushers on the outside and a young inside linebacker in Luke Kuechly. All Ron Rivera needs now is an explosive pass rush up the middle. Sheldon Richardson will fit and be great value at pick 14 for Carolina. Richardson, scouts say, “is last year’s draft’s Fletcher Cox”. Richardson is an athletic Defensive Tackle who will generate pressure up the middle, a skill NFL teams are finding to be very valuable. Sheldon however, is too small in my opinion, to play the 0 technique in a 3-4 defense, but would flourish in a 4-3 scheme, lined up in the 2 technique.
15. New Orleans Saints– Barkevious Mingo DE/OLB, LSU- Mingo is an finely tuned athletic machine, a perfect fit for the Saints new defense. Mingo’s another pass rush specialist, from this class, with incredible athleticism. The combination of strength and speed makes him very difficult to block one on one. Mingo can bend, dip, under or around the tackle to get to the quarterback, or he can use his strength at the point of attack to get in the backfield. I worry about Mingo’s consistency as he didn’t put up the kind of big time numbers you would expect from a 6-4 240 pound dynamic pass rusher.
16. St. Louis Rams- Menelik Watson T – Rams Defense played well under new head coach Jeff Fisher. The team’s offense on the other hand was dreadful. Bradford is a good Quarterback, but has no time in the pocket to drop back and make his reads down the field. Melelik Watson is a supreme athlete at the Tackle position, Watson was a former basketball player converted to football. Watson is 6-5 320 and moves side to side very well for a big man, the quick feet of Watson allows him to neutralize speed rushers on the edge. Rams own 2 picks this round and should address the offensive line first.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers– Kenny Vaccaro S, Texas- Everybody knows Steeler’s defense is not getting any younger, and safety Troy Polamalu hasn’t started a full season in what seems ages. I believe sooner than later the Steelers are going to cut ties with the veteran playmaker. Kenny Vaccaro could help ease the transition. Vaccaro is a rangy and physical prospect. Vaccaro will fit well in Lebeau’s 3-4 zone blitzing schemes, because he can put him in the box for blitzes and run support, but also drop back and centerfield well. Steelers always take the best player on their board and as a bonus it fills a need.
18. Dallas Cowboys– Jonathan Hankins DT, Ohio State- With the off the field issues of Jay Ratliff and the conversion to a 4-3 defense, the Cowboys sorely need a defensive tackle to plug up the middle and stop the run. Hankins is a big DT, who can take on double teams, freeing up linebackers ware and lee to make plays on the ball carriers.
19. NY Giants – Alec Ogletree ILB, Georgia- Ogletree is a former safety converted to inside linebacker. Ogletree has some personality issues and red flags, but talent wise he’s one of the best middle linebackers in this class. Ogletree is great in coverage, due to his safety experience and a sideline to sideline player. Ogletree shows the ability to take on lead blockers, stack and shed blockersd and make plays on the ball carrier. Ogletree will help the Giants defensive line that doesn’t have a lot of size up front.
20. Chicago Bears– Jonathan Cooper G, UNC- Bears are still having trouble keeping Jay Cutler upright. Cooper will help out a struggling Bears offensive line, and also clear a path for running backs Matt forte and Michael Busch, as he did the same for Gio Bernard, the 2012, ACC offensive player of the year. Cooper is a skilled guard that has great strength complimented with footwork and technique. He will come into the league and translate well to the NFL.
21. Cincinnati Bengals- Quinton Patton WR LTU- Bengals are in a position to take the best player on the board and right now that’s Quinton Patton. Patton is a stand out receiver and would complement AJ Green very well. The addition of Patton will force defenses, not to be able to bracket and double AJ all game. Patton is 6-2 195 lbs., and a playmaker on the field. He caught 104 balls for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns. Patton’s a fluid route runner with a set of professional hands, with the capability to take the top off the defense and move his body to awkward positions to make the play on the ball. Without A doubt in my mind Cincinnati will have one of the most explosive offenses in the league by adding Patton
22. St. Louis Rams– Dj Fluker G, Alabama- The rams in one round could solidify the core of their offense in one draft. By taking Watson with their first pick, taking the guard out Alabama could create one of the best lines in the NFL. Rams can still get a quality receiver in the second round with bailey, Williams, Rodger and Woods. The smart move here would be to solidify the line for years to come.
23. Minnesota Vikings– Marcus Wheaton WR Oregon State- Vikings need more playmakers on the outside to compete with the high power offenses of the NFC North. Percy Harvin will be gone soon and even if not they will need another weapon to help young Ponder and take some of the load off AP. Marcus Wheaton will fit well in that Minnesota offense. Teams will be stacking the box in order to stop AP and that will allow Wheaton, to expose the defense when playing single high safety. Wheaton’s elite speed will attract many teams, and has decent size too at 6-1 192 lbs. Wheaton reminds me a lot of Desean Jackson. I believe Wheaton’s quick score capabilities will be too much for Minnesota to pass up on here.
24. Indianapolis Colts– Manti Te’o ILB, Notre Dame- Colts last year got their QB, with selecting Andrew luck. This Year the Colts will take the QB of the defense at middle linebacker. Despite the past month’s story, Manti Te’o has the quality leadership, and personality type that they love in Indianapolis. Te’o will bring intensity and physical presence to the colt’s defense. Te’o will make an instant impact on defense, against the run which the colts were ranked near the bottom of the league in stopping.
25. Seattle Seahawks– Justin Hunter WR Tennessee- Justin Hunter is the most physically gifted receiver in this class. At 6-4 205 lbs., we all know Pete Carroll loves size and speed. Carroll will develop his route running skills and turn him into a playmaker in Seattle. Wilson I believe will develop chemistry and be a go to guy for Wilson.
26. Green Bay Packers– Barret Jones, C/G, Alabama- Packers offensive line needs help as it was near the top of the league in giving up sacks. Rodgers needs just a little bit more time to go through his reads and deliver the football. Barret Jones will fill the need and fit in perfectly in Green Bay. The senior from Alabama, is a versatile linemen playing at Center, guard and the tackle position throughout his college career. Jones and Rodgers would be a great tandem recognizing blitzes and calling audibles. Jones could solve the Packers offensive line woes in one pick with Jones.
27. Houston Texans– Xavier Rhodes, DB, Florida State- Texans were exposed last year in the back end of the defense as they ranked near the bottom of the league against the pass. They need another corner to play opposite of DB, Jonathan Joseph. Rhodes is playmaker at the corner position and draft stock could really improve depending on his 40 at the combine.
28. Denver Broncos– Sharrif Floyd DT, Florida – Floyd is a versatile linemen, out of Florida. The big man was moved all over the defensive line during his college years. Floyd is stout against the run, taking up a lot of space and taking on double teams freeing up linebackers to make plays on the ball carrier. Floyd also can generate pressure up the middle, which makes his skill set very valuable. He will fit well in Jon Fox’s defense and providing Von Miller and Dumerville help on the interior line.
29. New England Patriots- Tavon Austin WR, West Virginia- I expect the Pats will let go of Wes Welker and Bellicheck needs a new playmaking slot receiver. Tavon Austin will fit the mold perfectly. Austin is a game changing playmaker as receiver. Austin is a crisp route runner and creates on his own after the catch making him a threat to take it to the house on any given play. Bellicheck will love the idea of all the gadget plays reverses and bubble screens he can run with Austin. Austin will flourish having QB Tom Brady and I n early in the season, could become Brady’s favorite target on the outside, making him a serious contender for rookie of the year.
30. Atlanta Falcons– Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame- With the retirement of Tony Gonzales the Falcons needs a replacement. Tyler Eifert will do just the job. Eifert is my top TE on the board and is great value here at pick 30. Eifert will ease the pain of losing the future HOF’er, and keep the Falcons offense, as the one of the most explosive units in the league.
31. Baltimore Ravens- Arthur Brown OLB/ILB, KSU- Brown is one of my favorite players in this class. He is 6-1 220 lbs., which is the same size Navarro Bowman came into the league as. Brown is a coverage linebacker with great pursuit and tackling technique. Brown also shows intensity and leadership which is a staple for every Ravens linebacker. Taking Brown will ease the loss of Ray Lewis and flourish under coach Harbaugh.
32. San Francisco 49ers- Jonathan Jenkins DT, Georgia- 49ers’ roster is loaded with talent. They should be taking the best player available. They call Jenkins “the dancing bear”, because he is humungous but light on his feet. The big DT moves extremely well for his massive size and will provide the 49ers defense with a clogger up the middle. Jenkins can help the Niners by taking on blocker and freeing up Smith, Willis, and Bowman to make even more plays on the ball, John Harbaugh will help Jenkins with his maturity issues and reap the benefits on the field because of it.