NFL Mock Draft, Take 1: Patriots try for secondary help … again
|02.10.13 at 8:39 am ET|
Ah, the pre-draft process. The Super Bowl is nice, but there might be no better part of the NFL calendar. Either way, the combine is weeks away and WEEI.com has you covered.
This draft class is exceptionally weak at quarterback, which will hurt teams at the top. Traditionally, teams picking in the top five or 10 take the opportunity to get a potential franchise signal-caller, but that won’t be an option for teams that badly need an upgrade at the position such as the Chiefs, Jaguars, Eagles, Cardinals, Bills and Jets. It’s still early, so quarterbacks will work their way into the first-round discussion, with West Virginia’s Geno Smith the most likely candidate to be the first one off the board.
1. Chiefs (2-14) — Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Left tackle isn’t the Chiefs’ most pressing need (the guy who lines up diagonally behind him would be), but given what they’re dealing with in this draft class, they could do much worse than to get a franchise player at the position. Should they want another USC quarterback, the Chiefs could always consider Matt Barkley in the second round.
2. Jaguars (2-14) — Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Another team that would rather spend this pick on a quarterback, the Jaguars (if they don’t wind up with Tim Tebow) might have to stick it out for another year with 2011 first-rounder Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Neither is the long-term solution, but there isn’t a guy the caliber of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III or maybe even Ryan Tannehill available here. Jones has had injury concerns, but he’s a monster of a pass-rusher and the Jaguars were last in the league with 20 sacks, five behind the next team (Raiders).
3. Raiders (4-12) — Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Speaking of teams that didn’t get a lot of sacks and the exact stat you just read, the Raiders were 31st in the league with 25 sacks. The Raiders need help all over their defensive line, so Moore or defensive tackle Star Lotulelei should be the pick.
4. Eagles (4-12) — Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
New coach Chip Kelly obviously is an offensive-minded guy, but with the team moving to a 3-4, there is no more important position to address than nose tackle. Good ones are hard to find, so if Lotulelei still is on the board, the Eagles would be wise to pounce on the 320-pounder.
5. Lions (4-12) — Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Milliner isn’t the caliber of a guy like Patrick Peterson, who went fifth overall to the Cardinals in 2011, but the cornerback group in Detroit is average enough to warrant this pick. If the Lions don’t re-sign Chris Houston, who tied for the team lead in interceptions with two (yup, that tied for the team lead), the need will be even greater.
6. Browns (5-11) — Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Brandon Weeden isn’t bad, and upgrading either one of the guard positions would take the line in front of him from being pretty good to very good. Warmack could conceivably start over John Greco or Shawn Lauvao.
7. Cardinals (5-11) — Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Cardinals will be able to get through another year with their collection of below-average quarterbacks, but don’t expect them to go anywhere with them. If and when this team does get a franchise quarterback, that player will need to be protected. Former fifth overall pick Levi Brown spent last season on IR with a triceps tear and hasn’t played up to his contract.
8. Bills (6-10) — Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Bills have spent worse money at quarterback, haven’t they? Smith is the only quarterback projected to go in the first round in this mock draft, and it isn’t like general manager Buddy Nix hasn’t made it clear that his intention is to draft a franchise quarterback.
9. Jets (6-10) — Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Jets need … so much. They need a quarterback (and actually a lot of help on offense), but improving their pass rush could be one way for Rex Ryan to prove his worth in New York. Werner would need to move to outside linebacker in this scenario (the Jets already have Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples at defensive end), but that’s a common transition. If they don’t feel he can make it, Oregon’s Dion Jordan would be a fit.
10. Titans (6-10) — Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
This would appear to be a bit of a reach, and it would be pretty uncommon to see two guards drafted in the first 10 picks, but this is where talent meets a need. At the very least, Cooper could step right in as the starting right guard depending on what happens with Leroy Harris, who is a free agent and was lost for the season in November due to a partially torn ACL.
11. Chargers (7-9) — Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
If he chooses to stay put at 11th overall, general manager Tom Telesco has a pretty easy job with the first pick he’ll make for the Chargers: Take the best offensive lineman available. Philip Rivers isn’t nearly as bad as that line has made him look.
12. Dolphins (7-9) — Keenan Allen, WR, California
The Dolphins rolled the dice on Tannehill in the first round last year, and it’s looking promising for the young quarterback. Now they need to get him a No. 1 receiver. Worst-case scenario, he probably won’t be the most foolish wide receiver selection they’ve made in the first half of the first round (sorry, Tedd Ginn, Jr.).
13. Buccaneers (7-9) — Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Bucs didn’t trade Aqib Talib to the Patriots because they were overflowing with talent at cornerback; they did it because they were ready to move on from a troubled player they didn’t intend to re-sign. With him gone and Eric Wright also not a picture of good behavior, cornerback is a major need for Tampa Bay this offseason.
14. Panthers (7-9) — Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Carolina nailed the Luke Kuechly pick last year, and now the Panthers can continue to improve that defense by strengthening the line. Richardson had four sacks and seven quarterback hurries as a junior.
15. Saints (7-9) — Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
New Orleans didn’t have a first-round pick (it was traded to the Pats for the selection used to take Mark Ingram in 2011) or a second-rounder last year, and the Saints also will be without a second-round pick in this draft (both lost second-rounders were forfeited as a result of the bounty scandal), so they’ll need to make this pick count. Mingo will provide them with a top pass-rusher.
16. Rams (7-8-1) — Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
When the Rams made their mega-deal with the Redskins prior to last year’s draft, they probably envisioned themselves having a pair of high picks for the next two years. That wasn’t the case, as the Rams were OK while RGIII turned the Redskins into immediate contenders. Vaccaro is the top safety in this class and would be an upgrade over Craig Dahl.
17. Steelers (8-8) — Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Pittsburgh desperately needs to upgrade its pass rush, so having both Ansah and Jordan available here would be an ideal scenario. Ansah is thicker and stronger, so he’ll be the pick here for the time being.
18. Cowboys (8-8) — Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
With both Warmack and Cooper off the board, the Cowboys benefit from the fact that this is a rare draft in which there are more first-round talents at guard than there are at quarterback. Dallas needs help at both guard and center, but this would be early for Barrett Jones.
19. Giants (9-7) — Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
Top inside linebacker prospects never fall in the draft, but the question is whether Ogletree is a top inside linebacker prospect. The Giants, who do need to address the position this offseason, would have to overlook a whole lot of weirdness if they prefer Manti Te’o.
20. Bears (10-6) — D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Another team that could essentially use help along its offensive line, the Bears could bring in Fluker and either make him their starting right tackle or move 2010 second-round pick J’Marcus Webb over to right tackle and give Fluker a shot at protecting Jay Cutler‘s blindside.
21. Bengals (10-6) — Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
The Bengals have been known to take players with character concerns, but ‘character concerns’ doesn’t do the whole Te’o fiasco justice. Perhaps more will be learned in the days and weeks leading up to the draft, but the talent should outweigh the weirdness enough to make Te’o a first-round pick.
22. Rams (from Redskins) — Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Perhaps the Rams would have taken Justin Blackmon with the sixth overall pick last year, but the Jaguars moved up two spots to secure him. Danny Amendola can’t do everything (including stay healthy), so the Rams would be wise to come out of this draft with a big-name receiver.
23. Vikings (10-6) — DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Everyone knows that Adrian Peterson makes this offense go, but the Vikings have a talented quarterback who could use some more help. This would appear to be a bit of a reach at this point, but there’s no denying the Vikings could stand to upgrade big-time at wide receiver. Christian Ponder loves utilizing Percy Harvin, but he needs more options than that.
24. Colts (11-5) — Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Ohio State
The 320-pound Jenkins would fit in as a nose tackle in the 3-4, making him a better fit for the Colts than a guy like Shariff Floyd, who played a lot of defensive end and figures to hit the combine weighing somewhere around 300 pounds.
25. Seahawks (11-5) — Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
The Seahawks pulled a gutsy move by drafting Bruce Irvin — who is pretty much exclusively a pass-rusher — with the 15th overall pick last year. That pick paid off, and they’ll be able to get after the quarterback even better by adding Floyd to the middle of that defensive line.
26. Packers (11-5) — Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
With Jeff Saturday retiring, the Packers would be wise to address the center position early on. Jones did not attend the Senior Bowl, as he chose to rest a foot that ailed him in the BCS championship against Notre Dame.
27. Texans (12-4) — Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
There is almost no way Jordan would fall this far, but if the wiry pass-rusher (6-foot-7, 243 pounds) is available here, the Texans will gladly grab him and figure something out. Connor Barwin is a free agent, so if Houston can’t retain his services this would be an even easier pick.
28. Broncos (12-4) — Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
If either Floyd or Jenkins were to fall this far, defensive tackle would be a smart option for the Broncos. With both of them off the board in this scenario, Minter would make sense to upgrade a spot that has been occupied by the aging Keith Brooking and the rather average Joe Mays.
29. Patriots (12-4) — Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
How many times can the Patriots draft a defensive back in the late first round/early second round? As many times as it takes for them to actually have a good secondary. Even if Talib is re-signed, which is obviously a big question mark, the Pats still have a ways to go when it comes to building a stable defensive backfield.
30. Falcons (13-3) — Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
We’ve projected defensive ends to the Falcons for the last couple of years because John Abraham won’t be able to contribute forever. Now, it’s unsure whether he’ll even be with the team next season, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that the team might have to release him for salary cap purposes.
31. 49ers (11-4-1) — Matt Elam, S, Florida
To be honest, the 49ers probably couldn’t go wrong by taking a cornerback, either. As long as they address their secondary with talent at either safety or corner, they’ll be in good shape. Elam could fall a bit due to a pair of alcohol-related incidents.
32. Ravens (10-6) — Khaseem Green, OLB, Rutgers
The more pressing need obviously is for an inside linebacker, and after that the team could stand to add a receiver depending on what happens with Anquan Boldin. In this scenario, there wouldn’t be much value at either position, as it might be a little early for North Carolina linebacker Kevin Reddick or Louisiana Tech receiver Quinton Patton.