1. Kansas City - Eric Fisher, OT, C. Michigan: I’m not sold on Fisher being better than Joeckel, but he is the better athlete so that could swing the decision in his favor. It is not out of the question that KC goes in a direction other than tackle though.
d
2. Jacksonville Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon: Jordan can fit right into new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s defense and he might have the most upside of any defensive player in this draft. Jordan can rush the passer, drop into coverage and be effective in multiple defensive fronts.
d
3. Oakland - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: I don’t feel great about this one. The Raiders could go in a number of directions and even though they need help at defensive tackle. Reggie McKenzie comes from Green Bay where they liked to build on the defensive front so he is likely to give that the first consideration.
d
4. Philadelphia - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: I was told to “plug Geno in here” by a league source and I usually listen when this guy speaks. Kelly’s offense probably won’t ask the QB to run as much as people would like to believe, but I do think his offense will try to stretch the field and play up-tempo which is something that Geno Smith is used to.
d
5. Detroit - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: The Lions need help at tackle, cornerback and defensive end, but Ansah has an extremely high ceiling and the Lions could still find tackle help early in the 2nd round.
d
6. Cleveland - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: The Browns actually have some decent talent at various positions so they aren’t in any type of panic situation in terms of taking a particular position. With that said, Milliner makes sense and gives the Browns one of the best, young duo of CBs in the AFC.
d
7. Arizona - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: If the Cardinals have Joeckel fall to them at 7, they had better turn their draft card in within 5 seconds. It wouldn’t shock me, however, if teams started calling in an effort to trade up to this spot if the draft board shakes out like this. Joeckel is a very safe selection.
d
8. Buffalo - Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse: It pains me to put Nassib here, but I think there is a very good chance it happens. New Bills head coach, Doug Marrone, coached Nassib at Syracuse and they could take Nassib here and let him wait a year behind Kevin Kolb.
d
9. NY Jets - Tavon Austin, WR, W. Virginia: New offensive coordinator was hired to make the stagnant Jets offense more explosive, but to do that, he needs some new, better players. Austin is a dynamic playmaker who would immediately make the Jets 3-WR sets much more dangerous…. even with Sanchez at QB.
d
10. Miami (Trade with Tennessee) - Lane Johnson, LT, Oklahoma: The Dolphins had better think twice about letting Jonathan Martin take whoopings at LT. He’s not good enough to man that spot. The Dolphins have extra ammunition to move up and if Lane Johnson is still there at #10, the Titans will get a ton calls for this pick.
d
11. San Diego - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama: I’m never a fan of taking a guard this early, but the Chargers offensive line is a disgrace and Warmack gives them an instant upgrade to their run game.
d
12. Tennessee (Trade w/ Miami) - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: The Titans need all kinds of help which is why moving back and adding picks makes the most sense. Richardson gives them an athletic DT who could become a highly disruptive force if he takes coaching.
d
13. Tampa Bay - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: Almost everyone has CB in this spot, but can Tampa pass up on Lotulelei? Maybe, maybe not. It would depend on how they have the CBs graded in this draft. Lotulelei helps to build the Bucs front and give Gerald McCoy help inside.
d
14. Carolina - Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC: Williams is shooting up draft boards thanks to his ability to disrupt and penetrate. The Panthers need WR help as well, but I don’t see one worthy of the 14th selection. Williams addressing a pressing need for the Panthers.
d
15. New Orleans - Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia: : The Saints are moving to a 3-4 and they are in desperate need of an OLB with pass rushing ability who can also play in space and Jones is that guy. Don’t let the slow 40 time fool you as his game speed is just fine.
d
16. St. Louis - Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC: The Rams have a couple of first round picks and Cooper would give the Rams an immediate upgrade at the LG spot and would upgrade their rushing attack which helps to take pressure off of the passing offense.
d
17. Pittsburgh - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: The Steelers safety combination of Polamalu is getting old. Polamalu will be 32 during the season and has missed 22 games over the last four years while Ryan Clark will be 34 in October. The Steelers stick to their draft board and they love tough players. Vaccaro shows some of the same qualities as Polamalu and let’s not forget that Kevin Colbert moved up in the draft to take Polamalu with the 16th pick in 2003 so it isn’t like he won’t consider a safety in the 1st round if he thinks he’s a special athlete/player.
d
18. Dallas - D.J. Fluker, RT/OG, Alabama: I’m on record as saying that I believe that Fluker will ultimately have to move to guard due to his lack of quickness, but his power is undeniable in the running game. Whether he ends up playing tackle or guard, he immediately makes the Cowboys a better run blocking unit the minute he puts his helmet on.
d
19. NY Giants - Barkevious Mingo, OLB : The Giants have had a great deal of success thanks in part to stockpiling athletic DEs. The Giants didn’t get much from Justin Tuck and Mingo gives them an athlete who could come in and help as a situational pass rusher right away.
d
20. Chicago – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington: While many will put a LB in this spot, the Bears won’t reach for need. The Bears could very well look to add to their defensive front since that is what they love to do, but Trufant gives them more size at CB and helps them prepare to battle against the Packers offense.
d
21. Cincinnati - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: The Bengals got spotty play from Rey Maualuga last season and their LBs were exploited in coverage in big games. Brown has the speed to run sideline to sideline and will upgrade coverage from LB position.
d
22. St. Louis - Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International: The Rams safety position is a mess and Cyprien might be the Rams “Wolf.” Cyprien lived near the line of scrimmage in college, but he showed an ability to play with range when asked. He might be my favorite safety in this draft.
d
23. Minnesota – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: The Vikings like their physical CBs with size and Rhodes has size AND speed although I don’t always see the transition speed I would like when he’s in press coverage. If Rhodes were to fall this far, it would be hard for the Vikings to pass on him.
d
24. Indianapolis - Datone Jones, DE, UCLA: Chuck Pagano understands that good 3-4 defenses are built around good fronts. Jones has the frame to play at 290+ and he would have plus pass rush skill for the DE spot in that defense. The other option to consider is if the Colts would take Bjoern Werner to play OLB if he’s still around.
d
25. Minnesota - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson: Hopkins is more game-ready than Cordarrelle Patterson in my opinion despite not being the same level of athlete. The Vikings need help with their passing game to help diversify their offense and Hopkins has a chance to come in and help quickly.
d
26. Green Bay - Menelik Watson, RT, Florida State: One of these days, the Packers are going to get their tackle issues fixed and this might be the year they take another shot at it in the first round. The problem? I don’t think Watson is ready to step in and start as a rookie as he’s still way too raw despite having upside potential.
d
27. Houston - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: If the board falls this way, the Texans would have to strongly consider taking Eifert at this spot. Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith are from a system that has rarely valued the WR position as a 1st round pick dating back to their Denver days and I’m not sure that is going to change this year despite their massive need at that position. Eifert is a very effective pass catcher who would often line up split out at WR at Notre Dame. He’s more fluid in space than of the other TEs the Texans have, but he would need to convince the Texans he could become a serviceable blocker since they don’t carry TEs who don’t block at all. If the Texans were to draft Eifert, that would mean they could strongly consider cutting Owen Daniels after 2013 and clearing some cap space in an effort to get Brian Cushing’s new deal done and maybe even J.J. Watt’s. Safety is a possibility in this spot and I’m sure they will definitely have Datone Jones and Margus Hunt on their board as well since Antonio Smith’s contract is up after 2013 and both Jones and Hunt are good fits in Wade Phillips’ 1-gap scheme.