Here it is — my first mock draft of the year featuring the entire first round. Picks will be made based on the rosters as they sit now, another will be done at the end of March/beginning of April, and the last will be done the week of the draft, giving us time to let scenarios play out in free agency and team needs to be filled, or become more evident.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Star Lotulelei, DT Utah
I know Lotulelei’s heart is an issue, and Florida’s Sharrif Floyd is the hot name, but few prospects physically dominated their competition the way Lotulelei did in 2012. I am willing to wait on his final health report to come back before I just drop him, but if I am wrong you will see a change in this pick come March.
Right now though, getting a player that can move around the entire front of the Chiefs 3-4 would be an excellent fit to a team that needs help stopping the run.
Other Options: Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Sharrif Floyd
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
Maybe I miss here, but the only other position that makes sense is defensive end. There are three I could see Jacksonville possibly taking with this pick, but Smith would be the face of a changing (in the right direction, mind you) Jaguars franchise.
Other Options: Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah
3. Oakland Raiders – Barkevious Mingo, DE LSU
It turns out you have to be able to get to the quarterback to be a good defense in this league, and the Raiders were awful at that in 2012. Mingo is the best pass rusher in the draft, in my opinion, and gives the Raiders a presence on the edge.
Other options: Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei, Dion Jordan
4. Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Fisher, LT Central Michigan
Most people, including myself, have Joeckel as the better prospect, but I like Fisher’s movement skills better for the Eagles and Chip Kelly’s offense.
Other options: Dion Jordan, Luke Joeckel, Dee Milliner
5. Detroit Lions – Luke Joeckel, LT Texas A&M
The Lions must protect Stafford and give him a chance to make plays with Calvin Johnson.
Other options: Dee Milliner, Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah
6. Cleveland Browns – Dion Jordan, OLB Oregon
Can you imagine Jordan with defensive coordinator Ray Horton? That’s exciting, and would be a great start for the Browns new 3-4 defense.
Other options: Dee Milliner, Sharrif Floyd, Cordarrelle Patterson
7. Arizona Cardinals – Lane Johnson, LT Oklahoma
A reach? Maybe, but the reality is that until I see a guard drafted in the top 10, I can’t mock them into the top 10. A trade down? Not in an early March mock draft.
Other options: Jarvis Jones, Sharrif Floyd, Chance Warmack
8. Buffalo Bills – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
The Bills need weapons for whomever their QB is next year, and they may get their QB of the future in round 2.
Other options: Matt Barkley, Chance Warmack, Ezekiel Ansah
9. New York Jets – Jarvis Jones, OLB Georgia
The Jets need a pass rusher, and Jones may be the best one in the draft — at least when it comes to collegiate statistics.
Other options: Matt Barkley, Chance Warmack, Ezekiel Ansah
10. Tennessee Titans – Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida
While Tennessee doesn’t have an immediate need at DT, they do need help along the defensive line and stopping the run.
Other options: Chance Warmack, Dee Milliner, Kenny Vaccaro
11. San Diego Chargers – Chance Warmack, OG Alabama
The Chargers are about to lose their best interior offensive lineman, and while they have other needs, Warmack may just be the best player in the draft. They shouldn’t pass on that.
Other options: Dee Milliner, Ezekiel Ansah
12. Miami Dolphins – Dee Milliner, CB Alabama
Without free agency having even started yet, I have the Dolphins taking the highest-rated corner on most boards.
Other options: Keenan Allen, Sheldon Richardson
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Xavier Rhodes, CB Florida State
Maybe this is too obvious, and seems to be the consensus of what the Bucs will do, but the value, fit and need all make too much sense at this point.
Other options: Tyler Eifert, Sheldon Richardson
14. Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri
The Panthers need work on the defensive side of the ball, despite having the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year in Luke Kuechly. Richardson has disruptive capabilities from the interior of the defensive line.
Other options: Keenan Allen, Kenny Vaccaro
15. New Orleans Saints – Ezekiel Ansah, OLB BYU
The Saints are moving towards a 3-4 defense and need someone that can bring some pressure off the edge. Ansah could be the answer for New Orleans.
Other options: Kenny Vaccaro, Johnthan Banks
16. St. Louis Rams – Jonathan Cyprien, SS Florida Intl.
I know most people will have Vaccaro here and have him higher than Cyprien in their safety rankings, but I like Cyprien for the Rams defense. I think he offers more versatility and is more of a traditional safety.
Other options: Kenny Vaccaro, Jonathan Cooper
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jesse Williams, DT Alabama
Another pick that makes too much sense and likely won’t happen, but for me the Steelers need help in the middle of their defense. Williams is a good enough athlete and run defender that he could play anywhere along the three-man front on run downs and be a force.
Other options: Damontre Moore, Kenny Vaccaro
18. Dallas Cowboys – Kenny Vaccaro, FS Texas
The Cowboys need help at the safety spot and Vaccaro would be a good addition to the Cowboys secondary.
Other options: Jonathan Cooper, Kawann Short
19. New York Giants – Bjoern Werner, DE Florida State
Werner will be able to come in and work into the Giants rotation, and be a force in their defensive scheme.
Other options: Damontre Moore, Tyler Eifert
20. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina
The Bears could go offensive tackle, or tight end, or linebacker, but Cooper is a versatile and athletic interior offensive lineman that will help in both the run game and pass pro.
Other options: Tyler Eifert, Kevin Minter
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Arthur Brown, OLB Kansas State
The Bengals have three or four different routes they could go here, but taking Brown allows Vontaze Burfict to slide over to his natural inside position.
Other options: Datone Jones, Damontre Moore
22. St. Louis Rams – Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
The Rams need to get weapons for Sam Bradford and Austin is a weapon that can be used in multiple ways.
Other options: Menelik Watson, Keenan Allen
23. Minnesota Vikings – Keenan Allen, WR California
I love Allen’s game. He is a consistent performer that knows how to get open and runs excellent routes. Getting Ponder a consistent weapon outside of Percy Harvin is a must.
Other options: Kawann Short, DeAndre Hopkins
24. Indianapolis Colts – Johnthan Banks, CB Mississippi State
Banks is a very good cover corner, and with limited options at the bigger need tackle position, Indy takes the best cover corner left on the board.
Other options: Damontre Moore, Menelik Watson
25. Seattle Seahawks – Cornelius “Tank” Carradine, DE Florida State
The Seahawks get perhaps the best pass rushing defensive end in the draft — a guy that had top 10 buzz before he tore his ACL. Carradine won’t be needed much in 2013, but will be able to move into the rotation and slowly take over for Chris Clemons.
Other options: DeAndre Hopkins, Datone Jones
26. Green Bay Packers – DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
The Packers will need to replace Greg Jennings, and Hopkins is a fantastic option. A clean route runner who works the route tree well and knows how to get open. Hopkins would be such a weapon in that offense.
Other options: Menelik Watson, Damontre Moore
27. Houston Texans – Kevin Minter, LB LSU
The Texans were hoping for Hopkins to fall here, but they’ll happily take a thumping inside linebacker to help keep the defense at a high level.
Other options: Markus Wheaton, Robert Woods
28. Denver Broncos – Kawann Short, DT Purdue
Short is a fantastic interior defensive lineman that fits into the new mold of attacking, penetrating defensive tackles.
Other options: Sylvester Williams, Johnathan Hankins
29. New England Patriots – Desmond Trufant, CB Washington
The Patriots need to bring in some help in the secondary, and Trufant fits into the Patriots draft history at corner, as a big, versatile defender.
Other options: Robert Woods, Damontre Moore
30. Atlanta Falcons – Datone Jones, DE UCLA
Jones is a versatile defensive end that could even line up inside if need be, but he will add a good pass rushing option for the Falcons.
Other options: Damontre Moore, Alex Okafor
31. San Francisco 49ers – Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State
The 49ers need young, healthy and versatile defensive linemen. Hankins fits that bill.
Other options: Matt Elam, Margus Hunt
32. Baltimore Ravens – Damontre Moore, DE Texas A&M
Moore looks like a good option as a secondary pass rusher opposite Suggs and would be a great value at the end of round 1.
Other options: Menelik Watson, Manti Te’o