The past two and a half months have done absolutely zero in providing any clarity to what players are in contention for the first pick overall, let alone what the Arizona Cardinals will be doing with the seventh pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
In a class without a transcendent talent at any position, we are stuck weeding our way through a glut of soon-to-be Pro Bowl and All-Pro talents that we will look back on with a wonder of why some thought so poorly of this draft class.
The truly difficult part is we don’t even know where to start mocking in this draft, so even the first pick is still a crap shoot, which makes this draft a ton of fun.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M
While I may not agree with the selection, it is the one I believe will happen on draft day, so I will stick with what will likely happen.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Just wading through the massive amount of information that the Jaguars have put out recently, I came to the conclusion that if I try to figure out what they are doing, I will be wrong. I might as well put who I think they should pick and that is the best player at the most important position in the draft.
3. Oakland Raiders – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
I’ve come to believe that if everyone believes something will happen, it likely won’t. And yes, I know I am contradicting my reason for pick one.
Most believe this will be Sharrif Floyd, I think it the need for a pass rusher off the edge will make Ansah the pick.
4. Philadelphia Eagles -Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
It’s crazy to have Johnson over Fisher, but I think in Chip Kelly’s offense, the Eagles will be looking to play extremely fast, and no OT does that as well as Johnson, who I also believe has the highest ceiling of all the left tackles in this draft.
5. Detroit Lions – Eric Fisher, LT, Central Michigan
Maybe it’s too convenient, but I believe the Lions will take Fisher or Johnson, if either are available here, and look to give Matt Stafford as much protection as possible.
6. Cleveland Browns – Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
The Browns are looking to trade, just like everyone else in the top-10 picks. But without projecting trades, they get a great weapon for Ray Horton to use.
7. Arizona Cardinals – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
In what I may change within the next 24 hours before I post my final Arizona Cardinals seven-round mock draft, the Cardinals miss out on the offensive tackles.
Why not a guard? Simply because I refuse to mock a guard this high and because I don’t want to get my hopes up that they would look to improve the team that way, as I did last year with David DeCastro.
Lotulelei gives them a piece on the defensive front three they are missing — someone versatile enough to move to any of the three down lineman spots, be used in as defensive end on run downs and slide to the nose on passing downs. He will be a tremendous asset to the defense for years to come.
8. Buffalo Bills – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
In a bit of a shocker, Coach Doug Marrone gets Kevin Kolb a little help on the offensive side of the ball in the form of the best tight end in the draft.
9. New York Jets – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Jets have a conundrum of wanting to rebuild but also stay competitive in what could be Rex Ryan’s last season unless the team turns around. Austin provides them with an offensive playmaker and building block going forward if Ryan is gone.
10. Tennessee Titans – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Getting better on the interior of the offensive and defensive line is imperative in Tennessee, and Floyd is a top-five talent on some boards.
11. San Diego Chargers – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
While the Chargers need offensive line help, they look to shore up a defense that is close, and fill what likely is the biggest hole on that side of the ball.
12. Miami Dolphins – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
While I like a couple of corners over Milliner, he likely would have the Dolphins brass excited if he’s on the board at 12.
13. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
Ryan gets his pass rusher and the Jets get another building block.
14. Carolina Panthers – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Panthers need someone to fill a presence on the defensive line and Richardson has the potential to be dominant inside presence.
15. New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Saints are transitioning to the 3-4 defense and Jones could be an integral piece to the new defense.
16. St. Louis Rams – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Rams sit back and get the best offensive linemen in the draft.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Steelers need help at a number of positions and go with the best player available at a need position.
18. Dallas Cowboys – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Cowboys need help along the offensive line, and pick up a dynamic weapon to plug in and play along the line.
19. New York Giants – Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
The Giants are notorious for taking the best player available at a premium position, and maybe no player in this draft presents a higher ceiling when healthy than Carradine.
20. Chicago Bears – Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
The reality is the Bears are willing to take whoever is highest on the board, and I can’t tell you who the Bears would have highest on the board, so I go with who I have ranked the highest.
21. Cincinnati Bengals – DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
With the Andre Smith situation not working itself out, the Bengals need a replacement at the right tackle position.
22. St. Louis Rams – Eric Reid, S, LSU
Reid would be the perfect combination of range and physical play that the Rams are looking for in the back end of their defense.
23. Minnesota Vikings – Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Maybe the most dynamic outside receiver in the draft, Hunter would be an excellent weapon for Christian Ponder if he can get his drops controlled.
24. Indianapolis Colts – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Has a lot of the same attributes as Paul Kruger and would be an excellent addition to the Colts defense.
25. Minnesota Vikings – Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
The Vikings seem to have a built in pipeline to Notre Dame prospects, and Te’o would actually fill a gaping hole at their linebacker position.
26. Green Bay Packers – Matt Elam, SS, Florida
Packers need some help in the back end of their defense, and Elam is an intriguing, explosive prospect.
27. Houston Texans – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Texans have longed for a weapon opposite Andre Johnson, and Patterson is especially dynamic with the ball in his hands.
28. Denver Broncos – Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
The Broncos continue to strike it rich on draft day with another disruptive interior defensive lineman, and continue to do so by waiting for the best available player.
29. New England Patriots – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Despite the alleged hotel room trashing incident, Hopkins is a game-changing, NFL-ready wide receiver who can add even more to an already potent Patriots offense.
30. Atlanta Falcons – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The rangy Washington corner would provide a nice option at a need position for the Falcons.
31. San Francisco 49ers – Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams is a powerful, dynamic defensive lineman in the Vince Wilfork mold and will provide the 49ers with some youth along their defensive front.
32. Baltimore Ravens – Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
In starting over from the Ray Lewis era, the Ravens get another impact linebacker who may not be of the same ilk at the microphone or in front of the camera, but is a phenomenal talent in the middle of the defense.
That’s what I think could happen on Thursday night.
As for the Cardinals weekend, I’ll be releasing my seven-round mock draft tomorrow, when I have a little more information on what the Cardinals could do in round one and beyond.