By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer, @HalfGameBack)
1. Kansas City Chiefs, Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Chiefs just re-signed offensive tackle Branden Albert, but Joeckel will be too good to pass up. Having bookend tackles will allow Alex Smith to transition nicely in his first year with the Chiefs. This pick is a no-brainer.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars, Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
In 2012 the Jaguars were the worst team in the NFL at getting to the quarterback, so it will be no surprise to see them go after a defensive lineman. Mingo will provide an instant impact as a rush defensive end. Defensive tackle could also be addressed here.
3. Oakland Raiders, Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida
This pick is where the draft could get interesting. The Raiders are usually unpredictable, and they need a ton of help on both sides of the ball. Sharrif Floyd increased his draft stock at the NFL Combine, and would provide a great need on the interior defensive line. On the other hand the Raiders could surprise everyone and take a player like Geno Smith to be the franchise quarterback.
4. Philadelphia Eagles, Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Chip Kelly might have brought his dynamic offense to Philly, but the Eagles will need someone to get the the quarterback on defense. Nobody knows Jordan as good as Chip Kelly, so this is a perfect spot for the former Oregon star to go.
5. Detroit Lions, Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Cornerbacks traditionally don’t go this high, but Milliner is the best player on the board, and Detroit has needed a playmaking corner for several years. For the first time in my young life, Detroit will have a lockdown corner.
6. Cleveland Browns, Ziggy Ansah, OLB, BYU
Ansah is the type of player Cleveland loves to draft. He is a bit of a project, but he has tremendous upside and is a freak of an athlete.
7. Arizona Cardinals, Eric Fisher, OT, C. Michigan
Arizona badly needs a franchise quarterback. The problem is there isn’t one worth taking at number seven. Fisher is the second best tackle behind Luke Joeckel, and serves as a nice fit for an offense in rebuild mode.
8. Buffalo Bills, Cordaralle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Here is another team who really wants and needs a franchise quarterback. Geno Smith might be in play here due to Bills GM Buddy Nix who has stated he wants to draft a quarterback. It is possible the Bills could still get Smith in Round 2, while filling another need getting the ultra-athletic receiver Cordaralle Patterson.
9. New York Jets, Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
The Jets are often an intriguing team in the NFL Draft. At this particular point I see the Jets reaching a bit for a great football player with some character issues. If they can ground Ogletree off the field then the Jets will hit a home run with this pick. Ogletree is a beast and could contribute from day one.
10. Tennessee Titans, Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Titans need help on the interior offensive line, but Desmond Trufant has shot up the draft board after a fantastic showing at the combine. Trufant will land in nearly the same spot the Stephon Gilmore did a year ago.
11. San Diego Chargers, Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Phillip Rivers needs the Chargers to make this pick. He hasn’t been himself the past couple of years, and he desperately needs Johnson to come in an offer immediate protection.
12. Miami Dolphins, Xavier Rhodes, CB/S, Florida St.
Another combine warrior, Rhodes has improved his draft stock immensely . The Dolphins are in a position to go several different ways, but Rhodes’ versatility to play both safety and corner helps his case.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
This pick is a bit of a stretch. The Bucs could use a multitude of things, but Eifert is by far the best tight end in the draft, and he would help Josh Freeman make the next step to becoming an elite quarterback.
14. Carolina Panthers, Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Once considered to be the top player in the draft, but a heart condition dropped Lotulelei out of the top 5. Nobody is for certain how serious the heart condition is, so I see Lotulelei being selected in this area.
15. New Orleans Saints, Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Saints need some help in the defensive backfield, but Richardson is the best player available, and will help provide depth in the defensive front.
16. St. Louis Rams, Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC
The Rams are yet another team who could go several ways in the first round. Luckily for them they have two first round picks. Head Coach Jeff Fisher knows he needs to protect Sam Bradford, and Cooper is one of the top interior linemen in the draft. Knowing he has another pick in his back pocket, Fisher will wait to get a playmaker or a linebacker.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers, Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Selecting Jones here will be something the Steelers aren’t accustomed to. They rarely pick a linebacker in the first round, but Jones is too good to pass up. Jones was projected as a top 5 pick until concerns about a neck injury arose. The Steelers are a team that are willing to take chances, and they will most likely have the last laugh when Jones becomes and All-Pro.
18. Dallas Cowboys, Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Warmack’s stock has slipped a bit, but the Cowboys will get a great need on the offensive line. We all know Tony Romo runs for his life each and every week, so the added stability in the middle of the o-line will be very helpful.
19. New York Giants, Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida St.
The Giants pride themselves on getting to the quarterback. Werner was a man among boys at the college level, and was a great pass rusher. There are some concerns that he is too small to dominate in the NFL, but this is a good value pick for the Giants, and Werner could prove to be a steal.
20. Chicago Bears, D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Pending a possible Devin Hester retirement, this pick may change to Tavon Austin. At this point, I like Fluker here because Jay Cutler is another quarterback who needs to be protected. The Bears will not retain tackle J’Marcus Webb, so Fluker makes perfect sense. We could also see a Manti Te’o selection if Brian Urlacher isn’t re-signed.
21. Cincinnati Bengals, Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
This is a pick that is long overdue for the Bengals. Chris Crocker just isn’t cutting it at safety, and the Taylor Mays project hasn’t panned out as of yet. Vaccaro provides a ball-hawking safety who excels in man coverage. He could be an instant impact player for Mike Zimmer’s defense. Other positions that are needed are linebacker and a pace changing running back.
22. St. Louis Rams, Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
As mentioned earlier, the Rams holdout for a playmaker to help Sam Bradford’s progression.
23. Minnesota Vikings, Keenan Allen, WR, California
Keenan Allen is arguably the most complete receiver in the draft. With the uncertainty of Percy Harvin’s health, the Vikings must get someone to help MVP Adrian Peterson move the ball.
24. Indianapolis Colts, Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi St.
Banks is a big physical corner that any team would be lucky to have. The Colts receive more luck (pun intended) and land one of the drafts top corners.
25. Seattle Seahawks, Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Seattle has a great defense, but they lack depth up front. Kawann Short is exactly the type of player Pete Carroll likes. High motor, high IQ lands Short in Seattle.
26. Green Bay Packers, Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The Packers may end up losing Greg Jennings, but they won’t be replacing him via the draft. Green Bay’s running attack was awful last year, and was a primary reason for their demise. Lacy is considered the best running back in the draft, and Green Bay is a perfect fit for the physical runner. (Same mold as Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson)
27. Houston Texans, Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Houston has some concern over their linebacking situation and could select Kevin Minter here. The reason they won’t, Andre Johnson is getting older and the Texans need another outside deep threat. Hunter has good size and speed, and would fit well in Houston’s offense.
28. Denver Broncos, Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Upon D.J. Williams pending release, the Broncos will have no choice but to replace him. Minter was LSU’s best linebacker, and generally those guys do well in the NFL. Home run pick for Denver.
29. New England Patriots, Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
Vince Wilfork is aging and Bill Belichick loves having big physical guys up front. From what I know Belichick has a man crush on Williams, and this could be a safe pick for the Pats.
30. Atlanta Falcons, Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
What do you do when you cut your two starting defensive ends? Well you draft a replacement. Moore has slipped down the board after a poor combine, but he could be a good fit with the Falcons, a team who struggles to get to the quarterback.
31. San Francisco 49ers, Jonathan Cyprien, S, FIU
Dashon Goldson was rumored to get the franchise tag. That didn’t happen, so the 49ers could use a replacement. Cyprien was largely unnoticed until the combine where he showed his freakish athleticism. This could end up being the steal of the draft or the biggest bust.
32. Baltimore Ravens, Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
Well Ray Lewis isn’t walking through that door at the beginning of the season. Nobody wanted Lewis when he was drafted and we saw how well that worked, so why not take a chance on Te’o. Yeah, he ran slow at the combine and he dated a fake girl for months, but he had a great college career and his instincts could make him a solid player at the next level. Much like Cyprien, Te’o could be the biggest steal or biggest bust. Only time will tell.