The Kansas City Chiefs Are on the Clock...
It's fairly unusual to have so much uncertainty in the draft this close to April.
Usually by this time, there is some semblance of an expected No. 1 overall pick. This year, however, there are several choices for the Chiefs. Left tackles Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and a smattering of defensive players have the potential to be the first overall selection.
The thing is, there is no Andrew Luck-type player in this year's draft. It's a deep draft overall and there is a lot of marginal talent, but the overall players' ceilings are lower this year than in the past.
The defensive side of the ball, however, is well represented in this draft class, so teams looking to fill holes in their defensive positions should jump at the opportunity to do so.
While trades are all too common in the draft, this mock draft will not include them.
The Chiefs have a decision to make. And with the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select...
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, LT
At this point, Luke Joeckel seems to be the favorite to go first overall and it's hard to argue the pick.
Joeckel's measurables and performances stack up against other left tackles taken within the first few picks of recent drafts. He compares to Cleveland's Joe Thomas in both athleticism and build.
He started his first game at Texas A&M at left tackle as a freshman and didn't look back. He has the experience and talent to be an all-pro at the next level. The Chiefs fill a need here (as it sounds like they are shopping current LT Brandon Albert). Joeckel would fill in nicely.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Sharrif Floyd, DT
When watching tape on Sharrif Floyd, it's as if he jumps off the screen. The guy's motor is incredible, and his quickness off the snap is unparalleled in this draft. Jacksonville can slot Floyd against any opposing guard or center and he has the potential to blow right by them.
However, his strengths are also his weaknesses. When he bursts off the ball so quickly, he tends to overshoot, occasionally losing sight of the the ball and/or the ball-carrier.
His pre-snap and on-snap activities are reminiscent of former Sooner Tommie Harris when he was in his prime.
3. Oakland Raiders: Dion Jordan, DE
Dion Jordan may be a bit of a reach at third overall, but he fills a position of need for the Raiders. And he's fast, something the Raiders seem to always value in the draft.
Jordan possesses an elite blend of speed, agility and height. He projects well as both a 3-4 OLB and a 4-3 DE. He needs to add weight to his 248-pound frame if he wants to be able to shed blocks at the point of contact, which is something he may struggle with initially. He should be able to add some poundage, but will still be on the small side.
He played both the OLB and DE positions as a hybrid-type pass rusher at Oregon. He's loaded with potential and can be a poor man's Cameron Wake once he adds some weight.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, LT
Joe Staley, a Central Michigan graduate, just played in the Pro Bowl. Eric Fisher could play in five by the time he's done.
It's a tight race between Joeckel and Fisher for the best OT on the board, and the Eagles will have to settle for the consolation prize, which will not be too bad.
Fisher's elite blend of size and footwork makes him an outstanding pass protector. Depending on what sort of offense Chip Kelly implements, Fisher's value to the Eagles may fluctuate.
It's too soon to say now, but Fisher has the potential to be an all-pro. He needs to work on his blocking deep in the box (as evidenced in the attached video) because he occasionally gets pushed after initial contact.
5. Detroit Lions: Lane Johnson, LT
Three tackles in the top five? Yes indeed.
The NFL is more of a passing league than ever before and the Detroit Lions are a pretty good example of that.
Lane Johnson, a late-riser in this year's draft class, blocked in a similar offense as the Lions in college with the Oklahoma Sooners. He is fast off the line and uses his long arms to defy defenders' early penetration. He's also a solid run-blocker, something the Lions could desperately use.
6. Cleveland Browns: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR
Cordarrelle Patterson seems to be the consensus best receiver on the board, considering his talent and potential.
He's an athletic monster, with a 6-2, 216-pound frame that accelerates and moves faster than it should. He still must work on his hands and movement in traffic.
No. 6 overall might be a bit of a reach for Patterson, but he fills an incredible need for the Browns. Cleveland must surround Brandon Weeden with weapons before he is past his prime (which is weird saying about a second-year player).
7. Arizona Cardinals: Dee Milliner, CB
The Cardinals fill a huge need here, as they recently released William Gay. Greg Toler is also gone. The Cardinals need secondary help and if the draft plays out like this, they will get the top defensive back in the class.
Milliner is great in run coverage and a fierce tackler, which is another valuable asset considering Adrian Wilson bolted Phoenix for New England. Milliner's strengths lie in man-coverage and he is a very smart player. Just a one-year starter at Alabama, his best years are ahead of him.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB
This pick might be a foregone conclusion. It's highly unlikely that the Bills will go into the 2013 NFL season with Tavaris Jackson as their starting QB.
Smith will give Doug Marrone someone to groom. If Smith can live up to the No. 8 overall pick, the Bills' offense will be quite good and targeting another playmaker in the draft would be smart for Buffalo.
Smith is a QB who makes smart decisions with the football. He does not possess elite arm strength, but is able to thread the ball into tight windows with pristine accuracy within 20 yards. He will have to work on his pre-snap activities as he was used to taking every snap out of the shotgun in Dana Holgorsen's offense at West Virginia.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, 3-4 OLB
This is a pick based solely on potential, and Ziggy Ansah has the potential to be one of the best players of this draft class.
He's a spitting image of Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants, except he is a better overall run-plugger. He's a bit larger than Pierre-Paul was coming out of college and possesses an insane amount of explosiveness with the potential to wreak havoc off the edge.
This is a great pick for the Jets as long as his development continues.
10. Tennessee Titans: Xavier Rhodes, CB
In an extreme need-filling pick, the Titans could very well select Xavier Rhodes.
The Titans have spent a ton in the offseason solidifying their offensive line, and last year, they spent on the defensive line. This year in the draft, they need to find a game-changing playmaker in the secondary. Rhodes is a 6-2, physical coverage man who will not be afraid to line up one-on-one against the better receivers in the league.
While he does lack elite speed, he tends to make up for it with his physical play.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, G
Chance Warmack is a once-in-a-decade kind of prospect. If his positional value was higher, he'd be the undisputed No. 1 pick, but he plays guard.
The biggest knock on Warmack is that he's a little bit too short.
Yeah, and that's what the defensive lineman in the AFC West will think as he barrels them over. Probably not.
He is an elite player and has the potential to make the Pro Bowl early and often.
12. Miami Dolphins: Jarvis Jones, 3-4 OLB
With all the money the Dolphins have spent this offseason, they can afford to make more of a luxury pick. And that's Jarvis Jones.
He has elite talent as a pass-rusher off the edge, but his injury risks are also prevalent. NFL teams are not going to want to invest in a player who may not be able to play due to injury concerns.
The Dolphins, however, have some leverage. And when a team with that sort of roster talent possesses the 12th overall pick in the draft, they can afford to take the best player available, which Jones is, regardless of the risks involved.
He's a Von Miller-type player when healthy, and that's about as good as you can get.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sheldon Richardson, DT
Richardson is a solid defender against the pass, as he has terrific runner pursuit. He also will rush the passer at a solid clip. One concern on Richardson is his lack of production in college, as he only registered three sacks for Missouri.
However, if he plays to his talents, this is a great pick for Tampa Bay.
14. Carolina Panthers: Keenan Allen, WR
Allen is a sure-handed receiver who will make his quarterback look good. Cam Newton would elated at this pick, as Allen is an outstanding possession receiver to line up across from Steve Smith, who could use his speed effectively with more weapons on the field.
Allen is a shorter, poor man's version of Vincent Jackson, as he is best served outside the hashes.
15. New Orleans Saints: Star Lotulelei, DT
His name says it all. Star Lotulelei has all the potential in the world, but with his well-advertised heart condition, his status is up in the air. He is still scheduled to work out at his pro day, despite having to sit out the Combine due to the condition.
His motor is unparalleled, and he would immediately become one of the most talented interior defensive lineman.
Not unlike the Dolphins, the Saints can afford to make a luxury pick like this, due to their talent level. odd circumstances last year affected the Saints' overall quality of play. With the continuity of two years ago returning, the Saints will not be drafting this high in 2014. And if Star can get on the field consistently, he'll be part of the reason why.
16. St. Louis Rams: Jonathan Cooper, G
Jonathan Cooper is an ultra-versatile lineman who can play all three interior line positions.
It's close between him and Warmack as to who is the top interior lineman in this draft. Cooper will fit nicely at right or left guard for the Rams for the next decade.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Desmond Trufant, CB
Desmond Trufant is a need pick here for the Steelers, as their secondary is lacking in playmaking potential. Trufant possesses a mean tackling streak, but will not shy away from taking a receiver one-on-one. He has good ball skills and is experienced, as he started all four years at the University of Washington.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Vaccaro, S
Dallas fills a very crucial need with this pick.
Vaccaro has the size and athleticism to start from day one, but must improve on his ball skills. He seems to be more concerned with run support and allows too many passes over his head. The Cowboys can afford to coach him up, and he would immediately improve a suspect secondary.
19. New York Giants: Matt Elam, S
Matt Elam is a good coverage safety, and would fit in nicely with the Giants. He is fast, running a 4.54 40 yd. dash at the Combine. Elam has, on occasion, be out matched in physical battles with receivers and tends to miss open field tackles.
This is a good pick with the potential to be great, if a few kinks are worked out of his game.
20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker OT/G
Fluker is a very, very large man. And, he would immediately become the vocal leader of the Bears' offensive line.
There is a large hole at left guard, as the Bears elected not to re-sign Lance Louis. Fluker could fir in immediately and succeed.
He enters the draft primarily as a right tackle prospect, but his size and exceptional run blocking skills would render him useful at an inside position as well.
He does tend to get tired and lazy on plays, occasionally letting pass rushers by, but overall, a solid pick for the Bears at no. 20.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Tavon Austin, WR
Fluker would have been a perfect fit for the Bengals, who just lost their right tackle Andre Smith. However, he is not available at this juncture.
The Bengals would sure make a splash with this sort of acquisition. Austin would add an insane speed element (4.34) 40 at the combine) for an offense that already possesses a sure-handed, Pro Bowl wide receiver in A.J. Green and a solid run game.
Austin is versatile as well, and can line up in the backfield to compliment BenJarvus Green-Ellis on passing downs.
His 5-9 frame may worry general managers because it could make him susceptible to injuries. But, if he is smart and protective of his body, Austin is a player who can push the Bengals further than they have been in decades.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington): Kawann Short, DT
The Rams need more of a push up front, and Short fills that need. He faced Big 10 offensive lineman, who are notoriously known for being large and very good.
Short can man the middle with Robert Quinn and Chris Long rushing from the outsides. St. Louis defensive line would one of the best, young units in the NFL if St. Louis chooses to go in this direction.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Hankins, DT
Jonathan Hankins of 320 lbs. of run-stopping power. He's just what the Vikings need.
When Pat and Kevin Williams were in their primes, the Vikings were nearly impossible to run against. Now, Pat is gone and Kevin needs a partner. Hankins can be they guy.
Hankins uses his hands very well to shed blockers at the line of scrimmage, and will stuff running lanes quickly due to a nice bust out of his stance. At Ohio State, Hankins was flagged for numerous offsides and encroachment penalties. He'll need to cut down on those if he plans on being an asset to the Vikings' defense.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Barkevious Mingo, 3-4 OLB
Mingo is the kind of player a defensive coordinator dreams about. His potential is very high, and he has a ton of room to develop.
He shows heart on every play, and when he doesn't get to the quarterback, he is sure to raise a hand in an attempt to bat down the pass. He is a lean 6-4, 241 lbs., which is definitely on the small side. If he added a bit of muscle, he could hold his own on the line of scrimmage much more effectively.
Mingo fits best as a 3-4 OLB, and with the Colts, that exactly the position he'd play.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle): Kevin Minter, MLB
Kevin Minter is an extremely smart player. He leads a defense and seems to get into quarterbacks' heads. That's an important talent for a middle linebacker.
E.J. Henderson is long gone from the Vikings, and they need a replacement. Kevin Minter can be that replacement.
His stats at LSU were not extraordinary, but the whole defense played well around him. That's a testament to his leadership and direction. The Vikings would be well-advised to look at Minter.
26. Green Bay Packers: Robert Woods, WR
Aaron Rodgers needs more weapons.
Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and now Robert Woods. That's one heck of a receiving corps. Add in the likes of Jermichael Finley, and Rodgers has five sure-handed receivers.
Woods has no risk, and is a football player. He makes blocks, will tackle upon an interception and is not afraid to jump after a loose ball. A solid pick should the Packers choose him.
27. Houston Texans: Justin Hunter, WR
Justin Hunter is an extremely athletic, tall receiver. Pairing him across from Andre Johnson would give Matt Schaub the best set of receivers he has ever worked with.
Having Hunter as a vertical threat would also open up the field for Arian Foster and Ben Tate, Houston's two stellar running backs.
28. Denver Broncos: Eddie Lacy, RB
A tough runner who can catch the ball, Eddie Lacy is a poor man's Stephen Jackson. With a little coaching, a quarterback by the name of Peyton Manning and running behind the stellar offensive line of the Denver Broncos, Lacy could develop into a highly serviceable back in the NFL.
Lacy needs to stave off the injuries that have haunted him throughout his career, though. Denver doesn't need another running back getting injured every season. Knowshon Moreno has that covered.
29. New England Patriots: Bjoern Werner, DE
This is a classic Bill Belichick pick.
Werner drops due to injury concerns and motivation questions. Belichick snags him up and turns him into a Pro Bowler.
While that may seem a bit drastic, it's hard to deny The Hoodie's influence on players such as Werner. Brandon Spikes comes to mind.
The Pats value pass rush, and Werner definitely gives them that. He isn't great in run defense, but is a tenacious pass rusher with tons of room for development.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Datone Jones, DE
The Falcons are already pursuing Usi Umenyiora (per Atlanta Black Star), but could still use more help in their pass rush. Datone Jones is an ideal pass rusher off the edge of a 4-3 defense, as he possesses elite length and strength.
The knock on Jones is similar to many others: he didn't produce much in college. He was a one year wonder at UCLA, and it is yet to be seen if he can consistently produce. The Falcons are in a position to take a waiver out on Jones, as his developmental ceiling is high.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, NT
Jesse Williams is a body. A very large one, and one that can lift 600 lbs.
The 49ers have a need at nose tackle, and Williams is a beast who would take up a ton of room (pun intended).
He plays the run well, and uses his hands extremely well against more physical defenders.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Arthur Brown, MLB
The string of defensive players continues with the final pick in the first round, and the Ravens will look to fortify their suddenly depleted defense.
Who'd have though the Ravens' defense would be as lackluster as it is now, a month after winning the Super Bowl?
Filling the shoes of Ray Lewis is impossible, but Brown, the leader on one of the nation's best defenses last year, brings great leadership and poise to the field. The Ravens lack an identity with all this turmoil of the offseason. Brown might be able to stabilize them a bit.