2013 NFL Mock Draft: Buying or Selling Expert Picks for Every Team
Gentlemen, start your mocks!
With the 2012 season growing smaller in our rear-view mirrors and with the college all-star games already over, only the NFL combine and some pro days stand between us and the 2013 NFL draft. Because of that, it's "mockin' season" for draft aficionados everywhere.
Our own draft expert, Matt Miller, is going strong on his second annual B/R 1,000 series, and his latest mock was published on Feb. 3. Because it's not as current, I didn't include it in this list, but I still encourage you to check it out—the same goes for my latest mock from Feb. 6.
The experts I did pick to "buy" and "sell" were Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, Todd McShay of ESPN and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. I don't agree with all of their picks; some were real head-scratchers in my opinion. However, I respect all three men because you would be hard-pressed to find three guys who work harder or are as well connected to the NFL draft each year.
So which of their picks make sense, and which ones should send them back to the virtual whiteboard?
Note: ESPN mocks feature Insider content.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14)
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Kiper's Pick: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M - BUY
McShay's Pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia - BUY
Just about everything around this pick revolves around two points. First, if the Chiefs fall in love with one of the quarterbacks in this draft, they have to take him. Second, if the Chiefs don't love a quarterback and decide to part ways with Branden Albert, they have to take Luke Joeckel.
I am selling McShay's pick of Lotulelei because the Chiefs have lots of big bodies on defense and, as good as Lotulelei is, adding another one is a luxury at No. 1. I can't imagine a pick here other than Smith or Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
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Kiper's Pick: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M - SELL
McShay's Pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Jarvis Jones, DE, Georgia - SELL
This just in: The experts think the Jaguars need a pass-rusher! I can confirm this fact, but I'm selling two of the three prospects because of big questions in my mind.
Moore gets sold here because he's not the best pass-rusher. Russ Lande of National Football Post reported that he hasn't spoken to a single NFL personnel person who has Moore as a first-rounder. Jones gets sold here because there's some risk associated with his spinal stenosis. If the Jaguars give him a twice-over at the combine and he checks out, then fine. Until then, though, I'm not buying him this high.
Werner gets the lone "buy" here because I love his potential and believe that he is the best pass-rusher in the draft. Plus, the Jaguars would finally get their "hometown kid" without all the baggage that comes along with acquiring Tim Tebow.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12)
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Kiper's Pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah - BUY
McShay's Pick: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida - BUY
I love the pick of an interior pass-rusher to collapse the pocket and control the line of scrimmage. If this pick pans out, it has the ability to improve just about everyone else on the defense—a unit that needs a lot of help in Oakland. Personally, I would go with Lotulelei over Floyd, but I respect Jeremiah's opinion.
I can't love Milliner here. The Raiders tried the whole "build around a CB" thing, and it bit them in the behind. While Raiders fans were crowing about how good Nnamdi Asomugha was because no one threw at him, the rest of the defense was giving up a ton of points. A CB at No. 3 would ruin a team's rebuilding plan, no matter what, and Milliner just isn't good enough to warrant breaking that mold.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12)
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Kiper's Pick: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama - SELL
McShay's Pick: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah - SELL
I am selling Milliner here for the same reason that I did in the previous slide. Ironically, it was the same exact player—Nnamdi Asomugha—that proves the same point here. If the front seven isn't making an impact, no corner is going to look great, even if he's Darrelle Revis. (Note: Milliner isn't anywhere close to that level.)
I am also selling Lotulelei, even though he's the best player available, because the Eagles just drafted Fletcher Cox last season and have too many needs elsewhere to pick up another interior lineman (especially the second defensive tackle on Jeremiah's board).
I am buying Joeckel because the Eagles' line was a mess in 2012 and Jason Peters isn't guaranteed to come back in any sort of condition that he was in before his injury. Peters not being 100 percent healthy makes a top-flight tackle necessary for the Eagles.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12)
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Kiper's Pick: Jarvis Jones, DE, Georgia - SELL
McShay's Pick: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M - BUY
Maybe I'm just picky, but I can't stand either of the ESPN guys' picks (or those who mock Damontre Moore to the Lions) for my hometown Lions. Honestly, this is a team that has swung big and missed in the last couple of drafts, and it has paid for those mistakes.
With Jahvid Best likely done with football, does anyone think they'll tempt fate with Jones? Jordan will also need a clean bill of health at the combine to even think about being considered here as well.
That said, with Jim Washburn in Detroit, the Lions might take a risk on a raw defensive end since it's a clear need and since Washburns's known to polish up linemen as well as anyone—possibly ever.
I am buying Joeckel because Riley Reiff was projected by many as a right tackle or guard prospect because of his shorter arms and lack of elite athleticism. Adding Joeckel would thus upgrade two spots on the line by allowing Reiff to move to a position that better suits him in 2013.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11)
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Kiper's Pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State - BUY
McShay's Pick: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama - BUY
I am breaking my "sell streak" on Milliner here because it's a lot easier to make the argument for him as a top-10 guy than a top-five guy. Maybe that's a little nuanced (read: picky), but lower is certainly better. Also, I love the idea of Milliner as a complementary player early on. Rookie corners often struggle in their transition to the NFL, and having Joe Haden across from him will help Milliner make that jump.
For a team that has a new head coach and general manager, the Browns don't have a ton of needs because they've actually drafted well. Pass-rushers are always needed, however, and I'm buying Werner, even though I don't think he'll drop this far. It would actually be would be a coup for the Browns if he did.
I am selling Mingo only because he's such a raw prospect and I think he'll fit better as a one-dimentional pass-rusher in a 3-4.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)
Credit: CMU Athletics
Kiper's Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan - BUY
McShay's Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan - BUY
We have consensus!
I actually believe Fisher could go higher (Lions, Eagles, etc—depending on where Joeckel goes), but I can't see him getting past this pick. The Cardinals' offensive line was such a horrific train wreck in 2012 that the late-season improvement from their late-round picks shouldn't even factor into the team's decision about getting an elite body for that unit.
You can shuffle warm bodies around, but blue-chippers like Fisher don't come around every day.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10)
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Kiper's Pick: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia - SELL
McShay's Pick: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Dion Jordan, LB, Oregon - BUY
If Geno Smith is still available at No. 8, it's a no-brainer for the Bills, who need a better quarterback of the future than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Smith has all the tools to be that guy. Is he Andrew Luck? Certainly not, but in this class, he's as "safe" a prospect as you're going to get, and the Bills need to take that chance.
I am buying Jordan here as well because the Mark Anderson project didn't really work out for the Bills last season. Throwing a one-dimensional (even raw) pass-rusher on that front with three studs could create a ton of havoc.
I have to sell Ogletree this high in the draft because of character issues and size concerns. I think he can be a playmaker, but he has too many question marks.
9. New York Jets (6-10)
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Kiper's Pick: Dion Jordan, LB, Oregon - BUY
McShay's Pick: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee - SELL
The Jets are the perfect fit for both Jordan and Jones. They desperately need a pass-rusher and will be willing to take a big swing for one. This pass-rusher will also be a guy that Rex Ryan will be taking personal time with, so any concerns about refinement or technique can probably go by the wayside.
I am selling Patterson here, even though I love him as a prospect. Yes, the Jets need offensive help, but it's a pretty big reach here to take a guy with one year as a big-time college player. As much as the Jets can take that risk/reward on the defensive side of the ball, it might be a little too much for the offensive side of the ball.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10)
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Kiper's Pick: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU - SELL
McShay's Pick: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama - BUY
The Titans have spent a lot of capital on the defensive side of the ball in recent drafts, and I'm selling Mingo for the reasons that I've sold him before: He's a poor fit as a full-time hand-down 4-3 defensive end. He could have a Bruce Irvin-type impact, but that's an even longer shot than he was last year.
I am loving the pick of Warmack, however, because Chris Johnson eventually needs some semblance of interior blocking. Warmack isn't as polished as a pass-blocker, but he should be an immediate upgrade in that regard, too.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9)
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Kiper's Pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina - SELL
McShay's Pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma - BUY
It's a great idea to pair the Chargers with an offensive lineman, but they've been so bereft of offensive tackle talent in recent years that it's crazy to give them an interior lineman instead. Maybe Kiper just doesn't have as high of a grade on Johnson, but nothing is going to protect Philip Rivers like a left tackle.
Johnson, in my mind, is the last blue-chip left tackle available in this draft. The Chargers will be lucky to get him in April because he could end up going a lot higher.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9)
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Kiper's Pick: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee - BUY
McShay's Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas - BUY
I like the Patterson pick a whole lot more here because it is closer to the middle of the first round. Miami needs a playmaker to pair with Ryan Tannehill, and Patterson has that kind of upside. If the Dolphins can also re-sign Brian Hartline, that would be a heck of a one-two-three punch at wide receiver when you add in Davone Bess.
I also like the pick of Vaccaro to help improve an already-climbing defense. If the Dolphins can add a ball hawk like Vaccaro and consistently put pressure on the quarterback, it will seriously help the turnover ratio and give the offense even more possessions.
I am buying Vaccaro because he has the talent to go here, but this pick would put serious pressure on the Dolphins to get multiple weapons in the rest of the draft.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
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Kiper's Pick: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame - BUY
McShay's Pick: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M - BUY
Is this enough of a "slide" for Te'o? Well, it actually might be a little high for him. Kiper has been high on the Fighting Irish prospect—higher than I've heard personally from anyone in NFL circles—so it's easy for him to have the Buccaneers take a shot on him here because their back seven on defense has been so terrible. Next to Lavonte David, Te'o should rack up a ton of tackles and be asked to take on fewer blocks than he did in college.
For me, this is the right spot for Moore. The Bucs are likely losing Michael Bennett and shouldn't let up the pass rush as they're trying to improve the back seven as well.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9)
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Kiper's Pick: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri - BUY
McShay's Pick: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri - BUY
Any defensive tackle for the Panthers is going to get a "buy" from me—period.
I'm not a fan of either of these guys because both are more one-gap attackers than pocket-collapsing behemoths like John Jenkins or Lotulelei. Still, the Panthers need bodies on the interior of both their offensive and defensive lines, and either of these guys would be a great start.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
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Kiper's Pick: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida - BUY
McShay's Pick: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State - BUY
My initial thought here was to sell Floyd because the switch to Rob Ryan's 3-4 defense is going to necessitate some better pass-rushers on the outside. The Saints have capable bodies along the front seven, and they may actually fit better with Ryan's defense than the last couple of defensive coordinators. I switched the pick to "buy" however, because Sedrick Ellis is on the way out, and having a massive hole on the front three might deep-six the defense, regardless of who they draft.
I am still buying the pass-rushers though, and I think Ansah is a pretty logical pick here. If Werner falls, he would makes sense as well, but I like him much better with his hand in the dirt. This would, of course, mean the Saints would need to find a replacement for Ellis elsewhere.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1)
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Kiper's Pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma - BUY
McShay's Pick: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina - BUY
If the Rams get offensive line help, it will always be a "buy" in my book. If they get offensive weapons for Sam Bradford (either WR or TE), that is also a "buy." It's just that simple.
The defense improved under Fisher and has plenty of young players who are only going to get better. If they can't realize the investment they've made in Bradford, however, this team is going to be rebuilding again in a few years.
Overall, the pick I like best here is Kiper's. As I've said, Johnson is one of three left tackle prospects I view as a "sure thing" in this class. Teams can get quality receivers and interior linemen later; if Johnson is here, he has to be the pick.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)
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Kiper's Pick: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU - BUY
McShay's Pick: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU - BUY
The Steelers have a lot of needs for a team that has been an AFC stalwart for years. The experts here feel that the defense is the more pressing side of things. While I'm not 100 percent in agreement with that, these picks all make a lot of sense.
As a team, the average age of the Steelers is getting younger. They've done a good job of drafting recently, and more and more of those players are contributing. However, they did a great job drafting a decade ago, and their All-Pro-caliber talent is certainly getting older.
My favorite pick here is Hankins. He would replace Ziggy Hood, who has been a huge disappointment in Pittsburgh.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)
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Kiper's Pick: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama - BUY
McShay's Pick: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU - BUY
It feels like a lot of Cowboys fans are coalescing around Warmack because the interior of their offensive line was so terrible in 2012. I'm certainly not going to disagree. Even with this pick, though, there's more work to be done, and grabbing another guard or center prospect in the middle rounds is a possibility.
I also like the idea of grabbing a defensive lineman to fit with the new "Tampa 2"(ish) scheme in Dallas. Ansah would be a quick study with Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli. Richardson would fill the under-tackle role to a "T."
19. New York Giants (9-7)
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Kiper's Pick: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford - BUY
McShay's Pick: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia - BUY
The Giants need to do their best to re-sign Martellus Bennett. In lieu of that, however, grabbing an elite playmaker (with more ability after the catch than Bennett) is a pretty great backup plan. They've clearly got a good thing going on offense and can patch up the line in the later rounds.
As for Ogletree, I'm not a fan of him and was tempted to sell these picks, but with the Giants linebackers being so bad in coverage last year, this may actually work. They have a strong enough locker room to hopefully guide him down the right path, and this pick may still pay dividends, even if he can't play run downs right away in the NFL.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6)
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Kiper's Pick: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama - SELL
McShay's Pick: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU - BUY
I dislike the Fluker pick. Sure, the Bears need an offensive lineman, but if you're drafting a right tackle in the first round, you're doing something awfully wrong. Fluker has first-round talent, but I'm not convinced that he can play on the left side—where the Bears need help the most.
As for taking a linebacker to (eventually) replace Brian Urlacher, I love it. I'm a bigger fan of Minter because he's better at taking on and shedding blocks, but Te'o is an "easy" pick moving from Notre Dame to Chicago.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
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Kiper's Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas - BUY
McShay's Pick: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame - SELL
The Bengals are a difficult team to mock for, but our experts had a rougher time than warranted. Vaccaro is an easy pick if he's there (he likely won't be) because the Bengals' defensive backfield was a bit of an Achilles' heel in 2012. But with Dre Kirkpatrick coming back and with the addition of Vaccaro, it could become a strength real quick.
Taking a running back in the first round isn't a path toward success. The Bengals doing so only makes sense if you ignore how they've treated the position for the past decade. Lacy is the best back in the draft, but the Bengals could get similar production two rounds later.
Te'o is an even worse pick. With Vontaze Burfict already installed as a Bengals' success story in the linebacking corps, this just seems like doubling-down on a bad bet. At best, you're drafting a weak-side linebacker in the first round. At worst, you're piling another heaping pile of character issues into your locker room like a crazy science experiment.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington)
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Kiper's Pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California - BUY
McShay's Pick: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State - SELL
There is very little chance, in my opinion, that Keenan Allen is going to be here. His stock is falling as people get excited about other receiver prospects in this draft.
But NFL people that I have been talking to think that he is the top receiving prospect and that there is a considerable distance between him and the next guy. If he is here, though, of course the Rams have to grab him. An OT/WR first round is ideal for Bradford's continued development.
I dislike the pick of Williams here, as the Rams have invested so much into the defensive line already. Look at Fisher's Tennessee Titans teams and you'll see that he had success with a lot of mid-round picks on the defensive line. It just seems silly to reach (in my opinion) for a player that you don't really need.
Speaking of reaches, Watson is an intriguing prospect. Unknown tackles often sneak into the first round, but the Rams should avoid those guys. "Settling" for the third-best (or worse) tackle in the first round is going to create more problems than it's worth.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
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Kiper's Pick: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina - SELL
McShay's Pick: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson - BUY
If a defensive tackle falls to the Vikings, I'm all for them addressing the position. I still think this is early for Williams, though, especially to a team that may want a tackle more than they need one. If you're going to replace an aging defensive lineman, why not select an an edge rusher? It's a more pressing need, and pass-rushers aren't as frequently found later in the draft.
I have never been a Wreh-Wilson fan. The Vikings have a lot of young, unpolished talent in the defensive backfield already. Unless they can get a top-flight guy, they would do better getting a free agent than grabbing another project.
I love the grab of a receiver, even if I think Hopkins is a second-round talent. Christian Ponder needs more weapons if the Vikings are every going to truly access his play.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
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Kiper's Pick: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State - BUY
McShay's Pick: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue - BUY
The Colts need help on defense, and they're almost certain to get it with this pick. Without an elite receiver or offensive line prospect on the board, the Colts will go defense here and look to fill those needs later. It would take an almost seismic shift from what many people expect the board to look like for that not to happen.
I love both Banks and Short as prospects for the Colts. Banks is physical—almost to a fault—and that fits with what the Colts like to do on the outside. Short can play multiple line positions and might be an upgrade at any of those positions. He'll fit perfectly, however, as a 3-4 DE.
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
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Kiper's Pick: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State - BUY
McShay's Pick: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California - BUY
From a team chemistry standpoint, I can't see the Seattle brain trust falling in love with Montgomery. He's known as a guy who avoids the weight room and dogs it in practice. That isn't who the Seahawks are looking for, so he would have to dazzle them in interviews to be the pick here.
Again, I am not thinking Allen would be available here, but I love the pick to upgrade from Sidney Rice. Pushing all the Seattle receivers down a peg will vastly improve that offense.
The best pick, though, is Hankins. He's a huge body that can move. That's exactly what the Seahawks are looking for in the middle of their line, and he will make that young, impressive defense that much better.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5)
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Kiper's Pick: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama - SELL
McShay's Pick: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State - BUY
I am still selling the idea of taking a running back in the first round—especially for a team that is so disinterested in running the ball.
I like both Jenkins and Rhodes for the Packers, for two different reasons. Jenkins is the bigger need play here. Putting him next to B.J. Raji will make the interior pass rush that much more effective, as blockers will get swallowed up by the massive freight trains headed their way.
Rhodes, however, is an almost a perfect scheme fit for a team that has plenty of cornerback talent but a history of keeping that position well-stocked.
27. Houston Texans (12-4)
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Kiper's Pick: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech - SELL
McShay's Pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Eric Reid, S, LSU - BUY
I don't get the first-round love for Patton. First, I feel like any receivers outside of Allen and Patterson are going to be second-rounders just because of the history of how many receivers typically go in the first. This is a middle-heavy class, and it will take an incredible need (see: Vikings, Minnesota) to take someone from that second tier in the first round. That's why I'm buying Allen here.
The Texans were a great team last year, but their defense was leaning more on J.J. Watt than they would like to admit. Unless we're expecting offensive coordinators not to scheme around him, they need to keep adding talent on that side of the ball. Reid can play both the run and the pass and should help the Texans front get that many more coverage sacks.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3)
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Kiper's Pick: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue - BUY
McShay's Pick: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina - BUY
If you ask me what the biggest need for the Broncos is (besides the fountain of youth for Peyton Manning), I would go with linebacker. Keith Brooking filled in admirably last season, but he's not getting any younger and Denver would be foolish to bring him back.
If Minter or Te'o are available, that should be the pick here. They should also take a long look at Arthur Brown of Kansas State, even if it means reaching a little bit.
These picks I'm buying, though, because the Broncos let Brodrick Bunkley walk last season and the middle of their defense suffered because of it. Teams are going to try to limit Manning's possessions, and shoring up the middle of the field will go a long way toward them making a deeper run in the playoffs next season. Putting a big body next to Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller will help them much more.
29. New England Patriots (12-4)
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Kiper's Pick: Matt Elam, S, Florida - BUY
McShay's Pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State - BUY
It's hard to "sell" a pick for the Patriots when they're improving offensively every season (and adding new wrinkles) and their defense was so improved (and young) last year. Anything they add here will be gravy, and all three of these picks make a lot of sense.
Elam has the Florida connection (Belichick scouts the school personally—a trend that started when his friend, Urban Meyer, coached there) and also fits the Patriot model of taking a guy who may not have the physical tools that people think of at the safety position (he's on the shorter side) but is a fine football player.
Cooper and Hankins would shore up the middle of the offensive and defensive lines, respectively. I like the idea of putting a stud next to Vince Wilfork to free him up a little bit. When he's allowed to freelance a little bit, he's that much more dangerous. Cooper would help the run game continue to improve, but he's a better pass-blocker and would keep Brady better protected up the middle.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
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Kiper's Pick: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame - BUY
McShay's Pick: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame - BUY
Think these guys know something about Tony Gonzalez that we don't?
Look, I'm buying these picks because Gonzalez is getting older and may not be back next season. I get that, everyone knows it, yadda yadda yadda.
Still, the Falcons have a ridiculous passing offense without Gonzalez and could easily add a tight end in the middle rounds to be Matt Ryan's safety blanket. Heck, there's a number of free-agent tight ends that might be better options, and they wouldn't need a season of seasoning that could risk upsetting the rhythm of the Falcons offense.
It would be a lot nicer to see an offensive or defensive lineman here. The Falcons need to build in the trenches or risk having this high-octane team they've built spin out and hit the proverbial wall.
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)
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Kiper's Pick: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia - BUY
McShay's Pick: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee - SELL
Jeremiah's Pick: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia - SELL
I'm high on Jenkins, and I don't think I would sell him anywhere outside of the top 15, so he gets the boost here even if defensive line (or the front seven in general) isn't that pressing of a need for the 49ers. It's got a "best player available" look, which is certainly advisable when you just played in a Super Bowl.
I am selling both Hunter and Austin because the 49ers would have to admit that they made a mistake with A.J. Jenkins last season, and I don't think they're ready for that. Plus, Jenkins could still come out and prove himself in his second season.
On top of that, Austin's hypothetical role as a matchup nightmare/return specialist is already filled with LaMichael James on the roster.
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
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Kiper's Pick: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU - BUY
McShay's Pick: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama - BUY
Jeremiah's Pick: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU - SELL
I love the Jesse Williams pick here because he's such a bowling ball of a human being, and (much like I said with Wilfork) Haloti Ngata would benefit greatly from this pick. It would put some teeth back in the Ravens defense. The pick screams "Ozzie Newsome" so loudly that I may need a hearing test.
Also, I am a big fan of Minter to replace Ray Lewis. With big bodies in front of him, he wouldn't meet as many larger blockers, and he's good at shedding those blocks anyway. He's tough, instinctual and a great football player, albeit a tad undersized.
I am selling the Montgomery pick because it seems like he would end up as a situational rusher for them, even with Paul Kruger possibly leaving. You're also taking on a character risk in the same year that you're losing a vocal leader? It probably would not be the best idea.
Michael Schottey is the NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff at The Go Route.