NFL mock drafts are often incredibly wrong because trades drastically change and shape the landscape for the rest of the round. This mock draft attempts to project some of those trades and mold the rest of the first round based on those transactions.
This draft class has incredible depth at certain positions and lacks it at others. That should increase the likelihood of trades happening in the first round.
Projected trades are all indicated with (*) prior to the number of the selection. All trades are based entirely on speculation and need.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Chiefs got their franchise quarterback in Alex Smith and now they need to turn their attention to protecting him. Joeckel doesn't have the raw athleticism that Fisher showed during the months leading up to the draft, but his production makes him the better prospect.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Jaguars are in a position where they need to get better line players on both sides of the ball. Fisher offers them the best prospect and chance to build up that offensive line for Blaine Gabbert.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Raiders defense had troubles stopping everybody last season, giving up the fifth-most points. Floyd gives them an anchor and will help to replace the void left by Desmond Bryant.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Head coach Chip Kelly is very familiar with Dion Jordan because of their time together at Oregon. The Eagles are trying to build a younger, more athletic defense and Jordan's freakish athleticism fits right in.
5. Detroit Lions: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
Without Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, the Lions need some playmakers on defense that can help get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Mingo gives them an athletic prospect who will come in and make plays in a tough decision.
*6. Buffalo Bills via Cleveland Browns: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
After releasing Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills are definitely in the market for a new quarterback. Assuming they think more highly of Geno Smith than Matt Barkley, they will likely need to jump the Arizona Cardinals to get their man. Swamping the eighth pick for the sixth pick shouldn't cost the Bills too much.
Smith would give the Bills a franchise quarterback. While he isn't as highly rated as the quarterbacks in the 2012 draft class, Smith is capable of having a very nice NFL career. He has good athleticism and arm strength, but needs to work on his accuracy. He's not going to come in and play great right away, but he will grow into a competent starter.
*7. San Diego Chargers via Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Chargers desperately need to get a top offensive tackle prospect. The team isn't far away from competing if they could only protect Philip Rivers. Too often, their franchise quarterback was running for his life or taking massive hits. They can't afford to let that continue and trading up to get Johnson would send a big message.
Johnson's quick feet and good strength should allow him to come in right away and make a big difference for the Chargers. He has tremendous size, which is a positive and negative. It gives him a great base to block, but often times leaves him too high.
*8. Cleveland Browns via Buffalo Bills: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Browns are in a position to be able to trade down in the draft and still get good value to add to their already up-and-coming defense. Getting a late draft pick by dropping back two picks seems like a slam-dunk decision for the Browns.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
The Jets defense has struggled over the last few seasons, despite giving up the 25th most yards in the league. Their biggest problem has been their lack of big plays. With only 11 interceptions and 30 sacks, the Jets need more impact plays. Jones' pass-rushing ability will give them some of that.
*10. Pittsburgh Steelers via Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young
The Steelers are in need of an athletic pass-rusher who can have an immediate impact. To make sure they get that, they could look to trade up and grab Ezekiel Ansah. The young man is still learning the game of football, but has already shown great physical tools and instincts that should allow him to grow into a top player.
Ansah would be a perfect fit for the Steelers defense. He has great explosiveness and finds ways to get to the quarterback. Increased pressure on opposing passers would help the rest of the Steelers come up with stops and make plays.
*11. Arizona Cardinals via San Diego Chargers: Matt Barkley, QB, Southern California
After losing out on Geno Smith, the Cardinals' next move will depend how highly they view their need at quarterback. If they think it's as great as it really is, they can afford to trade back and still get their man.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
After adding some talent during free agency, the Dolphins are another step closer to being competitive next season. They still need to replace Sean Smith and Rhodes gives them a great option to do so.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Buccaneers need to improve their pass rush. They were worst in the league against the pass and a large portion of the problem was a lack of players getting to the quarterback. Lotulelei is a beast on the defensive line and will change that defense.
14. Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The Panthers need to protect their franchise quarterback and provide some running lanes for their talented backs. With so much money tied to their backfield, they need to give those players avenues to have success.
15. New Orleans Saints: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Saints need to build a new identity on defense following the issues both on and off the field last season. Moore gives them a strong player who can come in and get some pressure on the defensive line.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
The Rams haven't been shy about giving Sam Bradford some help on offensive by signing Jake Long and Jared Cook. The next piece of the puzzle is getting the top wide receiver in the draft. Patterson's well-rounded game will help the Rams get some more weapons and replace their dependence on Danny Amendola last season.
*17. Tennessee Titans via Pittsburgh Steelers: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Titans are another team that needs help on the offensive line. They found a franchise quarterback in Jake Locker, but his injury concerns remain. They need to make sure he's not facing too much pressure and taking too many hits.
With their other needs, it makes sense for the Titans to get additional picks by moving towards the middle of the round. Trading down should still allow them to get a good guard with either Warmack or Cooper likely available.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Cowboys struggled in the trenches last season and failed to impact games in a major way. Richardson's incredible athleticism and quickness should make him the pick for the Cowboys should he fall to their pick.
19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Giants defensive line struggled last season and age has forced them to find some new players. Werner's activity and motor make him a great option to come in and help rebuild the Giants line. He is a contributor from the start.
*20. Arizona Cardinals via Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
After trading down from the seventh pick to the 11th, the Cardinals could be in position to sacrifice some draft picks to get back into the first round. After getting a quarterback early in the first round, they need a player who can help protect him and open up running lanes. Jumping the Bengals should ensure they get Fluker.
The Cardinals are in a position where they need to get their offensive together. Making an aggressive move to get two first-round players will send a message that the new regime means business in turning around the franchise.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
After getting jumped by the Arizona Cardinals, the Bengals decide to stick with their plan and draft Menelik Watson with their first pick. Their offense is coming together, but they need to make sure Dalton stays on the field.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
After adding another weapon for Bradford in Patterson, the Rams need to turn their attention to replacing Quentin Mikell. Getting the best safety in the draft, Kenny Vaccaro, will certainly help in that regard.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Despite adding Greg Jennings during free agency, the Vikings need to add more wide receivers. At this point, Jennings and Kyle Rudolph are the only legitimate options for Christian Ponder. Adding Allen makes the Vikings offense even more dangerous.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Colts need to improve their secondary and the chance to draft Trufant certainly provides it for them. The athletic corner was productive at Washington and improved his draft stock with a good performance at the combine.
25. Minnesota Vikings via Seattle Seahawks: Datone Jones, DE, Vikings
The Vikings could use some better play on the defensive line. They've gotten good production from their pass-rushing defensive ends, but Jared Allen (30) and Brian Robison (29) are getting up there in age. Jones' size and strength allow the Vikings some flexibility on the line.
26. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
The Packers need to find a safety to pair with Morgan Burnett. Drafting Jonathan Cyprien not only gives them that player, but adds a physical nature that their defense has been missing.
27. Houston Texans: Tavon Austin, WR, Texans
The Texans offense is getting old and slow. Austin adds some youth and blazing speed to the offense that had success last season. They need to diverse their offense and decrease their dependence on Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.
28. Denver Broncos: Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue
The Broncos are all in for a Super Bowl this season and adding some depth on the defensive line should help them get there. They need players who can come in right away and help free up rushing lanes for Von Miller.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Robert Woods, WR, Southern California
The Patriots added Danny Amendola, but their receiving corps still needs improvements. They have been too reliant on their slot receivers and tight ends. Adding a well-rounded perimeter receiver should help open up the field.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
The Falcons need a player to replace John Abraham and will likely address that need early in the draft. Carradine would give them a legitimate threat to get to the quarterback and relieve pressure on the secondary.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, S, LSU
The 49ers struggled in the secondary last season, including in the playoffs. Dashon Goldson's departure gives them an opportunity to improve the position via the draft.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
Ray Lewis has hung up his cleats and left a big hole in the middle of the Ravens defense. Adding Kevin Minter wouldn't just fill the hole, but give them an upgrade at the position. Minter's speed and great instincts make him a strong fit for the Ravens.
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