The NFL draft is just a little over a week away, folks, and I couldn't be more excited.
Who will go in the top five? Will teams reach for quarterbacks or will they drop? How many trades will we see? Who will be the first shocking selection in the first round?
I obviously can't answer all of those questions, but in this mock draft I've taken my best stab. And I may not be able to get inside the heads of general managers, but I know who I like in this draft and which teams have major needs across several positions.
Let the mocking begin.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
This pick could also be Eric Fisher, but at this point I would be very surprised if the Chiefs didn't select a tackle. With few glaring needs and no consensus top player in this draft, expect the Chiefs to play it safe and add the solid Joeckel.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Jordan is the ultimate production vs. potential conundrum. His production wasn't great at Oregon, but his potential is immense. He's long, fast and incredibly athletic, and he really fits Gus Bradley's defense perfectly. The Jags could go in a number of directions, but I think this is a really nice fit.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Let's not pretend like we actually know what the Raiders will do. Instead, let's hope the team doesn't reach for a quarterback here after trading for Matt Flynn and instead addresses the trenches. Floyd is this draft's best 4-3 defensive tackle and a great fit for a Raiders team that needs to solidify up the middle.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
With a solid pro day behind him and his medical fears eased, Lotulelei should once again find himself as a top-10 pick. The Eagles will have a completely rebuilt defense and it's likely they'll focus on the front seven with this pick. Lotulelei's versatility and run-stuffing ability will make him the pick.
5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
For my money, this is the most intriguing pick of the top 10 and will seriously affect the rest of the first round.
The Lions have three major needs and thus three interesting options with this pick. The team could use an upgrade at tackle and it's hard to imagine them passing up Fisher if he falls to No. 5.
But both defensive end and cornerback are major needs as well, which means Ezekiel Ansah or Dee Milliner are very real possibilities at this slot. And with a number of teams below them that could go after a quarterback, it could be a prime spot for a trade as well.
But as it stands, I think Fisher will be the guy. Protecting Matt Stafford should be the team's top priority.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
I can't imagine the Browns passing up Milliner here. He and Joe Haden would give the Browns one of the best starting duos at cornerback in the league.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
With Carson Palmer now at quarterback, I just don't see the Cardinals reaching for a quarterback here. Tackle is now the team's primary need, and Johnson has become one of the hottest names in this draft.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I don't see how the Bills can pass on Smith (or whomever they fancy at quarterback) if he's available here. Kevin Kolb is neither the short- nor long-term answer in Buffalo, and while this is a slight reach, Smith has enough talent to warrant the selection.
9. New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
This pick could also be Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, but Jones' disappointing Pro Day is going to drop him down boards. The Jets really need help off the edge, and Mingo has the athleticism to be a real force in a 3-4 scheme.
10. Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Titans could also focus on guard or safety with this pick, but I think the allure of Ansah's athleticism will be too much for the Titans to ignore. Needing a defensive end, the team won't want to be remembered for passing on a player that could be the next Jason Pierre-Paul.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
With the top tackles gone, the Chargers will turn to other needs. Guards don't normally go this high, but Warmack is a special talent and will dramatically improve San Diego's line.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Don't be shocked if the Dolphins try to trade up and nab one of the top three tackles. Given how aggressive the team has been this offseason, it's clear the team wants to compete for a playoff spot next year. Corner is also a big need, however, and Rhodes has the size and speed to be an impact player for this defense.
13. New York Jets (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
At this point, it seems less a matter of if Darrelle Revis will be traded to the Bucs, and more a matter of when the deal will go down. With the pick gained, the Jets will go the safe route and select Cooper, a truly special talent at guard. This pick fills a big need.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Nothing has changed here. Defensive tackle is a huge need and Richardson is a stud. In a draft of uncertainties, this seems like a safe bet.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Might the Saints be getting the steal of the draft here? Jones may be slightly undersized and possess less speed than you'd expect, but he did register 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss last season, tops in college football. This is a great pick for New Orleans.
16. St. Louis Rams: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
I don't see Patterson dropping past the Rams if he's available at No. 16. Finally, Sam Bradford will have the field-stretching option on the outside he needs.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Pittsburgh would likely love to replace James Harrison with this pick, but with the top guys gone at the position and Vaccaro dropping, adding the young safety to an old group at the position makes sense.
Troy Polamalu is injury-prone and 31 years old. He missed nine games last season and 22 games over the past four years. Ryan Clark is 33. And at this point, Vaccaro is the best player on the board. You do the math.
Vaccaro can play either safety position, is athletic enough to cover slot receivers and will support in the run game. He may not be the next Polamalu, but he'll be a playmaker for this defense soon enough.
18. Dallas Cowboys: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Cowboys very well may try to trade up to land Vaccaro, but if the board falls as I have it here, upgrading the right tackle position with a mauler in the run game like Fluker makes a lot of sense.
19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Giants love defensive ends. As it stands, Werner is being undervalued heading into this draft and could very well drop to New York. The fit seems natural.
20. Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Yes, Ogletree comes with some character concerns, but no other linebacker in this draft has his potential. Trying to replace Brian Urlacher is an impossible task, but Ogletree's potential makes him worth the gamble here.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Bengals could consider a tackle here, but safety is a big need and Elam's availability will be too tempting for the team to pass up. Elam will quickly become a fan favorite as a heavy hitter on a very good defense.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins): Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The Rams may lament passing on Vaccaro with Tavon Austin still available now, but the team will get over it once Arthur Brown takes the field. This absolute missile of a linebacker will be making plays soon enough in St. Louis.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The comparisons to Percy Harvin are inevitable, and the temptation to pair Austin with Greg Jennings should be too great to pass on for the Vikings. This has the makings of a very fun offense to watch in 2013.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Trufant is jumping up draft boards, and I can't imagine the Colts will allow a player of his potential to slide past them here. The Colts have built a very nice offense, so improving the defense should continue to be a priority.
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
With the offense looking dangerous, the Vikings should turn to defense with this pick. Williams is a big body in the middle and should seriously upgrade the team's run defense.
26. Green Bay Packers: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The defensive depth in this draft is impressive, and the Packers will be glad to see it, needing an upgrade at the defensive end position. Jenkins should immediately enter the team's defensive line rotation.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Had Keenan Allen not lost time to injury and been stuck on a poor Cal team this season, you have to wonder if he wouldn't have gone much higher than this. As it stands, the Texans will be thrilled to finally add a proper running mate to Andre Johnson at wide receiver.
He was phenomenal in his sophomore season, catching 98 passes for 1,343 yards and six touchdowns. But last year he missed the final three games of the season and was the victim of poor quarterback play, catching 61 passes for 737 yards and six touchdowns.
Allen isn't as explosive as Patterson or Austin, but he's a well-rounded receiver that will go up and get the ball. Matt Schaub will enjoy his new weapon in the passing game.
28. Denver Broncos: Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE, Florida State
Defensive end remains the top need for the Broncos following Elvis Dumervil's departure. Following an ACL tear last November, Carradine will have some flags attached, but he's a first-round talent and could end up being the top pass rusher from this draft class.
29. New England Patriots: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Even with Aqib Talib back for another season, corner is still this team's top need. Some folks will have Banks dropping out of the first round, but he's more than proven his ability on the field and should be a late first-round selection.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Speaking of players dropping down the board, Moore's lack of athleticism has cost him some money. But like Banks, this kid has proven himself on the field, and Atlanta will be getting nice value here.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Eric Reid, S, LSU
With Dashon Goldson off to Tampa Bay, safety is easily this team's biggest need. The rangy Reid is the perfect fit in San Fran.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame, LB
He's no Ray Lewis—heck, he may not even be Dannell Ellerbe—but Te'o is a nice value here and represents a huge need for Baltimore.
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