In twenty years the NFL Draft may start the night after the Super Bowl. They’ll then do five picks a night until the season starts, all covered by 4-hr specials on the NFL Network. People would watch the hell out of that. Don’t think any different. The NFL Network might be the only TV station that survives. As it is now, the NFL has stretched their draft to three days, putting the 1st round in the coveted Thursday Night time slot, where it’ll square off against Seinfeld. Most draft experts are on their fourth, fifth, seventh version of their mock draft. It makes you wonder, why did I bother reading the 1st six? I don’t go in much for the revised versions. I like to do things right the first time. Last year, I correctly pegged 3 of the first 4 picks. So, I’ll let that speak for itself. The format seemed to work last year too, so I’m not going to change it up. The First Round…drink it in.
#1 Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan
Why Kansas City Sucks: They think Andy Reid is an upgrade, but more than that KC was awful last year, has big holes on the defensive front and could use an OT to protect Alex Smith and make room for Jamaal Charles.
Why Fisher: It always baffles me that a guy can be the consensus #1 pick (Joeckel) and then suddenly be supplanted by a player like Fisher after they stop playing ACTUAL GAMES. But, there’s no way Andy Reid is going to take a guy who everyone had pegged as #1 back in October. He’s dying to trade down, but if he doesn’t, I’ll say Fisher.
#2 Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE Oregon
Why Jacksonville Sucks: They play in Florida, Blaine Gabbert is stunting the growth of Chad Henne and they rang up a league low 20 sacks last year. 20! That’s incredibly bad.
Why Jordan: I suppose Jordan is the most talented pass rusher in the draft, though you wonder how a guy who is going to be drafted on potential and “tools” could have only compiled 14.5 sacks in three years against college competition. But, there’s not a QB to take, so Jacksonville takes a shot on Jordan.
#3 Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida
Why Oakland Sucks: Their punter is their best player, they think Matt Flynn is an upgrade, and they have gaping holes on defense.
Why Floyd: I’d take Dee Milliner, because they could use a corner and can’t afford the pick to be a bust, but the need at DT seems even more pressing. For a long time Richard Seymour was all Oakland had, now he’s gone, Tommy Kelly is gone and Floyd certainly feels like a Raider, doesn’t he?
#4 Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB Alabama
Why Philadelphia Sucks: Reid fatigue, possibly the worst secondary ever assembled, and an offense that has looked a lot better on paper than on the field the last few seasons.
Why Milliner: The team needs a cornerback. Let me rephrase that, they need a cornerback who can cover. They could use an OT to provide insurance for Jason Peters, they need an interior defensive lineman, but with a safe-looking, instant starter sitting there at a need position, how do you say no?
#5 Detroit Lions: Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M
Why Detroit Sucks: Megatron can’t play all 22 positions, they give up tons of points, Jim Schwartz’s effectiveness has to be wearing off.
Why Joeckel: The Lions have plenty of needs, but given the chance to take one of the draft’s best players, they won’t be able to ignore Joeckel. If Joeckel (or Fisher) falls to five, the Lions would be smart to trade down a few spots and try to grab Chance Warmack.
#6 Cleveland Browns: Chance Warmack, OG Alabama
Why Cleveland Sucks: Short, baseball player QB, and a suspect defense. Also, Cleveland may be cursed.
Why Warmack: The Browns have bigger needs on defense, but I’d take the guy most people expect to be a plug and play 10-year starter. Solidify the offensive line, see if you really have something in Weeden and Richardson. Spoiler Alert: Weeden isn’t going to cut it, but at least you’ll know.
#7 Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma
Why Arizona Sucks: They trade for players like Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer. Their offensive line is terrible and they can’t properly utilize Larry Fitzgerald.
Why Johnson: A total no-brainer, the Cardinals could use 4 (5?) new starters on the OL and if one of the three big tackles is available–they’ll go to Arizona. The question is, will the Cardinals have to trade up to get a tackle? This is why you don’t accidentally start the season 4-0, it kills you in April.
#8 Buffalo Bills: Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina
Why Buffalo Sucks: They play a “home” game in Toronto, they acquired Kevin Kolb, the curse of Don Beebe.
Why Cooper: I refuse to believe that Doug Marrone is going to take Ryan Nassib or any other QB this high. That’d be a total reach, and show no creativity. Even though we’re talking about the Bills, I think they shore up the offensive line and try to get a QB later, which will lead to them taking another QB in the 1st round in 2014.
#9 New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB BYU
Why New York Sucks: Sanchez, Rex Ryan ain’t the genius he’s cracked up to be and Sanchez.
Why Ansah: The Jets need to build back up their defensive identity after trading away Revis Island. Ansah could provide the Jets with a much needed pass rush and would seem to be an ideal project for Rex Ryan if he can drag himself out of the local Payless.
#10 Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Why Tennessee Sucks: Eddie George Retired, they couldn’t lure Peyton and a lack of impact players on defense.
Why Lotulelei: Chris Johnson wants an offensive lineman, but I think Tennesee would have to trade up to get one of the premier guards or tackles. With some of the defensive talent falling, they end up with Star, who some have as a top-5 talent.
#11 San Diego Chargers: Barkevious Mingo, OLB LSU
Why San Diego Sucks: Coaching, can’t protect Philip Rivers, weather in San Diego too distracting?
Why Mingo: The Chargers need a pass rushing linebacker. The offense should have enough weapons to score points if they can keep Rivers upright. A trade up for an OT for San Diego is super trendy in the mocks right now.
#12 Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB FSU
Why Miami Sucks: A complete black hole of skill players, they wear turquoise, the curse of Ace Ventura.
Why Rhodes: The Dolphins have had an aggressive off-season and have gotten young Tannehill some help. Mike Wallace, Bradon Gibson, Dustin Keller…it’s time to focus on defense where they are in dire need of a corner. Rhodes looks like the consensus #2 off the board. Done.
#13 New York Jets: Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
Why New York Sucks: I think we touched on this–Sanchez.
Why Smith: I think you can take a QB at #13 and he doesn’t immediately have to save the franchise. But, the Jets need another option and they don’t look like a team that wants to wait it out and get a franchise QB by being awful for a few more years. Smith is worth a shot.
#14 Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas
Why Carolina Sucks: Cam Newton didn’t progress, Steve Smith is getting old, fans probably want to draft players from Duke.
Why Vaccaro: Safeties get very little love in the draft, but they sure are nice to have, aren’t they? Cornerbacks are great until the middle of the field turns into a no-contact drill. The Panthers could use a WR, but in a tough call, they should go the safer route with Vaccaro.
#15 New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB Georgia
Why New Orleans Sucks: Bounties, they give up ungodly amounts of points, they stink on the road, and the offense lost a bit of that finishing touch?
Why Jones: It’d be tempting to re-load with a receiver, but New Orleans has to play better defense–especially in their division. Jones gives them a chance at getting a play maker, which they sorely lack.
#16 St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
Why St. Louis Sucks: Sam Bradford is a husk, no receiving options. Just none.
Why Austin: Would I get excited about a 5’9″, 170 lb WR? Not particularly. I’ve seen DeSean Jackson play. I’m more of a Cordarrelle Patterson type guy, but it appears that Austin is the clear cut #1 WR so St. Louis has to take him. They have no choice.
#17 Pittsburgh Steelers: Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
Why Pittsburgh Sucks: A sudden lack of skill players on offense, an aging defense and a QB who seems destined to hit 300 lbs before retirement.
Why Eifert: The Steelers could use WR help or a running back, but they also need a TE. It seems to be a fad position right now, and Eifert might provide the most help at this slot. I expect the Steelers go offense early and try to find defensive value later on.
#18 Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri
Why Dallas Sucks: They have a noted amateur golfer playing QB, Jerry Jones can’t let go, their best player is their video board.
Why Richardson: The Cowboys look to have more holes on the defensive side of the ball. The consensus is, DT and safety are the two most glaring weaknesses. With Vaccaro gone, the Cowboys land Richardson who is a top-15 talent. Of course, one of these days Jerry is going to turn into Al Davis 2.0, and then we’ll have no idea what’s going to happen.
#19 New York Giants: Tank Carradine, DE Florida State
Why New York Sucks: The defense cratered. Is there more? No, I think that’s it. Awful defense.
Why Carradine: The Giants seem like a best defensive player available type of team. JPP wasn’t a real NEED pick when they took him, and DE probably still isn’t the most pressing concern, but taking the guy they like the most has worked for NY in the past. From what I read, they like Carradine.
#20 Chicago Bears: Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia
Why Chicago Sucks: Jay Cutler is one of their best players, lost their identity at linebacker.
Why Ogletree: The Bears need linebackers and Ogletree has more versatility than other players available at the position.
#21 Cincinnati Bengals: Jonathan Cyprien, S Florida International
Why Cincinnati Sucks: Ginger QB, weak secondary and they’re the Bungles. You can’t escape that.
Why Cyprien: Just filling a need for the Bengals. Cincinnati has some talent on offense and they look comfortable with Dalton, etc. Pretty rare for this team to be picking in the bottom third of round 1 and having the luxury to go need or best player available.
#22 St. Louis Rams: Eddie Lacy, RB Alabama
Why St. Louis Sucks: Glaring lack of skill players, curse of Ricky Proehl.
Why Lacy: It seems pretty certain that the Rams will take a WR with one of their early picks, but I think they should keep loading up on skill players. Not a lot of high grades out there for running backs, but St. Louis needs help replacing Steven Jackson. He’s been their whole offense.
#23 Minnesota Vikings: Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee
Why Minnesota Sucks: Christian Ponder? The curse of Sam Steele? AP can run for 2,000, but can’t throw for 4,000.
Why Hunter: The Vikings lost Percy Harvin, who was their most versatile offensive weapon. They brought in Greg Jennings, but they need to surround Ponder with as much skill as possible. This way, they’ll figure out he’s terrible sooner rather than later.
#24 Indianapolis Colts: Bjoern Werner, DE Florida State
Why Indianapolis Sucks: Reggie Wayne is old, terrible defense, at the end of the day Andrew Luck still fails the face test.
Why Werner: It might be tempting to surround Andrew Luck with more weapons, but the Colts need help on defense, and with the pass rush. Werner, or another DE seems likely.
#25 Minnesota Vikings: Manti Te’o, LB Notre Dame
Why Minnesota Sucks: They seem to be the only team interested in Te’o in the 1st round.
Why Te’o: After getting some help at WR, Minnesota must address a need at LB. Te’o’s career, at least the first few weeks of it, will be fascinating. Guy makes plays, but is he really too slow to be an NFL linebacker?
#26 Green Bay Packers: Datone Jones, DE UCLA
Why Green Bay Sucks: After the offense scores, the defense has to come onto the field. No running game.
Why Jones: The Packers lost Jennings, but still have enough depth at WR to address defense in round one. Jennings’ replacement, and maybe a RB project coming in the later rounds.
#27 Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
Why Houston Sucks: Kubiak sets the bar at 8-8, haven’t shown up in the biggest games.
Why Hopkins: The Texans need someone to play opposite Andre Johnson, and oh by the way, Johnson is going to turn 32 this summer. They’ve about used up his prime.
#28 Denver Broncos: Damontre Moore, DE Texas A&M
Why Denver Sucks: Still haven’t learned all of Peyton’s hand signals.
Why Moore: The defensive line seems to me the biggest need for Denver, who needs to put together a better defense while Peyton is still upright and functioning. The departure of Elvis Dumervil leaves a pretty big hole.
#29 New England Patriots: Desmond Trufant, CB Washington
Why New England Sucks: Gronk’s bum arm, Gisele, terrible secondary.
Why Trufant: I’d be tempted to get Tom Brady a deep threat, but NE seems to pull their receivers from the scrap heap. Maybe Terry Glenn is available? Trufant gives them someone to pair with Talib to help anchor what’s been a shaky secondary.
#30 Atlanta Falcons: D.J. Hayden, CB Houston
Why Atlanta Sucks: Julio Jones refuses to play corner, the curse of MC Hammer?
Why Hayden: The Falcons are pretty set on offense. Time to cover someone.
#31 San Francisco 49ers: D.J. Fluker, OT Alabama
Why San Francisco Sucks: They’ve got the 2nd best Harbaugh
Why Fluker: Fluker is an obvious 1st rounder that I didn’t find a spot for, so voila! What team doesn’t need tackle depth? Gotta protect that Kaepernick.
#32 Baltimore Ravens: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
Why Baltimore Sucks: They’re getting old, no more Ray-Ray speeches OR Dances.
Why Patterson: You give Flacco weapons, he wins Lombardi trophies. Any questions?
There you go, folks. Can’t wait to see how I do. What’s so exciting this year is that because there is no consensus 1st pick and because I’ve given the Eagles someone they definitely ARE NOT going to take–I actually have a chance to get ALL 32 of these wrong. Which, I don’t have to tell you, would be thrilling and quite the accomplishment.