Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
With only the BCS Championship Game still on the docket, here’s an updated 3-round mock with plenty of changes and a lot of surprises.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. New Coach Andy Reid is a QB guru at heart, and the team must improve at the position to get competitive. Smith has warts but landing with Reid is probably his best-case scenario.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M. With GM Gene Smith mercifully out of the picture, we can at least safely rule out the Jaguars taking a kicker here. Moore would help bolster not just the pass rush but the all-around defense.
3. Oakland Raiders: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU. In the last mock I opted for Dion Jordan here. This edition features the even speedier Mingo, a demon around the edge and one of the biggest boom/bust players in this draft.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama. They have several needs they could fill with this pick, but erasing the stain of Nnamdi Asomugha takes priority here. Milliner is a big play corner for a team that desperately needs one.
5. Detroit Lions: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon. Jordan has great length and speed and is very adept at rushing the passer. He is athletic enough to play SAM backer in the base defense and fill Cliff Avril’s role in passing situations. Another boom/bust guy.
6. Cleveland Browns: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. Still hard to peg down the Browns without a coach in place, but Werner is scheme-diverse and an excellent all-around talent. He could make this defense scary.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas. The prayers in the desert are answered and the Cardinals can move on from the putrid ugliness of 2012 that was their QB situation. Wilson is accustomed to bad situations and has the physical ability to be a very good NFL signal caller.
8. Buffalo Bills: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri. I suspect new coach Doug Marrone will be tempted to go QB, but here he opts for a disruptive interior presence. If you haven’t seen Richardson, he’s going to have one of those “Wait ‘til they get a load one me” Joker performances at the Combine.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia. Even with all their myriad needs on offense, never forget Rex Ryan is a defensive coach. His defense needs fresh juice on the edge, and Jones is capable of special things…if his neck checks out.
10. Tennessee Titans: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU. Will the Titans be so desperate to get pass rushing help that they pull the trigger on Montgomery, a player with legit top 10 talent but a rep for not always wanting to play to that level? In this scenario, yes they are.
11. San Diego Chargers: Matt Barkley, QB, USC. Don’t laugh at Barkley being this high. Jake Locker was much worse as a senior than Barkley was and he went 8th. Preseason #1 overall projections have a funny way of sticking around the top half of the first round even if they tank. The rapid decline of Philip Rivers means the new regime had better have a Plan B ready to go.
12. Miami Dolphins: Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M. Because linemen like the surly Joeckel don’t grow on trees, and 12th overall is ridiculously low for a player of his caliber. Say goodbye to South Beach, Jake Long…
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan. See the Joeckel comments above, and apply them to a team that needs a tackle even more than the Dolphins do. Lewan has All Pro potential at right tackle.
14. Carolina Panthers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas. Vaccaro has excellent range and the size to play the heavy nickel, playing free safety and moving into the slot to mark flexed out tight ends. He would make an excellent addition to an emerging Panthers defense.
15. New Orleans Saints: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama. They missed Carl Nicks a lot more than they thought, and Warmack is a world-class road grater of a run blocker.
16. St. Louis Rams: Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma. Coming off a Cotton Bowl where he handled Damontre Moore better than anyone did all year, Johnson bumps into the top 20 with the perennially tackle-needy Rams.