Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
My week in Mobile gave me a much better feeling for how NFL teams are viewing many prospects and what teams are looking for come April. The result is a pretty significant upheaval, though Lions fans will note some familiar names.
Please note that this is a projection of what I think teams might do in the given situation. I would not necessarily make the same choices in the given situations.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas–While Wilson didn’t necessarily “wow” the NFL crowd in Mobile, he’s clearly the best talent and most ready to lead a pro offense right away. Teams like that he handled a trainwreck situation with aplomb, an important attribute when going #1 overall.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU–His college production, or lack thereof, is imposing, but Mingo has truly elite speed off the edge. The best pass rusher on the roster right now is Austen Lane, a 5-sack a year guy. They need serious impact talent and Mingo has the highest ceiling on the board.
3. Oakland Raiders
Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M–This is not the pick Al Davis would make, but with Reggie McKenzie running the show it’s far more likely the Raiders take the best player available regardless of position. Joeckel is an instant starter and can play either side.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia–Chip Kelly needs a quarterback who can spray the ball with great accuracy on short and intermediate routes and buy time with his feet. Smith is not a runner but has enough agility to fit the bill.
5. Detroit Lions
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State–Cliff Avril will not be back, and the team needs a youthful infusion up front. He’s going to remind Jim Schwartz of the Kyle VandenBosch he had in Tennessee quite a bit and I think that prevails over some other equal options.
6. Cleveland Browns
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama–I had several different players here (Jordan, Glennon, Moore) but settled on Milliner, the top corner in the draft and a playmaker. New DC Ray Horton loves aggressive playmakers, and Milliner and Joe Haden would make a potentially excellent corner tandem.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Matt Barkley, QB, USC– I’ve labeled Barkley the big winner of Senior Bowl week simply by not being in Mobile and getting caught in the mire. He’s very good at play action and has unflappable mental toughness, two qualities that will fit nicely here with Bruce Arians.
8. Buffalo Bills
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M–I don’t buy the Ryan Nassib talk at this spot. I think it’s far more likely they move back a few spots and take the Syracuse QB, but I’m not projecting trades in this incarnation of the mock draft. They get the best player available in lieu of that with Moore, a nonstop pass rusher and excellent tackler.
9. New York Jets
Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State–It is at this point I feel compelled to remind readers that this mock represents what I believe might happen and in no way is an accurate representation of what decisions I would make.
10. Tennessee Titans
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida–Get used to hearing Floyd’s name in this realm of the draft. NFL personnel people have him here already; one in Mobile even compared him to Ndamukong Suh. The Titans would benefit from his bedrock strength and ability to shed blocks in the gaps.
11. San Diego Chargers
Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan–One of the stars of Senior Bowl week, Fisher is a very impressive athlete with excellent redirect skills. I worry about the fact he bends his back instead of his knees when absorbing contact, but there’s an awful lot to like here.
12. Miami Dolphins
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri–Richardson is a dynamic line presence who commands blocking help. I think he’d make an excellent 5-technique here, and the Miami line badly needs depth.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon–Jordan is a huge wild card in this draft. His ability to play in space with his length and size would make him the base SAM and nickel edge rusher in Tampa. They happen to need that kind of player.
14. Carolina Panthers
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah–The biggest need in Carolina is exactly what Star offers, an immovable object in the middle of the defense to keep blockers off the linebackers and chip in 3.5 sacks a year.
15. New Orleans Saints
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama–In the process of writing this mock the Saints fired DC Steve Spagnuolo and announced they’re moving to a 3-4 scheme. That probably changes the priority list here but I already had the dominant guard here and it’s too arduous to reshuffle now. Warmack leading Mark Ingram would appeal to many in New Orleans, notably Ingram himself.
16. St. Louis Rams
Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma–Another big winner from the Senior Bowl week, Johnson brings a chippiness and energy to the position. The Rams must upgrade the offensive line to give Sam Bradford any chance to succeed. They have to get him pass catching help too, but that comes later in the draft.