At this time last year, 36 hours before the draft, I had a very good idea of about half the picks in the first round. I certainly knew which players were going to be taken in the top 10 and had a pretty solid idea about what half the teams afterwards were going to do as well. This year is completely different. I don’t even know who will go #1. I cover the draft through a Lions eye, but I don’t know who they will ultimately select either. I have a pretty strong and informed idea on about 10 of the picks in the first round, but those all involve complicated if/then scenarios that drop the desired player to the desired slot.
This uncertainty was causing me a great deal of angst and stress until I had an epiphany. This degree of mystery hasn’t happened in a long time and might not happen again. I think we should cherish it and revel in it. The twists and turns that this draft will take make it one of the most exciting events on the sporting calendar. Enjoy it! I had a lot of fun concocting some trades here, which are indicated with an asterisk.
In that spirit, I present to you what is certain to be my least accurate final mock draft I’ve ever written.
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M. It’s either him or Eric Fisher. The voices advocating Dion Jordan lost the fight.
2. *Miami Dolphins (from JAX): Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan. Miami trades #12, #42, and their 1st in 2014 to Jacksonville to move up and take Fisher.
3. *Arizona Cardinals (from OAK): Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma. Arizona trades #7, #69, and #174 to Oakland, motivated by the early run on tackles.
4. *New York Jets (from PHI): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama. The Jets trade #9, #72 and 2nd & 6th round picks in 2014 to Philadelphia to secure the replacement to Revis Island.
5. Detroit Lions: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon. Here are my Lions thoughts: Fisher is the pick if he’s there. Jordan is Plan B. Lane Johnson is Plan C. Ziggy Ansah is Plan D. Milliner is Plan E, and believe it or not they could be pushed to Plan E.
6. Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU. Tailor made speed rusher for Ray Horton’s new 3-4 defense.
7. *Oakland Raiders (from ARI): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida. Too many people who would know have them taking Floyd, and they can get him at 7 just as well as at 3.
8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse. I think Buddy Nix tipped his hand when he said (paraphrasing) “if you want a QB in the third, you need to take him in the second”. Push those numbers up one apiece.
9. *Philadelphia Eagles (from NYJ): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. He’s a great fit for Chip Kelly’s offense and is a better value at 9 than 4, where I think they might take him anyways.
10. Tennessee Titans: Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State. Surprise pick, based on his fantastic workout. I can’t see them investing this pick on a guard after breaking the bank to pay Levitre.
11. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina. I played Russian roulette with Cooper, Warmack, and Fluker for the pick. The bullet with Cooper’s name came up.
12. *Jacksonville Jaguars (from MIA): Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU. I think they could actually take him at 2, but here they get the raw but freakishly athletic Ansah at 12.
13. New York Jets (from TB): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia. The Jets get the offensive playmaker they desperately covet with the versatile but tiny Austin. Vacillated between Austin and Eifert.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah. There are whispers that the Panthers are willing to move up and get Star, but here they don’t have to. Rhodes or Richardson also make a lot of sense.
15. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri. It could very well be Jarvis Jones but I went with the bigger body in Richardson, who can play the 5-technique or slide inside when Rob Ryan gets creative
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas. Pretty strong indications that the Rams are looking at safety, and Vaccaro is the consensus top one…though not on my board.