Apr 04 2013

Poppen Off: First Round Mock Draft

  1. Kansas City Chiefs: OT Luke Joeckel Texas A&M – Joeckel is far and away the best offensive lineman in this draft and will immediately become the best offensive lineman on the Chiefs roster. Expect the Chiefs to move current starting left tackle Branden Albert over to the right side to make room for Joeckel on the left side, where he will excel for the next decade.
  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Dion Jordan Oregon - Jacksonville is in some serious need of a pass rush and will hope to bolster its defensive line by selecting Jordan to rush the passer as the Jags look to build a competent defense. A big knock on Jordan is his inability to get separation off blocks, which may ultimately lead to the Jags moving him to outside linebacker where I personally expect him to exceed expectations.
  1. Oakland Raiders: DT Sharrif Floyd Florida - Floyd is the best interior lineman in a draft loaded with talent at the position and has often been compared to Warren Sapp by many analysts. At only 297-pounds, Floyd uses his quickness and first step burst to beat offensive lineman and his game should translate well to the NFL level.
  1. Philadelphia Eagles: CB Dee Milliner Alabama – Philadelphia needs to desperately replace Nnamdi Asomugha and with Milliner being the clear-cut best corner in the draft this pick seems like a no-brainer. Milliner is a ball-hawking-type corner with the skills to attack the football and get back on coverage deep. Expect the former Alabama standout to be one of the better defenders to come out at the position in the past five years.
  1. Detroit Lions: OT Eric Fisher Central Michigan – Not only is Fisher a good run blocker but he is a great pass blocker and should help to solidify the left side of the a Lions offensive line that lost Jeff Backus to retirement during the offseason. Matthew Stafford throws the ball more than any quarterback in football and loves to chuck the ball deep making it vital for them to bring in Fisher to give this Lions offense enough time to connect on the big play.
  1. Cleveland Browns: DT Star Lotulelei Utah – Cleveland needs to get better along the front four of the defensive line and adding a piece like Lotulelei will go a long way in improving its defense. An irregular heartbeat during the combine may have scared some people off, but make no mistake that the former Utah standout is a "star" in the making.
  1. Arizona Cardinals: OT Lane Johnson Oklahoma – Kevin Kolb nearly died playing behind the Cardinals patch-work offensive line last season. If Arizona hopes to keep newly acquired Carson Palmer upright this year they had better sure up its pass protection issue. Johnson is no stranger to the passing attack having played at Oklahoma during his college career and instantly becomes the best offensive lineman on the Cardinals roster.
  1. Buffalo Bills: QB Geno Smith West Virginia – Projecting Smith as the No. 8 pick has nothing to do with his talent but more to do with the Bills desperation for a franchise quarterback. Having already acquired Kevin Kolb, the Bills will look to build some competition in camp by selecting Smith as the quarterback of the future. Smith is a good-but-not-great passer at this stage of his career, as he tends to overthrow short-to-medium routes and plays much better from outside the pocket. Do not expect an RG3 type of performance from Smith this season.
  1. New York Jets: DE Ezekiel Ansah BYU – At 6’5” and 271-pounds with the speed of a wide receiver, Ansah is a physical freak with raw talent and extreme upside--the type of player perfect for a Rex Ryan defense. New York will be wise to select Ansah and use him in third down pass rushing situations until he learns the NFL game but believe me when I say this kid is a freak of nature and could become a very good every down player with some experience and coaching under his belt.
  1. Tennessee Titans: OG Chance Warmack Alabama – Many argue that Warmack is the best player in this years draft and if you watch the tape and see him dominate snap-after-snap it is really difficult to argue with the logic. In my eyes, Warmack is the best offensive guard in this and any other draft in the past decade making him a cant miss player for a Titans team that has plenty of holes to fill along the offensive line.
  1. San Diego Chargers: DE Barkevious Mingo LSU – Although he played with his hand in the ground at LSU, Mingo projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker at the NFL level making him as a good for a San Diego Chargers team looking to get faster and younger on the defensive side of the ball. LSU may have misused Mingo by keeping him at defensive end, but please do not be fooled by his lack of production last season at 4.5 sacks because his game translates very well to his natural position of linebacker at the NFL level.
  1. Miami Dolphins: OG Jonothan Cooper North Carolina – Miami really needs to improve the front line and with all the talent available in this years draft I have my second guard coming off the board here to the Dolphins. Cooper is a run grater who has a very fast first step making him very tough to pass on for a team that lost Jake Long in the off-season. While Cooper will not replace Long at tackle, he will improve this line and will look real good next to center Mike Pouncey.
  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Xavier Rhodes Florida St. – Rhodes is a big, physical cornerback and after flopping on Aqib Talib the Buccaneers need to hit on a first-round secondary player. Rhodes will fit the need perfectly. Having played plenty of mixed coverages at Florida State Rhodes is very NFL ready and will step in and make a difference from day one for the Bucs secondary.
  1. Carolina Panthers: DE Bjoern Werner Florida St. – Coming off a 13-sack season at Florida State, Werner is clearly one of the better pure pass rushers in this draft. Something that the Panthers have been lacking since the days of Julius Peppers is that type of impact player. If Werner can develop into a run stopper to go along with his pass rushing abilities he will go down as the best defensive player taken in this draft when we look back in five years.
  1. New Orleans Saints: DT Sheldon Richardson Missouri – New Orleans is desperate for an interior presence along the defensive line and with Richardson’s ability to get off blocks and make big plays he seems to be the perfect fit for the Saints here at No.15. Richardson is just about as quick as fellow first round lineman Sharrif Floyd but is a bit undersized making it vital for him to beat opponents with his quick first step and quick hands.
  1. St. Louis Rams: WR Cordarrelle Patterson Tennessee – Sam Bradford is desperate for a true, big No. 1 receiver, something that Patterson projects to be at the NFL level. With the physical skills to be elite in this Rams offense it will be Patterson’s learning curve that could hinder him in his rookie season but after he catches on I expect big things from this 6’2” 216-pound receiver.
  1. Pittsburgh Steelers: OLB Jarvis Jones Georgia – Jones and the Steelers are a perfect fit especially with Pittsburgh in need of someone to replace perennial pro bowler James Harrison. Jones has the potential to be a pro bowl level pass rusher at the NFL level but at 242 pounds will need to add some bulk if he hopes to be elite.
  1. Dallas Cowboys: SS Kenny Vaccaro Texas – Vaccaro impressed scouts at the NFL combine and we all know how much Jerry Jones likes a guy that can run fast in his underwear. In all seriousness, I like Vaccaro here and believe he will be a very good fit for a Cowboys team that got beat deep on more than one occasion last season. Look for Vaccaro to make some big plays against the pass as a rookie and don't be shocked if he finds the end zone once or twice.
  1. New York Giants: ILB Alec Ogletree Georgia – It seems that the Giants have needed help at linebacker for the past decade. With this pick I think that all goes away because at No. 19 Ogletree may be the steal of the draft. Having fallen out of favor with many teams due to character concerns, the former Georgia star has gone from a top-10 pick to the later part of the first round. New York would be stupid to pass on Ogletree based on talent alone and will just have to hope that he keeps his nose clean in the NFL.
  1. Chicago Bears: WR Tavon Austin West Virginia – At No.20 the Chicago Bears get the best offensive rookie in the NFL draft and no, I’m not just saying that because they are “my” team. Chicago already has size at the receiver position but lacks a true slot receiver, which is right where Austin fits in at the NFL level. Austin has speed to burn and every play has the potential to go all the way with this incredibly shifty little receiver who most scouts believe has the most upside of any player in this draft. Think DeSean Jackson but faster!
  1. Cincinnati Bengals: OT D.J. Fluker Alabama – Fluker projects as a right tackle in the NFL and should help to replace Andre Smith who is reportedly unhappy with the Bengals recent offer. At 6’6”, 335-pounds Fluker is a monster on the right side but will need to develop better footwork and athleticism to be an elite level right tackle.
  1. St. Louis Rams: RB Eddie Lacy Alabama – With Steven Jackson leaving for Atlanta the Rams will look to Lacy for its next franchise running back. Lacy is an absolute stud and will be just as good if no better than Jackson ever was in a Rams uniform. The NFL game is evolving with running backs being used more as receivers, which is an area of strength for Lacy who is my early, pick for offensive rookie of the year.
  1. Minnesota Vikings: WR Keenan Allen California – Harvin out Allen in, that’s pretty much how I view this pick. Having traded all-world wide receiver Percy Harvin it becomes imperative for the Vikings to find another playmaker at the receiver position, they could go along way in finding his replacement by selecting Allen here at No.23.
  1. Indianapolis Colts: ILB Manti Te’o Notre Dame – Te’o will be welcomed by a Colts fan base regardless of his checkered past. Te’o is a great pick for the Colts who desperately need to get younger on the defensive side of the football. It’s not everyday that a Heisman finalist slips this far in the draft so I would call this a steal for the Colts and an ideal place for Te’o to work on his public image and perception by proving himself out on the football field.
  1. Minnesota Vikings: CB Johnthan Banks Mississippi St. – After cutting ties with longtime defensive standout Antoine Winfield it became clear that the Vikings were looking to get younger in the secondary. Drafting Banks the Vikings get a very competent replacement. Banks is huge for a corner at 6’2” making him a perfect fit for a defense that will see the likes of Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall two times per season.
  1. Green Bay Packers: RB Montee Ball Wisconsin – Green Bay desperately needs to find an option other then John Kuhn when they get down near the goal line. With Ball’s ability to score from in close he seems a perfect fit for the Packers here. Ball is an every down back in the NFL and if used right could be very effective as a NFL back. Green Bay has been known to put guys in the right place to succeed making this a perfect place for Ball to land.
  1. Houston Texans: FS Matt Elam Florida – Elam is just one of those players with a nose for the football and has big play written all over him. Houston needs a safety who can make big plays and secure tackles and at 79 solo tackles last season with Florida. Elam seems to fit the bill for this team that feels is a piece or two away from contending for a Super Bowl. 
  1. Denver Broncos: CB Desmond Trufant Washington – Trufant is crazy fast, but is somewhat raw with his skill set. Given some time to learn under a future hall of famer like Champ Bailey I feel that Trufant will become a very good cornerback for the Bronco’s and could also help out in an already very strong return game.
  1. New England Patriots: DT Kawann Short Purdue – Short has plenty of experience starting at the college level, having been a starter at Purdue since his freshman season. New England likes guys that can come in and contribute from day one and if there is one player who is ready to step in right away this late in the first round its Short. 
  1. Atlanta Falcons: TE Tyler Eifert Notre Dame – Even with Tony Gonzalez coming back the Falcons still need to improve the tight end position. It would be a real luxury to have Eifert learn a thing or two from the greatest to ever play the position. Eifert is a steal here and I project him to be an elite level NFL tight end once that Gonzalez guy is out of the picture.
  1. San Francisco 49ers: DT Johnathan Hankins Ohio St. – Hankins has a very large frame and should be able to take up some blockers while guys like Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith run free to make plays. San Fran gets even richer on defense with this pick and will surely use Hankins an every down lineman.
  1. Baltimore Ravens: ILB Kevin Minter LSU – Baltimore will look to replace Ray Lewis with this pick and I could not think of a better player than Minter to be the next great Ravens linebacker. A very cerebral player Minter is a football junkie who loves to compete on and off the football field, something that should endear him to Ravens fans from day one. 


Read 769 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 19:12
Scott Poppen


Scott Poppen resides in the Chicagoland area and lives and dies for his local teams. Football and baseball are his two biggest passions, with basketball and hockey ranking closely behind. When Scott is not busy attending sporting events and obsessing over fantasy football, he likes to spend his down time in the gym. Please follow Scott on twitter @scottpoppen to get all of his thoughts on local Chicago sports as well as some great fantasy football advice.