The Kansas City Chiefs select:
Geno Smith | QB | West Virginia
Geno Smith is the pinnacle of the 2013 Quarterback class, and a better option both in the short and long term than those likely to be available in Free Agency or via trade. Kansas City has the talent around him to be better immediately as long as they can limit his role initially. The long-term offense built around a dynamic running attack and Geno Smith is promising.
I wrote on twitter about the opportunity costs of each option that faces Kansas City in the aftermath of their recent hirings. Unless you’re holding out hope that Andy Reid’s offense can mask Matt Cassel’s deficiencies, you’ve probably came to the conclusion that Kansas City must acquire a Quarterback, with the popular opinion being that it’s too risky to take a Quarterback with the #1 overall pick because Geno Smith is not the best player on the board.
However, the opportunity cost for not taking a Quarterback here is a lack of leverage on the open market. If the Chiefs are not going to draft a Quarterback, they must be committed to winning the bidding on the Free Agent of their choice. Without leverage, that contract is likely to be more expensive than the deal the #1 pick will receive, and could end up nearing the contract Matt Cassel signed. The remaining option being accepting a stop-gap Quarterback and hoping to find the “Franchise” guy next year, which is the popular option amongst fans. The risks for that are enormous and aren’t likely to be seriously considered.
I’ve heard the rumors that Kansas City might be interested in Alex Smith. I still believe very strongly that Geno Smith is the best option for Kansas City both in the long and in the short term.
The Jacksonville Jaguars select:
Star Lotulelei | DL | Utah
I’ve had three different picks in this slot, but I think I feel the most comfortable with Star Lotulelei here. Some media outlets have him slipping down the board, but he’s solidly in my top five with almost no chance of him sliding down, short of a freak injury. Lotulelei fits Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme and is the best selection here for that very reason. Lotulelei will likely play Brandon Mebane’s role as a 2-gap Defensive Tackle, while Tyson Alualu moves to a 2-Gap Defensive End position on the Defensive Line. A selection of a Defensive End here would mean Jacksonville is giving up on Andre Branch, which seems silly at this point.
The Oakland Raiders select:
Bjoern Werner | DE | Florida State
Bjoern Werner is one of the two best players in this draft class, I think Oakland will value the long-term value of Werner over the short-term benefit of taking a player at their biggest position of need, Cornerback. Werner, as a junior, was the best pass rusher in the country. That’s incredibly indicative of his abilities, considering he was even more impressive as a Junior at a higher weight. Werner will be able to be booked in at Right Defensive End for years to come.
The Philadelphia Eagles select:
Luke Joeckel | OT | Texas A&M
I’ve been really reluctant to put Luke Joeckel in this slot because I just don’t see how it improves the Eagles in the short-term, but the front office in Philadelphia seems to be more interested in making long-term moves this offseason. To make the Joeckel pick even more convincing, Right Tackle Todd Herremans, 30, had a foot infection. Herremans could kick inside to Guard, or the Eagles could look to trade current Left Tackle Jason Peters, who still has value.
The Detroit Lions select
Barkevious Mingo | DE | LSU
Barkevious Mingo would be the early favorite to win the Rookie of the Year if he ends up in Detroit. He was asked to be more of a run-defender in his final season at LSU, but Mingo has the potential to immediately lead the Lions in sacks. Detroit has just two Defensive Ends under contract for next season, and Kyle Vanden Bosch could be a cap-casualty.
The Cleveland Browns select:
Demontre Moore | OLB/DE | Texas A&M
Cleveland has really struggled to generate a pass rush. Without a second round pick, Cleveland will have to make this draft pick count. They’ll have options at Wide Receiver to aid emerging star Josh Gordon in Free Agency, but a pass rusher will be harder to come by. Moore is a fit whether or not the Browns move the 3-4 defense.
The Arizona Cardinals select:
Eric Fisher | OT | Central Michigan
In my last mock draft I had the Cardinals taking a Quarterback: Tyler Wilson. I think we’re to the point where it’s evident that there simply isn’t competition for Geno Smith at the top of the first round. Fisher, who is competition for top prospect Luke Joeckel, is a Franchise Left Tackle.
The Buffalo Bills select:
Keenan Allen | WR | California
An injury has hurt his stock somewhat, or I believe Keenan Allen would be challenging to go even higher. New Head Coach Doug Marrone loves using multiple bigger Wide Receivers, so I think pairing Keenan Allen with Stevie Johnson would a move he would like. Buffalo could go Quarterback here, but they will be able to find similar prospects in the second round.
The New York Jets select:
Chance Warmack | OG | Alabama
This pick makes far too much sense for the Jets to actually do it. The Jets are seemingly strong on the Offensive Line, but the 2012 season was largely disappointing considering the talent they have. Sliding Warmack in at Guard between two Pro Bowlers will help a mediocre rushing attack improve.
The Tennessee Titans select:
Sharrif Floyd | DT | Florida
One of the most underrated prospects in the draft, Sharrif Floyd’s ability to penetrate inside will be coveted come draft day. While not a great pass-rusher, his tools suggest he will become one. He’s long, has a quick first step, and has an incredible motor for a guy his size. As long as you’re confident he can add strength, Floyd has the potential to be a special player.
The San Diego Chargers select:
Lane Johnson | OT | Oklahoma
I’m not so sure San Diego will go with an Offensive Tackle, because, well, they’re still San Diego. However, Lane Johnson seems to be the best mixture of value in terms of ability and value in terms of team need.
The Miami Dolphins select:
Stedman Bailey | WR | West Virginia
Appropriately nicknamed “Studman” by @ECStoner, Stedman Bailey strikes me as one of the players that goes significantly higher than projected. By the end of his rookie campaign, Bailey will have put draft day critique to bed. He is tremendous in the slot as well as outside and plays much bigger than most of the 6’0+ Wide Receivers in the class.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select:
Dee Milliner | CB | Alabama
Dee Milliner is over-rated in my opinion, but if he goes around this pick he’ll be appropriate value. The Buccaneers were one of the worst teams in football against the pass last year. That has to change if Greg Schiano wants to compete.
The Carolina Panthers select:
Kenny Vaccaro | FS | Texas
Carolina has really struggled to find competent Safety play over the last couple of seasons. Kenny Vaccaro is being talked about in the top 5 range, but I think this is much more realistic.
The New Orleans Saints select:
Jarvis Jones | OLB | Georgia
A high risk, high reward pick for a coach and GM tandem that arguably has more job security than any other tandem in football. The Saints will be making the switch to the 3-4 in the offseason, so the Saints will be in the market for a Rush Linebacker to pair with Martez Wilson, who will benefit from the switch.
The St. Louis Rams select:
Sheldon Richardson | DL | Missouri
He’s a fit whether the signing of Rob Ryan becomes official or not. If Rob Ryan does bring the 3-4, Richardson’s addition to Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford would make the Ram’s Defensive Line the most talented line Ryan has had at his espousal. If the Rams sign someone else and stay in the 4-3, he’s a great long-term fit with Brockers.