2013 New England Patriots Mock Draft

Now that I’ve completed my 1st round mock (https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/2013-nfl-mock-draft-version-1-0-by-the-better-looking-mel-kiper/), it’s time to take a look at the 2013 NFL Draft from a New England Patriots perspective.  Unlike most years, the Pats are not loaded with 12 or 13 selections.  They have 5 picks (two 7th round selections) in this draft, and need to hit on almost all of them.  I’ve already mocked the Patriots’ 1st round pick in my entire 1st round mock, so I’ll start there and then move through the rest of their selections.  Let’s do it…

1st Round: #29 – DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson

For a team drafting this low in the 1st round, it always seems that the Patriots have so many needs and so many directions that they could go in.  After the release of Brandon Lloyd, the Pats have a big need at wide receiver.  With Alfonzo Dennard’s unknown future, the Pats have a big need at cornerback.  Vollmer has been resigned, so their needs on the offensive line are diminished, but they could use some improved depth.  On the defensive line, they could use another rush guy on the outside (i.e. John Abraham) and another big body up the middle.  I’m projecting a wide receiver here for the Pats, but who the hell knows.  Their track record with selecting wideouts isn’t very good (i.e. Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate).  DeAndre Hopkins is the best route runner and has the best hands of the remaining wideouts.  Sounds like a Pats guy to me…

2nd Round: #59 – Tyrann Mathieu, CB LSU

Controversial isn’t necessarily the Patriot Way on draft day, however I think that Mathieu’s talent forces teams looking for cornerback help in the 2nd and 3rd round to consider selecting him.  Let’s not forget, the Patriots have taken on controversial players before (i.e. Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Albert Haynesworth).  More recently, guys like Ryan Mallett and Alfonzo Dennard were draft picks that had “character” questions surrounding them.  From all reports, Mathieu has impressed NFL teams throughout the interview process, and impressed at the combine considering he was out of football for a year (4.50 40-yard dash, 4.14 shuttle, 34 inch vertical).  In my opinion, taking a risk on Mathieu at the end of the second round it a worthwhile endeavor for the Patriots.

3rd Round: #91 – John Simon, DE/OLB Ohio State

John Simon came to Ohio State from high school as a 280-pound nose tackle, transitioned to a defensive end, and now is looking to impress scouts enough to be considered a 4-3 DE of a 3-4 OLB.  Simon has been dealing with shoulder issues this offseason, so he hasn’t been able to display his strength.  However, at his pro-day Simon displayed great athleticism for a guy his size (6’2”, 260 lbs), posting a 4.68 40-yard dash, 7.10 seconds in the three-cone drill, and a 34 inch vertical jump.  Simon isn’t necessarily ideal Patriot size for a 3-4 OLB (they usually like guys 6’4”+), however Simon benefitted from the tutelage of Mike Vrabel over the last couple of seasons (Vrabel is the defensive line coach for the Buckeyes) and has the makeup the Pats look for.

7th Round: #226 (TB) – Joe Kruger, DE Utah

Joe Kruger, younger brother of former Ravens and now Cleveland Browns OLB Paul Kruger, isn’t as highly touted as his brother was coming out of school.  With that being said, Kruger has good size and can be viewed as a “potential” type of pick if he is able to fill out his frame and continue to develop strength.  Kruger’s combine measures were 6’6”, 270 lbs, and he posted a 4.83 40-yard dash, 34’ vertical jump, and 7.17 3-cone drill.  Kruger has good athleticism for his size, but I’m projecting him as a 3-4 defensive end for the Pats.

7th Round: #235 – Jasper Collins, WR Mount Union

Collins was the only Division III invite to the 2013 East-West Shrine Game, and deservedly so.  Throughout the 2012 season, Collins amassed 92 catches for 1,694 yards and 22 touchdowns.  Collins is looking to be the next Mount Union wide receiver to produce in the NFL, following in the footsteps of Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts.  At 5’10”, 180 lbs, Collins’ size is similar to a slot receiver.  However, Collins also has good speed (4.47 40-yard dash), decent strength (12 reps on the bench), good explosiveness (34.5” vertical jump), and good quickness (6.85 3-cone drill).  This late in the draft, Collins is a great pick simply based on potential.

2013 NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0 by: “The Better Looking Mel Kiper”

After much angst, anticipation, and pressure from Scottie, I am happy to bring to you my 2013 NFL Mock Draft.  Every year I take on the mission of educating the NTCF faithful about college prospects, team needs, and inevitably what is going to happen in the NFL Draft.  If you take a look back at my previous predictions and who I thought would fit for particular teams, I’m not very far off.  With that said, sit back and enjoy the ride…

DISCLAIMER #1: For the majority of teams picking at or near the top of the 2011 NFL Draft, they are there for a reason, their inability to make good decisions on draft day.  Even though my man CV is always pushing for me to “dumb it down” to try and better predict what these teams will do, I can only make myself so stupid.  Here’s to you Kansas City, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Buffalo, Oakland, etc, you have officially taken the crown as the stupidest bunch in the league.  Good luck!

DISCLAIMER #2: Contrary to popular belief, I can not see more than 11 days into the future.  Therefore, if 12 days from now it becomes very obvious that something will occur in the draft that I did not account for, don’t hold it against me…I’m only partially superhuman.

DISCLAIMER #3: All I can ask of you is to sit back, get comfortable wherever you are, have an open mind, read through the whole mock, realize that Mel Kiper and Todd McShay obviously read this and let my knowledge influence their mocks, and let me know if you have some input.  Let’s do it…

1. Kansas City (2-14) (Needs: DE, OT, ILB, OG, WR)

Kansas City is starting fresh.  They have a new GM, new coach, and have parted ways with Matt Cassel and decided that they will move forward with Alex Smith.  Is Smith the long-term solution?  Probably not.  Does he make the Chiefs better than 2-14?  Probably.  The Chiefs have already worked out a deal with Dwayne Bowe and placed the franchise tag on OT Brandon Albert.  KC could look at an OT here (i.e. Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher), however I think they need a game changer.  Star Lotulelei was widely considered the best player in the 2013 NFL Draft, and then it was discovered that he had an abnormally low ejection fraction at the combine.  Lotulelei’s heart issues seem to be resolving and he performed wonderfully at Utah’s pro-day last week (measures: 6’2” 311 lbs, 40: 4.65, bench” 38 reps, vertical: 30”, 3-cone: 7.76 seconds).

SELECTION: Star Lotulelei, DT Utah

2. Jacksonville (2-14) (Needs: QB, DE, CB, OT, OLB)

Jacksonville just never gets anything right.  Blaine Gabbert was a disaster waiting to happen, and they pick him.  Justin Blackmon looks like a good young receiver, but without anyone to get him the ball his productivity is limited.  The Jags need help all over the field, and taking Geno Smith would be tempting for the new coaching regime in Jacksonville.  However, Smith is flying up draft boards more due to the lack of QB talent in the draft and not necessarily because of his talent.  Suring up the offensive line for the next 5-7 years should be the move for the Jags.

SELECTION: Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M

3. Oakland (4-12) (Needs: DT, CB, LB, DE, OT)

Mark the Oakland Raiders down for a questionable selection based almost solely on combine numbers and physical appearance.  The Raiders have arguably more need than any team in the draft, but can obviously only grab one player here.  Word from Oakland is that Tommy Kelly’s time is coming to a close (and Seymour already departed) so the Raiders need help on their defensive line.  Sharrif Floyd is a physical specimen that is shooting up draft boards.  He produced in college, and he has the physical tools that the Raiders look for.

SELECTION: Sharrif Floyd, DT Florida

4. Philadelphia (4-12) (Needs: DT, OT, CB, S, LB)

Word on the street is that the Eagles have some very serious interest in Geno Smith, as he would be a better fit for Chip Kelly’s offense than Nick Foles.  I personally just don’t see it.  I’m not sold on the fact that Kelly would so strategically make his way into the NFL (by essentially picking which team he wanted to coach, which GM he would work with, etc.) and then hitch his wagon to Geno Smith.  If there is a better quarterback to run Kelly’s offense than Mike Vick, I haven’t seen them.  I look for the Eagles to go through 2013 with Vick under center, draft a more suitable QB in 2014 (i.e. Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Football, Tajh Boyd, etc.), and move forward from there.  With the 4th pick in the 2013 draft the Eagles address a huge need and find someone to cover an opposing receiver in their secondary.

SELECTION: Dee Millner, CB Alabama

5. Detroit (4-12) (Needs: DE, OT, S, CB, OLB)

The Detroit Lions are back to rebuilding what developed into a playoff team just 2 years ago.  They have their franchise quarterback in Stafford, franchise receiver in Megatron, and I really like what Mikel Leshoure did last season.  Aside from those players, the Detroit Lions are a mess.  LT Jeff Backus retired, Kyle Vanden Bosch was cut, and Cliff Avril is not a Seattle Seahawk.  The Lions get lucky here, as Eric Fisher (considered by some to be the best OT in the draft) has fallen to them at number 5.

SELECTION: Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan

6. Cleveland (5-11) (Needs: QB, OLB, WR, CB, OG)

One year after selecting a nearly 30 year old quarterback in the first round, it seems as though the Browns are in complete rebuild mode once again.  Trent Richardson is a stud, Joe Haden is very good on the outside, and Joe Thomas is arguably the left tackle in the game.  Paul Kruger was a good addition for Cleveland this offseason, but I think he got paid a bit too much.  Cleveland could use a quarterback, but I doubt they make that decision two years in a row.  The Browns could also use a wide receiver, but I think that there is too much “bust” potential taking a receiver in this draft that high.  Even after the addition of Kruger, taking a stud pass rusher in the draft could immediately boost their defense to one of the best units in the league.  The Browns could move down here and stockpile picks, especially is a team wants to move up and grab Geno Smith, however if not I think that they select…

SELECTION: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB Oregon

7. Arizona (5-11) (Needs: QB, OT, OLB, RB, ILB)

New head coach Bruce Arians will do his best to identify the Cardinals quarterback of the future in the 2013 NFL Draft.  The problem is that many football “insiders” are saying that the Cardinals are not taking a quarterback with the 7th overall pick in 2013.  That surprises me, considering the need, but I can understand Arians reluctance to hitch his career onto Geno Smith.  With that being said, the Cardinals can look to address other needs, either OT or OLB.  This draft is deep at both spots, but with Joeckel and Smith already off of the board, I think the physical specimen otherwise known as Ezekiel Ansah will be the selection.  Ansah has Jason Pierre-Paul-like athleticism, however his bust potential is huge considering he only became a starter in BYU’s 5th game last season.

SELECTION: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB BYU

8. Buffalo (6-10) (Needs: QB, WR, ILB, DE, S)

The Buffalo Bills’ biggest need by far is at quarterback.  Luckily for them, in my mock draft, Geno Smith has fallen right into their lap.  As we always see in the NFL Draft, as the time before the draft dwindles, quarterbacks shoot up the draft board because teams are always looking for the next new thing.  This year, it seems that Geno Smith is the guy flying up draft boards.  Smith was productive in college, had a decent showing at the combine, and has many of the attributed needed to be an NFL quarterback.  My questions with Smith surround his mental make-up and consistency.  Sadly, no one takes my opinion into account when these decisions are made.

SELECTION: Geno Smith, QB West Virginia

9. New York Jets (6-10) (Needs: QB, OT, OLB, S, RB)

The New York Jets are turning into the Oakland Raiders.  Constantly picking athletic freaks that aren’t necessarily turning into good football players (i.e. Quentin Coples, Stephen Hill, Vernon Gholston, etc.).  2011’s first round pick, Muhammad Wilkerson, is turning into a very good football player, but aside from him their defensive talent in dwindeling.  I think that the Jets will look long and hard at taking a game changing wide receiver to give Mark Sanchez some help in 2013, but I don’t believe that they can ignore their need at OLB (although it wouldn’t surprise me if they sign James Harrison).  Jarvis Jones is a bit undersized for a 3-4 defense (6’2”, 245 lbs) and his spinal issue presents some medical question marks.  However, the Jets cannot ignore his athleticism and pass rushing ability.

SELECTION: Jarvis Jones, OLB Georgia

10. Tennessee (6-10) (Needs: S, OG, CB, C, WR)

The Tennessee Titans have a glaring need, and it’s at offensive guard.  They signed former Bills guard Andy Levitre to play on the left side, but they still have a need at right guard.  The Titans have addressed some other needs this offseason, by signing SS Bernard Pollard, RB Shonn Greene, and TE Delanie Walker.  The Titans could use some more help at wide receiver to combat the production of Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright, but that is a need that can be addressed later in the draft.  Thankfully for Tennessee fans, drafting a guard at 10 isn’t much of a reach considering the caliber of player that Chance Warmack is.  At 6’2”, 320 lbs Warmack is a physical specimen that brings a mean streak with him on the field…sounds like just what Chris Johnson was hoping for.

SELECTION: Chance Warmack, OG Alabama

11. San Diego (7-9) (Needs: OT, OG, CB, OLB, ILB)

Philip Rivers was not the guy that we were used to seeing during the 2012 season, and that can be largely blamed on the poor play of the Chargers offensive line.  The top priority for the Chargers in the 2013 NFL draft should be finding some protection for Rivers.  As it stands now, Justin Gaither is in line to be the starting left tackle for San Diego, and that just isn’t going to get the Chargers enough wins to be successful in 2013.  Lane Johnson wowed at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine by posting what I believe is the fasted 40 time for an offensive lineman ever (4.72 seconds) at 6’6”, 303 lbs, and he followed that up by getting 28 reps on the bench.  Johnson was a former high school quarterback, college tight end, college defensive end, and current offensive tackle.  He has the athleticism to be very successful in the NFL.

SELECTION: Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma

12. Miami (7-9) (Needs: OT, WR, CB, DT, TE)

It was a tough offseason for the Dolphins.  Free agency took a toll on Miami.  Jake Long, Reggie Bush, and Sean Smith were just a few key pieces that left the Dolphins in 2013.  They were able to add Mike Wallace and Darnell Ellerby to the team, but there are still a lot of holes that need to be filled.  In my opinion, especially in a division where you need to play the Patriots twice per season, the Dolphins’ most glaring need is at cornerback.  Dee Millner is by far the best corner in this draft, but since he’s off of the board the Dolphins need to grab the next best corner available.  Xavier Rhodes reminds me a little of Sean Smith.  He is a bigger corner (6’1”, 210 lbs), possesses good speed (4.43 corner), great explosiveness (40.5 inch vertical), and ideal strength (14 reps on the bench).

SELECTION: Xavier Rhodes, CB Florida St.

13. Tampa Bay (7-9) (Needs: CB, TE, DE, DT, LB)

Tampa doesn’t have as many needs as would be anticipated for a team that finished 7-9 in 2012.  Their two most glaring weaknesses are al CB and TE.  Tyler Eifert would fit well with Tampa, I just know that teams are reluctant to grab a tight end that high in the draft.  The Bucs never filled the vacant corner spot made when the traded Talib to the Pats, so they can address that here.  Desmond Trufant has a great pedigree, performed well at the combine (4.38 40 yard dash, 16 bench reps, 3.85 second 20-yard shuffle), and is watching his draft stock rise over the past couple of weeks.

SELECTION: Desmond Trufant, CB Washington

14. Carolina (7-9) (Needs: DT, CB, S, RT, RG)

The Carolina Panthers surged at the end of the 2012 season, giving them some renewed optimism for 2013 and placing them in the middle of the first round in the 2013 NFL Draft.  The Panthers need to address the defensive tackle position, considering they were one of the worst run defense teams in the NFL.  Putting a couple of hogs up front will help free Luke Kuechly to roam and make plays.  Sheldon Richardson has prototypical size (6’3”, 294 lbs) and ideal athleticism for an NFL defensive tackle.  Richardson would fit well in Carolina’s scheme.

SELECTION: Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri

15. New Orleans (7-9) (Needs: OLB, S, OT, CB, NT)

The New Orleans Saints had a disappointing 2012 season, but with Sean Payton back roaming the sidelines they should have a better 2013.  Now that Steve Spagnuolo has been hired as the Saints defensive coordinator, the Saints are switching over to a 3-4 defense.  The Saints do not have the proper personnel to run that defense currently, so it needs to be addressed in this draft.  The first order of business is finding someone to play the 3-4 OLB spot.  Barkevious Mingo has decent size for a 3-4 OLB (6’4”, 241 lbs), good speed (4.58 40 yard dash), and great explosiveness (37.0 inch vertical).  Mingo could use to add a little bit of size, but that usually isn’t much of an issue in the NFL.

SELECTION: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB LSU

16. St. Louis (7-8-1) (Needs: OT, S, WR, LB, OG)

Jeff Fisher led a much improved Rams team through the 2012 season.  Sam Bradford is morphing into a top NFL quarterback (despite Scottie’s feelings) and their defense is formidable.  The next order of business for the Rams should be getting Sam Bradford some reliable receiving targets (in addition to signing Jared Cook), especially now that Danny Amendola is a New England Patriot.  Tavon Austin is shooting up draft boards and is now widely considered as the best WR available in this draft.  Austin will fit perfectly in the slot because of his size (5’8”, 174 lbs), speed (4.34 seconds in 40), strength (14 reps on bench), and quickness (4.01 second 20 yard shuffle).

SELECTION: Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia

17. Pittsburgh (8-8) (Needs: OLB, WR, S, OT, DE)

At this point in time, I have no idea what direction the Steelers will go in the 2013 NFL Draft.  Some experts believe it will be OLB, considering the loss of Harrison.  I think that the Steelers believe in Jason Worilds to play opposite of LaMarr Woodley.  Some believe it will be WR, however it is rare to see a team as disciplined as the Steelers spend such a high pick on a wide receiver.  If Desmond Trufant were still available, the Steelers would take a long like at infusing some youth into their secondary.  But he is gone so I think that the Steelers will look to take the best player available (which in this draft just so happens to be a wide receiver).

SELECTION: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee

18. Dallas (8-8) (Needs: OG, S, DE, DT, RT)

The Cowboys are transitioning to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.  They have some pieces already in place (i.e. DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jay Ratliff, Sean Lee, Carr, Claiborne, etc.) so they look to be OK defensively.  However, offensively the Cowboys were not as good as their talent level indicated, and a lot of that blame can be placed on their offensive line.  I believe that Tyron Smith will be a good LT with a year or two more of seasoning.  Aside from him and Phil Costa at C, the ‘Boys need some offensive line help.

SELECTION: Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina

19. New York Giants (9-7) (Needs: OT, LB, CB, DE, OG)

The Giants seem to be content with Will Beatty at left tackle (they gave him a 5-year $38 million contract this offseason).  David Diehl is serviceable at RT.  The Giants could address their offensive line needs later in the draft.  In the 1st round, the Giants need to address some needs that they have on the defensive side of the ball.  The Giants signed Dan Connor to play middle linebacker this offseason.  They could use some help at OLB, as well as corner.  Defensive end is a need because they lost Osi to the Falcons, but not one that needs to be addressed in the 1st round.  Alec Ogletree (the former safety turned inside linebacker) is listed as in inside linebacker, however he has the athleticism and instincts to move to the outside.

SELECTION: Alec Ogletree, ILB Georgia

20. Chicago (10-6) (Needs: OT, OG, LB, TE, DT)

The Chicago Bears seem to be turning over a new leaf and trying to infuse a little bit of youth into their team.  Seeing Brian Urlacher play for a different team just isn’t going to look right, however all good things come to an end.  If Lane Johnson happens to slip down to 20, I think that the Bears would consider taking him.  If not, the Bears have big needs at left guard, linebacker, and defensive tackle.  What better way to move on from a team legend than implanting a first round pick in his position.

SELECTION: Manti Te’o, ILB Notre Dame

21. Cincinnati (10-6) (Needs: RB, LB, S, OT, DE)

The Cincinnati Bengals were known as terrible draft day performers for so many years.  Over the past couple of years however, the Bengals have been making some better decisions (i.e. AJ Green, Andy Dalton, Jermaine Gresham).  Former 1st round pick Andre Smith is a free agent, so the Bengals do have a need at offensive tackle, as well as running back (behind BJGE), linebacker, and safety.  This late in the draft, I don’t believe that the Bengals can find a difference maker at OT, and some other needs can be addressed later in the draft.  This is actually a decent draft in terms of safety depth, so 21 seems like the right spot for the 1st one to come off of the board.  Also, pairing a rookie with one of my all-time favorite players in Taylor Mays would be awesome.

SELECTION: Kenny Vaccaro, FS Texas

22. St. Louis (from Washington [10-6]) (Needs: OT, S, WR, LB, OG)

With 2 picks in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams have an opportunity to make some big choices for their franchise, that will hopefully put them over the .500 mark and into the playoffs in 2013.  The Rams filled a big need with Tavon Austin at #16.  The Rams have some serious needs on the offensive line, even with the addition of Jake Long at LT.  They could look to address a need at offensive guard here, however I believe that they could get a serviceable guard later in the draft.  The Rams projected starting safeties as of today are Rodney McLeod and Darian Stewart.  Exactly, I’ve never heard of them either.  As mentioned in the previous pick, the 2013 draft is pretty deep with safeties.  From the film that I’ve watched, I think Matt Elam will emerge as the best safety of the 2013 class.  The guy can hit, has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and is an absolute ball hawk.  The Rams grade for round 1 = A+.

SELECTION: Matt Elam, FS Florida

23. Minnesota (10-6) (Needs: WR, LB, DT, OG, S)

The Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs in 2012 based on Percy Harvin’s early season production and Adrian Peterson’s MVP season.  In 2013, Harvin is no longer a Viking and Peterson is caught searching for who is going to shoulder the offensive load with him.  The Vikings went out and signed Greg Jennings, but they are still pretty thin at WR.  The Vikings also have needs at LB, DT, and S.  Based on where the Vikings fall, I think taking the best player available is the best strategy here.

SELECTION: Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee

24.Indianapolis (11-5) (Needs: OT, CB, NT, OLB, OG)

The Indianapolis Colts moved from the worst team in the NFL in 2011, to a playoff team in 2012.  Much of that was due to the play of Andrew Luck, but Chuck Pagano and the Colts defense deserve some credit for that as well.  In this draft the Colts will need to build on their success in last year’s draft to keep the momentum rolling.  The Colts addressed some of their offensive line needs via free agency by signing Gosder Cherilus to play RT and Donald Thomas to play LG.  The also addressed some defensive needs by signing NT Aubrayo Franklin, 3-4 DE Ricky Jean-Franciose. And SS Laron Landry.  The Colts could use to address a future need/buy some insurance following the loss of Dwight Freeney.  Robert Mathis is aging and Jerry Hughes hasn’t proven that he can produce in the NFL yet.

SELECTION: Tank Carradine, DE/OLB Florida St.

25. Minnesota (from Seattle [11-5]) (Needs: WR, LB, DT, OG, S)

Minnesota picked up a second 1st round pick from the Seahawks in the Percy Harvin trade.  Just two picks ago, Minnesota picked up Cordarrelle Patterson to solidify their second wide receiver spot.  Now, Minnesota can address an area of concern on the defensive side of the ball.  Letroy Guion is in line to start at defensive tackle alongside (aging) Kevin Williams.  The Vikings could use an upgrade at this position.

SELECTION: Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio St.

26. Green Bay (11-5) (Needs: C, RB, WR, OLB, OT)

The Green Bay Packers are a very talented football team, and have few desperate needs heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.  Losing Greg Jennings hurts, but the emergence of Randall Cobb and James Jones softens that blow.  They could also use an OT for depth purposes considering it seems as though one of their current OTs is hurt every single game.  In my opinion, the Packers most glaring weakness is at running back (however they have faired very well without a great running back over the best several seasons).  The Packers do a great job of picking athletic guys and morphing them into football players.  Luckily for them, Eddie Lacy is as good of a football player that you could ask for at pick #26.

SELECTION: Eddie Lacy, RB Alabama

27. Houston (12-4) (Needs: WR, ILB, OT, OG, S)

The Houston Texans finally developed into the type of team that people were expecting to see over the past few seasons.  JJ Watt has emerged as one of the best defensive players in the league.  Houston has some other really good pieces on both sides of the ball (Brian Cushing, Brooks Reed, Kareem Jackson, obviously Arian Foster and Andre Johnson).  Houston fans have been calling for the Texans to draft a wide receiver to play opposite of Andre Johnson for years, and 2013 may finally be the year that they go in that direction.

SELECTION: Robert Woods, WR USC

28. Denver (13-3) (Needs: DT, ILB, S, RB, OT)

Damn those Broncos!  Scooping up Welker from the Pats.  I think that Danny Amendola will be a great addition to the Pats, however it’s tough to see a guy like Welker go.  Anyways, the Broncos needs are primarily on the defensive side of the ball.  They were able to pick up Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this offseason, which fills a void at cornerback.  They still present needs at inside linebacker (after losing DJ Williams to the Bears) and at defensive tackle.  As is the theme, the Broncos should look to take the best available player that fits their needs this late in the draft.

SELECTION: Sylvester Williams, DT North Carolina

29. New England (12-4) (Needs: WR, CB, OT, DT, DE)

For a team drafting this low in the 1st round, it always seems that the Patriots have so many needs and so many directions that they could go in.  After the release of Brandon Lloyd, the Pats have a big need at wide receiver.  With Alfonzo Dennard’s unknown future, the Pats have a big need at cornerback.  Vollmer has been resigned, so their needs on the offensive line are diminished, but they could use some improved depth.  On the defensive line, they could use another rush guy on the outside (i.e. John Abraham) and another big body up the middle.  I’m projecting a wide receiver here for the Pats, but who the hell knows.  Their track record with selecting wideouts isn’t very good (i.e. Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate).  DeAndre Hopkins is the best route runner and has the best hands of the remaining wideouts.  Sounds like a Pats guy to me…

SELECTION: DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson

30. Atlanta (13-3) (Needs: DE, LB, DT, OG, C)

First order of business for the Atlanta Falcons, bring back Matt Hansen.  Second order of business, find a cornerback, as I don’t think Robert McClain is going to get the job done.  Desmond Trufant is long off of the board, so the Falcons need to look in a different direction.

SELECTION: Johnthan Banks, CB Mississippi St.

31. San Francisco (11-4-1) (Needs: NT, DE, CB, OG, K)

The San Francisco 49ers were arguably the NFL’s most talented team in 2012, and have addressed some needs in free agency to bring in some more talent.  Guys by the names of Anquan Boldin, Glenn Dorsey, and Criag Dahl will try and help propel San Francisco to yet another super Bowl (and hopeful victory) in 2013.  However, the 49ers did lose some key pieces to free agency (i.e. Delanie Walker, Ricky Jean-Francois, Isaac Sopoaga, Dashon Goldson, etc.) and those positions need to be addressed in the draft.  At pick 31, the top tier of talent has been picked through, but there are certainly immediate starters left.  I look for the 49ers to look to upgrade their offensive line, while many experts believe Tyler Eifert may be the pick to give San Fran another offensive weapon.  After running a 4.9 40-yard dash at Alabama’s pro day (and banging out 30 reps on the bench at the combine), nose tackle Jesse Williams is making a case to be a 1st round pick.

SELECTION: Jesse Williams, NT Alabama

32. Baltimore (10-6) (Needs: ILB, S, C, OLB, WR)

Nearly 2 months after winning the Super Bowl the Baltimore Ravens look like a completely different team.  They’ve identified Joe Flacco as their franchise guy, lost seasoned veterans Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.  The Ravens were hit hard by free agency, losing guys like Reed, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, and trading Anquan Boldin.  With that said, the Ravens made some good additions as well (Marcus Spears, Chris Canty, Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff).  There are two positions that Baltimore has a big time need at, ILB and WR.  With Alec Ogletree and Manti Te’o off of the board, the Ravens could look to address their needs at wideout.

SELECTION: Keenan Allen, WR California

2011 NFL Mock Draft Version 1.0 by: “The Better Looking Mel Kiper”

VERSION 2.0 CAN BE FOUND AT THE LINK BELOW (UPDATED 1-19-11)

https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/2011-nfl-mock-draft-version-2-0-by-“the-better-looking-mel-kiper”/

The NFL season is now officially past the halfway point, so what better time is there to issue my first installment of the 2011 Mock Draft Version 1.0 by “The Better Looking Mel Kiper.”  Todd McShay stole some of my thunder, putting up the first five picks of his mock on SportsCenter over the past week, but I’m going to ignore his blatant attempt to steal my spotlight and give the people what they want.

Disclaimer #1: The draft order has been determined by the team records as of 11/9/10, as well as opponents’ win-loss percentage.  A * denotes playoff teams and the order that they were eliminated.

Disclaimer #2: Contrary to popular belief, I can not see more than 11 days into the future.  Therefore, if 12 days from now it becomes very obvious that something will occur in the draft that I did not account for, don’t hold it against me…I’m only partially superhuman.

Disclaimer #3: I catch heat, usually from my co-bloggers, about picks that I make and how high or low I have guys rated.  My mock draft selections are influenced only by my thoughts and scouting of a particular player.  If you don’t like it then feel free to chime in and speak your mind.  Otherwise, I don’t want to hear it.

1. Buffalo (0-8)

The Bills could use help at a wide variety of positions.  Their transition to a 3-4 defense has been a rough one.  They need to increase talent levels throughout their entire defense.  They don’t have a left tackle, or really any lineman of much substance at all.  C.J. Spiller is their lone offensive threat (besides Steve Johnson and Lee Evans, but they are struggling to even get the ball) and he barely even gets to touch the ball.  Sadly, having the first pick overall with no rookie salary cap essentially limits your team’s selection to two positions, quarterback and left tackle.  As I mention in the weekly “Scottie vs. Matt” picks post, the Bills have been on Andrew-Luck-watch all season.

SELECTION: Andrew Luck, QB Stanford

2. Dallas (1-7)

Who would have thought that before the season started the Cowboys, at any point throughout the year, would be in the running for the number one overall pick?  I guess that’s why there play the games.  Anyways, the Cowboys are a talented team and should look for a player that will be a staple of what they are trying to do for years to come.  They have a lot of money invested on defense, as well as the wide receiving corps and the running backs.  It looks like it could be time to think about getting a guy to protect Tony Romo, attempting to keep your “franchise” quarterback on the field.

SELECTION: Derek Sherrod, OT Mississippi State

3. Carolina (1-7)

I know that the Bills don’t have a win on the season, but in my opinion Carolina is the worst team in the NFL.  They don’t have a quarterback to speak of, their two all-world running backs have stopped even thinking about trying to find a hole, their wide receivers can’t get a pass thrown their way, and their defense is mediocre at best.  When your team is that bad, you have to start grabbing the most talented guys available.

SELECTION: A.J. Green, WR Georgia

4. San Francisco (2-6)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the San Francisco 49ers will win the NFC West.  If my prediction holds true, then obviously they will have a much lower draft selection than they do here, but I’m not about to start switching the draft order around based on my predictions, that will undoubtedly get ugly.  The 49ers have a very talented, but young offensive line, as well as one of the best young receivers in the game.  Combine those aspects with Frank Gore and Vernon Davis, and the offense seems formidable.  Singletary is on the hot seat, so bringing in a rookie quarterback doesn’t look like the best route for immediate success.  Therefore, look for an immediate defensive upgrade with arguably the best player in the draft.

SELECTION: Patrick Peterson, CB LSU

5. Detroit (2-6)

Another thing that I have stated continuously was how much I love this Lions team.  Keeping Stafford healthy for an entire season would lead to at least 6-8 wins.  But, that is the key.  This team can not keep Matthew Stafford healthy.  Their left tackle position has been a sore spot for years.  If Peterson is still around, I would expect Detroit to give him a long, hard look.  But picking up a left tackle should be priority number one.

SELECTION: Anthony Castonzo, OT Boston College

6. Denver (2-6)

Denver has started off this season just as terribly as they finished off their last.  Kyle Orton is flinging the ball all over the field, making guys like Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney key fantasy players (it is as ridiculous as it sounds).  Demarryius Thomas has yet to live up to the hype of being a first round pick, mainly because of his inability to stay healthy.  A glaring weakness for Denver is on the defensive line.  They have yet to fill those spots properly since they have switched over to a 3-4 defense a few years ago.  Luckily for the Broncos, the 2011 draft is littered with 3-4 defensive lineman.

SELECTION: Marcel Dareus, DL Alabama

7. Cincinnati (2-6)

It must be devastating for a franchise to have such high expectations coming into a season, just to see all of it go by the wayside and your team essentially stinks.  Unlike to boys down in Dallas, at least the Bengals are still fighting for wins.  There are not many positions that are glaring weaknesses in Cincinatti, so in my book that always mean grab the most talented guy on the board, and its only fitting that the Bengals take a flyer on a guy that it no longer allowed to play college football.

SELECTION: Robert Quinn, DE North Carolina

8. Arizona (3-5)

Arizona is a team that seemingly has no direction.  Former first rounder Beanie Wells hasn’t been able to stay healthy, limiting his impact and not allowing Ken Whisenhunt to run the ball like he wants to.  The Derek Anderson-Max Hall experiment has blown up in their face.  The defense has been decent, but not good enough to overcome how poor the offense has been playing.  I could see coach Whisenhunt going defense here, trying to establish the physicality that he became so accustomed to seeing in Pittsburgh, but a prospect like Jake Locker is too rare to overlook.

SELECTION: Jake Locker, QB Washington

9. Minnesota (3-5)

It is almost a guarantee that Brad Childress will not be the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.  Childress’ departure might very well lead to Brett Favre signing a 5 year deal to be the quarterback, prompting Minnesota to change their team name to the Favre’s.  If Locker was still around, I would expect him to get a long look from the Vikings, although those within the organization are still pretty high on Tavaris Jackson.  Ryan Mallett might get a bit of a look here too, but 9 is a bit high for him.  Cornerback is one of the few weaknesses of this surprisingly underperforming defense.

SELECTION: Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska

10. Cleveland (3-5)

The Browns seem to have found their quarterback of the future, as Colt McCoy is playing better than Clausen and arguably Bradford (the two quarterbacks picked before him in the 2010 draft).  This gives the Browns an opportunity to address other positions of need.  Defensive line and rush outside linebacker are the two spots that jump off of the page at me, but a coaching change (i.e. bringing in Jon Gruden) could certainly change the draft day philosophy.

SELECTION: Adrian Clayborn, DL Iowa

11. San Diego (4-5)

The lack of Vincent Jackson’s present throughout the first half of the season, combined with the injuries that the Chargers’ wide receivers have endured, has really highlighted San Diego’s need for a number one wideout.  Yes, Philip Rivers has been putting up numbers with no name guys, but their run game has been pathetic.  A big-time wideout would certainly help alleviate some of the pressure that the oft injured Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert are facing.

SELECTION: Julio Jones, WR Alabama

12. Seattle (4-4)

The Seahawks are one of the more surprising teams in the NFL.  Pete Carroll has essentially rebuilt this team in one season, a surprising feat considering his past failures in the NFL.  Charlie Whitehurst apparently is Carroll’s quarterback of the future with an aging Matt Hassleback’s performance continuing to diminish.  A prime-time running back could be just what this offense needs, even after the acquisition of Marshawn Lynch.  If Julio Jones is still around, I think he would wind up in Seattle.  But, he’s gone so the ‘Hawks have to go in a different direction.

SELECTION: Mark Ingram, RB Alabama

13. Houston (4-4)

I fully expect the Texans to finish the season with a record above .500, probably placing them squarely in the middle of the playoff picture, and with a lower draft pick.  The emergence of Arian Foster has certainly put a damper on Houston’s need for a running back.  After over-viewing their depth chart, there are two glaring weaknesses that stick out to me.  Cornerback Kareem Jackson was the Texans’ first round pick last season.  He hasn’t played terrible, but how much can you expect from a rookie corner.  The Texans’ pass defense has been the worst unit in the league, but how much money are you willing to tie up in one position.  The other position of need is wide receiver.  When the going gets tough, Matt Schaub throws it up to Andre Johnson.  Not a bad option by any means, aside from the fact that everybody knows that is where the ball is going.  I wouldn’t be willing to spend top 15 money on a wideout that doesn’t deserve to be taken that high, so bolstering the secondary could go a long way in vastly improving the Texans as a whole.

SELECTION: Brandon Harris, CB Miami

14. Jacksonville (4-4)

Contrarily to my thoughts on the Texans, there is no shot that the Jags are .500 by the end of the season.  I could easily see them finishing with 4 or 5 wins total.  With the bad seasons piling up, it looks like Jack Del Rio’s time in Jacksonville might be coming to a close.  Coaching changes and quarterback changes usually are synonymous with one another, which also means David Garrard’s days could be numbered.  Jacksonville needs to poster-boy quarterback to excite their fan base and try and keep their games from getting blacked out.  The Jags have the opportunity to grab the most physically imposing QB in this draft.  Mallett has a huge arm, but his decision making is sometimes questionable.

SELECTION: Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas

15. Miami (4-4)

Chad Pennington is back at the helm in Miami, which probably will lead to several victories considering that all Chad Pennington does is win.  Which arises the question of why this guy keeps getting benched?  So, is Chad Henne done?  It has to be a huge blow to his ego and confidence that he just got benched for a guy without a shoulder.  After this season both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are free agents, which means that at least one of them if not both of them will be playing on different teams.  Now that Mark Ingram has already been drafted, Daniel Thomas looks like the back with the most upside in the draft.

SELECTION: Daniel Thomas, RB Kansas State

16. Washington (4-4)

The Redskins were thought to be involved in the Randy Moss sweepstakes, but that never really panned out.  Santana Moss is the ‘Skins most threatening wide receiver, which is pretty pathetic in my mind.  Jonathan Baldwin is a physical specimen.  At 6’5″ 225 lbs, Baldwin nearly has tight end size, but running a 4.5 in the 40 he has the ability to create space and snatch the ball out of the air with huge hands.  Baldwin looks like a more physically gifted Marques Colston (who ironically was a tight end/wide receiver in college at Hofstra).

SELECTION: Jonathan Baldwin, WR Pittsburgh

17. New England – from Oakland (5-4)

An already young and talented New England team has the ability to improve their team vastly by adding two more talented first round picks.  This defense is already one of the youngest in the league, and in my opinion will be one of the better units in the league after only a couple of years.  Coach Belichick’s history leads me to believe that this pick will be a defensive or offensive lineman.  Belichick knows that they way to build and sustain a great team is through the hogs up front, both defensively and offensively.  2010’s seventh round pick Brandon Deadrick has made his way into the starting lineup, and contributions from Ron Brace, Myron Pryor, and Mike Wright have bolstered the performance of the defensive line even with the absence of Ty Warren.  But, adding some talent (in the deepest 3-4 defensive end draft I have ever seen) could lead to this defensive line being considered one of the best in the league.

SELECTION: Nick Fairley, DE/DT Auburn

18. Chicago (5-3)

Jay Cutler hasn’t really turned out to be the franchise quarterback that Chicago fans thought they were getting when they traded 57 picks for him.  Cutler’s decision making isn’t great, but he doesn’t have much protection either.  Mike Martz’s offense relies heavily on deep passes, which require that the quarterback has time (see Orlando Pace in St. Louis).  With all of the talent that the Bears have on defense, addressing the offensive line should be the first priority.

SELECTION: Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin

19. Tampa Bay (5-3)

The Bucanneers and head coach Raheem Morris have already out done most expectations for the 2010 season.  Josh Freeman has matured quickly into a decent NFL quarterback, and he has the look of a guy that could be very good in the NFL.  LeGarrette Blount has showed some of the talent that had him projected as a first round pick before pulling his best Pacquiao impersonation.  The defense has been decent, but their inability to pressure the quarterback has been their achilles heel.

SELECTION: Da’Quan Bowers, DE Clemson

20. Tennessee (5-3)

Similarly to Tampa’s defensive issues, the Titans struggle to get to the quarterback.  But, even with those struggles, their defense has been one of the best units in the league.  Offensively, Tennessee is pretty much set.  They have a group of young receivers, led by the emerging Kenny Britt.  Compiled with a decent offensive line, a superstar running back in Chris Johnson, and serviceable Vince Young, the Titans don’t need to spend a first round pick on offense.

SELECTION: Ryan Kerrigan, DE Purdue

21. St. Louis* (4-4)

Sam Bradford has surpassed my expectations for this season.  He has been calm and composed in the pocket, making the right reads and delivering the ball with speed and accuracy.  Obviously, there have been some growing pains in St. Louis, as some misreads have led to interceptions as well as not having a noteworthy wide receiver to throw to.  Picking up a playmaking wideout should be the first priority for the Rams in April.

SELECTION: Malcom Floyd, WR Notre Dame

22. Kansas City* (5-3)

The Chiefs are another team that has exceeded expectations this season.  Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles have put this team on their back and run their way into the playoff hunt in the AFC.  Kansas City’s defense has been revitalized under the direction of Romeo Crennell, and the offense has done enough with Charlie Weis at the helm.  The next two drafts will be crucial in the continued development of the Chiefs.  Good picks and this team will be very good for years to come; miss on some high picks and it could be back to terribleness in Kansas City.  The Chiefs could use a wideout, but most of the first round talent has already been taken, so replacing an aging Mike Vrabel should be atop the list of to-do’s.

SELECTION: Akeem Ayers, LB UCLA

23. Philadelphia* (5-3)

After dealing away key secondary members Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, the Eagles’ secondary has been exposed this year, primarily opposite of Asante Samuel.  Ellis Hobbs hasn’t played well enough to hold down a starting spot, and the backups aren’t talented enough to consistently be a starter in the NFL.  The 2011 NFL Draft is littered with first round talent at the cornerback spot.  I’ve been saying for a couple of years now that the Eagles should look into drafting a linebacker, but the first round might not be the place for that.  They could also use a big back to compliment LeSean McCoy.

SELECTION: Janoris Jenkins, CB Florida

24. Indianapolis* (5-3)

The Colts have been one of the better offensive units in the NFL for the past decade.  They lose all-time greats like Marvin Harrison and replace them seamlessly with no-name guys like Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie.  The same raw talent might not be there, but these guys are football players, plain and simple.  The defensive side of the ball has notoriously the weaker unit of the Colts.  Bringing in a big-time outside linebacker to play alongside Gary Brackett will make them much more athletic.

SELECTION: Travis Lewis, OLB Oklahoma

25. New Orleans* (6-3)

Even with the plethera of injuries to the running back position, the New Orleans’ Saints offense continues to roll.  With Drew Brees at the helm, the receivers continue to flourish, and the run game is deployed only when needed.  Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush’ absence has been a bit troublesome for the Saints, as they experienced questionable losses against the likes of the Browns and the Cardinals, but at 6-3 there are not many holes that need to be filled offensively.  New Orleans could use to pick up a running back, but that can be done a bit later in the draft.  Defense should be the prioroty, with weaknesses on the defensive line, linebacking corps, and secondary.  With the selection of Patrick Robinson (CB) in the first round last year, I look for the Saints to address another issue come April.

SELECTION: Von Miller, DE/OLB Texas A&M

26. New York Jets* (6-2)

Offensively, the New York Jets might not even have room for a first round pick.  They are set all the way from quarterback, through the line and running backs, the recieving corps and tight ends.  They may need a new offensive coordinator, but they are rarely selected in the first round.  Even though we continue to hear about how imposing the Jets’ defense is, that is where all of their holes are.  The secondary could use a safety, but I don’t see any safeties as first round talent right now.  Depending on what happens with Kris Jenkins, the Jets could be in need of a defensive end, nose tackle, and a rush outside linebacker.

SELECTION: Allen Bailey, DE/DT Miami

27. New England* (6-2)

Here lies opportunity number two to improve one of the youngest defensive units in the NFL.  It would not surprise me to see coach Belichick deal one, if not both of these picks come April.  He loves nothing more than trading down and picking up extra picks.  I truly believe that he fantasizes about trading down so often that he gets every single pick in the seventh round.  Anyways, after picking up a 3-4 defensive end earlier in the draft, the Pats could look in several directions.  Running back, wide reciever, rush linebacker, and cornerback are all priorities.  If I had my choice, I would go with a big time wideout to help open up that offense a bit more.  If I was Belichick, I would go with a offensive lineman because I hate making my fans happy (in the short term at least) or spending a lot of money on skill position players.  But, this is my mock so I’ll take it where I want.

SELECTION: Justin Houston, DE/OLB Georgia

28. Atlanta* (6-2)

I love the Falcons this season.  With that game winning drive against the Ravens on Thursday Matt Ryan, in my mind, started approaching elite status for quarterbacks in the NFL (joining the likes of Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Rivers, and Brees).  Michael Turner has played well again this season and Roddy White is an absolute monster.  Defensively, the Falcons are mediocre and have one of the below average pass defenses in the NFL.  In my opinion, the Falcons need help at defensive end, outside linebacker, cornerback, and safety.

SELECTION: Bruce Carter, OLB North Carolina

29. Baltimore* (6-2)

The Ravens are back to “elite” status in the NFL.  They finally got their hands on a number one wide receiver, which has helped to evolve this offense into a threatening unit.  Their defense, under the continued leadership of Ray Lewis, has been stout (big surprise there).  Ed Reed is finally back on the field and their defense will only get better.  As of April, the Ravens could use to add some depth to their offensive and defensive lines and another wide receiver.  But, the position of most need is the cornerback spot.

SELECTION: Aaron Williams, CB Texas

30. Green Bay* (6-3)

Removing injuries from all teams, Green Bay might very well be the most talented bunch in the league.  They are full of weapons offensively, from Jennings, Driver, Jones, and Nelson to Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant, they are stacked.  They spent their first round pick in 2010 on offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, so this year they may very well go for defense.  Charles Woodson is aging and Al Harris was recently released.  Clay Matthews is defensive MVP so far this season, but the spot across from him is weak.  Their defensive line is pretty good, but could use some upgrades.  This low in the first round it is about grabbing the best talent available.

SELECTION: Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB Oklahoma

31. New York Giants* (6-2)

I’m fully expecting the Giants to draft a defensive lineman come April because they don’t have enough (still baffled over that Jason Pierre-Paul pick).  Offensively, the emergence of Hakeem Nicks as a legitimate number one wideout has improved their offensive output greatly (pretty sure I called this guy being a stud two years ago).  Their offensive line is set, especially with former first rounder William Beaty waiting in the wings.  Defensively, they are obviously good at defensive end and in the secondary, but could use some help at defensive tackle and linebacker.

SELECTION: Marvin Austin, DT North Carolina

32. Pittsburgh* (6-2)

I’m not saying that the Steelers are going to win the championship, but obviously the website where I pasted the draft order from does.  But, I’m much too lazy and busy to change it so for now, congratulations Pittsburgh.  The Steelers have glaring weaknesses all over their offensive line.  Their offensive tackles are old, and their guards are just not that good.  Pouncey is probably their best offensive lineman and he is a rookie center.  Aside from the offensive line, they are not overly weak at any other position other than cornerback.

SELECTION: Nate Solder, OT Colorado

2010 NFL Mock Draft: Version 3.0 by: “The Better Looking Mel Kiper”

A lot of time has gone into this damn mock draft, so I hope you all enjoy it.  I will be posting my final version of the mock draft on Thursday afternoon, a few hours before the start of the real draft.

DISCLAIMER #1: The team needs are based on Scouts Inc. projections, which can be found on ESPN.com.  I would love to go through every team’s depth chart and determine their team needs on my own, but I actually have some productive things to do with my time.

DISCLAIMER #2: I find it to be quite hilarious that I told all of you URI basketball fans in JANUARY that they wouldn’t make the NCAA tournament.  As of March 14th, 2010 (selection Sunday) I can officially say…”I TOLD YOU SO!”

DISCLAIMER #3: Now, I just have to continue to hope and pray that for the benefit of the NFL and its entire fan base, Brett Favre decides to retire, FOR GOOD!

DISCLAIMER #4: No matter what the results were of any games in the NCAA tournament, the Big East is still the best conference in all the land.

DISCLAIMER #5: As a follow-up to one of my previous articles, Joe Lunardi released his “bracketology” of the tournament if it were expanded to 96 teams.  Providence College received a 21 seed.  Any postseason tournament that has Providence in its field is immediately discredited as anything worthwhile and should be removed from the public spectrum immediately (it takes a true faithful to know when your down and how far you’ve got to go to get back to the top).

DISCLAIMER #6: These draft projections are based on trades, free agent signings, injury updates, and any other relevant information as of April 16, 2010.  So if anything happens in between now and when my next mock draft is released that I did not account for, then I’m sad to say I have yet to refine my future predicting skills.

DISCLAIMER #7: Any and all comments about my mock draft, and who I have your team selecting and wanted.  But, if you are going to be a complete homer (overaggressive bias for your team) about the situation the keep your bullshit to yourself.

 

  1. 1. St. Louis Rams – (TEAM NEEDS: QB, CB, WR, DT)

I released the first version of my mock draft in December, when every analyst around was planted securely on the Ndamukong Suh bandwagon, and I proclaimed that solely based on economic reasons the St. Louis Rams would draft either a quarterback or a left tackle.  Then, I proceeded to project that with the first pick in the 2010 NFL draft the Rams would select Sam Bradford.  Now that all these supposed “analysts” seem to be on the Sam Bradford bandwagon, all I have to say is I told you so.  With the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select…

Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma

  1. 2. Detroit Lions – (TEAM NEEDS: CB, DT, SS, OLB)

Around this time every year there seem to comes a point where a player is such a good fit with a particular team at a particular slot in the draft that Todd McShay just has to come up another player that he believes that team will choose.  Well Mr. McShay, sorry to disappoint you but with the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions will select arguably the best prospect in this draft (not Gerald McCoy)…

Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska

  1. 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – (TEAM NEEDS: WR, DT, DE, CB)

When the first draft projections were coming out, it seemed as though the Bucs would miss out on the two stud defensive tackles in this draft.  Thankfully for them it looks as though at least either Suh or Gerald McCoy will fall down to the Buccaneers and fill their most glaring need on the defensive side of the ball.  I believe that if there was a possibility of trading down to around 10, the Bucs would jump on that opportunity and promptly pick up Dez Bryant, but trading out of the top 5 is always a very tall task, and until that looks like a possibility, with the third pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select…

Geral McCoy, DT Oklahoma

  1. 4. Washington Redskins – (TEAM NEEDS: LT, RB, RT, QB)

With the addition of Donovan McNabb, the Redskins’ need for a quarterback is now obsolete.  The Skins are also considering a switch to a 3-4 defense, and I believe that Albert Haynesworth’s days in Washington are numbered.  If either Suh or McCoy fell to the Redskins here than they could fill a void necessary to make the defensive switch.  But, with both of those players already selected in this draft, protecting McNabb will be of the utmost importance.  With the fourth selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select…

Russell Okung, OT Oklahoma State

  1. 5. Kansas City Chiefs – (TEAM NEEDS: LT, NT, FS, OLB)

The St. Louis Rams were the worst team in the NFL last season in regards to wins and losses.  My personal belief is that the Kansas City Chiefs may actually be the worst team in the entire league.  They have very little talent to build upon, and a lot of the young talent that they have has seemingly underperformed (i.e. Glenn Dorsey, Tamba Hali, Branden Albert, etc.).  Left tackle is one of their biggest needs.  If Okung is available he would be a great selection as he could contribute immediately and allow Albert to slide over to the right side, where he is much more effective.  If not, a lot of professionals are saying that the Chiefs may look to take Bryan Bulaga, but I think 5 is a bit high for the value with Bulaga.  A great way to turn around your defensive quickly is to get a playmaking secondary player.  Brandon Flowers is a very good young corner and drafting a safety to accompany him would improve the Chiefs’ defense dramatically.  With the fifth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select…

Eric Berry, S Tennessee

  1. 6. Seattle Seahawks – (TEAM NEEDS: OT, DE, CB, WR)

The Seahawks (as with all teams drafting high in the first round) have many needs.  Walter Jones announced his retirement (via twitter…I know, it’s ridiculous) earlier this offseason.  That leads a big hole to fill at left tackle for the Seahawks.  The Seahawks also are desperately in need of a wide receiver, as evident by their continued attempts to trade for Brandon Marshall.  I have a feeling within my gut that Pete Carroll will go for a “highlight reel” pick here and take Dez Bryant.  I am very reluctant to make that official, but I guess I have two weeks to mull it over before it is set in stone.  With the sixth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select…

Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State

  1. 7. Cleveland Browns – (TEAM NEEDS: QB, WR, CB, S)

Mike Holmgren has made it known that Jimmy Clausen is not his guy.  Jake Delhomme is apparently the man to bring the Browns to the promise land.  Sorry, but I’m not buying it.  I think that the Browns will give serious consideration to Clausen, and picking up Delhomme was a move to get a “mentor” type player in to help Clausen along.  I’m going to go outside of the box with this one and make a prediction that no one really has made.  With the seventh pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…

Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame

  1. 8. Oakland Raiders – (TEAM NEEDS: QB, OT, DT, WR)

Oh Al Davis, are you capable of doing anything correctly?  I told you last year that Darrius Heyward-Bey was a terrible selection and it turns out that I was correct.  Your last successful first round pick was Nnamdi Asomugha and that was in 2003!  Come on Al, even a blind squirrel gets a nut once and a while.  Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford (projected as a 3rd to 4th round pick) ran the fastest 40 at the NFL Combine (4.28) so it would not surprise me if he was selected.  But, if Al decides to be a reasonable human for the day, on offensive tackle would be the wisest selection.  With the eighth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select…

Bryan Bulaga, OT Iowa

  1. 9. Buffalo Bills – (TEAM NEEDS: QB, OT, NT, WR)

The Bills are in desperate need of a quarterback.  The Bills are in desperate need of an offensive tackle.  The Bills are in desperate need of a nose tackle.  I’ll stop because I don’t want to rub it in, but the Bills are a very needy team.  If Clausen is available then I think he will be the selection but (with Tebow lurking in the second round) there are other directions they could go and needs that they have to fill.  With the ninth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select…

Trent Williams, OT Oklahoma

  1. 10. Jacksonville Jaguars – (TEAM NEEDS: FS, C, QB, WR)

The Jacksonville Jaguars offense consists of Maurice Jones Drew, and that is about it.  Their previously vaunted defense is no longer existent.  Jack Del Rio is on a short leash that leads to him being fired at the end of the season.  That sounds like a season full of optimism for all of you Jaguar faithfuls!  There is going to be a big PR push for the Jags to take Tebow here simply to try and avoid blackouts and be able to sell seats.  Sadly, that would be one of the worst moves they could make and it would set their franchise back for another 2-3 years.  With Dez Bryant gone I think Jacksonville has to go with the best player available to get some sort of value at 10.  With the tenth selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select…

Earl Thomas, S Texas

  1. 11. Denver Broncos (from Chicago) – (TEAM NEEDS: WR, ILB, G/C, QB)

Brandon Marshall has just been shipped out of town and Josh McDaniels is officially putting his stamp on the Denver Broncos (if dumping Jay Cutler last year wasn’t enough).  The theory that the Broncos would be interested in taking Dez Bryant if available doesn’t make much sense to me.  They just traded their most superior offensive talent because of off-field issues.  Why would you draft another wide receiver that you are going to sign for 5 years and huge money that also has off-field issues?  I know, is does not make sense to me either.  Anyway, McDaniels knows that the way to supplement a mediocre offense is to play tremendous defense (see the Ravens of the past decade).  D.J. Williams could use a running mate up the middle of that defense to accompany Dumervil and Ayers on the outside.

Rolando McClain, ILB Alabama

  1. 12. Miami Dolphins – (TEAM NEEDS: WR, FS, NT, OLB)

Brandon Marshall was a great pickup for a team that has needed a stud wide receiver for at least the last five seasons.  Luckily for us Patriots fans, I don’t know how long Marshall is going to be able to keep his mouth shut with Chad Henne attempting to throw him the ball (good luck) and the running game being the focal point of the offense (although I guess $47.5 million can help you keep to yourself).  Anyway, wide receiver is not longer a top priority in the draft so I expect the Dolphins to look and fill their biggest defensive hole, nose tackle.  With the eleventh pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select…

Dan Williams, NT Tennessee

  1. 13. San Francisco 49ers – (TEAM NEEDS: OT, FS, OL, OLB)

I think that if Earl Thomas is still around, then he would be the selection.  But, Thomas was picked up a few picks ago and the 49ers need to look elsewhere.  Offensive tackle is a serious need and so is a pass rushing outside linebacker.  Mike Singletary is a great defensive coach, but this draft is pretty deep at the 3-4 outside linebacker position so I think offensive tackle is the direction that they go.  As I was writing this, Ted Ginn Jr. was just traded to the 49ers which further tempers the need for a wide receiver (along with the money already invested in the position with Crabtree).  With the thirteenth selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select…

Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers

  1. 14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver) – (TEAM NEEDS: OT, DE, CB, WR)

Pete Carroll and flashy players go hand-in-hand.  He coached at probably the most “Hollywood” school in all of college football.  He recruited the flashiest players, and ironically enough, they were the best players.  Pete Carroll loves explosive playmakers (see Reggie Bush, Joe McKnight, etc.) and drafting Dez Bryant earlier in this draft, they offensive was already formidably better.  Now, by selecting a playmaking running back, the Seahawks offensive has just transformed itself into one of the best young offenses in the league (maybe a bold proclamation but I’m going to roll with it).  With the fourteenth selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select…

C.J. Spiller, RB Clemson

  1. 15. New York Giants – (TEAM NEEDS: MLB, DT, LB, OL)

The popular pick here is Rolando McClain, but he has already been selected (and rightfully so).  Without a middle linebacker worthy of first round money left in the draft, the Giants are forced to look elsewhere.  I fully expect that if McClain is gone, the G Men will look to deal this pick to a team like Atlanta or Houston who could look to jump up and grab Derrick Morgan or Joe Haden respectively.  But, because I’m not making mock trades (and because Mathias Kiwanuka is capable of playing both defensive end and outside linebacker), with the fifteenth selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select…

Derrick Morgan, DE Georgia Tech

  1. 16. Tennessee Titans – (TEAM NEEDS: DE, CB, DT, LB)

Missing out on Morgan by one pick is a tough pill to swallow for the Tennessee Titans.  Thankfully for them, this draft is very deep at the DE/OLB position.  My somewhat bold prediction (or maybe not bold at all depending on how you look at it) is that the Titans are going to trade for Albert Haynesworth.  The Redskins-Haynesworth marriage has been unsuccessful so far, and the team’s willingness to put Haynesworth at the nose in their new 3-4 defense has apparently bunched up the big man’s panties a bit.  But, even if they somehow get Haynesworth back in town, the loss of Kyle Vanden Bosch is a big one for the Titans.  With the sixteenth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans select…

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE South Florida

  1. 17. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina) – (TEAM NEEDS: OT, FS, OL, OLB)

The 49ers picked up Anthony Davis earlier in the draft, so now it is time to focus on defense.  Joe Haden’s poor 40 times at the combine raised some eyebrows, but he make up for it at his pro day by posting a 4.45 time.  The 49ers have a ton of money invested in Nate Clements, but placing Haden beside him would immediately give the 49ers one of the better cornerback corps in the NFC.  With the seventeenth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers select…

Joe Haden, CB Florida

  1. 18. Pittsburgh Steelers – (TEAM NEEDS: CB, C, G, DL)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are unraveling at the seams (sorry Lepore, it’s true).  Their star receiver has just been dealt for a fifth round pick (which amazes me.  I understand he is facing a suspension, but Holmes grabbed 79 catches for nearly 1,250 yards last season.  Are the Steelers really expecting to get a player near Holmes’ caliber in the fifth round?).  Their quarterback is too busy hitting the bars in Georgia rather than getting haircuts and running on the treadmill to rid himself of that double chin.  Their running back is seemingly made of glass (yes Rashard Mendenhall, you ruined my 2009 fantasy football season).  But after all of the terrible things that have happened to the Steelers this offseason, they still are the Pittsburgh Steelers which means that they will probably still be in contention come January.  With the eighteenth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select…

Mike Iupati, G Idaho

  1. 19. Atlanta Falcons – (TEAM NEEDS: DE, OLB, OL, CB)

Apparently, the Jamaal Anderson experiment has officially been declared a failure (Atlanta, I told you 3 years ago that he was a 3-4 defensive end and would not perform in a 4-3!) and the Falcons are again in need of a defensive end opposite of the ever-injured John Abraham.  But, contrary to Mr. Kiper’s and Mr. McShay’s belief, I don’t believe that defensive end is their biggest need (and plus this is a very deep defensive end draft).  Chris Houston is a pretty good corner, but Tye Hill struggles a bit.  I think that picking a corner here will give the Falcons the best value for the money.  With the nineteenth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Atlants Falcons select…

Kyle Wilson, CB Boise State

  1. 20. Houston Texans – (TEAM NEEDS: CB, RB, NT, FS) 

The loss of Dunta Robinson was a huge blow to the defensive progression that the Texans were undergoing.  I’ve made it known to my co-workers (my roommates) that within the next two to three years, the Texans will have the best defense in the NFL.  They remind me of a young Ravens defense (circa 1999) with a stud young linebackers and a very good defensive line.  If Amobi Okoye develops into a good defensive tackle, Houston’s defense will be as good as it gets in the front seven.  They now only have two holes to fill, but they are some very big holes (corner and safety).  I would love to see the Texans draft Taylor Mays with this pick, but their addition of Bernard Pollard last season affords them a little more time to draft a player for that position.  So, with the twentieth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans select…

Kareem Jackson, CB Alabama

 

  1. 21. Cincinnati Bengals – (TEAM NEEDS: TE, FS, DE, WR) 

I never thought I would say this, but the Bengals’ defense actually wasn’t horrendous last year.  This season the Bengals are in desperate need of an offensive playmaker, especially at the tight end position.  Gresham will get a serious look here, but I think that free safety is a more pressing need.  With the twenty-first selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select…

Taylor Mays, S USC

  1. 22. New England Patriots – (TEAM NEEDS: WR, OLB, ILB, TE) 

I have absolutely no idea what the Patriots will do with their draft picks.  I have never had any idea what the Patriots would do with their draft picks.  There is absolutely no point of me predicting what the Patriots will do with the draft pick, because I will inevitably be wrong.  That being said, the Pats have some serious needs at outside linebacker, tight end, and wide receiver.  If Dez Bryanyt miraculously falls to 22 than I think he will get a serious look from Belicheck.  But, he’s long gone so other needs have to be addressed.  The Patriots have been desperate for a tight end that can block and has the ability to catch.  Jermaine Gresham is one of the few guys in this draft that can do that, but it is very unlikely that he will be available by pick 44.  How Brandon Graham fell this far is beyond me, but he’s the guy we Patriot fans have been waiting for.  With the twenty-second pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select…

Brandon Graham, DE/OLB Michigan

  1. 23. Green Bay Packers – (TEAM NEEDS: CB, OLB, G/C, OT)

Aaron Kampman was never a great fit in the Packers’ 3-4 defense, but with his departure there is now a serious hole.  Drafting a young, speedy pass rusher to play opposite of Clay Matthews and next to Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk immediately gives that Packers one of, if not the best linebacking corps in the NFL.

Sergio Kindle, OLB Texas

  1. 24. Philadelphia Eagles – (TEAM NEEDS: FS, OLB, DE, T/G)

Taylor Mays would be a great fit in Philly.  He would restore that toughness that the Eagles defense lost when Dawkins decided to finish his career in Denver.  My roommate Pete is a diehard Eagles fan and I’ve been telling him for three years now that the Eagles’ linebackers are the worst group in the entire NFL.  Will Witherspoon was a great mid-season addition for the Eagles, but he was surprisingly released earlier this off-season.  Their need for a playmaking linebacker is at its peak now and it is time for Andy Reid to address the biggest issue on their defense.  With the twenty-fourth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select…

Sean Weatherspoon, OLB Missouri

  1. 25. Baltimore Ravens – (TEAM NEEDS: CB, TE, DE, FS)

The Anquan Boldin trade was an unbelievable move for the Ravens.  They have had a need at wide receiver for as long as I can remember, and the Boldin addition certainly addresses that.  But, Boldin can’t do it all by himself.  Derrick Mason will help but he is certainly nearing the end of his career.  Kiper and McShay both think that Demaryius Thomas (WR, Georgia Tech) will be the selection, but I think they can grab another young wide receiver later in the draft.  Nose tackle Kelly Gregg will turn 34 during the 2010 season and he is nearing the end of his career.  Bringing in a guy like Terrence Cody (6’4”, 250 lbs.) has an unbelievable amount of talent and athleticism for a guy his size.  He has weight concerns, but one season under the guidance of a seasoned veteran like Gregg may get him on the right track.  Cody has an amazing amount of upside so this could be a huge win for the Ravens in the near future.  With the twenty-fifth in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select…

Terrence Cody, NT Alabama

  1. 26. Arizona Cardinals – (TEAM NEEDS: LT, OLB, QB, ILB)

Karlos Dansby was a huge loss for the Cardinals.  He was the best linebacker on a corps with not much depth and some aging players.  But, a Brandon Spikes type player may be available in the second round to help fill that need.  Ken Whisenhunt knows how important a pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker is to the success to the 3-4 defense.  With the twenty-sixth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select…

Everson Griffen, DE USC

  1. 27. Dallas Cowboys – (TEAM NEEDS: S, LT, ILB, WR)

When will Jerry Jones realize that the lack of success experienced by the Dallas Cowboys in the last 10-15 years has been due solely to his inability to fill the roster with productive (non-controversial) players.  That being said, Roy Williams’ lack of productivity and Miles Austin’s one year wonder syndrome (no, I am not on the Miles Austin bandwagon) leaves the Cowboys with a need at wide receiver.  They could really use  a left tackle with this position, but there isn’t one left worthy of the 27th pick.  Demaryius Thomas is more of a “project” than most other first round picks considering he is a very raw athlete that came from a run first college system, but he has the talent to be a good player in the NFL.  With the twenty-seventh pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select…

Demaryius Thomas, WR Georgia Tech

  1. 28. San Diego Chargers – (TEAM NEEDS: RB, NT, CB, RT)

I don’t care what anyone says, Darren Sproles is physically incapable of being a two or three down running back in the NFL.  He is too small.  The pounding of a leading role as the starting running back would undoubtedly take a serious toll on Sproles and hinder his effectiveness on third down and in the return game.  That being said, nose tackle is also a major need for the Chargers, but you can’t pass on a solid running back with this pick.  With the twenty-eighth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers select…

Ryan Mathews, RB Fresno state

  1. 29. New York Jets – (TEAM NEEDS: S, DE, OLB, WR)

Rex Ryan is an animal.  He has been wheeling and dealing since the night after the Jets lost to the Colts in the AFC Championship game.  I still think that the AFC East runs through New England, but the Jets are certainly closing the gap.  The additions of Santonio Holmes, Ladanian Tomlinson, and Antonio Cromartie (and the addition of Jason Taylor in the near future) were all great moves for the Jets.  But, I’m very interested to see how all of these volatile personalities interact throughout the course of the season.  The Jets are in need of a 3-4 defensive and luckily for them, at this point in the draft they can choose between some very good players.  With the twenty-ninth pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select…

Jared Odrick, DE/DT Penn State

  1. 30. Minnesota Vikings – (TEAM NEEDS: OL, QB, CB, NT)

Man, I hope that Brett Favre retires.  I want to be able to watch Sportscenter for just one day in between July and February and have them not mention Favre, it would be amazing.  As for the Vikings draft needs, at this point it is more like best player available rather than drafting to fill needs.  Picking up a cornerback here would provide the Vikings with some much needed talent and depth at the position.  With the thirtieth selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select…

Patrick Robinson, CB Florida State

  1. 31. Indianapolis Colts – (TEAM NEEDS: OT, NT, OL, CB)

The Colts could use and offensive lineman, but the is not way in hell that they will select Bruce Campbell (OT, Maryland) because he isn’t really that great of a football player.  Like I said for the Vikings, at this point in the draft you are looking for the most talented player for the money you will be investing.  With the thirty-first selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select…

Maurkice Pouncey, C/G Florida

  1. 32. New Orleans Saints – (TEAM NEEDS: DT, OLB, DE, TE)

The Saints need a defensive tackle to play alongside Sedrick Ellis, enough said.  With the thirty-second pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select…

Brian Price, DT UCLA

PATRIOT PREDICTIONS:

1st Round (22nd Overall) – Brandon Graham, DE/OLB Michigan
2nd Round (44th Overall – JAX) – Tim Tebow, QB/H-Back Florida
2nd Round (47th Overall – TEN) – Greg Hardy, DE Mississippi
2nd Round (53rd Overall) – Dexter McCluster, WR Mississippi
4th Round (119th Overall) – Aaron Hernandez, TE Florida
6th Round – Travis Goethel, ILB Arizona State
6th Round (Comp – Jabar Gaffney) – Shelley Smith, OG Colorado State
7th Round (PHI – Greg Lewis) – Brandon Deaderick, DT Alabama
7th Round (DEN – Russ Hochstein) – Hunter Lawrence, K Texas
7th Round (Comp – Heath Evans) – Stafon Johnson, RB USC
7th Round (Comp – Lamont Jordan) – Trindon Holliday, WR/KR LSU
7th Round (Comp – Lonnie Paxton) – Robert Malone, P Fresno State