The Weekend Warriors began their 2013 NFL Mock Draft this past Saturday, highlighting picks 1-16. Here is how I think it is going to go down a week from today.
NFL Mock Draft
1. Kansas City Chiefs Luke Joeckel,OT,Texas A&M
With the Chiefs bringing in Alex Smith as their quarterback, new head coach Andy Reid has to think of ways to protect this guy. Offensive tackle Brendan Albert was retained for this season with the franchise tag, but the Chiefs still need help at that position. It is uncertain how much longer Albert’s tenure in Kansas City will be, but this team has some talent at the skill positions with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and running back Jamaal Charles. Joeckel makes the most sense as the top pick for a few reasons. First, even then Joeckel is a right tackle, he may be moved to the blind side if Albert departs from the team in 2014. Two, Joeckel played in an offense led by mobile quarterbacks in Johnny Manziel and Ryan Tannehill. Alex Smith has the ability to run, from his college days in Urban Meyer’s spread offense and his NFL days with the San Francisco 49ers. Three, he has the ability to get to the second level and cut defenders which could greatly spur the effectiveness of Jamaal Charles in the run game.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars Dion Jordan,DE/OLB,Oregon
There wasn’t a team worse against the pass than the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. Jordan only produced 14.5 sacks at Oregon, but his size and athleticism are something that simply can’t be coached. Initially recruited as a wide receiver, Jordan seems to be a great fit for new head coach Gus Bradley’s scheme defensively. Bradley wants to build his team on speed and there isn’t a more explosive pass rusher in the draft than Jordan. Jordan will have to put on size if the Jaguars expect him to be a strong-side outside linebacker because his frame doesn’t help him set the edge against 300-pound offensive lineman, especially at the NFL level. Coming off of surgery for a partially torn labrum is concerning as well, but not catastrophic. As talented as he is athletically, this could be this year’s Vernon Gholston. This team has taken a risk on a defensive line prospect in Derrick Harvey out of Florida before in the top 10 and it hasn’t worked out.
3. Oakland Raiders Sharrif Floyd,DT,Florida
This is the ultimate wild card in the first round. Yes, they brought in Matt Flynn via trade to address their need at quarterback, but he isn’t the long-term solution. Geno Smith could be a possibility here. However, this is the year where the Raiders make the right move and go defense, particularly defensive line. Defensive lineman Tommy Kelly was released and Richard Seymour’s contract was voided after a disappointing stint in Oakland. Floyd makes sense as the Raiders are uncertain how they are going to attack opposing offenses. Floyd fits best as a 3-technique that wreaks havoc up front, and has displayed athleticism to get after mobile quarterbacks. His 6.5 sacks last season, including two against Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the Gators’ defeat in the Sugar Bowl, were an impressive number for a defensive tackle that has played every position on the defensive line. A 40 time under 5.0 has to also impress the Raiders.
4. Philadelphia Eagles Eric Fisher,OT,Central Michigan
New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is moving in his explosive offense into Philadelphia with Michael Vick at the helm for at least one more season. While West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith could go here, the Eagles’ number one concern remains up front on the offensive line. Eric Fisher is probably the most athletic and versatile tackle in this year’s draft. Part of the reason as to why Michael Vick can’t stay healthy is his high-risk playing style. He also is playing in a high-risk environment with question marks and uncertainty across the offensive line. No matter the quarterback this season, they will welcome Eric Fisher as a staple of this offensive line for years to come.
5. Detroit Lions Ezekial Ansah,DE/OLB, BYU
The Detroit Lions will head into this draft with the best player available mentality. One might think they could take Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner at this slot, despite re-signing Chris Houston this offseason. However, losing defensive lineman Cliff Avril to Seattle and cutting ties with Kyle Vanden Bosch leads me to believe the Lions will look for a pass rusher to further compliment Ndamukong Suh. After all, a good pass rush can help a lacking secondary. Just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers.
6. Cleveland Browns Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Quite possibly the most talented player in the draft. Milliner is not only the best athlete on the defensive side of the ball in this draft, but he might be the best player. Playing in the SEC, Milliner was the highlight of the Alabama’s national champion defense, always taking on opponents’ top pass catchers. The Browns have Joe Haden, but the departure of Sheldon Brown has to make Cleveland think about solidifying the position even further. The Browns have a lot of needs, but Milliner could help this franchise immensely, especially when facing explosive receivers like A.J. Green, Torrey Smith and Antonio Brown six times a year.
7. Arizona Cardinals Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
With the Cardinals bringing in Carson Palmer at the quarterback position this offseason, the Cardinals will look to protect him. With Joeckel and Fisher gone, Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson is the next best thing. While Palmer isn’t the long-term solution at quarterback, the Cardinals can look to the second or third round to snag a quarterback prospect of the future. The offensive line for the Cardinals, much like the offense in general last season, is putrid and needs help desperately. Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack could be an option at this position, but Johnson is a guy that can’t be passed up. He is extremely long and has great athleticism for his position.
8. Buffalo Bills Geno Smith ,QB, West Virginia
Regardless of where he ends up, someone is going to reach for West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. The Bills have made it clear that they are interested in selecting a quarterback in this year’s draft and they are extremely high on Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who will be available at their selection in the second round. However, Geno Smith has more upside and adds creativity to an offense that simply lacks it. Smith would bring a new dynamic to an offense that has explosive playmakers like C.J. Spiller and Steve Johnson. The departure of Ryan Fitzpatrick and addition of Kevin Kolb doesn’t guarantee anything at the quarterback position. While there are questions as to whether or not Smith’s game can translate well into the NFL, he is the best quarterback in this draft and is a risk that the Bills should take considering Kolb’s injury and inconsistent NFL career.