NFP Mock Draft - Version 6.0

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LUKE JOECKEL
US PRESSWIRETexas A&M OT Luke Joeckel slides out to pass protect.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M, Junior: While the Chiefs have a desperate need for a quarterback, they have let it be known that they will not be re-signing left tackle Branden Albert due to rumored back issues. So it makes a lot of sense for them to draft Joeckel who will be able to handle the left tackle job as a rookie and be their long term answer on the blindside.

 2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU, Senior: Jacksonville has been trying to upgrade its outside pass rush for a few seasons, but has not been successful. The new regime decides to gamble a bit and take Ansah who is the most physically gifted defensive end in the Draft, but is still learning the finer points of playing the position.

3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, Senior: Richard Seymour is not expected to return to Oakland, so the Raiders must find a way to replace his strength and playmaking ability. Many may expect the Raiders to take a quarterback here, but sources have told us they do not feel there is a quarterback worthy of the third overall pick.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan, Senior: Jason Peters is no sure thing to be the player he was before his achilles injury and the Eagles right tackle spot is still unsettled. After an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl, where he convinced everyone in attendance that he can be a high end starter, the Eagles know selecting him gives them insurance in case Peters has any issues and stabilizes the right tackle position if Peters is back to his old form for the 2013 season.

5. Detroit Lions: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State, Junior: Cliff Avril is a free agent again this off-season and they just released Kyle Vanden Bosch, so they have a real need for an outside pass rusher. With Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams and Nick Fairley the Lions are set for the long term at defensive tackle, but must improve their outside rush for the defense to take the next step.

6. Cleveland Browns: Keenan Allen, WR, California, Junior: With young talent like Trent Richardson, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron on the roster, the Browns need to get more weapons if Brandon Weeden is going to succeed in Coach Chudzinski’s downfield passing attack. Allen reminds us a ton of Bengalsreceiver AJ Green and could provide the big play ability and security blanket for Brandon Weeden that AJ Green does for Andy Dalton.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia, Senior: Although Coach Arians is publicly stating that they are going to work with Kevin Kolb; I believe it is a smoke screen and that the Cardinals will select Smith. A physically gifted quarterback with great football intelligence/instincts, Smith should be able to step in and start as a rookie which would greatly upgrade the Cardinals passing attack and make Larry Fitzgerald happy.

8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse, Senior: The Bills relax after the Cardinals select Geno Smith as they have been targeting Nassib since Coach Marrone took the job. Blessed with a strong arm, great mechanics and experience running the offense the Bills will run, Nassib should be able to start as a rookie and hit the ground running.

9. New York Jets: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon, Senior: Calvin Pace is expected tom be released by the Jets and considering their outside pass rush was a big problem in 2012 they must address it. Jordan is more of a long, linear player than a huge, powerful one, but with his explosive initial quickness, fast change of direction ability and natural pass rush skills he is a perfect fit rushing off the edge in the Jets’ defense.

10. Tennessee Titans: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama, Junior: Since losing Cortland Finnegan a season ago the Titans have wanted to replace him. While they are very happy with Alterraun Verner at one cornerback spot, pairing him with Milliner would give them two good outside corners and would allow Jason McCourty to slide inside to be their nickel cornerback.

11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma, Senior: After holding their breath since the Eagles selected Eric Fisher with the fourth pick, the Chargers waste no time running their card up to select Lane Johnson. A former junior college quarterback, Johnson’s combination of height, long arms and athleticism makes him the ideal candidate to replace Jared Gaiter, who bombed so miserably in 2012 for a variety of reasons.

12. Miami Dolphins: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee, Junior: After trading Brandon Marshall last off-season the Dolphins lacked a top shelf receiver despite the emergence of Brian Hartline. This leads them to select Patterson who reminds many around the league of Julio Jones and will provide Ryan Tannehill a big play target who can open up the Dolphins’ passing attack.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State, Junior: After trading the frustrating Aqib Talib to the Patriots, the Buccaneers need to upgrade their secondary and Rhodes can definitely upgrade their secondary. Blessed with excellent size, a muscular build and excellent playing strength to go with his high end athleticism, Rhodes can be the physical and aggressive cornerback that Coach Schiano likes.

14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri, Junior: The Panthers have two quality outside pass rushers in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, but are weak at defensive tackle. Richardson will give the Panthers an explosive interior defender who can penetrate gaps to blow up plays behind the LOS consistently.

15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia, Junior: With Rob Ryan leading the Saints switch to a 34 defense, there is no doubt that he will be looking for explosive, edge pass rushers who can crash off the corner. Jones has the talent to be an ideal fit in Ryan’s defensive scheme assuming his neck passes the Saints’ physical.

16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, SAF, Texas, Senior: The Rams cannot believe that Vaccaro slid to them as they have such a desperate need at safety. So there is no hesitation when they select Vaccaro who not only will start as a rookie, but he will immediately upgrade the coverage of the Rams secondary.

PICKS 17-32 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Email Russ at Russelllande@yahoo.com and Follow Russ on Twitter @RUSSLANDE

17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU, Junior: The Steelers’ historically aggressive defense lacked consistent bite in 2012 and part of that was due to James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley not playing at the same level as in years past. This leads the Steelers to take a gamble on perhaps the most physically gifted pass rusher in the Draft who falls to them because there are questions about his production and consistency.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama, Senior: It seems that in nearly every big game quarterback Tony Romo is under constant pressure, which leads to mistakes and losses. Warmack is the rare guard who has the athleticism to block effectively out in space, while still possessing the strength to be a dominant in-line run blocker and pass protector.

19. New York Giants: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida, Junior: Chris Canty was released because he did not provide the impact plays to justify his high salary, to General Manager Jerry Reese jumps at the chance to select Floyd. Although Floyd is regarded as raw and still developing, he has the explosiveness off the ball to threaten gaps and the strength to control blockers at the POA, which could lead to him being a Pro Bowl DT early in his career.

20. Chicago Bears: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama, Junior: If Coach Trestman is going to be successful as the Bears Head Coach, which I have no doubt he will, then their offensive line much protect jay Cutler much better. Fluker is a massive man who will immediately upgrade the right tackle position and will likely be given a chance to win the left tackle spot.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech, Senior: A.J. Green has developed into a premier receiver, but the Bengals need to find other weapons for Andy Dalton to throw to if their offense is going to take the next step. Patton has rare acceleration and speed for a 6’0 receiver and after his display at the Senior Bowl I do not think anyone questions his hands and ability to play at a high level in the NFL.

22. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia, Senior: By claiming receiver Titus Young the Rams showed they are going to take risks in order to find some weapons for Sam Bradford to throw to. That leads me to believe they would be willing to gamble on Austin who has all talent to be a game changing receiver along the lines of DeSean Jackson, but at under 5’9 lacks the height that most NFL teams want in a first round receiver.

23. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State, Junior: Long time defensive tackle Kevin Williams cannot last forever and the Vikings know this. So the chance to draft his eventual replacement in Jonathan Hankins, who also possesses the rare combination of great size, elite strength and shocking quickness and athleticism, makes way too much sense.

24. Indianapolis Colts: Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, OLB, Florida State, Senior: The Colts not only improved a ton on offense in 2012, but their switch to a 34 defense was much more successful in its first year than many expected. While Dwight Freeney has had a great career in Indianapolis, he is a free agent and likely will not return. So the Colts take a gamble on Carradine who would have been a top ten pick if he had not injured his knee late in the 2012 season.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor, Senior: After Russell Wilson’s incredible rookie season, the Seahawks make a wise move by providing him with another weapon so that he can continue to develop. Williams combination of height and playing speed is tough to find and could help the Seahawks’ offense by taking the top off the defense.

26. Green Bay Packers: Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia, Junior: After drafting Nick Perry in the first round last year, the Packers continue upgrading their defensive speed and play-making ability by selecting Ogletree. Although not as well known nationally as Manti Te’o or Kevin Minter, Ogletree is the most explosive and athletic inside linebacker available in the 2013 NFL Draft and would add a dimension to the Packers defense that they have been lacking from their inside linebackers.

27. Houston Texans: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU, Junior: When inside linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the season with a knee injury, the Texans defense struggled to play at the high level it had been. So even though Cushing is expected to be 100% for the 2013 season, the Texans grab Minter to start next to him and hopefully provide the playmaking ability to allow their defense to continue playing at a high level if Cushing gets hurt again.

28. Denver Broncos: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington, Senior: No one denies that Champ Bailey will be elected to the Hall of Fame in time, but he is no longer a premier cornerback and is nearing the end of his great career. Coach Fox has a history of drafting aggressive cornerbacks who are not afraid to gamble to make a play and Trufant fits that mold perfectly.

29. New England Patriots: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU, Senior: While Hunt is no doubt raw, his rare combination of great height, long arms, good playing strength and hip snap/explosiveness make him too enticing for Coach Belichick to pass up. At the Senior Bowl it was clear that Hunt could easily add 20+ pounds and at close to 300 pounds with his height and arm length he would be an ideal versatile defensive end in the Patriots defense.

30. Atlanta Falcons: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama, Junior: Michael Turner has been an excellent player for the Falcons since he signed as a free agent, but he is no longer the same back and lacks the burst through the hole and big play speed that their offense needs. Lacy is a huge back with the power to run through contact and the deceptive speed to make big plays. He would be an excellent complement to Jacquizz Rodgers and could be the power back the Falcons will need to replace Turner.

31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama, Senior: While Justin Smith battled through pain to stay in the starting lineup after his injury, he was not the same player and the 49ers defense struggled to consistently pressure the quarterback. Williams is a powerful man with the quick hands and athleticism to jolt and defeat blockers easily. He also has the playing strength to dominate blockers at the point of attack.  He would provide great depth as a rookie and eventually will be a productive starting defensive end for them.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame, Senior: With Ray Lewis riding off into the sunset after the Ravens won the Super Bowl, they must a replacement. While Te’o lacks Lewis elite physical tools, he is a similarly sized linebacker with great football instincts and despite this recent controversy excellent leadership skills. He would be a good fit starting next to Dannell Ellerbe and would upgrade the Ravens pass coverage as Lewis was no longer a high level pass defender.

For picks 1-16, see page 1

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