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Mason's Mock 2.0

Posted Mar 28, 2013

Andrew Mason updates how he feels the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft will shake out after the first wave of free agency.

1. KANSAS CITY (2-14): OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Previous: Same.

The trade for Alex Smith means the Chiefs don't have to reach for a quarterback, and the release of Eric Winston after franchising Branden Albert leaves a hole on the offensive line. Joeckel is too good to pass up, and with the re-signing of Dwayne Bowe and presence of Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, gives Smith the key weapons he needs to help marshal a quick turnaround. Kansas City might be the Broncos' biggest roadblock to a third consecutive AFC West crown, and Joeckel would help their cause.

2. JACKSONVILLE (2-14): DE/LB Dion Jordan, Oregon
Previous:
Same.

Jordan won't have another workout to impress teams in the next few weeks, since his Combine session was his last before surgery to repair a torn labrum.  At 248 pounds, Jordan wouldn't seem to be the most logical fit as a 4-3 end, but that's the  exact same weight as Bruce Irvin, who Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley unleashed as Seattle's defensive coordinator in 2012. The Jaguars have needs all over the place, but the need for explosion and speed trumps others.

3. OAKLAND (4-12): QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
Previous:
DT Sharrif Floyd.

Rumblings that quarterback Carson Palmer is reticent about restructuring his massive contract offer a sign of dissatisfaction with Palmer, even though he's hardly the weakest spot on the roster and could start for plenty of quarterback-needy teams. Still, this is a team looking at the long haul as it looks to shed all the onerous contracts it collected in recent years, and since Palmer seems unlikely to be a part of the Raiders when they finally plug all of their holes, the Raiders could seek their franchise quarterback now -- even if No. 3 is a bit of a reach for Smith.

4. PHILADELPHIA (4-12): DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
Previous:
DE Sheldon Richardson.

Floyd is the best player on the board and fills one of many Eagles needs. Since all signs point to them keeping Trent Cole as their primary pass-rusher while moving him to outside linebacker, edge rusher isn't the overwhelming need it appears to be.

5. DETROIT (4-12): OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
Previous:
CB Dee Milliner.

Detroit needs a cornerback, but needs a quality tackle more after losing Jeff Backus to retirement and Gosder Cherilus to free agency. In spite of significant defensive needs, keeping Matthew Stafford upright must be the Lions' paramount priority.

6. CLEVELAND (5-11): CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Previous:
DE/LB Ziggy Ansah.
Cleveland's free-agent splash saw plenty of upgrades in the front seven, but little beyond that. The Browns could still land a free-agent cornerback, but Milliner is potentially better than anyone still on the market except Nnamdi Asomugha -- and there is no indication the Browns are in the running for his services. Milliner also partners well with the kind of pass rush the Browns hope to create.

7. ARIZONA (5-11): DE/LB Ziggy Ansah, BYU
Previous: OT Eric Fisher.

Offensive line remains a pressing need, but with no obvious quarterbacking prospect of good value, the Cardinals need to stockpile playmakers at key positions. Ansah is raw, but his ceiling is elite, and the Cardinals can afford to be patient with a project-type of player, especially since it will take a minor miracle for them to escape last place in what appears to be the league's toughest division.

8. BUFFALO (6-10): WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
Previous:
QB Geno Smith.

Buffalo wants a quarterback, but Doug Marrone can find his old college passer, Ryan Nassib, in the second round, so with Smith off the board, the Bills would be best served by waiting and addressing the other half of the passing equation. Patterson is the best of a shaky wide receiving crop, but isn't the reach that a quarterback would be, and has top-five upside. With Stevie Johnson around, Patterson wouldn't be asked to be a focal point right away, easing his transition.

9: N.Y. JETS (6-10): NT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Previous:
 DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU.

It's no surprise that Lotulelei should rise after concerns about his heart condition abated; he's arguably the best interior lineman in the draft and is an excellent fit for the Jets' scheme.

10. TENNESSEE (6-10): G Chance Warmack, Alabama
Previous:
Same.

The Titans could go safety, cornerback, linebacker or offensive line, but Warmack is a potential 10-year starter at a slot where the Titans have a desperate need, since the signing of Andy Levitre from the Bills only addressed half of their issues at guard. This is usually a bit high for a guard, but as Titans general manager Ruston Webster said last week, "I have never been one to say you don’t take a guard in the first round."

11. SAN DIEGO (7-9): OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Previous:
Same.

If Johnson falls to this point, it's a perfect match of skill set and a team's desperate need. San Diego's offensive tackle play can only improve from last year's often-rancid performance, and although Johnson isn't as refined as Fisher or Joeckel, he is the most athletic of the three and can be coached up over time. But if the Chargers sign Eric Winston, the need is not as obvious; although Winston is flexible enough to move inside, the Chargers could target a guard like Jonathan Cooper if their pursuit of the ex-Chief is successful.

12. MIAMI (7-9): CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
Previous:
DE/OLB Bjoern Werner.

There are plenty of pass rushers on the board, but Rhodes isn't a reach (the draft gets so bunched up from this point that few plausible targets are reaches now) and the Dolphins are cornerback-needy after losing Sean Smith in free agency.

13. TAMPA BAY (7-9): DE/OLB Bjoern Werner, Florida State
Previous:
CB Desmond Trufant.

The Bucs' secondary is a problem, but if Werner drops this far, he'll go no further. The loss of Michael Bennett in free agency creates a hole that the players on hand might not be able to fill, and with six games a year against Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton for the foreseeable future, the Bucs' top defensive priority has to be pass rush.

14. CAROLINA (7-9): DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Previous:
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee.

The Panthers' needs are many, and their cap room scarce, evidenced by their relative inactivity in free agency. They could trade up and try to move in position to draft Joeckel, Fisher or Johnson, but if they stand pat, they should be able to wait and target a position of need and get value for the pick. Richardson's availability at the 14th slot fits the bill.

15. NEW ORLEANS (7-9): DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
Previous:
DT Star Lotulelei, Utah

With the transition to a 3-4 defense, the Saints need pressure from the edge, and Mingo can eventually provide that. Mingo needs to be coached up, but his athleticism, speed (4.58 in the 40 at the Combine) and quick first step will be an immediate asset for new coordinator Rob Ryan.

16. ST. LOUIS (7-8-1): G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Previous:
Same.

The Rams' eggs are firmly in Sam Bradford's basket, and their revival is predicated upon keeping him upright and giving him the best chance to succeed -- which means protection and targets. The acquisition of Jake Long was the first step of that equation, and Cooper helps complete the upgrade. Targets will come later.

17. PITTSBURGH (8-8): DE/OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Previous:
Same.

Some teams will be scared off by Jones' spinal stenosis diagnosis, but  Pittsburgh won't be. He's a natural fit for its scheme -- and with the departure of James Harrison, a pressing need.

18. DALLAS (8-8): S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
Previous:
Same.

New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has plenty of needs on the shaky defense he inherits. But Vaccaro is the best candidate to help the Cowboys immediately, which is a priority, since the Cowboys, now and seemingly forever, will be in win-now mode.

19. N.Y. GIANTS (9-7): OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
Previous:
Same.

Fluker isn't in the elite class with Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson, and projects more as a right tackle than one who can play on the left. To pick a right tackle much earlier than this is a reach; but this is the sweet spot for Fluker. But if Jones, Werner or Mingo drop, expect the Giants to pounce in a bid to replace Osi Umenyiora.

20. CHICAGO (10-6): WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Previous:
Same.

There are all sorts of possibilities for the Bears, but their quickest, clearest path back to the playoffs is by giving Jay Cutler another target to partner with Brandon Marshall -- and one who has a completely different body frame and skill set.

21. CINCINNATI (10-6): LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Previous:
Same.

The Bengals have never been shy about gambling on talented prospects with character concerns. They re-signed Rey Maualuga, but he is expected to move to strongside linebacker. Put Vontaze Burflict in the middle, and let Ogletree operate in space -- and plenty of it, given the team's strength up front.

22. ST. LOUIS (FROM WASHINGTON): WR Keenan Allen, California
Previous:
Same.

Assuming Allen's upcoming workout on April 9 reveals no issues with his surgically repaired knee, he's the logical choice with Patterson and Austin off the board. The Rams have targeted mid-round receivers in recent years, but haven't gotten the return they'd hoped to find.

23. MINNESOTA (10-6): DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
Previous:
WR DeAndre Hopkins.

With two picks in three selections, the Vikings will take the one who is most likely to be poached by the team selecting in between -- which is why they'll wait to take a wide receiver until the 25th pick. Minnesota's interior core up front needs an infusion of youth, and Williams' work ethic and consistency give him the edge over Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins.

24. INDIANAPOLIS (11-5): DE/LB Tank Carradine, Florida State
Previous:
CB Xavier Rhodes.

Indianapolis lacks premium, prime-form pass rushers. Dwight Freeney is gone; Robert Mathis is still effective, but aging (he's 32) and free-agent pickup Eric Walden has just nine sacks in the last three seasons. Carradine's stock is rising, and even though he's a one-year wonder with injury concerns, that's the type of gamble you have to make to find a pass rusher outside of the first 15 picks.

25. MINNESOTA (FROM SEATTLE): WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
Previous:
DE/OLB Damontre Moore (when Seattle had the pick).

Just because the Vikings signed Greg Jennings doesn't mean they don't need a wide receiver, and with Allen, Austin and Patterson gone, Hopkins is the next best option. He has holes in his game -- particularly as a blocker and in being physical -- but Jennings should help guide him.

26. GREEN BAY (11-5): DE Datone Jones, UCLA
Previous:
RB Eddie Lacy.

Jones isn't the most obvious fit as a 3-4 defensive end, but is large enough (283 pounds) and physical enough to handle the workload. No defensive lineman on the Packers had more than four sacks last year, so Jones fits the need for more punch up front.

27. HOUSTON (12-4): TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Previous:
LB Kevin Minter.

Houston has some significant needs for a team coming off two consecutive division titles, but needs to replenish its targets. Owen Daniels is 30 and just had 62 receptions, so he's still in the mix, but the Texans need another target to take the pressure off Daniels and Andre Johnson, who remains a premium target but turns 32 this summer. Eifert is easily the best receiving tight end in the draft class, although the Texans might elect to target linebacker or wide receiver here and wait on a tight end in the second or third round -- perhaps the athletic Vance McDonald of Rice.

28. DENVER (13-3): DE/OLB Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Previous:
DT Sylvester Williams.

Moore's stock has slid in recent weeks, and whoever drafts him will have to trust the tape on the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder, which shows an array of pass-rush moves. gradually increasing production from his freshman through his junior year and some big games against the most demanding opposition; four of his 12 sacks last year came against Florida and Alabama. With Elvis Dumervil gone to Baltimore and Robert Ayers' contract expiring after 2013, this is a need whether the Broncos sign a veteran free agent or not.

29. NEW ENGLAND (12-4): DE Margus Hunt, SMU
Previous:
Same.

Defensive tackle is a possibility, and Purdue's Kawann Short and Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins could also be in the mix. But Hunt's upside is massive, and there is the potential for him to become a poor man's J.J. Watt, or maybe a modern-day Ted Hendricks. Bill Belichick will gamble on athleticism, even if it is unpolished.

30. ATLANTA (13-3): CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
Previous:
DE Datone Jones.

The signing of Osi Umenyiora relieves the need at defensive end for the short term, and assuming that Brent Grimes doesn't return, the Falcons need reinforcements at cornerback. If Trufant is still on the board at No. 30, Atlanta will be ecstatic.

31. SAN FRANCISCO (11-4-1): S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
Previous:
Same.

The 49ers might take a hit in free agency in the defensive backfield, and would count on Cyprien, whose stock has been rising since the Senior Bowl, to become an immediate starter. San Francisco will reportedly visit with Cyprien this week.

32. BALTIMORE (10-6): LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Previous:
OT Terron Armstead.

How much did Manti Te'o really do to improve his draft stock at his Pro Day workout? His 40-yard dash time came in 11-hundredths of a second faster than at the Scouting Combine, but that falls within the margin of error. Of more value is Te'o's interviews, which have been stellar, according to multiple reports.

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