Another mock today:
Eric Fisher ahead of Luke Joeckel? Don't be surprised. (Getty Images)
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan. You'll hear all sorts of names surrounding the first overall pick, but new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid knows that his offenses are built from the lines out, and Fisher could well be the tackle with the most upside in a draft full of talent at the position.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah. With Lotulelei checking out well in all his medical re-tests, let's assume that the NFL takes him on talent alone in draft position. In that case, the Jags, with new head coach Gus Bradley, need a table-setter in the middle of their fronts, and there's nobody better than Lotulelei.
3. Oakland Raiders: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie knows that he won't get his ideal quarterback in free agency anytime soon with the Raiders' salary cap bleeding. He's got Matt Flynn as his starter, but he has to know how limiting that is. Here's where we think the Raiders pull an upset and decide to take their future franchise quarterback sooner than later.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida. The thought of Chip Kelly taking former Oregon endbacker Dion Jordan is obvious and appealing in some schematic senses, but when a team moves from 4-3 to 3-4 principles, versatility is the order of the day, and nobody plays more roles on the line with more impact than Floyd.
5. Detroit Lions: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M. Surprising indeed to see Joeckel fall this far, but there are drafts where athletic potential steals the spotlight from NFL-readiness. The Lions desperately need help at the tackle position, and they'd sprint up to hand in the card with Joeckel's name on it if such an opportunity arose.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama. The Browns' new brain trust has already greatly enhanced the team's defense, and the opportunity to match this draft class' best cornerback with Joe Haden is too good to pass up.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon. The Cardinals' defense has been very stout over the last couple of seasons. But with linebacker Daryl Washington missing four games due to a violation of the league's substance abuse policy, a more defined pass rush in needed. Not only can Jordan provide that, he's also versatile enough in space to cover slot receivers.
8. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama. The Bills need help at the guard position with Andy Levitre gone, and that need is accentuated by the fact that Kevin Kolb does not react well to pressure. Warmack will fit in from day one with a great level of experience and a nasty on-field demeanor.
9. New York Jets: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia. Jones is the perfect boom-or-bust pick for a team that certainly likes to take them. When healthy, his on-field speed and turn around the edge make him an elite pass-rusher. And if he can transcend recent concerns related to reports regarding his alleged spinal stenosis condition, he'll provide that pass rush for a Jets team that desperately needs it.
10. Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Brigham Young. Last year, the Titans selected an explosive athlete in the first round in the person of Baylor WR Kendall Wright. With needs in their defense against the pass and the run, we wouldn't be surprised if they took a flyer on Ansah's rawness from a football perspective, and bet on his pure athletic potential.
11. San Diego Chargers: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma. The Chargers can only hope that one of the elite tackles fall to them at the 11th pick. Since Marcus McNeill's retirement, the team's pass protection has been a disaster, and it's crunch time for quarterback Philip Rivers. New head coach Mike McCoy needs a fair shot to evaluate Rivers' future, and pass protection is key.
12. Miami Dolphins: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina. The Dolphins are in a bit of a pickle here. They lost Jake Long to the Rams, and Jonathan Martin doesn't look like a left tackle. While they're spackling that situation together, it would make more sense to take the hyper-athletic Cooper to lock down the left guard position than it would be to reach for a tackle out of pure need.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State. Signing safety Dashon Goldson to a lucrative free-agent deal was the first step toward rehabilitating the NFL's worst pass defense. Getting Rhodes, whose aggressive and physical style perfectly mirrors current league trends, would be another.
14. Carolina Panthers: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri. Head coach Ron Rivera was no doubt embarrassed by the performance of his defensive line -- the Panthers stuffed opposing run plays just 16 percent of the time in 2012, which ranked 29th in the league. Richardson's speed, penetrative ability, and pure explosiveness should start to shore that up.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU. Mingo isn't a pure run-stopper per se -- he's a totally explosive edge defender with the ability to provide consistent quarterback pressure. He's a great fit for a Rob Ryan defense in need of more players who can do these things.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas. Jeff Fisher loves aggressive safeties who play smart but take it to the edge on the field. Vaccaro fits the bill to a "T."
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee. As the draft draws closer, it's possible that NFL teams will start to get spooked by Patterson's lack of route awareness. But the Steelers, who have already lost Mike Wallace and may lose Emmanuel Sanders as well, can't afford to sit idly by. Patterson has the size, speed, and catch radius to become Ben Roethlisberger's new favorite target.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia. Sean Lee is a perfect fit for Monte Kiffin's defensive concepts, but when Lee's been hurt in the last couple of years, the Cowboys' defense has fallen off precipitously. Ogletree is rangy enough to make up the difference, and his off-field issues won't scare off risk-taker Jerry Jones.
19. New York Giants: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. Werner doesn't explode off the tape, but he's a consistent, versatile player. Just the kind valued highly by Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese.
20. Chicago Bears: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia. The "OMG, Manti Te'o has to replace Brian Urlacher" meme may have been halted by the Bears' acquisition of D.J. Williams. New head coach Marc Trestman has said that Devin Hester will be a primary return man, but Jay Cutler's arm demands downfield targets. There's no better speedster in this draft than Austin, who can turn defenses upside down.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama. There's a school of thought which says that giving Bengals right tackle Andre Smith a boatload of money is a request for trouble. We say that the Bengals will subscribe to this theory and take Fluker, a massive man whose skill set would allow him to plug in for Smith at the right tackle spot.
22. St. Louis Rams: Robert Woods, WR, USC. Every year, we all say that Sam Bradford needs more targets if we're ever to get a good final read on his potential as an upper-tier quarterback. Woods would be a perfect fit for Bradford -- he's smooth, practiced, and faster than people think.
23. Minnesota Vikings: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson. With Percy Harvin out the door, the Vikings need another physical receiver who can threaten downfield. Hopkins doesn't have Harvin's burner ability, but he's a great route-runner and fits Christian Ponder's limitations (i.e., arm strength).
24. Indianapolis Colts: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State. The Colts experienced an amazing turnaround in 2012 despite a run defense that was problematic at best. Step one toward turning that around might be the acquisition of Hankins, who can explode through gaps just as easily as he clogs up double teams. A perfect fit for Chuck Pagano's multiple defense.
25. Minnesota Vikings: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU: You can talk about Te'o all you want, but if you need the best inside linebacker in this draft class (and the Vikings do), Minter is the man. He's not as quick and explosive as some others, but he's got great downhill run-stopping ability, and decent coverage skills.
26. Green Bay Packers: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International. As the Packers transition to the post-Charles Woodson era, they'll need dynamic defenders who can cover some serious ground. Cyprien, who brings Dashon Goldson to mind, won't scare Ted Thompson off with his small-school resume.
27. Houston Texans: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal. If the Texans want to take that next step in the playoffs, they'll need to finally cement a complementary target for Andre Johnson. Allen doesn't have great downfield speed, but he's aggressive in short and intermediate spaces, and could have an Anquan Boldin-plus impact in this kind of offense.
28. Denver Broncos: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington. Denver's first-round playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens proved one thing -- unless John Elway can find a way to tape a cheetah to Champ Bailey's back, deep coverage is now officially an issue in the Mile High City. Trufant is a smooth and explosive player who doesn't have a fifth gear, but can jump routes and read patterns.
29. New England Patriots: Matt Elam, S, Florida. Bill Belichick was bedeviled enough by Bob Sanders back in the day to know that size doesn't always matter when it comes to pass defense. The 5-foot-10 Elam brings a lot of the same characteristics to the field that Sanders once did -- speed, on-field intelligence, and dynamic tackling ability.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame. The Falcons have Tony Gonzalez for another year, but they'll need his replacement groomed and ready, because this is a pass-first offense. Eifert has the ability to play all over the field, and Atlanta could roll with some very interesting multiple-TE sets.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama. We saw what happened to San Francisco's defense when Justin Smith got hurt late in the season, and the 49ers' front office knows that it's time to find a similar player, Tough order to fill, but Williams has absolutely insane football potential, and in this system, he could realize every bit of it.
32. Baltimore Ravens: Datone Jones, DL, UCLA. Jones is just the kind of do-it-all lineman who can excel in Baltimore's defense. He can provide some pass rush, stops the run very well, and can perform convincingly when asked to move inside in a five-tech role.