I started following the NFL draft as a Junior in high school. I remember sitting in biology class with my radio in my pocket and single ear piece strung up my shirt ending behind my ear. Back then the draft was held during the day at the beginning of the week. As a Saints fan 1986 taught me the best way to build a playoff team was through the Draft. Jim Mora (Playoffs?) and Jim Finks drafted a starting tackle Jim Dombrowski , two starting running backs Dalton Hillard and Rueben Mayes and a great pass rusher Pat Swilling. After that year I read a story about Joel Buchsbaum, the original Mel Kiper, minus the cool hair and personality. Joel had hundreds of video tapes of college games all over his Brooklyn apartment that he used to provide his draft analysis for Pro Football Weekly.
With all that said I have been doing some level of a mock draft and player ranking since that year. Trust me I understand how meaningless they are but it’s like a habit I can’t seem to break.
1) Kansas City – Luke Joeckel (OT) Texas A&M: Personally I prefer Eric Fisher but I suspect Andy Reid goes with the big school Tackle. surprise pick Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri.
2) Jacksonville – Geno Smith (QB) West Virginia: I am torn between Smith and Dion Jordan. I’m going with the theory that QBs get overdrafted and that the Jags aren’t happy with Gabbert. Surprise pick Dee Miliner CB Alabama
3) Oakland – Sharriff Floyd (DT) Florida: The Raiders love big athletic guys that’s Floyd. I personally would rank him behind Star and Richardson but Floyd fits the Raiders style. Surprise pick Ezekiel Ansah DE BYU.
4) Philadelphia – Eric Fisher (OT) Central Michigan: Fisher was the best player during the Senior bowl practices dominating nearly everyone he faced. Surprise pick Star Lotulelei.
5) Detroit – Ezekiel Ansah (DE) BYU: The Lions need help in the secondary but I think the freak nature of Ansah will be too difficult to pass up. Ansah is very raw which causes people to compare him to Jason Pierre Paul. Ansah is a long way from JPP right now. Surprise pick Lane Johnson OT Oklahoma.
6) Cleveland – Dee Milliner, (CB) Alabama: This is where I would take Star Lotulelei the big DT from Utah. Star would fit well in the middle of the new Brown’s defense. OG and CB however are big needs and I don’t think the Browns take a G this early. Surprise pick Chance Warmack
7) Arizona – Dion Jordan, (DE) Oregon: The Cards would be ecstatic for the draft to fall this way. Jordan is a great athlete and is scheme versatile. Surprise pick Lane Johnson.
8) Buffalo – Tavon Austin (WR) West Virginia: Buffalo needs more playmakers.
9) New York Jets - Kiki Mingo (DE/OLB) LSU: The Jets are in a great spot with two picks in the top 13. They need QB, LB, CB and RB help. Mingo has a ton of upside and should fit really well as a 3/4 OLB.
10) Tennessee – Chance Warmack (OG) Alabama: I think the Titans go OG here whether it’s Warmack or Jon Cooper from UNC. Surprise pick Kenny Vaccaro S Texas
11) San Diego – Lane Johnson (OT) Oklahoma: Need to protect Rivers. They could also go interior OL with Jon Cooper or if Warmack fell to them.
12) Miami – Xavier Rhodes (CB) Florida State: Miami had an interesting FA offseason, the other big need would be at OL but I think they take Rhodes over Jonathan Cooper.
13) NY Jets (trade w TB) – Star Loutlelei (DT) Utah: This is a guy that is easily a top five player in terms of talent. Some teams may be scared off by the health concerns.
14) Carolina – Sheldon Richardson (DT) Missouri: One of my favorite players in the draft. Richardson is a beast and can play all along the LOS. If he was taken number one overall I wouldn’t be surprised by the pick.
15) New Orleans - Jarvis Jones (OLB) Georgia: Jones has dropped in many mock drafts for any number of reasons. He has made plays vs some very good players while with the Dawgs. Fits into the Saints new 3/4 defense.
16) St Louis – Cordarrdelle Patterson (WR) Tennessee: One year wonders have struggled with the transition to the NFL at the WR position. Patterson is also a long strider that will hurt he and his QB coming out of breaks. Freak athlete however.
17) Pittsburgh – Keenan Allen (WR) California: Allen is just solid. Runs great routes, very good hands and could control the middle of the field in the mold of Anquan Boldin.
18) Dallas – Kenny Vaccaro (S) Texas: One of my favorite players in this draft. Can do multiple things in coverage from the slot to being the deepest. Very good tackler as well.
19) NY Giants - Jonathan Cooper (OG) UNC: Cooper probably will go higher than this but I just going need for each team and this is where he fell. Cooper is just behind Warmack in terms of the OG position although is a little smaller and quicker than Warmack.
20) Chicago – Alec Ogletree (LB) Georgia: One of the top 5 players in this draft in my opinion. ILBs don’t normally get drafted as high but Olgetree is special. The Bears fans will love the way he plays.
21) Cincinatti -Matt Elam (S) Florida: One of the best tacklers in the draft. Should solidify the Bengals pass defense.
22) St Louis – Eddie Lacey (RB) Alabama: I know most people don’t have a RB going in the 1st round but I still think this is the best pick for the Rams so what the heck.
23) Minnesota – Slyvester Williams (DT) North Carolina: I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikes take a WR here at this spot. I would take Robert Woods I they go that direction. Williams can really get up the field from the 3 tech spot. Plus they like the name Williams on the D-Line.
24) Indy – Datone Jones (DE) UCLA: Jones does so many things well and he is not limited to any specific scheme. Both strong at the point of attack and quick enough to resemble JJ Watt at times.
25) Minnesota – Justin Hunter (WR) Tennessee: Justin Hunter isn’t the freak athlete that Patterson is but he is by far the better more polished receiver. Hunter has underrated top end speed and perfect NFL size. *This is the area where I see someone moving back into the 1st round for EJ Manuel.*
26) Green Bay – Tyler Eifert (TE) Notre Dame: Another playmaker for Aaron Rodgers it’s almost unfair.
27) Houston -Kevin Minter (LB) LSU: If you want to see how effective Minter can be watch the first half of the Florida game. He was all over the field. After he left with a leg injury Florida ran all over the Tiger’s defense.
28) Denver – Bjorn Werner (DE) Florida State: Werner has a lot to work on and some like his teammate Tank Carridine better at the next level. I think he will fit into what Denver does well. It also helps to be on the other side of Von Miller when it comes to be single blocked.
29) New England – Desmond Trufant (CB) Washington: Trufant is tough and likes taking on the best the other team can offer. At the Senior bowl he would jump in front of other guys in the one and one drills to match up with the best WR’s. The best of the Trufant brothers.
30) Atlanta – Zach Ertz (TE) Stanford: Eventually Tony Gonzales will retire and this gives the young fella a chance to learn from the master. Ertz is a better inline blocker that Eifert and has very good hands as well.
31) San Fran – Margus Hunt (DE) SMU: Hunt is still very raw but he is one of the strongest point of attack guys you will ever see. He really needs to work on his get off but this is the perfect place for him to learn.
32) Baltimore – Arthur Brown (LB) Kansas State: One of the most underrated guys in this draft. Other LB’s get pub because of where they played in college. Brown was the glue to a very good defense at K-state.