1. Kansas City – Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M
The Chiefs have yet to indicate which direction they’ll go with this year’s top spot. They’re considering both Joeckel and Central Michigan left tackle Eric Fisher. Joeckel has the edge as an early entrant with higher upside. Kansas City is then prepared to trade left tackle Branden Albert to make way for its new offensive lineman.
2. Jacksonville – Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan
Another new regime in Jacksonville is searching for premiere positional pieces to rebuild the franchise’s foundation. Left tackle is certainly considered one of those positions with Fisher filling the role. Plus, Jacksonville’s current left tackle – Eugene Monroe, a former Top 10 pick – is slated to be a free agent after this season.
3. Oakland – Shariff Floyd, DT Florida
Oakland is easily the least talented team in the NFL. The Raiders want to trade out of this spot and acquire more picks to fill multiple holes within their roster. If a move isn’t finalized while the Raiders are on the clock, Oakland will choose one of the top two offensive tackles or Floyd.
4. Philadelphia – Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma
The selection of Johnson at this juncture is a double-edged sword. Philadelphia could easily select the offensive tackle and plug him into an aging and underachieving unit. He is a very good fit in Chip Kelly’s new offense. The Eagles will also be listening to all potential trade offers that may come their way as other teams attempt to land the third and final top end left tackle in this class.
5. Detroit – Ziggy Ansah, DE BYU
Ansah is untapped potential personified. The defensive end is a native of Ghana and a late bloomer in the sport. Ansah first attempted to join BYU’s track and basketball squads before he finally became a walk-on for the football team. Ansah has tremendous raw athletic ability and despite not being a full time starter last year impressed during Senior Bowl week where he was coached by the Lions’ staff.
6. Cleveland – Dion Jordan, DE Oregon
A source recently stated Browns’ defensive coordinator Ray Horton made his case for the team to draft Jordan. Jordan left Cleveland after a recent visit expecting to be a Brown. Very few picks in this class offer as perfect a marriage of player to scheme as Jordan to Cleveland.
7. Arizona – Barkevious Mingo, DE LSU
The Cardinals are desperately searching for offensive line help. With all three of the top offensive tackles already off the board, Arizona is expected to look at the other side of the football to help the team’s pass rush. Mingo was recently described as the “cleanest” prospect in the draft and adds both athleticism and upside to Arizona’s defense.
8. Buffalo – Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina
This selection could easily become Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib due to new Buffalo coach Doug Marrone formerly serving in the same capacity with the Orange. If Buffalo decides to pass on the quarterback and wait until the second round for their signal caller, Cooper can be selected to fill the void left by Andy Levitre when he signed with the Tennessee Titans.
9. NY Jets – Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
One team in the Top 10 promised Austin they won’t pass on him if he’s on the board. New York is the most likely candidate. The Jets lack play makers at every level. Whoever starts at quarterback next year needs the team to upgrade at the skill positions. Austin is the most skilled and dynamic offensive play maker in this class despite his lack of size at 5-8 and 174 pounds.
10. Tennessee – Star Lotulelei, DT Utah
Lotulelei is arguably the top overall prospect in this draft class. The Titans have done a nice job addressing multiple needs via free agency. The team is still thin along the defensive line. Lotulelei will team with free agent acquisition Sammie Lee Hill to form one of the biggest and strongest defensive tackle combinations in the NFL.
11. San Diego – Chance Warmack, OG Alabama
The Chargers have multiple gaping holes along their offensive line. The team would prefer to acquire a left tackle to protect Phillip Rivers’ blindside, but none are available at this juncture. Warmack is the safest bet in this class. He can provide a pile driving presence at guard and upgrade at least one offensive hole for San Diego.
12. Miami – Dee Milliner, CB Alabama
Milliner’s medical status is a scary proposition for some teams. The cornerback has Top 10 overall talent, but he’s already had four surgeries on four different injuries. A team or two is shying away from Milliner as a result. Brent Grimes, who is coming of an Achilles tear, is Miami’s only projected starter at cornerback. A selection of Milliner would provide the other.
13. New York Jets(from Tampa Bay)– Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
Smith is the great mystery of this year’s draft class. Smith is generally rated as the top quarterback this year, but he could just as easily slide out of the first round entirely. The Jets are playing a high stakes game of roulette in recent days with leaks regarding their fondness for a quarterback or two. It could simply prove a smokescreen to land Smith and pair him with former WVU teammate Tavon Austin.
14. Carolina – Sheldon Richardson, DT Missouri
Richardson is the top defensive tackle on some team’s boards. Carolina’s depth at defensive tackle is razor thin. The Panthers could address multiple other issues – particularly offensive tackle with Alabama’s D.J. Fluker – but the safe bet is for the team to add talent along within defensive trenches.
15. New Orleans – Jarvis Jones, LB Georgia
Jones’ stock certainly tumbled due to a variety of reasons, but the cliché states, “The eye in the sky doesn’t lie.” And Jones was the most dominant defender in the SEC this past season. New Orleans is converting to a 3-4 base under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and Jones would slide seamlessly into one of the Saints’ starting outside linebacker slots.
16. St. Louis – Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas
Wide receiver is a crying need for St. Louis, but the safety is a better value at this point for the Rams (and the team has another first round selection to address receiver). St. Louis already built a strong young core along its defensive front. Vaccaro could help do the same in the secondary alongside Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan.
17. Pittsburgh – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
The Steelers let wide receiver Mike Wallace walk due to his exorbitant contract demands. Wallace got his payday in Miami, and Pittsburgh needs a new threat to take the top off a defense. Patterson is easily the most physically talented receiver in this class. He is also the most raw.
18. Dallas – Sylvester Williams, DT North Carolina
Williams can play either defensive tackle spot in a Cover 2 predominant scheme. A system made famous by Monte Kiffin. Kiffin just happens to be the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator. And Dallas needs an injection of youth and talent at defensive tackle.
19. NY Giants – D.J. Fluker, OT Alabama
The Giants want to return to more a physical style of play on offense. Eli Manning and his wide receivers can sling the football around the yard, but consistent offensive line play and a strong running attack helped the team win a pair of Super Bowls. Fluker can immediately start at right tackle as the best run blocking offensive tackle in this class.
20. Chicago – Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
The four tight ends on Chicago’s roster last year combined for 33 receptions. It’s a new age in Chicago with the offensive minded Marc Trestman taking over as head coach. Chicago’s passing attack was the most lopsided among any NFL team with how many times the team targeted wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Eifert will help take the pressure off Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler.
21. Cincinnati – D.J. Hayden, CB Houston
Hayden is lucky to be alive, let alone on the verge of becoming a first round draft selection. Hayden took a helmet to the chest during practice last season which tore a main vessel to his heart. Now cleared medically after a miraculous recovery, multiple teams in the first round are enamored with Hayden’s natural ability at cornerback. The Bengals may be the highest on that list.
22. St. Louis (from Washington) –DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
The Rams thoroughly investigated Hopkins throughout the draft process. Hopkins is one of the smoothest wide receiver options available. St. Louis will target a wide receiver sooner rather than later to help quarterback Sam Bradford. Hopkins has the best opportunity of those still available to immediately impact the Rams’ offense.
23. Minnesota – Bjoern Werner, DE Florida State
Jared Allen continues to rack up sacks year after year. But it will only last for so long. Allen is currently 31 years old. The Vikings need to find a compliment at defensive end which can eventually develop into Allen’s successor. Werner has the same type of mentality as Allen and could prove to be the perfect bookend to the All Pro.
24. Indianapolis – Datone Jones, DE UCLA
The Colts primarily built their offense during last year’s draft. The defense should receive the bulk of attention this year. Datone Jones is a versatile lineman that played as a defensive end in a 3-4 front while at UCLA. He’s the type of talent Indianapolis can start to build around on the defensive side of the football.
25. Minnesota(from Seattle) – Keenan Allen, WR Cal
Minnesota selects a wide receiver with the pick acquired in a trade with Seattle for Percy Harvin. The Vikings could still go in numerous directions, but Allen is a big physical target to compliment free agent acquisition Greg Jennings. Allen has a lingering knee issue and didn’t run as well as expect during his workout, but he is still a legitimate first round talent.
26. Green Bay – Xavier Rhodes, CB Florida State
The Packers’ pass defense was historically bad last season. The team prefers big cornerbacks that are very physical at the line of scrimmage. Rhodes is an ideal fit in the system. It’s a situation where value meets need for Green Bay.
27. Houston – Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia
Linebacker isn’t an immediate need for the Texans, but Ogletree may be too much to pass up at this juncture. Ogletree played in a similar 3-4 scheme in college, and the former safety is a nice compliment to the more physical Brian Cushing.
28. Denver – Tank Carradine, DE Florida State
A fax faux pas cost the Broncos a top pass rusher. Elvis Dumervil become a free agent and signed with Baltimore. Carradine was considered a first round talent before he tore an ACL in Florida State’s season finale. A recent workout showed his amazing recuperative abilities, and multiple teams in the first round are interested in Carradine’s services.
29. New England – Justin Pugh, OT Syracuse
The odds New England actually makes this selection aren’t very high. This is an ideal spot for a team to trade back into the first round to get their quarterback of choice. If New England stands pat, Pugh can slide into guard and provide even more protection for franchise quarterback Tom Brady.
30. Atlanta – Jamar Taylor, CB Boise State
Atlanta is searching for a starting cornerback, and Taylor is the Falcons’ top target at the end of the round. The team doesn’t have a starter opposite Asante Samuel, and the Falcons’ veteran cornerback turned 32 this year. Atlanta will also consider a tight end or a pass rusher, but the team’s need at cornerback comes first.
31. San Francisco – Jesse Williams, NT Alabama
Starting nose tackle Isaac Sopoago and primary backup Ricky Jean-Francois both left San Francisco and signed with other teams. The 49ers need a big and nasty defensive lineman, and Williams fits the bill to a tee. The Australian strongman can fill the void at either nose tackle or defensive end after playing both for the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
32. Baltimore – Jonathan Cyprien, S Florida International
The Ravens may be Super Bowl Champions, but they also need to address multiple roster spots after the purge the team had to face due to salary cap restrictions. Cyprien can slide into the strong safety role alongside Michal Huff in hopes of replacing Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard.
1. Jacksonville – Ryan Nassib, QB Syracuse
2. San Francisco (from Kansas City) – Zach Ertz, TE Stanford
3. Philadelphia – Margus Hunt, DE SMU
4. Detroit – Desmond Trufant, CB Washington
5. Cincinnati (from Oakland) – Matt Elam, S Florida
6. Arizona – E.J. Manuel, QB Florida State
7. NY Jets – Damontre Moore, LB Texas A&M
8. Tennessee – Kyle Long, OG Oregon
9. Buffalo – Matt Barkley, QB USC
10. Miami - Terron Armstead, OT Arkansas Pine-Bluff
11. Tampa Bay – Johnathan Hankins, DT Ohio State
12. Carolina – Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee
13. San Diego – Menelik Watson, OT Florida State
14. St. Louis – Eddie Lacey, RB Alabama
15. Dallas – Larry Warford, OG Kentucky
16. Pittsburgh – Arthur Brown, LB Kansas State
17. New York Giants – Manti Te’o, LB Notre Dame
18. Chicago – Kawaan Short, DT Purdue
19. Washington – Eric Reid, S LSU
20. Minnesota – Kevin Minter, LB LSU
21. Cincinnati – Khaseem Greene, LB Rutgers
22. Miami (from Indianapolis) – Sio Moore, LB Connecticut
23. Green Bay – D.J. Swearinger, S South Carolina
24. Seattle – Robert Woods, WR USC
25. Houston – Terrance Williams, WR Baylor
26. Denver – Kiko Alonso, LB Oregon
27. New England – Jordan Poyer, CB Oregon State
28. Atlanta – Alex Okafor, DE Texas
29. San Francisco – Travis Frederick, C Wisconsin
30. Baltimore – Quinton Patton, WR Louisiana Tech