Three minds are better than one. Or three minds are about equal to one. We’re not really sure, but we’re about to find out.
Friday morning we’ll all begin the fun process of looking back and being entertained by these mock drafts, and how horribly wrong they were during a draft that’s woefully unpredictable. So just as we did last year for our final mock, I figured that if we have a chance — any chance at all — of getting this thing right around here, reinforcements are needed.
Enter Alen Dumonjic and Devang Desai, who are both contributors around these parts. Dumonjic spends many hours breaking down a lot of tape, while Devang writes many words, and during the season he shares his Bills tears through weekly “homerism” posts. They’re therapeutic.
Together we did a rolling mock draft, with the picks rotating between the three pretend general managers involved. And indeed, that was our role, as part of the goal of this exercise is to provide at least a sliver of the draft experience. As one of us picks for one team, we’re taking the player being eyed by the team on the clock next, and a fight to the death ensues. There’s also some ranting and banter sprinkled in, because we’re fun like that.
Also, this format works well because now instead of just ridiculing me, there are two other people here for your ripping pleasure. So please feel free to enjoy that.
The calamity follows below. Hold on, Geno. That cliff is pretty steep.
Sean: 1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel (OT, Texas A&M) — And we begin by blowing your mind. With the need to protect newly-acquired Alex Smith, the Chiefs will be between Joeckel and Eric Fisher here. Both are highly mobile large men capable of stopping other large men, but Joeckel is the slightly safer pick. To hell with excitement in a draft where certainty is the devil.
Devang: 2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan (DE, Oregon) — After a breakout season in 2011, Jeremy Mincey registered only three sacks in 2012. Tyson Alualu led the team with 3.5 sacks. Simply put, the Jags need a pass rushing stud desperately. While the jury is still out on Blaine Gabbert (just a hunch but he’s not the answer) Jacksonville can draft a QB later on. Jordan is the pick here.
Alen: 3. Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah) –The Raiders have a lot of holes to fill on the roster, so the only rational way to approach it is to select the best player in this year’s draft. And that player is Lotulelei.
Sean: 4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner (CB, Alabama) — And so the Sharrif Floyd fall begins(?). The Eagles have the first of many picks where multiple directions are possible. Passing on Eric Fisher is really, really hard, and there’s also been reaching chatter that Geno Smith is an option. But with the Eagles’ current corners only bridges at best, taking one of this draft’s elite players at the position just has to happen here. There’s little concern about Milliner’s injuries, smear campaign or not.
Devang: 5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher (OT, Central Michigan) — The Lions stay local with their pick, addressing Jeff Backus’s departure by taking the second best tackle in the draft. Riley Reiff and Fisher form a solid tandem going forward.
Alen: 6. Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo (OLB, LSU) — The Browns are in need of pass-rushers after moving to a 3-4 under Ray Horton. Mingo is athletic, and he offers tremendous upside.
Sean: 7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson (OT, Oklahoma) — Damn, Mingo. The best name in the draft is gone already, but Meshak Williams still stands. If the last elite left tackle falls this far, the Johnson pick here is easy for Arizona. In front of the statuesque Carson Palmer, he’ll significantly upgrade an offensive line that allowed a league worst 58 sacks this past season, which eventually broke Kevin Kolb.
Devang: 8. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack (G, Alabama) — What the Bills will do and what they should do doesn’t usually correspond when the draft rolls around. Buddy Nix has been adamant about getting his QB of the future, but reaching for Ryan Nassib, Geno Smith, or Matt Barkley would be a mistake. Warmack replaces Andy Levitre in the starting lineup. The fan in me wants Buffalo to take a QB here, only to see Nix stumble his way through the inevitable “what were you thinking” interview with ESPN. Hell, it’ll probably happen.
Alen: 9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah (DE, BYU) — Of course the Bills take a guard in the top 10. We, the Jets, select a guy that, you know, can actually impact games in Ansah. He has tremendous upside and versatility, which Rex Ryan looks for.
Sean: 10. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Cooper (G, North Carolina) — We, the Titans, extend a crocked Bud Adams middle finger, and we don’t really know why. It just feels right. Anywho, Cooper will form a strong tandem with Andy Levitre, and forever solve an offensive line problem that’s bruised Jake Locker, and given Chris Johnson jerk-ish excuses.
Devang: 11. San Diego Chargers: Sharrif Floyd: DT, Florida — The Chargers take the best player available. Drafting a Guard in the top 15 is stupid (the Bills are morons).
Alen: 12. Miami Dolphins: Sheldon Richardson (DT, Missouri) — The Dolphins are in need of an offensive tackle, but none on board arouse them now. Therefore, they’ll select Richardson, who has outstanding explosiveness and upside at the three technique.
Sean: 13. New York Jets: Tyler Eifert (TE, Notre Dame) — I hear Dolphins are pretty dangerous when they’re aroused. Don’t touch me. There’s already speculation that the Jets will trade out of this pick, mostly because Jets. But if they stay, a dynamic weapon for Mark Sanchez or Quarterback X is needed, and Eifert will also replace the departed Dustin Keller. Hey, Tavon Austin is still around you guys. Just sayin’.
Devang: 14. Carolina Panthers: Sylvester Williams (DT, North Carolina) — A slight reach at 14, but the Panthers need someone who can beat single blocks and make plays in the backfield. With Richardson, Lotulelei, and Floyd off the board, Williams is the pick here. New GM Dave Gettleman — great name — has played down the Panthers need for a DT. Surely that means they’ll take one.
Alen: 15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones (OLB, Georgia) — This pick will be highly debated, but Jones has heavy hands and experience in a 3-4 defense. The Saints desperately need pass-rushers, and that’s what Jones is.
Sean: 16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia) — One of the very few sure things in this draft is that if Austin is here at No. 16 and no one is brave enough to invest in potentially the most explosive offensive weapon available earlier because of his size, he won’t fall further. After losing Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson, the Rams get the most Amendola-like receiver who’s quick, can be used out of the backfield, and he has exceptional change-of-direction ability in the open field.
Devang: 17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Vaccaro (S, Texas) — How old is the Steelers secondary? Extremely old. Matlock etc. etc. Ike Taylor will be 33 in May, Troy Polamalu 32 in April, Ryan Clark 34 in October. Vaccaro, the best safety in the draft, adds some much needed youth to Dick Lebeau’s unit.
Alen: 18. Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Cyprien (S, FIU) — Dammit, Steelers. We were going to take Vaccaro, but we have settled for Cyprien, who is physical and rangy. This is early for him, but the Cowboys wouldn’t be the Cowboys if they didn’t make some noise.
Sean: 19. New York Giants: D.J. Fluker (OT, Alabama) — While forever confiscating his Twitter machine, the Giants insure themselves against David Diehl’s continued decline (think Ozzie Smith’s Simpsons cameo), while also drafting his successor. I prefer easy things over hard things, and passing on a linebacker here — maybe Alec Ogletree — was difficult with Michael Boley and Chase Blackburn gone.
Devang: 20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te’o (MLB, Notre Dame) — The Bears find their spiritual replacement for Brian Urlacher. Chicago will probably eat him alive, but the major networks will have plot lines for days. Make it happen.
Alen: 21. Cincinnati Bengals: Eric Reid (S, LSU) – The Bengals have a hole at safety and tend to like rangy and physical types. Reid suits that, although he’s best moving forward.
Sean: 22. St. Louis Rams: Matt Elam (S, Florida) — After shaking an old man fist at the Bengals, the Rams shrug, and roll with Matt Elam to fill a dire need at safety. Taking the most Bernard Pollard-like safety in this draft isn’t so bad for a secondary that already has the whole blanket coverage thing down pretty good with Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan at the corners.
Devang: 23. Minnesota Vikings: Geno Smith (QB, WVU) — Oh snap. Do you trust Christian Ponder? Neither does Rick Speilman. Reports indicate the Vikings have their eye on Te’o with one of their two first round picks. If Smith falls this far– which is a possibility — and Te’o is gone, they’ll take him.
Alen: 24. Indianapolis Colts: Cornellius “Tank” Carradine (DE, FSU) — The Indianapolis Colts need pass rushers, and Tank is rising up draft boards following a stunning workout only months removed from knee surgery. He’s strong as a cheap steak, and he possesses immense upside. Besides, his name is Tank. Why would you ever pass up on a name like Tank?
Sean: 25. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee) — Yet somehow, Tourek “dinosaur hunter” Williams — another pretty badass draft name — is still available. Sad times indeed (you may only follow that reference if you’re under 30, and you befriended your N64…or if you’re Archi Zuber). Here, the Vikings further address the need for speed on the outside after the Percy Harvin trade. Greg Jennings has a lot of life left, but he’s slowing, and he excels more on intermediate routes.
Devang: 26. Green Bay Packers: Menelik Watson (OT, Florida State) — Aaron Rodgers needs to be upright for the Packers to succeed. With that bit of Tony Siragusa-esque analysis out of the way, Watson is the logical choice here. The Manchester, England native has the size and speed to start from Day 1. Watson is still raw, but his development since picking up the game as a Junior indicates his ceiling is sky high.
Alen: 27. Houston Texans: Margus Hunt (DE, SMU) — Lance Zerlein made a great point yesterday that the Texans like to take on physical freaks of nature along the defensive line. First Mario WIlliams, then J.J. Watt, and now Margus Hunt. Hunt is raw and old(er), but he has upside and could potentially be a dominant player at the three or five technique. It’s a risk, no doubt, but one that we’re willing to take considering the defensive coaching staff.
Sean: 28. Denver Broncos: Bjoern Werner (DE, Florida State) — The value is terrific, as with his natural edge speed Werner will thrive in the Broncos’ system. The need here is glaring after the Elvis Dumervil fax machine calamity, and Werner had 28 sacks over his last two seasons at Florida State.
Devang: 29. New England Patriots: Xavier Rhodes (CB, Florida State) — The Seminole train keeps chugging. The Patriots could take a WR here (Keenan Allen) and they have a horrible track record in terms of picking DB’s early. But BB & Co. can’t pass up the value here.
Alen: 30. Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Trufant (CB, Washington) – The Falcons need cornerbacks, and they are getting the second best cornerback in this year’s class — D.J. Hayden not included — with Trufant. Trufant has NFL bloodlines, is a pretty good athlete, and he has room to grow as a defender.
Sean: 31. San Francisco 49ers: Jonathan Jenkins: NT, Georgia — This dude is scary big, and he’ll more than replace Isaac Sopoaga. At 6’3″ and 359 pounds, he could probably eat two Isaac Sopoagas. He’ll occupy space while collapsing the pocket, and continuing the 49ers’ recent tradition of imposing run defense.
Devang: 32. Baltimore Ravens: Quinton Patton (WR, La.Tech) — The Super Bowl champs underwent an extreme makeover this offseason. The move that created the most hand wringing was Anquan Boldin to the 49ers for a late-round pick. Patton has a long way to go in terms of replacing Boldin, but he gives Joe Flacco another threat alongside Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and Dennis Pitta.