Mock Draft No. 6: Change at the top -- Chiefs take Joeckel over Fisher
The difference is negligible, but Pat Kirwan switches top picks. With the first pick in the NFL Draft, Kansas City takes Luke Joeckel instead of Eric Fisher.
1. Kansas City Chiefs -- Luke Joeckel , OT, Texas A&M: The Chiefs will have a hard time trading out of this spot without a top-ranked QB to drive the move. Joeckel or Eric Fisher will be a solid pick and a 10-year starter. I have been getting more positive feedback on Joeckel in the past week.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Dee Milliner , CB, Alabama: The Jags need a talent infusion at cornerback and Milliner is the premiere corner in this draft. With star WRs Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson in the division, this pick makes sense. However, I wonder if the club is serious about West Virginia QB Geno Smith ?
3. Oakland Raiders -- Sharrif Floyd , DT, Florida: The Raiders will take Floyd, but really should take Geno Smith -- even after they acquire a veteran QB and cut Carson Palmer . The Lions didn't flinch when it came time to draft Matthew Stafford after the bad experience with Joey Harrington. The Raiders need to forget about the JaMarcus Russell experiment.
4. Philadelphia Eagles -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Michael Vick is a short-term answer (at best) and Nick Foles doesn't really fit in Chip Kelly's offense. The new coach may want to wait one round for EJ Manuel , but Jeff Lurie did attend Smith's workout, which is rare for an NFL club owner.
5. Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: Jeff Backus retired and another tackle from the state of Michigan is available. A few NFL line coaches continue to tell me they like Fisher more than Joeckel.
6. Cleveland Browns -- Dion Jordan , OLB, Oregon: Paul Kruger on one side and Jordan on the other side of a new 3-4 defense will give the Browns a solid pass rush. Jordan is a fine athlete who can drop into coverage and rush the passer.
7. Arizona Cardinals -- Lane Johnson , OT, Oklahoma: This spot could belong to a QB like Matt Barkley , but there are rumors about Carson Palmer heading to the desert if released by Oakland. Johnson is a starting left tackle who Senior Bowl executive director, Phil Savage called "the guy with the most potential at the position in the draft."
8. Buffalo Bills -- Matt Barkley, QB, USC: The Bills are bringing in Kevin Kolb , but that doesn't mean they are out of the quarterback hunt. If the Bills pass on Barkley, he could slip into the second round.
9. New York Jets -- Jarvis Jones , OLB, Georgia: Jones will pass most medical exams and the Jets will have a hard time passing on an outside linebacker who made 74 plays behind the line of scrimmage in college. Rex Ryan finally will a big, nasty playmaker for his front seven.
10. Tennessee Titans -- Chance Warmack , OG, Alabama: The Titans signed former Bills guard Andy LeVitre in free agency, but this selection gives them a very powerful offensive line and a chance for Chris Johnson to return to his old form.
11. San Diego Chargers -- Barkevios Mingo, OLB/DE LSU: The Chargers would grab OT Lane Johnson if he was still on the board but he's moving up. Mingo gives them a fine defensive end with OLB athletic skills.
12. Miami Dolphins -- Xavier Rhodes , CB, Florida State: Rhodes has a rare combination of height, long arms and skills to cover. Sean Smith is gone in Miami and Rhodes is a solid replacement.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Ezekiel Ansah , DE, BYU: The Bucs will think about a corner like Desmond Trufant or Rhodes (if the latter is still on the board). Coach Greg Schiano watched the New York Giants closely when he was at Rutgers -- and he knows a defensive end with Ansah's skills is always a solid pick. You can never have enough pass rushers.
14. Carolina Panthers -- Star Lotulelei , DT, Utah: The Panthers need to shore up the inside of their defensive line. Lotulelei is versatile and can play either nose or "3 tech." He has quickness to penetrate and burst to pursue.
15. New Orleans Saints -- Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas: The Saints need an outside pass rusher -- but in this mock the top four already are off the board. The Saints need help at safety and Vacarro is viewed as the best in the draft. He has matchup skills and can play all three spots (deep middle, half-field, in the box).
16. St. Louis Rams -- Tavon Austin , WR, West Virginia: Danny Amendola is gone and Austin is a playmaker of bigger potential than Amendola. The Rams pick again in 6 picks.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington: The Steelers need a matchup corner opposite Ike Taylor . I talked with Trufant this week and he was clear that he requested and matched up with the best receiver week in and week out. His 3.85 short shuttle was even more impressive than his sub 4.4 forty time.
18. Dallas Cowboys -- D.J. Fluker , OT, Alabama: In the Cowboys' glory days, big Erik Williams was the right tackle. Dallas can start emulating that kind of offensive line if they take Fluker. Put him on the right side, cut Doug Free and this team is better right away.
19. New York Giants -- Bjoern Werner , DE, Florida State: The Giants have always liked productive defensive linemen who get after the QB and play the run. Werner has a good get-off and size. His 59 plays behind the line of scrimmage in 27 college starts are impressive. He would go earlier in the draft if not for a slow 40 time at the combine.
20. Chicago Bears -- Datone Jones , DE, UCLA: Jones is a versatile defensive lineman who will play outside in run down situations and inside in passing situations. If he's next to Bears DT Henry Melton on the inside, someone is getting to the QB.
21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Damontre Moore , DE, Texas A&M: The Bengals take chances on players -- and if Moore is on the board they may not be able to resist. Moore, 20, has increased his production all three years in college. He will play at the 265-pound, and his 72 plays behind the line of scrimmage in 38 games are impressive.
22. St. Louis Rams -- Alec Ogeltree, LB, Georgia: Ogeltree -- a solid ru-and-hit player -- will complete a very solid linebacker group. He can play any of the three spots in the Rams' 4-3. Ogeltree also has pass rush skills and can take the deep middle drop in coverage.
23. Minnesota Vikings -- Sylvester Williams , DT, North Carolina: I watched Williams work at the Senior Bowl and was impressed. He put up solid numbers at the combine and is a high character guy. I talked with him this week and his stock went up again, as he discussed all the things he had to overcome to get where he is today.
24. Indianapolis Colts -- Keenan Allen , WR, California: Reggie Wayne can't play forever, and Allen will learn a lot from the master -- then take over for Wayne, just like Reggie did with Marvin Harrison.
25. Minnesota Vikings -- Cordarrelle Patterson , WR, Tennessee: The Vikings got a defensive tackle two picks ago and now start to fill in the gaps left by the loss of Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice the year before.
26. Green Bay Packers -- Eddie Lacy , RB, Alabama: The Packers could take a defensive lineman ( Kawann Short ) here but the chance to put a power back behind Aaron Rogers is too tempting. Lacy will be an instant 1,000-yard back, something the Packers have been lacking for years.
27. Houston Texans -- DeAndre Hopkins , WR, Clemson: Houston needs a quality receiver opposite Andre Johnson who scores touchdowns. Hopkins had 18 TD receptions last season.
28. Denver Broncos -- Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State: A big man who can move. I remember when John Fox had the same thing in Kris Jenkins with the Panthers. He will clog up the middle for Denver's defense.
29. New England Patriots -- Kawann Short, DT, Purdue: The Patriots have taken many defensive linemen in the first round during the Bill Belichick era and picking one this low in the first round is nothing new. The Pats are back in a 4-3 defense, and a quick, one-gap penetrator like Short is an asset. The only thing holding Short back is himself. He erased some of his inconsistent effort label at the Senior Bowl. His made 70 plays behind the line of scrimmage in college.
30. Atlanta Falcons -- Tyler Eifert , TE, Notre Dame: Tony Gonzalez is playing one more season, and it's time to put his replacement on the roster. Eifert comes out of Notre Dame with 140 receptions. The Falcons' two-TE sets will be dangerous next year if Eifert is on the field with Gonzalez and Roddy White and Julio Jones are outside.
31. San Francisco 49ers -- Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State: In my previous mocks, Banks has been in the second round. But Carlos Rogers is 32, the team has been recruiting Nnamdi Asomougha and it's clear they want another corner. Banks has excellent size and he gets his hands on the ball. He finished his college career with 16 interceptions. Millner, Rhodes and Trufant had 20 picks combined.
32. Baltimore Ravens -- Kevin Minter , LB, LSU: The Ravens could trade out of this spot and still get a MLB. But Minter separated himself from Manti Te'o when it came to his pass coverage skills and an ability to play under control.
The NFL cupboard isn't at all bare after the departure of three first-round picks
While running back will prove this year's position du jour, quarterbacks will still garner...
The fifth-year senior was viewed as a possible NFL draft pick
Myles Garrett may be the most talented player in the country
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson lead an intriguing list of Trojans
Smaller and quicker than many of his predecessors, the Tide DT looks like a first-round lo...