We're so close to the draft. So very close. In a less than two weeks, this mock draft -- and every mock draft, actually -- will be rendered meaningless and we'll know who teams hold. Once again, I've got a quarterback-less first round and, well, that seems crazy. I don't really believe it will happen, and I have trouble putting it down on paper, but that's how the cards fell.
There's also little other than the first three picks that I feel comfortable with, and even those aren't necessarily "safe."
But, most importantly, I've got a pair of trades in this draft and I think that my desire for cowbell and/or craziness in my mock draft could lead to a few more. As of now, the Cards move up to improve their left-tackle selection, and the Fins do the same. I don't think either is unreasonable; if you're in the top 10 and someone comes calling for your pick, you're absolutely listening.
I'll have one more mock between now and the draft -- yes, we're that close -- and a few things are locked in, but certainly nothing is set in stone at this point. That's what's so fun about this year's draft; everything is very much up in the air.
The quarterback position is the biggest thing that's looming. I swear I'm not trying to force quarterbacks out of the first round and, again, I have a hard time believing it actually happens. But the logistics and economics of this draft definitely make it possible. We'll see. And soon.
1. Kansas City Chiefs -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan -- Seems all but destined that the Chiefs will nab a tackle at the top of the draft (if they can't trade down, anyway). So it comes down to Fisher or Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel. I'll take Fisher since he's more athletic and has bigger upside.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon -- Jags GM David Caldwell says he has his list of potential picks down to two players. Maybe one is a quarterback, but I really don't think that's the case. My best guesses are Jordan and BYU's Ziggy Ansah, and I think Jordan's versatility gives him the nod here.
3. Oakland Raiders -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida -- Honestly, Oakland could go in any direction with this pick. Their roster is stripped bare, and they just need talent. Floyd's disruptive at the point of attack and can help them start building a defensive line that will be a nightmare for quarterbacks moving forward.
4. Arizona Cardinals (mock trade with Eagles) -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M -- Bruce Arians can prop up his offensive line all he wants, but that doesn't make his offensive line any good. Levi Brown's currently slated to start at left tackle, and Joeckel would likely present an immediate upgrade. With the Aggies' anchor slipping a few spots, Arizona hops other contenders to make a play for him.
5. Detroit Lions -- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU -- The Lions' two biggest areas of need are offensive line and cornerback. But, uh, that's kind of been the case for a while. And now they need to replenish what was once a strength: defensive end. Grabbing Ansah will help mitigate the damage of losing Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch in the offseason.
6. Miami Dolphins (mock trade with Browns) -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma -- Miami lost Jake Long and can't go into 2013 with Jonathan Martin starting at left tackle. And though Johnson isn't a prototypical left tackle, he is an athletic freak. Since they have plenty of ammunition to make a move up and since they need to make sure Ryan Tannehill actually has time to throw to Mike Wallace and the rest of the receivers that they acquired, they find a willing trade partner in Cleveland.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (mock trade with Cardinals) -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah -- Honestly, I could have Philly going four different ways with this pick. Part of me wants to give them an athletic guard, part of me wants to give them Geno Smith with a move down and part of me wants them to take a pass rusher. But I think they'll see serious value in Lotulelei as a guy who can wreck havoc on opposing offensive lines.
8. Buffalo Bills -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC -- I don't believe Kevin Kolb is the answer anymore than you (or the Bills, for that matter) do. But as I've written before, adding Kolb means they can be a little more aggressive in their strategy of acquiring a quarterback. And that means not suffering the opportunity cost of grabbing someone to protect their quarterback.
9. New York Jets -- Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU -- Gah. What don't the Jets need? A lot truly depends on the Darrelle Revis situation. But until we see/hear how Revis looks in offseason workouts, it's tough to project the trade actually happening. For now, they can have Mingo, whom Rex Ryan can move around on his defense.
10. Tennessee Titans -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama -- Yes, they landed Andy Levitre in free agency. But that shouldn't stop the Titans from rebuilding their line. If they grab Warmack, they'll have a stacked unit that could actually provide some blocking for Chris Johnson -- and, um, Shonne Greene??? -- in 2013.
11. San Diego Chargers -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama -- Everyone wants to talk about the Bolts' lack of an offensive line, and I don't disagree one bit. But who are they taking at 11 if the top-five talents are off the board? San Diego's got a need at cornerback, too, and adding Milliner at this position is solid value.
12. Cleveland Browns (mock trade with Miami Dolphins) -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Alabama -- Cleveland probably feels a little foiled by San Diego grabbing Milliner just ahead of them, but it's not the worst in the world. They can still grab one of the other talented cornerbacks in this draft class.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington -- Cornerback run! Seeing three selected back-to-back feels a little weird, but that's how things work in the draft world. My gut says the Jets end up owning this pick (they could still go in the same direction). But if they don't, Tampa clearly has a need at cornerback.
14. Carolina Panthers -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia -- Reasonable chance Austin's off the board by the time Carolina picks. But if he isn't, I love the idea of pairing him with Cam Newton, letting him learn under Steve Smith and turning his offensive explosiveness and versatility loose on the NFC South. The Panthers have a ton of needs. But having shied away from ignoring defensive tackle in the draft during the first round the last two years, it worked out pretty well in the form of Newton and Luke Kuechly.
15. New Orleans Saints -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri -- Tempted to give them a pass rusher here, but it'll be easier to upgrade their pass rush if they have a defensive line that can dominant other fronts. Richardson can step in and play all along the line, giving the Saints' pass rushers some freedom.
16. St. Louis Rams -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas -- The popular pick is Austin, but he's already gone at this point. And with several of the remaining top wideouts on the market, the Rams can gamble that they'll get one of their guys at 22 while also improving their already impressive secondary here at 16.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia -- It'll be interesting to see exactly which direction Pittsburgh goes with this pick; the latest developments with Emmanual Sanders leave their decisions at wide receiver very much up in the air. Feels like there's value to be had later at wideout, and Jones could be a steal thanks to falling because of his health.
18. Dallas Cowboys -- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama -- Jerry Jones can wax optimistically all he wants about Tony Romo's mobility negating a need for offensive line. I don't buy it. And with the Cowboys trying to renegotiate with Doug Free, it's clear they don't love their current setup. Fluker would add immediate help in the run and pass game for Dallas.
19. New York Giants -- Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU -- It all boils down to if they like Werner. If he's here at 19, Werner makes a ton of sense for the Giants. They've got Osi Umenyiora gone and Justin Tuck with one year left. Despite other needs, replenishing the pass rush should be a top priority as well.
20. Chicago Bears -- Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia -- Just because the Bears signed linebackers in free agency doesn't mean they're totally set at the position. Picking up the talented (but troubled) Ogletree gives them some depth at the position.
21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Menelik Watson, OL, FSU -- If the Bengals aren't going to bring back Andre Smith, they need to improve the line somehow. Grabbing the high-upside Watson does just that for them.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee -- How can this pick not be a wide receiver? Sam Bradford needs weapons, and Brian Quick needs some help -- more than just Jared Cook. I love Patterson and think he can explode in the right spot.
23. Minnesota Vikings -- Keenan Allen, WR, California -- Minnesota could wait on a wideout until 25, but there are plenty of teams behind them that might want to try and move up with Indy to grab one of their top choices. Instead, they nab Keenan Allen, despite his sub-par pro day in Greensboro, and let him develop beind Greg Jennings.
24. Indianapolis Colts -- Cornellius Carradine, DE, FSU -- There's some downside to grabbing Tank -- mostly his ACL injury in 2012 -- but he's a player, and he'd be much higher were it not for getting hurt. His versatility and ability to play in the 3-4 makes him a very nice selection for the aggressive Colts here.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks) -- Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame -- Cannot say this enough: I don't like this pick; I just think it's bound to happen. Maybe it gets mocked too much to be true, but the Vikes have a ton of Golden Domers on their roster already and it would be a reasonably seamless fit.
26. Green Bay Packers -- John Cyprien, S, Florida International -- Green Bay's got to improve the back end of their secondary. By sitting at the front end of teams that could help fire up a run at the safety position, they're in a good spot to grab some value here. Wouldn't be opposed with them selecting any number of defensive line prospects, either.
27. Houston Texans -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson -- Every mock on the planet has them taking a wide receiver, which means it probably won't be true. But they desperately need to add talent on the receiving end of things, so I'm gonna keep doing what I do here.
29. New England Patriots -- Robert Woods, WR, USC -- Woods isn't a picture-perfect receiver when it comes to upside, but he's a stable prospect who can fill the void created by Manny Sanders sticking with the Steelers. The Pats have to get better in the secondary and at wideout. This addresses one need.
30. Atlanta Falcons -- Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State -- Atlanta handled left tackle, running back, and (to a degree) pass rush in free agency. They still need cornerback help, though, and Taylor can make an immediate impact for them.
31. San Francisco 49ers -- Matt Elam, S, Florida -- Seeing the Niners move up with their plethora of picks wouldn't be in the least bit surprising. But they've got holes in the secondary that they can fill -- or, at the very least a future need at secondary -- and Elam's a ruthless, hard-hitting safety who could help out their defense quickly.
32. Baltimore Ravens -- Kevin Minter, LB, LSU -- Minter's abilities as an inside linebacker and the value that he presents at 32 only prove that you should never doubt Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens have a number of directions that they could go here to help reload the defense.