Mock Draft No. 7: Lions take plug-in OT Fisher to protect QB Stafford
Tackles are the key to the top of this draft, and Pat Kirwan says the Lions can't pass up stud Eric Fisher when he's still available at No. 5.
1. Kansas City Chiefs -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: Not much has changed at the top in a few weeks. The Chiefs soon will attempt to negotiate with their top pick, and if Joeckel is a problem to sign, the club could get serious about Eric Fisher. I don't think it will happen, but it is a possibility.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama: The Jags might give serious consideration to QB Geno Smith or a defensive lineman, but Milliner is the best corner in the draft and instant starter. Someone has to cover division receivers like Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne.
3. Oakland Raiders -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: The Raiders released Tommy Kelly, and Richard Seymour is a free agent. The team has no one up front to stop the run and rush the passer. Star Lotulelei could get serious consideration at this spot.
4. Philadelphia Eagles -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Michael Vick is a short-term answer at QB and Nick Foles should be in a different offense. Draft Smith and trade Foles. If the Eagles pass on Smith they should come back around for EJ Manuel in the next round.
5. Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: Jeff Backus retired, Gosder Cherilus left in free agency and the Lions throw more than any team. They must protect Matthew Stafford. Fisher already is a solid pass blocker and is a plug-in left tackle.
6. Cleveland Browns -- Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon: The Browns need a corner like Dee Milliner, but he's already off this board. It wouldn't surprise me to see them take Xavier Rhodes here, but there are some interesting corners later in the draft. If Jordan teams up with free-agent acquisition Paul Kruger, it could give the Browns a solid pass rush to help the corners.
7. Arizona Cardinals -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: The Cardinals took care of their QB situation by trading for Carson Palmer. Now they have to protect him, because Bruce Arians likes to throw it 40 times a game.
8. Buffalo Bills -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama: Kevin Kolb is on board as a quarterback, so now the Bills can wait until the second round to get a QB like Ryan Nassib or even Matt Barkley. Warmack replaces departed Andy Levitre.
9. New York Jets -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: The Jets need a pass rusher and a guy with attitude. Jones made 74 plays behind the line of scrimmage at Georgia. Jones' slow 40 time may remind Rex Ryan of another guy he used to coach (as Ravens defensive coordinator) who had a slow 40 time: Terrell Suggs.
10. Tennessee Titans -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State: If the Chargers (at 11), Dolphins (12) or Bucs (13) think Rhodes falls to them, they might be in for a disappointment. Rhodes has all the physical tools and can "press" the growing number of big wide receivers in the NFL.
12. Miami Dolphins -- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama: The Dolphins have the salary cap space to buy a veteran right tackle like Andre Smith, Tyson Clabo or Eric Winston, but haven't made that move and it's the second week of April. Fluker is a plug-in right tackle who facilitates moving Jonathan Martin to the left side.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington: The Bucs need corner help in the worst way, and Trufant has the experience, speed and quickness to be a Day One starter. They may consider a pass rusher in this spot like Ziggy Ansah.
14. Carolina Panthers -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: The Panthers have struggled inside on the defensive line for two seasons. They would be fortunate if Lotulelei falls to them; if he's gone they could grab Sheldon Richardson.
15. New Orleans Saints -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: The Saints need an OLB who can rush in their new 3-4 scheme, but the best ones will be gone. Vacarro is a smart player who has matchup skills and toughness. Last year the Saints' safety play was not very good.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State: The Steelers have a number of needs (CB, WR and pass rusher). Werner is a solid DE who is stout enough to two gap when asked and rush the passer on the throwing downs. The Steelers will see him as the long-term replacement for Brett Keisel, but would ease Werner into the rotation next season.
18. Dallas Cowboys -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri: The Cowboys might have considered D.J. Fluker, if he were still on the board. Since he's gone, it's time to take a "3 tech" defensive tackle for Monte Kiffin's 4-3 defense.
20. Chicago Bears -- Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia: Alec can play any of the linebacker spots, and even though the Bears signed D.J. Williams and James Anderson, Ogletree is too good to pass up. There will be some consideration for a wide receiver or a defensive lineman like Datone Jones.
21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M: Some people like Florida State DE Tank Carradine in this spot, but there's no denying Moore's production. Moore has 24 more tackles for a loss and 10 more sacks than Carradine, who is coming off ACL surgery.
22. St. Louis Rams -- Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama: Steven Jackson is gone, and Lacy is the best back in the draft. Jeff Fisher has taken running backs before in the first round (Eddie George, Chris Johnson).
24. Indianapolis Colts -- Datone Jones, DE/DT, UCLA: Jones is a versatile defensive lineman and the Colts need him as a "5 tech" on run downs and over the guard in passing situations.
25. Minnesota Vikings -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee: With Percy Harvin gone this season, and Sidney Rice the year before, it's time to get a top WR. Patterson is a bit raw but full of potential. Another WR like Keenan Allen or DeAndre Hopkins could be the choice.
26. Green Bay Packers -- Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: Some believe Jermichael Finley's days in Green Bay are numbered. How about teaming Eifert up with Finley for a package similar to the one the Patriots run with Gronkowski and Hernandez?
27. Houston Texans -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson: Hopkins caught 18 touchdown passes last season, and never drops the ball. The Texans need someone opposite Andre Johnson and they really need someone who can get in the end zone.
28. Denver Broncos: Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State: John Fox always has liked big defensive tackles (he had Kris Jenkins in Carolina), but the Broncos also need a pass rusher to replace Elvis Dumervil. Remember that Denver asked Dumervil to take a pay cut before he left, so they take Hankins here to clog up the middle first, then come back at No. 58 and take a situational pass rusher.
29. New England Patriots -- Kawann Short, DL, Purdue: I wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots move out of this spot, considering they only have five picks overall. A team looking for Matt Barkley that hasn't been drafted yet in this mock might want to jump into this spot. If the Patriots stay here, a versatile defensive lineman like Short makes sense.
30. Atlanta Falcons -- Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State: The Falcons lost Brent Grimes in free agency and released Dunta Robinson. Banks is a tall corner who didn't run fast at the combine, but plays faster than he runs. His numbers (26 passes break-ups, 16 INTs in the SEC) speak for themselves.
31. San Francisco 49ers -- Eric Reid, S, LSU: Recently signed Craig Dahl is not the replacement for Dashon Goldson, and Donte Whitner is inconsistent. Reid is a big, smart field general who can play the deep middle or make plays at the line of scrimmage.
32. Baltimore Ravens -- Kevin Minter, LB, LSU: Some believe Manti Te'o is a better pick here for the Ravens. I studied both players and prefer Minter because he has better pass drop awareness and plays under more control.
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