2013 NFL Mock Draft: What if the Chiefs go defense up top?
What happens if the Chiefs go defense at the top of the draft. It's something not many people are considering, but it makes more sense than you might think.
In all the previous 2013 NFL Mock Drafts I've done, Kansas City took an offensive lineman, making Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher the No. 1 choice. I'm not alone here; I'd venture a guess that more than 90 percent of the mocks out there have them taking one of those guys.
But something's been nagging on me when it comes to that selection: Andy Reid's penchant for taking defensive lineman early in the first round. While Reid was head coach of the Eagles, Philadelphia used its first-overall pick (12 first-round picks, two second-round picks in total) on a defensive lineman seven times. He's used his top pick on a quarterback twice (Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb), a wide receiver twice (Freddie Mitchell, Jeremy Maclin) and an offensive lineman twice (Shawn Andrews, Danny Watkins).
More importantly, perhaps: only once has Reid used a top-15 pick on someone other than a defensive lineman, and that was when he took McNabb with the second-overall pick in 1999.
None of this means he won't use his top pick on an offensive lineman. I think Reid will grab the most-talented player regardless of position. But trends are meaningful and ruling out defensive players just because we view Joeckel and Fisher as the presumptive top options is ignoring history.
Also, it would throw a fun monkey wrench in the first round, wouldn't it? Love or hate your team's pick? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @WillBrinson.
1. Kansas City Chiefs -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon -- Jordan offers a ton of upside, would fit into Reid's shift to a 3-4 defense, is extremely versatile, could become a difference-maker on defense and it would be funny to see Reid grab one of Chip Kelly's old players with his first pick in KC. The Chiefs have invested a lot on defense in recent years but there's no guarantee those guys will be around through Reid's tenure.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars --Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU -- I could end up being wrong but I can't shake the feeling that the Jags want an impact defensive player to build around in the absence of a true franchise quarterback. Ansah is raw but he screams potential.
3. Oakland Raiders -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida -- Reggie McKenzie could give serious consideration to Geno Smith here, but with two quarterbacks already on the roster with a heavy investment (Carson Palmer via trade, Terrelle Pryor via draft) I think he focuses on rebuilding a stripped-down defense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan -- Having added substantial pieces via free agency, Chip Kelly can focus on grabbing an uber-athletic lineman who fits his scheme. Fisher is that lineman.
5. Detroit Lions -- Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU -- Losses on the defensive line -- particularly at defensive end as Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch departed this offseason -- means a need to grab a pass rusher. Mingo needs to add weight but could make an impact early with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley occupying blockers.
6. Cleveland Browns -- Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia -- They could definitely go cornerback here and I'm even tempted to put a diminutive wideout in this spot too. Jones gives them another dangerous pass-rusher, though, and I think that's something they're going to keep stocking up on them.
7. Arizona Cardinals -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M -- I definitely think Bruce Arians is insane for thinking about going all in on Drew Stanton (or even pretending that he's going all in on him), but for some reason I believe the Kangol-wearing coach. And with Joeckel sitting there at seven they'll at least be able to build out some protection.
8. Buffalo Bills -- Geno Smith, QB, Bills -- Is this even a dream scenario for Buffalo? I almost think they want to take Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse here instead of gambling that he falls to the second round. But could they do that if Geno falls to them at No. 8? It would be tough and I'm not sure they can pass on the best passer in the class.
9. New York Jets -- Dee Milliner, CB, Arizona -- A large portion of this pick is predicated on the Jets dealing Darrelle Revis. If that doesn't happen -- and surely it will at some point -- then maybe this changes. I'd be stunned to see them go somewhere other than defense.
10. Tennessee Titans -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah -- Having beefed up their offensive line by adding Andy Levitre during free agency, the Titans look to add talent on the other side of the ball by nabbing the highly-talented tackle from Utah who fell some because of health concerns.
11. San Diego Chargers -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma -- One of the top guards might make sense here, but it's just hard to fathom the Bolts passing up on a potential franchise tackle if one of the top three guys are here. Johnson's an athletic freak who would make Philip Rivers better right off the bat. Mike McCoy understands the need for protecting his quarterback's blind side (see: Ryan Clady).
12. Miami Dolphins -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State -- Still crazy how this pick changed before and after free agency. Before Miami needed a wide receiver. Now they have an abundance of them, with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Davonne Bess filling out the depth chart. They don't have a cornerback, though, and Rhodes provides them one.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington -- This pick could make sense with or without Tampa Bay dealing for Darrelle Revis. They have to get better in the secondary and Trufant's a player. Pairing him with Revis would turn a weakness into a strength very quickly, especially with Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron playing behind them.
14. Carolina Panthers -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC -- The Panthers spent an early pick on guard Amini Silatolu last year, but they still need help on the line. Protecting Cam Newton with a local guy goes a long way towards improving their team and helping to sell tickets.
15. New Orleans Saints -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri -- The Saints have to hit a home run with this pick and probably need it to be on the defensive end if there's not a left tackle available to fill Jermon Bushrod's spot. Richardson can help them start building out the defensive line for the future of their new 3-4.
16. St. Louis Rams -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas -- There could be cries for St. Louis to nab an offensive lineman with one of their two picks, but that's something Jeff Fisher's never done with a first-round pick. Instead, I think he sees some safety-needing teams between 16 and 22 and grabs the top guy on the board to beef up a rapidly-improving secondary.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama -- Hopefully Kevin Colbert doesn't break a bone in his hand diving for the phone; Warmack sitting at No. 17 seems unlikely, but it's certainly possible (although it could be Cooper instead too) and it lets the Steelers beef up their line.
18. Dallas Cowboys -- Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State -- Jerry Jones' club has to get better at defensive tackle to properly run the new 4-3 defense they're installing. I wouldn't rule out them trading up (particularly if a pick-needy team like the Saints has Richardson fall to them at 15). For now, Hankins works
19. New York Giants -- Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU -- Like I said the last time I mocked this pick: the Giants quietly need to re-stock their pass rushers. Osi Umenyiora is gone and Justin Tuck's heading into a contract year. They'll need someone to pair alongside Jason Pierre-Paul going forward. Werner was once considered a top-five pick so this is nice value.
20. Chicago Bears -- Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia -- After signing James Anderson on Sunday, the Bears have a pretty good grip on their roster (whether or not you think that roster will win, well, that's a different story ...). But the linebackers still aren't locked in and Ogletree will help them set up the position for down the road.
21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama -- I've really struggled to fill out the Bengals picks this offseason. And I don't know why I never thought of plugging in Lacy here. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a decent signing last offseason, but he's not exactly dynamic. Grabbing Lacy would help Cincy improve their offense as a whole.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia -- This fit seems so perfect. The only issue I have with it is that I want to have Austin go much higher, simply because he's such a unique talent. But in this case, he falls to St. Louis, who gets a horizontal playmaker (with vertical speed) to go along with their newly-added tight end Jared Cook. One of these two picks has to be a weapon for Sam Bradford.
23. Minnesota Vikings -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee -- This could change if Keenan Allen wows at his pro day in April and it's possible that if the Vikes saw this scenario they'd go in a different direction knowing they'd get one of the two wideouts they'd like. But Patterson would pair well with Greg Jennings and could hone his game learning behind the newly-acquired wideout.
24. Indianapolis Colts -- Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State -- Don't love what the Colts did in free agency (Erik Walden, Gosder Cherilus and LaRon Landry all look overpaid to me) but I trust Ryan Grigson. And I think he'd see a kid like Brown as a player who fell because he's undersized.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks) -- Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame -- Can't shake the idea that Minny might be the landing spot for Te'o, even though I don't love him in the first round. The Vikes have compiled a number of Irish players in recent years (John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph, Harrison Smith, Robert Blanton) and that, plus having center John Sullivan as another Domer, could help significantly in terms of bringing him into the locker room.
26. Green Bay Packers -- Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina -- Though Williams might fit better as a 4-3 tackle, it's also possible he could work as an end in a 3-4 defense. And though Ted Thompson might like to get quicker on defense right away, he'll also build out the defensive line for the future. Williams gives him some versatility.
27. Houston Texans -- Keenan Allen, WR, California -- Barring a bad pro day, I'd expect to see Allen in the first round. And though Houston could ultimately go in a different direction than wideout this year (again) I think it makes sense for them to nab a playmaker to pair with Andre Johnson. They're decidedly bereft on the depth chart at wideout.
28. Denver Broncos -- Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M -- John Elway was crushing free agency until he allowed Elvis Dumervil to walk. Now he's got a need at pass rusher (even if the Broncos sign John Abraham or Dwight Freeney) and Moore's slipped because of poor testing results. Putting him in their rotation, along with his versatility, would be a nice fit.
29. New England Patriots -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson -- Hopkins speed could be better (4.57 40 at the combine) but he's still faster than anyone New England has right now. And they need a downfield threat; adding one in the draft would give their offense more dimension. Hopkins has the skills to step in and be an impact in the deep passing game for New England right away.
30. Atlanta Falcons -- Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame -- This isn't a "win now" move, but the Falcons have mentioned how important tight end's become to them since they acquired Tony Gonzalez. Thomas Dimitroff is smart enough to look down the road and see the need to have someone on the roster (with the added bonus of a year's training with the G.O.A.T.) who can step in right away.
31. San Francisco 49ers -- Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State -- Cornerback play wasn't ideal for San Francisco in the playoffs. By nabbing Banks, they give themselves some insurance in case their cornerbacks struggle at all to start 2013.
32. Baltimore Ravens -- Kevin Minter, LB, LSU -- It's going to be awkward when we look at the Ravens defense to kick off 2013 and they're awkwardly better than the unit that finished the year. Minter would be a nice addition to a group that's already improving more than people realize.
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