Even the greatest teams have a weakness ...
... and in the NFL, where every team -- even the bottom-feeders -- has big, strong and fast guys at every position, that weakness can and will be exploited in every effort to win, pure and simple.
So, what is your team’s biggest area of need as the NFL Draft approaches?
We take a look at the performances of all 32 teams in 2012, as well as such issues as free agent losses, injuries and retirement, all in an effort to mock the 2013 NFL Draft.
There will be updates, of course, and necessary ones. The season is not over quite yet, but while the majority of draft slots have been set in stone, several of the latest first-round selections are still up in the air.
Those selection spots, of course, are going to be decided by the winners and losers of the upcoming playoff games and Super Bowl.
We here at Gamedayr are already opening up enough of a bag of worms simply providing our mock draft, so we are not going to project a Super Bowl winner here. Instead, we are simply going to list the teams based on their playoff seeding. For example, the Atlanta Falcons earned the No. 1-overall seed, so they will pick 32nd here until the actual games are played.
Thus, be sure to check back in often, as the actual selections and the slotting are both subject to and will change based on both team performance in the playoffs and player performances at the combine and pro day workouts.
32. Atlanta Falcons - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Talk about subject to change. The Atlanta Falcons, despite their stellar regular season performance, are by no means a perfect team.
Outside of Justin Babineaux, the team’s defensive line could use a facelift. Former first round selection Peria Jerry is a walking injury (and no, that doesn’t really make sense), while Corey Peters simply does not get the job done often enough for anyone’s liking.
Thus, while the team could use a defensive lineman such as Kawann Short of Purdue or Sam Montgomery of LSU, we are going to go offensively with this pick, for one reason and one reason only.
Future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez has repeatedly stated that he will be retiring at the end of the year; he is hoping to ride off into the sunset with his first Super Bowl ring.
Quarterback Matt Ryan loves to get Tony G involved in the Falcons’ pass-heavy offense, and a Zach Ertz is a talented weapon with loads of potential. At 6-foot-6 and 249 pounds, Ertz caught 69 passes for 898 yards and six scores despite having to work with the inconsistent and finally benched Josh Nunes and then redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan under center the rest of the way. The guy with the second-most receptions on the team? Drew Terrell with 33.
31. New England Patriots - Matt Elam, S, Florida Gators
Whatever happens with the Ravens, currently at No. 29, will dictate how the Patriots lean in this draft. Should safety Ed Reed retire or sign somewhere else this offseason, Elam will go to them, leaving West Virginia star receiver/runner/returner Tavon Austin for the Pats.
Wes Welker is a free agent after the year, so Austin would fit in nicely on offense. However, the team must keep drafting defensive players until the defense begins to play like one worthy of a Super Bowl champion.
Elam, a 5-foot-10, 202-pound All-American, finished second on the team with 76 tackles while leading the Gators with four interceptions. He can do it all, and in all likelihood he will be doing it somewhere along the East Coast.
30. San Francisco 49ers - Alex Okafor, DE, Texas Longhorns
Do the Niners have the league's best and probably most respected defense in the league right now? Of course, but with so few holes on the entire roster, why not bolster the team's pass rushing unit? In one of the team's biggest games of the year, the Alamo Bowl against a proficient Oregon State offense, Okafor was a man amongst boys. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound beast finished with 4.5 sacks to give him 12.5 on the year.
If one of a few elite wide receivers drops this far, coach Jim Harbaugh might go in that direction, but defense and a running game wins championships. San Francisco already has Frank Gore and LaMichael James taking handoffs from the speedy Colin Kaepernick -- so defense it is.
29. Baltimore Ravens - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia Mountaineers
The Ravens' selection is entirely contingent upon what future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed decides to do after the team's season is over. Reed is a free agent, and many around the league are expecting him to either sign with a new team or simply walk away from the game altogether. If that happens, Matt Elam of Florida is the surefire choice to try to replace the legend.
As the team stands now however, Baltimore will be looking for playmakers. Anquan Bolden is getting old and the team needs another star for the limited Joe Flacco. Austin was one of two D-I players to collect more than 500 yards receiving, running and returning, respectively. He has the ability to change a game, and Baltimore has only really had those on the defensive side of the football over the last 15 years.
28. Denver Broncos - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida Gators
Yes, the Broncos took Derek Wolfe in the second round of the 2012 draft, but the organization promptly moved him outside to defensive end, moving him inside only in the team's nickel and dime situations. Both of Denver's starting tackles this past year, Justin Bannan and Kevin Vickerson, are slated to hit free agency once the final whistle sounds on the Super Bowl.
Floyd, at 6-foot-3 and 303 pounds, made a mess of the line of scrimmage for Florida's No. 3-overall defensive unit in 2012, and he should be counted on to do the same for Denver come April's first round. If Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert should fall this far however, the Broncos may have no choice but to take him. Peyton Manning is a miracle worker with a great tight end at his disposal.
27. Houston Texans - Kevin Minter, LB, LSU Tigers
Of course, Houston is always looking for talented wide receivers to line up across the field from superstar Andre Johnson, so a receiver slotting here would not be a surprise. That being said, if the team wants to get over the hump and beat a squad like New England, an improved defense is what is going to do the trick.
On a unit loaded with future NFL stars, Minter led all LSU defenders with a superstar 130 on the year. Fifteen of his takedowns were made behind the line of scrimmage. With defensive end JJ Watt being his usual disruptive self and Minter making plays right behind him, the Texans' defense is immediately improved.
26. Green Bay Packers - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Packers, following their beat down at the hands of the 49ers in the second round of the playoffs, definitely have a few holes to fill.
Jeff Saturday looked old snapping Aaron Rodgers the ball after coming over from Indianapolis in free agency. Coordinator Dom Capers' defense regressed after a decent start, despite the return of Charles Woodson in the playoffs.
However, tight end Jermichael Finley has an unnecessarily loud mouth, a bad case of the drops and is owed $8 million next season. The receiving tight end is extremely talented, but he has played himself out of that salary. Bringing aboard the nation's top play maker at the position in the 6-foot-6, 251-pound Indiana native will help offset Finley's loss on the football field while making things easier in the locker room and with the media.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor Bears
Williams blew the nation away with a superstar average of 140.9 reception yards per game, an absolutely unbelievable number -- even for an offense as pass-happy as Baylor's.
There is a theme here: Teams with young quarterbacks must focus on surrounding him with talent, the best teams are looking to fill needs, and really bad teams are looking for cornerstone big men.
The Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin in the third round of last season's draft, and after leading Seattle to a playoff win over RGIII and the Redskins, it is time to surround him with first-round talent.
Very much like the situation in Minnesota, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch made something out of nothing all season long. Williams not only provides Wilson with a sure-handed target who runs great routes, but he will keep safeties from creeping forward to try to stop the run.
That being said, this team was carried at times by its fantastic defense. Georgia's John Jenkins and Mizzou's Sheldon Richardson are both incredibly talented run-stuffers who would fit very well in Seattle's aggressive defensive scheme.
24. Indianapolis Colts - Jonathan Cooper, OG/C, North Carolina Tar Heels
Remember how young gunslingers need skill position guys in order to succeed?
Generally speaking, that's true, but not in the case of Andrew Luck, who defied all expectations and set more rookie records than SportsCenter could keep up with in his first season in Indy.
With even more time to plant his foot, survey the field and get rid of the football, Luck can obviously be even more dangerous, and that is where Cooper comes in. At 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds, the senior is not the biggest, but he is incredibly strong and he has a ton of playing experience.
What's more, the big dude has got himself quite the diverse skill set. Right guard Mike McGlynn gave up four sacks in the Colts' final four games. Cooper can line up there, or on the left side, or he can snap the football as the team's center. It is not easy moving all over the field, but in front of every great quarterback and running back is a fantastic offensive lineman. Cooper can be that for the Colts in 2013.
If the team chooses to go for a defensive upgrade, look for a corner such as Florida State's Xavier Rhodes or one of the several remaining studly defensive tackles.
23. Minnesota Vikings - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson Tigers
The Vikings are going to be more than happy to snap up whomever the Rams leave on the board. If St. Louis selects Hopkins, the Vikings will go with Patterson, and vice versa.
After making the playoffs as one of the most successful one-man shows in recent football history, it is high time the Vikings get running back Adrian Peterson some skilled support not named Percy "I'm Always a Little Hurt" Harvin.
Hopkins set the ACC touchdowns' record with a massive 18 on the 2012 campaign. If that does not describe the definition of what an offense is looking for, we don't know what does.
Christian Ponder showed flashes of real improvement under center, and the addition of Hopkins will do him wonders in the passing game. Should the Vikes figure out a way to spread the field more effectively in 2013, Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record could end up being a thing of the past.
22. St. Louis Rams (from WSH) - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee Volunteers
Yes, the Rams need playmakers, but Chance Warmack, the guard St. Louis may take at no. 16, is far too valuable to pass up, whereas there are still several fantastic options at the skill positions at No. 22.
Cordarrelle Patterson did not have the numbers as his Vols running mate, Justin Hunter, but he has all the measurables NFL scouts drool over: 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, fantastic hands, speed and explosiveness.
However, by all accounts, the mental aspect of his game needs work, and thus the drop to the late-first round. As mentioned previously, the Rams do have options here, but they do need to find another weapon for passer Sam Bradford.
DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson could very easily slot here, as could spectacular tight end Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame. Also keep an eye on Robert Woods of Southern Cal and Tavon Austin of West Virginia. Austin does not have the size as these other big bodies, but the dude makes it happen.
21. Cincinnati Bengals - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas Longhorns
Positional need, meet draft slot. With so many defensive linemen off the board, Cincinnati has the opportunity to snag the top-rated safety in order to bolster a patchwork defensive backfield
The Bengals made the playoffs for the second straight season, but once again were eliminated in the first round by Houston. What was the common theme in both wild card games? Matt Shaub's right arm. Yes, the unit as a whole played extremely well throughout the regular season, allowing the seventh-fewest total passing yards with 3,400 on the year, but Cincy's success is not sustainable (say that five times fast).
In 2012, coach Marvin Lewis went with Reggie Nelson and Taylor Mays. After Lewis benched Mays, the only other option was sliding Nate Clements over from his natural position at corner.
Bringing in the 6-foot-1, 218-pound hard-hitting Vaccaro will alleviate the pressure on the entire group. In an AFC North that features Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisurger and a presumably improving Brandon Weeden, pass defense will be at a premium.
20. Chicago Bears - Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia Bulldogs
The Bears came this close to earning a spot in the playoffs in 2012. Instead, after 7-1 start faded into a 10-6 finish and no postseason play, the organization fired coach Lovie Smith and was forced to evaluate the entire team from the ground up.
Offensively, the personnel is sound except for a few holes along the line. Defensively, however, the proud and still-dominant unit is getting old.
Ogletree is a 6-foot-3, 232-pound weapon along the defensive front. On a unit loaded with NFL-calibur talent, Ogletree led all Bulldogs with 111 tackles on the year. He is relentless in his pursuit of running backs and he is fast enough to cover any tight end.
The franchise has to start thinking about life sans Brian Urlacher, and Ogletree is the perfect place to start.
19. New York Giants - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU Cougars
The New York Giants’ brass are going to be sick losing out on LSU's Sam Montgomery, but Ansah is a fantastic consolation prize. In fact, with the expected departure of another, aging pass-rush specialist in Osi Umenyiora, folks in the Big Apple should be excited to welcome Ansah to town with open arms.
Remember, we are representing the goodwill of our home country once again.
Ready for how ridiculous Ansah’s story is? It’s going to be perfect for the New York Post. Ansah met a Mormon missionary while growing up in Ghana, where he played soccer. The missionary figured the young man’s 6-foot-6, 250-pound frame would lend itself well to American football. The coaching staff at BYU agreed, but Ansah loved watching LeBron James so much that he chose instead to try out for the Cougars’ basketball team. Unfortunately, he was cut in both 2008 and 2009. He tried out for track and made that team, clocking a 10.9 in the 100-meter dash.
Finally, in 2010, he strapped on the football pads for the first time. It was slow going for a little while, as his teammates actually had to help him get those pads on that first time. He knew nothing, but by the time 2012 rolled around, he was starting the team’s final nine games.
Easily one of the most intriguing players in the Draft, the Giants have enough talent on the defensive line to allow Ansah time to acclimate, and they do not have too many holes in their lineup offensively.
18. Dallas Cowboys - Sam Montgomery, DE, Dallas Cowboys
Now might be the perfect time to select either Mike Glennon or Matt Barkley, the two top-rated quarterbacks still available. However, owner/general manager/team czar Jerry Jones insists that the organization will succeed with Tony Romo under center. This in spite of the fact that the ‘Boys have enjoyed a diminishing return on Romo’s efforts over the last few seasons.
In any case, Jones is going to have to find a way to win without Anthony Spencer. Dallas will be moving to a 4-3 base defense under freshly hired defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. While Spencer would fit great across from DeMarcus Ware as a 4-3 end, Jones will in all likelihood elect to let Spencer walk in free agency.
The top pass rushers are going to be long gone by the time Jones get to pick, but he will be counting his blessings that Montgomery decided to leave school early when he is inking this uber-talented and aggressive pass rusher to a multi-year deal.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama Crimson Tide
Another Bama boy is taken in the first round. While that is very much expected and familiar at this point, not very many people are used to seeing the Steelers with a selection this high up in the Draft.
The team’s injury-plagued 2012 football season has afforded one of the league’s classiest organizations the opportunity to take on some real, game-changing talent at a position of need.
Williams is an absolute tank of a human being. After spending his childhood and adolescence playing rugby (best sport ever) down in Australia, he has developed fantastic hands and a nose for finding the football.
Pittsburgh’s long-time starter at nose tackle, Casey Hampton, has been in the league for 12 seasons, and he may not be around much longer -- and if he decides to stay, the team may not be able to afford him.
Offensive weapons are also in dire need for quarterback Ben Roethlisburger, but there aren’t any running backs that grade into the middle of the first round, and the team just signed wide receiver Antonio Brown to a big contract.
16. St. Louis Rams - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama Crimson Tide
Generally speaking, NFL teams try to stick to taking tackles this early in the Draft, because they are so much more important in pass protection. While, yes, the game as we know it has become a pass-first competition, protection and blocking comes in all shapes and sizes.
And at 6-foot-3, 320 pounds with great hands and relatively quick feet, Chance Warmack has the shape and the size to be a difference maker along coach Jeff Fisher’s offensive line.
He has Steven Jackson, the NFL’s active leader in career rushing yards, behind young signal-caller Sam Bradford. A wide receiver to compliment the two of them might slot nicely here (Cordarrelle Patteron of Tennessee or DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson come to mind), but giving Bradford extra time to throw and the aging Jackson wider running lanes should be the team’s top priority with its first pick.
15. New Orleans Saints - Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
In 2012, the New Orleans Saints' defense gave up more yardage that any other team had ever given up in the history of the NFL. Obviously, with Drew Brees slinging passes all over the football field, this team will not have too much to worry about offensively for the next several years.
But what better way to inject a little life into its defense than by bringing in the heart and soul of a team that went 12-1 and earned a birth in the BCS National Championship game?
Was Notre Dame exposed against Alabama? Of course, but the Irish never would have been there in the first place had it not been for their Heisman Trophy runner-up, Manti Te'o.
Te’o set the all-time Notre Dame linebackers record with seven interceptions in a single season. He recorded more than 100 tackles in each of the last three seasons and, remember, he shook the cobwebs out of a Fighting Irish program that had been left for dead long ago -- just like the Saints’ defense.
14. Carolina Panthers - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State Buckeyes
The Panthers really wanted to take a defensive tackle in last year's draft, but the Chiefs beat them to Dontari Poe.
Carolina already finished in the top 10 in total defensive yardage this year, but bringing in a talent such as Hankins can turn an above average defensive unit into one that can lead a team into the playoffs.
At 6-foot-3, 322 pounds, Hankins finished fourth on the Buckeyes with 55 total tackles, an extremely high number for such a big body. Generally expected to simply make a mess of the line of scrimmage, bringing down runner before he crosses the line of scrimmage is a bonus the Panthers will be banking on.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Bucs’ pass defense was not an abomination under first year head coach Greg Schiano, but it wasn't great. The team passed on Morris Claiborne last year, instead preferring hard-hitting safety Mark Barron.
That's fine, but the organization cannot afford to pass on the opportunity to pair Barron with Banks, the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award. The honor is presented every year to the nation's top cover corner, and he was named the winner over Milliner.
Banks is a full 6-foot-2, meaning he is tall enough to go up and fight for balls against the big receivers in the NFL. He recorded four interceptions as a senior, and tallied a whopping 16 on his stellar career.
The Bucs already have their offensive playmakers set; now it's time to load up their defense and make good on their playoff potential.
12. Miami Dolphins - Keenan Allen, WR, California Golden Bears
The Dolphins' front office took a gamble in drafting the relatively inexperienced Ryan Tannehill at No. 8-overall a season ago. Soon after, the team’s decision-makers took it upon themselves to trade their new franchise quarterback’s only viable receiving threat in Brandon Marshall.
Now, through whatever means necessary, it is up to the team’s management to surround Tannehill with more weapons than simply Reggie Bush out of the backfield.
This begins with selecting Keenan Allen, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of Greensboro, North Carolina. Cal was a massive disappointment in 2012, but that was through no fault of Allen, who recorded a team-high 61 receptions for 737 yards and six scores.
11. San Diego Chargers - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Having had their eyes set on Taylor Lewan offensively or a vicious pass rusher defensively, the Chargers will be happy to settle on another big offensive lineman from the state of Michigan. Barkevious Mingo is off the board, and his teammate at LSU, fellow defensive end Sam Montgomery, does not rate high enough here, but Warmack does.
At 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds, all Fisher does is move defenders all over the football field. Tackles are just so valuable and considering the poor play of quarterback Phillip Rivers in 2012, the Chargers’ signal-caller is going to need all the time in the pocket he can get to find some open receivers next year.
10. Tennessee Titans - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Titans regressed from nine wins in 2011 to six in 2012, and what better way to get back to winning than to bring in a guy that has not done anything but win since he began playing college ball with the Crimson Tide?
All season long, Milliner has been considered the premier cornerback in all of college football, and it showed in that vey few teams ever threw in his direction. On the nation’s biggest stage, he made Notre Dame pay for not sticking to the script, breaking up two passes in the blowout victory.
Tennessee has youth and talent all over the offensive side of the football. However, in order to shore up the league’s 24th-best pass defense, Milliner is a must with the 10th-overall selection.
9. New York Jets - Dion Jordan, DE/LB, Oregon Ducks
Could the Jets use a new running back? Yes. Another wide receiver, or six? Of course. Maybe a quarterback that can actually complete passes? Definitely.
All that being said, all signs are pointing towards a defensive pick for the Jets at the No. 9 slot. If Rex Ryan is going to remain the coach of this football team, no player fits the type of hard-nosed, athletic playmaker more than the lean, long and dominant Barkevious Mingo -- but he will be gone.
Thus, the next-best thing is another defensive end/linebacker hybrid in Oregon's Dion Jordan
Mark Sanchez will at least be on the team next year due to the $17 million it would cost to cut him, so there won’t be much room for another quarterback circus like the one this team just went through.
In terms of making the team better without taking on too much of a risk of failure, the 6-foot-7, 243-pound beast is a safe -- and, honestly, probably spectacular -- choice.
8. Buffalo Bills - Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas Razorbacks
The Buffalo Bills’ ownership, instead of donating money to the public school system, or to a soup kitchen, or a homeless shelter, instead decided to provide tens of millions of dollars to the hopeless cause that is quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Even if Fitzpatrick ends up starting next season, it has become blatantly obvious that he is not the answer in upstate New York. Thus, it is time to begin at least grooming his successor now.
NC State’s Mike Glennon has all the tools, but he did not prove he could win games this season. The same goes for USC’s Matt Barkley, who watched his draft stock plummet from the trainer’s room as he nursed a ‘severely injured’ shoulder -- and yes, we’ve just called Hollywood’s Barkely soft, sue us.
Wilson and his team stunk in 2012, but there were extenuating circumstances, namely being that his coach took a joyride with a girl only a few years older than Wilson himself and the team quit after the world found out.
Wilson is a leader who just wants to win football games. His fiery demeanor could be the push this franchise needs. If a defensive guy is taken, Manti Te’o would slot nicely here.
7. Arizona Cardinals - Barkevious Mingo, DE/LB, LSU Tigers
Mingo, with all the length, strength and speed to be a star at the next level, should be the first of the zillion LSU underclassmen that entered the draft to be selected.
The Cardinals would love to snap up an offensive lineman with this selection spot, but the top man on the board, Luke Joeckel, will be long gone, as will the only quarterback worth taking this high up, Geno Smith.
That being said, Mingo is a 6-foot-5, 240-pound force who should find the playing field right away for the Cardinals. If he and the Arizona defense force punt after punt, eventually Fitzy and Co. have to break through offensively, right?
6. Cleveland Browns - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State Seminoles
Better known as the ‘Germanator’, this 6-foot-4, 255-pound native of Berlin, Germany is an absolute force. Werner collected 13 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss as the leader of one of the nation’s top defensive units.
And he did it all despite being relatively new to the game of football.
Werner came to America as a transfer student in his junior year of high school having never played the game that he would quickly learn to dominate.
Now, with only five years of experience under his belt, Werner will dominate in Cleveland. After taking two offensive players in the first round of the 2012 Draft in quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson, the team is only one elite pass rusher and some very non-Cleveland-style luck away from being a good team.
5. Detroit Lions - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M Aggies
Moore’s efforts on his own team were overshadowed by the offensive exploits of Outland Trophy winner Luke Joeckel and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. Further, his 12.5 sacks and 21.0 tackles for a loss were overshadowed by SEC defensive stars such as Jarvis Jones and Jadeveon Clowney.
However, the Draft will provide Moore with a bit of time in the limelight, finally.
The Lions might be one of the best 4-12 teams in a long time. Detroit is loaded with talent offensively, and Matthew Stafford’s connection with Calvin Johnson has already proven one of the most prolific of all time.
The team is stacked with run stuffers in Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. However, Kyle Vanden Bosch is likely to be a salary cap casualty and the team does not have much else by way of pass rushers.
Florida State’s Bjoern Werner could also easily slot here.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia Mountaineers
Through the first handful of games on the 2012 season, Smith looked every bit the part of the future of the Kansas City Chiefs as the league's No. 1-overall selection. In running the Mountaineers’ record to 5-1, Smith piled up a whopping 25 touchdown passes without throwing a single interception. He was Heisman-bound, first pick-bound -- heck, folks out in West Virginia already had their man Hall of Fame-bound.
Then the second half the arrived, and with it, the Mr. Hyde to the Dr. Jekyll that was Smith’s early season performance. The team lost six of its final eight games as Smith threw all six of his interceptions in the second half of the year.
All that being said, Smith is still a fantastic talent with great field vision and accuracy. If Reid and Kansas City does not take him No. 1-overall to replace the dumpster-fire that is the Matt Cassel/Brady Quinn duo, newly minted Eagles head coach Chip Kelly will let Mike Vick go and insert Smith into a competition to start with incumbent Nick Foles. Foles simply does not fit the fast-paced style of offense Kelly wants to bring to Philly.
If Reid does snap up Smith, look for the Eagles to take Joeckel to anchor their offensive line.
3. Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah Utes
The name just about says it all for this 6-foot-4, 320-pound run-stuffing, cookie-eating monster.
It has been quite some time since the Raiders were relevant in the League. That is in part due to the fact that the team’s front office has absolutely whiffed on so many draft choices in the last decade.
Defensive end Richard Seymour’s contract will, in all likelihood be voided, and Tommy Kelly has played like the type of embarrassment that has so perfectly summed up Oakland Raiders football this millennium.
Lotulelei is just about as sure-fire as it gets, and he fits a glaring need along the Raiders’ defensive front.
Two and two ... meet four.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars - Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia Bulldogs
Insert your favorite defensive player here: Jones, Star Lotulelei, Bjoern Werner are all viable options for the Jags at this point. The point is, the team will definitely be looking to improve on the defensive side of the football.
Jacksonville will probably lose linebacker Daryl Smith to free agency, which is why taking Jones, the most talented linebacker in the draft, makes sense. Jones can stop the run, but it is his outright tenacity that has made him so special. He finished his third season at Georgia with 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss, both tops in the entire nation.
1. Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M Aggies
A season ago, Andy Reid, while still with the Philadelphia Eagles, eschewed all of the available free agent quarterbacks and instead chose Nick Foles in the Draft to back up Mike Vick.
Now, Reid is the new head man in Kansas City, and once again he is tasked with finding a franchise quarterback. One little issue however: They may or may not be one in this year’s draft.
Many pundits are thinking West Virginia’s Geno Smith may come off the board first overall, but by no mean is Smith a Cam Newton, RGIII or Andrew Luck. The team will be better served to wait and snag a talent like NC State’s Mike Glennon in the second round.
Joeckel won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top offensive lineman in 2012. He is 6-foot-6, 310-pounds with fast feet and simply fantastic blocking hands. He helped to keep the scrambling Johnny Manziel alive in College Station a season ago, and he will help to do that same for whomever is under center in Kansas City for the next decade.
More Draft >> ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper unveils his initial mock draft