While this draft is as wide open as any in recent memory, the picture of how Round 1 will play out is starting to come into view.
With that, my confidence in my mock drafts is growing. In my latest full mock of the first round, I've identified the best selection for each team. I'll pay extra attention to some of the more intriguing picks, which will be marked in italics.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
While offensive tackle is not the sexiest position to grab with the No. 1 overall pick, Luke Joeckel is the safest pick here, and the the Chiefs cannot afford to whiff on this pick.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
It only takes the second pick for any sense of certainty to go out the window.
I like Dion Jordan here because the Jaguars are in desperate need of pass-rushers, and Jordan's athleticism and versatility separate him from other pass-rushers.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Raiders are thin at defensive tackle, and the defensive line needs a difference maker. No one fills those needs better than Sharrif Floyd.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
This is a really intriguing pick here. Many people see this as the first potential spot for the draft's best quarterback, Geno Smith, to go off the board.
I'm not buying that for two big reasons. The first is that Smith is not an ideal fit for head coach Chip Kelly's system. While he has solid mobility, he is not a great runner.
The second is that Kelly has never placed a big premium on getting an elite quarterback.
The Eagles would only spend this pick on a quarterback if he was an ideal fit, and Smith is not it. This leads us to Eric Fisher.
Fisher is a solid value here. He has all the tools to be an elite left tackle in the NFL, and the Eagles must solidify the offensive line.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ezekiel Ansah has been rocketing up draft boards since the end of the college season. The Lions need an increased presence on the edge of their defensive line, and Ansah is the best pure defensive end in this draft.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Dee Milliner is easily the most complete corner in this draft. He will go a long way towards helping the Browns complete their secondary.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
I'm not convinced that the Cardinals will go with Geno Smith, but they definitely should.
Since the retirement of Kurt Warners, the Cardinals have suffered through some absolutely horrendous quarterback play, and it's wasting the career of one of the game's great receivers in Larry Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals made a nice upgrade landing Carson Palmer, but Palmer is 33, and he is far from elite anyway. His acquisition is nothing more than a band aid, and given the chance to take the draft's best quarterback, Arizona cannot let that pass.
Smith can make all the throws, and he has nice accuracy. He must get more proficient with his reads and his consistency, but these are skills that can come with time. With Palmer on board, the Cardinals won't be rushed to throw Smith into the lineup.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The Bills are in an almost the exact position as the Cardinals. Only their band aid at quarterback was taking snaps for the Cardinals last year—when he wasn't hurt that is.
The result is the same, though. The Bills must identify their quarterback of the future.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Chance Warmack is a mauling guard with attitude. The Jets need to get a little nasty back. Not to mention they also need to get tougher in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Titans defensive line has not been without talent, but the group has failed to bring it play-in-and-play-out.
Star Lotulelei will give this group a consistently dominant presence on the inside and make the rest of the front seven's job much easier.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The San Diego Chargers almost have to go with an offensive lineman here. Otherwise, quarterback Philip Rivers will never be able to get his career back on track.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Dolphins could go in a few directions here. They may choose to address the offensive line, but I like the value of Xavier Rhodes here, and he will help Miami solidify its secondary.
13. New York Jets (from 7-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Jets need to get more athletic on defense. Barkevious Mingo is an excellent athlete with the ability to destroy tackles with his speed rush.
He needs to develop some more pass-rush moves, but he has the talent to be elite.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Cordarrelle Patterson is raw, but he is insanely athletic. He has the size, speed and ball skills to be an elite deep threat.
While there is a growing belief that his inexperience, unrefined route running and inconsistent focus may have him fall out of the first round, I'm not buying it. He has a rare set of physical skills, and he is a nice fit for the Panthers.
If Cam Newton is going to be an elite weapon at quarterback, the Panthers must have some receivers that can stretch out the defense. This will help open up things for Newton and the Panthers backs to run, and hit quick passes over the middle.
Patterson is the best deep threat in this class.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Saints must improve their putrid defense. Bjoern Werner will help solidify this unit with his all-around ability, and his intense effort.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Rams are in dire need of explosiveness on offense, and at some point, they must find an elite weapon for Sam Bradford to throw to.
Travon Austin can turn any route into a touchdown.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
However, he is in the mold of the classic Steelers linebacker, and he has an innate ability to get to the passer.
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Dallas must get stronger up the middle, and now that they are moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, that must start with a defensive tackle.
Sheldon Richardson is a good value here, and he's a great fit.
19. New York Giants (9-7): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Johnthan Banks is not the best value pick here, but it's not a desperate reach here. Which means the Giants, who are in desperate need of corner help, must go with Banks.
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Jonathan Cooper is an option here. However, I think the Bears should go with D.J. Fluker.
He will be able to handle the guard position for the Bears, and he can be the heir apparent at left tackle in the process.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Bengals need a defensive end to fill out their defensive line. Damontre Moore is a good value here, and he has a nice ceiling.
22. St. Louis Rams* (From 10-6 Washington Redskins): Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
The Rams have a talented young defense. Kenny Vaccaro is an instinctive and smart safety that will bring a nice consistent presence to the defensive backfield.
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
The Vikings don't need a defensive end. However, Datone Jones has the size to play on the interior. This will allow the Vikings to limit Kevin Williams snaps, as Jones can play all over the line.
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
The Colts need an anchor at the nose tackle position. Jesse Williams is not an elite athlete, but he is strong, and more than capable of clogging up the middle.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from 11-5 Seattle Seahawks): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Keenan Allen is a smooth and natural receiver. He will be a nice and consistent weapon for Christian Ponder.
26. Green Bay Packers (11-5): Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
Menelik Watson is flying under the radar a bit, but he is a quality tackle, and he will improve the blindside protection for Aaron Rodgers.
27. Houston Texans (12-4): Robert Woods, WR, USC
The Texans offense suffered down the stretch because it desperately needs another playmaker opposite Andre Johnson. Robert Woods has the ball skills to stretch the defense.
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Sylvester Williams is not an overpowering defensive tackle, but he has the athleticism to get into the backfield. With Denver's edge pass rush, Williams will be able to exploit some one-on-one situations.
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Desmond Trufant has been inconsistent, but he is immensely talented, and he has the ability to play in man or zone coverages.
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Johnathan Hankins is inconsistent, but he is a good athlete with a high ceiling, and the Falcons need interior help.
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
The 49ers need a center, and Jonathan Cooper is a steal here. He can easily handle the center position.
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Kevin Minter is an instinctive player. While he is not an elite athlete, he can be a consistent tackling presence.
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