NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Last Updated: February 5
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14)
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Geno probably isn’t the best player in the draft, but I just don’t buy into the theory that Kansas City should pick Luke Joeckel. Kansas City is a legitimate QB away from being a competitive team and Andy Reid loves to develop them. Under this scenario the Chiefs would re-sign LT Branden Albert and get their QB of the future with the top pick in the draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14)
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Jaguars have one of the worst pass rushes just about every season. They keep recycling veterans through the defensive end position with little success. By picking #2 in the draft this year the Jaguars can pick any pass rusher in the draft, with Bjoern Werner the best fit. Werner gives the Jags a true cornerstone defender to build the defense around.
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12)
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
If Joeckel slips to the third pick the Raiders would have a tough time passing up the near consensus best player in the draft. Jared Veldheer is a solid left tackle, but the right side of the line was a major weakness all last season. In this scenario, the Raiders can move Veldheer to right tackle, plug Joeckel into the left side and create a very solid and well balanced line (if they add another OG).
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12)
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei is the best pick for the Eagles regardless of the players available to them. Most project OL help, but Jason Peters and Jason Kelce return from injury next season, which will greatly improve their offensive line. By pairing Star Lotulelei with last year’s top pick, Fletcher Cox, the Eagles could have the best DT tackle tandem for the next decade.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12)
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions play the Packers and Bears high-powered passing attack a combined four times a year. If the Lions have any hope of getting back to the playoffs they need to sure up their secondary. Milliner is the best corner in the draft and has the size to match up with the big receivers in the division. The Lions haven’t had a corner as talented as Milliner in a long time.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11)
Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Browns are switching to a 3-4 under new DC Ray Horton and are in a perfect spot to have their choice between a couple very talented 3-4 pass rushers. Mingo is the most explosive edge rusher in the draft who needs to refine technique and develop more strength. In terms of pure edge rush speed and flexibility there is no one better in this draft.
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Fresh off his dominating Senior Bowl performance, Fisher has elevated his stock into the top ten of the draft. The Cardinals still need to find a QB, but with no upgrade at LT, it likely won’t make much a difference. The correlation between successful teams and teams that can protect their QB is staggering. It all begins up front and the Cardinals are a mess there. Fisher is simply too good a player to pass up for one of the remaining Quarterbacks at this high point of the draft.
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Matt Barkley might not be the most popular pick right now, but after watching all the QBs in Mobile this week, I am convinced he is one of the top two QBs in this year’s draft. Not only is he a top two QB, but he is the only other one worthy of his high a selection. Barkley will be able to come in, take command of a talented offense and hopefully not turn the football over. With a new coaching staff in place and a new QB the Bills might not be that far off from competing.
9. New York Jets (6-10)
Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The aging Jets linebacker and pass rush corps gets a major boost with the addition of “Damonster”. Moore can stand up in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense and provide the edge rush that they badly missed last season. By adding Moore to Muhammed Wilkerson and Quinton Coples it will gives the Jets some young and talented front seven pieces to rebuild the defense around. Whoever the Jets take with this pick, they can’t afford to miss.
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10)
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Jones’ spinal stenosis is likely to cause him to slip slightly in the draft. The Titans don’t run a 3-4 which Jones ideally fits in, but they will be able to find ways to utilize his edge rush ability. The Titans’ defense was a mess last year and they have needs at each position of it heading into the off-season. If the Titans can get their pass rusher at #10 they can then turn their attention to safety or cornerback in round two, where their is plenty of depth.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-9)
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Chargers badly need a left tackle, but with Fisher and Joeckel long gone I feel that Warmack is a much better value at #11 than Lane Johnson. Warmack is arguably the most NFL ready prospect in the draft and could play at a Pro Bowl level from the minute he steps foot on an NFL field. The Chargers should be able to get a nice OT prospect in the second round.
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9)
Keenan Allen, WR, California
It’s painfully clear the Dolphins need at least one play-maker at the WR position. QB Ryan Tannehill showed enough promise in his rookie season to feel optimistic about the future, but he’s going to need some help. Allen is a big, smooth possession wide receiver. He’s got the size, length, speed combo that the Dolphins need, but he can also impact the passing game at all three levels. Adding a UFA WR and Keenan Allen would dramatically upgrade the Dolphins passing attack.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
The Buccaneers have bigger needs than defensive tackle, but having a potential tandem of Sheldon Richardson and Gerald McCoy in the middle of their 4-3 defense is just sick. Both McCoy and Richardson would be able to create penetration with quickness and it would improve the edge rush with so much attention being paid to the interior of their defensive line. Oh yeah and it would make the Buccaneers run defense pretty good too.
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9)
Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
The Panthers really need to address their poor run defense early on in this draft. There is so much talent at the defensive tackle position that the Panthers will have their choice between some of them at pick 14. With Richardson off the board, the Panthers go Floyd here and fill perhaps their biggest need.
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9)
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
The Saints along with seemingly every other NFL team is switching to a 3-4 defense, which means that all these hybrid DE/OLB prospects are going to come off the board quickly. Depending on how much Jordan weighs and how the shoulder checks out, he will come off the board quickly. He possesses a rare blend of pass rush and versatility that a 3-4 team will value highly.
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1)
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The Rams will have a great opportunity to drastically improve their offensive line early in this years draft. In Johnson the Rams get the 3rd best Offensive Tackle in the draft and the last one before a bit of a drop off. After getting their blindside tackle first the Rams can focus on a OG or SAF with their pick later in the first round.