NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
At this NFL Combine this week, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was sent home with a heart condition, while Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones reportedly had some trouble with the medical portion of the event as well. Rumors of an impending trade involving Alex Smith emerged, and highly-touted Texas A&M pass rusher Damontre Moore may have lost draft positioning with disappointing performances. Read on for a three-round projection which attempts to decipher the Combine’s impact on this April’s 2013 NFL Draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M*
With rumors swirling that the Chiefs could be nearing a deal for Alex Smith, Joeckel becomes the most logical projection here.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars – DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida*
A player such as Floyd could help improve the talent level along Jacksonville’s defensive line, a team weakness during the 2012 season.
3. Oakland Raiders – CB Dee Milliner, Alabama*
Michael Huff was forced into cornerback duty last season because of Oakland’s overall lack of talent on the defensive boundary.
4. Philadelphia Eagles – DE Dion Jordan, Oregon
Eric Fisher and Dion Jordan provide two options for Philadelphia, with Jordan getting a slight edge because of his relationship with Chip Kelly.
5. Detroit Lions – DE Bjoern Werner, Florida St.*
Werner is perfect for Detroit’s wide-nine pass rushing scheme; the Lions need to replace either one or two of their defensive ends.
6. Cleveland Browns – DE Barkevious Mingo, Louisiana St.*
Mingo’s stock is among the most difficult to project in the entire draft; at this point, he appears to be a good value for Cleveland at number six.
7. Arizona Cardinals – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
Fisher’s ability to protect a quarterback’s blind side should appeal to an Arizona team which has been unable to do so for years.
8. Buffalo Bills – WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee*
Patterson to Buffalo continues to gain steam, as his talent would provide Buffalo with a dangerous complement to Stevie Johnson.
9. New York Jets – LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia*
It’s unclear how spinal stenosis will affect Jones in the draft, but his ability to create pressure should appeal to general manager John Idzik.
10. Tennessee Titans – OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
The gap between Warmack and Jonathan Cooper isn’t as large as perceived; however, Warmack is the better fit for Tennessee’s power scheme.
11. San Diego Chargers – OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Johnson’s outstanding Combine workout cemented his status as a high first-round pick; he could replace much-maligned left tackle Jared Gaither.
12. Miami Dolphins – DE Ezekiel Ansah, Brigham Young
With Randy Starks set to hit free agency, Miami could draft a pass rusher like Ansah to man the left end spot, allowing Jared Odrick to play tackle.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
Lotulelei’s health concern could prove disastrous to his draft stock, but it would be very difficult for Tampa Bay to pass on him here.
14. Carolina Panthers – DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri*
Richardson may not be the run stuffer Carolina needs; nonetheless, his contributions as a pass rusher more than make up for any other deficiencies.
15. New Orleans Saints – DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M*
The Saints need to upgrade their pass rush; Moore works, even if his stock took a hit following a weak Combine performance.
16. St. Louis Rams – WR Keenan Allen, California*
Allen could provide the Rams with the true number one receiver they have lacked for years; his stock could rebound with a quality pro day.