1. Kansas City Chiefs:
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
This pick now looks like it will be between Joeckel and Eric Fisher and the preference is for Joeckel. Branden Albert is on the trading block according to sources and the Chiefs are going to work out Joeckel privately to see if he is ready for the demands and pressure of the NFL. He has the potential to be an elite protector and should give Alex Smith enough time to show if he was worth the high price the Chiefs paid for him. This pick is pretty common knowledge at this point and may even be announced before the Draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars:
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah.
Looks like Star's combine scare involving his heart wasn't nearly as severe as first feared and he can now safely be drafted in the top 5. He has the potential to go number 1 overall and is sure to be a disruptive force at the next level. The Jags will take a serious look at Shariff Floyd and Dion Jordan here as their pass rush is pathetic but Star is a can't miss prospect and a difference maker from day one. Star was a standout at his pro day, which was to be expected and has appeared to put the trauma of the combine behind him.
3. Oakland Raiders:
Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida.
This pick will be Floyd or Lotulelei, depending on who the Jags choose. The Raiders are desperate for help on their defensive line, with Richard Seymour a free agent and the inept Tommy Kelly clearly not part of the Raiders future. Floyd has been flying up draft boards and it now seems like number three is the lowest point that he will be drafted. He has all the attributes needed to succeed at the next level and even though the Raiders have made some idiotic picks in the past, this is one opportunity they shouldn't pass up on.
4. Philadelphia Eagles:
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan.
The Eagles line was a disaster last season and Michael Vick was fortunate to survive as long as he did before finally falling to injury. They appear to be giving Vick another shot so they must make improvements on the line. Jason Peters should return to full health meaning that Fisher could slot in at Right Tackle and protect Vick's blind side. Alternatively they could go with a Cornerback here, but they don't have long left to utilise Vick's skills and they must keep him upright if they are to do this.
5. Detroit Lions:
DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama.
Detroit's pass rush will need upgrading at some point during this draft but in the pass-happy NFC North the chance to draft the best cornerback in this draft will prove hard to resist. Milliner has the potential to be an elite shutdown corner capable of locking down the opposition's best receiver and he is already better than anything the Lions have on their roster right now. This is a logical and smart pick by the lions.
6. Cleveland Browns:
Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon.
Jordan may go higher than this as he has all the physical attributes to succeed at the next level and has had one of the most impressive off-seasons of any College prospect. For now, the Browns get a steal at six and get Jordan, who has the speed and elusiveness to cause havoc in the backfield and is without question a can't miss prospect. The Browns are in desperate need of help on their defensive line and their rush should improve dramatically with Jordan and the arrival of Paul Kruger from the Baltimore Ravens.
7. Arizona Cardinals:
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia.
I am still convinced that somebody will fall in-love with Smith and he will go higher than seven. He has had an impressive off-season and has cemented his position as the best Quarterback in this years Draft. The Cardinals will not hesitate to take Smith here as they are incredibly short at the position, having released the overpaid Kevin Kolb and nobody else on their roster has the ability to step up and be a number one at the position. Smith will be a first day starter on this team and will have a great receiver to target in Larry Fitzgerald. Whether he will be around when the Cardinals pick at seven remains to be seen. I have my doubts.
8. Buffalo Bills:
Matt Barkley, QB, USC.
The Bills need a Quarterback and there is no chance Matt Barkley is going to be around when they draft in the second round. Ideally, they want Geno Smith and have held a private workout with Smith. They could be thinking of trading up to land him. If they don't, I have a feeling they will reach for Barkley. Barkley has the skill set to succeed at the next level but may also need developing after a disappointing Senior season at USC. This is a high risk/high reward pick that will decide how the reign of Buddy Nix as General Manager will be remembered.
9. New York Jets:
Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU.
The Jets need help all over the field. They will take a look at Cordarrelle Patterson here but Rex Ryan is looking to get back to what he knows best next season, defense. Their pass rush was pathetic and Ansah will be an instant upgrade. He is a physical specimen who is also a stout run blocker who can play end or linebacker. He is an ideal fit for Ryan's defense and could end up being a steal for the beleaguered Jets at nine.
10. Tennessee Titans:
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama.
Kenny Britt seems to have more lives than a cat, so they will avoid the temptation to draft a wideout here and instead sure up the offensive line. Jake Locker and Chris Johnson will now become the focal point of this offense and they will need time in order to succeed. Warmack is the best guard to come out of College in years and is a crushing run blocker who is equally adept in stopping pash-rushers. He is a high character individual who will be a pro bowl guard in no time at all.
11. San Diego Chargers:
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma.
The Chargers line was a joke this season and Philip Rivers spent the majority of his time running for his life. This must be rectified if they are going to be any more successful this year. Johnson has had an unbelievable off-season and some teams are extremely high on his ability. He has exceptional footwork and awareness and should improve the Chargers offensive line instantly. This is a no-brainer pick if Johnson falls this far.
12. Miami Dolphins:
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee.
Miami will be doing cartwheels if the Draft pans out this way. Patterson is the best receiver in this class and is undoubtedly a top 10 talent. Other teams needs have him falling to 12 but he will not fall further than this. Despite the addition of Mike Wallace the Dolphins need somebody on the other side of the field who can take attention off Wallace and run routes across the middle. Patterson is that guy and with this addition suddenly QB Ryan Tannehill has one of the best receiving combinations in the entire league.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington.
This will come down to Trufant or Xavier Rhodes as the Bucs are low on cornerback talent. The preference is for Trufant at this stage, although it is very close and sources say Tampa Bay is high on both talents. With Talib traded and Barber unsure on his return this is an absolute priority in this draft. Trufant has elite speed and if he continues to develop then he may become Barber's replacement and a shutdown corner. Strength is an issue but with a gruelling NFL weights program this is easily sorted out.
14. Carolina Panthers:
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri.
The Panthers need help on the interior of their defensive line and Richardson is incredible value here. He can play the 3 or the 5 technique and is nothing short of a bully when it comes to dominating offensive lineman. He is explosive off the line and has a great change of direction for a man his size. Should be a huge improvement to what the Panthers already have. They haven't had a dominant presence upfront since Julius Peppers departed for Chicago. Richardson has the potential to be the guy they have been missing for 2 years.
15. New Orleans Saints:
Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia.
Jarvis Jones is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. He is unquestionably a top 5 prospect in terms of his ability. That is not the issue with Jones, everyone's fears were confirmed at his physical at the Combine. It did reveal a spinal condition that will cause some teams grave concerns. Some have even wiped him off their draft board altogether because of this worry. With this tight cap teams are unwilling to take the risk with this big of a question mark.
If the Saints are smart, they will take Jones at 15. He is perfect for Rob Ryan's system and would do some serious damage as the rush linebacker in this system. He has the potential to have double digit sacks in his first season and has definite Pro Bowl potential. This is all conditional to his spinal condition not being as serious as everyone suspects. We should know more as we get closer to Draft day as Teams will be incredibly thorough in their analysis of Jones.
16. St. Louis Rams:
Keenan Allen, WR, California.
With the addition of Jake Long from Miami, the Rams have ensured Sam Bradford more time in the pocket this season. What they need now is more weapons for him to utilise, especially with the loss of Amendola to the Patriots. Allen is the best receiver available and is the perfect replacement. Quick, great hands and a fantastic work ethic, he should provide Bradford with a trusted target in critical situations.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers:
Bjorn Werden, DE/OLB, Florida State.
The Steelers luck out here with this pick. Werden has undoubted top 10 talent but other team needs have him falling to 17. He's the best player available and fills a huge need for the Steelers with the release of James Harrison. Werden has a non-stop motor and is a relentless pass rusher who should make sure the Steelers don't miss a beat in Harrison's absence. With all the losses the Ravens have suffered the AFC North is wide open and the Steelers will need a young, enthusiastic pass rusher of Werden's ability to help them get back on top.
18. Dallas Cowboys:
Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU.
Make no mistake, the Cowboys won't hesitate is Mingo falls this far. He has the potential to be a Top 10 talent but others needs have him falling to 18. The Cowboys are moving back to the 4-3 defense under Monte Kiffin and will need someone with Mingo's size and strength opposite DeMarcus Ware, who is expected to move to end. The Cowboys will be playing a lot of Tampa 2 this year and that will mean the majority of plays will be. 4/5 man rushes. Mingo will have to develop his technique to evade tackles if he's to succeed at the next level.
19. New York Giants:
Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia.
Ogletree is another with bags of potential but with many questions that surrounding him. His attitude has come into question on occasion but his physical prowess should be enough to overcome this and make the Giants take the risk. Ogletree is a great reader of the game and could easily play SAM or MIC Linebacker in the Giants 4-3. Their Linebackers are seen by most as the weak link of their defense and adding Ogletree would provide them with the youthful energy their defense was missing last season. Despite his recent DUI arrest Ogletree remains the pick here.
20. Chicago Bears:
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina.
The Bears line was an embarrassment last season and was the main contributing factor in their inability to make the Playoffs. Cooper should sure up their line considerably and the Bears will be lucky to get him at 20. He can play either Guard or Center and the Bears need help in both areas. He is extremely intelligent in reading defenses and this was a criticism of the Bears line last year. His communication with Jay Cutler on the line of scrimmage could prove key. A
Guaranteed selection if he is available here.
21. Cincinatti Bengals:
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas.
The best player available fits a huge need for the Bengals as they have a serious lack of depth in their secondary. Vaccaro is far and away the best safety in this Draft and the ceiling could not be higher for him. He will need to improve on his tackling and run support in the brutal AFC North but the Bengals would be thrilled if he ended up with them at 21.
22. St. Louis Rams:
D.I Fluker, OT, Alabama.
The Rams got another receiver with their first pick and shore up their offensive line with their second pick. They need depth as Jake Long has had his injury problems and Fluker is the best tackle available at this stage. Sam Bradford must be given time in the pocket to go through his progressions if the former Number 1 pick is to reach his potential and the addition of Fluker and Long should help considerably. They will look at Eddie Lacy here, but Fluker is the pick as there will be quality backs available in day 2 of the draft.
23. Minnesota Vikings:
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia.
The Vikings traded Percy Harvin and must find a replacement to play opposite free agent pickup Greg Jennings. Austin has been sensational this off-season and word is a lot of scouts are high on his skill set and how he can cope with the transition to the next level. This means he may go higher than this but the Vikings will not take long deliberating if he does fall this far. Austin has a similar skill set to Harvin minus all of the drama.
24. Indianapolis Colts:
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson.
Eventually, the Colts will have to find a replacement for Reggie Wayne. They also need another target as Andrew Luck became predictable last year in critical situations. Hopkins can start on day one opposite Wayne and will give Luck another reliable target he can trust as he looks to develop. Hopkins has been flying up draft boards in recent weeks due to his fantastic hand eye co-ordination and ability to adjust his routes. Learning from one of the greats in Wayne will only benefit Hopkins too.
25. Minnesota Vikings:
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue.
Kevin Williams isn't getting any younger, even though he is still playing good football at the age of 33. He could use some help on the interior and Short is a perfect fit. He is a tremendous pass rusher for a defensive tackle and is also a quality run defender. Williams may have a couple of years left in him and with Jared Allen and Brian Robison on the ends Short should have plenty of opportunities to make plays from the outset as he will rarely be double teamed.
26. Green Bay Packers:
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama.
The Packers don't have many holes, even though they did underachieve last year. One criticism of them was their running game. They used 6/7 different Running Backs and this is not good for the teams offensive cohesion. They can't seem to rely on any back on their roster to produce on a consistent basis.
Lacy is far and away the best back in this class. Following in the footsteps of Alabama alumni Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, Lacy would provide the Packers with the every down back they have sorely missed over the years. Aaron Rodgers is exceptional but they are too reliant on him to make plays. Lacy would take the pressure off with his powerful, relentless running style.
27. Houston Texans:
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee.
With the release of Kevin Walter, the Texans will need to find someone to play opposite all-pro Andre Johnson. Hunter is a lock to go in the first round after an impressive pro day and he comes out very well on film too. He can stretch the field and is equally adept in catching passes across the field. The Texans are a potent offensive outfit and the addition of Hunter will make them even more dangerous. With Johnson occupying 2 players on almost every play, Hunter will have the opportunity to contribute right away.
28. Denver Broncos:
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State.
If the Broncos playoff loss taught us anything, it was that they lack speed in their secondary. Champ Bailey was torched numerous occasions by Torrey Smith and this will have to be rectified. Enter Xavier Rhodes, who has speed to burn and could easily match strides with the NFL's quickest receivers. He must improve his strength and awareness, but scouts are very high on him and he is a lock to now go in the first round after a series of impressive tests. Learning from a future hall of fame player in Bailey will do wonders for him.
31. San Francisco 49ers:
Matt Elam, S, Florida.
The 49ers suffered a blow to their secondary in the off-season with the loss of Dashon Goldson and he will need to be replaced. Elam has all the necessary attributes to fit right into this 49ers defense and make an instant impact. He will need developing but being drafted by one of the most feared defenses in the league will be of great benefit to him. There will be almost no pressure on him as he learns to adjust to the lifestyle and pressure of the NFL.
32. Baltimore Ravens:
DeMontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Moore was once touted as a top 5 prospect but has been flying down draft boards as scouts are concerned about his lifestyle and attitude. They are concerned that he 'will indulge too much in the NFL lifestyle' and at least 5 teams have taken him off their boards altogether. The Ravens were decimated in free agency and even though they acquired Elvis Dumervile from Denver, they need a young pass rusher to replace the outstanding Paul Kruger. There is no doubt Moore is worth the risk here as he is a ferocious and gifted rusher when he wants to be. Putting him in the no nonsense Ravens locker room could be the making of him too.
Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_