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Mock and Roll: 2013 NFL Mock Draft

April 19, 2013

By Ross Mitchell

I’d like to take a moment to talk about the tragedy which took place at the Boston Marathon on Monday.  All I’ll say my thoughts, love, and prayers are with the entire city and all those affected by this senseless act of terrorism.  I’m hard on Boston sports fans.  I’m hard on the city.  But I have no hesitation in saying it is one of the great American cities this wonderful nation has to offer.  As of Tuesday I began running again.  Not for my health, not to lose weight, not because I like it.  Because 3 people, including an eight-year old were murdered.  Over 170 more people were injured.  I run for them.  I run for Boston.  The next step is always the hardest.  There are a handful of cities that can overcome an attack of this magnitude and come out stronger.  Boston is one of them.

Moving onto my annual mock draft from there might seem trivial and trite.  But let’s do it.  We haven’t had much reason to smile this past week, I can at least try to remedy that.  So, without further ado…

My mock draft was the last article I wrote back in 2012 before making like Bruce Wayne and vanishing from society.  Also like Bruce Wayne I’ve been urinating in mason jars and spending most of my time in a cave for the past calendar year.  And people say I don’t know how to have fun.  Let’s hope I don’t pull another disappearing act.

While writing this I decided to play general manager for all 32 teams in the NFL, which I should be.  I took the liberty of exploring a few potential trades I thought could lead to interesting avenues.  At the end of the first round I have also included the complete draft for the Chicago Bears.  Phil Emery you have my number.  They’re on the back of those photos I’ve been sending you.

(I’ve been sending him high resolution shots of Mike Ditka’s mustache.  Wait, what did you think I meant?)

Up, up, and away:

1. Kansas City Chiefs; Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M University.  The Chiefs had a nightmare season last year.  Literally as bad as it gets both on the field and off it.  Hopefully this is the first (or second if you count the Alex Smith trade) step toward returning to playoff contention, and, if nothing else, stability.  Joeckel is the most NFL ready tackle in the draft and makes OT Brandon Albert expendable.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars; Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Bingham Young University.  Derrick Harvey, Quentin Groves, Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu, Larry Hart, Austen Lane, and Andre Branch.  Those are the defensive ends the Jaguars have drafted since 2008.  If you don’t remember seeing those players on the field, neither do the opposing teams’ quarterback.  Why not spend the second overall pick on a developmental player?  Makes sense, considering they’re also paying Jason Babin’s contract.   When’s the move to L.A.?  And did Maurice Jones-Drew ever get that contract he was holding out for?  Or did he get fined a boatload of money and suffer a season ending injury like every other running back in the history of the NFL who holds out that isn’t named Emmitt Smith?

3. Oakland Raiders; Sharrif Floyd, DT, University of Florida.  I want to apologize to Sharrif Floyd and his family.  Don’t take this personally.  It’s an objective analysis.  I would never insult anyone so viciously as to say they would be drafted by the Oakland Raiders if I did not think it true.  In fact it can be taken as a complement…  The third overall pick?  No, no it can’t.  The Raiders were horrendous against the run last season.  They were also horrible against the pass.  Floyd is a two-way stand-out and a dynamic athlete.  And with the departure of Tommie Kelly they need a player with his potential to build upon.  Signing Nick Roach and Mike Jenkins does make them betterslightly…but not enough for me to think that the Raiders won’t be picking within a few spots of this slot next year.  Oh who am I kidding, they’ll probably draft a quarterback after trading for Matt Flynn, or maybe a receiver because, well, that’s what the Raiders do.

4. Philadelphia Eagles; Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan University.  He’s the most athletic of the tackles projected to be selected in the early rounds.  And with the exception of the Arizona Cardinals nobody had a more dismal offensive line this past season than the Eagles.  Jason Peters is returning off a twice-torn Achilles injury so there is no guarantee he ever returns to form, but even if he’s 75% of what he used to be, adding both him and Fisher already makes life easier on Michael Vick.  It’s also important to have a versatile athlete such as Fisher with the implementation of Chip Kelly’s new fast-paced offense (I assume it will be based on what he ran at Oregon).  Ah the Pac-12, where if you cheat well enough you can earn both you and your school a fistful of dollars, earn national praise, then bolt to the NFL just as the NCAA sanctions are about to come down.

(At least Oregon has to give back the ill-gotten-gains.  They don’t?  Did they receive any kind of punishment?  They put themselves on self-imposed sanctions?  That’s like a teenager being caught with a beer by his parents and saying “I was out of line.  As punishment I will drink in my room”)

5. Detroit Lions; Dee Milliner, CB, University of Alabama.  Three national championships in four years?   Not a bad haul for the Crimson Tide.  Please, I do that all the time in NCAA Football.  Actually what I do is raise my fake dynasty from mediocrity to a perennial powerhouse, win a couple titles, violate a few bylaws, then leave for the NFL.  Oh, I just made that joke?  Don’t you just hate it when someone the same obnoxious joke over-and-over again?  If only someone would take preventative measures to ensure I can’t make the same joke over and over again without any kind of ramifications.  Or leave unscathed for a higher paying job with a more prestigious organization.  As far as Dee Milliner goes, he is a very physical cornerback, a position at which the Lions desperately need to improve.  Don’t be surprised if Detroit is competitive again in 2013.

(While we’re on the subject of gutless coaches, how about Mike Rice?  I try not to judge people, but this guy is in a league of his own.  He should also be brought up on criminal charges.  And for those of you who say “he’s old school” or “it’s part of the game”, how about we find a fully grown man to chuck a ball at your son or daughter’s head while he calls him such inventive names like “fag” or “fairy”.  To be fair, what Rice lacked in basic human decency he also lacked in ability)

6. Cleveland Browns; Dion Jordan, DE, University of Oregon.  The Browns pass-rush last year was about as effective as me on a 4X1600 relay team.  There was a lot of huffing and puffing but ultimately it was just a bunch of fat guys sweating while failing to arrive at their destination.  Jordan is an extremely gifted athlete who can have an instant impact.  And since I promised to make bold predictions, I’m going to make this one now: The 2013 Cleveland Browns win more games than the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.  Is that the popular pick?  No.  Is that the smart pick?  No.  Do I regret making that statement on the internet?  100%.

7. Kansas City Chiefs (from Arizona); Star Lotulelei, DT, University of Utah.  Look what we have here?  A trade!  Everyone knows the Chiefs are trying to ship offensive tackle Brandon Albert to another team.  With the drafting of Joekel first overall this enables them to do so without any hesitation.  And there isn’t a team in the league who needs an offensive tackle more than the Arizona Cardinals.  Seriously, their offensive line was David Carr on the Texans bad.  All John Skelton replica jerseys came pre-ripped with grass stains on the back (not that anyone bought a John Skelton jersey).  And newly acquired Carson Palmer isn’t exactly fleet-of-foot.  In a division that features the pass rushes of the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and St. Louis Rams, protecting Palmer is priority #1.  The trade consists of the Chiefs giving Arizona their 2014 first-round pick, a 2013 third-round pick (63rd overall), and a 2013 fifth-round pick (134th overall).  Kansas City also gets Arizona’s third-round pick (69th overall) and the 176th overall pick which Arizona acquired from Tennessee through Minnesota.  As far as Lotulelei goes, he may not be a need, he does have a health concern, and they did draft Dontari Poe last season, but he is extremely talented and could pair quite nicely with Poe in Andy Reid’s 4-3 defense.

(Also there isn’t really a pair of dominant defense tackles on one team anymore is there?  The last one was the Williams Brothers (Kevin and Pat) on the Minnesota Vikings.  Lotuelelei and Poe have that kind of ability, though neither one has a nickname like “Fat” Pat Williams.  Unless my suggestion of Dontari Poe Boy Sandwich catches fire…)

8. Buffalo Bills; Chance Warmack, OG, University of Alabama.  The OG stands for original gansta, not offensive guard, though Warmack is both.  Seriously, this guy is as good of an interior offensive line prospect as there has been since Leonard Davis in 2001.  He’s the best offensive lineman in the draft.  Losing Andy Levitre was tough, but I would argue Warmack will be an upgrade in the very near future.

9. New York Jets; Barkevious Mingo, DE, Louisiana State University.  I can see this pick going one of three ways:

1.  The Jets draft Geno Smith and create an even bigger media frenzy at the quarterback position.

2.  The Jets draft a position of desperate need such as running back (they lost Shonne Green to Tennessee) or wide receiver (they lost no one of significance because they went into the offseason with no one of significance).  They pick either Eddie Lacy, the running back from Alabama or Tavon Austin the wide receiver from West Virginia.

3.  They go defense again and continue to ignore the offensive side of the ball.  If I were laying odds I’d say 70% defense, 30% Geno Smith, 0% addressing their needs.  Mingo is an explosive pass-rusher with a great first step and good hand movement.  He is a fine addition to any team’s defense.  But why?  Why oh why not help Sanchez or Tebow?  Just, why?

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Tennessee Titans); Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia University.  I don’t believe Greg Schiano is sold Josh Freeman despite the K-State alum throwing for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns (if Jay Cutler had those numbers I’d be squealing like a school girl…more so than I already am).  In fact with this selection he may end up being traded to a team like the Jets, Eagles, or Jaguars later in the draft.  And while I don’t think the Chargers or Dolphins would draft Smith before the Bucs have the opportunity to, there is no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL.  All moving up three spots costs Tampa Bay is a 4th round pick.  Now they have Smith and Doug Martin, perhaps the best young backfield in the league.  Wide receiver is also an option here but Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams were wildly underrated and there’s bound to be a more viable option in the later rounds.  And just so we’re clear, I like Josh Freeman.  I think he’s good.  I was the beneficiary of his 5 TD performance during Week 16 of the 2010 season that won me and 1,000,000 other fantasy owners their league championship.  But he is inconsistent and I’m not certain Schiano wants to hitch his horse to a wagon that’s so hit-or-miss.  I said it, hitch-his-horse.

(There is about a .0000001% chance this happens, but it’s a different caveat.  And if I’m going to make that justification I’m going to ask you to ignore the “this is an objective analysis” comment I made seven picks prior)

Update (4/21/13): 10. Tennessee Titans; Sheldon Richardson, DT, University of Missouri.  So the Buccaneers did make a trade, just with the Jets instead of the Titans.  And pending a physical, Darrelle Revis is headed to Tampa Bay in exchange for the 13th overall pick (among others).  Geno Smith to Tampa Bay was always a very, very, very, very long shot.  Now it isn’t going to happen.  As far as the Titans pick at ten, there is a chance they elect to take Tavon Austin, but I think they stick with Richardson because he address their biggest need and is worthy of a top ten pick.

11. San Diego Chargers; Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia University.  The popular pick here is that the Chargers draft an offense lineman to help keep Rivers upright.  Lane Johnson of Oklahoma perhaps?  D.J. Fluker of Alabama?  No.  Looking at the Chargers roster, I just have one question; who are the playmakers?  Who on that team gives a defense pause?  Danario Alexander?  Antonio Gates’ shell?  Ryan Mathews?  Say what you will about Phillip Rivers regressing the past few seasons, there is a strong case to be made that his struggles are directly correlated with the decrease in talent at the skill positions around him (thanks A.J. Smith).  Seriously, at one point Rivers had LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, Darren Sproles, Vincent Jackson, and a healthy Antonio Gates sharing a huddle with him.  Now his most viable option is a journeyman wide-out or a man last relevant when he punched Ruxin out in season 1 of The League (he did drop a 40-burger).  Austin, if nothing else, is a deep threat.  He has the potential to open up the underneath routes for Alexander, Gates, Malcolm Floyd, Robert Meachem, Michael Spurlock, and Eddie Royal.  And Phillip Rivers loves to throw the deep ball, he’s as good as anyone in the league at throwing the deep ball.  Want proof?  Vincent Jackson is making $11,000,000 a year.  It’s true the Bolts could upgrade the front five and feel as if they’ve taken a step forward, but in drafting Austin, a true-burner, they could bolt in the right direction.  See what I did there?

12. Miami Dolphins; Lane Johnson, OT, University of Oklahoma.  If Joekel is the most NFL ready tackle in this year’s draft and Fischer is the most athletic, Johnson has the highest upside.  And if it sounds like I’m quoting Todd McShay it’s because he provides nearly the exact same analysis.  Johnson has been a road-grater in the run game and a wall in pass-protection.  Jake Long leaves large shoes to fill protecting Ryan Tannehill’s blindside.  It may take a few seasons but Johnson, if nothing else, can win one-on-one matchups against the majority of defensive ends in the NFL.  Also, the Dolphins are not-so-quietly becoming a trendy pick among experts and analysts as this season’s “breakout” team.  Apologies to Joe Philbin, who I was very critical of early last season.  He has far exceeded my expectations and made Tannehill a potential Matthew Stafford-esq type player in a short period of time.

13. Tennessee Titans (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers); Sheldon Richardson, DT, University of Missouri.  Another team that could breakout in 2013 is the Titans.  The additions of Andy Levitre (how many times can you reference a guard in one article?) and Chris Spencer provide both stability and versatility to the offensive-line.  The wide-receiving corps is seemingly healthy.  Jake Locker appeared capable when he was on the field.  The one unit that still needs to improve is the defense, in particular, the defensive line.  Adding a big, athletic body like Richardson might not be a sexy pick, but it fills an overwhelming need.  I feel as if the Texans have reached their ceiling.  I feel that once again the Colts are the class of that division.  This is a very transitional year in the AFC.  Something as simple as controlling the interior line of scrimmage may prove to be the defining factor in Nashville in 2013.  Sink-or-swim gentlemen.  Lastly, Nashville should also stock up on beer just in case Bears fans decide drink the city dry again.

Update (4/21/13): New York Jets; Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia.  The Jets might, and I stress might do the right thing here and draft an offensive skill player to help the slew of quarterbacks they already have on the roster.  My guess is they won’t.  It’s fitting that the Jets send the most valuable defensive player in the league since 2005 (albeit injured) to another team for a prospect who is perhaps the most criticized “top-overall” quarterback entering the draft since Alex Smith, also in 2005.  I’m not sold that Smith is the right pick here.  I’m not sure he’s better than Sanchez or Tebow.  What I am sure about is like the current Jets signal-callers, he will have no help from the running game, no receivers in which to throw.  What’s interesting here, in my opinion, is the increased likelihood that sometime in the near future Mark Sanchez is playing in a different uniform.  But what do the Jets expect to get for him?  Matt Flynn cost the Raiders a 5th round and conditional draft pick.  Colt McCoy cost the 49ers a 5th and 7th round pick.  Sanchez has led the Jets to two AFC Championship games and a 34-30 record yet remains one of the most scrutinized quarterback in the game today.  Is his value higher or lower than the two aforementioned players?  Personally I say he’s worth a 5th and 6th round pick.  And if you actually give him time/receivers, he has proven he can win.  But again, this is the Jets we’re talking about and there’s a real possibility they draft their second linebacker of the round.

14. Carolina Panthers; John Jenkins, DT, University of Georgia.  Luke Kuechly is an absolute beast.  Imagine the type of production he would have with a big space-eater like Jenkins in front of him eating up blocks.  Sylvester Williams might be the better prospect, but similar to the 2000 Ravens with Tony Siragusa and Sam “The Keg” Adams eating up guards and centers enabling Ray Lewis to roam free, and to a lesser extent the 2001 Bears with Ted Washington and Keith Traylor ensuring Brian Urlacher remained untouched around the line of scrimmage, the pairing of Jenkins and Dwan Edwards could enable Kuechly to rack up an insane amount of tackles.  If there’s anyone who knows how to coach both defense and linebackers, its Bob Babich’s predecessor, Ron Rivera.  Also Jenkins will shore-up the run defense if for no other reason than he weighs 359 lbs., or one me.

15. New Orleans Saints; A bag of cash to pay Sean Payton.  In actuality, Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State University.  Rhodes is a big, athletic corner back.  He is physical and mean.  While he does need to develop in terms of “reading-and-reacting”, he has all the tools to be an instant contributor to a defense that at times was non-existent last year.  Seriously, was Sean Payton suspended or was it the entire Saints defense?  And similar to the NFC North, the NFC South is loaded with pass-heavy offenses and tough, imposing receivers.  I’m talking about you Roddy White and Julio Jones.  They hear me.

16. St. Louis Rams; Eddie Lacy, RB, University of Alabama.  Would you go into the season with Daryl Richardson as your starting running back?  Would the Rams?  It is entirely possible that Lacy, a near carbon copy of former Crimson Tide teammate Trent Richardson, doesn’t make it this far.  What’s to keep a team in need of a running back (say the Steelers or Colts) from jumping ahead of the Rams and vulture Lacy?  Allowing him to fall to this point, in a sense, is a risk.  But, a small risk, a gambit worth taking.  Lacy is a powerful runner who can carry a heavy workload.  He isn’t the pass-catcher Stephen Jackson was, nor is he as athletic as Jackson in his prime, but he is a battering-ram (eh?  eh?) who can wear down a defense.  And ironically enough, in selecting Lacy, he once again splits the backfield with another Richardson.  What does that mean?  I have entirely too much time on my hands.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers; Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, University of Tennessee.  Free-fall is 9.8 meters per second per second.  Thought that was apt when discussing the Steelers.  Mike Tomlin is a phenomenal coach.  If there is anyone with the wherewithal to adapt to the not-so-subtle exodus of core members on both sides of the ball Pittsburgh is experiencing, it’s Omar Epps’ clone.  But you don’t just lose a Mike Wallace, James Harrison, and Rashard Mendehall (albeit injured and fried of the PUP List) and expect to be over .500.  Patterson is the closest thing to Wallace in this year’s draft.  They have to give Roethlisberger some kind of downfield threat or opposing teams will simply sit on his receivers’ routes and jump them at will.  In my mind 2013 is a rebuilding season in Steel town.  (Did someone say the Cleveland Browns…?  I did, foolishly)

18. Dallas Cowboys; Sylvester Williams, DT, University of Michael Jordan.  With Rod Marinelli replacing an overweight Jeffrey Lebowski (you may know him as Rob Ryan, and that’s Dude, not Jeffrey Lebowski), the Cowboys will need an athletic 4-technique defensive tackle who can command blockers up-front, freeing up the likes of DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff.  Williams is that player.  Kenny Vaccaro is a popular pick here, but knowing what I know about the Marinelli Cover-2 (which is a lot), the key to that defense is pressuring the quarterback, preferably up the middle.  Williams has the potential to be a disruptive force much as Tank Johnson and Israel Idonije (in his defensive tackle days) were for the Bears.  I won’t make the comparison to Tommie Harris or Henry Melton because they were 3-technique defensive tackles and Williams won’t be asked to perform the same responsibilities (at least from the get-go).  If he very easily could become that caliber of player as Rod Marinelli is one of, if not the best defensive line coach(es) in the league.  Then again, Jerry Jones could just draft a kicker.  Never know.

19. New York Giants; Alec Ogletree, LB, University of Georgia.  This was a tough decision.  D.J. Fluker is still on the board and the Giants could upgrade at offensive line.  At the moment David Wilson is “the guy” in the backfield, but that is a fluid situation, so Monte Ball is a possibility, as are Tyler Eifert, and Desmond Trufant.  Ultimately I went with the biggest need and selected Ogletree.  Yes, he has had some off-the-field issues.  But going to a small market team with a tranquil, understanding, logic-oriented fan-base like the New York/New Jersey Giants will be the perfect fit for the former Georgia Bulldog.  He can just ease into the position and come along at his own pace.  Or, not.  Or the exact opposite.  Or bricks through the window, cocaine in the locker-room, guns in his sweat-pants at a nightclub and shooting himself in the leg!  Oh!  They might have canceled Playmakers in 2003 but they can’t stop the New York Football Giants!  Ogletree can play on inside of both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme.  I honestly believe he has a shot at defensive rookie of the year if he is drafted by the right team, and the Giants fall into that category.  You could say he could be a giant contributor.  A giant contributor.  A giant…contributor.

20. San Francisco 49ers (from Chicago): Kenny Vaccaro, S, University of Texas.  The Bears traded down?  Are they still picking in the first round?  Is it too late to bring back Rex Grossman?  Brian Urlacher?  Jerry Angelo?  Yes, yes, never, probably, and not if I have anything to say about it.  The 49ers at last count have 7,000 picks.  What’s that?  It’s 7,500?  Cool.  In reality it’s 12, and that’s after trading two away for Anquan Boldin and Colt McCoy.  They need to get rid of them, and not just the later or compensatory ones.  The high ones, the ones which demand the most cap space.  Where better than Jim Harbaugh’s old team?  The trade sees the 49ers getting this spot (20th overall and the Bears 2nd round pick, 50th overall).  The Bears get the 31st overall pick, the 49ers pick from Kansas City (34th overall), and the 49ers 3rd round pick (93rd overall).  It seems a bit much for the 49ers to give up, but when you consider they are hard-pressed against the cap and they still have 9 selections to spend or siphon away, moving up for an instant impact player such as Vaccaro makes a lot of sense.  And considering Kenny Vaccaro is the perfect replacement for DaShaun Goldston, the 49ers reaffirm my opinion that they are the team to beat in 2013.

21. Cincinnati Bengals; Jonathan Cooper, OG, University of North Carolina.  Here is this year’s version of the Houston Texans.  Big, big steps this season.  They’re ready.  Now, offensive line isn’t a weak-point for the Bengals.  Truth-be-told the Bengals don’t have a “weak” point on the entire roster.  But Cooper has top-10 talent.  Adding him at 21 gives the Bengals the one of the five best offensive-lines in the league (if Andre Smith resigns).  And it’s way too good of a value not to snag the Tar Heel.  Look for the Bengals to draft at another wide receiver in the second round to add an outside threat complimenting A.J. Green.  With the Texans window closing and the Ravens window being slammed shut, the Bengals could be the team that steps into elite status in the AFC along with the Patriots and Broncos.

22. St. Louis (from Washington); Jarvis Jones, LB, University of Georgia.  Jarvis Jones has the talent to go in the top-ten.  He’s here for no other reason that circumstance.  After drafting Lacy the Rams could elect to select a wide-out with this pick, but I feel of the players left at that position, compared with Jones, the value is too much to pass up.  Teaming Jones with James “Road Warrior” Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar gives the Rams one of the most complete linebacking corps in the league, right up there with San Francisco and Houston.  And while both Dunbar and Jones are natural weak-side linebackers, having cache of exceptional, explosive athletes is never a bad thing.  The Rams could very easily duplicate the success the Vikings experienced in 2012.  In fact they could be better.  True they are in a division with two of the three best teams in the NFL (San Francisco and Seattle), but with a stout defense like the Rams will have at their disposal, any game is winnable.

23. Minnesota Vikings; Manti Te’o, LB, University of Notre Dame.  Warning: I am going to make a Ronadlo Tuiasosopo joke in two picks.  It’s going to be lousy, but it’s going to happen.  That aside, here’s my take on the Te’o girlfriend story-line…  He’s a good kid who made an unfortunate mistake.  He tried to rectify it the best he could and made some additional poor decisions in the process.  But again, I used the word “kid” because he is.  He’s not even 23 yet.  Somewhere along the line people lost sight of this, just as they lost sight of (or disregarded) his collegiate Hall-of-Fame career because he had an awful National Championship game.  Similar to his on-field game, as a person Te’o is not a finished product.  Who among us is?  He was the victim of an otherwise victimless crime.  This kind of thing happens every day, but in his case he’s in the public-eye so it’s amplified.  And he’s a public figure so we hold him to a higher standard, for what reason I don’t quite comprehend.  But enough is enough, let’s put it behind us.  He’s going to Minnesota now where they’ve never experienced any kind of scandal in recent–love boat!!!!  Oh.

My one on-field concern with Te’o is his speed.  I do think this is overstated, but the jump in talent from the NCAA to the NFL is, obviously, significant.  I think he will be a very good player for many, many years.  Wait, he’s a Viking?  Bust!

24. Indianapolis Colts; Monte Ball, RB, University of Wisconsin.  As much as everyone wants to say this draft class is light in terms of quarterbacks, running backs, and top-flight wide receivers, the NFL is an offensive league.  Offensive skill players are the most important assets a team can have.  So there is this concept I refer to as “inflation”, which as you can guess, is the probably that a specific position will be more sought after than another.  Obviously quarterback inflation is the most drastic.  They are the highest demanded player in the shortest supply.  All that considered, I see the Colts taking the former Heisman Trophy finalist a round earlier than most experts have him going. Indianapolis could upgrade at corner or defensive end or linebacker.  A player like Desmond Trufant is an option.  But running back is just as big of a need for the Colts as any position I have previously stated.  I compare Monte Ball to Jamaal Charles.  He doesn’t have Charles’ breakaway speed but he is a better pass-catcher and has an understated toughness between the tackles.  He can lineup in the slot as a receiver and is reliable in pass-protection.  Andrew Luck played out of his mind last season, but he will be hard-pressed to duplicate his success if teams make the Colts one dimensional.  Ball gives the Colts balance and in turn, a shot at the AFC South championship.  You could say, Monte can really…ball.

25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle); Ronald Tuiasosopo, Prankster, Jokes on U.  Yyyyyyeeeeeeeesssssss!!!!!!!!!!  Reunited and it feels so good…  The actual pick is Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State University.  And for the record the Vikings do get both picks in on time.  Werner can be a truly efficient pass-rusher.  He has a good athleticism and quickness.  He ran an impressive 4.83 40-yard dash and a respectable 25 repetitions of 225 lbs. on the bench press.  And learning from Jared Allen, Samurai Mike Singletary (he stops ‘em cold), and Leslie Frazier every day in practice is even more reason to believe in Werner.  The same way Batman and Jim Gordon believed in Harvey Dent.  Uh-oh.  The Vikings could also draft a wide receiver but again, value.  Horse, dead, beating it.

26. Green Bay Packers; D.J. Fluker, OT, University of Alabama.  Aaron Rodgers is going to sign a contract in the very near future that will pay him more than most countries’ Gross Domestic Product.  He was also sacked more times than an English castle in the medieval ages.  Partially due to the Packers’ propensity to throw the football, also because the offensive line is terrible.  Fluker is 6’6”, 335 lbs.  He takes up space—he’s fat.  Also he’s a winner and an outstanding run-blocker (not that Green Bay ever runs).  If the Packers want to return to the Super Bowl this season, and let’s hope they don’t, ever, somewhere along the line they will have to defeat the elite pass rushes of San Francisco and Seattle, and the very formidable pass rushes of the Bears, Giants, Vikings, Rams, and Cowboys.  They have to replace Charles Wooden at safety, but that unit is a lost cause so “f” it.  Unless J’Marcus Webb is matched-up against Clay Matthews.  Then.ugh…  Ultimately, Green Bay fans hope this pick isn’t a Fluker.  That it isn’t a fluke-r–

(Hold on I’m being handed something…  It’s a memo.  I’ll read it.  “Dear Mr. Mitchell, if you make another pun, you will be banned from the internet.  You’re not funny.  No one likes you.  Sincerely, Al Gore, Inventor of the Internet”.  Banned from the internet?  But that’s where I watch my cat videos!…and porn)

27. Houston Texans; Tyler Eifert, TE, University of Notre Dame.  Complementing Andre Johnson with another dynamic pass-catcher would do wonders in helping Matt Schaub develop his game.  And he’s not a young player anymore.  The developmental stage is behind him, so this pick may not be enough.  Owen Daniels is a solid tight end but he can’t be counted on to stay healthy.  In the copycat league that is the NFL, the two-tight end set seems to be the latest trend.  Combined with the value of drafting the top player at the position at 27, this is a win for Houston.  Getting Brian Cushing back from his knee injury is also crucial.  And for those of you skeptical on whether or not “Cush” will be able to return-to-form from such a grueling injury, remember that clip where Cush head-butts Browns’ guard Shawn Lauvao without his helmet?  Yeah, I’m not betting against that guy.

28. Denver Broncos; Desmond Trufant, CB, University of Washington.  Champ Bailey isn’t getting any younger.  And while the addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie improves the secondary, his contract is only for one season.  Trufant can be the reliable cover corner of the future.  In recent years the AFC has come down to who can pass and who can stop the pass.  Little else has mattered.  The Broncos will run away and hide with the AFC West.

(One counterargument to disprove that statement is the past four teams to play against the Eagles in Philly’s home opener have gone on to win the Super Bowl.  This year that’s the Chargers and they never grossly fail to meet expectations.  And what I mean by that is if there is anyone team that can bring this streak to an unceremonious end…San Diego, Super Chargers)

29. New England Patriots; Robert Woods, WR, University of Southern California.  I’m going to say this once.  Danny Amendola is not an upgrade over Wes Welker.  This is not an opinion, this is fact.  You cannot objectively say a player who has seen the field a total of 42 times in his career, including 12 out of last 32, a player who in his career has 182 more yards and one more touchdown than Welker recorded last season is a better option than a player who perpetually finishes in the top-3 in receptions and yards year-in and year-out.  To quote Mike Singletary, “Can’t do it!”  In a matter of months the Patriots have gone from riches-to-rags in terms of offensive talent.  Robert Woods had an underwhelming senior season, but make no mistake, he has all the tools to have a very good, very long career.  Quick side note, the Tommie Kelly signing was a really good.

30. Atlanta Falcons; Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford University.  Staying true to the two-tight end theory, Atlanta selects the heir apparent to Tony Gonzalez.  Match-ups abound.  Ertz is big, strong, and technically sound.  He runs good rounds and has possibly the best hands in the draft, and I don’t mean for tight ends.  Also he gets to benefit from the tutelage playing beside the best tight end to ever play the game.  Atlanta does need to find a replacement for Duanta Robinson, but again, there’s nothing wrong with taking a strength and making it stronger.

31. Chicago Bears (from San Francisco); Brian Urlacher, University of New Mexico.  Sorry, separation anxiety.  Kevin Minter, LB, Louisiana State University.  This is a tough decision because there are so many viable choices at offensive line and linebacker (hello Arthur Brown).  Even Florida International safety Johnathan Cyprien (yes I spelled that right) and Florida safety Matt Elam are enticing choices.  But Lovie Smith is gone so one can only hope that the Bears annual safety selection has run its course.  Minter is a solid athlete who has excellent point-of-attack skills.  He is good at reading-and-reacting and a reliable tackler.  There is room for improvement on all facets of his game, but that’s true for every player coming out of college.  My concern is his pass-coverage ability.  If new Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker runs his defense anywhere near to Rod Marinelli’s systematically, the most important element of the middle linebacker’s game is taking away the middle of the field on passing plays.  It is reasonable to believe the Bears have an offense-heavy draft.  Every move they have made indicates that is the direction they are heading.  A wide receiver such as Justin Hunter or Keenen Allen could come off the board here.  But linebacker is a position at which they have to get younger.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Johnathan Cyprien, S, Florida International University.  Ray Lewis is gone.  Ed Reed is gone.  Anquan Boldin is gone.  Matt Birk is gone.  Paul Krueger is gone.  Dennell Elerbe is gone.  Yikes.  The Ravens have worked wonders patching the holes that which come from the disassembly of a Super Bowl championship roster.  But I wouldn’t expect many wins in Baltimore this season.  Enjoy the $20,000,000 Joe Flacco.  Because everyone who helped you earn that contract is either wearing a different uniform or enjoying retirement.  Cyprien isn’t Ed Reed but he does posses good ball-skills, which as any Ravens’ fans will tell you, is the biggest attribute to what made Reed so great.

Quickly, here are the Bears picks.  Remember, in my mock draft I had them trade with San Francisco, so if you’re checking online and see they don’t have a third-round pick, that’s because it was included in the deal:

Round 1: Kevin Minter, LB, Louisiana State University.

Round 2: Justin Hunter, WR, University of Tennessee.  A deep threat that can take the top off the defense and open up the underneath routes for Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, and Martelius Bennett.

Round 3: Brian Schwenke, OC, University of California-Berkley.  The Bears seem high on him and this would be a prime opportunity to bring in the successor to Roberto Garza.

Round 4: Kwame Gathers, DT, University of Georgia.  The Bears are thin on the interior offense line.  At 6’5 3/8” and 342 lbs., being thin is not a problem.  Gathers can eat up blockers allowing the back seven to move in space and make tackles unencumbered around the line of scrimmage on opponents such as, oh say, Adrian Peterson.  Again, the Bears need size up front, and Gathers is a biggin’.

Round 5: Jake Stoneburner, TE, The Ohio State University.  If he can catch a pass from Braxton Miller he can catch a pass from anybody.  He isn’t the most gifted blocker in the world and he doesn’t have the best speed, but he is a play-maker.  Again, offensive talent will be a trend in the draft for the Monster of the Midway.

Round 6: Rodney Smith, WR, Florida State University.  Another big, strong, athletic wide-out.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with drafting multiple big-bodied pass-catchers and creating mismatches by utilizing your size.  Additionally, Jay Cutler likes big receivers.  Another option here is a third-string quarterback like Landry Jones (though he’s probably be off the board), Zac Dysert, Sean Renfree or Jordan Rodgers.  Yes, that Rodgers.

And I’ll just tabulate the score now.  Correct Picks: 0.  Jokes on U.

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