It’s the end of October, so it is time for the first mock draft of the season! I will be using the current NFL standings as the order..
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The trend has been the same for the last four years, and will continue on: If you are the worst team in the league, you need a quarterback. Geno Smith has exploded this season statistically to cap off a career in which he showed he has all the tools to succeed in the NFL. The Chiefs have a solid core of talent, but need the guy to hand the keys to.
2. Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Browns decide to stick with Brandon Weeden after he shows flashes of potential in his rookie year. This pick is a bit of a wildcard due to ownership changes, but I think (outside of his first game) Weeden has put up a decent rookie performance and will be allowed to stick around another year. The Browns believe the core of their offense is Weeden-Richardson-Little-Gordon, but they need more talent on defense. Jones is a versatile playmaker in the mold of Von Miller who can line up at linebacker and end in order to get after the QB.
3. Oakland Raiders: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Carson Palmer has been better than many expected this season, but he is still in his mid thirties and is not the future of this team. They were left talent-deprived from the previous regime(s) and still have a long way to go, but now is the perfect time to bring in a guy like Tyler Wilson to learn behind Palmer and eventually become the leader of he franchise. I love Wilson’s toughness and he can bring that old-school grit back to Oakland Raider football.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Many will argue that the Jaguars went wide receiver early last year in Justin Blackmon and it hasn’t paid off yet. They also gave a decent contract to Laurent Robinson. I think they could/should go QB here to replace Gabbert, but with his recent injury he may have bought himself some time. Henne is a dreadful NFL QB and I think by the end of the year he will actually make fans miss Gabbert. Kahn wants to add flash and style to this team, and a big-time passing game led by a playmaker like Hunter could do the trick. They don’t want to rely on the running game anymore and Blackmon is best used in the short-game.
5.Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
I think Carolina hopes a guy like Hunter can fall into their laps to boost the weapons that surround Newton. However, the fact that their defense has been so bad has made Newton press and overextend himself due to constantly playing from behind. That defensive line needs help and Lotulelei is a potential Star (pun intended) that can be a force in the middle of their defense.
6. New Orleans Saints: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The Saints’ defense has been dismal this year and their struggles start with them being unable to get after the QB. Montgomery fits the mold as a Spags defensive end (if Spags sticks around) and plays in the Saints’ backyard. He can come in and get after the QB from the weak side, allowing Will Smith to move over to the left.
7. Tennessee Titans: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Tigers’ two pass rushing specialists get taken back-to-back. Tennessee gets the more athletic of the two, but also the more raw of the two. Mingo has potential similar to former Titan Jevon “The Freak” Kearse and can help the Titans with their anemic pass rush. They could look at DT, but I think a mid-round guy would add to a solid rotation.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The fourth defensive lineman and third defensive end in a row gets taken. It was just two years ago that the Buccaneers spent their first two picks on a pair of defensive ends in Bowers and Clayborne. Their new regime has made it clear that the Buccaneers are playing old-school, blue collar football with a focus on strong defense and a power running game. Werner is a dream player for Schiano with his high motor and relentlessness getting after the QB.
9. Indianapolis Colts: Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M
I was tempted to grab Luck a weapon like Keenan Allen here, but the Colts want to recreate the type of offense that Luck ran at Stanford: Run the ball, play action to tight ends, stretch the field with a good receiver. Notice that reads receiver; as in singular. Wayne has been huge for them this year, and they have potential with guys like Avery and Hilton behind him. I think they grab Joeckel here as a good value pick to protect their savior in Luck and also improve the running game on the weak side.
10. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
I think the Lions have to be tired of playing in shootouts. The fans love it, but I bet it drives their defensive head coach nuts. Milliner can shore up their secondary and be a day one starter at the cornerback position. The NFC North is the best position in the NFL and has some potent passing attacks. The Lions need a guy who can take out the Brandon Marshalls’ and Greg Jennings’ of their division.