It has finally arrived; this year’s rendition of the NFL Draft. The 2013 is one of the most difficult to predict in recent years, so there are plenty of opportunities to look stupid. Here is the final projection for this year’s draft with four rounds and over 9,000 words of projecting what will happen before the teams do it themselves starting Thursday. Have at it. And by all means come back and share how awful this was in relation to what actually happened.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
– The Chiefs under Andy Reid opted to trade for Alex Smith, dump Eric Winston, and are currently in talks that could have Branden Albert end up on the Miami Dolphins. As a result, the Chiefs appear to need a franchise left tackle again.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Oregon
– The Jaguars are basically starting from scratch. They have definitely sent out plenty of signals that Geno Smith could be in the mix here, but Gus Bradley is a defensive coach and Jordan is the ultimate project. With ridiculous athletic tools and potential, developed properly, Jordan could be a big time impact player. The Jaguars have the time to develop him as they are not going anywhere fast.
3. Oakland Raiders
Defensive Tackle, Florida
– Like the Jaguars, the Raiders have almost nothing in place that is worthwhile. As a result, they have to decide how to proceed from here and they opt to establish a strong defensive line under defensive head coach Dennis Allen. Floyd is a good defensive tackle that could develop into a franchise player as he will only be 21 this coming season.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Defensive Tackle, Utah
– So much is made of Chip Kelly and with good reason, but the Eagles, with their move to the 3-4, have a substantial need along the defensive line. Lotulelei gives them a big time player that can contribute at end or nose in their 3-man front. The combination of Lotulelei and Fletcher Cox could be the building blocks to getting a good defense established in Philadelphia again.
5. Detroit Lions
Offensive Tackle, Central Michigan
– With the retirement of Jeff Backus, the Lions have a huge hole at left tackle. Riley Reiff might be able to move over there but he is better suited to stay on the right side and have Fisher come in and protect Matthew Stafford’s blind side. Defensive end could be a consideration here as well, but too much is riding on Stafford and Calvin Johnson who make a ton of money between them.
6. Cleveland Browns
Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, LSU
– The assumption is that Dee Milliner is a slam dunk here, but there are a number of reasons it may not happen. The percentage of the cap that would be spent on the secondary, defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s lack of emphasis on the corner position and heavy emphasis on the front seven, and the fact that Milliner, while talented, does not warrant the pick here in addition to being the second corner. The Browns have made it clear they would like to move down and add extra picks. The fact Lane Johnson is available here makes that a realistic scenario. They are in a fantastic situation to develop Mingo to be a franchise pass rusher behind Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard. If they are able to move down, a pass rusher like Mingo would still be ideal but Tyler Eifert enters the equation as well.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Offensive Tackle, Oklahoma
– The move to add Carson Palmer has sent the signal that the Cardinals are not comfortable with a quarterback at 7. They have to establish a strong offensive line. Their tackle situation is not awful, but could improve. Bobby Massie appears to have a future at right tackle and they have brought back Levi Brown but he is not a long term answer at left tackle. Johnson comes in as the long term solution at left tackle and gives their actual future at quarterback a chance to succeed.
8. Buffalo Bills
Quarterback, West Virginia
– With new head coach Doug Marrone and their only other quarterback being Kevin Kolb, the Bills made it painfully clear they are in the market for a quarterback. The question is who and when. Smith has the tools to be a franchise quarterback, but needs development and coaching. Marrone would make sense in that scenario and too many underrate the importance of having a strong arm in the AFC East with the potential for a lot of ugly, windy games in the latter part of the year. The Bills could opt for a pass rusher here as well but the dark horse pick could be Arthur Brown.
9. New York Jets
– With the move to deal Darrelle Revis to the Bucs, the Jets suddenly have a sizeable hole at corner. Milliner has elite physical tools and potential, but he needs some development. Coming into a situation with Rex Ryan who can scheme around a player’s weaknesses, Milliner has as good a chance of coming and playing well as a rookie in New York as anywhere. Milliner has the potential to be an elite corner.
10. Tennessee Titans
Defensive Tackle, Missouri
– The Titans have talent at the defensive end position, but the middle of their line has some huge holes. There could be consideration for guard here but with the signing of Andy Levitre in free agency, that would be a ton of guard. Richardson is the prototype 3-tech defensive tackle and gives them a player who can rush the passer from the inside and really invigorate the defensive line.
11. San Diego Chargers
Offensive Guard, North Carolina
– The biggest hole for the Chargers is at left tackle and they could be a candidate to move up and grab one, their offensive line could use help all over the place. Cooper can come and start immediately at guard or potentially play center as well. He is an athletic lineman that might remind some of John Hannah.
12. Miami Dolphins
Tight End, Notre Dame
– The Dolphins stand out as a team that could try to move up for a tackle if one is available. They have the picks to do it. If not, they have done a lot to help their offense in the offseason to try to set up Ryan Tannehill for success. Eifert would only continue in that effort. Having Eifert along with Dustin Keller, Brian Hartline, and Mike Wallace is a fantastic offensive set up, especially if Lamar Miller can be the back many thought coming out of college.
13. New York Jets (from Bucs)
Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, BYU
– Ansah playing outside linebacker is not the most ideal scenario given his skill set, but with Rex Ryan’s ability to move guys around and make them more effective, he could be an incredibly dynamic pass rusher and an overpowering run stopper. Playing in an elephant type role, Ansah would be the first pass rusher Ryan has had in his time with the Jets with the potential to be a franchise player.
14. Carolina Panthers
Defensive Tackle, Alabama
– The Panthers have a substantial need at both defensive tackle spots and perhaps because he does not great in shorts, Williams has fallen for many draftniks. The fact remains he is a fantastic nose prospect and gives them a guy who can clamp down on the run to enable more opportunities for their talented defensive ends to go get the quarterback. It is also a welcome sight for Luke Kuechly who will have more protection to fly around and make plays.
15. New Orleans Saints
Wide Receiver, West Virginia
– The Saints have a number of needs in their new 3-4 scheme, but reinstated head coach Sean Payton loves all of the possibilities for he can use Austin in his offense. There might not be a better fit or offense to utilize Austin as a true weapon and he could have a huge impact as a rookie with Drew Brees getting him the ball.
16. St. Louis Rams
D.J. Fluker, OT Alabama
Offensive Tackle, Alabama
– The Rams have made efforts to improve the offensive line with the addition of Jake Long in free agency, but they could continue in the draft. Along with Long, Fluker gives them another powerful presence to open up running lanes as well as protect Sam Bradford. Fluker could take the right tackle job or start out as a dominating guard.