This is the eighth of this season's articles on newyorkjets.com about the draft and free agency from the independent personnel analysts at Real Football Services, Real Football's final Round 1 mock draft.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on newyorkjets.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New York Jets organization, front office staff, coaches and executives.
Not too much has changed in the last few days in terms of needs and potential selections, but the movement that could mark the first round is a new storyline as draft day approaches. There are so many scenarios, which creates a lot of intrigue for Thursday's prime time event.
1. Kansas City — Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M
Whatever happens with Branden Albert, the Chiefs need their new tackle to play right away. If they can get him signed, Joeckel is the more game-ready guy right now. If the Chiefs surprise and go defense, it could have a huge domino effect on the rest of the round.
2. Jacksonville — Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
There's no wrong answer here. There are five or six teams in the next 10 picks that need a tackle, so the Jaguars could trade down and collect picks. But more than anything, the Jags need a player to get excited about. New HC Gus Bradley is a defensive guy. He'll make Jordan the "Joker" pass rusher and build his defense from there.
- Oakland — Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Raiders are another team that needs to accumulate picks, so they could listen to teams interested in getting ahead of Philly for a QB or a tackle. Oakland can't afford to miss on the QB here, and though they could use Eric Fisher, Floyd is the 3-technique DT everyone has been waiting for since Sapp retired.
4. Philadelphia — Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan
Ideally, the Eagles would like to trade down, get an impact player, and use the additional picks to get back into the bottom of Round 1 to get their QB. Short of that, Fisher is an athletic tackle who can be a move blocker in Chip Kelly's dynamic offense, and Todd Herremans moves inside to G, further upgrading the OL.
5. Detroit — Lane Johnson, T, Oklahoma
Teams like Arizona could be interested in getting to this spot to get the last elite tackle prospect, but with Jeff Backus retired and Gosder Cherilus moving on in free agency, the Lions are in dire need of a top-notch T to step in and start.
6. Cleveland — Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Teams interested in a QB could be angling for this pick to get ahead of Arizona or Buffalo, and without a second-round pick, the Browns could be listening. But they wouldn't be wrong going for the CB. Milliner steps in as a starter opposite Joe Hayden, which gives them two cover corners and allows them to unleash some unique blitz packages. There's potential for a lot of trade action in picks 2 through 6.
7. Arizona — Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
We almost went with a pass rusher like Barkevious Mingo here. But with incumbent guards Adam Snyder and Daryn Colledge both on the north side of 30, Warmack can take the torch and protect the midline for Carson Palmer, the Cardinals' new pocket passer.
8. Buffalo — Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
The QB talk is spiraling around this pick now, but we just don't see it. With the new rookie cap, missing on a quarterback isn't the catastrophe it used to be, but Geno Smith's smaller hands and Matt Barkley's lack of ideal arm strength could be negatives in windy, cold Buffalo. And despite Jon Gruden's assertions, we think Doug Marrone knows Ryan Nassib is not a first-round talent. There will be QBs at the top of Round 2.
9. JETS — Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Nothing changes, folks. Production, athleticism, great football instincts, and a high-character kid to boot. As much as any player in this draft, Jones has already done it — he makes plays. If one of the tackles slips, you could take him here and still get Jones at No. 13, which would be cause for celebration in Florham Park.
10. Tennessee — Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
This guy has the potential to dominate the LOS inside. The Titans' defense has always followed the lead of its D-line and Lotulelei is a two-way threat as a pass rusher and a run stopper.
11. San Diego — Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Chargers could trade up to get one of the top five O-linemen, or they could reach a bit for D.J. Fluker here. But Mingo answers another need. Shaun Phillips is a FA, and none of the other returning LBs had more than three sacks in 2012. Mingo is an instant firestarter for the pass rush.
12. Miami — Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Tackle is another big need for the Dolphins, but Rhodes is rated higher than Fluker on our board, and with two second-round picks, they will have plenty of opportunity to plug in a tackle like Syracuse's Justin Pugh, or Terron Armstead, or Kyle Long
13. JETS (from TB) — D.J. Fluker, T, Alabama
The Jets, on the other hand, MUST get a stud right tackle early in this draft. Fluker is strictly a run-blocking RT with massive size and a roadgrader mentality. Even with Austin Howard re-signing, the O-line needs several players, and the competition between these two will be a positive, particularly for the run game. Some are thinking CB here, but they don't need to force that. There are starting-caliber CBs in Rounds 2, 3 and even 4.
14. Carolina — Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Richardson is coming off his best year as a senior. Good size, good motor and the quickness and burst to penetrate the interior and flush QBs out to the Panthers' pass-rushing DEs.
15. New Orleans — Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Though he doesn't display great ball skills, Vaccaro's a do-it-all safety who is a physical run defender, capable in deep zone coverages, and can drop down and cover in the slot. A big, physical safety who will upgrade a leaky secondary.
16. St. Louis — Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
People try to compare Austin to Percy Harvin, but in our eyes he's more Reggie Bush. He's only 5'9" (and that's generous), so he's going to have a tough time lining up against big corners on the perimeter. But like Bush, if used properly, he can be a dangerous receiver and runner and adds value as a returner. A much-needed weapon for Sam Bradford.
17. Pittsburgh — Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
If the QBs slip this far, we could see some teams pushing up even this high to acquire one. The Steelers would like that, because we don't think their ideal guy is here, but Eifert is certainly a big target and a dangerous weapon for Big Ben in the middle of the field.
18. Dallas — Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
For a team transitioning to a 4-3 defense, Ansah's freakish athletic ability and versatility is a no-brainer. Yes, Ziggy's raw, but he already has experience lining up on the right and left sides, and he can move inside as a pass rusher as well.
19. New York Giants — Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Werner seems like a Tom Coughlin type of guy, a big, strong, tough, hard-working guy who loves football. He can get after the passer, too. Almost 60 plays behind the LOS in just two seasons.
20. Chicago — Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
We've put Ogletree here before, and we're sticking with it because it just makes so much sense. A team that bade farewell to Brian Urlacher and is playing with an aging Lance Briggs can use a versatile LB who can play all three spots.
21. Cincinnati — Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Described by some as a cross between Dwayne Bowe and Nate Burleson, Patterson has all kinds of ability but little experience. He could be a great third wheel for A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu, but if he takes time to develop, he won't hurt them terribly.
22. St. Louis (from WAS) — Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Some are saying that no RB will go in the first round. We think there could be more than one. Lacy was highly productive for the Tide but saved some of the wear and tear sitting behind Trent Richardson and splitting time with T.J. Yeldon. There could be a lot of action for this pick. Teams will be moving for the QBs, and the Rams have never been shy about trading down.
23. Minnesota — Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Unlike the Rams, the Vikings will probably keep both of their No. 1 picks and add two good players to a playoff roster. Trufant is capable in man and zone schemes and is a willing run defender, much like the departed Antoine Winfield.
24. Indianapolis — Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Williams has the size, power and burst to dominate inside in the 3-4. Indy needs to stop the run and this is the first step toward fixing that problem.
25. Minnesota (from SEA) — Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Despite his offseason, Te'o is all football player when it comes down to it. He can tackle, blitz and cover, he has great instincts and football IQ, and all those things outweigh any potential negatives for a team with a need at MLB.
26. Green Bay — Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Packers will be making calls to see who wants to move up for a QB. Word is they want a RB, but there's no value in that position here. If they stay, Reid is hard-working, smart, instinctive and will make plays on the ball.
27. Houston — Robert Woods, WR, Southern Cal
The Texans are in need of a complement to Andre Johnson. Woods is polished, productive and ready to play right away.
28. Denver — Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Taylor is a Cover-2 corner who can add depth and work his way into a starting role with the Broncos over time.
29. New England — Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
A perfect fit for the Patriots' hybrid scheme, Jones can align as a 3-4 DE or a 4-3 DT. New England is always a draft-day player when it comes to trade talk. We don't anticipate the Pats will actually make this pick.
30. Atlanta — Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
The Falcons could use a strongside LB who can blitz the QB. Brown can do that and many other things. He could probably fill in capably at any of the three spots.
31. San Francisco — Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
A team that lost Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois up front needs some bulk at the nose. At 340 pounds, Williams is that guy. He is limited strictly to a two-gapping run-stuffer role, but that's what the Niners need.
32. Baltimore — Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe are gone, and Rolando McClain is in trouble again. ILB becomes a pressing need and some scouts think Minter is better than Te'o or Brown.