While I didn’t include any potential trades in my mock draft, there are five teams to watch who could very well try to move up.
Arizona may try to trade up for either an offensive tackle or a quarterback. Buffalo has a dire need at quarterback, and could move up for Geno Smith if he makes it past the Jaguars.
Miami is looking for an offensive tackle, and according to a recent report by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, they prefer Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher over Lane Johnson, meaning a trade into the top five isn’t out of the question.
Minnesota and San Francisco also have a stockpile of draft picks, and could move up for a prospect they feel like they can’t live without.
1. Kansas City - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Chiefs may have painted themselves into a corner after releasing right tackle Eric Winston, but with Joeckel they get arguably the most talented player in the draft and a long-term solution at the left tackle position.
2. Jacksonville - Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The new regime in Jacksonville is understandably less than impressed by Blaine Gabbert. Geno Smith helps give a rebuilding Jaguars franchise an identity. He can immediately improve an offense that already has some talented pieces in place.
3. Oakland - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Raiders finished the 2012 season second to last in the league in sacks. They desperately need playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Ziggy Ansah would provide a boost to a pitiful Raiders pass rush and would serve as a versatile piece for Jason Tarver’s hybrid defense.
4. Philadelphia - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Eagles have spent this offseason transitioning to a 3-4 defense. They’re looking to get bigger on the defensive line. Star Lotulelei can be a dominant presence as a 5-tech defensive end, and he’s versatile enough to spend time at nose tackle as well.
5. Detroit - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Detroit has glaring holes at both defensive end and offensive tackle spots. Ultimately the promise of adding a talented hometown kid to their offensive line could be too much to pass up. The Lions need to keep Matt Stafford healthy, and Fisher has as much upside as any player in the draft.
6. Cleveland - Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
In this scenario Cleveland goes with the best player available. Dion Jordan has a rare skill set and can fill a variety of roles in Ray Horton’s defense. Jordan has been rumored to be in the discussion for the #1 overall pick, so the Browns would be thrilled to get him at #6.
7. Arizona - Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma
Fortunately for the Cardinals, their most dire need lines up perfectly with the best player available with Lane Johnson on the board at #7. Talent-wise, Johnson is not far behind Joeckel and Fisher. He’d help stabilize an offensive line who now have to protect a statuesque Carson Palmer.
8. Buffalo - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
While it’s possible that Buffalo trades up for a quarterback, in this situation they swing for the fences with a raw-but-electrifying prospect at the wide receiver position. Patterson compliments Stevie Johnson perfectly, and will make life easier for Kevin Kolb or whoever the Bills’ quarterback might be.
9. New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
For the last few seasons the Jets have been longing for an impact player who can consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks - especially with Tom Brady in the division. Mingo would flourish in Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman’s defense.
10. Tennessee - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Titans finished 2012 with the worst pass defense in the league. Alterraun Verner has been solid, but he’ll also be a free agent after the 2013 season. Tennessee needs to invest in their secondary, and many think Milliner is the best cornerback in the draft.
11. San Diego - Kenny Vaccaro, DB, Texas
San Diego would love for one of the top offensive tackles to fall to them, but a talented, versatile piece for their secondary is a nice consolation prize. Vaccaro would start on day one for the Chargers, who could put him at safety next to Eric Weddle and even use him at corner in the slot.
12. Miami - Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Here, Miami gets an absolute steal. Bjoern Werner is one of the best pass rushers in the draft, and his best football may still be ahead of him. The Dolphins can put Werner at left defensive end across from Cameron Wake, where he would make an immediate impact.
13. Tampa Bay - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Tampa already has a strong defensive line, but Sharrif Floyd would provide them with another disruptive interior presence next to Gerald McCoy. With Floyd the Bucs could generate even more inside pressure, which would help with Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton in the division.
14. Carolina - Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Panthers offense struggled to find the end zone in 2012. Steve Smith isn’t getting any younger, and Cam Newton would benefit from having more weapons around him. With Tavon Austin, Carolina adds one of the most exciting offensive playmakers in the draft.
15. New Orleans - Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri
The Saints are rebuilding on defense. With Rob Ryan bringing his aggressive style to New Orleans, they’ll be looking to add talent up front to help improve a struggling unit. Richardson explodes through gaps, and can develop into a star next to Akiem Hicks and Cameron Jordan.
16. St. Louis - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Rams have already done a lot to stabilize their offensive line this offseason, bringing in Jake Long at left tackle and moving Roger Saffold to the right side. But Chance Warmack is an elite prospect - even if it’s not at a premier position. He’s simply too good to pass up at #16.
17. Pittsburgh - Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Steelers defense is deteriorating, and they haven’t done a great job in recent years of replacing their aging cornerstone players through the draft. Jones has some limitations, but he’s a perfect fit for Pittsburgh. He’d pick up where James Harrison left off.
18. Dallas - Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Dallas is reportedly enamored with Jonathan Cooper, who is every bit the prospect that Chance Warmack is. Cooper can play both guard and center, where the Cowboys need some stability. His presence would help ensure Tony Romo lives to see the end of his massive new contract.
19. New York Giants - Datone Jones, DL, UCLA
The Giants love versatile linemen who can get upfield quickly. With Justin Tuck and Cullen Jenkins both being on the wrong side of 30, Datone Jones can step in at both left defensive end and 3-tech defensive tackle and give the Giants an impressive defensive line rotation.
20. Chicago - Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Having intelligent, athletic linebackers with sideline-to-sideline ability has for years been the key to Chicago’s success on defense. Moving on from Brian Urlacher means the Bears have big shoes to fill. Luckily for them, Arthur Brown is arguably a top 10 talent with Ray Lewis-level upside.
21. Cincinnati - Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State
The Bengals’ roster has come a long way in the last few years, but defensive ends Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap are both entering contract seasons. It’s unclear how much Tank Carradine will be able to contribute in 2013, but he can develop into an elite pass rusher.
22. St. Louis - Johnathan Cyprien, S, FIU
With their second pick in the first round, the Rams turn to Johnathan Cyprien to add a playmaking presence at safety, where they’ve struggled to find a long-term solution ever since O.J. Atogwe’s play began to decline.
23. Minnesota - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Now that Percy Harvin is gone, the Vikings are starved for legitimate threats at wideout. Christian Ponder may not be a long-term solution at quarterback, but aside from Adrian Peterson he doesn’t have much help. DeAndre Hopkins has the potential to develop into a true #1 receiver.
24. Indianapolis - Jesse Williams, DL, Alabama
Last season the Colts reloaded on offense. Now they can address a patchwork defense that has struggled to stop the run. Jesse Williams is an underrated prospect who can do a lot of things for a defense. Chuck Pagano can use him the way he used Haloti Ngata in Baltimore.
25. Minnesota - Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Vikings continue getting younger and better in the secondary by adding Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes can compensate for the loss of Antoine Winfield by giving Minnesota a physical cover corner to combat the dangerous passing offenses in Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay.
26. Green Bay - Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
Marshall Newhouse simply isn’t going to cut it at left tackle in a division loaded with imposing pass rushers. Menelik Watson may be very raw, but his incredible athleticism makes him an excellent fit in Green Bay’s zone blocking scheme.
27. Houston - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Houston could go a lot of different ways here, including wide receiver. But they may feel like they’ve gone as far as they can with Matt Schaub at the helm. Barkley fits what the Texans do on offense perfectly, and could be their future at quarterback.
28. Denver - Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Denver’s roster is already strong, especially after key free agent additions. They may look to improve their secondary, but Manti Te’o would excel behind Denver’s strong defensive line, next to superstar Von Miller. It’s a low-pressure situation for Te’o, as Peyton Manning is the Broncos’ unquestioned leader.
29. New England - Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
While Tom Brady can make even a very average group of receivers look good, the Patriots would benefit from giving him a legitimate go-to option now that Wes Welker has moved on. One could make a case that Keenan Allen is the best wideout in the draft. He’d fit in well in New England.
30. Atlanta - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The top pass-rushers are off the board by the time the Falcons pick, so with Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes gone they could look to add talent to their secondary. Banks has great instincts and closes on the ball quickly. He would help Mike Nolan’s defense generate turnovers.
31. San Francisco - Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
The scouting community has been buzzing about Jamar Taylor for a while now. The 49ers added Nnamdi Asomugha, but both he and Carlos Rogers are over 30. The 49ers won’t hesitate to add an impressive young player to an already stacked defense.
32. Baltimore - Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut
It’s almost unfair that one of the most explosive, versatile defenders in the draft falls right into the lap of the defending Super Bowl champions. Moore can play both ILB and OLB for the Ravens, easing the effects of losing Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, and Paul Kruger this offseason.
Brad is an Oakland Raiders fan and draft enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @jazzhessian for more thoughts.
Way too high for Ansah. Dude played at BYU - weak school/schedule. We need to be picking from the Big 12 and the SEC - guys who played against people who are going to be in the NFL. Plus there are questions about his true age. He's moved up a little - but most people have him in the late first, early second. Personally? The only guy I'd pick from BYU is retired behind a desk at ESPN right now.
I like the idea of trading with Miami - they have something like 12 picks last I heard. They're flush with cash too - so they might be in a generous mood.
@JoeGoodberry got into argument with another bengals fan when I was asked what positions they are looking at in the first I said DE..
Not too horrible, but I would have to agree with Richard, just not the eloquent way he put it. I would say that if Oakland does take someone at three rather than trade down they will take a pass rushing DE or a stout interior DT. I do like the thought of them trading out though and I think their best bet is going to be with the Jets. I was reading about the Jets sending Revis and Sanchez to the Bucs for the Bucs 1st round and a later pick. If this happens I think they would like to move up provided Geno Smith is still on the board. I would like to see Raiders take the number three pick and ship it to them for the Jets two first rounders. Of course this is all speculation and we never know whats going to happen until it happens. Either way, keep up the good work and hopefully the Silver and Black will be back soon.
@Indy! Players from the SEC, eh? You mean like Rolando McClain? Strength of opponents is one single part of the scouting equation. Using it as the determining factor is foolish. That's how teams whiff on good players.
@Irishfootball11 Yup. Greatest value of any of their needs. Both starters are free agents after this year. Chances are one gets a deal.
By the looks of things, Bucs want nothing to do with Sanchez! I do think Revis will end up being traded to the Bucs first but if the Jets don't get it sorted I think they will miss out. The Jets don't really have any sort of backup plan and if they don't get this trade sorted I think they will end up having to just let Revis walk at the end of the year with no compensation or will be lucky to get a second from anyone else due to the Contract Revis wants.
As for the best trade partner for us, I think it will be the Dolphins. They have made it known recently they are looking up to land either Jockel or Fisher and where we are would be the perfect position (I don't see both going 1 & 2). We should be able to pick up their first second round pick and another later round pick. The Dolphins were also said to have been interested in Brandon Albert at one stage too for a second round pick, so moving up to our position could possibly only cost an extra mid-late rounder for a younger guy they think may be the better option.
I would also go a step further, and say that the Dolphins #12 pick would be almost perfect for the 49ers who draft Tavon Austin who they seem to have a lot of interest in. We can then pick up the 49ers first, another second plus more. Then fingers crossed, pick up DT Jesse Williams from Alabama (he is a bit of a homer pick for me...), a safety like Eric Reid or Phillip Thomas with the Dolphins second and then maybe Kyle Long (or another guy for the OL) with the 49ers second round pick.
@JackChadic I agree - that's why I went with a pass-rushing DE who is also strong against the run. Ansah overpowers OTs at the point of attack - he's spectacular at sealing the edge. As good as Dion Jordan is against the run as an OLB, Ansah is a little better in that department and offers just as much (if not more) upside as a pass rusher. Considering the Raiders look to be sticking with a base 4-3 (although they certainly will be more multiple on defense this year), Ansah is a perfect fit and will help fill a huge need. The Raiders can use him much the way the 49ers use Aldon Smith.
@RichardRamos If I need advice on stopping a runny asshole, I guess I know who to ask. Thanks, Richard.
@jazzhessian Anecdotal evidence. That would be the same as saying every BYU QB is going to be the next Steve Young. THAT would be "foolish". When you draft - you are essentially playing the odds. The odds tell us this...
The Southeastern Conference has consistently had the most NFL players. In 2007:
The SEC had 263 players on NFL rosters.
The ACC had 238 players,
Big Ten 234 players,
Pac-10 183 players,
Big 12 176 players
Big East 84 players.
Mountain West is not even on the list. Why? Because they are playing to the level of their competition. Let's take a quote from your post below...
"Ansah overpowers OTs at the point of attack - he's spectacular at sealing the edge."
Yes - but he's playing against smaller, slower guys. So he's overpowering guys who will be lucky to play in the CFL or Arena Football after they graduate - he's not playing NFL quality linemen at BYU. This is why you pick guys who are playing against the top competition at the college level. Because you get an ACCURATE assessment of their abilities. Does it mean those skills will absolutely translate to the NFL? No - because anyone could be the next McClain or Jamarcus (or Robbie Bosco or Ty Detmer or insert any other BYU player not named Steve Young here). You have much higher odds that their skills WILL translate well to the NFL if you pick a player playing in a top conference (as evidenced by the numbers posted above). The other obvious point is the SEC, ACC and PAC-10 players are playing for championships in college as well - so they are playing the best of the best along with their solid regular season schedule.
Ansah might be a decent pick - a late round 1 pickup or round 2 project you hope is a steal. He's not the #3 pick. Of course - as always - that is jmho.
@nilbymouth All excellent points and I thought the same thing about the dolphins earlier, however I couldn't help but wonder about the Jets idea. Either way I would like to see Oakland re-coup a few of the pics they've lost to ensure we start getting some younger talent on the team. The Dolphins are a viable option, I was also thinking about the Bills until they went and signed Kolb, but who knows the Bills have been making bad choices just like the Raiders have for the better part of the last 20 years so maybe they'll continue the trend and send us their pick so they can get Smith. Either way, I would say we have decent leverage to snatch up some more picks. Raider Nation for life!!!
@jazzhessianI can see your point, I think I just fear with Ansah that he might be another clone of Vernon Gholstone. I mean you and I both know that the Raiders cannot miss on this draft and I think RM and DA have a firm grasp on what they want to do and the direction they want this franchise to go. I hope you're right and I hope if they do draft him he can give an Aldon Smith type effort every Sunday. Guess we'll just wait and see. In Reggie we trust right lol?
@Indy! "Strength of opponents is one single part of the scouting equation. Using it as the determining factor is foolish. That's how teams whiff on good players." That's what I said 3 days ago. The point is, it's ONE factor. You're using it as the determining factor. You're also asserting that you heavily factor the school they come from because of "the odds" which is how no one in the NFL thinks. You scout the player - not the school. You weigh every attribute of the player. You don't rate a player highly and then say "Oh, but because he goes to ______ he only has X% chance of panning out, so we won't pick him" because that's a ludicrous thing to do. The Raiders are in no way whatsoever set at WR. Even if they were, what surefire impact player would have you drafted in the 5th round? You're seriously complaining about the Juron Criner pick? Or the results of a draft where the Raiders' first pick was at #97? Don't waste my time.
Oh so now competition IS part of the equation? You're all over the board, dude. Whatever. I explained why every draft pick is playing the odds - if you can't grasp the concept, it's because you haven't been watching the game long enough.
Reggie so far has not impressed me at all with his draft picks - he picked a freakin' WR last year - a position where we were flush when we were short on picks. Even you must understand that was a wasted pick.
Or maybe not.
@Indy! Right - key word there is "everything". Not just one thing. Level of competition one single part of a much bigger picture.
You evaluate the specific traits of the player - not the "odds".
If you don't like it, you probably won't like many of Reggie McKenzie's draft picks. Or my 7-round Raiders mock that was just posted, for that matter.
@jazzhessian Every time you draft - you're playing the odds. You're taking ALL the available info - the specific on field traits, his personality type, his background, his IQ, his competition - EVERYTHING you can find out about the guy - and betting he's going to be a keeper. Of course competition matters. If you're a QB and you're playing Cleveland every week - are your stats going to be better than if you played New England every week? Absolutely. The #3 draft pick last year was Trent Richardson who signed for around $20 mil for 4 years. That's $5 mil a year - you don't think the team looked at every possible angle before they spent that much on him - including who he played in college? Of course they did - they had probes up every orifice.
@Indy! That's not how scouting works. You don't scout the school. You're not playing the odds. You're looking at the specific traits of an actual player. Anything else is simply not legitimate analysis.
@jazzhessian @nilbymouth Nice, I like the sound of that. Good to meet some people I can have a genuine discussion with about the Raiders. Hell I've been a fan my whole life and would love to see them succeed again. Good talking with you guys and I look forward to more posts from you Jazzhessian. Good talking to you guys.
I don't think the Bills have much interest in Smith at all. I think they are more likely to try and trade down to somewhere in the 20's or move up from their second round pick back into the later part of the first round for Ryan Nassib - the Bills new coach Doug Marrone was the coach of Nassib at Syracuse. I would not be surprised at all to see Bills go either OL or Cordarrelle Patterson if they can't trade down and then re-trade into the first again for Nassib.
@JackChadic I definitely agree, but I don't see any "can't miss" prospects. Generally, I think "safe" prospects tend to be a mirage. And in the top 5, finding a solid-if-unspectacular player is, in my opinion, the same as whiffing on the pick. I'd rather the Raiders swing for the fences on an impact player. And I realize I differ from many people here, but I see a pretty high floor for Ansah.