However, if you have read this far, you need to remember one important thing about mock drafts. With so much time to go in between now and the draft, these are done for entertainment purposes only. They are fun for fans to think about the possibilities that could unfold on draft day.
Things will surely get switched around once the free agency period starts up and then cools off. Once that does, I'll post another mock draft. Until we get within a week or two of the draft, however, mock drafts should always be taken with a grain of salt.
If you've made it this far, you get a virtual high-five. I won't delay you any longer. On to the picks.
1) - OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
- The cutting of Eric Winston all but assured the pick would be a tackle. The bigger question, can Eric Fisher take over Joeckel for first pick honors?
2) - CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
- With Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis both gone, the Jaguars need a cornerback badly.
3) - DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
4) - DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
5) (via DET) - QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
- With Milliner off the board, there's no true 4-3 defensive end to take for the Lions. So they find trade partners in the Jets who move up ahead of quarterback alley (Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo) to secure Geno Smith. They give up their 3rd round pick and their 4th round pick in 2014 to do so.
6) - DE/OLB Ziggy Ansah, BYU
7) - OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
- The Cardinals are tempted to go quarterback here, but their offensive line was a mess. No quarterback is going to succeed in Arizona without being protected. If Fisher and Joeckel are both gone, the odds of it being a quarterback are high.
8) - WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
- In need of another playmaker at the wide receiver position, the Buffalo Bills use their first pick on a player that could turn in to an All-Pro with the right coaching. When Cordarrelle Patterson gets the ball in his hands and in the open-field, watch out. For his size (6-foot-2, 216-pounds) Patterson has great speed and has tremendous field vision. He's a threat to run reverses, he's even thrown a pass at the college level. A player with this much raw talent doesn't last too long, even though he has only the one season at Tennessee. If the Bills take him, Patterson will work with receivers coach Ike Hilliard intensively, and try to learn the NFL from his old Rock Hill, South Carolina pal Stephon Gilmore.
9) (via NYJ) - CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
- The Lions move down and grab the second best cornerback, with eyes on a defensive end later on.
10) - OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
11) - OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
12) - OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
13) (via TB) - OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
- With the Steelers outside linebackers in flux, they move up a few spots to grab Jarvis Jones and hope he can take over for James Harrison.
14) - DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
15) - OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
- If he lasts this long, the Saints will be ecstatic. Especially considering their switch to the 3-4 as well as the college ties.
16) - WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
17) (via PIT) - CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
18) - DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
19) - LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
20) (via CHI) - DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State
- Needing to refill the defensive ends on the team, the Falcons move up to bring in Werner. He's one of the best true 4-3 defensive end prospects in this draft.
21) - LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
22) (via STL) - WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
- If Matt Schaub is going to succeed in Houston, he needs another target to go along with Andre Johnson. Hopkins could be a stud in the NFL.
23) - DT Kawann Short, Purdue
24) - DE/OLB Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
25) - WR Keenan Allen, Cal
26) - S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
27) (via STL, through HOU) - OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
- In need of a right tackle, Jacksonville doesn't wait and trades up to get the mammoth Fluker. St. Louis trades down after missing out on Vaccaro.
28) - DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
29) (via NE) - DE Datone Jones, UCLA
- Here's that defensive end they're looking for. The Lions will be stressing defense this year. Moving down earlier afforded them the opportunity to move back in to the first round. Meanwhile New England does what they always do, move down and rack up picks for next year.
30) (via ATL) - TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
- Ten picks later, the Bears can still get their guy at tight end.
31) - DE/DT Jonathan Hankins, Ohio State
32) - ILB Kevin Minter, LSU
33) (via JAX) - S Matt Elam, Florida
34) (via SF, through KC) - QB Matt Barkley, USC
- The Bills trade up seven spots, giving up their 41st overall pick and their third round pick in 2014 to get ahead of Philadelphia and Arizona to get their quarterback. Think of the overall fit with the incoming offense. Nathaniel Hackett's play-calling is heavily influenced by both West Coast philosophies and the K-Gun. Barkley, possessing a much better arm than most give him credit for, is said to be a perfect fit for an offense that uses a lot of West Coast principles. He's shown leadership qualities, he's gone through adversity and he's put up big numbers after starting four straight seasons at one of the toughest programs in college football. I also can see the Bills using a 4th or 5th round pick, in addition to Barkley, on a running quarterback that can give them some read-option versatility (Matt Scott comes to mind).
Some people will argue this pick for a few reasons, so let's dispel them, shall we? 1) "All USC quarterbacks are busts!" Stop with the ignorance. Every quarterback prospect is different. They have different skill sets and different personalities that lead them to varying results in the NFL. Oh, yeah, and Carson Palmer was not a bust. 2) "The last thing the Bills need is another California quarterback. They need someone to play in the cold!" Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Andy Dalton. Four 'warm-weather' quarterbacks from their youth that play, and thrive in the cold regularly. 3) "He doesn't have the arm to play in Buffalo!" I asked Buddy Nix about that, and he said he believes he does. Besides, how many games with bad weather conditions are there in a season? One or two? An overstated argument. I'm not saying this will definitely happen, but those that think Barkley is being discounted from the conversation are sadly mistaken.
35) - QB E.J. Manuel, Florida State
36) (via DET) - CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State
37) - HB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
38) - QB Mike Glennon, NC State
- With Fisher in the first round, the Cardinals conceivably have the offensive tackle to protect Glennon's blindside.
39) - LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
- In need of an inside linebacker the Jets draft Te'o, making every reporter of the team groan for getting this year's version of Tim Tebow. Oh yeah, Tebow is still on their roster, too.
40) - DE Alex Okafor, Texas
41) (via BUF) - TE Zach Ertz, Stanford