NFL Mock Draft 2013

Keke Mingo

It’s important to understand that the NFL draft is impossible to predict. Plugging players to teams and draft slots in mock drafts is about as accurate as “pin the tail on the donkey.” They are all blind shots in the dark. It’s senseless to hope that you get every pick correct. Although it would be nice to get more picks slotted correctly than the “big 3” (draft analysts Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Mike Mayock) again this year, my MAIN GOAL of this mock is to provide readers with everything they need to know about each team, in terms of their situation, needs, philosophy and potential prospects, in order to MINIMIZE THE SURPRISES.

The less surprises that occur in the draft after you read this, the better I did my job.

I hope the countless hours and sleepless nights I put into analyzing team needs, philosophies and salary cap situations, as well as scouting, film study and researching everything I could to uncover rumors from reliable sources inside league circles, helps prepare you for the first round of tonight’s draft. If not… I enjoyed the ride.

All right. Game on:

1. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Fisher (LT – Cent. Mich)

-Team Needs: T, ILB, DE, G

-EXPLANATION: From what I understand, even though the Chiefs just franchised LT Branden Albert, he supposedly has back problems. The Chiefs don’t view him as their franchise left tackle, often suggesting he can kick it inside to left guard. He doesn’t want to play LG or LT, so he’s likely getting traded to Miami. After cutting RT Eric Winston, all indications are that the Chiefs are going with a blindside protector with the first pick. Andy Reid has a history of drafting o-line early, and Fisher is one of the premier players in this draft.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: Reportedly, the Chiefs scouts prefer Luke Joeckel, while the coaches want Fisher. This is a common occurrence, but generally coaches get their way.

-ALTERNATIVES: Luke Joeckel

2. Jacksonville Jaguars –Luke Joeckel (LT – Texas AM) 

-Team Needs: CB, QB, RT, DE, SS, G, OLB

EXPLANATION: I think the Jags will be very tempted to take Dion Jordan or Geno Smith here. The organization has very little confidence, if any, in Blaine Gabbert. The old regime drafted him, and everyone in the front office has been fired since. However, I think Jacksonville would be wise to take a signal caller later, and allow him to compete with Gabbert, developing him for the future. After recording 20 sacks last season (no player had more than 3.5), the team is desperate for pass rushers. Jordan immediately fills the “LEO” role for new head coach Gus Bradley, an important element in his 4-3 “over” defensive scheme he’s bringing over from Seattle features a strong weak-side rusher. Conventional wisdom says that Jaguars have so many holes, including a major one at right tackle, they will go BPA. This pick makes a lot more sense when you consider that LT Eugine Monroe is in a contract year, and the new GMs tend to take safe picks for job security (that way, their job isn’t tied to one risky player). This is a big reason why GM Dave Caldwell may go with the safer bet.

WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Jaguars have narrowed down the pick to Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah and the two top tackles, but the team wants to trade down more than anything. Seeing as the Raiders also want to move down, it’s difficult to imagine the Jags can make a trade happen.

-ALTERNATIVES: Dion Jordan, Geno Smith

3. Oakland Raiders – Dion Jordan (OLB – Oregon) 

-Team Needs: DT, QB, T, TE, CB

EXPLANATION: The Raiders lost DE/DT Desmond Bryant, DE Matt Shaughnessy, DT Tommy Kelly and DT Richard Seymour in free agency, so this severely depleted the defensive line. Geno Smith was an option here, and Matt Flynn is not the franchise QB some desperate Raiders fans may think, but I think they’ll ride him for a year or two. For now, they need to continue their complete overhaul of the roster by fixing the trenches. Shariff Floyd is the consensus pick here, and it certainly makes sense, but I think it may be too difficult to pass on a player like Dion Jordan. The Raiders recorded just 25 sacks a season ago, and all but 5.5 of those sacks were notched by players who are no longer on the roster. Jordan is the best pass rusher in the draft, and he would give the team a much-needed playmaker on defense.

WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Raiders are high on DTs Shariff Floyd and Star Lotulelei, but it’s more likely than not that the Raiders trade down with a team like the Browns, who could be targeting a pass rusher. So for the purposes of my mock (in order to have chance to get the pick right with the team OR by the draft slot), mocking Jordan here makes sense for me. But don’t be surprised Cleveland moves up, and if so, the SLEEPER to remember here is Barkevious Mingo. The Raiders could move more than a few spots and still get Shariff Floyd if they choose. The team is also very interested in moving back into the teens to acquire CB DJ Hayden. There are also rumors circulating that if the Raiders can’t trade back, they’ll just take Hayden at 3 overall. The team is desperate for a cornerback. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Shariff Floyd, Trade Down, Star Lotulelei

4. Philadelphia Eagles – Lane Johnson (LT – OK)

-Team Needs: DE, NT, CB, T, RG

-EXPLANATION: In somewhat of a surprise, I think Chip Kelly will push aside his defense and QB issues to grab a player who is all-upside. Michael Vick is 33 years old, and Nick Foles was drafted by Andy Reid to fit his particular west coast offense. New head coaches like get “their guy” at QB, and with the new trend of mobile quarterbacks, Geno Smith could be the guy to run Kelly’s read-based, spread variation offense. But I think he’ll prefer EJ Manuel in round 2 or 3. The defensive line needs work. They are weak at DE and NT. Star Lotulelei is a top 10 pick, and he could start from day one at nose tackle or DE for the Eagles. But I don’t think Chip Kelly will be able to pass on Johnson, knowing that Jason Peters missed all of last season and is 31. Peters reportedly looks good in practice, but Johnson can play RT immediately, shifting Todd Herremans to right guard, thus upgrading two positions on what would be a very improved o-line.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Eagles are reportedly targeting a tackle for their first round pick. If none are available, they want to move down. The team is also high on Star Lotulelei. Geno Smith is really no longer an option, as the team has shown a ton of interest in EJ Manuel for round 2. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, Trade Down, Star Lotulelei

5. Detroit Lions – Ziggy Ansah (DE – BYU)

-Team Needs: T, DE, OLB, CB

EXPLANATION: We’re looking at a defensive end or an offensive tackle here. The Lions’ offensive line played well last season despite Stafford and the receivers’ struggles. But the unit has lost its starting LT, RT and RG this offseason. Last year’s first round pick, Reilly Reiff, is not ready to protect Stafford’s blindside for 600 drop backs next year, and the team views him as a RG in my opinion. Protecting Stafford is a MUST, but if the three tackles are off the board, the Lions have no choice; look for the them to draft a pass rusher after losing DE Cliff Avril. Seeing as Jim Schwartz coached the senior bowl, and Ansah dominated in the game (after struggling in practices), I think the Lions take a huge gamble here. Ansah plays a lot better when lined up out wide, which is perfect for Detroit’s wide-9 scheme. The Lions’ were 29th in sacks last season, and they can’t afford that in a division with Aaron Rodgers and the new pass-happy Bears.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: It’s been relatively quiet on the Lions’ front. I’ve heard they like Ansah’s upside but they’d prefer a tackle. Dion Jordan could fall into their laps. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Lane Johnson, Dion Jordan

6. Cleveland Browns – Geno Smith (QB – WVU) 

-Team Needs: QB, CB, FS, ILB, OLB

EXPLANATION: The Browns are also a team on the rise, and they’ll surprise some people next season if they can get good QB play. The team didn’t choose to resign CB Sheldon Brown, so corner is a weakness here. Dee Milliner has openly expressed he would love to play for the Browns. OLB is an option here here, as I’ve heard the team doesn’t view Jabaal Sheard as a 3-4 fit. The team just spent $40 million on OLB Paul Kruger, defensive coordinator Ray Horton is great at developing creative ways of getting to the quarterback. The Browns could absolutely trade back into the first round (or trade down with a tackle-needy teams who may want to move up for Lane Johnson) to acquire a quarterback of the future, but I don’t think the new regime wastes any time doing that with Smith on the board. I expect the Browns to trade down a few spots at most, and either Milliner or Smith will be there for them. It’s important to note that new GM Mike Lombardi has a history of taking QBs early, and Mike Mayock (who is best friends with Lombardi) mocked Smith here. However, he conceded that the owner will have the final say on the pick.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: Rumors are spreading that the Browns are on the move. The team is trying to move into the top 3 to draft a pass rusher. From what I understand, they are interested in Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan and Ziggy Ansah…in that order. If they move up, the pick is most likely Mingo or Jordan. They are about even on Cleveland’s board. If not, the Browns could look to trade back to target Smith if he slides. The Browns have a top-10 grade on Dee Milliner, but he’s more of a fall-back option.

-ALTERNATIVES: Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah, Trade Down, Dee Milliner

7. Arizona Cardinals – Star Lotulelei (DT – Utah)

-Team Needs: LT, OLB, S, RG, ILB

-EXPLANATION: I think the Cardinals have enough faith in LT Levi Brown, who they just signed to an extension, and RT Bobbie Massie who finished strongly last season, that they won’t break the bank to trade up for Lane Johnson. However, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t run to the podium if he’s available at seven. I don’t think he will be. Newly acquired Carson Palmer still has a little left in the tank, but he is one of the most immobile QBs in the NFL, and the Bruce Arians-led Cardinals are expected to be pass-happy because of Arians’ history and the lack of running game. These are all indications that o-line is a priority. It’s important to understand that head coach Bruce Arians has a history of favoring power-blocking maulers, and the team may think guard is a bigger need than tackle. Chance Warmack or Jon Cooper are options. But I don’t think they want to take a guard this high. New defensive coordinator Todd Bowles apparently doesn’t view starter Dan Williams as a premier NT, and Lotulelei could give the team a versatile pass-rushing presence on the interior line. A player like Star is necessary in a physical ground-and-pound NFC West. Another alternative is Barkevious Mingo, if he makes it here, as the Cards are light on pass rushers. The team needs a tight end as well, and Bruce Arians drafted Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener early last year.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Cardinals feel confident enough in their tackles that they won’t reach for Lane Johnson. The team thinks guard is more of a weakness. The Cardinals are high on Jon Cooper. And they have shown Star Lotulelei a lot of interest throughout the draft process, but many believe he’s a fallback option.

-ALTERNATIVES: Lane Johnson, Barkevious Mingo, Chance Warmack, Jon Cooper, Tyler Eifert

8. Buffalo Bills –  Tavon Austin (WR – WVU)

-Team Needs: WR, MLB, LG, QB

EXPLANATION: I’m told the Bills are interested in Geno Smith, but don’t necessarily want to trade up for him. While many insiders are saying that Buffalo is extremely high on QB Ryan Nassib (head coach Doug Marrone’s QB at Syracuse), Terry Smith figures this could also be a perfect smokescreen. Either way, the Bills have openly acknowledged that they desperately need a franchise QB, so I don’t think they will waste any time getting one. I expect them to trade back into the first round to acquire Matt Barkley or Ryan Nassib. However, don’t be surprised if they pull the trigger at 8 overall. Ideally, they would utilize this pick on Tavon Austin, as I don’t think it’s smart dealing this pick because they can get one of those two QBs later. Plugging Austin in an NFL offense is similar to using a queen in chess. It’ll be difficult to account for CJ Spiller and Austin on the field at the same time. A pass rushing OLB is a secondary option, but it doesn’t look like the best three options will fall to Buffalo.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: One rumor today revealed Tavon Austin is the number 1 player on the Bills’ board. It probably isn’t true, but the team is certainly interested. Although guard is a need, I’ve been told not to expect the Bills to take a guard at 8 overall. Don’t be surprised if the Bills reach for Ryan Nassib, or even Matt Barkley here. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, Barkevious Mingo, Trade Down

9. New York Jets – Jonathan Cooper (OG – UNC) 

-Team Needs: QB, OLB, S, WR

EXPLANATION: Rex Ryan is desperate for pass rushers and releasing OLBs Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas, and they better hope this raw prospect (whether it’s Ziggy Ansah or Keke Mingo or Jarvis Jones) isn’t Vernon Golston version 2.0. In my opinion, the Jets can wait until 13 to address the pass rush, because Jarvis Jones should be on the board at the very least, and the team is high on him. The Jets are said to be high on Tavon Austin, but I have the Bills stealing him, and Jermey Kerley’s emergence makes that a little confusing. Rex Ryan loves to pound the rock, but he hasn’t had a legitimate running game since the Jets were actually good four years ago. The team lost both starting guards in free agency, and Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore were good players. Willie Colon and Vladimir Ducasse are not the answers there. Cooper is.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: A lot of information has been leaked about the Jets. The team is high on OLB Cornelius Washington (a second rounder), TE Zach Ertz (second rounder), and DT Sylvester Williams. The Jets are supposedly in love with Tavon Austin, and they are smitten with Barkevious Mingo. In fact, Mingo could very well be the pick here. But Jarvis Jones is very high on the Jets’ board as well, so they could wait on pass rusher until they pick again at 13. Dee Milliner is a fallback option, but he’s ranked in the top-10 overall on the team’s board. The team is expected to address the QB position (but in the second round), and sources say they are high on Ryan Nassib and Geno Smith. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Barkevious Mingo, Tavon Austin, Jarvis Jones, Dee Milliner

10. Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack (OG – Bama)

-Team Needs: RG, DE, CB, MLB

The Titans already upgraded the team’s guard position by signing LG Andy Levitre to a MASSIVE contract. But he’s a LG and former o-lineman, head coach Mike Munchak has said someone on this team needs to guard JJ Watt twice a year. This could be an indication that Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper are legitimate options this early. The team loves Cooper, but he was stolen by the Jets one pick ago. Seeing as the Titans actually have few weaknesses on the roster, but just need a talent-influx (and a new QB), I the Titans could go BPA here. DTs Star Lotulelei and Shariff Floyd may be available. The Titans have solid DTs already on paper, but when you consider the Titans defensive line ranked 29th in run defense (Football Outsiders), and they play in a division with MJD and Arian Foster, it makes sense. The Titans were also burnt a lot in the secondary, and CB Alterraun Verner is a free agent in 2014, making Dee Milliner an option. But I expect them to go guard. Warmack could be the mauler the Titans are looking for to get CJ2K going again. One of the other reasons I think this pick will be offense, is because if Locker and Chris Johnson don’t succeed, the front office will likely be fired next offseason. This pick will likely come down to Warmack and DJ Fluker. 

WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Titans’ head coach Mike Munchak is extremely high on Jon Cooper. He’ll be the pick if available. If not, the team still looks like they are going to address the o-line in the first round. There have been a ton of reports linking the Titans to DJ Fluker. Dee Milliner has been named a fallback option. The DTs are the BPAs. 

ALTERNATIVES: Jonathan Cooper, Chance Warmack, Dee Milliner, Star Lotulelei, Shariff Floyd

11. San Diego Chargers – DJ Fluker (OT – Bama)

-Team Needs: LT, G, CB, OLB, ILB, SS

EXPLANATION: The Chargers have quite a few needs, but the main concern here is getting Philip Rivers back to his successful ways. The Chargers lost both guards in free agency, as well as their left tackle (the big loss being RG Louis Vasquez to Denver). Jon Cooper is a workout warrior who is athletic enough to play in the new zone-blocking scheme the Chargers are slowly implementing. This makes him a better fit than Chance Warmack. But the Chargers have to take what they can get. If the Chargers want any chance of competing, they have to protect Rivers.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The team loves DJ Fluker, and they are also high on Chance Warmack and Jon Cooper, more so on the latter. 

-ALTERNATIVES: DJ Fluker, Jonathan Cooper

12. Miami Dolphins – Tyler Eifert (TE – ND)

-Team Needs: T, CB, DE, G

-EXPLANATION: Dustin Keller is a stop-gap option on a 1-year contract. This offseason has been about getting Ryan Tannehill weapons. A guy like Tyler Eifert will help keep double teams off WR Mike Wallace. Since trading up for Lane Johnson is too pricey, and the cornerbacks are deep in this year’s class, the Dolphins can afford to wait on those needs.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Dolphins want to use this pick on an offensive tackle. They would love for DJ Fluker to fall to them. Dee Milliner is certainly an option. The team has also shown interest in Kenny Vaccaro and Tyler Eifert.

-ALTERNATIVES: Lane Johnson (trade up), DJ Fluker, Dee Milliner

13. New York Jets –  Barkevious Mingo (OLB – LSU)

-Team Needs: QB, OLB, S, WR

-EXPLANATION: New York desperately needs a pass rusher after releasing OLBs Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. Rex Ryan has not had a talent like Mingo before, and he’ll dial creative blitzes to allow Mingo to wreak havoc. If Mingo isn’t there, Jarvis Jones is likely the pick. Either way, a solid pass rusher will help alleviate the loss of Darrelle Revis.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: There are a lot of reports circulating that the Jets will draft Jarvis Jones if they do not select Mingo at 9 overall. The team loves Tavon Austin and has a top-10 grade on Dee Milliner, after losing Darrelle Revis. Rex Ryan was the only head coach at DJ Hayden’s Pro Day.

-ALTERNATIVES: Jarvis Jones, Dee Milliner, DJ Hayden

14. Carolina Panthers – Shariff Floyd (DT – Florida)

-Team Needs: DT, SS, RT, CB

-EXPLANATION: The Panthers’ run defense has been a sieve for years now. Floyd is a perfect fit at the 3-technique that will help Luke Kuechly get to ball carriers.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Panthers had narrowed down the choice to Xavier Rhodes and Sheldon Richardson. Both remain in play, but guys like Floyd and Star Lotulelei are high on their board. The Panthers have also shown interest in Tyler Eifert. 

-ALTERNATIVES:

15. New Orleans Saints – Xavier Rhodes (CB – FSU)

-Team Needs: LT, S, OLB, CB, DL

-EXPLANATION: There’s a lot of buzz that Carolina is extremely high on Xavier Rhodes, so this may not have a chance to happen. A pass rusher like Jarvis Jones or Tank Carradine could work here. They’ll be off some teams’ boards completely because of injury concerns, but they’ll also be top-10 on some. I think the Saints will be tempted. Left tackle is unquestionably a bigger need than OLB. The Saints’ franchise is Drew Brees, and you have to protect your franchise. Sean Payton knows this. The Saints are too pass-happy and Brees-relient to leave the position unaddressed. This is why the vacant LT spot on the depth chart reportedly keeps Payton up at night. There aren’t really any LTs in free agency, so unless there is a supreme talent on the board, I expect the Saints to trade down in attempt to acquire the second round pick we lost because of the bounty punishments. From what I’ve heard, the Saints are eyeing OLB Jamie Collins, and he’s rated extremely high on their board, but he’s a second rounder, and the Saints don’t have one, which makes me think a move-down is even more likely. It also makes me think that pass rusher isn’t the main priority. Rob Ryan has tried to revamp the cornerback position since he’s been here, placing an emphasis on physical bump-and-run style corners. He got Keenan Lewis, but he wasn’t satisfied after that, as he continued to pursue Nnamdi Asomugha hard despite the little cap room available. The team has soured on Patrick Robinson, and Jabari Greer’s play has declined. In a division with WRs Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steve Smith, you can never have enough corners. Xavier Rhodes and DJ Hayden are legitimate options here, and both would fit the team well. But it’s going to be awfully difficult to pass on guys like Tank Carradine (who I want the Saints to pick) and Jarvis Jones.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The team LOVES Jamie Collins but would likely need a second round pick to take him. We were at Tank Carradine and Xavier Rhodes’ pro day and have shown interest in both. Joe Vitt is on record talking about how effective Jarvis Jones can be. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Tank Carradine, DJ Hayden, Jarvis Jones, Kenny Vaccaro, TRADE DOWN, Jamie Collins

16. St. Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro (FS – Texas)

-Team Needs: S, SLB, WR, LG, DT

-EXPLANATION: After letting WR Danny Amendola walk in free agency, the Rams could use a pass catcher to help Brian Quick and Chris Givens get separation. Many people think the Rams also need a running back after Steven Jackson departed to Atlanta. However, the Rams believe in their younger running backs and receivers more than the general public does. They should spend one of their two first round picks on a receiver. The team is reportedly high on Tavon Austin and DeAndre Hopkins. But knowing that Austin is gone, and the safety-needy Cowboys, Bengals and Bears pick in between their next two picks, I think the Rams will grab the top-rated safety on their board sooner than later.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The team likes Tavon Austin and DeAndre Hopkins. They’d have to trade up to get Austin, but I don’t see them pulling the trigger even though they have two first rounders. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Tavon Austin

17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarvis Jones (OLB – UGA)

-Team Needs: OLB, RB, ILB, NT, WR

-EXPLANATION: The Steelers are desperate for a running back. The organization always seems to look for power-backs.Eddie Lacy could start from day one in a physical AFC North, as Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer can help shoulder the load on third down. Lacy may be the logical choice here, but I don’t think the Steelers are going that direction. This year’s RB class is actually very deep; they can get a back in the second round. PFF ranked the Steelers 32nd in pass rush last season as a team. The Steelers’ pass rush was atrocious last season, and that was WITH James Harrison. I find it truly difficult to fathom that Dick LeBeau, Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be addressing that ASAP. And with a guy like Jones on the board, the Steelers could be charged for robbery if he can stay healthy.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Steelers have shown a lot of interest in Tank Carradine and Jarvis Jones, which makes me think they are going pass rusher here. Other than that, the Steelers have been relatively quiet.

-ALTERNATIVES: Tank Carradine, Tyler Eifert

18. Dallas Cowboys –  Sylvester Williams (DT – UNC)

-Team Needs: S, G, WR, T, DT

-EXPLANATION: The Cowboys absolutely want Kenny Vaccaro or Chance Warmack to fall here, but that likely won’t happen. The team is switching to a 4-3 defense and needs pieces to plug in. With the loss of Kenyon Coleman, and Jay Ratliff getting up there in age, Williams is a perfect 3-technique for the Cowboys to build around.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Cowboys love Williams, Jon Cooper and Chance Warmack 

-ALTERNATIVES:

19. New York Giants – Menelik Watson (RT – FSU) 

-Team Needs: MLB, OLB, DE, RT, CB

-EXPLANATION: The Giants are desperate for athleticism at linebacker, but the G-Men historically don’t draft LBs high, and there are too many red flags among the top ILB prospects. Watson fills a need and can be plugged in at RT immediately, and would be perfect for the Giants’ system.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: Menelik Watson, Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner all remain in play here according to many New York insiders. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Bjoern Werner, Tank Carradine, Manti Teo

20. Chicago Bears – Manti Teo (MLB – ND)

-Team Needs: MLB, C/G, FS

-EXPLANATION: I’ve been bumping the table for Arthur Brown for this pick. I think he’s very underrated. I get a hunch he’s higher on most draft boards than the media knows at this point, and the Bears could absolutely use a middle linebacker to start the new era without Brian Urlacher. After watching and studying a lot of film cut-ups on the ILB class, Brown is by far my favorite of the group. But it appears the Bears’ would rather Manti Teo stay close to home. He fits a need, and he could start immediately as a 2-down mike. Upgrading the safety position could be a possibility, but they can do that later. Even though the team signed Martellus Bennett, they are looking for a long-term solution at TE.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: The Bears have been quiet on all fronts. They’ve shown interest in Tyler Eifert, but the only real thing I know is that they love Manti Teo. 

-ALTERNATIVES: Arthur Brown, Alec Ogletree, Tyler Eifert

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Jonathan Cyprien (SS – FIU)

-Team Needs: RT, RB, SS, MLB, CB

-EXPLANATION: With Reggie Nelson commanding one safety spot, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has a large hole at the other. Taylor Mays is not the answer, and Chris Crocker is a free agent. The Bengals need a hard-hitter in a physical AFC North division. However, the safety class is deep. I have a hard time envisioning the Bengals passing up a talent like Eddie Lacy. Lacy is powerful, athletic and deceptive fast for his bruising size. He’s a perfect fit for the Bengals, as even though the Bengals are a run-first team, BenJarvus Green-Ellis is clearly not a featured back, as he struggled last year despite solid o-line play. However, the Bengals may be smart to address the RB need in round 2, as this year’s RB class is deep. Safety is the most pressing need.

-WHAT I’VE HEARD: I’m hearing the Bengals are high on Cyprien and LSU’s Eric Reid. It’s worth noting that I assume the Bengals will be able to resign RT Andre Smith. If not, DJ Fluker is an option. The team is reportedly high on Eddie Lacy and Alec Ogletree. Most recently, they’ve spent a lot of time with Cyprien and DJ Hayden.

-ALTERNATIVES: Eric Reid, Eddie Lacy, Alec Ogletree, DJ Hayden

22. St. Louis Rams – DeAndre Hopkins (WR – Clem)

-Team Needs: S, SLB, WR, LG, DT

23. Minnesota Vikings – Desmond Trufant (CB – Wash)

-Team Needs: MLB, WR, G, QB, CB

24. Indianapolis Colts – Tank Carradine (OLB – FSU)

-Team Needs: DL, CB, G/C, OLB

25. Minnesota Vikings – Cordarrelle Patterson (WR – TEN)

-Team Needs: MLB, WR, G, QB, CB

26. Green Bay Packers – Justin Pugh (G/T)

-Team Needs: RB, DE, TE, T

27. Houston Texans – Keenan Allen (WR – Cal)

-Team Needs: ILB, WR, OLB, FS

28. Denver Broncos – Jonathan Franklin (RB – UCLA)

-Team Needs: DE, MLB, RB, SS

29. New England Patriots – Jamar Taylor (CB – Boise St) 

-Team Needs: DE, WR, G, CB

30. Atlanta Falcons – Sheldon Richardson (DT – Missou) 

-Team Needs: DE, CB, MLB, TE, RT

31. San Francisco 49ers – Eric Reid (FS – LSU)

-Team Needs: FS, NT, LB

32. Baltimore Ravens – Kevin Minter (ILB – LSU) 

-Team Needs: WR, SS, LT, ILB

*Photo Credit: KFFL


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