Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Dion Jordan appear to be the three finalists for the coveted top spot, but it might take another week or so before we finally figure out which player Andy Reid plans to build around. That decision will determine the approaches that the Jaguars, Raiders and Eagles will take with the following three picks as well as much of the top 10.
While the top of the draft continues to figure itself out, the rest of the first round deals with their own draft-day dilemmas, including the Patriots at No. 29.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots only own five selections in this year’s draft, and that might mean trading out of the first round to acquire more picks is again a possibility. That strategy has benefited them in the past. Then again, they do have glaring needs at wide receiver, cornerback and on the offensive line.
There is still plenty of posturing, positioning and pondering left to do over the next three weeks, but in the mean time let’s get down to business on this week’s mock draft.
Editor’s Note: Draft order is as follows for the first round of this year’s draft.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Dion Jordan is technically in the mix, but this pick will come down to Joeckel or Eric Fisher. As has been the case for months now, Joeckel is still the better option.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
Jordan may not solve the Jags’ pass rush problems immediately, but he will add a big jolt.
Previous pick: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
After all of their offseason moves, it would be difficult to mention even one playmaker the Raiders have on defense. Floyd can change that.
Previous pick: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Chip Kelly needs an athletic offensive line to run his fast-paced offense.
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Gosder Cherilus‘ departure left some chaos on the Lions’ offensive line. Johnson would help restore order.
Previous pick: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Joe Haden is one of the league’s top five cornerbacks. Give him a running partner like Milliner and opposing quarterbacks will have nightmares about playing the Browns.
Previous pick: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
With all the tackles already gone, the Cardinals must resort to the best offensive lineman in this draft.
Previous pick: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Kevin Kolb is an upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he’s still only a stopgap on the way forward.
9. New York Jets (6-10): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Darrelle Revis appears to be on his way out, but adding Rhodes should keep their secondary in good shape.
Previous pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Titans need to improve their defense and Lotulelei might be the best defender in this draft.
Previous pick: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
11. San Diego Chargers (6-10): Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
The run on offensive linemen forces the Chargers to jump at the chance to take Cooper.
Previous pick: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
If Ansah lasts this long, the Dolphins would be foolish not to snatch him up. Here’s to hoping they’ve learned a thing or two this offseason.
Previous pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
This pick would be forfeited in a potential Revis trade, but if the Bucs do manage to hang onto it then Austin would be a no brainer.
Previous pick: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Cam Newton and the Panthers know how to run the ball — we know that. But can they stop other teams from doing it?
Previous pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Saints need help defending the pass, and rushing the passer will be a key to improvement.
Previous pick: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Both guards are gone, making wide receiver an even more obvious need for the Rams.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
James Harrison wasn’t the quickest or most athletic pass rusher, but he still managed to make a consistent impact. The Steelers will hope for more of the same from Jones.
Previous pick: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Tony Romo is locked up for quite some time. Now, the Cowboys need to protect him properly.
Previous pick: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
19. New York Giants (9-7): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
With Osi Umenyiora and Chris Canty gone, the Giants will need a few new faces in the pass rush.
Previous pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Jay Cutler is in a contract year, so the Bears will give him all the weapons necessary to prove he is the answer long term.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
Ogletree could be the best linebacker in this draft five years from now.
Previous pick: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
22. St. Louis Rams [via Washington Redskins (10-6)]: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Jeff Fisher goes offense with the first pick, but may want to address his defense with St. Louis’ second first-rounder.
Previous pick: Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse
23. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Greg Jennings gives the Vikings a consistent receiver outside the numbers. Now, all they need is a big target over the middle.
Previous pick: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The Colts aren’t good against the run. Hankins will make them better.
25. Minnesota Vikings [via Seattle Seahawks (11-5)]: Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Jones can bring the heat, which should take some pressure off of Jared Allen.
Previous pick: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
26. Green Bay Packers (12-4): Matt Elam, S, Florida
Charles Woodson is gone and the Packers need a heavy-hitting replacement to roam over the top of that secondary.
Previous pick: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
27. Houston Texans (12-4): DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
He’s big, physical and will give Matt Schaub another reliable target opposite Andre Johnson.
Previous pick: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Remember that Joe Flacco throw in the playoffs? John Fox certainly does.
Previous pick: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
The Patriots’ biggest need still lies at the wide receiver position. Hunter’s size and athleticism bring back memories of Randy Moss, which Patriots fans won’t fuss about.
Previous pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes are gone, making cornerback an area of need in Atlanta.
Previous pick: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International;
Cyprien has been darting up draft boards, and the 49ers do have a need at safety without Dashon Goldson.
Previous pick: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse
Pugh can play tackle and guard, making him a desirable swing option on the offensive line.
Previous pick: Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
*Dropped: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama; Kawann Short, DT, Purdue; Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State; Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
*Newcomers: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee; Matt Elam, S, Florida; DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson; Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International