The NFL season is now officially over and with the Ravens parading around Baltimore with their Lombardi Trophy hoisted high above, the entire league’s attention now turns to the offseason.
With all of the college all-star games now behind us and the NFL combine still two weeks off, projections for the NFL Draft can stand pretty still. So, before jumping into the madness of this week’s mock draft, let’s take a look at one player that can really jump off the page — and over defenders.
The biggest revelation this week was just how good Cordarelle Patterson could really be. I was never very high on him early on, as one year of Division I football isn’t enough to evaluate, but he is as physically gifted a receiver as they come.
Patterson is 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and has the speed and skills to be a consistent threat in any offense. He has the ability to be an improved version of former Chiefs, and soon-to-be free agent wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe, just given his size and all his attributes. It could take a few years for Patterson to develop into a legitimate No. 1 option, but in the right system with a good quarterback that progression might see a bit of a boost.
Anyhow, enough salivating for now, let’s take a look at the tape and see which prospects have impressed and who has disappointed of late.
Editor’s Note: Draft order based on current NFL standings through Championship Week of NFL season. Tied records are divided arbitrarily.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-14): Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Geno Smith could establish himself as worthy of the No. 1 pick, but for now Joeckel still seems like the safe and smart bet for KC.
Previous pick: Joeckel
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Jaguars have lots of holes to fill, but finishing dead last in sacks is a glaring problem. Moore brings some stability to the pass rush and looks like the answer for many years to come.
Previous pick: Moore
3. Oakland Raiders (4-12): Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Oakland could use someone to pair outside of Richard Seymour up front and Werner might be just the difference maker that defense needs.
Previous pick: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-12): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei is the best player in this draft on a lot of boards. Even though Philly is pretty well established up front, this kid has the makings of an impact player.
Previous pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
5. Detroit Lions (4-12): Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley make a formidable pair up the middle for the Lions. Jones would make a terrific addition on the outside and finally add some life to this stagnant pass rush.
Previous pick: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11): Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Browns boasted a better than advertised defense in 2012. Add a rusher with the capability of Mingo and you could see an even bigger improvement next year.
Previous pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
7. Arizona Cardinals (5-11): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Kevin Kolb isn’t the answer in Arizona. Neither is John Skelton, Ryan Lindley or even Brian Hoyer — although he looked good at season’s end. So, Smith is the logical pick here.
Previous pick: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
8. Buffalo Bills (6-10): Alec Ogletree, MLB, Georgia
Manti Te’o gets the most press — for reasons both good and bad — of the linebackers in this draft, but Ogletree might have the most upside of them all.
Previous pick: Ogletree
9. New York Jets (6-10): Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
Veteran guard Brandon Moore is set to hit the free agent market, and the Jets could use a reliable line in front of Mark Sanchez or whoever they decide to start under center next season.
Previous pick: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
10. Tennessee Titans (6-10): Shelden Richardson, DT, Missouri
Gregg Williams should enjoy working this mammoth of a run stopper on defense.
Previous pick: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
11. San Diego Chargers (6-10): Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Philip Rivers needs to be upright in order to complete passes. So, Fisher seems like the choice here.
Previous pick: Fisher
12. Miami Dolphins (7-9): Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Kennan Allen was the pick previously, but Patterson just has too much to offer — skills, height, speed — to pass up. Ryan Tannehill is salivating at the thought.
Previous pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9): Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Milliner is the best cornerback in this draft and Tampa desperately needs secondary help. This would be a steal if he drops this far.
Previous pick: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
14. Carolina Panthers (7-9): Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
Hankins has the size to anchor the middle of a defense. The Panthers need a big body up front, so this seems like a perfect marriage.
Previous pick: Hankins
15. New Orleans Saints (7-9): Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Rob Ryan will have some things in store to improve this defense. But first things first, the secondary needs help.
Previous pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
16. St. Louis Rams (7-8-1): Keenan Allen, WR, California
Sam Bradford should be calling Jeff Fisher every day, and twice on Sunday, begging for some help. Allen will save Bradford’s career and Fisher more on his phone bill than if he switched to Vonage.
Previous pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8): Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
Casey Hampton is getting old. Floyd may be the new Shariff in town — bad puns, I know, I’ll stop now.
Previous pick: Shelden Richardson, DT, Missouri
18. Dallas Cowboys (8-8): Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne give the Cowboys a good base for their secondary. Add in Vaccaro and suddenly this becomes one of the most dangerous units in football.
Previous pick: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
19. New York Giants (9-7): Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Osi Umenyiora won’t be back next season, now will Chris Canty. So, defensive end seems like a logical need and Jordan would be a great fit.
Previous pick: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
20. Chicago Bears (10-6): Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Jay Cutler needs help on the offensive line, but he could also use a reliable tight end. Enter, Eifert.
Previous pick: Eifert
21. St. Louis Rams [via Washington Redskins (10-6)]: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Bradford was sacked far too many times in 2012, and the addition of Cooper should help cut down on that going forward.
Previous pick: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennesse
22. Minnesota Vikings (10-6): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennesse
Christian Ponder still has a chance to be a quality starting quarterback, but first he’ll need some players to throw to and Hunter is just the big target he’s been looking for.
Previous pick: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
23. Cincinnati Bengals (10-6): Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma –
Andy Dalton needs protection up front, and Johnson is the best option left on the board.
Previous pick: Johnson
24. Indianapolis Colts (11-5): Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Dwight Freeney might not be returning to Indy next season as he tests the free agent market, and Ansah’s sensational Senior Bowl should make him a likely replacement for the reliable veteran.
Previous Pick: Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
25. Seattle Seahawks (11-5): Jonathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
The Seahawks’ run defense was stout all season, but there’s no room to coast. Inserting Jenkins into that mix will only help bolster that unit, and he’s the best player on the board at this point.
Previous pick: Jenkins
26. Green Bay Packers (12-4): Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame
Te’o was a fringe top-10 pick and he still could be, but with so many lingering questions he may slip. The Packers won’t let him pass by.
Previous pick: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
27. Houston Texans (12-4): Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Matt Schaub will be the guy in Houston for at least another season, but Barkley could be the future of the franchise.
Previous pick: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
28. Denver Broncos (13-3): Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
The secondary was exposed in the postseason, but the run defense was the big problem during the year. So, Williams would be a fantastic choice here.
Previous pick: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
29. New England Patriots (12-4): Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Patriots need help on the corners and Rhodes is the most physical cover corner they could get in this draft.
Previous pick: Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
30. Atlanta Falcons (13-3): Alex Okafor, DE, Texas;
The Falcons will need a replacement for Tony Gonzalez, but free agency might be the answer. So, filling the void off the edge should be a priority.
Previous pick: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
31. San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1): Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor
Michael Crabtree is Colin Kaepernick‘s only reliable receiver. Terrence Williams would make that two and add a big, physical presence on the outside.
Previous pick: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
32. Baltimore Ravens (10-6): D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Bryant McKinnie doesn’t look likely to be back on Joe Flacco‘s blind side in 2012, so the Ravens will need to find a replacement — and quick.
Previous pick: Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame
Dropped: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington; Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU; Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
Newcomers: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas; Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor; Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
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