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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where should the Chiefs go at #1? Mock Draft 1.0: Linemen rule the top 10

With free agency all but over and a few recent trades shaking up the top 10 of the 2013 NFL Draft, let's take a crack at the first round, picks 1-10. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M
After dealing their 2nd round pick for Alex Smith and adding some quality pieces in Mike DeVito and Sean Smith in free agency, the Chiefs get another anchor on the offensive line in Joeckel.  This is the smartest pick they could make at #1, protecting the quarterback and anchoring the line for years to come.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Shariff Floyd, DT Florida
Some expect the Jaguars to go with Geno Smith.  With their investment in Blaine Gabbert, the potential bust status in Smith and a lot of holes to fill on the roster, I don't see it.  Floyd is regarded by some as the best pure football player in the draft.  You don't see many defensive tackles with the speed and quickness that Floyd has.  His impressive combine and work ethic shown on tape has only made it a lock that he'll be taken in the top 5, and I expect the Jaguars, who are a bit soft up the middle, to select Floyd at #2.

3. Oakland Raiders: Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan
The Raiders could go with any player other than QB, RB, or WR and it would be considered a great pick.  They need help on the offensive line, and with the recent trade for Matt Flynn, his development will be tied to a strong line and someone who can protect his blind side for the next few seasons.  Fisher is that guy.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB Oregon
The Eagles need help everywhere.  CB Dee Milliner was considered a lock for Philly, but with the recent moves made in free agency to sure up the secondary, I expect the Eagles to take Von Miller 2.0 in Jordan.  You have to get after the quarterback in the NFC East, and Jordan can bring speed and toughness to the outside, and can cover tight ends down the field just about as well as anyone in this draft.

5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB Alabama
The Lions have one of the premiere offenses in the NFL.  The problem has always been on the other side, as they've had trouble stopping anyone the past few seasons, and have given up leads late in games.  Milliner is a true cover corner.  He may not posses the elite ball skills you'd really love to have, but everything else is off the charts.  Tough to bet against an Alabama product, and Milliner is a proven winner and will instantly help the Lions on one side of the field.  Going up against Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler twice a year makes this an easy pick for the Lions.

6. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Ansah, DE BYU
Currently, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone on the Browns that scares you on the defensive side.  Their offense improved last season but couldn't put enough wins together to push for the playoffs.  The AFC North, once known for its tough running and slug it out style, is now mostly an air game with Roethlisberger, Flacco, and Dalton chucking it up 30-40 times per game.  Ansah is a freak of nature, and although you might not see the monster season right away because of his raw ability, the Browns need to develop an attitude on the defensive line and develop a player that can change a game, and Ansah is that guy.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Chance Warmack, G Alabama
With the recent trade for Carson Palmer, the Cardinals need to beef up the offensive line to improve not only the passing game but their anemic running game last season.  Warmack is a mauler, and a classic left guard that you can trust will line up and get after it for a long time in this league.  He'll add value and start right away for a team like Arizona.

8. Buffalo Bills: Star Lotulelei, DT Utah  
This is a tough pick for the Bills.  I don't see them taking a chance on a quarterback, and you've got to build toughness on the interior, or else the Bills will continue to recycle players in and out.  Lotulelei was once considered the top prospect in the entire draft, and some still have him that high.  This is a true best player available approach for the Bills, as their more glaring needs are LB, CB, and obviously QB.  I just don't see value at these positions this high in the draft, and the Bills will be ecstatic with a guy like Star who can stuff the run and get after the passer.  It may not appease Bills fans at the draft, but the results will be plentiful and immediate if Star is the pick.

9. New York Jets: Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma
The Jets have many needs after letting what seemed like their entire roster leave for free agency this offseason.  But talent does remain, and New York would be wise to get back to what got them to the top of the AFC just a few seasons ago, smash mouth football.  Lane Johnson is a lock to line up at right tackle in game one of his rookie year.  He's that good, and he's an athletic tackle that can not only protect the passer, but get out and really make a difference in the run game.  This is not only a need pick, but could be a best player available pick for the Jets.

10. Tennessee Titans: Jonathan Cooper, G North Carolina
Cooper's stock has been rising as of late, and some consider him ahead of Warmack because of his athletic ability.  This would be an easy pick for the Titans, as they need to bulk up the offensive line to keep Jake Locker upright for his development to continue.   

So there you have it.  The offensive and defensive lines make up 8 out of the first 10 picks.  In the coming days, I'll be posting the 2nd and 3rd installments of the first round, as we get into some of the skill players and pure athletes in the draft.  

Ryan Keane

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