Since we last broke bread over Mock 5.0, NFL Free Agency went from a raging river of activity...to the slow trickle of a man with an enlarged prostate. Such is the case as free agents and interested teams play the most passive game of chicken imaginable, until one side caves. Until some names find new homes, I'll do my best to connect the dots. Let's boogie...
1.Chiefs- Luke Joeckel, OT Texas A&M
2. Jaguars- Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
3. Raiders- Star Lotulelei, DT Utah
4. Eagles- Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan
5. Lions- Dee Milliner, CB Alabama
6. Dolphins (trade with Browns)- Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma
7. Cardinals- Barkevious Mingo, OLB LSU
8. Bills- Cordarelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
Despite the fact that Branden Albert signed his franchise tender, it's highly likely that he could be part of a Draft Day trade, or in the very least, play out his tender for a year at LT while Joeckel gets his feet wet, ala Tyron Smith. In any case, the Chiefs will have their blind side protector for the next ten years in place. The Jaguars have been a compelling piece to the 1st round puzzle the last several weeks. They have made mild allegiances to Blaine Gabbert being "the guy," but I buy that with the assuredness of a fake Rolex on Canal Street. Gus Bradley knows he can solidify the Jags defense, but you need a franchise QB that is YOUR GUY, for better or worse. Geno will be his guy. The Star naysayers need to stop. Motor-schmotor! This kid can flat out wreck people, and there's no bigger impact DL in this draft. Reggie McKenzie makes the right call here with big Star. Eric Fisher's big bad self stays put in Philly, as does Dee Milliner to help anchor the improving (signed Glover Quin in FA) Lion secondary. You can scream from the mountain tops that Jonathan Martin is Jake Long's replacement at LT, but a guy that was trucked on the reg at RT all season should give Ryan Tannehill night sweats. The Phins make the right move up to snare arguably the best upside LT prospect in the draft in Lane Johnson. If Tannehill is to thrive with his new weapons on offense, Johnson will give him time to do so, kids. Bruce Arians won't reach for an OG this high, rather, he takes the BPA in Mingo and allows him to line up as a natural 3-4 OLB and get after Russ Wilson, Kaepernick and Sam Bradford. Easy call. If you could see inside the heads of Buddy Nix and Doug Marrone, I'm guessing it would closely resemble an old school game of Atari "Pong." In any case, I'm giving them a weapon at WR in the hopes that they draft their guy at QB in round 2 to compete with journeyman Tavaris Jackson. Patterson is a beast of a weapon alongside Stevie Johnson, and they'll need it if they ever expect to challenge the Pats in the AFC East.
9. Jets- Shariff Floyd, DT Florida
10. Titans- Dion Jordan, DE Oregon
11. Chargers- Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina
12. Browns- Ezekial Ansah, OLB BYU
13. Buccaneers- Xavier Rhodes, CB FSU
14. Panthers- Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
15. Saints- Tank Carradine, DE FSU
16. Rams- Chance Warmack, OG Alabama
17. Steelers- Jarvis Jones, OLB Georgia
18. Cowboys- Sheldon Richardson, DT Mizzou
The Jets have a ton of holes to fill on their roster, but are seemingly content with rolling with the "Expendables" cast at QB. So anyhoo, Rex Ryan is gifted big bad voodoo daddy, Shariff Floyd at #9 to make the loss of the underrated Mike DeVito that much easier to take. Floyd's versatility will fit like a glove alongside the young talent of Quinton Coples and Mohamed Wilkerson. He's too big of a talent to pass up, even with the addition of Antonio Garay via free agency. Super Freak Dion Jordan lands in the lap of the Titans at #10, and is reminiscent of another Titan freak, Jevon Kearse. Jordan adds a level of athleticism missing along their defensive front seven. The Chargers missed out on Lane Johnson this go round, but they get the talented Jonathan Cooper to shore up their interior OL and create huge lanes for Ryan Mathews to run through...provided he doesn't twist his ankle. The Browns played their cards right, recouping the 2nd they used for Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft, as well as future compensation. In doing so, they get their OLB in Ansah, who was high on their board to begin with. Forget Revis. He isn't going anywhere because the market isn't tipping in the Jets favor, and there are still CBs available via free agency, not to mention the very talented Xavier Rhodes staring the Bucs right in the face. Easy call for Greg Schiano. This next pick made too much sense to me, so I gave Cam Newton another weapon in the dangerous Tavon Austin. He helps out immediately as a reliable check down/explosive YAC option and will impact special teams as well. Some peg him as the best WR in the draft, so he's a steal at #14. The Saints are still looking to build up a 3-4 base for Rob Ryan, so adding a chess piece like Tank is a no brainer. He's scheme versatile and his motor is easily at the top of the class. Recovery from ACL surgery affected his stock some, so he's a great value at this part of the round. All we are saying...is give Snead a Chance...Warmack that is. Having secured Jake Long via FA to play LT, the Rams add a stud interior OL to round out a much improved group to protect Sam Bradford. Jarvis Jones continues to slip down boards after a spinal stenosis diagnosis muddied his Combine experience. He subsequently posted poor Pro Day numbers. However, Jones still produced on the field, and the tape backs up his cause. The Steelers need to get younger at LB, and Jones fills that need. Tavon Austin jumping up a few spots pushes the explosive Richardson down to #18 to Dallas. My #2 DT in the class is a gift to a Dallas team that needs playmakers on their interior DL.
19. Giants- Bjoern Werner, DE FSU
20. Bears- Arthur Brown, OLB Kansas State
21. Bengals- D.J. Fluker, OT Alabama
22. Rams (from Washington Redskins) - Kenny Vaccaro, S Texas
23. Vikings- Keenan Allen, WR Cal
24. Colts- Desmond Trufant, CB Washington
25. Vikings- (from Seattle)- Sylvester Williams, DT North Carolina
26. Packers- Jonathan Cyprien, S FIU
With Osi Umenyora likely gone in free agency, the Giants add yet another talented defensive end to their famed "NASCAR" package in Werner. Jerry Reese loves him some DEs. The Bears unceremoniously parted ways with Brian Urlacher and added D.J. Williams via free agency to fill the void at MLB. Arthur Brown helps the Bears get younger at LB and helps solidify their front seven. Andre Smith is still in free agency limbo at the moment, so it would be a "Mike Brownie" type move to not pay one Alabama OT, and replace him with a cheaper version (Fluker). The Rams addressed their cornerback position last year by adding Finnegan and Jenkins respectively. This time around they add safety help with the Texas safety Vaccaro. The Vikings traded away Percy Harvin to Seattle, but added Greg Jennings via free agency. Now they add another weapon with Keenan Allen--a big, sure handed target for Christian Ponder. Desmond Trufant stays put for Indy, and the Vikings add the high motored Sly Williams (via the Harvin/Seattle trade) to pair with Kevin Williams at DT. Jon Cyprien holds the #26 spot once again, and provides a versatile replacement for Charles Woodson.
27. Texans- DeAndre Hopkins, WR Clemson
28. Bills (trade with Broncos) Tyler Wilson, QB Arkansas
29. Patriots- Datone Jones, DE UCLA
30. Falcons- Quanterus Smith, DE
31. Niners- Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
32. Ravens- Alec Ogletree, LB Georgia
DeAndre Hopkins cements his spot as the #2 WR in Houston, and the Bills raise a few eyebrows by not moving up for a QB named Ryan Nassib or E.J. Manuel. Tyler Wilson is the forgotten man among the QB prospects in this class, and outside of Geno Smith, he's the best bet to enjoy success at the next level. Wilson's floor is Andy Dalton, and his ceiling is Matt Ryan. I'd say that's a safer bet than the QB projects that remain in this class. The Pats will likely want to trade out of the #29 pick, but if they can't find a suitor, they'd be thrilled to find a relentless pass rusher like Datone Jones this late. He's another bookend for Chandler Jones, and a rotational pass rusher with Rob Ninkovich. Surprised to see Quanterus Smith in round one? You shouldn't be. The tape doesn't lie, and Smith is a better than advertised replacement for John Abraham at DE. The Niners have 7,457 picks this year, so they can afford to take a big time target to pair with Vernon Davis and give Colin Kaepernick yet another unfair advantage on offense. Eifert does everything well, and has vice grip hands to make contested catches in traffic. Alec Ogletree rounds out round one, and gives John Harbaugh much needed help at LB after losing Ray Lewis to retirement and Danell Ellerbe to the Dolphins via free agency.
That wraps up Mock 6.0, waiting for the 2nd wave of free agency to blow this baby up...any day now (whistling)...any day now.