One of my favorite days of the year is finally here — the NFL Draft!
I’ve been a huge fan of the draft since high school. In college, I took that love and used it to create my own NFL Draft website, dabearsman.com.
My website was a success, especially during the 2000 Draft. I got a ton of hits and turned out to be pretty accurate with my predictions.
(Funny story: In 2000, Montevallo decided to have dorm raids, searching for members of the opposite sex in the resident buildings. Campus rules said no one of the opposite sex was allowed in a dorm room after midnight on weekdays.
The dorm raids were of the surprise variety, and I remember getting a knock on the door a little after 2 a.m. I answered the door and it was Barry, one of the campus police.
Barry: I’m just checking to see if you have any girls in here after hours.
Me: Barry, it’s 2 in the morning and I’m still here reading NFL Draft rumors on my computer. If I had a girl in here, I would definitely not be doing that.
Barry: (blank stare) OK, have a good night.)
Since college, I obviously haven’t had time to study the NFL Draft as much as I used to. I still enjoy reading mock drafts, though, and usually once a year, I will make one of my own.
So with the annual selection show finally here, I give you my mock draft. Note, I have predicted some trades for this mock draft. Those trades are italicized.
1. Kansas City — Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Yes, Fisher supposedly has the higher upside. However, Joeckel has proven he can go against elite talent in the SEC. That makes him the better pick for a Chiefs team that could compete for a playoff spot this year.
2. Jacksonville — Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
A pass rusher is probably a bigger need for the Jags, but you can’t pass on a franchise LT if you have a chance to get one.
3. San Diego (from Oakland) — Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
It’s going to cost the Chargers’ second round pick, but they absolutely need a left tackle. They have to jump to No. 3 because Philly and Detroit are both threats to take Johnson.
4. Philadelphia — Dee Millner, CB, Alabama
Remember, the Eagles dumped their two starting cornerbacks in the offseason. A pass rusher is still an option, but I think Millner’s physical style makes him a good fit against those big NFC East receivers.
5. Detroit — Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
I think the Lions would prefer one of the three offensive tackles, but with them off the board, they upgrade their pass rush.
6. Cleveland — Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
They probably want Millner, but Jordan would be a nice consolation prize. The Browns will probably try to trade down, but I’m not sure there is a player worth someone jump up to No. 6 for.
7. Arizona — Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
There is no talk of this coming out of Phoenix, which makes me confident it will happen. The Cardinals could wait and try to get Barkley in Round 2, but I think they decide on the top signal caller in this class.
8. Buffalo — Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
I think the Bills would prefer to trade down for Nassib, but the Jets are showing enough interest to scare them into taking him at No. 8. Still a dumb pick, though.
9. New York Jets — Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The Jets may go Tavon Austin if they think Mingo can drop to No. 13. However, it’s doubtful that would happen, so they jump on a much-needed pass rusher.
10. Tennessee — Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Having already dished out big bucks on a guard, I can’t imagine them spending a first rounder on another inside lineman. Instead, they will go for the top defensive lineman on the board. Could opt for Floyd instead.
11. Oakland (from San Diego) — Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
If the Raiders can trade down and get either Floyd or Lotulelei, they will be thrilled.
12. St. Louis (from Miami) — Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
If Austin is still available, the Rams will jump ahead of the Jets to snag him. Sam Bradford desperately needs a weapon to throw to, and Austin would be worth giving up a third rounder to snag.
13. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay) — Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
The Jets will pounce if Austin is here, otherwise they go defense. There isn’t a cornerback here to replace Revis Island, but Vaccaro would be a good fit and an instant starter. Eddie Lacy could be a sleeper pick.
14. Carolina — Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Lot of options for the Panthers, but going for the top defensive lineman available seems like the safest pick.
15. New Orleans — Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Some people are down on Jones because of his predraft workouts. Not me. The player I saw play last year is going to be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL.
16. Miami (from St. Louis) — Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Having already traded for Branden Albert to shore up left tackle, the Dolphins secure another top lineman for their quickly improving offense.
17. Pittsburgh — Cardarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Steelers try to trade up for Jarvis Jones. If Big Ben has any say with this pick, they will go for a pass catcher. If not Patterson, I could see the Steelers going with his former teammate Justin Hunter.
18. Dallas — Chance Womack, G, Alabama
The Cowboys will get their choice of Alabama linemen. Womack is the safest pick and an instant 10-year starter for the Cowboys.
19. New York Giants — D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
This seems to be a popular prediction right now. I could see the Giants trading down for someone wanting Tyler Eifert. But if not, they take the feel-good story of the draft.
20. Chicago — Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
If Eifert is still on the board, it may be too tough for the Bears to pass him up. However, with his good athleticism, Ogletree is the perfect player to replace Urlacher in the middle. Assuming he stays out of trouble…
21. Cincinnati — Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
I’d say it is a pretty good bet the Bengals would immediately run to the podium if Eifert is still on the board. Perfect compliment to take pressure off A.J. Green.
22. St. Louis (from Washington) — Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
With receiver addressed, the Rams turn towards a replacement for Steven Jackson. He’s not Trent Richardson, but Lacy will be a solid running back in the NFL.
23. Minnesota — D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
What’s the best way to apologize to Peterson for trading his good buddy Percy Harvin? Draft a monstrous lineman to run behind.
24. New England (from Indianapolis) — Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Patriots defense collapsed when Aqib Talib went down in the playoffs. Cornerback is a big enough need for the Pats to trade up and get Rhodes or Desmond Trufant.
25. Minnesota (from Seattle) — Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Minnesota is probably a good media market for Te’o to go to. Plus there is a need at linebacker, so it seems like a good fit.
26. Green Bay — Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Packers released Charles Woodson, so they have a big hole at safety. It will either be Elam or Eric Reid in this spot.
27. Houston — Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
I think Hunter or Austin or the only receivers the Texans would consider. If they are both gone, OT Menelik Watson or LB Kevin Minter will probably be the choice.
28. Denver — Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Champ Bailey ain’t getting any younger. A pass rusher is a possibility, too, but they can probably get a solid one in Round 2.
29. Indianapolis (from New England) — Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
After trading down, I expect the Colts to just go for the top defensive player on their board. That should be Williams at this point in the draft.
30. Atlanta — Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Falcons cut a lot of big names on the defense in the offseason. A pass rusher is always needed and Werner is the best one available.
31. San Francisco — Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
The 49ers have a lot of picks and not a lot of holes. That could mean they attempt to move into the teens to get someone they like. If they stay put, they will go after Hunt, who is a physical specimen.
32. Baltimore — Eric Reid, S, LSU
The Ravens would be thrilled to see Reid here, who would be a nice replacement for another Reed.
• I think the idea for the new Jaguars helmet was good, but the execution failed a bit.
• Conference commissioners decided on “College Football Playoff” as its new name for the…college football playoff. Higher education at its finest.
• The Syrian Army has certainly been causing havoc on Twitter, hacking several high-profile accounts. The latest was the AP account, which tweeted there was an explosion at the White House, and President Obama was injured.
The craziest thing about that tweet: This was the stock market reaction following the news. Thankful, the AP was quick to respond and the account was temporarily suspended.
• This may be one of the funniest baseball videos you will ever see: Watch out first base coach!
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!