If you know me, you'd know I despise Kiper & McShay, and the garbage that they promote. In my eyes, they have a very simplistic view of the draft and analyze at a very basic level. Additionally, they tend to play things safe, and think all teams think in the same way that they do.
The following is a mock draft that goes outside the bounds of Kiper & McShay's logic. This is a very unordinary draft in which you will see some things that may surprise you. In my view, it is extraordinary in alternative analysis, though far from perfection.
Enough wasting time...
1. KC - Geno Smith, QB, WVU
Most mocks have KC taking Luke Joeckel, and for good reason. Joeckel is an incredible prospect and safe(r) option. However, I have KC taking Geno here. Although Joeckel is a safe pick, I think Geno makes just as much, if not more sense.
Let's not kid ourselves: Alex Smith is merely a stopgap, not the QB of the future. New coach=new QB and Reid will need to get his guy for the long term. Although there are some flaws in Geno Smith, this is the best opportunity to get one. Make no mistake, although Geno is not RGIII or Luck, he is a very good QB prospect that is deserving of the number one pick. Although the draft community isn't very high on Geno, many teams are, including the ones that pick immediately after KC.
Reid spurns the safe Joeckel here in a surprise move to get his QB of the future. He already has a fine LT anyways. QB is the bigger priority, and Geno is a near-perfect fit for what Reid likes to do with the passing game.
2. JAC - Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Jacksonville is purportedly between two prospects. My best guess is that one is Geno and the other is likely Dion Jordan. It could be that the two are Fisher and Jordan, but I think the new coach, GM, and owner would like to get a new QB in there.
The Jags have shown a lot of interest in Dion Jordan, meeting with him twice. New coach Gus Bradley comes from a defensive background and is eager to shape the Jacksonville D in his image. Jordan gives him that ability because he is ultra-versatile and would fit the creative style of Bradley. I can't see them passing on Jordan. I don't think that they could resist it.
3. OAK - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Most have Sharrif Floyd going to Oakland.
With Geno off the boards, Oak-town needs a defensive game-changer. Although Floyd fits the bill, he is very raw, and Lotulelei arguably fits better in Oakland. Or at least, that's what I hear from Oakland.
4. PHI -EJ Manuel, QB, FSU
Here's a shocker! I've had Manuel going in the first round for a while now. It should be no surprise. He's 6-foot-5, has a howitzer for an arm, had a great season that rivaled Geno's, and performed very well at both the Combine and Senior Bowl. Of course, he will need some time to develop, but draft pundits have engaged in a lengthy campaign to belittle a guy who looks very promising.
Philly takes EJ Manuel because he is one-of-a-kind and a perfect fit for Chip Kelly. Because of the reasons I've already stated, Manuel is perhaps the most unique can't miss QB prospect in this draft. Moreover, he has already played in both a pro-style and hurry-up offense, and would fit nicely under Chip Kelly's inventive system, whatever that may be.
5. DET - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
The Lions select Fisher because they desperately need a LT that can keep Stafford on his feet. They could take Joeckel here, but Fisher might fit better. Moreover, they've been able to keep tabs on Fisher, being that he played in Detroit's backyard.
6. MIA (TRADE w/ CLE) - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Miami trades up and lucks out here, nabbing Joeckel. For those that think that there is no way that Joeckel could fall this far, please recall that the same thing was thought about assured future Pro-Bowler Matt Kalil last year. He didn't end up going until 4. So, it's not so much a stretch as one might think.
7. ARI - Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Yes, Arizona nabbed Palmer. But like Alex Smith, he's not a long term guy. Disregard what the pundits say about Barkley. He is the real deal. The only downside in Barkley is his arm-strength, which is fine.
8. BUF -Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
This is an obvious choice for the Bills, who need a QB, and since Doug Marrone is Nassib's college coach. Nassib has visited with the Bills, and barring Geno or Barkley being here, I think the Bills take a flier on Nassib. Maybe not the best value here, but the Bills tend to give away their draft beforehand. And they've pretty heavily hinted that they are taking a QB in the first, come hell-or-highwater.
9. NYJ - Giovanni Bernard, RB, UNC
Here's my shocker in the draft. Perhaps I'm way off, but there's a shocker in each draft. Tyson Alualu was one. Bruce Irvin was the shocker last year. If I had to put my money on it, I'd put it on Gio Bernard going earlier than expected. Here me out before writing me off, and I'll tell you my thinking, which I believe is rational and well-reasoned
Most have written off this RB class as lesser, with Lacy as the top guy. But there are some quality backs in this class. And while Lacy is a good RB prospect, he looked so good in part because of the dominant Alabama O-line. It's honestly not too hard to look good against Manti T'eo and his girlfriend.
Bernard, in my view, parallels CJ Spiller in many ways. Like Spiller, he's a compact and muscled up runner with great agility. Most see the only downside in Bernard as his size and an inability to run through the tackles. But Spiller wasn't much bigger. Neither is DeAngelo Williams or Ray Rice. But yet Spiller, Williams, Rice and other smaller backs have been fine in the NFL. Moreover, Bernard has performed well in both the UNC pro-style offense under Butch Davis and the spread offense under Larry Fedora. He has proved adept at both running through the inside lanes and taking outside in both schemes. In my view, I see him in the same prism that I see CJ Spiller, and I don't think selecting him near where Spiller was selected is such a stretch.
In all honesty, why Bernard is not more of a household name is beyond me. Beyond Tavon Austin, Bernard is perhaps one of the most electric game changers in the draft. That is exactly what the Jets need too.
The Jets need some kind of spark for an offense that has dulled. And Rex is no doubt looking for a top tier RB to restart the ‘ground and pound' running game that Sanchez and the offense flourished under. Some may contend that Bernard is too small for the Jets, but he is almost the same size as former Jet RB LaDainian Tomlinson. And in many ways, he reminds me of LT, being small, muscled-up, and shifty. The Jets could also take Mingo, who they are reportedly high on, but Rexy has done fine with scheming his defense with what he has at his disposal. Bernard is an offensive game changer, and that is what the Jets need. If Rexy doesn't fix this offense, it will sputter in 2013 and spell his demise. Thus, fixing it is a priority, and Bernard would instantly transform the offense.
10. TEN - Demarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Titans could go in a lot of directions here. But Milliner is a pretty good value here, and fits the Tennessee D. He has just visited the Titans, so it's safe to say that he's on their list.
11. SD - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
SD would be ecstatic in this scenario. Getting an LT is a no brainer and Johnson is the last of the three that can really play LT at the next level. Their only other option is to sign Bryant McKinnie to be their LT, which isn't desirable although he performed well in the postseason.
12. CLE (TRADE w/ MIA) - Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
New HC Rob Chudzinski is an offensive minded fellow. Ideally, he'd get his QB, but there really isn't one here worth taking. They could go WR, but they already have Josh Gordon and Greg Little, who look promising. So they take an integral, but necessary piece in Warmack, who will round out a stellar O-line and pave big holes for Richardson. I think it will pay big dividends.
13. TB - Tavon Austin, WR, WVU
The Bucs are reportedly ‘in love' with Austin and Rhodes. This kind of direct overtures seems incredibly odd for the Bucs, but I can't disagree with it. Moreover, I am inclined to disbelieve any news like this within two weeks of the draft.
Despite my disbelief in this propaganda, I picked Austin for the Bucks because he will be a top commodity in the 2013 draft. Although the Bucs desperately need new corners, the draft is deep in corners, and one can be taken in the subsequent round. A player like Austin, who is electric, won't be found later. Easy choice to help Freeman, who has somewhat struggled recently.
14. CAR - Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Carolina under Gettleman will self-professedly follow a BPA strategy. In this situation, Carolina lucks out here in getting a player they probably didn't think would fall and fits a big need.
Although Floyd has talents that rival any in the draft, he is exceptionally raw being so young and only having one real year of experience at DT. Also, the teams above 14 probably have bigger needs, predominately at QB and OT. This explains Floyd's fall.
As for Floyd, I like to describe him as the DT version of Julius Peppers. He's insanely athletic, agile, quick as a jackrabbit, and strong as an ox. I'd also compare him to a stronger version of Nick Fairley.
The Panthers desperately need a DT. Floyd has also been in for a visit which tells me that they are definitely interested. If he's there, I think they pick him. If not, they likely go WR. Fortunately, it's an easy decision.
15. NO - Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
The N'awlins 34 D needs some bite. Mingo will be the centerpeice for Rob Ryan's new D.
16. STL - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
St. Louis needs to add weapons for Bradford, we all know the story here. Quick and other WRs have not impressed yet. Amendola also left for greener and Brady-er pastures. So, they take Patterson, who have recently met with the Tennessee WR.
17. PIT - Ezekiel Ansah, OLB,
Although he could fit as a 43 DE, I think Ansah's best fit is as a standup 34 OLB.
The Steelers have had some issues creating pressure lately. Woodley has seemingly fallen off the side of a cliff. And Harrison, who also struggled this past year, was released. Jason Worilds looks promising, and is a guy who I liked in the draft a few years ago. But if the Steelers could get such a value in Ansah and peg this hole in their defense, it would be a no-brainer!
18. DAL - Jonathan Cooper, OG UNC
The Dallas line needs some help and Cooper is a god-send.
19. NYG - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Mizzou
Richardson is a nice fit for NYG, who let starting DT Chris Canty go.
20. CHI - Manti Te'o, MLB, Notre Dame
He's no Urlacher, but T'eo will be a decent successor.
21. CIN - Kenny Vaccaro
The Bengals could use some help at Safety. Vaccaro and Elam have recently visited Cincy. But Vaccaro is a pretty good value here, so I would expect them to go with him.
22. STL • from WAS - Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The talent at the top of this running back class falls off after Bernard and Lacy. The Rams select Lacy, who is very much a powerful bruiser in the mold of Steven Jackson, to replace the departed. Lacy is also a guy that the Rams have targeted, being that he recently visited.
23. MIN - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Put Hopkins next to Jennings, and the Minnesota offense may be even more dangerous that it was last season. He also just visited Minny to check out the weather.
24. IND - Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama
Here's a stout anchor for their 34.
25. MIN (Trade w/ SEA) - Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU
26. GB - Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
I've heard the Pack are high on Kawann Short. They need a DE after Jerel Worthy did relatively little.
27. HOU - DJ Hayden, CB, Houston
Houston is purportedly very high on DJ Hayden, who is rapidly ascending draft boards.
28. DEN - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
The Broncs luck out when Trufant, a stud CB, is here at 28. Easy selection.
29. NE - Jonathan Cyprien, SS, Florida International
NE needs some leadership and punch in the defensive backfield, which Cyprien brings.
30. ATL - Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU
Although the Falcons added Umenyiora, they could still use some pass rushers. Werner is a heck of a value here.
31. SF - Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Justin Smith is getting injured and old. SF could use a stuffer up front.
32. BAL -Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
Starting C Birk departed after the SB run, and Baltimore now needs a Center badly. They could go Barrett Jones here, but I have them with Frederick because I think he would be a good fit. Frederick isn't the most athletic, but he is a tough-nosed blue-collar workhorse that would really be liked by mighty mouse Ray Rice.
1. JAC - Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
Justin Pugh was recently seen around the Jags stadium. They could use some help keeping Blame Gabbert upright. This isn't a terrible get, being that they passed on Fisher.
2. SF (TRADE w/ KC) - Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss
Like the AJ Jenkins pick, this pick is also more obscure. But Collins is a legit player. He'd be a nice fit besides Willis, Bowman, and Aldon Smith. The 49ers have done a lot in the offseason to remedy offensive woes, so they lean defense here.
3. PHI - Jarvis Jones, OLB, UGA
Kelly loves to get creative, and Jones would enable him to draw up some stuff on Defense.
4. DET - Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
After taking a LT, they snatch perhaps the most complete DE in the draft. For a team that has had some bad drafts , this isn't bad Detroit.
5. CIN - (from OAK) -Alec Ogletree, LB, UGA
Cincy is very high on Ogletree and would likely pull the trigger on him at this juncture despite the character concerns.
6. ARI - Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
Although they didn't get an OT, Warford will help their O line.
7. NYJ - Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
The NYJ have little at TE, and Ertz would be a good fit.
8. TEN - DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Titans could use an upgrade at RT.
9. BUF - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
I would give Buffalo Keenan Allen here, but there are a lot of concerns about his knee, which explains why he keeps falling. Allen has not visited to my knowledge, but Justin Hunter has. So I give the Bills Hunter here, who many are very high on. Some even consider Hunter to be the top WR in the class.
10. CLE (TRADE w/ MIA) - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Although missing out on Milliner, they nab Banks in the second to go next to Haden.
11. TB - Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
This could easily be a CB. But Montgomery is too much value to pass up.
12. CAR - Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Easy choice for the Panthers, who are very high on Keenan Allen. They'd take him in the first if they could, but Floyd was there.
Allen has fallen off the map lately. First, there were the ensuing concerns about Allen after his pro-day, which some see as lackluster. Secondly, there is some gossip about Allen's drug test. In any regard, this is approximately the same selection in which Anquan Boldin went, so I think this is appropriate.
Like I've alluded to, Allen is very reminiscent of Anquan Boldin. He also reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald a bit. He's not a speedy WR, but he is a strong, big bodied WR who will make the contested catches. Despite not having tremendous acceleration, he has impressive agility and enough speed to get downfield.
For the Panthers, this would be a nice fit. Smith could move to the slot, which has voiced a strong desire to play. And Allen could take over the X while LaFell mans the Y. The Panthers have been search for a complement to Smith, now turned into a search for successor ends with Allen.
13. SD - Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Antonio Gates is getting pretty long in the tooth, not to mention the injuries he is amassing. At this point, Eifert is too good of a value to pass up.
14. STL - Matt Elam, SS, Florida
The Rams nabbed a WR and RB in the first, and now add some punch to their secondary. Elam may be diminutive, but hits like a freight train.
15. DAL - Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio St.
This is pretty darn good value here for the Boys. Big Hanks is going to be a great anchor for the new Dallas 43 D.
16. PIT - Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
Bell is a Steelers-type RB: a big, powerful brusier. The Steelers FO had a private workout with Bell, so it's safe to say that they like him.
17. NYG - Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers
The Giants could use a top MLB, something they haven't had for a while. They've worked out T'eo, so they are definitely in the market. Greene is one of the best players available, and would be a good fit here.
18. CHI - Kyle Long, OT/OG, Oregon
Da Bears need help all over that line of theirs. Long could be an answer at OT, or he could just be a guard. Who knows?
19. WAS - Phillip Thomas, FS, Fresno St.
The Skins desperately need a FS and had Thomas in for a workout.
20. MIN - Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
The Williams wall is breaking down and this new Williams would be a good patch.
21. CIN - Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
The Bengals could use a new center, and Jones is a good value.
22. MIA - from IND - Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise St.
23. GB - Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
The Pack need a runner and Taylor is decent, despite his slow 40.
24. SEA- Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Even though the Hawks traded away their first, they get lucky when Jones, a first round talent is here.
25. HOU - Robert Woods, WR, USC
Finally, a running mate for Andre Johnson.
26. DEN - DaMontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Denver could use another pass rusher now that Dumervil left for greener pastures. Moore, a descending prospect, is a good value here.
27. NE - Tank Carradine, DE, FSU
The Patriots have gaping holes all over, especially at WR. Carradine, who has visited NE recently, may be too good to pass up.
28. ATL - Darius Slay, CB, Miss St.
The Falcons need some help at DB, and Slay is emerging.
29. SF - DJ Swearinger, S, South Carolina
Goldson is gone and Swearinger seems like a typical SF pick.
30. BAL - Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
The Ravens need a good possession WR after Boldin was traded.