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    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
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  • Mock Draft 2.0 (#1-#16)



    As hard as it is to believe, we're already halfway through the 2012 season. For some teams, that means buckling down and preparing for the second half as the push to secure a spot in the postseason begins. For other teams and their fans, it means evaluating the players currently on your team *cough*MikeShanahan*cough* and looking forward to 2013. And what better way to look ahead to the next season than a mock draft? The draft order this time around is exactly as it would be if the Draft were to be held tomorrow. The order is determined by win-loss record with ties being broken by strength of schedule. This section will cover picks #1-#16.

    1) Kansas City Chiefs - QB - Geno Smith - West Virginia: What started out being hailed as one of the deepest quarterback classes in recent memory may now also be the deepest quarterback class to not contain a clear #1 overall pick. However, there is no need more glaring for the Chiefs than quarterback, and thus Geno Smith becomes the first player selected. I'm still not fully buying into Smith and don't think he's good enough to be the top pick, especially with some of the recent struggles he's had, but I can't ignore the writing on the wall. As much as I may want to.

    2) Jacksonville Jaguars - DT - Star Lotulelei - Utah: Terrance Knighton is a decent enough starter at defensive tackle, but Tyson Alualu is a sieve and the Jaguars could desperately use an upgrade. Lotulelei would provide that instantly with his blend of unique athleticism and power. It could be tempting for the Jags to use this pick on a quarterback if they find themselves this high up in the order yet again.

    3) Cleveland Browns - LB - Jarvis Jones - Georgia: I've gone on record saying that if I had to pick one player from this Draft, I would personally select Jarvis Jones. I think he's the best prospect in the nation and only by bad fortune with the first two teams picking does he not end up as one of the first two picks. Jones would however immediately boost a suspect linebacking corps in Cleveland, and give them a bona fide pass-rushing fiend at the same time. Don't be surprised if Jones reminds a lot of people in his rookie season of Von Miller.

    4) Carolina Panthers - DT - Johnathan Hankins - Ohio State: Whereas Jacksonville at least has Terrance Knighton manning the middle, the Panthers can't boast any competent defensive tackles on their roster right now. This has been a glaring hole for Carolina for years now, and it's about time they finally get it addressed properly. Hankins is every bit of the intimidating force Lotulelei is, so this is about as good of a consolation prize you can get if you're the new Panthers general manager.

    5) St. Louis Rams* - OT - Luke Joeckel - Texas A&M: Using the pick acquired from Washington in the RG3 trade, the Rams can make a serious investment in revamping their ghastly offensive line. Joeckel has been stellar all year long, and has firmly established himself as the top offensive tackle in this class. With a quarterback who has had health concerns like Sam Bradford has in the past, getting someone like Joeckel to protect his blindside could do wonders for his career, and subsequently for the Rams.

    6) Tennessee Titans - G - Chance Warmack - Alabama: Everybody knows that I was as big of a fan of David DeCastro last April as anybody else. Well, there's a Chance that Warmack might just be even better. This is still pretty high for Warmack and quite a bit of a reach, but the other options at this spot really aren't really players that Tennessee needs right now. Their two guard spots need to be upgraded though, and this is the best solution available.

    7) Cincinnati Bengals - LB - Manti Te'o - Notre Dame: Heisman! A defensive player who might win the Heisman! Te'o surprised many when he returned to South Bend for his senior season, but so far I doubt he has any regrets about it. He's significantly improved his draft stock and is poised to cash in come April. He's even put his name firmly in the conversation to be the first defensive player to win the Heisman since Charles Woodson did it in 1997.

    8) New Orleans Saints - CB - Dee Milliner - Alabama: You really could just throw a dart to determine which area of the defense the Saints most need to address. New Orleans has invested several picks into corners the past few years, but to little effectiveness. Patrick Robinson is struggling mightily in his first full year as a starter, Johnny Patrick can't get on the field, and Corey White was a fifth-round pick this past April who has started four games this year. You can guess how that's worked out. Hopefully Milliner would be the first step to repairing a defense that looks beyond broken.

    9) Buffalo Bills - QB - Matt Barkley - USC: Barkley has been a bit disappointing this year after entering 2012 as the presumptive top prospect in all the land. He's not in any danger of falling out of the first round by any means, but he has dropped down to somewhere in this vicinity. As it turns out, Ryan Fitzpatrick is exactly who we thought he was; not very good. With the contract Buffalo gave him, they have the option of letting Barkley sit for a year on the bench behind him to learn the finer points.

    10) Oakland Raiders - LB - Barkevious Mingo - LSU: Oakland is in dire need of a legitimate pass-rushing threat. Kamerion Wimbley packed up and took his talents to Nashville, leaving the Raiders high and dry. Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy are both defensive ends more geared towards defending the run, and while Richard Seymour is still giving them consistently strong play, he's not getting any younger at age 33. Mingo can come in on day one and nicely compliment Rolando McClain and Philip Wheeler as the weakside linebacker, and continues the trend of primarily 4-3 teams looking to find the next pass-rushing phenom in the mold of Von Miller.

    11) St. Louis Rams - OT - Jake Matthews - Texas A&M: This is probably a little bit too high for Matthews, son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, but it makes sense for the Rams to pick up both of the highly touted Aggie bookends on the offensive line. Plugging in Joeckel and Matthews at both offensive tackle spots, along with the return of Scott Wells at center and the continued solid play of Harvey Dahl at guard, would go a tremendously long way to overhauling the porous line the Rams are currently trotting out every Sunday.

    12) Philadelphia Eagles - DE - Bjoern Werner - Florida State: The Eagles find themselves in a really rough spot here. Ideally they would trade out of this pick, seeing as how their biggest needs are in the secondary and linebacking corps, but since I am not including any trading in here, why not make the scariest part of your team even scarier? Adding Werner to a defensive end rotation that already includes Trent Cole, Jason Babin, and Brandon Graham would give the Eagles four fearsome pass-rushers not too dissimilar to their divisional rivals, the New York Giants.

    13) New York Jets - LB - Sam Montgomery - LSU: It's going to be very tempting for the Jets to make a move for Barkley or even Geno Smith if they haven't figured out their quarterback situation by this point. It's also feasible that they reach for someone like Tyler Bray if they feel like they have to. But the most glaring weakness I've noticed when watching the Jets this year is that all of their linebackers are suddenly old and/or slow. Rex Ryan's defense has been able to cover up that previously, as well as the fact that the team doesn't really have a premier pass-rusher. But all of that has been exposed this season, and Sam Montgomery would be able to provide an answer to each of those problems.

    14) Dallas Cowboys - WR - Keenan Allen - California: I think it's safe to say that the Cowboys are at a crucial point with their often beleaguered wide receiver, Dez Bryant. Is the value he's producing on the field worth dealing with his constant headache inducing problems off of it? Personally, I don't think so. Which is why I feel the Cowboys would be best served moving on from Bryant and drafting his replacement in the form of Golden Bear star, Keenan Allen. Allen may be done for the season after suffering a knee injury in his last game, (on an onside kick attempt!!) but it is a PCL sprain and won't impact his athleticism or tremendous ability as a downfield receiver.

    15) Arizona Cardinals - OT - Taylor Lewan - Michigan: Well...it's hard to really see the need to explain this one. Taylor Lewan looks like a pretty good left tackle, not of the same caliber as former Wolverine Jake Long, but still a solid first round pick who can man the blindside for years to come. D'Anthony Batiste and Bobby Massie? Not so much.

    16) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DT - Kawann Short - Purdue: I'm beating the drum hard for Kawann Short, and that's typically not my style. Short has the label of being a streaky performer who doesn't always play hard, and I would say that coming into this season, it was a fair way to look at him. But this season I've seen a monster in the middle of the defensive line for the Boilermakers who is constantly creating chaos and havoc for opposing offense. It looks like Short has finally put it all together and dedicated himself to being great, and that should be represented by being selected somewhere in this area come next April.

    Picks 17-32 coming tomorrow. Stay tuned!

    Comments 23 Comments
    1. vancemeek's Avatar
      I've been as hard on our LB unit as anybody in the world, but a unit of Burfict, Te'o, and Howard would be sweet.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      would be mighty happy with Te'o, though I don't think they ultimately end up picking that high.
    1. Docta's Avatar
      Don't be surprised if Jones reminds a lot of people in his rookie season of Von Miller.
      Wha? Miller's explosiveness is on another level. Other than Bama and A&M, the SEC has some pretty unremarkable OL. The sack #'s are pretty meaningless.

      And he'll drop once teams find out about his spinal stenosis. One neck injury and he's pretty much done, but his career's going to be shortened even if he doesn't suffer an injury.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      watched a bunch of jones the other day. He's a very good prospect but while watching one of my first thoughts was "he's not nearly as good a prospect as von miller"
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Love it, nice to see this while we still have games in which to watch these guys.

      Surprised you didn't label o-line as an Eagles need. It's been a source of their offensive problems, including Vick's erratic play.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      He's even put his name firmly in the conversation to be the first defensive player to win the Heisman since Charles Woodson did it in 1997.
      And the only pure defensive player to win it. At this point, all it will take is a small fade from K State for Te'o to leap to the front of the pack. I think ultimately he'll end up being selected higher than Jarvis Jones.

      Geno Smith is interesting, and there's a 102% chance that KC will have the #1 pick and select a QB. We don't have an Andrew Luck nor an RGIII in this year's class. Heck, we may not have a Ryan Tannehill. But while Barkley has been a bit disappointing, I think that he's a much safer prospect than Smith, and would guess that he ultimately ends up back at the top of the heap.

      This potentially vaunted QB seems to be fading fast. The big question is, who's #3? Is it Landry Jones? Aaron Murray? Tyler Bray? How does Collin Klein fit into the mix?

      Mingo would be a very interesting pick in Oakland, but I'll go out on a limb and say the star pass rusher from this class will end up being Bjoern Werner.
    1. Docta's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      This potentially vaunted QB seems to be fading fast. The big question is, who's #3? Is it Landry Jones? Aaron Murray? Tyler Bray? How does Collin Klein fit into the mix?
      #3 is easily Tyler Wilson IMO. #4 is the real toss up.

      If Klein stays at QB, he could be a late round pick (But if Tebow could be a first rounder, anything could happen.). If he can convert to TE, he might even be valued higher. His mechanics are Tebow-esque.

      Also, Bray's making a big mistake if he declares. It's never a good thing when your coach threatens to bench you in the middle of the season. He might impress at the combine if he throws beer bottles instead of footballs.
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      Seems like there's too many line backers in this list, especially considering all 3 of the guys projected in the top 10 are going to teams that run a 4-3. Teams that run 4-3's don't value backers as high.

      Also can't see the rams using 2 picks on tackles. That just seems wrong to give a floundering qb {help} by giving him two rookie tackles.

      Dead on though with the chiefs and bills taking the top 2 qbs. I'd agree with the choice of geno to kc. Barkley isn't a sure thing, and smith has a much higher ceiling.

      I'm still in shock you put smith at #1 kaba.
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Love it, nice to see this while we still have games in which to watch these guys.

      Surprised you didn't label o-line as an Eagles need. It's been a source of their offensive problems, including Vick's erratic play.
      The reason I didn't mention offensive line as a big need for Philly is that next year they will be returning Jason Peters and have Jason Kelce for a full season. Adding them to Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans would actually give the Eagles a pretty respectable unit.
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Geno Smith is interesting, and there's a 102% chance that KC will have the #1 pick and select a QB. We don't have an Andrew Luck nor an RGIII in this year's class. Heck, we may not have a Ryan Tannehill. But while Barkley has been a bit disappointing, I think that he's a much safer prospect than Smith, and would guess that he ultimately ends up back at the top of the heap.

      This potentially vaunted QB seems to be fading fast. The big question is, who's #3? Is it Landry Jones? Aaron Murray? Tyler Bray? How does Collin Klein fit into the mix?

      Mingo would be a very interesting pick in Oakland, but I'll go out on a limb and say the star pass rusher from this class will end up being Bjoern Werner.
      I fully agree with you that Barkley is the safer prospect than Smith is, and I would rather select Barkley if I had my druthers. But ultimately I couldn't ignore every other scout and analyst that I really respect placing Smith in front.

      As for who the #3 quarterback in the class is, I personally think it's still Tyler Wilson. Although Bray isn't too far behind. After that it's really anybody's guess. I wouldn't be surprised if by the time all the dust settles, guys like Aaron Murray and Landry Jones haven't fallen behind Zac Dysert and Ryan Nassib. Klein will definitely be drafted, the question is just where and how the team plans to use him. But he's too talented to go undrafted. Somebody will grab him in the last couple rounds.

      And it's actually funny you say that about Werner, as I actually had him as the pick for Oakland when I first sat down to do this version. When I looked back over it though, I ended up going with Mingo. I have them both rated about pretty equally though.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mikesteelnation1 View Post
      Seems like there's too many line backers in this list, especially considering all 3 of the guys projected in the top 10 are going to teams that run a 4-3. Teams that run 4-3's don't value backers as high.

      Of the 4 LB's listed, 3 of them would be 3-4 backers in the NFL, and personally I don't think Montgomery will be a LB in the pros.


      From what I've seen, its shaping up to be a very good LB class.
    1. tubbs1518's Avatar
      Looks good. I'd love to see Cincy grab Te'o. We need a leader in the middle of our defense.

      I also think Smith will go 1st. I think a lot of teams look at QBs coming out of USC much like they used to QBs from Tedferd. Look at the last few QBs to come out of USC, no really great pro QBs. I personally don't think Barkley will have a starting job in 3 years. More of a Matt Leinart career.

      I see Jones being every bit as good of a prospect as Miller. He is absolutely unbelievable. I would say his coverage ability is ahead of where Millers was coming out too.

      Far, far too high for an OG to go. The Titans will probably take a defensive player. A CB or LB if I had to guess.

      I also don't see STL taking 2 OT. 1 makes sense, but I see them taking a WR or something on defense with the other pick.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      how do you figure Jones is good in coverage? I won't profess to have seen all of his games, but I watched 5 of his games the other day and he dropped into coverage a grand total of 5 times in those 5 games.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Just for the record, again: I want the Bears to shore up the OL. Still, I would not be sad if they mortgaged the first few rounds for Te'o. Dude would be as beloved as Zorich and will help with the pain of Urlacher walking away next year when he just doesn't have it anymore.
    1. tubbs1518's Avatar
      I didn't say he had "good" coverage skills, but from what I've seen from both in college, Jones will have better coverage coming out. He is just a big play machine. I'd take him #1 overall over anyone else in this draft.
    1. biggittyb's Avatar
      You have the Cowboys picking another receiver? No way that happens unless Bryant or Austin is traded or released.
    1. Docta's Avatar
      Even though Mingo's projected to be a LB, he can still play with his hand in the ground. It's his primary position at LSU. The Raiders need a pass rush desperately, so I don't really think they shoul pass on one just because they're labeled as a 3-4 LB. Most teams use both 43 and 34 fronts anyway.

      Agree with Bengals in that Montgomery won't be a LB. Seems too stiff. I personally like Moore more (pun intended).

      @biggity: You can never have too many WRs. Look at the Packers. Their line would be better if they would just move Tyron back to RT, and the defense has been great.
    1. Curtis's Avatar
      The Eagles need to grab Chance Warmack or Barrett Jones. Or both. Drafting DE or DT is a waste. There are 6 DE's on the roster and 4 DT's, but they do need to unload Jason "Blabin". I don't like that fool. Maybe look at a LB if there is a good one on the board.

      They need to unload Nnamdi "pain in the" Asomugha and look at some corners. Safety needs help too.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Evan, do you think the Browns could fall in love with the idea of Hankins and Taylor next to each other?
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      big Damontre Moore fan.