National Football League

Top 10 Mock Draft

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

The Chiefs are actually a pretty good team. They have terrific pass rushers in Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Derrick Johnson is a Pro Bowl player at inside linebacker and is joined by former Eagle Akeem Jordan. The secondary has been fortified, the three-man line is serviceable, and the special teams are good. Skill position talent is strong with Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, Jon Baldwin and Dexter McCluster. They have new quarterbacks in Alex Smith and Chase Daniel. All they need is an offensive line. Joeckel is more plug-and-play-ready than Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, having been groomed by longtime NFL offensive line coach Mike Sherman with the Aggies. The Chiefs can play him at left tackle from day one for the next 10 years. They can also get an extra second-round pick from Miami for their old LT, Brandon Albert.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon

While the Rams tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks last season, the Jaguars were last with 20. Jacksonville did nothing to address the pass rush in free agency, so Jordan fits a huge need. People may say there’s no way they take him at No. 2 because he’s 6-6, 248. But as defensive coordinator in Seattle, new Jags coach Gus Bradley had the 254-pound Chris Clemons and last year utilized 248-pound rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin as a pass rusher. Jordan is logical here. They have lots of needs, but he’s the best player/fit combination.

3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

The Raiders have needs across the board. Right now, their depth chart features nine defensive starters who are 2013 unrestricted free agents. Floyd is the best player on the board here and fits a need, because their current 3-technique tackle is Vance Walker. They could go a lot of directions, but Floyd makes sense here.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Nothing against Bradley Fletcher, but the Eagles have him listed as a starter right now. They have to count on Fletch getting hurt, or burned. Milliner is a great prospect who shores up an area of need with the departure of Asante Samuel last year, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to Denver and  Nnamdi Asomugha to San Francisco this off-season.

5. Detroit Lions: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

The easiest and most logical pick so far. Detroit’s veteran left tackle, Jeff Backus, retired, and although they’ve used several recent No. 1 picks on tackles (Riley Reiff last year, the departed Godster Cherilus in 2008), they don’t have anyone like Fisher to protect Matthew Stafford’s blind side. Some analysts think Fisher is the best player in this draft.

6. Cleveland Browns: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State

The Browns would have loved Jordan or Milliner, and now are in position to trade down and get some extra picks. But they had Manuel to Cleveland early last week, and then went to visit him in Tallahassee on Saturday. Browns coach Rob Chudzinski compares Manuel to the QB he coached as a coordinator in Carolina, Cam Newton. It’s a quarterback in each of the last two first rounds for the Browns.

7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

The Cardinals think they’ve already solved their quarterback problem with the trade for Carson Palmer.  They need someone, anyone, to protect him, and Johnson is the best remaining left tackle in this draft. It would be smart for the Cardinals to take Chance Warmack, but “smart” and “Cardinals” aren’t often used in the same sentence when it comes to the draft.

8. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

Buffalo lost its best guard – by a wide margin – Andy Levitre to Tennessee in free agency. The cupboard is pretty bare in that regard. Like David DeCastro of Stanford last year, Warmack is NFL-ready and can be a fixture for years to come. This could be where West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith comes off the board, but it should be noted that he doesn’t play well in bad weather. And occasionally in Buffalo, they have bad weather.

9. New York Jets: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

I’m assuming here that the Jets get the 13th pick in the draft in a Darrelle Revis trade with Tampa Bay. Their chances of getting a necessary pass rusher like Barkevious Mingo of LSU, Jarvis Jones of Georgia or Ziggy Ansah of BYU four picks later are extraordinary. But there’s always the danger of someone trading into the 10th or 11th spot to grab Austin if they take their pass rusher first.

10. Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

The Titans need another guard to join the high-priced Levitre, but they have a tremendous investment in the offensive line already. They have needs on the defensive front, and Lotulelei was considered a top-three pick before a heart condition was discovered at the combine. He’s been cleared medically, and he’s a great value at No. 10.

Obviously this mock affects the Rams.  What do they do at No. 16 with Austin off the board? They should have their pick of safeties in this draft, along with Georgia linebacker Alex Ogletree, Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and Alabama running back Eddie Lacy. There’s also a strong chance that QB-needy teams like Jacksonville and Buffalo will start to get anxious about trading up at 16, although that’s more likely at 22.

That’s my mock top-10. Chance of hitting 10 out of the first 10? Zero percent.