NFL Draft Tonight— Final first round prediction.

Posted: 04/25/2013 by levcohen in Football

Excited for the draft? I am, especially because this draft is bound to have a lot of surprises in terms of picks and trades. This years’ class is not as good as many (bad news for teams who are usually competitive but choose this year to stink. Yes, I’m thinking of the Eagles.) Still, there are some strengths in the draft, especially at the line, as at least seven top ten picks could be linemen (either o-line or d-line). Here are my final predictions
Note: I can’t predict trades, because they are too unpredictable. There will be some trades though, and that will totally change the draft.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, offensive tackle: It’s either going to be Joeckel or Eric Fisher, another tackle.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eric Fisher, OT: The Jaguars are at a point where they really just need talent. They get the best available here.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle: Floyd is going to be a great interior lineman, and the Raiders need help.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Lane Johnson, OT: Might not be the fourth best player in this draft right now, but I think Johnson could easily end up being the best offensive tackle in this draft, and one of the best in the league. His athleticism is needed for an o-lineman in Chip Kelly’s high octane offense.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB: Milliner is a rock solid cornerback, and the Lions need secondary help.
6. Cleveland Browns: Geno Smith, QB: I think they’d take Milliner if he fell to them, but otherwise they should trade back.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB: Jordan is an electrifying pass rusher, something the Cardinals desperately need to help their otherwise solid defense. I do think they could trade up for one of the top three tackles though. Jordan has the potential to be another DeMarcus Ware.
8. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack, OG: Warmack is one of the best players in the draft, but guards rarely go this high.
9. New York Jets: Tavon Austin, WR: Austin is going to be a great wide receiver. Forget his small stature, he will be a better version of young Wes Welker. The Jets have a pick at 11, but I think they need to take Austin here if they want him.
10. Tennessee Titans: Ziggy Ansah, DE: This is a value pick. Ansah has insane potential, and could be a steal here.
11. San Diego Chargers: Jonathan Cooper, OG: The Chargers really need line help. I expect them to take either Cooper or Warmack.
12. Miami Dolphins: D.J. Fluker, OT: Another tackle off the board. The Dolphins could use line help.
13. New York Jets (from Buccaneers): D.J. Hayden, CB: Back to back D.J’s! Seriously though, the Jets now need a cornerback (see: Revis trade) and Hayden is good.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT: He could go as early as #4. This is a steal.
15. New Orleans Saints: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB: The Saints need defense, Mingo will be good in a 3-4. Good combo.
16. St. Louis Rams: Kenny Vaccaro, SS: Safety is becoming more and more important with the tight ends in the league getting better and more athletic. Vaccaro should be up to it.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jarvis Jones, LB: Jones is the type of player the Steelers will take. He is falling on draft boards, but he played so well this season for Georgia, as he was perhaps the best defensive player in college football. Guys like that usually succeed, especially when they are drafted by a savvy team like the Steelers.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson, DT: They need more interior rushing, and Richardson is a steal at this point. Remember, the Cowboys were one of the worst teams against the run last year.
19. New York Giants: Desmond Trufant, CB: In today’s NFL, corners need not only to be shutdown defenders, but also playmakers. Trufant is a good cover guy but is even better at intercepting passes and returning them. He also could be a kick returner.
20. Chicago Bears: Manti Te’o, LB: They lost an aging Brian Urlacher, so they pick Te’o to fill the void at middle linebacker for years to come.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Eifert, TE: They don’t have many needs, so they take Eifert. By the way, I bet Eifert goes in the top 15. I just didn’t know where to put him.
22. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins): Justin Hunter, WR: The Rams are in desperate need of an offensive play-maker.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR: They really need some wide receivers, and Patterson has insane athleticism.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Xavier Rhodes, CB: The Colts need a corner. Rhodes should be there for them to snag.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seahawks): Alec Ogeltree, LB: Ogeltree has had some off the field issues, but on the field he is a play-maker.
26. Green Bay Packers: Sylvester Williams, DL: Not sure Williams is a good fit, but he shouldn’t fall this far, so I’ll just put him on a team with very few needs.
27. Houston Texans: Robert Woods, WR: The Texans need another wide receiver to play with Andre Johnson, and Woods is a surefire good #2 WR.
28. Denver Broncos: Bjoern Werner, DE: He has fallen because he doesn’t stand out in any specific physical trait, but he is an all around solid player who can help the Broncos ease the pain of losing Elvis Dumervil.
29. New England Patriots: Datone Jones, DE: Another case of best available.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Robert Alfrod, CB: The Falcons need a corner.
31. San Francisco 49ers: Zach Ertz, TE: The 49ers could well move up, as they have 13 picks, but they could use a new backup tight end (to be fair, they play a lot of two TE sets, so the backup could play two thirds of the time).
32. Baltimore Ravens: Matt Elam, FS: For the Eagles’ sake, I’m hoping he falls to the second round, but he is a really good player, and the Ravens need a replacement for Ed Reed at safety.

I believe that a team between 20-32 will trade back, and a team early in the second round will trade up to snag a QB. Can’t predict trades, though.

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