Cleveland Browns: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Browns are a disaster. Mike Holmgren probably won't be back next year, so the new regime will look to distance itself from Brandon Weeden, a move made possible because of the new CBA. Weeden looked decent at times against the Ravens, but he's been very inconsistent this year. Perhaps he'll improve as he grows older and matures. In all seriousness, the point is that if the Browns are drafting No. 1 overall, Weeden didn't prove himself to be a capable starter in this league. In that case, the Browns would certainly look to draft a quarterback.
It's Geno Smith over Matt Barkley. Smith has had an unbelievable season, as he's coming off a game in which he threw more touchdowns (8) than incompletions (6). Pretty sick. Barkley, meanwhile, has struggled a bit and is now the No. 2 quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft.
By the way, I'm doing this live because I thought it'd be fun to get instant feedback. I'm going to post my mock anyway, so why not do it this way? Follow @walterfootball for updates.
Pick change; previously Matt Barkley, QB
Indianapolis Colts: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
The Colts did a great job of finding a worthy supporting cast around Andrew Luck. They'll have to use the 2013 NFL Draft to improve their defense. That includes finding help at the rush linebacker position.
I'm not sure why the Colts retained both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis when they're in rebuilding mode, but they'll need to find someone next spring who can step in and start once either of them moves on (which very easily could be next year).
It's a close race for who's the No. 1 pass-rusher in the 2013 NFL Draft, but Jarvis Jones and his 4.5 sacks has the edge over Barkevious Mingo right now.
Pick change; previously Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB
Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Blaine Gabbert appears to be a sunk cost. He's scared to take hits, he has no pocket awareness, and he stares down his receivers. He's been awful these past three weeks, and if he continues to play this poorly, the Jaguars will have to use a first-round pick on a quarterback so they can actually be competitive with the Texans.
If Gene Smith is fired, this pick will almost definitely be used on a signal-caller. If not, Smith would likely go with Star Lotulelei or Johnathan Hankins. I'm going to assume Smith is axed in this scenario, as the new owner will probably want to bring in his own guys.
Pick change; previously Tyler Wilson, QB
New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
All Jet fans want a quarterback right now, but unless the front office is fired, it'll probably stick with Mark Sanchez and/or Tim Tebow for one more season rather than starting over. They'll blame it on Sanchez not having weapons.
Well, this isn't exactly a weapon for Sanchez, but New York has to take the best player available this early. The Jets' inability to get to the quarterback needs to be fixed. Aaron Maybin has done nothing thus far in 2012 after finishing on a strong note last year.
Pick change; previously Justin Hunter, WR
Oakland Raiders: Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State
Tommy Kelly is a bum who doesn't care about winning, as evidenced when he laughed after prolonging a San Diego drive with a pair of offside penalties. He's played so sluggishly this year, so there's no chance he's going to see a penny of his $6.5 million salary in 2013. He's as good as gone, and if I were Dennis Allen, I'd cut him ASAP.
It's a tough choice between Johnathan Hankins and Star Lotulelei. Hankins had a monstrous performance against California and might be inches ahead of the Utah prospect.
Tennessee Titans: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Tennessee definitely has bigger needs than a defensive end, but the NFL Draft is all about taking the best players available who makes sense, especially this early in the process.
The Titans have zero depth behind Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley, who aren't even getting to the quarterback consistently, so the Titans will consider a defensive end in this scenario. Bjoern Werner is having a monstrous 2012 campaign and has jumped in front of Sam Montgomery on my big board.
Pick change; previously DeMarcus Milliner, CB
Kansas City Chiefs: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
It's pretty evident that the Chiefs will need to admit they were wrong and move on from Matt Cassel. He's just too limited to command a winning team in today's pass-happy NFL. And the fans know it too because they won't stop booing him. Maybe if he didn't turn it over on every other possession...
Kansas City has to take a quarterback; in fact, the front office may have to trade up to acquire one.
Pick change; previously Geno Smith, QB
Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
I'm not sure if Brian Hartline qualifies as a No. 1 receiver just yet. I can't really explain the whole thing myself, but he appears to be a starting-caliber wideout. The Dolphins, however, need another one for Ryan Tannehill, who needs a better second option than Davone Bess.
Pick change; previously Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB
New Orleans Saints: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
The Saints are getting zero pressure on the quarterback. Cameron Jordan is good against the run, but he's been a bust as a pass-rusher thus far. Will Smith, meanwhile, looks like a shell of his former self. He's due $10 million in 2013, so he obviously won't be back.
Pick change; previously Star Lotulelei, DT
Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah
I was told by a reliable source not to mock Fletcher Cox to the Panthers by a reliable source because they were satisfied with their current group of defensive tackles. Based on what happened with Andre Brown last Thursday night, I highly doubt they'll feel the same way in April. Besides, Star Lotulelei is the best player available. He's a steal at No. 10.
Pick change; previously Sam Montgomery, DE
St. Louis Rams: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
The Rams missed out on Justin Blackmon a few months ago. As the Jaguars traded ahead of them, Jeff Fisher reportedly slammed his glasses on the table. He went on to draft Brian Quick and Chris Givens, but neither has shown any signs of become a starting receiver in the NFL. Quick hasn't even been active in most games. Justin Hunter obviously has a much better chance of becoming a legitimate No. 1 target for Sam Bradford.
Pick change; previously Keenan Allen, WR
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Buccaneers decided they didn't like Morris Claiborne very much, so they traded out of the No. 5 spot in the 2012 NFL Draft and selected Mark Barron two picks later. They really need cornerback help, as you may know from Eli Manning's 510-yard performance, so they'll almost have to remedy that need at this juncture.
Pick change; previously David Amerson, CB
Buffalo Bills: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
Tyler Bray would be better served going back to school for another year, but as we've seen this summer, he doesn't make the best decisions in the world.
I think the Bills will have to talk themselves into making this pick. It's pretty apparent now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is way too limited to win consistently in the NFL - SMH at Buffalo's front office for not recognizing this sooner - so if the team wants to move forward and contend with New England on a yearly basis, it'll have to find a franchise quarterback.
I will not dispute that this is way too early for Bray, but we've seen teams reach for quarterbacks recently (Blaine Gabbert went No. 10 overall for crying out loud). Buffalo needs a franchise signal-caller.
Detroit Lions: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The Lions take the best player available, and that, by my estimation, would be Johnthan Banks. It's no secret that Detroit has major holes in its secondary. The Lions spent an early pick on Bullet Bill Bentley has been a bit of a disappointment thus far. It's still early though, so maybe he can improve as the season goes along.
Pick change; previously Eric Reid, S
Dallas Cowboys: Johnathan Jenkins, NT, Georgia
The Cowboys had the option of picking J.J. Watt at No. 9 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. They went with Tyron Smith, who was great in his rookie campaign, but they were hurting at the defensive end position as a consequence. In this scenario, they'd be able to move Jay Ratliff outside. It's something they were thinking about when they were seriously considering taking Dontari Poe in April.
Pick change; previously Jackson Jeffcoat, DE/OLB
St. Louis Rams: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Jason Smith was benched in favor of Barry Richardson and subsequently traded for turnstile Wayne Hunter, so Jeff Fisher will probably search for a tackle next spring. Fisher played against the Texans twice per year when he was with Tennessee, and he watched Houston completely ruin David Carr's career by not building a competent offensive line around him. He won't want to make the same mistake with Sam Bradford.
Mock draft using my own draft order based on my season predictions. including Super Bowl predictions.
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