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“15 Minutes” First 17 Mock
April 24, 2013 - Ray Eckenrode
It’s all in good fun, and like every other mock draft by a real expert, it goes out the window with the first trade…
#1, Kansas City Chiefs select Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Eric Fisher has more upside, but without a slam dunk choice, the Chiefs play it safe.
#2, Jacksonville Jaguars select Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Jordan has the tools to become the most complete defensive player in football someday.
#3, Oakland Raiders select Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Everyone agrees the pick here should be Sharrif Floyd, everyone except … the Raiders, who can’t resist yet another high-risk QB.
#4, Philadelphia Eagles select Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Chip Kelly’s high-octane players aren’t going anywhere without a serious upgrade up front.
#5, Detroit Lions select Dee Miliner, CB, Alabama
Cornerback was Detroit’s downfall in 2012, and although there’s a ton of flash still on the board, Miliner is the smart pick.
#6, Cleveland Browns select Ziggy Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU
The Browns had Miliner targeted here for the first pick of the Michael Lombardi era, but the versatile and still-improving Ansah is a sweet consolation prize.
#7, Arizona Cardinals select Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
The Cardinals cannot believe their good fortune in landing Floyd, who’ll play as a five-technique end in their scheme.
#8, Buffalo Bills select Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
With Smith gone the Bills get the closest thing to instant offense in the draft.
#9, New York Jets select Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Jets just can’t resist high-risk, high-reward pass rushers. It’s in their DNA.
#10, Tennessee Titans select Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Did a guard just go in the Top 10? He did, and he might be the surest thing in this draft.
#11, San Diego Chargers select Chance Marmack, OG, Alabama
Did two guards just go in the first 11 picks? They did, because in a draft lacking home-run talent, the value of their position rises.
#12, Miami Dolphins select Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
After a flashy offseason, the Dolphins go to the trenches.
#13, New York Jets select D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
New York uses the pick they got for Darrelle Revis to select his successor, one of the fastest rising players on many boards.
#14, Carolina Panthers select Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Here’s all you need to know about Loo-to-leh-la: Haloti Ngata Jr.
#15, New Orleans Saints select Jarvis Jones, DE/LB, Georgia
Jones’ productivity and SEC pedigree trump concerns about his speed, durability
#16, St. Louis Rams select Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
As spread offense becomes base set in NFL, free safeties who can cover WR in the slot will become more valuable.
In our mock draft, the two players most often linked to Pittsburgh in the media (Jones and Vaccaro) go on the two picks prior. So the Steelers go on the clock with Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert (the fan-favorite selection), cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes of Florida State and Desmond Trufant of Washington or Tennessee wideout Justin Hunter, as the most likely picks. Either of the Florida State pass rushers (Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner) could be in play here, as well as Kansas State inside LB Arthur Brown. Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker might be the highest-rated player left on the board, but he’d be a darkhorse at this point, simply because he’d give the Steelers THREE right tackles and no sure bet at left tackle. Pittsburgh would love to trade down, most likely to #31 with the 49ers and pick up the Niners second-round pick at #61 (That would give Pittsburgh #31, #48 and #61). The “trade value” chart works on this one (892 for 950), but the Niners have 14 picks so if they wanted to throw a third pick into the pot and go higher, they easily could do that IF they can find a suitor higher in the first round. For the purpose of this exercise, we’ll assume no trade and say…
#17, Pittsburgh Steelers select Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Rhodes is a big, physical press corner, who won’t be pressed (get it?) to start right away and might eventually allow Cortez Allen to move back inside.
The rest of the board:
#48 Cordarrelle Patterson,WR, Tennessee
#79 Sio Moore, LB, UConn
#115 Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
#150 Duke Williams, S, Nevada
#186 John Simon, DE, Ohio State
#205 Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State
#223 Nic Embernate, G, San Diego St.
Xavier Rhodes would bring a new level of physicality to the Steelers defense.