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NFL Draft

The NCAA football season is over and it ended in thrilling fashion. Congratulations to the Florida State Seminoles for their dramatic win over the Auburn Tigers. But the celebration can’t last too long because its almost time to get right back to work. For some, its time to rest up, get back on the recruiting trail and bring in some more of the talent that made them successful in 2013. For others, its time to think about the future of their professional careers. Here are the top five players at each position going into the East-West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl. I’ll be updating these rankings as we get closer and closer to the NFL Combine and ultimately, I’ll have my mock drafts ready to go.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M – Despite the franchising of Brandon Albert, Joeckel is the best option here. Even if Albert doesn’t switch positions, Joeckel could.
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars – Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida – Floyd has emerged as the top defensive tackle in the draft because of Star Lotulelei’s heart condition. The Jags have a few other needs but they’re not talking a quarterback here and this is way too early for a guard.
  3. Oakland Raiders – Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon – The Raiders have no pass rushers and they’re a team that values speed. Jordan has a ton of speed off the edge.
  4. Philadelphia Eagles – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan – This is the smart move to help bolster that terrible offensive line. Michael Vick and basically any other quarterback they cart out there will thank the front office. Don’t be surprised if they take Dee Millner though. They do need help in the secondary.
  5. Detroit Lions – Dee Millner, CB, Alabama – The Lions defense was dreadful last season and if Millner is available, they won’t pass on him. If he isn’t available, they’ll look at a pass rusher.
  6. Cleveland Browns – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU – The Browns’ top two pass rushers combined for 13 sacks last season. A lot of people compare Ansah to Jason Pierre-Paul because of their limited exposure to football early on. His athleticism also bears a comparison to the Pro Bowler.
  7. Arizona Cardinals – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia – As much as I disagree with this pick, its probably going to happen. Geno Smith isn’t a top 10 pick. He’s not even a first round pick. But the Cardinals are going to take him anyway. They’re going to take him and have him compete to be a starter. He’s going to win the starting job because every other quarterback on the depth chart is terrible. Then he’s going to play behind a terrible offensive line and the Cardinals are going to continue to suck. Cardinal fans better pray they trade Larry Fitzgerald for more picks and hope Eric Fisher falls to them.
  8. Buffalo Bills – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama – If Geno Smith is available, he’s going here. If not, the Bills could also take a look at Cordarrelle Patterson to open up the field for Stevie Johnson.
  9. New York Jets – Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU – The Jets pass rush got a measly 30 sacks last season and even though they took Quinto Coples last season, a need is a need. Patterson is also an option here.
  10. Tennessee Titans – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina – With the way Chris Johnson is talking about breaking Eric Dickerson’s rushing record, he’s going to need someone to block for him.
  11. San Diego Chargers – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma – I had DJ Fluker rated higher than Johnson before the Combine but Johnson impressed me. The Chargers have a definite need along the offensive line and Johnson will help right away.
  12. Miami Dolphins – Xavier Rhodes, CB, FSU – The Fins franchised Randy Starks so there’s a chance Sean Smith won’t return. Rhodes will make a decent replacement.
  13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington – The Bucs are in desperate need of a cornerback. The best player on the board is probably going to be Star Lotulelei but it’s difficult to see which teams are going to be scared off because of his heart condition.
  14. Carolina Panthers – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – Even with his heart condition, this guy is still a great talent. Hopefully his condition isn’t serious because the Panthers run defense is terrible. Sheldon Richardson is an option and supposedly Steve Smith really wants the team to draft him.
  15. New Orleans Saints – Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE, LSU – Mingo will fit perfectly into the new defensive scheme as a pass rusher in the 3-4. He also plays well against the run up the middle.
  16. St Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas – If any of the guards fall here, the Rams will likely take one. Barrett Jones and Justin Pugh are both reaches at 16 and the Rams have expressed interest in taking a safety.
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia – Jones is a top 10 talent but teams are a little worried about his spinal stenosis. If Jones falls to 17, there are 16 teams that will miss out on a great player.
  18. Dallas Cowboys – DJ FLuker, OT, Alabama – The Cowboys offensive line, especially at the tackle position was terrible last year. Rumor has it Doug Free will either be released or moved to guard so Fluker makes sense here.
  19. New York Giants – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri – The Giants pass rush wasn’t as dominant as it normally is every year and part of the reason is because they got zero push on the inside and that left JPP and Tuck getting double teamed pretty often. Richardson is a big guy on the interior that can plug up holes and open things up for the edge rushers. He’ll have to fight for playing time though.
  20. Chicago Bears – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee – Its hard to believe the first receiver taken is this late but I don’t think this class is all that great. There have been rumors about Tavon Austin and Tyler Eifert here but Patterson is probably the most talented of the three options.
  21. Cincinnati Bengals – Matt Elam, S, Florida – With Vaccaro going to the Rams and the Bengals need for a safety, Matt Elam reaps the benefits.
  22. St Louis Rams – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia – Austin opened eyes at the Combine and there is a definite need here. He’s not going to be a #1 wide receiver but they’ll have depth with Mardy Gilyard and Danny Amendola.
  23. Minnesota Vikings – Keenan Allen, WR, California – The Vikes want to open things up for Percy Harvin and that guy isn’t Jerome Simpson.
  24. Indianapolis Colts – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M – The Colts can either go with someone to help the offensive and defensive lines but they’ll definitely upgrade their trenches.
  25. Seattle Seahawks – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA – In my last article, I mentioned Jones’ versatility. I think Pete Carroll will love this guy’s versatility and speed.
  26. Green Bay Packers – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame – Jermichael Finley’s production has dipped a bit and he might not even be a Packer for very much longer anyway.
  27. Houston Texans – Kevin Minter, LB, LSU – Everyone say hello to Bradie James’ replacement.
  28. Denver Broncos – Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina – Williams had a great combine and he showed a lot of quickness that you wouldn’t normally see from a defensive tackle, especially one of his size. He’s also strong enough to plug up holes and create chaos in the offensive backfield.
  29. New England Patriots – Kawann Short, DT, Purdue – Short had a lot of production in college and he’s pretty versatile which is something that Bill Belichick values.
  30. Atlanta Falcons – Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama – The Falcons defense wasn’t all that good last season. They gave up almost 5 yards a carry and only had 29 sacks. Williams is a definite need.
  31. San Francisco 49ers – Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida Int’l – Here’s another guy that opened up eyes at the combine. He showed the ability to play well against the pass and run plus theres the possibility that Dashon Goldson won’t return.
  32. Baltimore Ravens – Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia – I’d be surprised if Ogletree fell this far but if he does, Baltimore is getting a great player that will maybe be the replacement for Paul Kruger. Another guy that people talk about slipping to the Ravens is Damontre Moore. Either way, Ozzie Newsome does a great job and will find a quality player here.

I know that this time of year can be a little daunting for NFL fans because the season is almost over. I know how it feels. I have a new prescription for anxiety because of it. Thankfully, these times are different and there’s entirely more information at our disposal. And luckily for you, I have this information. Your welcome.