Nassib rises, Smith slides in's NFL Mock Draft 3.0

Justin Boone,
4/24/2013 12:00:20 PM
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It's a game of preference with the quarterbacks in this year's NFL Draft, as Ryan Nassib, Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel battle to be the first passer selected.

While the Bills appear to be sold on Nassib in the top ten, Smith is hoping he doesn't slide out of the first round.

Watch the first round live on TSN2, Thursday at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt's NFL Editor Justin Boone delivers his third Mock Draft of the year as he takes a look at how the first round will unfold on Thursday night.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Luke Joeckel - OT - Texas A&M

This pick is not yet locked in, but it appears Joeckel still has the edge on fellow offensive tackle Eric Fisher. Regardless of whether the Chiefs trade Branden Albert to the Dolphins or not, Kansas City will welcome a new franchise tackle into their offence. It may not be the most exciting selection for the Chiefs' fan base, but Joeckel and Fisher are the safest picks in this year's draft.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

Dion Jordan - DE - Oregon

New head coach Gus Bradley will bring his defensive system to Jacksonville and that will require speed on the edge. Jordan is a very versatile player who can play in almost any scheme and can provide that speed rush the Jaguars desperately need. Jordan will have to add muscle and become a student of the game, but he could develop into an outstanding player in the Jags' front seven.

3. Oakland Raiders

Sharrif Floyd - DT - Florida

The Raiders are willing to roll with Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, meaning the Geno Smith draft slide begins here. While Fisher carries less risk, the Raiders have a much bigger need at defensive tackle, after releasing Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly. Floyd will give them a versatile defender who flashed some impressive speed at the combine for a man his size.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

Eric Fisher - OT - Central Michigan

The Eagles will make a choice between taking Fisher or defensive tackle Star Lotulelei with the four pick. New head coach Chip Kelly is in the hunt for athletic blockers and Fisher stood out for that very reason at this year's combine and Senior Bowl. Fisher will use his athleticism and movement to become a dependable starter in Philadelphia and may have more upside than Joeckel.

5. Detroit Lions

Ezekiel Ansah - DE/OLB - LSU

Losing Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril leaves the Lions in a very tough spot at defensive end. However, Jeff Backus' retirement is also an issue for Detroit. With Joeckel and Fisher gone, the Lions will address their defensive line and select Ansah, a native of Ghana, who is a very raw talent with maybe the most potential out of anyone in this class at his position.

6. Cleveland Browns

Star Lotulelei - DT - Utah

The Browns will have a great opportunity to trade out of this pick, with plenty of interest in offensive tackle Lane Johnson. If they stay at six, they will fortify their defensive front with a monster in the middle. Lotulelei is a massive run stuffer who consistently draws double teams. He saw his stock drop during the draft process with reports of a heart issue, but it turned out not to be serious.

7. Arizona Cardinals

Lane Johnson - OT - Oklahoma

Johnson is the third best tackle in this draft and will be coveted by several teams after Joeckel and Fisher take the stage in New York. If no one makes a move to get in front of the Cardinals, then Arizona will get some much-needed help on their offensive line. Johnson had an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, showing a good ability to deal with quick rushers off the edge.

8. Buffalo Bills

Ryan Nassib - QB - Syracuse

Nassib's connection with the Bills' new coaching staff instantly made people assume Buffalo would target the Syracuse passer. However, Nassib has quietly made his way up draft boards in a year where there is no clear cut, elite talent and is now in position to be the first quarterback taken. Geno Smith is not the right fit for the Bills' system and continues to not hear his name called.

9. New York Jets

Barkevious Mingo - DE/OLB - LSU

The Jets now have two first round picks after the trade with Tampa Bay. Word out of New York is that the Jets are hoping to come away from Thursday's first round with Mingo as the newest member of their defence. While physical attributes don't always translate to on-field production, Mingo is poised to wreak havoc off the edge in the NFL with an extremely quick first step.

10. Tennessee Titans

D.J. Fluker - OT - Alabama

Tennessee and San Diego are both looking for help on their offensive line. With the top three tackles already taken, the Titans will secure a solid starter for the right side of their line. Fluker is a massive tackle, who can completely dominate with his size and strength and will likely start off at right tackle or guard. With Andy Levitre signing in Tennessee, the Titans' line will be much improved.

11. San Diego Chargers
Jonathan Cooper - OG - North Carolina

The Chargers would love to find an offensive tackle to protect Philip Rivers, but unless they are willing to move up, the top three players at that position will be gone. San Diego also has a need on the interior of their line and Cooper's presence will only help to open up the offence. Cooper isn't a dominating lineman, but instead uses his mobility and technique to excel as a blocker.

12. Miami Dolphins

Dee Milliner - CB - Alabama

Despite acquiring Brent Grimes in the off-season, the Dolphins still have a starting spot open on the other side of the field. Miami will be more than happy to see Milliner still available when they are on the clock. Milliner has the size to match up with even the biggest NFL wideouts, and news of a potential shoulder injury appears to have been overblown by the media.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tyler Eifert - TE - Notre Dame

With their second pick, the Jets look to offence in an attempt to find a new weapon to help them put up points. Eifert is an elite pass catcher who combines a massive frame with excellent speed. Eifert has a great knack for going up and getting the ball, but it's his ability as a blocker sets him apart from the other tight ends this year.

14. Carolina Panthers

Tavon Austin - WR - West Virginia

Austin has a lot of hype surrounding him as the draft nears and some believe he could go as high as the top ten. The Panthers have more pressing roster problems, but bringing in such an electric player will be impossible to pass up. Austin is a dynamic speedster in the slot and will work with Cam Newton and Steve Smith to give the Panthers' offence a new dimension.

15. New Orleans Saints

Sheldon Richardson - DT - Missouri

The Saints don't need help on offence, so it's quite fortuitous that a quality prospect like Richardson is still around. Richardson isn't as big as some of the other players at his position, but he uses his quickness to get penetration. Richardson may not get the sack, but he often causes problems in opponents' backfields and will join a defence that is transitioning to a 3-4 scheme.

16. St. Louis Rams

Kenny Vaccaro - S - Texas

If Vaccaro falls this far, the Rams will gladly give him a home after they let go of both of their starting safeties from last season. Vaccaro is coming out of a program known for producing above average defensive backs and he will be the latest example. Vaccaro is strong in coverage and against the run, meaning he can play either safety position.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

Jarvis Jones - OLB - Georgia

Despite being diagnosed with spinal stenosis, Jones is arguably the most dangerous pass rusher in this draft class and could be a top-five pick, depending on how teams evaluate his medical situation. His falling draft stock won't scare away the Steelers, who will take advantage and add a player with elite talent. With James Harrison departed, Jones could be in a perfect situation.

18. Dallas Cowboys

Chance Warmack - OG - Alabama

After giving Tony Romo a big extension, the Cowboys will now be tasked with protecting their investment. Warmack is a violent run blocker and is willing to do the dirty work to help his offence thrive. His drive and skill make him capable of becoming one of the league's best at the position. Warmack's presence will only help to give Romo more time in the pocket, opening up the offence.

19. New York Giants

D.J. Hayden- CB - Houston

The Giants are a well run team that will recognize a good prospect when he falls to them. Hayden flew under the radar for part of the draft season after having a rare heart issue. Hayden's medicals obviously check out now, since the cornerback has been dubbed the best in this class by many experts. A smart team like the Giants will be quick to pounce on a player with Hayden's upside.

20. Chicago Bears

Xavier Rhodes - CB - Florida State

Rhodes has been projected much higher, but will be selected after Milliner and Hayden on draft day. The Bears will gravitate to a player with Rhodes' aggressive nature. Rhodes has a long frame and plays a very physical game. Rhodes isn't scared to battle with receivers and will continue the tradition of fearless corners in the Bears' secondary.

21. Cincinnati Bengals

Alec Ogletree - ILB - Georgia

Ogletree comes with some off-field baggage, including a recent arrest for DUI. The Bengals have never been scared off by character concerns and that won't change this year. Ogletree has superb speed to go along with explosive tackling ability. An added bonus is that Ogletree has shown glimpses of being a pass rusher as well, and can play inside or outside.

22. St. Louis Rams (via Redskins)

DeAndre Hopkins - WR - Clemson

With their second pick of the first round, it's time for St. Louis to give Sam Bradford a weapon in the passing game. While a few of the Rams' receivers showed ability a year ago, they are left with Chris Givens and Brian Quick as their only real playmakers, along with new tight end Jared Cook. Hopkins has all the tools to be an excellent NFL receiver.

23. Minnesota Vikings

Sylvester Williams - DT - North Carolina

The Vikings have very little talent at defensive tackle after Kevin Williams. Not only would Sylvester Williams keep the Williams' wall intact, he is also a very good value this late in the first round. Williams is exceptional against the run and is a hard worker in all areas. Playing next to Kevin Williams, Sylvester could give the Vikings' defensive line a nice infusion of talent.

24. Indianapolis Colts

Tank Carradine - DE/OLB - Florida State

Carradine is a very intriguing prospect, who is battling back from an ACL injury. The Colts have signed a variety of players this off-season, but Carradine would be a nice fit in Chuck Pagano's 3-4 defence and he could even be worked in slowly to ensure he heals completely. Carradine is the most compelling pass rushing specialist in the draft after Jordan, Ansah, and Jones.

25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seahawks)

Manti Te'o - ILB - Notre Dame

After dealing with an embarrassing hoax, which put him in the headlines, Te'o made matters worse with a poor showing at the combine. Other linebackers have fallen in the draft, only to use that as motivation in the pros. Te'o is still the type of aggressive ballhawk that teams covet at inside linebacker, a position the Vikings would be happy to upgrade.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars* (Projected trade with Packers)

Geno Smith - QB - West Virginia

The Packers would be willing to move down, while the Jaguars sent practically their whole front office to Geno Smith's pro day. After passing on Smith at the beginning of the round, the Jaguars watch him fall, eventually capitalizing on his slide by moving back into the first round to select him. Smith is an excellent athlete with above average arm strength and accuracy.

27. Houston Texans

Justin Hunter - WR - Tennessee

The Texans have made it very clear that they require a second receiving option behind Andre Johnson (or third if you count TE Owen Daniels). Hunter has long limbs and uses them well as he goes up to get balls and make big plays. Despite not having the biggest build, Hunter is not afraid to make catches over the middle and will add another threat to the Texans' offence.

28. Denver Broncos

Arthur Brown - LB - Kansas State

Losing Elvis Dumervil in bizarre fashion hurt, but there isn't a pass rusher or defensive lineman that fits their scheme and is worthy of the 28th selection. Instead, the Broncos decide to find a blue chip player to put in the middle of their defence. Brown didn't work out at the combine, but was outstanding at his pro day and, despite being slightly undersized, he is arguably the best middle linebacker in the draft.

29. Philadelphia Eagles* (Projected trade with Patriots)

E.J. Manuel - QB - Florida State

The Eagles make a bold move and get themselves back into the first round thanks to a trade with the Patriots, who are always happy to collect draft picks by moving down. Manuel has all the physical tools to excel in new head coach Chip Kelly's offence. Manuel would have time to learn behind Michael Vick, before eventually taking over the reins in Kelly's high-tempo attack.

30. Atlanta Falcons

Jamar Taylor - CB - Boise State

The Falcons were rumoured to potentially make another splash by moving up into the early part of the draft, like they did when they acquired Julio Jones. Unable to find the right deal, they stay at 30 and select a definite position of need, cornerback. Taylor describes himself as "Physical, scrappy and smart," and has the right package to be a strong NFL cover man.

31. San Francisco 49ers

Johnathan Cyprien - S - Florida International

With Dashon Goldson now playing in Tampa Bay, the 49ers will be searching the draft for help at safety. Cyprien is the second best safety on most team's draft boards and he has the ability to step in and contribute in his rookie season. Cyprien is extremely athletic and uses that speed and quickness to close on passes. It's an ideal match as Cyprien joins one of the best defences in the league.

32. Baltimore Ravens

Cordarrelle Patterson - WR - Tennessee

Good things come to those who wait and the Ravens empty receiver slot, left by Anquan Boldin, will be filled by a very talented young pass catcher. Patterson has ideal size and showed how he can stretch the field, averaging 16.9 yards per catch last season. The Tennessee product has all the tools to develop into a go-to receiver in the NFL and a great compliment to Torrey Smith.

Ryan Nassib (Photo: Nate Shron/Getty Images)


(Photo: Nate Shron/Getty Images)
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