All mock scenarios on the table
Trades could impact landing spots for quarterbacks and offensive tackles
- Gruden's QB Camp: Matt Barkley
Gruden's QB Camp: Matt Barkley
With the NFL draft a little more than two weeks away, my final board is coming into focus, but solidifying prospect rankings doesn't mean the intrigue is subsiding for NFL teams.
There are still plenty of options on the table as team needs are adjusted and players make final visits to NFL cities, working out for teams and interviewing with coaches, scouts and front-office personnel.
With that in mind, it's time for my annual scenario-based mock draft. I've laid out three possibilities for every first-round pick, with Scenario 1 reflecting the ideal selection for each team (within reason), but not necessarily including the player ultimately projected to that team, based on how the first round unfolds.
And trades are a consideration in this mock draft projection, which means plenty of possibilities for the top quarterback and top offensive tackles on the board.
Here's how I see things playing out at this point. As always, non-seniors are noted with an asterisk.
Scenario 1: With Branden Albert's future up in the air, the best bet for the Chiefs is to get a left tackle who can step in now, or perhaps a year from now after Albert plays out his franchise tender. Joeckel is a plug-and-play prospect with 39 career starts at the highest levels of college football.
Scenario 2: If not Joeckel, then Eric Fisher is the next-best option. He's not as technically sound and didn't face the same level of competition, but Fisher's ceiling is a little higher because he's a slightly better athlete.
Scenario 3: Trading out could be an option if Kansas City should get a reasonable offer that would allow it to stockpile picks, and also stay within range of Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson or a difference-making defensive end for its 3-4 scheme such as Utah's Star Lotulelei.
Stats and Info: Chiefs quarterbacks were sacked or under duress on 35.3 percent of their drop backs against five or more pass-rushers last season, the third-highest rate in the NFL. Joeckel was not responsible for any sacks against the blitz last season.
Scenario 1: The Jags would be perfectly content to stay home and take Jordan, whose rare combination of length and versatility against the pass make him a perfect fit for the Leo position in Jacksonville's new defensive scheme.
Scenario 2: If they don't opt for Jordan or another pass-rusher like BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah, the Jaguars could fill their need at cornerback with Alabama's Dee Milliner, the one elite defensive back prospect in the class.
Scenario 3: If the new coaching staff isn't sold on Blaine Gabbert as its quarterback of the future, this pick could be used (whether by trading back or staying put) to acquire the quarterback it thinks is the best fit, whether that's West Virginia's Geno Smith or USC's Matt Barkley.
Stats and Info: The Jaguars' defense averaged a sack every 32.9 drop backs using standard pressure, worst in the NFL. All 4.5 of Ansah's sacks last season came when BYU did not blitz, including two sacks when he was one of just three pass-rushers.
Scenario 1: For a Raiders team facing serious salary cap issues this season, the absolute best scenario is to find a trade partner that would allow Oakland to move back, get extra picks and ease its financial burden.
Scenario 2: There is a lot of speculation that Florida DL Sharrif Floyd is going to be the pick here, but I see defensive end as a bigger need. Floyd's lack of pass-rush production on the interior is a bit of a concern as well, and if I'm going to take a chance on potential I'd rather bet on Ansah and his rare physical gifts.
Scenario 3: If Oakland likes Floyd, he makes sense as a penetrating 3-technique in its system. His 13 tackles for loss last season are proof of his ability to disrupt inside.
Stats and Info: Four individual players had more sacks as part of a standard pass rush than the Raiders had as a team (12). Though Floyd had only three sacks, Florida's defense had nine players with at least two sacks, tied for third most in the country.
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