While I didn’t include any potential trades in my mock draft, there are five teams to watch who could very well try to move up.
Arizona may try to trade up for either an offensive tackle or a quarterback. Buffalo has a dire need at quarterback, and could move up for Geno Smith if he makes it past the Jaguars.
Miami is looking for an offensive tackle, and according to a recent report by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, they prefer Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher over Lane Johnson, meaning a trade into the top five isn’t out of the question.
Minnesota and San Francisco also have a stockpile of draft picks, and could move up for a prospect they feel like they can’t live without.
1. Kansas City – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
The Chiefs may have painted themselves into a corner after releasing right tackle Eric Winston, but with Joeckel they get arguably the most talented player in the draft and a long-term solution at the left tackle position.
2. Jacksonville – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The new regime in Jacksonville is understandably less than impressed by Blaine Gabbert. Geno Smith helps give a rebuilding Jaguars franchise an identity. He can immediately improve an offense that already has some talented pieces in place.
3. Oakland – Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The Raiders finished the 2012 season second to last in the league in sacks. They desperately need playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Ziggy Ansah would provide a boost to a pitiful Raiders pass rush and would serve as a versatile piece for Jason Tarver’s hybrid defense.
4. Philadelphia – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Eagles have spent this offseason transitioning to a 3-4 defense. They’re looking to get bigger on the defensive line. Star Lotulelei can be a dominant presence as a 5-tech defensive end, and he’s versatile enough to spend time at nose tackle as well.
5. Detroit – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Detroit has glaring holes at both defensive end and offensive tackle spots. Ultimately the promise of adding a talented hometown kid to their offensive line could be too much to pass up. The Lions need to keep Matt Stafford healthy, and Fisher has as much upside as any player in the draft.
6. Cleveland – Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
In this scenario Cleveland goes with the best player available. Dion Jordan has a rare skill set and can fill a variety of roles in Ray Horton’s defense. Jordan has been rumored to be in the discussion for the #1 overall pick, so the Browns would be thrilled to get him at #6.
7. Arizona – Lane Johnson, OT Oklahoma
Fortunately for the Cardinals, their most dire need lines up perfectly with the best player available with Lane Johnson on the board at #7. Talent-wise, Johnson is not far behind Joeckel and Fisher. He’d help stabilize an offensive line who now have to protect a statuesque Carson Palmer.
8. Buffalo – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
While it’s possible that Buffalo trades up for a quarterback, in this situation they swing for the fences with a raw-but-electrifying prospect at the wide receiver position. Patterson compliments Stevie Johnson perfectly, and will make life easier for Kevin Kolb or whoever the Bills’ quarterback might be.
9. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
For the last few seasons the Jets have been longing for an impact player who can consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks – especially with Tom Brady in the division. Mingo would flourish in Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman’s defense.
10. Tennessee – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Titans finished 2012 with the worst pass defense in the league. Alterraun Verner has been solid, but he’ll also be a free agent after the 2013 season. Tennessee needs to invest in their secondary, and many think Milliner is the best cornerback in the draft.
11. San Diego – Kenny Vaccaro, DB, Texas
San Diego would love for one of the top offensive tackles to fall to them, but a talented, versatile piece for their secondary is a nice consolation prize. Vaccaro would start on day one for the Chargers, who could put him at safety next to Eric Weddle and even use him at corner in the slot.
12. Miami – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Here, Miami gets an absolute steal. Bjoern Werner is one of the best pass rushers in the draft, and his best football may still be ahead of him. The Dolphins can put Werner at left defensive end across from Cameron Wake, where he would make an immediate impact.
13. Tampa Bay – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Tampa already has a strong defensive line, but Sharrif Floyd would provide them with another disruptive interior presence next to Gerald McCoy. With Floyd the Bucs could generate even more inside pressure, which would help with Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton in the division.
14. Carolina – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Panthers offense struggled to find the end zone in 2012. Steve Smith isn’t getting any younger, and Cam Newton would benefit from having more weapons around him. With Tavon Austin, Carolina adds one of the most exciting offensive playmakers in the draft.
15. New Orleans – Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri
The Saints are rebuilding on defense. With Rob Ryan bringing his aggressive style to New Orleans, they’ll be looking to add talent up front to help improve a struggling unit. Richardson explodes through gaps, and can develop into a star next to Akiem Hicks and Cameron Jordan.
16. St. Louis – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
The Rams have already done a lot to stabilize their offensive line this offseason, bringing in Jake Long at left tackle and moving Roger Saffold to the right side. But Chance Warmack is an elite prospect – even if it’s not at a premier position. He’s simply too good to pass up at #16.
17. Pittsburgh – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
The Steelers defense is deteriorating, and they haven’t done a great job in recent years of replacing their aging cornerstone players through the draft. Jones has some limitations, but he’s a perfect fit for Pittsburgh. He’d pick up where James Harrison left off.
18. Dallas – Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Dallas is reportedly enamored with Jonathan Cooper, who is every bit the prospect that Chance Warmack is. Cooper can play both guard and center, where the Cowboys need some stability. His presence would help ensure Tony Romo lives to see the end of his massive new contract.
19. New York Giants – Datone Jones, DL, UCLA
The Giants love versatile linemen who can get upfield quickly. With Justin Tuck and Cullen Jenkins both being on the wrong side of 30, Datone Jones can step in at both left defensive end and 3-tech defensive tackle and give the Giants an impressive defensive line rotation.
20. Chicago – Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Having intelligent, athletic linebackers with sideline-to-sideline ability has for years been the key to Chicago’s success on defense. Moving on from Brian Urlacher means the Bears have big shoes to fill. Luckily for them, Arthur Brown is arguably a top 10 talent with Ray Lewis-level upside.
21. Cincinnati – Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State
The Bengals’ roster has come a long way in the last few years, but defensive ends Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap are both entering contract seasons. It’s unclear how much Tank Carradine will be able to contribute in 2013, but he can develop into an elite pass rusher.
22. St. Louis – Johnathan Cyprien, S, FIU
With their second pick in the first round, the Rams turn to Johnathan Cyprien to add a playmaking presence at safety, where they’ve struggled to find a long-term solution ever since O.J. Atogwe’s play began to decline.
23. Minnesota – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Now that Percy Harvin is gone, the Vikings are starved for legitimate threats at wideout. Christian Ponder may not be a long-term solution at quarterback, but aside from Adrian Peterson he doesn’t have much help. DeAndre Hopkins has the potential to develop into a true #1 receiver.
24. Indianapolis – Jesse Williams, DL, Alabama
Last season the Colts reloaded on offense. Now they can address a patchwork defense that has struggled to stop the run. Jesse Williams is an underrated prospect who can do a lot of things for a defense. Chuck Pagano can use him the way he used Haloti Ngata in Baltimore.
25. Minnesota – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
The Vikings continue getting younger and better in the secondary by adding Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes can compensate for the loss of Antoine Winfield by giving Minnesota a physical cover corner to combat the dangerous passing offenses in Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay.
26. Green Bay – Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State
Marshall Newhouse simply isn’t going to cut it at left tackle in a division loaded with imposing pass rushers. Menelik Watson may be very raw, but his incredible athleticism makes him an excellent fit in Green Bay’s zone blocking scheme.
27. Houston – Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Houston could go a lot of different ways here, including wide receiver. But they may feel like they’ve gone as far as they can with Matt Schaub at the helm. Barkley fits what the Texans do on offense perfectly, and could be their future at quarterback.
28. Denver – Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Denver’s roster is already strong, especially after key free agent additions. They may look to improve their secondary, but Manti Te’o would excel behind Denver’s strong defensive line, next to superstar Von Miller. It’s a low-pressure situation for Te’o, as Peyton Manning is the Broncos’ unquestioned leader.
29. New England – Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
While Tom Brady can make even a very average group of receivers look good, the Patriots would benefit from giving him a legitimate go-to option now that Wes Welker has moved on. One could make a case that Keenan Allen is the best wideout in the draft. He’d fit in well in New England.
30. Atlanta – Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
The top pass-rushers are off the board by the time the Falcons pick, so with Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes gone they could look to add talent to their secondary. Banks has great instincts and closes on the ball quickly. He would help Mike Nolan’s defense generate turnovers.
31. San Francisco – Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
The scouting community has been buzzing about Jamar Taylor for a while now. The 49ers added Nnamdi Asomugha, but both he and Carlos Rogers are over 30. The 49ers won’t hesitate to add an impressive young player to an already stacked defense.
32. Baltimore – Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut
It’s almost unfair that one of the most explosive, versatile defenders in the draft falls right into the lap of the defending Super Bowl champions. Moore can play both ILB and OLB for the Ravens, easing the effects of losing Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, and Paul Kruger this offseason.
Brad is an Oakland Raiders fan and draft enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @jazzhessian for more thoughts.