Tuesday, 16 April 2013

DC Writer NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-5

In the build up to the NFL draft we'll be running a number of features, our first is a round table mock with eight of our writers picking for teams. This is the line up:

Nathan James Sharrocks 1st - Chiefs, 9th - Jets, 17th - Steelers, 25th - Vikings from Seattle

Tommy Gibbs 2nd - Jags, 10th - Titans, 18th - Dallas, 26th - Green Bay

John Winter 3rd - Oakland, 11th - San Diego, 19th - Giants, 27th - Texans

Ross Watson 4th - Philly, 12th - Miami, 20th - Chicago, 28th - Denver

Tom Snee 5th - Detroit, 13th - Tampa Bay, 21st - Cincinnati, 29th - New England

Richard Penwright 6th - Cleveland, 14th - Carolina, 22nd - St.Louis from Washington, 30th - Atlanta

Jon Goddard 7th - Arizona, 15th - New Orleans - 23rd - Minnesota, 31st - San Fran 

Simon Love 8th - Buffalo, 16th - St. Louis Rams, 24th - Indianapolis, 32nd - Baltimore

Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Pick by Nathan Sharrocks

There is a lot of debate about who is the top OT in the draft between Joeckel and Eric Fisher of Central Michigan. Whilst Fisher has the aggression in his blocking style that is revered in an NFL left tackle, Joeckel is a pure athlete and will excel at the position for years to come.

The Chiefs welcome Alex Smith as their new signal caller and, despite having a rough few years in San Fran, he has the ability to improve KC immediately. But he needs protection. Joeckel immediately adds this on the weak side.

The Chiefs will explore the option of trading down but with the lack of a single elite individual that many teams want in this draft they may find it difficult to get the price they want.

Jacksonville Jaguars - Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon 
Pick by Tommy Gibbs

The glaring lack of a franchise QB in this year's draft class means that the Jags will steer clear of taking one at #2, aiming to pick up a passer in the 2nd round to give Gabbert some competition.

Even ruling out QB, their roster has more holes than a lump of Swiss cheese, so they could go in many different directions here. The most likely seem CB, OT or DE, but because their pass rush has been so desperately wanting they'll likely address the latter as a priority.

Whilst lacking some physicality in the run game, Jordan is a rare athletic talent that should be a lynch pin of their pass defence for years to come - both in his out and out pass rush, but also due to his versatility in coverage.

Oakland Raiders - Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
Pick by John Winter

After having traded for Matt Flynn the Raiders have allowed themselves the license to go select a QB in round two or later in the draft, being third in the draft order it would not be hard to take a guy that they could be comfortable with giving Flynn/Terrelle Pryor competition at that stage, or even trade back up into bottom of the first.

With the loss of tackles Desmond Bryant and Tommy Kelly and with Richard Seymour remaining unsigned the selection of Floyd would go a long way to shoring up the teams most glaring need, defensive line. With new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver most likely switching the team to a predominantly 3-4 defence Floyd would be a great fit at his seemingly most suited five technique or at other positions on the defensive line with his versatility to play inside or kick outside.

With a need for an upgrade at a lot of other positions though the Raiders are in a position to just take what they think is the best overall player so be ready for a surprise. The no. 3 pick though will undoubtedly be up for auction, many teams will be willing to jump up to secure top talent Geno Smith or one of the elite offensive line prospects.

Philadelphia Eagles - Geno Smith, West Virginia.
Pick by Ross Watson

The Eagles would consider Eric Fisher at this spot but with Chip Kelly at the helm and looking to make his stamp on the franchise he decides to bring in a style of quarterback he has had success with in the past.

There is no doubt that this may seem like a bit of a reach to some, but it only takes one team to fall in love with his skill set and having the opportunity to sit Smith behind Vick for at least a portion of the season allows the Eagles to work with Smith and develop him to a level where he will be able to step in straight away next season at the latest.

With Vick's re-structured deal essentially meaning that he can be cut or traded at any time, the Eagles would be smart to squeeze the most out of Vick whilst letting Smith develop and be ready to make a run at the playoffs a couple of seasons down the road.

Detroit Lions - Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

Pick by Tom Snee

In a draft stacked with first day selections at the tackle position, the Lions could be tempted to look elsewhere and fill in with later picks. For me though, Eric Fisher is the cream of the draft class.

His senior year elevated him from "just" a first rounder to a potential first overall pick, and with good reason. With rare athleticism combined and vital statistics that tick every NFL scouts' box, Fisher has the potential to protect either side of Matthew Stafford right out of the gate. I'm not sure I completely understand the term "upside", but this kid has a big one.

Had Fisher not been on the board, I'd have been tempted to add Star Lotulelei or (at a push) Ziggy Ansah - lord knows the Lions need more pass rush - but the 22-year old's "Plug and Play" ability is too much to ignore. Pair him with Riley Reiff (last year's first round pick), and the Lions' offensive line has some impressive bookends.

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