Pick: Tyler Eifert TE, Notre Dame
Analysis: The Dolphins could do a lot with this pick and I would not be surprised to see them trade down. Ultimately the team needs a play maker on offense and a top end TE will fit that need. The Dolphins run a West Coast style but lack the playmaking ability at the position. Eifert has been impressive and the Dolphins I believe have taken notice. Some believe it’s too high for Eifert which is why I believe they may try and move back and gain a few more picks.
Pick: Ziggy Ansah DE, BYU
Analysis: The Bucs secondary is a mess but I’m not sure any corner available here is leaps and bounds better than who they may find waiting for them in round 2. So the Bucs help out their secondary another way and that is by improving their pass rush with Ziggy, a guy many compare to JPP.
Pick: Star Lotulelei DT, Utah
Analysis: Last year at the combine Oklahoma DE Frank Alexander dropped out due to a supposed heart condition detected during his physical. That ended up being a false positive test result yet Alexander still slide to the 4th round of the draft where the Panthers traded a 2013 3rd round pick for him. That move has worked out for the Panthers so far. Though Star is in a different scenario I think he will still be cleared to play but like Alexander he will still slide on draft as he did in this mock. Even with OT Lane Johnson still on the board the Panthers will pounce and plug him right into their line-up where he will help free up Luke Kuechly to make plays. Run defense problem solved!
Pick: Kenny Vaccaro S, Texas
Analysis: The Saints are desperate for back end help and Vaccaro is arguably the best defensive back in the entire draft and will give the Saints a combination of playmaking and physicality in the secondary. I thought long and hard about Damontre Moore here, too, but ultimately his poor combine showing makes him too much of a risk when Vaccaro is a home run pick.
Pick: Lane Johnson OT, Oklahoma
Analysis: The Rams are in a bit of a pickle here- all the top offensive line talent is gone, along with other prized prospects such as Kenny Vaccaro. Johnson has been climbing up the boards recently due to his athleticism, football intellegence and versatility and would make a fine consolation prize in an area of need.
Pick: Desmond Trufant CB, Washington
Analysis: He’s fast and athletic. He can be physical. But most importantly, he has great cover skills. He’s got NFL pedigree and could fill a role where the Steelers need to continue to add depth.
Pick: Jarvis Jones DE/LB, Georgia
Analysis: Since the Cowboys aren’t running their 3-4 defense anymore, Jarvis Jones may not be a need or perfect fit, but last year Pete Carroll drafted Bruce Irvin 15th overall and now that pick looks brilliant. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme could use Jones the same way Carroll uses Irvin. It’s a medical risk, but Jones is too talented to pass on at 18.
Pick: Arthur Brown LB, Kansas St.
Analysis: Arthur Brown didn’t get the publicity of a Manti Te’o or Kevin Minter, but he is a better linebacker across the board than both. Brown has the quickness and coverage ability to play outside but his best fit is inside at MLB where he can come downhill and attack runners.
Pick: Kevin Minter LB, LSU
Analysis: Despite the most glaring needs being along the offensive line, if the draft falls this way in April, there won’t be an o-lineman left on the board worth the #20 pick. General Manager Phil Emery wants to go best player available, and here, that would be Kevin Minter. Future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher has had health issues over the last few seasons, and is due to be a free agent in 2013. Minter could step in day-1 and start at MLB.
Pick: DJ Fluker OT, Alabama
Analysis: The Bengals are using their franchise tag on defensive end Michael Johnson, which means they may lose right tackle Andre Smith. If that’s the case, they can replace him with another Alabama prospect, Fluker, who can start at right tackle immediately.
Pick: Tavon Austin WR, West Virginia
Analysis: The Rams are in dire need of an athlete in their WR corps, a gamebreaker whose athleticism opens up the field for deep threats like Chris Givens and possession receivers akin to what the coaching staff hopes Brian Quick develops into. Austin fills that void, one that grows deeper if Danny Amendola finds a new employer through free agency.