By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
Updated January 16, 2013
We are now just a few days away from championship weekend, meaning that all but four NFL teams have entered offseason mode. All juniors have declared and the stage is almost set for draft season to get underway.
Here is our mock draft to get you ready for the final weekend of games before the Super Bowl:
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
It is possible that they take a tackle here, but the Chiefs need a quarterback in the worst way. Smith is not the prospect Luck or RGIII were, but he has traits that resemble a young Donovan McNabb. If there is anyone who can turn an above-average prospect into a star, it’s Andy Reid.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Defensive tackle is hardly on top of the Jags’ to-do list, but Star is one of the top two or three prospects in the draft. Scheme-transcendent, Lotulelei would make an immediate impact on this porous defense that struggled against the run and generating a pass-rush.
3. Oakland Raiders
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
This new regime has no ties to either Carson Palmer nor Terrelle Prior. Wilson can sit behind Palmer for a year before being thrown into the fire.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Joeckel may be the top player in the entire draft class. Perfect in his technique with the desired athleticism and strength to complement it, he should step into either tackle spot immediately to solidify the Eagles’ line that had protection issues all year.
5. Detroit Lions
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Lions need to start adding young talent to their back seven. Milliner is an instinctive, aggressive corner that fits perfectly with the Lions’ attitude on defense.
6. Cleveland Browns
Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The Browns have a lot of talent on their defensive line, but they lack a edge-rusher that commands a lot of attention on passing downs. Mingo is an explosive player that would benefit greatly from playing next to Taylor and Rubin.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Before the Cardinals bring in a new quarterback, they need to make some massive upgrades on their offensive line before they ruin some rookies’ career. This is a bit of a reach, but Fisher is a solid prospect who should start right away.
8. Buffalo Bills
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
This almost seems too logical to actually happen. Doug Marrone would be reunited with the quarterback he coached and developed in Syracuse, and Buddy Nix has stated repeatedly that the Bills need to pull the trigger on a young quarterback in the draft.
9. New York Jets
DaMontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
There is a very good chance that the Jets will need to add two new starters at the outside linebacker position this offseason, and they are in position to take a top prospect with the ninth pick. Moore is a versatile player that would be a great fit in Rex Ryan’s defense.
10. Tennessee Titans
Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi
The Titans had one of the worst pass defenses in football in 2012, making this an easy selection at the tenth spot. Banks does almost everything well and would be an immediate starter for the Titans.
11. San Diego Chargers
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
Rhodes is an excellent press-coverage corner who should ease into the starting role with Quentin Jammer not getting any younger.
12. Miami Dolphins
Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
Ryan Tannehill showed plenty of promise in his rookie season, but he was clearly limited by the lack of passing threats on the Dolphins’ roster. Allen is a big target that gets separation easily, which would make life much easier on the young quarterback.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
The raw-but-talented prospect out of BYU has a chance to shoot up draft boards as the draft process continues. The Bucs could use another toy to play with on the defense line, as Ansah has experience lining up across the line.
14. Carolina Panthers
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida State
The Panthers still have a gaping hole in the middle of their defensive line. Floyd is a prototypical 3-technique that would be able to start for Ron Rivera’s defense right off the bat.
15. New Orleans Saints
Johnathon Hankins, DT, Ohio State
The addition of Broderick Bunkely did not work out this year, as the Saints continued to struggle against the run and rush the passer. Hankins can do both from the defensive tackle spot.
16. St. Louis Rams
Chance Warmack, OL, Alabama
Throwing out positional value, Warmack may be the best player in the entire draft. The Rams could use at least four new starters on their offensive line.