AFC South: Johnthan Banks

I’m pleased to hear the Jaguars aren’t leaning toward a quarterback with the first pick of the NFL draft's second round tonight.

I’m wishy-washy on the guy reportedly in line to be drafted 33rd overall.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com tweeted that Mississippi State corner Johnthan Banks looks like he’ll be the choice.

Banks fits one thing the Jaguars want in their corners -- he’s big at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds. He’s got a lot of experience playing against top-level competition in the SEC. His 4.61 40 time at the combine dropped his stock.

I’m intrigued by Johnathan Cyprien, the strong safety from Florida International.

The Jaguars cut overpayed Dawan Landry and have a blank spot at the position, just as they do at cornerback beyond Mike Harris.

The Eagles and Jets are reportedly looking to move up for a quarterback, and ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio has a strong feeling the Jets' target is Geno Smith.

I don’t know how much of a game-player GM David Caldwell wants to be. But if he could convince the Jets that the Jaguars want Smith at No. 33, he might collect a nice haul of picks and still be able to get Banks or Cyprien.

Another Mel mock? You bet!

April, 17, 2013
4/17/13
2:51
PM ET
Mel Kiper Jr. goes three rounds deep in a mock draft today, just eight days removed from the start of the real thing.

You can peruse the team-by-team resultsInsider or follow his draft in order.Insider

Jacksonville Jaguars

Rd. 1 (2) OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
Rd. 2 (33) QB Matt Barkley, USC
Rd. 3 (64) CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi St.

Kiper’s analysis: I know this isn't the biggest need on the board, but given where Jacksonville is from a personnel standpoint, if the best player in the draft is available at the No. 2 pick -- and my current left tackle is potentially gone after this year -- I'm taking the guy. This is a franchise that has taken the guy it wants and eschewed great value too many times in recent years, but that's not the case here. Take Joeckel, get better at tackle, do a better job of protecting the QB and whether I stick with Blaine Gabbert or let the next guy take over, I've at least given him a reasonable chance to succeed. That next guy might be the second-round pick.

My thoughts: Kiper has Detroit moving up to No. 1 for cornerback Dee Milliner, which leaves Joeckel available for the Jaguars. The Jaguars need a sure thing, and this is a tackle rated as a sure thing, so I don't think you factor Eugene Monroe into it too much.


Tennessee Titans

Rd. 1 (10) G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
Rd. 2 (40) WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee
Rd. 3 (70) DE Alex Okafor, Texas
Rd. 3 (97) DE John Simon, Ohio St.

Kiper’s analysis: The way the board breaks, Cooper becomes the best value at a need spot. With (Ezekiel) Ansah going to Buffalo at No. 8, I look to improve my other guard position. With Cooper and free-agent acquisition Andy Levitre, I could have one of the better guard tandems in the league. Shonn Greene is on the roster because there's going to be more of an emphasis on power running, and Cooper helps accomplish that.

My thoughts: I don’t believe they’d prefer Cooper to Chance Warmack if both are on the board as they are here. Cooper may rate as more athletic, but the Titans got their athletic, pulling guard in Levitre. If they go guard I think they’d like a power tandem in pairing Warmack with right tackle David Stewart. Hunter seems like good value and can help them get past Kenny Britt after his contract runs out. I don’t expect two of the four top picks to be spent on one position as Kiper does here in the third-round at defensive end.

Indianapolis Colts

Rd. 1 (24) CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
Rd. 3 (86) OLB Trevardo Williams, Connecticut

Kiper’s analysis: Vontae Davis is a decent starter at CB when he's playing up to his full capability, but Greg Toler is a fringy starter. If the board breaks this way, I'd be getting below average value at outside linebacker and guard right here, and Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin are off the board. (Also, wide receiver is a need, but not a desperate one.) Where I end up is with Trufant, a cornerback with a diverse skill set. He can work in man or zone and offers defenses some flexibility.

My thoughts: Versatility is good, but ultimately if they have sufficient man corners, the ability of their DBs to play zone shouldn’t matter a great deal in Chuck Pagano’s system. Davis, Toler and Darius Butler are not enough as the top three so if they can land a top corner at No. 24 that will be great. Kiper sees Williams as a guy who can help the pass rush quickly and they need that badly, too.

Houston Texans

Rd. 1 (27) OT Menelik Watson, Florida St.
Rd. 2 (57) WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Rd. 3 (89) LB Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers
Rd. 3 (95) FB Lonnie Pryor, Florida St.

Kiper’s analysis: The Texans need a right tackle, and Watson's grade fits this draft range for me. He's a great athlete, and could certainly challenge to start early. I know some NFL personnel folks who think he could move inside, but in either instance I'm looking for help up front. This offensive system starts there, and you need a nimble guy for the scheme.

My thoughts: I wouldn’t object to these first three picks, though I do not expect the Texans to go offensive line in the first round. As for Pryor, Kiper says part of the rationale for putting him in Houston is that Greg Jones “isn’t a true fullback.” I respectively disagree with that so long as Jones is healthy.
NFC combine preview: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

NFL Nation previews the 2013 scouting combine by identifying the most important thing for each team to learn about its greatest area of need.

Houston Texans: Andre Johnson still dictates matchups, but the Texans lack sufficient options in the receiving group after him. Last year they tried to fill out the position with a third-rounder (DeVier Posey) and fourth-rounder (Keshawn Martin). Both have promise, but aren’t especially dynamic. And Posey is recovering from an Achilles injury suffered in the playoff loss at New England. So the combine question is, can a receiver who can stretch the field and qualify as a No. 1 guy in a few years be there for them at No. 27? Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee and Keenan Allen from Cal could be gone. Does DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson have enough speed? Does Tavon Austin of West Virginia have enough size?

Indianapolis Colts: How do the cornerbacks run? The Colts have a lot of needs, but none ranks bigger than cornerback, where they need a second starter and perhaps a nickel, as well as depth. Alabama’s Dee Milliner seems largely regarded to be the top guy at the spot heading into the combine. Odds are he’ll be gone by the 24th pick. So how do the next guys run, and how capable are they of playing man-to-man coverage? I think sorting through that for Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes, Washington’s Desmond Trufant and Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks could be the biggest thing Indianapolis needs to do at this combine.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Who are the two best pass-rushing defensive ends in this draft class for a Gus Bradley/Bob Babich defense? That’s the biggest question for the team holding the No. 2 pick in the April draft. Because if the Chiefs take a pass-rusher first overall, then the Jaguars can do no worse than get their second-favorite guy. Certainly they can go in virtually any direction given the state of their roster. But coming off a season that saw the Jags produce fewer sacks (20) than J.J. Watt had by himself for Houston (20.5), they need to answer a long-standing problem. A new defense simply has to get to the quarterback more than the old defense did. Is Bjoern Werner from Florida State or Damontre Moore of Texas A&M a potential answer?

Tennessee Titans: A pass-rusher and a strong safety are big needs. But they won’t help Jake Locker the way an interior offensive lineman (or two) can. So the Titans need to see if they rate Alabama’s Chance Warmack and North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper as highly as many analysts do, and if they find one or both worth the No. 10 pick if they are available. If they don’t think they are, is there a second- or third-round prospect they believe can be an immediate and long-term starter? If Tennessee doesn’t find a guard scenario it loves, perhaps it will be more likely to shop for a free agent for the interior.
We’ve got updated mock drafts from Todd McShay and Mel Kiper , so it’s time to take a look at what they have the teams of the AFC South doing.

No. 2 -- Jacksonville Jaguars

McShay: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

“Werner is a good overall player who is also strong against the run and would fit well opposite DE Jason Babin, but is he worth this pick? Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore is a better athlete but could slip a bit due to growing concerns about maturity.”

Kiper: Damontre Moore, DE, Texans A&M

“He's an exceptionally productive defensive end prospect with very good quickness, long arms and elite closing burst as a rusher. He will get to the quarterback, period.”

My thoughts: The need is clear. This team has needed a pass-rush boost for some time. Hopefully one of these guys or someone else proves to be worth the spot and provides an answer.

No. 10 -- Tennessee Titans

McShay: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

"Warmack is the best guard prospect in a decade and would help solidify the offensive line in front of young QB Jake Locker. Warmack has an elite combination of strength, mobility and consistency, and he would be the perfect successor to Steve Hutchinson."

Kiper: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU*

“The guy is long, fast, has a great burst and can flat-out turn the corner. But he also needs to play with better leverage, take on blockers more effectively and find ways to simply be more productive.”

My thoughts: If Warmack is as good as advertized and lasts to this spot, it sure would be nice to see the Titans invest in the interior line like they’ve said they would.

No. 24 -- Indianapolis Colts

McShay: Johnthan Banks, CB, Miss. St.

"Banks has good size, is an instinctive cover corner, and shows toughness and outstanding ball skills."

Kiper: Banks

“We know the defense could use help in a few places, and the chance to take the second-best CB in the draft is something that could make sense here. Banks can start early and help this defense.”

My thoughts: Banks certainly makes sense, but the Colts have a lot of needs on both sides of the ball. Picking the best available player here could go a lot of different directions.

No. 27 -- Houston Texans

McShay: Keenan Allen, WR, California

"The Texans need more legitimate pass-catching options outside of Pro Bowl WR Andre Johnson. Allen lacks elite top-end speed, but he's a great athlete with a good frame, and his ball skills are much-improved from early in his career."

Kiper: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech

“Simply put, Patton was really, really hard to cover in 2012, and when he went to the Senior Bowl against some of the top competition in the draft, he didn't get any easier to cover."

My thoughts: Everyone wants the Texans to find a quality No. 2 receiver, including me. But they drafted a couple last year and have tended not to regard the need the same way as we outsiders.

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