NFL Nation: 2013 bloggermock

Alec Ogletree was sitting there at No. 19 when it came time to make the pick for the New York Giants in this year's ESPN.com blogger mock draft. And man, could the Giants use him. Heck, if I were running the Giants, that's probably the pick I'd make if the draft fell just that way. But I don't run the Giants. Jerry Reese does, and he apprenticed under Ernie Accorsi, and that's the way deep-rooted organizational principles live through the decades. The last linebacker the Giants took in the first round was Carl Banks in 1984. That's not a coincidence. That's 29 years' worth of evidence that they just don't assign first-round value to players who play that position.

Trufant
So linebacker was out, and since we were rolling with trends and history anyway, I figured why not pick the position to which the Giants consistently assign first-round value -- defensive back. There were some good ones available at this point. Only one cornerback (Dee Milliner) and one safety (Kenny Vaccaro) had been taken. I went with Washington's Desmond Trufant, mainly because he was the highest-rated corner after Milliner on the Scouts, Inc. draft board. It's entirely possible that, should they find themselves in this situation Thursday night, the Giants will have D.J. Hayden or Xavier Rhodes or Jamar Taylor rated ahead of Trufant and pick one of those guys. I do not know how they have the defensive backs ranked on their board. I just know that they've used their first pick on a defensive back in four of the last eight drafts, so it made sense to me to take one there this time around.

I thought about Bjoern Werner, the Florida State pass-rusher. I thought about Sylvester Williams, the North Carolina defensive tackle. Defensive line is another position on which the Giants like to use first-round picks, and either would have made sense there. My point was that, in predicting the Giants' first-round pick, it's important to understand the way they think. Yes, they believe it's important to take the best player still available on their board. But when they craft their board, the Giants tend to assign less value to some positions than to others. So while someone like Ogletree might look like the best player available at 19 to you or me, he likely doesn't look that way to the Giants, who believe they can find good value at linebacker in later rounds.

2013 NFL Blog Network mock draft

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
4:58
PM ET
Our ESPN.com NFL experts played general manager for their divisions and executed a first-round mock draft. Here are the results of the mock draft and the explanations for each pick:

Big Board Bar
OT
6-6
306

Analysis: This was pretty cut-and-dry. I went with Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel with the No. 1 pick. Joeckel is widely expected to be the choice. I made the pick available for trade but I didn't get one bite. (Bill Williamson)

OLB
6-6
248

Analysis: The team has had pass-rush problems forever. Ezekiel Ansah is too raw and too unproven. So Dion Jordan of Oregon is my choice for them. He might need a little time, too, but he's a physical specimen with explosion and those are qualities Jacksonville needs more of at the position. (Paul Kuharsky)

OT
6-7
306

Analysis: I traded Miami's first-round pick, second-round pick and two third-rounders to move up to No. 3 for Fisher. It's a steep price, but Miami takes protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill seriously. (James Walker)

DT
6-2
311

Analysis: He can play defensive end or even nose tackle in 3-4 sets, and I think he can play on the line even when they use 4-3 looks. That's why I figure he'd appeal to Chip Kelly, and since we're all just guessing what Kelly will do anyway, why not? I think he's a better fit for the Eagles than Sharrif Floyd, who was still on the board. (Dan Graziano)

OT
6-6
303

Analysis: The Lions' true intentions are tough to read at left tackle. When they drafted Riley Reiff at No. 23 overall last year, we all assumed he was the heir apparent at the position. Since the retirement of incumbent Jeff Backus, however, the Lions have emphasized Reiff's versatility and suggested he could play right guard or right tackle. To me, versatility is irrelevant if you have a true long-term answer at left tackle. (Kevin Seifert)

CB
5-11
201

Analysis: My big decision was taking either Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner or BYU defensive end-linebacker Ezekiel Ansah. The reason I went with Milliner is because cornerback is the bigger need and Ansah projects to be more of a 4-3 defensive end. Plus, there's more risk involved with Ansah, who is a freak athlete but still a raw football prospect. (Jamison Hensley)

G
6-2
317

Analysis: Guard is arguably a greater need than tackle for the Cardinals if we count Levi Brown, Bobby Massie and Nate Potter as viable players at tackle. Every outside pass-rusher except for Dion Jordan remained available. All else relatively equal, I figured the Cardinals needed more help on offense than defense, so Warmack was the choice. (Mike Sando)

Analysis: He has a lot of upside and could fit in well next to 1,000-yard receiver Steve Johnson. There has been a lot of speculation about the Bills taking quarterback Ryan Nassib at No. 8 overall, but that thought never crossed my mind. (James Walker)

DE
6-4
241

Analysis: The Jets had the No. 2 pass defense last year without Darrelle Revis for 13 games. Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie will be fine. The front seven needs work. (James Walker)

DT
6-2
297

Analysis: Interior defensive line isn't a pressing need. The Titans signed Sammie Hill as a free agent and they like Jurrell Casey a lot. Mike Martin played in every game as a rookie while Karl Klug suffered a second-year dip. But they can make room for Floyd, a versatile interior player who can stop the run and get push into the backfield that will help the entire front. (Paul Kuharsky)

Analysis: While the team needs a left tackle, the top three prospects at the position went in the first five picks. Cooper fills a big need for the Chargers and he is a top prospect. (Bill Williamson)

DE
6-5
271

Analysis: I sent the No. 3 overall pick to Miami for the No. 12, No. 42, No. 77 and No. 82 picks. You're welcome, Oakland. If the Raiders get that offer, I'm sure general manager Reggie McKenzie will be tickled. Oakland badly needs picks to restock the roster. (Bill Williamson)

WR
5-8
174

Analysis: Austin adds an element to the Jets' offense they haven't had in a long time. Mark Sanchez -- or whoever the QB is this year -- will be happy. (James Walker)

Analysis: I wanted to do something that former general manager Marty Hurney hadn't done in a long time. I wanted to use an early draft pick on a defensive tackle. Hurney's failure to do that helped cost him his job as the Panthers struggled in the interior line. (Pat Yasinskas)

OLB
6-2
245

Analysis: I feel good about the Jones pick because I think he brings a skill set that will fit nicely in coordinator Rob Ryan's defensive scheme. Jones can rush the passer from the edge and the Saints desperately need to improve their pass rush. (Pat Yasinskas)

S
6-0
214

Analysis: The Rams must emerge from this draft with a starting safety, in my view. That led me to force this selection a little bit. I wasn't sure which safety should be rated first in the draft. Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly listed LSU's Eric Reid as his 14th-rated prospect in his draft preview guide, seven spots higher than he ranked Vaccaro. However, I wasn't going to overthink the situation. Scouts Inc. is among those ranking Vaccaro No. 1 among safeties. (Mike Sando)

TE
6-5
250

Analysis: This isn't a bad pick for the Steelers. Pittsburgh is unsure when Heath Miller will be ready this season after tearing knee ligaments nearly four months ago and Eifert is the consensus top tight end in the draft. (Jamison Hensley)

OT
6-4
339

Analysis: I had my eye on D.J. Fluker, the Alabama tackle who would allow the Cowboys to bid good-bye to Doug Free and help solidify the run game. I think he's the absolute perfect guy for the Cowboys at 18 if the guards are gone by then, and the only team I was still afraid might snatch him away was Carolina at 14. (Dan Graziano)

CB
5-11
190

Analysis: I went with Washington's Desmond Trufant, mainly because he was the highest-rated corner after Milliner on the Scouts Inc. draft board. It's entirely possible that, should they find themselves in this situation Thursday night, the Giants will have D.J. Hayden or Xavier Rhodes or Jamar Taylor rated ahead of Trufant and pick one of those guys. (Dan Graziano)

LB
6-2
242

Analysis: I'm still not sure Ogletree will be available at No. 20 in the real draft Thursday night, but in this case -- with Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert already off the board -- I couldn't justify passing him up as a long-term replacement for Brian Urlacher. (Kevin Seifert)

S
6-0
217

Analysis: The biggest needs for the Bengals are at strong safety and right tackle (only if Cincinnati fails to re-sign Andre Smith before the draft). With Vaccaro and Fluker gone, my decision was to go with either the second-best safety (either Florida International's John Cyprien or Florida's Matt Elam), a top-five cornerback (the Bengals like Houston's D.J. Hayden, I hear) or the fifth-best offensive tackle (Florida State's Menelik Watson). (Jamison Hensley)

WR
6-4
196

Analysis: Tavon Austin would have been a consideration here, but he went to the New York Jets at No. 13. Hunter wasn't ranked among the Scouts Inc. top 32 the last time I checked, but I've seen him ranked higher elsewhere -- including at No. 20 in the Pro Football Weekly Draft Preview. (Mike Sando)

Analysis: He could be a long-term replacement for Kevin Williams. (Kevin Seifert)

CB
6-1
210

Analysis: For me, though, the way our draft has unfolded, it seems like Xavier Rhodes is a perfect fit. Vontae Davis can be a lead cornerback, but Greg Toler and Darius Butler will be better if they are competing for nickel and dime and depth. (Paul Kuharsky)

CB
5-11
191

Analysis: The cornerback class drops off after the first round, and Washington's Desmond Trufant was already off the board. In this scenario, the Vikings would be in position to maneuver in the second round for a receiver. Among those who are left is Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins. (Kevin Seifert)

Analysis: No one ever knows for sure who a team is going to draft, but this year, no one really has anything more than a guess on the Packers. They appear to be interested in improving their defensive line, at least based on their limited activity in free agency, and Jenkins seemed the best of what was still remaining on the board. (Kevin Seifert)

WR
6-2
206

Analysis: Keenan Allen has nice size and sufficient speed and quickness, and even if he doesn't grow into Andre Johnson's successor, I believe Allen can be a quality No. 2 receiver. The question is how quickly? (Paul Kuharsky)

DE
6-3
266

Analysis: He was the top rated of the several candidates I had on the board for Denver when the choice was made, so I think the Broncos got really nice value here. (Bill Williamson)

WR
6-0
201

Analysis: Woods does a lot of things well and looks NFL ready. The Patriots need receivers on the outside who could fill in for Brandon Lloyd, who was cut this offseason. (James Walker)

CB
5-10
192

Analysis: I liked him as much or more than some of the cornerbacks that went ahead of him. I see Taylor as an instant starter opposite Asante Samuel with Robert McClain as the nickelback. (Pat Yasinskas)

S
6-1
213

Analysis: There were other highly regarded safeties available. Reid caught my attention because scouts think he can play either safety position. Trent Baalke, the 49ers' general manager, recently said he preferred safeties with versatility so that coordinators could better disguise their intentions. (Mike Sando)

LB
6-1
241

Analysis: Te'o has first-round talent and I'd be surprised if he was there at No. 32 (my guess is the Vikings take him). This is a situation where need fit best player available. (Jamison Hensley)

 
There was concern, I won't lie, as I sat there with the No. 18 pick for the Dallas Cowboys in the ESPN.com blogger mock draft. Dallas absolutely needs to come out of the first round with a new starting offensive lineman, and they were going off the board quickly. The top three tackles went in the top five picks, and when guard Chance Warmack went to Arizona at No. 7, I got worried.

Eyeing North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper, who was still on the board at No. 10, I reached out to Paul Kuharsky to ask if the Titans wanted to trade down. He said they did. I offered Dallas' first-round pick and third-round pick (Picks 18 and 80) for the No. 10. Paul countered by offering Picks 10 and 142 (fifth round) for Picks 18 and 47 (second round). I said I couldn't do that, after ripping the Cowboys for giving up their second-round pick last year to move up for Morris Claiborne. Don't want to be hypocritical, right?

Fluker
So Paul and I talked about some possibilities involving 2014 compensation, but we couldn't agree on it, and he ended up taking Sharrif Floyd for the Titans at No. 10. My next move was to reach out to Bill Williamson, who was picking for the Chargers at No. 11. I made the same offer to him -- the 18 and the 80 -- but he said he was going to stay put and make a pick. He picked Cooper, which obviously disappointed me-as-Cowboys.

Now I had my eye on D.J. Fluker, the Alabama tackle who would allow the Cowboys to bid goodbye to Doug Free and help solidify the run game. I think he's the absolute perfect guy for the Cowboys at 18 if the guards are gone by then, and the only team I was still afraid might snatch him away was Carolina at 14. Fluker didn't feel worthy of trading up for, so I decided I'd stay put and hope he fell to 18, and if he didn't, I'd look into trading down and going after someone like Syracuse's Justin Pugh.

But Pat Yasinskas took Sheldon Richardson for Carolina at 14. And (because I know you guys want to know) Mike Sando took safety Kenny Vaccaro for the Rams at 16. And lo and behold, there was Fluker still sitting there at 18 for the Cowboys. I ran to the podium.

Will the Cowboys do the same if the same situation plays out Thursday night? It doesn't sound like them. But I think they'd be wise to take Fluker. And I don't even think they'd be nuts to take an offensive lineman in the second round as well. The need -- short term and long term -- is that significant.
Picking fourth for the Philadelphia Eagles in this year's blogger mock draft, I had my eye on tackle Eric Fisher from Central Michigan. After the Chiefs took Luke Joeckel with the first pick and the Jaguars took pass-rusher Dion Jordan with the second, I felt good about the chances that Fisher would slip past the Raiders and fall to the Eagles. They could start him at right tackle and move Todd Herremans to right guard with the idea that Fisher would eventually replace Jason Peters at left tackle.

Alas, James Walker and the Miami Dolphins moved up and traded almost all of their remaining picks to Bill Williamson and Oakland to get that No. 3 pick and draft Fisher. That left the Eagles with a choice, I felt, between offensive tackle Lane Johnson and defensive lineman Star Lotulelei.

I went with Lotulelei, in part because I felt No. 4 was too high for Johnson but mainly because the buzzword since Chip Kelly took over has seemed to be "versatility," and I think Lotulelei's appeal is just that. He can play defensive end or even nose tackle in 3-4 sets, and I think he can play on the line even when they use 4-3 looks. That's why I figure he'd appeal to Kelly, and since we're all just guessing what Kelly will do anyway, why not? I think he's a better fit for the Eagles than Sharrif Floyd, who was still on the board, and I think the way this mock played out proved that this was way too early to take quarterback Geno Smith.

Speaking of Smith, though, since the Eagles have the third pick in the second round, I stayed around after making my picks to keep an eye on things late in the first. Once we got past pick 24, with Smith still on the board and no obvious destination for him among the remaining first-round teams, I figured it was worth finding out if I could make a good value deal and trade back into the first round to get him. Jacksonville, which holds the first pick in the second round, was the only team I figured I needed to jump, so I made the same conditional offer to each of the eight teams picking in the final eight spots of the first. The condition was that Smith still be on the board at that time, and the offer was the 35th pick and the Eagles' fifth-round pick (No. 136).

A couple of teams -- the Vikings at 25, the Texans at 27, the Broncos at 28, the Patriots at 29 and the Ravens at 32 -- countered by offering their pick for the Eagles' second-rounder and fourth-rounder (No. 101). But I just felt that was too much considering the Eagles might be able to get Smith anyway at 35 and that EJ Manuel felt like a decent backup plan there.

In the end, no one took my offer and no deal got done. And since we stopped after one round, there's no way for me to know if Smith would have been there at 35. But it was worth a shot if I could have got a steal, I thought. Smith wouldn't have to start right away in 2013 for the Eagles and could develop into something special there down the road.

So that was my Eagles mock. How do you guys think I did?
If the #bloggermock is anything like Thursday's first round, the Baltimore Ravens will be fielding calls for teams trying to jump back into the first round to get West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith.

In the #bloggermock, I had trade offers from the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills. The Eagles were offering their picks in the second (35th overall) and fifth rounds (136th), and the Bills were willing to give picks in their second (41st) and fourth rounds (105th). Neither one added up to make it worthwhile in the draft value chart, so I passed.

In retrospect, I could've traded with the Eagles and moved back three spots to get Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o and an additional fifth-rounder. But the Ravens, who have 12 picks, don't need to add more picks. And, considering the latest arrest for Rolando McClain, I stayed pat and went with one of the top-rated inside linebackers of the draft.

Yes, it will be a controversial one because he was involved in a well-publicized hoax where he had a fake online relationship. And yes, Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't look thrilled when cameras showed him watching Te'o's slow 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.

Te'o, though, has first-round talent and I'd be surprised if he was there at No. 32 (my guess is Vikings take him). This is a situation where need fit best player available.

Other options for the Ravens at this spot were: Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Florida safety Matt Elam.

If you missed how the other AFC North teams fared in the #bloggermock, the Browns selected Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner at No. 6, the Steelers took Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert at No. 17 and the Bengals grabbed Florida International safety Johnathan Cyprien at No. 21.

2013 #bloggermock: 49ers at No. 31

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
2:45
PM ET
What's going on: Our eight divisional bloggers are participating in an ongoing mock draft Tuesday. Each blogger can make selections or trade picks for the four teams in his division.

How to access: Blogger mock console, and via #bloggermock on Twitter.

The latest: I used the San Francisco 49ers' first-round pick, No. 31 overall, for LSU safety Eric Reid.

My rationale: The 49ers have lots of options here because they hold multiple picks in each of the next few rounds. We could easily justify sending a safety, defensive lineman or even a tight end to the 49ers in this range. I went with the safety in part because the 49ers were able to get the second player taken at the position after Kenny Vaccaro, who projected to St. Louis at No. 16. There were other highly regarded safeties available. Reid caught my attention because scouts think he can play either safety position. Trent Baalke, the 49ers' general manager, recently said he preferred safeties with versatility so that coordinators could better disguise their intentions. Several big defensive linemen were off the board by this point, including Star Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd, Sheldon Richardson, Sylvester Williams and Johnathan Jenkins. Of course, the 49ers have the draft capital to move up for one of those players or another lineman to help their rotation, should they choose to go that route.

What's next for the NFC West: That's it.

2013 #bloggermock: NFC North

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
2:35
PM ET
Our 2013 #bloggermock took an early twist and left me only partially satisfied as the protector of NFC North interests. Of note: Not a single quarterback was drafted in the first round, something that hasn't happened in the real draft since 1996. We also passed up the running back position in the first round, which that hasn't happened since the common draft began in 1967.

Below are the players I would up picking for the NFC North and my reasoning in each instance.

Johnson
5. Detroit Lions
My pick: Oklahoma left tackle Lane Johnson
Final decision: Between Johnson, Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah
Process and reasoning: The Lions' true intentions are tough to read at left tackle. When they drafted Riley Reiff at No. 23 overall last year, we all assumed he was the heir apparent at the position. Since the retirement of incumbent Jeff Backus, however, the Lions have emphasized Reiff's versatility and suggested he could play right guard or right tackle. To me, versatility is irrelevant if you have a true long-term answer at left tackle.

It's possible the Lions are deliberately clouding Reiff's future to hide their draft intentions. In the end, I thought the No. 5 pick was a great place to find a blue-chip left tackle and further strengthen the Lions' line by allowing Reiff to start at right guard or right tackle.

Johnson might be the third-best left tackle in the draft, but draft analysts have suggested that's a matter of experience more than aptitude. I had a brief pre-draft trade discussion with AFC East blogger James Walker, who wanted to use the Miami Dolphins' No. 12 overall pick to move up and draft a left tackle. But there was no way Johnson would be available at No. 12, so I needed much more than what Walker was offering (a second-round pick) to pass up getting him.

I know I've pushed the Lions to draft a cornerback like Milliner for years, but finding a left tackle can be even more difficult. I was tempted by Ansah, but decided to gamble that some decent defensive ends would make it to the top of the second round. In this mock, three of Mel Kiper's top five defensive ends would be available after the first: UCLA's Datone Jones, Auburn's Corey Lemonier and Florida State's Tank Carradine.

Ogletree
20. Chicago Bears
My pick: Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree
Final decision: There wasn't much debate.
Process and reasoning: I did not expect Ogletree to be available at No. 20 and knew it would be difficult for the Bears to move up. But once he made it past the New Orleans Saints at No. 15, I thought I had a chance. The New York Giants have been speculated as a possible landing spot, but the Giants haven't selected a linebacker in the first round since 1984 (Carl Banks).

I'm still not sure Ogletree will be available at No. 20 in the real draft Thursday night, but in this case -- with Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert already off the board -- I couldn't justify passing him up as a long-term replacement for Brian Urlacher.

Williams
Hayden
23 and 25. Minnesota Vikings
My picks: North Carolina defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden
Final decision: Between Williams, Hayden, Cal receiver Keenan Allen, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o
Process and reasoning: I really do think that Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has genuine interest in Te'o and wants to draft him. In looking back on this mock, I just got too greedy and sneaky for my own good.

I had enough ammunition to move up, but for whom? Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson went way too high (No. 8 to the Buffalo Bills), and West Virginia's Tavon Austin was gone at No. 13. Is Austin worth even an extra second-round pick to the Vikings? I couldn't do it.

Ogletree plays a position of need, but I felt sketchy about giving up extra draft choices for a player with multiple off-field flags in the past year.

So my plan was to grab two really good non-middle linebackers and then cross my fingers that someone, perhaps even Te'o, would be available in the second round, where Spielman could work some trade magic and grab one. It almost worked. Te'o made it to No. 32, where the Baltimore Ravens drafted him just after learning that Rolando McClain had been arrested once again.

Media analysis is split on whether Te'o is significantly better than the next tier of middle linebackers, and most people think the Vikings are most interested in him. So if the Vikings passed, I thought there was a chance he would tumble. In the end, that's why I passed him over even though I'm not sure Spielman will.

As for receiver, I had my eyes on Tennessee's Justin Hunter, but he went one slot ahead at No. 22. So I went with Williams, who could be a long-term replacement for Kevin Williams, and Hayden. I had a small chance to trade down, but the best offer I got to move from No. 25 to the top of the second round at No. 35 was an additional fifth-round pick. Not good enough. The cornerback class drops off after the first round, and Washington's Desmond Trufant was already off the board. In this scenario, the Vikings would be in position to maneuver in the second round for a receiver. Among those who are left is Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins.

Jenkins
26. Green Bay Packers
My pick: Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins
Final decision: Between Jenkins, Syracuse offensive lineman Justin Pugh, Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson
Process and reasoning: The honest truth of the matter is that I was just guessing here. Congratulations to the Packers. No one ever knows for sure who a team is going to draft, but this year, no one really has anything more than a guess on the Packers. They appear to be interested in improving their defensive line, at least based on their limited activity in free agency, and Jenkins seemed the best of what was still remaining on the board. I don't mind saying he was even more of a guess than usual.
With the No. 30 overall pick in the ESPN.com blog network mock draft, I just chose Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor for the Atlanta Falcons.

Taylor
I know there are rumblings out there that the Falcons might try to trade up in the real NFL draft. But, apparently, I’m not as good as making deals as general manager Thomas Dimitroff. I did put some feelers out to jump up and get Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, but I wasn’t able to pull it off.

In the end, I was pretty content to stay at No. 30. As the pick approached, I had one strong offer to trade out of the first round and add a couple extra picks.

But I declined. Once I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get a shot at Milliner, I turned my focus toward Taylor.

I liked him as much or more than some of the cornerbacks that went ahead of him. I see Taylor as an instant starter opposite Asante Samuel with Robert McClain as the nickel back.

A starting cornerback really was Atlanta’s only remaining major need. It now has been filled.

AFC East mock draft analysis

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
2:30
PM ET
With five picks in the first round, it was a busy time for the AFC East in the 2013 blogger mock draft. Our annual projection of the NFL draft took place again this week with some surprise picks. Our division made a draft board and did our best to stick to it.

Here is how things went for the AFC East:

No. 3: Miami Dolphins

Pick: LT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

Analysis: Surprise! Yes, the Dolphins were extremely aggressive in the blogger mock draft, which falls in line with general manager Jeff Ireland's mindset this offseason in free agency. Miami has 11 draft picks total and can afford to make a major move up to get an elite left tackle. I didn't expect Oklahoma's Lane Johnson to fall in my lap at No. 12 overall. So I kept in touch with AFC West blogger Bill Williamson with the Oakland Raiders at No. 3 and NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert with the Detroit Lions at No. 5. I decided to go big with Fisher, who I really wanted. I traded Miami’s first-round pick, second-round pick and two third-rounders to move up to No. 3 for Fisher. It's a steep price, but Miami takes protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill seriously. The Dolphins also keep one of their second-round picks to fill another hole at cornerback or defensive end in the next round.

No. 8: Buffalo Bills

Pick: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

Analysis: I was looking to trade down with Buffalo but didn’t receive any interest. All three left tackles (Luke Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson) were gone. So all I heard was crickets. On top of that, Alabama guard Chance Warmack was taken one pick higher at No. 7 to the Arizona Cardinals. Having to make the pick, I trusted our final board and went with Patterson. He has a lot of upside and could fit in well next to 1,000-yard receiver Steve Johnson. There has been a lot of speculation about the Bills taking quarterback Ryan Nassib at No. 8 overall, but that thought never crossed my mind. If Buffalo wants to risk taking a second-round prospect No. 8 overall, that's on the Bills. It turns out no quarterback was taken in the first round of our blogger mock draft. That sets up pretty well for the Bills to take a quarterback at the top of the second round. That's the better route for the Bills to take on Thursday.

No. 9 and No. 13: New York Jets

Picks: DE Barkevious Mingo and WR Tavon Austin

Analysis: I view this pair as a success. The Jets have two picks in the top 13 and drafted two players from our final board who can make an immediate impact. Mingo and Austin are two of my favorite players in this draft and provide a solid foundation to rebuild the Jets. Mingo can provide an important pass rush and Austin is a playmaker who can boost New York's anemic offense. The Jets gained the second first-round pick from the Darrelle Revis trade. This pair could make Jets fans start to move on.

No. 29: New England Patriots

Picks: USC WR Robert Woods

Analysis: This was a tricky pick as I waited for nearly the entire first round to develop. I even got an offer from NFC East blogger Dan Graziano, whose Philadelphia Eagles were interested in West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. New England needs picks, and the Eagles offered their second- and fifth-round pick for No. 29. The value just wasn’t good enough, so the Patriots balked and filled a major need at receiver with Woods. I liked two receivers in this spot for New England: Woods and Justin Hunter of Tennessee. Hunter was taken by the St. Louis Rams at No. 22. Woods does a lot of things well and looks NFL ready. The Patriots need receivers on the outside who could fill in for Brandon Lloyd, who was cut this offseason.

Overall, it was another successful blogger mock draft for the AFC East. I landed an elite left tackle for Miami, a receiver with plenty of upside for Buffalo, a pass-rusher and dynamic offensive playmaker for New York and a possible starting receiver for the Patriots.

Do you agree or disagree with the picks? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Before making my pick on behalf of the Houston Texans, I talked with Philadelphia about a trade. (Everyone did, Dan Graziano was dying to deal in to the bottom of the first but wouldn’t part with enough.)

I do think the Texans could look to trade down to a team wanting a quarterback before the needy teams come around again in the second round. Then Houston could get its receiver early in the second round instead of late in the first.

Allen
I didn’t get a good enough offer to move, so I stayed put and stayed with priority one: a receiver to play opposite Andre Johnson and help the Texans be less dependent on their No. 1 guy.

Keenan Allen has nice size and sufficient speed and quickness, and even if he doesn’t grow into Johnson’s successor, I believe Allen can be a quality No. 2 receiver. The question is how quickly?

Gary Kubiak and the staff will work hard to get him up to speed and he could do some things in their offense right from the start.

The draft so far:

1. KC: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
2. JAC: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
3. MIA: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan (Trade)
4. PHI: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
5. DET: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
6. CLE: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
7. ARI: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
8. BUF: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
9. NYJ: Barkevious Mingo, OLB-DE, LSU
10. TEN: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
11. SD: Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC
12. OAK: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU (Trade)
13. NYJ: Tavon Austin, WR, WVU
14. CAR: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
15. NO: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
16. STL: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
17. PIT: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
18. DAL: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
19. NYG: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
20. CHI: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
21. CIN: John Cyprien, S, FIU
22. STL: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
23. MIN: Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
24. IND: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
25. MIN: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
26. GB: Johnathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
27. HOU: Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

Follow our draft as it continues to unfold, right here.

Blogger mock: Rhodes to Colts

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
1:59
PM ET
The Indianapolis Colts could help themselves at selecting a pass-rushing outside linebacker, cornerback, receiver or on the offensive line in the draft.

But with the top two receivers off the board in ESPN.com's #bloggermock draft, I think it’s too early for the first guy of the second group. Though if the Colts love a wideout, there is one risk: Houston needs a receiver three spots later and if the Colts pass on the one they are enamored with, they could wind up covering him twice a year.

Defensive end Datone Jones from UCLA has been a frequent mention for Indianapolis in this spot, and he’s a possibility.

Rhodes
For me, though, the way our draft has unfolded, it seems like Xavier Rhodes is a perfect fit. Vontae Davis can be a lead cornerback, but Greg Toler and Darius Butler will be better if they are competing for nickel and dime and depth.

Reviews of Rhodes sound a bit like what I imagine Chuck Pagano would write up if he was describing the kind of corner he wants on the Colts: “Exceptional height-weight-speed press corner with a unique blend of length, speed and physicality,” says Pro Football Weekly’s draft guide.

Sounds like he’ll be able to line up across form Andre Johnson and other big receivers the Colts will try to contain.

1. KC: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
2. JAC: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
3. MIA: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan (Trade)
4. PHI: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
5. DET: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
6. CLE: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
7. ARI: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
8. BUF: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
9. NYJ: Barkevious Mingo, OLB-DE, LSU
10. TEN: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
11. SD: Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC
12. OAK: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU (Trade)
13. NYJ: Tavon Austin, WR, WVU
14. CAR: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
15. NO: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
16. STL: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
17. PIT: Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
18. DAL: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
19. NYG: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
20. CHI: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
21. CIN: John Cyprien, S, FIU
22. STL: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
23. MIN: Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
24. IND: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

Follow our draft as it continues to unfold, right here.
The Cincinnati Bengals are probably hoping either Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro or Georgia offensive tackle D.J. Fluker falls to them at No. 21.

Cyprien
The chances of that happening are not great, especially with Vaccaro. So it didn't come as a surprise that the St. Louis Rams selected Vaccaro at No. 16 and the Dallas Cowboys took Fluker at No. 18 in our #bloggermock.

The biggest needs for the Bengals are at strong safety and right tackle (only if Cincinnati fails to re-sign Andre Smith before the draft). With Vaccaro and Fluker gone, my decision was to go with either the second-best safety (either Florida International's John Cyprien or Florida's Matt Elam), a top-five safety (Bengals like Houston's D.J. Hayden, I hear) or the fifth-best offensive tackle (Florida State's Menelik Watson).

I would be lying if I said the Bengals' private workout with Cyprien on Monday didn't factor into my decision. He's everything you want from a strong safety: athletic, physical and powerful. The Bengals will have to work on his instincts, but he'd be a great pairing with Reggie Nelson.

Next pick for the AFC North blog is the Baltimore Ravens with the No. 32 and last pick of the first round.

2013 #bloggermock: Rams at No. 22

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
1:55
PM ET
What's going on: Our eight divisional bloggers are participating in an ongoing mock draft Tuesday. Each blogger can make selections or trade picks for the four teams in his division.

How to access: Blogger mock console, and via #bloggermock on Twitter.

The latest: I used St. Louis' second first-round pick, No. 22 overall, for initial first-round pick, No. 16 overall, for Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter.

My rationale: Tavon Austin would have been a consideration here, but he went to the New York Jets at No. 13. Hunter wasn't ranked among the Scouts Inc. Top 32 the last time I checked, but I've seen him ranked higher elsewhere -- including at No. 20 in the Pro Football Weekly Draft Preview. I've gone back and forth in my mind over whether the Rams truly have a pressing need at receiver after adding tight end Jared Cook in free agency. There are three legitimate WR candidates on the roster. The Rams have faith in Chris Givens, Brian Quick and Austin Pettis. They could still use greater depth at the position. They could still use additional prospects in case Quick in particular fails to reach his potential. Hunter is a rangy 6-foot-4 with outstanding speed. Beyond that, who knows? All these picks are risky.

What's next for the NFC West: The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to pick at No. 31.
Edelman
Did I go into this mock draft thinking the Pittsburgh Steelers would take Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert? Not really. I knew it was a possibility, but I had penciled in either Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones or Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson for Pittsburgh at No. 17.

Well, like my first pick with the Cleveland Browns, this didn't go according to plan at all. I was shocked when the Buffalo Bills selected Patterson at No. 8. If Patterson was their target, the Bills could've traded back and still got him. Seven picks later, at No. 15, the New Orleans Saints addressed their need for a pass-rusher by taking Jones.

That led me to Option No. 3, which is Eifert. This isn't a bad pick for the Steelers. Pittsburgh is unsure when Heath Miller will be ready this season after tearing knee ligaments nearly four months ago and Eifert is the consensus top tight end in the draft.

I did consider Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree, who could be the eventual replacement for Larry Foote. I also looked at 3-4 defensive ends for this spot, but I didn't see any worth taking this high. In the end, I kept coming back to Eifert.

My next pick in the #bloggermock is the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 21.

2013 #bloggermock: Rams at No. 16

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
1:30
PM ET
What's going on: Our eight divisional bloggers are participating in an ongoing mock draft Tuesday. Each blogger can make selections or trade picks for the four teams in his division.

Vaccaro
How to access: Blogger mock console, and via #bloggermock on Twitter.

The latest: I used St. Louis' initial first-round pick, No. 16 overall, for Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro.

My rationale: The Rams must emerge from this draft with a starting safety, in my view. That led me to force this selection a little bit. I wasn't sure which safety should be rated first in the draft. Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly listed LSU's Eric Reid as his 14th-rated prospect in his draft preview guide, seven spots higher than he ranked Vaccaro. However, I wasn't going to over-think the situation. Scouts Inc. is among those ranking Vaccaro No. 1 among safeties. That was good enough for me to make a selection that addressed a glaring need for the Rams. St. Louis could have had its choice of running backs here, but that didn't seem like the right move for a team planning to go with a committee approach at that position -- particularly in the absence of obvious candidates.

What's next for the NFC West: The Rams are scheduled to pick 22nd, followed by the San Francisco 49ers at No. 31.

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