Find out who’s going to make the transition from Saturdays to Sundays with our picks below. We know the NFL mock draft is long so there’s plenty of eye candy pictures and relevant, fun links to check out as you scroll through it. Team needs were taken account into this mock and the order for the top 20 has been determined. The rest of the playoffs will change the later order and picks, but this is what we have now
1. Kansas City, Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs are a complete mess; especially at QB. Matt Cassel was a flop and Brady Quinn will never amount to anything. Smith got off to a ridiculous start this past season. New regimes usually mean new quarterbacks as Andy Reid takes over in K.C.
While leading his team to their inaugural Big 12 Conference victory, the senior was nearly unstoppable completing 45-of-51 passes and setting a new school record with 14 straight completions at one point. Smith finished the game with more touchdowns than incomplete passes, and he now leads all NCAA Division I FBS quarterbacks with 20 touchdowns and no interceptions on the year.
“He’s really amazing,” West Virginia quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital said of Smith. “He is just so competitive.”
Then of course, his numbers came back to Earth. For more on Smith go here
2. Jacksonville, Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
JAX cannot pass up a talent like Jones here. For more on Jarvis Jones
“I don’t know that there’s a defensive player in the country who has made more game-changing plays for his team than Jarvis Jones,
who rushes the passer, covers receivers and stops the run. He’s one of the best college linebackers I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
–Mark Schlabach, ESPN, espn.com
3. Oakland, Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah
Star lives up to his name as he’s been dominating opposing offenses this season in the Pac 12. The Raiders run defense is absolutely horrid, so they can use a run-stuffer.
4. Philadelphia, Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
So much for the “dream team.” Building a fantasy football team just doesn’t work in the real world. The Eagles need to blow things up, and get better protection for whomever will be under center next season. Joeckel came out of nowhere to become a blue chip prospect.
5. Detroit Lions, DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
What happened to the Lions this year? After the breakthrough in 2011, they’re back to their losing ways. A lot of that is due to their defensive back seven, which is lacking in depth. Bama’s D has been the best in the nation, and Milliner is the best DB they have. For more on Milliner. Go here for the Alabama cheerleader photo gallery
6. Cleveland Browns, Bjoern Werner, DE/OLB, Florida State
Werner is a tremendous value pick here for the Brownies, and they’ll find a spot for him in Cleveland. Sure, he was playing against a MAC team, but Werner made himself a lot more money the night of the Orange Bowl.
7. Arizona, Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Barkley is the absolute prototypical size for a NFL QB (6-2, 220). But man did he make a mistake coming back for his senior year (or did he?) Barkley’s team flopped horrendously and he himself injured his shoulder. His stock plummeted; until…the fact that all QBs go over-drafted every year and Zona is desperate at the position. Larry Fitzgerald must be crying for Kurt Warner to come out of retirement. Kevin Kolb is never healthy and not that good when he is. John Skelton is to quarterbacking what Tim Beckman is to coaching. And Ryan Lindley is even worse. All adds up to Barkley going way higher than he should.
For more on Barkley go here.
For bikini photos of the USC cheerleaders 2012 swim charity event go here
8. Buffalo, Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
The Bills are going nowhere with Ryan Fitzpatrick and they know it. They’ve finished last in the AFC East how many years in a row? And new regimes mean new quarterbacks. Time for change, even if this is a MASSIVE STRETCH, Wilson going this high. I wonder if Wilson knew Jessica Dorrell when he was at Arkansas? For more pics of Jessica Dorrell
9. New York Jets, Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel gets all the publicity, but Moore’s been a major force for the Aggies all year. The Jets have needs all over, so why not take a prospect who can play multiple positions?
10. Tennesse, Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
Titans need a good third linebacker.
You’ve heard a lot about Te’o this year. Here’s more:
· Became 2nd Notre Dame player to ever record at least 100 tackles for 3 consecutive seasons
· On pace to become 3rd Notre Dame player to lead team in tackles for 3 straight seasons
· No FBS linebacker has recorded more interceptions in a season since at least 2000
· Only 1 player in the FBS has forced more turnovers this year than Te’o
His defensive coordinator Bob Diaco described him thusly:
“He’s definitely in the top cut of maturity. He’s just a mature person with a big heart. Always in service, in service to the student body, his teammates, his coaches, helping out his buddies. So when you factor that with his tangible skill set on the field, that’s really a special blend.”
Go here for more on Te’o
11. San Diego, Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State
The Charger front seven is aging and will need to make some infusions of youth.
Hankins, who is 20, appeared in 38 games the past three years and started every game in 2011 and 2012 – 25 total. He was fourth on the team in tackles in 2011 with 67 stops, including 11 tackles-for-loss (-24 yards), and this past season he ranked fifth with 55 tackles, including 4.0 TFLs (-22). Go here for more on Hankins
12. Miami, Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
The Dolphins need better protection for Ryan Tannehill, which they’re going with as their franchise QB. Warmack was dominant for Bama this year and one of the biggest big men in college football. For more on Warmack. Go here for the Alabama cheerleader photo gallery
13. Tampa Bay, Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Banks is a solid, fast cover corner going to a place where there aren’t many. Since they parted ways with Aqib Talib depth has been lacking at the position. The Buccos may have the worst secondary in the NFL. I love his last name, but I can’t stand the spelling of his first name
14. Carolina Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Who’s the next Jake Long? Maybe Michigan junior left tackle Taylor Lewan.
Part of what makes these o linemen from the league so tough is who they’re constantly facing off with- great defensive lines, Whether in practice scrimmaging or in game, so many linemen are practicing their craft vs strong defensive lines.
“the Big Ten is great for defensive lines and I think one of the the best defensive lines is the one we have at Michigan. I think Craig Roh is an incredible athlete and Will Campbell just transformed everything about him, it’s incredible,” Lewan said.
For more on Lewan
15. New Orleans, Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
By some measures the Saints had the worst defense in NFL history. So we know what side of the ball they’ll choose for. Short’s former coach Danny Hope described what makes Short so special on conference call.
“He really changes the game from the defensive tackle position,” Hope said.
“He could really be a dominant player on a national level. He’s a 325, 330 pound tackle with a special athletic ability, so the better he gets the better we’re going to get.”
Short was voted co-captain by his teammates in 2011 following spring drills. In 2010 he was second team All-Big Ten after finishing fourth in the Big Ten in both sacks (6.0) and tackles for loss (12.5). He led Purdue with eight passes broken up, and during the course of the season he blocked an extra point and a field goal.
This year he was projected to be a third round pick in the draft, but decided to come back and increase his stock.
Go here for more on Short
16. St. Louis Rams, Jonathan Cooper, G/C, North Carolina
Rams need to find a way to keep Sam Bradford upright. Cooper will help make his pass protection seem less like a mosh pit.
17. Pittsburgh, Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
It seems like the Steelers draft a linebacker early in the draft every year doesn’t it? Montgomery was a tour de force during his college career in Baton Rouge. Go here for the LSU cheerleader gallery
18. Dallas, Johnathan Jenkins, NT, Georgia
A tremendous value here, and added depth to the position. Josh Brent won’t be playing for them any time soon, as he’s wanted for vehicular manslaughter and the other starter, Jay Ratliff can’t stay healthy. Go here for more on Jenkins
Go here to have a look inside the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders locker room
19. NY Giants, Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Coach Brian Kelly talked about Eifert’s versatility, and what he brings to the table.
“To do that, we have to be able to get him into some favorable positions. Obviously, he’s not going to lock down just at the tight end position. He’s a guy that can play at both a wide receiver. Heck, he could play running back if we need him to. He’s an incredible athlete and a versatile player, so we’ll take advantage of that skill.”
For more on Eifert go here
For more pics of Maria Menounos in her NYG bikini go here
20. Chicago Bears, D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
The Bears window for a title is now closed. Their defense has aged and their offense is nothing beyond Brandon Marshall. That 7-1 start is ancient history now. They have problems aplenty, but the biggest issue is the OL. Ever since he got here, Jay Cutler has received no protection. Drafting Gabe Carimi proved to be a massive bust. They’ll try to erase that mistake with this pick. Go here for more on Fluker. Go here for the Alabama cheerleader photo gallery
21. Cincinnati Bengals, Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
With a name like this he has to be a first round pick. Barkevious Mingo sounds like something I would make up. Go here for the LSU cheerleader gallery
22. Minnesota Vikings, Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Vikings have no passing game at all. It got even worse when Percy Harvin got hurt. So they’ll be desperate to take a WR
23. St. Louis Rams (from Washington), Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Williams had a breakout year following the lead of Kendall Wright. Should translate to the next level too.
24. Indianapolis Colts, Barrett Jones, G/C, Alabama
Barrett Jones can play both the guard and center positions at the next level. Winner of the 2012 Rimington Award as the nation’s top center. Jones was a unanimous first-team All-America performer as a junior en route to winning the Outland Trophy and the recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s Lineman of the Year. He is a first-team All-American again in 2012 and has started 49 games at Alabama at three different positions along the offensive line, including right guard, left tackle and centerGo here for more on Jones. Go here for the Alabama cheerleader photo gallery
25. Baltimore, Keenan Allen WR, California
They still need help at this position no matter who they sign. Maybe the problem is Joe Flacco?
To see former Ravens cheerleader Stacy Keibler cheerleader/bikini photos go here
26. Seattle, Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
Jordan came out of nowhere to become a star for the Ducks defense, which was greatly overshadowed by the offense on Chip Kelly’s squad. Dion will stay in the Pacific Northwest and fit in nicely. To see the definitive collection of Oregon cheerleaders go here
27. Atlanta, John Simon, DT, Ohio State
The injury bug has bitten Atlanta in the front seven, so they could add depth. Buckeyes DT John Simon, a future NFL pick, talked about malfeasance and punishment within the Buckeye program at media day
Has Urban Meyer’s reaction to off the field issues been very swift and very clear? What type of message has he sent?
“Coach releases all that gray area, it’s only black and white. He’ll tell you like it is. So that’s how we knew he was going to be when he came in. We just have to make sure that we’re trying our best to stay out of trouble and I realize that things happen and we know that we have to be there for the guys who get in trouble a little bit. Things do happen.”
For more on Simon go here
28. Houston, DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Under the radar prospect who could fit in nicely
29. Green Bay Packers, Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Ted Thompson is a value GM and go value again with his first pick
30. Denver, Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
As ESPN Draft Expert Todd McShay said during the Rose Bowl, Ball projects to be the first or second running back taken and it’s mostly due to his strong finish to the season. Ohio State and Stanford have the two stingiest run defenses in the country and Ball still had 291 total yards against them. His jump-cuts and vision of the field have vastly improved since deciding to return at the end of last year. Ball gets another shot to impress in the Senior Bowl on January 26th. If he balls there, he could sneak in to the first round if a team decides to go running back.
Go here for more on Ball
31. San Francisco, Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama
They don’t have a lot of glaring needs, so I think they’ll go BPA best player available, and make their already strong defense even stronger. Go here for more on Williams
32. New England Patriots, Matt Elam, S, Florida
Can’t tell you how many times I’ve ripped on the Patriots pass defense. They even gave up 300+ yards to freakin Mark Sanchez. However, they are opportunistic, and get interceptions at the most important times. But that just hides their flaws. They’ve drafted a lot of DBs lately, some of which have flopped, maybe this one won’t.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks