Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Blaine Gabbert appears to be a sunk cost. He's scared to take hits, he has no pocket awareness, he's painfully inaccurate, and he stares down his receivers. He was awful in the four games prior to the Raiders' contest in which he suffered a shoulder injury. If he continues to play this poorly, the Jaguars will have to use a first-round pick on a quarterback so they can actually be competitive with the Texans.
If Gene Smith is fired, this pick will almost definitely be used on a signal-caller. If not, Smith could trade down and ultimately go with Jarvis Jones (if Daryl Smith leaves via free agency) or either Star Lotulelei or Johnathan Hankins. I'm going to assume Smith is axed in this scenario, as the new owner will probably want to bring in his own guys.
Matt Barkley is now atop the mock again in the wake of Geno Smith's struggles, but I wouldn't rule out Smith re-taking the No. 1 position in the future. It'll be a tight race until April.
By the way, I'm doing this live because I thought it'd be fun to get instant feedback. I'm going to post my mock anyway, so why not do it this way? Follow @walterfootball for updates.
Pick change; previously Geno Smith, QB
Kansas City Chiefs: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
The Chiefs are terrible. They need to clean house and start over, as the awesome @saveourchiefs Twitter handle will tell you. They have to fire people in the front office, including Scott Pioli, who has done an awful job. They also need to find a franchise quarterback. Luckily, they're currently projected to have a very early selection, which means they can draft either Geno Smith or Matt Barkley.
Smith has struggled the past two weeks, but he's still a top-10 prospect. There are questions about his intermediate accuracy, but he has too much potential not to be considered No. 2 overall. Plus, don't forget the high demand for quarterbacks in the pass-happy NFL. The Chiefs are desperate for a franchise signal-caller.
Pick change; previously Matt Barkley, QB
Cleveland Browns: Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia
Strongside linebacker Scott Fujita's career appears to be over because of a brutal neck injury. He was set to be a free agent anyway, though this wouldn't have stopped the Browns from selecting a super talent like Jarvis Jones at this juncture.
Jones, who has separated himself as the premier pass-rusher in this class, would function just like Von Miller does in Denver. He'd start at strongside linebacker and then rush the quarterback on passing downs. The Browns desperately need someone who can do that, as they don't have a single player who can consistently get to the opposing signal-caller.
Oakland Raiders: Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah
Tommy Kelly is a bum who doesn't care about winning, as evidenced when he laughed after prolonging a San Diego drive with a pair of offside penalties. He's played so sluggishly this year, so there's no chance he's going to see a penny of his $6.5 million salary in 2013. He's as good as gone, and if I were Dennis Allen, I'd cut him ASAP.
It's a tough choice between Johnathan Hankins and Star Lotulelei. Hankins had a monstrous performance against California and moved ahead of Lotulelei, but then the Utah product responded by dominating USC's front. Lotulelei leads by inches.
Carolina Panthers: Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State
I was told by a reliable source not to mock Fletcher Cox to the Panthers because they were satisfied with their current group of defensive tackles. Based on what happened with Andre Brown two Thursday nights ago, I highly doubt they'll feel the same way in April. Besides, Johnathan Hankins is arguably the best player available. He'd be a huge upgrade over what Carolina currently has at the position.
Indianapolis Colts: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Colts did a great job of finding a worthy supporting cast (in terms of the receiving corps) around Andrew Luck. They'll have to use the 2013 NFL Draft to improve their defense. That includes finding help at the rush linebacker position.
I'm not sure why the Colts retained both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis when they're in rebuilding mode, but they'll need to find someone next spring who can step in and start once either of them moves on (which very easily could be next year). Freeney is due $14 million in 2013, so it's difficult to see him returning, especially considering that he's struggled since returning from injury.
Pick change; previously Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB
Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
I think the Bills will have to talk themselves into making this pick. It's pretty apparent now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is way too limited to win consistently in the NFL - SMH at Buffalo's front office for not recognizing this sooner - so if the team wants to move forward and contend with New England on a yearly basis, it'll have to find a franchise quarterback - even if it's Tyler Bray in a scenario in which Tyler Wilson is unavailable.
Tennessee Titans: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Tennessee definitely has bigger needs than a defensive end, but the NFL Draft is all about taking the best players available who makes sense, especially this early in the process.
The Titans have zero depth behind Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley, and it's worth noting that Morgan has been terribly inconsistent thus far. He played well Thursday against the Steelers, but he's been completely invisible in other contests. The Titans will consider a defensive end in this scenario.
Pick change; previously Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Buccaneers decided they didn't like Morris Claiborne very much, so they traded out of the No. 5 spot in the 2012 NFL Draft and selected Mark Barron two picks later. They really need cornerback help, as you may know from Eli Manning's 510-yard performance, so they'll almost have to remedy that need at this juncture. Maybe another Alabama defensive back will be the answer.
Cincinnati Bengals: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
The Bengals have major problems at linebacker. They lost Keith Rivers this past offseason, Manny Lawson will be a free agent in the spring, and Rey Maualuga is arguably one of the worst defensive starters in the NFL. I don't know if he's hurt or what, but he's been awful this season.
This is a bit early for a linebacker, but the Bengals are a team that usually locks itself into one or two positions per round. Besides, Manti Te'o is arguably the top prospect available.
Pick change; previously Bjoern Werner, DE
New York Jets: Damontre Moore, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
All Jet fans want a quarterback right now, but unless the front office is fired, it'll probably stick with Mark Sanchez and/or Tim Tebow for one more season rather than starting over. They'll blame it on Sanchez not having weapons.
Well, this isn't exactly a weapon for Sanchez, but New York has to take the best player available this early. The Jets' inability to get to the quarterback needs to be fixed. Aaron Maybin has done nothing thus far in 2012 after finishing on a strong note last year, while Calvin Pace has struggled for the most part.
Pick change; previously Justin Hunter, WR
St. Louis Rams: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Jason Smith was benched in favor of Barry Richardson and subsequently traded for turnstile Wayne Hunter, so Jeff Fisher will probably search for a tackle next spring. Fisher played against the Texans twice per year when he was with Tennessee, and he watched Houston completely ruin David Carr's career by not building a competent offensive line around him. He won't want to make the same mistake with Sam Bradford.
New Orleans Saints: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The Saints are getting zero pressure on the quarterback. Cameron Jordan is good against the run, but he's been a bust as a pass-rusher thus far. Will Smith, meanwhile, looks like a shell of his former self. He's due $10 million in 2013, so he obviously won't be back.
Bjoern Werner is the best prospect available. He figures to provide the Saints with the pass-rushing ability they clearly need.
Pick change; previously Corey Lemonier, DE
Dallas Cowboys: Johnathan Jenkins, NT, Georgia
The Cowboys had the option of picking J.J. Watt at No. 9 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. They went with Tyron Smith, who was great in his rookie campaign, but they were hurting at the defensive end position as a consequence. In this scenario, they'd be able to move Jay Ratliff outside. It's something they were thinking about when they were seriously considering taking Dontari Poe in April.
San Diego Chargers: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Why is Philip Rivers throwing to bums like Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal? The Chargers didn't adequately replace Vincent Jackson this offseason, so they'll need to find a legitimate No. 1 receiver this upcoming spring.
Pick change; previously Keenan Allen, WR
Philadelphia Eagles: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
Brandon Boykin was a nice pick in the fourth round, but he won't be enough if Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie leaves via free agency, as Philadelphia wants three high-level cornerbacks. And as crazy as it would have sounded 14 months ago, there's also a chance that Nnamdi Asomugha will be cut. Asomugha, 32 in July, will be due a whopping $15 million in 2013. He'll need to take a pay cut to remain with the Eagles because he's been pretty pedestrian thus far (though he played well against Detroit). Opposing quarterbacks are targeting him frequently and are having success for the most part.
I've been on a hiatus with draft work lately and was focused on my Draft Prospect Rankings which you could find in the rants on this site. So, I figured doing one more before the Combine where more prospect movement could occur to see where I stand before and after with those prospects. So, without further adieu here we go!