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. Thanks to stupid plays, as seen on Monday night at Pittsburgh, they're currently projected to have a very early selection, which means they can draft either Geno Smith or Matt Barkley.
Smith is now atop the mock again in the wake of Matt Barkley's struggles, but I wouldn't rule out Barkley 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 Matt Barkley, QB
Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
The Jaguars can't bring back Blaine Gabbert as the starter next year. They just can't. How would they sell their fans on that? "Hey, fans who struggle to come to the game anyway, come see Gabbert for another season! We promise he won't suck as much as he did in 2012!" I mean, really, unless Gabbert shows tremendous improvement in the second half of the season, Jacksonville will need to go a different direction at quarterback. It certainly didn't help Gabbert's cause that Chad Henne outplayed him against the Colts.
If Gene Smith is fired, this pick will almost definitely be used on a signal-caller. If not, Smith could try a quarterback in Round 2 and ultimately go with Jarvis Jones (if Daryl Smith leaves via free agency), Star Lotulelei or maybe even Damontre Moore. I'm going to assume Smith is axed in this scenario, as the new owner will probably want to bring in his own guys.
Barkley was the consensus No. 1 pick entering this season, but he's struggled at times. Due to the demand at the quarterback position, however, he's still projected to go in the top five.
Pick change; previously Geno Smith, 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.
Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, NT, Utah
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 several Thursday nights ago, I highly doubt they'll feel the same way in April. Besides, Star Lotulelei is arguably the best player available, as he completely dominated USC's front in a recent matchup. He'd be a huge upgrade over what Carolina currently has at the position.
Oakland Raiders: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
The Raiders really miss Kamerion Wimbley, as Matt Shaughnessy struggles to put any pressure on quarterbacks - which would explain why they're 31st in the NFL with 11 sacks. Only the Jaguars are worse in that department. Oakland needs to find a legitimate pass-rusher.
Damontre Moore recently said he plans on returning to school, but he did leave the door open by saying, "I'll look at it." What he'll see is everyone projecting him to be a top-five pick. That could prompt him to change his mind.
Pick change; previously Johnathan Hankins, NT
Buffalo Bills: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
This is a reach, but we've seen second-day talents like Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder go in the top 12. Teams are so desperate for quarterbacks that they'll make moves like this.
I think the Bills will have to talk themselves into making this pick unless they sign QB Dog Killer, which is looking like a strong possibility. General manager Buddy Nix has repeatedly stated that his team will select a franchise quarterback this upcoming April, and he's been pretty forthcoming with his draft plans.
Philadelphia Eagles: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Is there any doubt that the Eagles have to upgrade their offensive line? Their tackle position is in shambles. Jason Peters recently tore his Achilles; Demetress Bell has been a bust signing; while King Dunlap simply sucks. Even if Peters comes back close to 100 percent, an upgrade could be made at right tackle, which would allow Todd Herremans to move back to his natural guard position.
Luke Joeckel had a slow start to his 2012 campaign, but he's improved tremendously lately, even stifling the LSU pass-rushers recently. He's moved into the 5-8 range.
Pick change; previously DeMarcus Milliner, CB
St. Louis Rams: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
The Rams are in a tough spot here. They need tackle and receiving help, but the players available at those positions would be reaches. So, they either have to trade up for Luke Joeckel or move down for Keenan Allen or Justin Hunter. Or they could just stand pat and take a stud to help their defense.
St. Louis is fine at two linebacker spots with James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar, but they have a big hole at the strongside position, which Manti Te'o can fill. Te'o's the best available player at this juncture. This is usually a bit higher than middle linebackers will go, but linebackers who can cover very well will have more value now with these athletic tight ends emerging. The Rams need to contain Vernon Davis to avoid losing to (or tying) the 49ers.
Pick change; previously Luke Joeckel, OT
New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
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.
Barkevious Mingo has also struggled at times this year, but his potential and 2011 production still makes him a top-15 projection.
St. Louis Rams: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
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.
Like Luke Joeckel, Taylor Lewan has improved enough this season to move up draft boards.
Pick change; previously Keenan Allen, WR
Tennessee Titans: DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
The Titans were interested in drafting a highly ranked cornerback at No. 20 a few months ago, but neither Stephon Gilmore nor Dre Kirkpatrick fell to them. Maybe they'll have more luck in the 2013 NFL Draft. Alterraun Verner will be entering his contract year in 2013, so Tennessee will need a new starter if it can't retain him. Besides, the Titans need to fix their 25th-ranked pass defense.
Pick change; previously Bjoern Werner, DE
Cincinnati Bengals: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Geno Atkins is a monster in the interior, but the Bengals have to find pass-rushing help on the outside, especially with Michael Johnson set to hit free agency. Bjoern Werner is the top player available, so Cincinnati can fill a big need with the top prospect on the board.
Pick change; previously Manti Te'o, ILB
San Diego Chargers: Johnathan Hankins, NT, Ohio State
Johnathan Hankins is way too good to pass up here. Plus, it's not like the Chargers can't stand to find help on the defensive line. Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, who isn't very good to begin with, will be a free agent in March.
Pick change; previously Justin Hunter, WR
Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR, California
Brian Hartline is a starting-caliber wideout, but in the wake of his zero-catch performance against the Rams, it's clear that he's not a No. 1. The Dolphins need a top option for the struggling Ryan Tannehill.
Pick change; previously Chance Warmack, G
New Orleans Saints: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
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.
Despite his inconsistency, Sam Montgomery is one of the best prospects available. He figures to provide the Saints with the pass-rushing ability they clearly need.
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.
Picks 9-13 (5 in a row) are all cornerbacks. Without looking, I doubt any position in the history of the draft has one position with 5 straight picks. The chances that corner, or any position would be ranked 9-13 are bordering right around.... Zero! You might want to re-think that....