...of course I did not get back in time to post, that indeed I took the Penguins tonight. Oh well, those of you that hate my guts can take pleasure that if the Caps come back and win, I lose another NHL par.
Last update: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. Major changes.
Next update: Next week. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
The order of this 2014 NFL Mock Draft is somewhat random.
St. Louis Rams: David Yankey, OT, Stanford 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Chance Warmack, G and Kenny Vaccaro, S
The Rams desperately need to protect the fragile Sam Bradford, or whomever they'll have starting at quarterback in the future (more on that later). David Yankey could start at left tackle, which would allow St. Louis to move Rodger Saffold to another position.
Sheldon Brown is enjoying a great season, but he won't be able to play at this high level forever. He'll turn 35 a month prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, so Cleveland will need to find some young blood at cornerback.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dion Bailey, OLB, USC 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Johnthan Banks, CB
The Buccaneers have a woeful pass defense because of their secondary, but a vacant third linebacker position doesn't help matters. They'll need to find someone worthy enough to play with Mason Foster and Lavonte David.
Dallas Cowboys: Adrian Hubbard, DE/OLB, Alabama 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): John Jenkins, NT
Anthony Spencer is a free agent, so chances are the Cowboys will find another complement for DeMarcus Ware this offseason. If not, they'll definitely need to do it the following spring.
Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Johnson, ILB, Tennessee 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Sam Montgomery, DE
The Bengals may not be able to use one of their first three picks this year on an inside linebacker, but they'll have to upgrade Rey Maualuga eventually because he's a major liability.
Two of Chicago's key defensive tackles, Henry Melton and Amobi Okoye, will be free agents in March. Losing Melton would be especially painful, so if that happens, they'll need to find a solution sometime soon.
Denver Broncos: Louis Nix, NT, Notre Dame 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Jonathan Cooper, G
Louis Nix is the best player available at this spot - I wanted to slot him about half-a-dozen picks earlier, so the Broncos are getting great value. They're also filling a dire position of need.
San Francisco 49ers: Ryan Shazier, DE/OLB, Ohio State 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Matt Elam, S
The 49ers can afford to take one of the best players available on the board with this pick because they have so few needs. They could stand to find depth at the rush linebacker position.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Jeoffrey Pagan, DE/DT, Alabama 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Alex Okafor, DE/OLB
The Steelers have to get it right with one of these first-round five-techniques. Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward have shown very little throughout their brief NFL careers, so Pittsburgh will eventually have to bring someone in to challenge them.
New York Giants: Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Ezekiel Ansah, DE
Prince Amukamara looks like the real deal, but the Giants need help across from him. Corey Webster, who has been torched often this year, could be cut this coming offseason because he'll be due $7 million in 2013.
I've moved Robert Woods out of my 2013 NFL Mock Draft because of his immense struggles this year. Perhaps he can bounce back in 2013 and place himself back into first-round consideration. The Ravens could use a wideout with Anquan Boldin turning 34 a few months after the 2014 NFL Draft.
Green Bay Packers: Ray Drew, DE/DT, Georgia 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Keenan Allen, WR
Ryan Pickett and the oft-injured Mike Neal will have hit free agency by the time the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around. The Packers will need to find reinforcements up front.
Atlanta Falcons: Deshazor Everett, CB, Texas A&M 2013 NFL Mock Draft Pick (as of 12/13): Barrett Jones, G/C/OT
It's very possible the Falcons will be using an early-selection on a cornerback in the near future. Brent Grimes will be a free agent after this season; Dunta Robinson will be due $10 million in 2014; while Asante Samuel will be entering his mid-30s.
The Rams, drafting in the Redskins' spot, will probably know what they have in Sam Bradford following the 2013 season. Bradford will be due $14 million in 2014, so St. Louis will either have to give him a new contract or pull the plug.
Logan Thomas is very raw, but he's still projected to go in the first round at some point because of his immense upside.