The 2014 NFL Draft starts at 8:00 P.M. EST on May 8.

The 2014 NFL Draft is upon us! Here’s my first and only mock draft this year, which includes trades, because, why not? Mock drafts should be fun, trades happen all the time, so I attempted to include some for entertainment. I also included the top five players at several positions after the mock draft. Are you questioning why I have someone at a particular spot, or why teams will trade? Let me know!

1. Houston TexansJadaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: This will most likely be the pick no matter who has it come draft day.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from trade with St. Louis Rams, via Washington Redskins) – Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: The Rams find a trade partner and the Buccaneers waste the pick on Manziel. Maybe it’s not the Bucs, but I see Manziel being the pick here at number two no matter who is picking.
3. Jacksonville JaguarsKhalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: This pick could easily be Watkins, but head coach Gus Bradley gets a defensive star and waits for the offensive one later.
4. Cleveland BrownsSammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: The Browns GM raved about having Watkins opposite Josh Gordon. I don’t think it was smoke.
5. Oakland RaidersMike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: Big receiver for whoever ends up at QB.
6. Atlanta FalconsGreg Robinson, OT, Auburn: The Falcons thank the football gods that the best lineman is somehow still available.
7. St. Louis Rams (from trade with Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: And the Rams get the other top tackle to protect their overrated, made-of-glass quarterback and future picks from the Bucs.
8. Minnesota VikingsC.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama: The Vikings supposedly like Bortles a lot, but if Mosley is still here, he’s the better player and safer pick.
9. Buffalo BillsEric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: The Bills get EJ Manuel’s new best friend.
10. Detroit LionsJustin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: The Lions are supposed to be high on Gilbert, despite Dennard being the better CB in my opinion.
11. Tennessee TitansKyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: Again, the Titans are infatuated with Fuller. He’s the pick, but don’t rule out a surprise quarterback pick.
12. New York GiantsJake Matthews, OT, Texas, A&M: The Giants need plenty of offensive line help.
13. St. Louis RamsCalvin Pryor, FS, Louisville: I could see the Rams trading here too, but if not, the hard hitting Pryor is the pick.
14. Chicago BearsAaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: Defensive line depth will help the team from collapsing at the end of the year.
15. Pittsburgh SteelersDarqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: The Steelers get much needed secondary help.
16. Dallas CowboysHa Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama: The Cowboys could go a few different ways here, but maybe they’ll finally get the safety they’ve needed for over a decade.
17. San Francisco 49ers (from trade with Baltimore Ravens) – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: Big brother Harbaugh gives Jim a break again, and the 49ers use some of their many draft picks to get a speedy receiver for Kaepernick.
18. New York JetsMarqise Lee, WR, USC: With Beckham gone, the Jets settle for Lee. It’s just too bad Lee won’t have a good quarterback.
19. Miami DolphinsZach Martin, OL, Notre Dame: An offensive lineman named Martin; if you could get past the name, this is exactly what Miami needs.
20. Arizona CardinalsBlake Bortles, QB, UCF: Arizona has a good roster, and will be a force in the future if they can land a talented, young quarterback. Bortles fits the Bruce Arians offense.
21. Green Bay PackersJace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: Amaro is versatile, and the Packers need a TE. With the position becoming increasingly important in the league, they Amaro for Rodgers.
22. Philadelphia EaglesAnthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: Chip Kelly gets a Pac-12 guy to improve his defense.
23. Kansas City ChiefsBrandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: Cooks could be dynamic in Andy Reid’s offense. If the rumors of the contract negotiations with Alex Smith are true though, this could be Teddy Bridgewater.
24. Cincinnati BengalsTeddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: This will be a statement about Andy Dalton either way. I say the statement is “time to move on”.
25. San Diego ChargersJason Verrett, CB, TCU: When you face Peyton Manning twice a year, you need all the CB help you can get.
26. New England Patriots – (from trade with Cleveland Browns via Indianapolis Colts) – Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State: Shazier can be used in different ways. Who other than Belichick to take advantage of that?
27. New Orleans SaintsBradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: Another toy for Rob Ryan’s defense.
28. Carolina PanthersMorgan Moses, OT, Virginia: This pick should be a receiver, but the trend of ignoring weapons for Newton continues. He gets protection instead.
29. Cleveland Browns (from trade with New England Patriots) – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: After passing on a quarterback at fourth overall and trading back from 26, the Browns finally get their quarterback of the future to get Watkins and Gordon the ball.
30. Baltimore Ravens (from trade with San Francisco 49ers) – Louis Nix, DL, Notre Dame: The Ravens always find value at their pick. This year will be no different.
31. Denver BroncosStanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: After the Broncos saw what Seattle’s corners did to them in the Super Bowl, they go out and get a big corner for themselves.
32. Seattle SeahawksAllen Robinson, WR, Penn State: The Seahawks like to make strange picks in the first round. Here’s a possible one.

 

Rankings

Quarterback

1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

2. Blake Bortles, UCF

3. Derek Carr, Fresno State

4. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

5-Tie. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois

5-Tie. A.J. McCarron, Alabama

Running Back

1. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State

2. Tre Mason, Auburn

3. Bishop Sankey, Washington

4. Ka’Deem Carrey, Arizona

5. Jeremy Hill, LSU

Wide Receiver

1. Sammy Watkins, Clemson

2. Marqise Lee, USC

3. Mike Evans, Texas A&M

4. Odell Beckham Jr., LSU

5. Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

Tight End

1. Eric Ebron, North Carolina

2. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

3. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Washington

4. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa

5. Arthur Lynch, Georgia

Offensive Linemen

1.Greg Robinson, Auburn

2. Taylor Lewan, Michigan

3. Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

4. Zach Martin, Notre Dame

5. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

Defensive Linemen

1. Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina

2. Louis Nix, Notre Dame

3. Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

4. Dee Ford, Auburn

5. Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State

Linebacker

1. Khalil Mack, Buffalo

2. C.J. Mosley, Alabama

3. Anthony Barr, UCLA

4. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

5. Shayne Skov, Stanford

Defensive Back

1. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

2. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

3. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

4. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

5. Calvin Pryor, Louisville

Matthew Visinsky/Icon SMI

With the NFL season coming to a close, I usually lull around before posting anything here again. When I do, it’s usually regarding the NFL Draft, because I get carried away on that subject. This year, however, I want to see if I can create more discussion with those of you who are reading this. I want to talk about more than just the NFL game previews. So this week, I’ll be giving you my take on some of the biggest sports stories of the week. Feel free to comment on here, Facebook, or on Twitter @TorresSports.

Michael Sam:

In case you have been living under a rock all week, the NFL is set to have it’s first openly gay NFL player, as Michael Sam of Missouri announced he is gay. He will be drafted this year, and there has been much talk as to how people should take this. There’s only one way people should deal with this: tolerance and acceptance. This is 2014, and it shouldn’t be shocking that people are born differently every single day. Being a gay player means nothing more or less. People can make arguments about what it will be like in the shower with an openly gay player. Well guess, what? Your favorite players have been showering with gay players their entire collegiate and professional careers, they just didn’t know about it. Well what do you say to your kids about a gay player on your favorite team? Well if your kid doesn’t know about differences in sexuality, you should be teaching her/him a lot more than you are already. Take it as a teaching experience. What about the bible? Well if it is your belief that being gay is somehow a choice, and against the bible, I can’t change your mind on that. I will say, however, that I’m of the belief that the bible teaches you not to be judgmental, to love one another and not carry hatred. If people who disagree with your beliefs can tolerate them, you can do the same for theirs. What about Sam’s draft stock? I said I wouldn’t get into the NFL Draft, but there’s no reason this announcement should hurt his draft stock. I won’t get into the details about how good he is or what his weaknesses are. I will say though, that I’ll take a player who has been through a rough background like Sam (multiple family deaths, siblings in jail) and overcame obstacles to be a captain on a team that knew he was gay, over the entitled early draft entree who expects everything to be handed to him. So let’s be progressive, and accept that this should not be an issue for the fans, league, or players.

Derek Jeter:

The longtime Yankees shortstop announced he is retiring at the end of the season. Why is this a story? Because Jeter is arguably the greatest shortstop of all time. GASP! How could I say such a thing? He’s not even the greatest Yankee of all time! What about all the others in baseball history? Don’t forget them! Well I will, if they weren’t even alive when my dad was being born in the 50s. I’d like to see any of them get a hit off of Justin Verlander today, or beat a throw to second from Mike Trout. Cal Ripkin Jr., another you could make the argument for, doesn’t even come close to Jeter’s career batting average. Ozzie Smith, another candidate for the SS GOAT, only hit for over .300 once in his career, and he had 0 homeruns that year. Meanwhile, Jeter’s 3,000th hit? A homerun. I may be putting a lot into Jeter’s offensive numbers, but in his prime he had amazing range and is known for some of the best hustle plays in baseball history. Just go YouTube some of his historic highlights, and have fun watching one of the best. You won’t get to after this year.

LeBron James:

I cannot stand basketball arguments about who is better than whom? Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan? James or Magic Johnson? It doesn’t matter. So when James came out and said he’s going to be in the Mount Rushmore of NBA greats, I stayed away from all the polls and questions ESPN and other outlets had about whether this was true. Fans, especially James-haters, were in an uproar calling him cocky, arrogant, reminding people that he’s not clutch. So what did James do? He delivered one of the season’s best highlights by besting one of the league’s best shooters, Stephen Curry, with a last second three pointer and a dominating performance. If you ask me, James WILL be one of the best in NBA History, if not THE best, when he finally retires. All the Jordan disciplines can rag on me all they want, but the fact is James is unlike anyone else the Association has ever seen. Think of Wilt Chamberlain’s physical dominance over everyone else, and you have that with James today. No one else can lock down Derrick Rose in the playoffs of his MVP season like James did, AND play the five spot like he has done as well. Is he cocky? Maybe. But when you’re as good as James is, it’s simply confidence and truth. So let’s stop all the James hating and appreciate that every time we watch him play, we get to witness an all-time great.

Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognitio:

Ted Wells finally came to the conclusion of his investigation of the bullying situation in the Dolphins organization and concluded that Martin did not fabricate anything, and Incognito (with help from two other linemen) was harassing and bullying him along with others. This comes as no surprise, as I find Incognito to be one of the worst things about the NFL. He was kicked off of two college teams for his conduct, run out of St. Louis for the same reason, voted dirtiest player in the league, started a fight with a Houston Texans player this past pre-season, and accused of sexually harassing a woman at a team event. Why the Dolphins decided this guy should have a leadership role, I’ll never know. I suppose that speaks of why they can’t be a more successful franchise. Regardless, people need to stop blaming the victim in Martin just because they think he’s a pansy for running out on his team. Martin may have handled it wrong in terms of not bringing this to everyone’s attention sooner, or confronting Incognito, but the fact remains that Incognito is and was wrong on a much larger scale.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I’d love to discuss any of these topics or others with you, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Justin Edmonds

After a week without real football (the Pro Bowl doesn’t count), everyone is looking forward to what should be a great Super Bowl. Peyton Manning is back in the big game, and will be going against the league’s best defense. The Seahawks have one of the best young quarterbacks, and will have to get past a Denver defense which has been hot during the postseason. Before we get into a full prediction though, let’s look back at where I was wrong and right about the conference championship games.

Where Mike was wrong: 

I said both the 49ers and the Patriots would advance to the Super Bowl, and neither did. While the 49ers were close to making it to their second Super Bowl in as many years, the Patriots were never in the game against Denver, even though the final score indicates otherwise. I had a sneaking feeling that the Patriots would overcome all of their injuries and find a way to beat the Broncos, and that didn’t happen. I thought the 49ers would stay on fire, and they did, but for only three quarters in Seattle before they fell apart in the fourth quarter.

Where Mike was right:

I could totally discount what I said heading into conference championship weekend and revert back to my original pick before the season, which was the Seahawks versus the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Go back to my Facebook page, you’ll see that’s what I said. However, I don’t care about what I said before the season. Every casual fan of the NFL can say, “Oh yeah, I called it before the season started” and make themselves sound like a football genius, but I’m not going to do that. These are the two most talented teams in the league, and it means nothing to have said they would be in the Super Bowl in August. My grandma could have seen this game coming. It’s like picking all number one seeds, the most talented in the country, in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament; you’ve got a 25 percent chance of one of them being right. I’m more focused on getting this weekend right, rather than being right about what I said months ago. With that being said, here is my Super Bowl Prediction.

NFL Super Bowl Prediction: 

This game is going to be a back-and-forth, close game that could go down to the final possession. I expect to see a different team leading at the end of each quarter. Last week after the conference championships, I thought the Seahawks were going to win the Super Bowl. This may have been reactionary after the Seahawks had beat what I thought was the best team in the league, but I also took into account that the Super Bowl was going to be in freezing temperatures with wind and flurries. Manning has always struggled in cold, windy conditions, and I thought this would be a factor. I also thought the referees would allow the Seahawks to play their brand of hold-coverage and get away with pass interference on every play, and the Denver receivers would struggle in what would be a frozen or snowed over field.

After a week, however, I’ve taken everything into account, and it doesn’t appear as if the weather will be much of a factor on Super Bowl Sunday. As close as I think the game will be, here is why I think the Denver Broncos will win the Super Bowl.

The Broncos are going to stop the Seattle running game, plain and simple. Sure, in the beginning of the game, Marshawn Lynch is going to pound his way into the Denver defensive line, but as the game goes on, it’ll become less and less about the running game. Terrance Knighton of the Broncos is playing as well as any defensive lineman in the league right now, and he should find his way into the Seattle backfield plenty of times. Historically speaking, there have only been two rushers who had 1,000 yards in the regular season who ran for over 100 yards in the Super Bowl. Frank Gore last season was one, and Thomas Jones of the Bears in 2006 was the other. Both of those guys were on the losing end of the Super Bowl. Combine that with the league being more about passing these days, it won’t be up to Lynch to win the game for Seattle. I expect both defenses to play well against the run, and even though I think the Seahawks will gain an early edge because of it, I don’t see it staying consistent. It will, however, give them the lead at the end of the first quarter, while Manning tries to figure out the Seattle defense.

The second quarter will be a different story, in my opinion. Manning will find a way to figure out what Seattle is doing defensively and exploit their weaknesses. With Seattle’s running game coming to a halt, I expect the Broncos to have the ball more often in the second quarter, gain a little traction in the running game, and lead entering halftime.

The second half will be a lot like the first. The Broncos will probably come out trying an up-tempo, no-huddle offense, but I expect the long halftime show to give Seattle’s defense the rest and adjustments they need to keep up. They’ll change their game plan, and it’ll take Manning a series or two to figure it out. The up-tempo won’t work, Seattle will get the ball back, and Russell Wilson will likely make some improvised play to score and give them the lead before the end of the quarter.

In the end, with both defenses playing equally well, it’ll come down to which offense can make the big play. The Super Bowl always has an unsung hero; a guy who the casual fan doesn’t know and makes a big play to give his team the shot it needs to win the game. There’ve been guys like Willie Parker, David Tyree, and Jacoby Jones just to name a few. I think this is the point in the game we’ll see someone step up to the plate so to speak, and be that guy in the spotlight. Look for someone like Jacob Tamme, Trindon Holliday, or Andre Caldwell to give the Broncos a game changing play in their favor. I think this will allow Manning to play ball control, take one final lead with little time left, and ultimately win the game. Both teams are equally matched, and when it comes down to it, I like Manning over Wilson to make the play when it counts. Final: Denver Broncos 24, Seattle Seahawks 20

AP Photo/Steven Senne | ASSOCIATED PRESS

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs may not have been as exciting as the wildcard round, but it did give us what should be two great conference championship games. Tom Brady faces off against Peyton Manning once more, which will add a whole new part to the argument of which quarterback is the better of the two. The 49ers and Seahawks, bitter division rivals, will play for the third time this season to settle their feud. Two legendary quarterbacks on one side, two young quarterbacks beginning their legacy on the other. Regardless of the outcomes, the NFL should come away with a great Super Bowl match-up.

Before I go into my predictions though, a quick recap of where Mike was right and where Mike was wrong.

Where Mike was right:

Three out of four isn’t bad, and seven of eight is even better. I thought the 49ers, Seahawks and Broncos would win to advance to the conference championship games and they did. Combined with my picks from wildcard weekend, I’ve called seven of the playoff games correctly. To be fair, some weren’t too difficult, but it’s been fun to watch my predictions turn out to be true.

Where Mike was wrong:

The one playoff game I’ve missed on so far was picking the Colts over the Patriots. The Colts put up a fight, but couldn’t overcome the Patriots somehow great rushing offense. The New England backs are all above average, yet LeGarrette Blount looked like Jerome Bettis on Saturday. The interceptions by Andrew Luck weren’t the downfall of the Colts (get over it, people, interceptions aren’t the worst thing in the world). They simply got outplayed by Brady and company, and I was completely off. I should have known better than to doubt Bill Belichick.

NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTIONS:

New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos – Brady and Manning will be in the conference championship once more. It’ll be the first road playoff game for Brady since he lost to Manning in Indianapolis. I think the odds are against New England, but I’ve learned my lesson, and I don’t doubt the Patriots in this one. This game will be very close though, possibly overtime once again, like when these two teams met in November. The game won’t be similar, however, so let’s not dwell on a two-month-old game. The Broncos were able to run the ball at will against the Patriots the last time, and there’s no way Knowshon Moreno is rushing for 224 yards again. Look for Manning to take advantage of what should be good weather and a weak Patriots secondary instead. On the flip side, the Patriots should be airing it out too, unlike their performance against the Colts. The running game will help, but there’s no way Brady is going without a touchdown pass again. He’ll be killing an injured Broncos defense, and will ultimately be the deciding factor in this game. It may come down to a final possession, but I expect the Patriots to come away with a three point win.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks – Throughout the offseason and regular season, the 49ers and Seahawks competed against each other. Each transaction, each move, each strategy they made were done so to gain the upper hand on the other. Their feud since the offseason has been reminiscent of the 49ers and Cowboys in the early to mid-90s. To them, there were no other teams in the league. It was just them, and the winner was going to take it all, so everything they did was done in preparation of playing in the NFC Championship. That’s where the 49ers and Seahawks find themselves now. They split the regular season series, two games that hardly mean anything anymore. What matters now is that the 49ers are rolling and are close to full health. The Seahawks are not getting as much as they should out of Russell Wilson, and will be missing potentially key players. This is why I think the 49ers will win this game. I expect Colin Kaepernick to outplay Wilson, and the 49ers defense to do enough to stop Marshawn Lynch. It’ll be extremely physical, low scoring, but the 49ers should pull away late, and win by six.

The Patriots and 49ers will go to the Super Bowl.

Photo by: San Francisco 49ers

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs is this weekend, and it will be tough to follow the greatness that was wildcard weekend. Inspired by one of my favorite people in sports media, Colin Cowherd, I’ll be touching on where I was right and where I was wrong about wildcard weekend, and making my picks for this weekend’s games. It’s been a long time since I posted anything here, so if you’re taking the time to read this, I thank you very much.

Where Mike was right:

Not to brag or anything, but I called every game correctly this weekend. I could do a whole list of things I was right about, but I won’t gloat and bore you. Instead, I’ll just recap by saying I picked the 49ers, Chargers, Colts and Saints to win and they did.

Where Mike was wrong (kind of):

At the beginning of the season, I picked the Steelers to sneak into the playoffs as the sixth seed. They did not make it over the Chargers, but very well could have if a proper penalty was called in the Chiefs-Chargers season finale, allowing Ryan Succop to attempt another field goal.

Where Mike was right: 

That Andrew Luck guy is amazing, isn’t he? I’ve been saying it since he entered the league. Right now, if you asked me what quarterback I would take out of all in the league, I would take Luck without hesitation. He’s the only quarterback who has any and all attributes you could want at the position. His team has made the playoffs twice in his two years, and have no business doing so with the personnel and injuries they have. Yes, that come from behind win over the Chiefs was a team victory, but the Colts wouldn’t have been anywhere close without Luck. He was the main reason why I picked them to win.

Where Mike was wrong: 

Also at the beginning of the year, I said the Texans and Falcons would make the playoffs as wild card entries. Instead, they’re picking first and sixth in the NFL draft, respectively, so I totally whiffed on that one. Who didn’t though? I also thought the Cowboys would make the playoffs, and even though it looked as though they would for a while, they Cowboyed up and missed it in the end once again. So thanks, Dallas.

Where Mike was right:

No one, except for Chargers fans, saw San Diego beating Cincinnati. The Bengals were undefeated at home this season, had a bunch of talent and were due for a playoff win. Sorry, they’re still the Bengals, and I knew they would be. Andy Dalton played his usual playoff role, throwing interceptions and hurting his team’s chances of winning. The Chargers, meanwhile, are riding high and have a completely underrated head coach in Mike McCoy. He and his coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for fixing Phillip Rivers and keeping their team fighting.

NFL PLAYOFFS DIVISIONAL ROUND PICKS: 

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks – I like Seattle in this one. The Saints surprised everyone by using a lot of two tight end sets and running the football against the Eagles, and they’ll need to do the same against the Seahawks. However, I see this being stopped right away by the Seahawks, forcing them to revert back to their usual passing game, and making costly turnovers. Seattle is a team that needed the rest to get healthy, and will come out pumped by the raucous home crowd that provides a borderline unfair advantage. I’m taking the Seahawks by ten.

Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots – I have an upset in this one, with Indianapolis winning. Picking Tom Brady to lose at home in the cold? How dare I! *Gasp* Well the fact is The Patriots don’t have the greatest of teams around Brady, and he’s had to carry them throughout the year. The teams that go into New England and win are tough, gritty, and make enough plays when it matters, much like the Baltimore Ravens. Oh yeah, the Colts head coach, Chuck Pagano, came from Baltimore and has created the same type of team in Indianapolis. The Colts are a group that never gives up, and they have that Luck guy, so I’m taking them to beat New England by three.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers – I’m really not being biased here, but my pick for this one is San Francisco. When these two teams played earlier in the year, Colin Kaepernick was in a slump and played without Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Aldon Smith on defense. This time, Kaepernick is red-hot, has his weapons and Smith is back rushing the passer. I expect the experienced 49ers to come out firing and deliver a huge punch early to the Panthers. The Panthers will bounce back and make a valiant comeback because they have a great defense and a very talented quarterback in Cam Newton, but will ultimately fall short, giving San Francisco the win by six.

San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos – While I think this game is going to be a lot closer than people think, I’m taking Denver to avoid the upset. San Diego is coming into Denver on fire, and can very easily win this game. The Broncos, however, will be looking to make a statement and will do all they can to avoid what happened to them in the playoffs last season. Peyton Manning is playing as well as he ever has and should have most of his weapons available to him. It’s undeniable that Manning plays worse in the cold, but the temperature shouldn’t dip too low to have an effect. The suspect Denver defense is going to make for a competitive game, but look for Manning to control the ball at the end of the game to come out with a win by no more than three.

Thanks again for checking out the blog. Below you’ll find my mock draft for 2013. The drama, uncertainty and surprises during the draft are what make me love it so much, and this year will be no exception. In fact, with no surefire stars but so many potential starters, this draft could be as wild and unpredictable as any in recent memory. Now usually, I don’t like to include projected trades in mock drafts because my name is not Adam Schefter. I have no clue when the hell a trade will occur, but they happen all the time. However, I do feel so confident about one potential trade that I included it below. The rest is all predictions and players I feel would fit certain teams depending on how the draft plays out. I also try to include “Best available” picks because as Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim once told me in an interview, you have to pick the best player available rather than reach for a need. Check out my big board to see my best available players.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckell, OT, Texas A&M — The Chiefs need a solid tackle to be a cornerstone in the rebuilding process. Head coach Andy Reid knows he will need to protect Alex Smith at quarterback, and will get the guy to do just that. The Chiefs are looking into trading offensive tackle Brandon Albert, and will probably use that pick on defense later in the draft.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan — Even though the Jaguars have a new coaching staff and are left with a still-developing quarterback they didn’t draft, I think they’ll give him another year to prove himself and get some protection for him at this spot. It’s tempting to put Dion Jordan here, but Fisher is arguably the best player in the draft on some boards. Fisher is the pick.
3. Oakland Raiders: Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida — The Raiders need a lot of things, so as long as they get someone who can make an immediate impact, it’ll be a good pick. Floyd can do just that for this defense. Even though they traded for Matt Flynn, expect the Raiders to attempt the Seahawks approach of drafting a mid-round quarterback to compete with him.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon — There’s a lot of media buzz about how the Eagles are such a wild-card in this draft and how no one knows what they’re going to do with the number four pick. If Jordan is here at four, it’s simple. Jordan will fit in well with what former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly wants to do on defense. Jordan will also breathe some new life into a defense which was horrendous last season.
5. Detroit Lions: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU — The Lions will not only be filling a need with this pick since they lost Cliff Avril, but will be getting an extremely athletic player with enormous potential. Ansah could be the fastest rising prospect in draft history. Why is that? This guy didn’t play football until 2010. Now he’s a projected top five pick. His freakish athleticism combined with his ability to learn the game quickly will make head coach Jim Schwartz salivate.
6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama — This pick could be a possible trade down spot for the Browns, as there are a lot of decent cornerbacks in this draft and could garner a lot of attention from teams looking to get Lane Johnson. It’s too difficult to say who would jump up here though, so I have the Browns taking Milliner to combine with former first rounder Joe Haden. Ignore the recently-surfaced issues about Milliner’s ball skills and past surgeries. Milliner has said he models his game after Haden, and the two will make a great duo to stifle the AFC North passing attacks.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma — The Cardinals luck out that a great player falls into their lap to fill a need. The Cardinals offensive line is arguably the worst in the league, and Johnson is an athletic tackle converted from tight end. He’ll be able to protect newly-acquired Carson Palmer immediately, and whoever the long-term quarterback is in the future.
8. Buffalo Bills: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama — Warmack is one of the best players in the draft, and I don’t think the Bills hesitate if he’s still on the board. Some people this week have been saying the Bills will draft Ryan Nassib in a panic-move to make sure no one else gets him. I think they’ll be fine waiting a few picks and trading back into the round to get Nassib, a move I really think can and will happen. With Warmack, they’ll have a guard to protect Nassib for a decade.
9. New York Jets: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina — Guards are hardly graded at a premium, but they are rarely as talented as Warmack and Cooper. The Jets grab Cooper in an effort to ensure they can protect the quarterback and prevent whoever that may be from butt-fumbling.
10. Tennessee Titans: Barkevius Mingo, DE, LSU — The Titans could go a couple of different ways here, but I have them improving their pass rush to make it one of the best in the AFC. Sure, they need help at guard and safety, but the best guards are gone and this is a deep safety class where one can be picked in the second round. At this point, the Titans go best available with Mingo.
11. San Diego Chargers: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama — The Chargers had an almost non-existent offense last season, and much of it was because of the poor offensive line play. Fluker may not be as good as the three tackles going before him, but he will help a poor offensive line right away. Maybe with a new head coach and more protection, Philip Rivers can get back to his productive and winning ways.
12. Miami Dolphins: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State — With the Dolphins close to wrapping up a trade for Albert from the Chiefs, they’ll be set at tackle and won’t have to reach for one here. The Dolphins trading down with someone coveting Tavon Austin or Kenny Vaccaro is a possibility, and is probably the better option. If they can’t find a trade partner though, they could benefit from a big corner like Rhodes. He’s a big strong corner who played receiver in high school, and will do well if he takes his talents to South Beach.
13: New York Jets (From Buccaneers): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia — Surprise! Not many people think the Jets will be taking Smith. In fact, the oh-so-great Todd McShay doesn’t even have Smith in the first round. Smith is not elite, but the hundred quarterbacks the Jets have on the roster are average at best. This is where new general manager John Idzik puts his stamp on the franchise. With the pick they get from the Revis trade, which officially started the rebuilding process, the Jets get their quarterback of the future. Smith isn’t elite yet, but he definitely has more potential than the other Jets quarterbacks.
14. Carolina Panthers: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – The Panthers have been suffering at this position for a few years now. Remember, head coach Ron Rivera is a defensive guru. All the attention the Panthers get focuses on the offense because of Cam Newton and his weapons, but Rivera would love to have someone like Lotulelei anchoring his defensive line and helping his group of talented linebackers. Lotulelei may have slipped a couple of spots because of his health concerns, but the Panthers will pounce on him when he does.
15. New Orleans Saints: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia — I imagine Rob Ryan throwing a tantrum in order to have the Saints pick Jones. The offense isn’t the biggest worry except for tackle, but that could be found later. The Saints defense was horrible last year and Jones would be a huge improvement. There are concerns with Jones due to his health, but his explosiveness will outweigh them in the eyes of the Saints.

Photo credit: AP

16. St. Louis Rams: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia — The Rams catch a break with Austin still being available, and rush up to the podium to get him. Austin is the perfect weapon for Captain Check-down, AKA Sam Bradford. He’ll be able to run bubble screens, quick slants and hitch routes for Bradford and will be a big time threat for yards after the catch. With Danny Amendola gone, there’s no way the Rams pass on Austin if he’s available.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas — Many draft experts think Vaccaro will conveniently be available for the Cowboys so that the Longhorn can play in Dallas. However, the Cowboys will have to trade up ahead of the Steelers if they really want Vaccaro. Vaccaro could sit behind either Ryan Clark, who gets banged up throughout a season and can’t play in Denver, or Troy Polamalu, who is also injury prone and getting old. Yet if called upon, Vaccaro could contribute right away and would be the first player in a much needed Pittsburgh youth movement.
18. Dallas Cowboys: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri — Dallas could use a couple of more picks and trade down a few spots, but Richardson might be too good to pass up here. If the Cowboys are indeed going into a 4-3 defense, Richardson would be perfect under Monte Kiffin. He’s got a good combination of strength and quickness, and could even move to a 3-4 defensive end should Dallas decide to switch back to that.
19. New York Giants: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia — In my opinion, ever since the Giants acquired Eli Manning, they’ve nailed it every time they had a first round pick. They take an extremely talented player despite questions other teams may have about them. This year won’t be any different. By getting Ogletree, the Giants will not only be addressing the linebacker issues, but getting one of the ten best players in this draft. Questions be damned, Ogletree will be a Giant.
20. Chicago Bears: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee — Didn’t it seem like all the Bears offense was last season was Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall? This left defenses able to focus on Marshall for the entire 60 minutes. With a big-time threat like Patterson, that won’t be happening much longer. Yes, the Bears need to replace Brian Urlacher, but Patterson is too good to take a middle linebacker at this point.
21. Cincinnatti Bengals: John Cyprien, FS, FIU — The Bengals are interested in Cyprien, who would not only fill a need for them, but is a darn good player. People can try to knock Cyprien for playing at Florida International, but he held his own at the Senior Bowl with the other top talent and played well when FIU went up against bigger schools. Plus, the Bengals don’t care where you’re from, what you did, or who you are if you can help them win.
22. St. Louis Rams (From Redskins): Eric Reid, S, LSU — This one is a trickier pick for the Rams. They could go best available after addressing a big time need at number 16, but this pick could be a bit need-based as well. In a division with the 49ers and Seahawks, the Rams need a player who can help against the run, cover tight ends and prevent the deep ball. Enter Eric Reid to replace the loss of Craig Dahl to San Francisco.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame — Picking Te’o is going to get a huge reaction from the crowd at Radio City Music Hall, but the Vikings will also be getting a decent player to step in right away and help a struggling linebacker group. A coach like Leslie Frazier is not going to care about Te’o’s fake girlfriend or overblown 40-yard dash time. All he’ll care about is Te’o’s ability to keep up with tight ends such as Martellus Bennett, Jermichael Finley and Brandon Pettigrew. Te’o can do that.
24. Indianapolis Colts: Bjoern Werner, OLB/DE, Florida State — Dwight Freeney is no longer a Colt, Robert Mathis is aging, Jerry Hughes is off and on as a pass rusher, and Erik Walden is a linebacker the Packers didn’t care to keep. So how do you solve this? Take Werner, stand him up as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and let him get after the quarterback. The Colts were twenty-third in sacks last season with only 32. Werner can get at least 10.
25. Minnesota Vikings (From Seahawks): Keenan Allen, WR, Cal — The Vikings haven’t had much luck with free agent wide receivers in recent memory (see Bernard Berrian and Michael Jenkins), and they just signed Greg Jennings away from Green Bay. To avoid another wide receiver letdown, the Vikings could benefit from a young, quick receiver like Allen. Allen could not only act as Jordy Nelson opposite Jennings, but will certainly help Christian Ponder grow into the above average quarterback he can be.
26. Green Bay Packers: Matt Elam, S, Florida — Elam will be able to eventually take over the position Charles Woodson left empty, but will be able to immediately help this team in dime packages too. With his playmaking ability and excellent ball skills, the Packers won’t have to worry about another interception/touchdown debate with the Seahawks. Too soon? Good thing Elam is available then.
27. Houston Texans: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State — All the talk here is that the Texans could draft Andre Johnson’s eventual replacement, or at least a wide receiver to help him immediately. That could happen, but another thing that will help the Texans passing game is keeping Matt Schaub on his feet. Watson could compete for a starting job immediately at right tackle. Houston has been making a habit of drafting someone that leaves people scratching their head on draft day, but working out well for them like Kareem Jackson, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Watson could be next in that list.
28. Buffalo Bills (From Broncos): Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse — Since John Elway doesn’t particularly like this draft class, I don’t expect the Broncos to be picking here at all, but rather trading down. This was as close to a logical spot I could envision for the Bills to be trading back into the round to get their quarterback. Nassib’s college head coach, Doug Marone, is of course the new Bills head coach. Nassib will know the offense well, has a strong arm to through in Buffalo, and will beat out Kevin Kolb for the starting job at some point this season. The Bills won’t reach for Nassib at eight, but will get him twenty picks later.
29. New England Patriots: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington — It seems as if the Patriots will always need help in their secondary as they consistently have above average cornerbacks. Trufant, however, has potential to be really good and will contribute immediately in nickel/dime situations and on special teams. That, or the Patriots could go back to being the Patriots and trading down for picks in future drafts.
30. Atlanta Falcons: Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State — Speaking about needing a cornerback, the Falcons are probably hurting the most at the position. All they have is Asante Samuel at cornerback. They’ve lost Dunta Robinson, Brent Grimes and Chris Owens. They could take any one of the available corners and be happy, but with Taylor they’ll get a sound, quick player who will be the number two cornerback from day one.

Photo by kcchiefs.com

31. San Francisco 49ers: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU — With all the picks the 49ers have, it’s possible they move up from this spot to get a safety. D.J. Swearinger will be available three picks later at 34 though, so they can get him there. They could look at tight end Zach Ertz, a player Jim Harbaugh recruited to Stanford and who has also said his biggest influence is former 49er great Brent Jones. But again, he’ll be available three picks from now, so who do they take? In this great position, I say the 49ers go with Margus Hunt. The guy is freakishly tall and with a year behind Justin Smith to learn and get some bulk, the 49ers won’t have to worry about losing their entire pass rush when Smith is gone. Until then, Hunt can contribute on special teams. He set an NCAA record with 17 blocked kicks. He’s a player Harbaugh will love.

32. Baltimore Ravens: Arthur Brown, MLB, Kansas State — He signed with Miami coming out of high school. Draft experts say he is undersized. Instinctive defender who players bigger than he is. Sound familiar? I wasn’t describing recently retired Ray Lewis. Brown is all of these things and would immediately help the Ravens alongside Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw. Sometimes, things work out just right. A lot of times, general manager Ozzie Newsome nails it in the draft. This is one of those times.

My favorite time of year could possibly be late April. This is not because of the weather, baseball’s return, or the NBA playoffs (although I do love baseball and NBA playoffs), but because of the NFL Draft. Therefore, it’s only fitting that I return to blogging with a post on the draft.

If you’re new to TorresSports, I welcome you and hope you enjoy what I’m rambling about. If you used to read this blog when I kept up with it, I thank you for taking the time out to read it once again. My last post was on September 4, 2012, and seven-plus months is far too long. I have been lacking the desire to write in the past few months, and you simply viewing this page encourages me to get back into it. For that, I thank you.

Now, back to the topic at hand. Below you will find my 2013 NFL Draft Big Board (it’s more of a long list than an actual big board, but whatever). I originally wanted to do a list of the top 50 players in this draft, but after I listed 50, I kept thinking about other players I really liked. Before I knew it, I had a top 70 list, so I decided to just do my homework and make it a solid 100. I won’t get into detail for every player, but here are some thoughts on my rankings.

The quarterbacks are nowhere close to what we saw last year, but under the right systems, there are a handful that can succeed in the NFL. The running backs in this draft are getting undersold because the NFL is a passing league, but there are several good backs available. I’ve ranked a dozen of them here, and not much separates them, which is why you’ll see a few of them clumped together. If I were an NFL GM, I would love to have any one of them on my team. The draft is not full of stars, but more players with starting capabilities than any draft in recent memory. It is a deep draft for both offensive and defensive line prospects. I really like the top few tight ends available. We’re also getting a worthy safety class, whereas in the past couple of years the safety position has been weak.

Remember, this is all just a matter of opinion. It’s not a prediction of where these players will be drafted. You’ll see rankings vary wherever you go, from NFL.com to Bleacher Report to USA Today. I simply take what I know from the college game, reading and watching videos and present to you 100 players I like in the NFL Draft. Have fun with it: use it while you’re watching the draft to see who my best available player is, argue with me over how much I over/under value someone, or marvel in how awesome I am at ranking these guys. Just kidding. Kind of. Either way, here it is.

1. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

2. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

3. Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

4. Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon

5. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

6. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

7. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

8. Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

9. Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia

10. Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU

11. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

12. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

13. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

14. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

15. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

16. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

17. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State

18. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina

19. Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

20. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

21. Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

22. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

23. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford

24. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

25. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

26. Robert Woods, WR, USC

27. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

28. Keenan Allen, WR, Cal

29. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

30. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

31. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame

32. Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

33. John Cyprien, FS, FIU

34. Eric Reid, S, LSU

35. Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State

36. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee

37. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

38. Kyle Long, OL, Oregon

39. Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

40. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

41. Kevin Minter, LB, LSU

42. Matt Elam, S, Florida

43. Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State

44. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

45. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

46. Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

47. Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State

48. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

49. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

50. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

51. Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

52. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama

53. Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati

54. Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky

55. Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State

56. Giovanni Bernard, RB, North Carolina

57. Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia

58. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

59. Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee

60. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin

61. D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston

62. John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

63. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

64. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State

65. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

66. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson

67. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

68. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

69. Kevin Reddick, ILB, North Carolina

70. Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse

71. Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin

72. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State

73. D.J. Swearinger, SS, South Carolina

74. Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford

75. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech

76. Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas

77. Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut

78. Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State

79. Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State

80. Jordan Reed, TE, Florida

81. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

82. Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida

83. Kiko Alonso, LB, Oregon

84. Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers

85. Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama

86. Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

87. Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M

88. William Gholston, DE, Michigan State

89. Mike Glennon, QB, NC State

90. Khaled Holmes, C, USC

91. T.J. McDonald, FS, USC

92. Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana

93. Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego St.

94. Brian Winters, OG, Kent State

95. Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego St.

96. J.J. Wilcox, FS, Georgia Southern

97. Philip Lutzenkirchen, TE, Auburn

98. Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M

99. Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn

100. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

Keep an eye on these players also, because if they get a chance with the right team or system, they can flourish: Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (Ohio), Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma, Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU, Bacarri Rambo, SS, Georgia, Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan, Terrell Sinkfield, WR, Northern Iowa.